During the winter months it was often too cold to effectively launch any large scale, offensive action against the enemy. Such was the case in the last week of December 1863. While the major fronts in Virginia and Georgia remained quiet, skirmishing did occur throughout most states of the South.
Federal troops conducted a reconnaissance from Forsyth, Missouri to Batesville, Arkansas, while other minor activity occurred at Sand Mountain, Alabama, Port Gibson, Mississippi, and at far western locations in the Indian Territory near Fort Gibson and at Fort Gaston in California.
Yet more often than not it was Union forces that seized the initiative. Many in both the North and the South believed it was only a matter of time before the Southern Confederacy would be worn down and eventually defeated.