On December 2, Union General Meade started to withdraw his troops north of the Rapidan River, an action which marked the end of the Mine Run Campaign.
After the Siege of Knoxville, Confederate General Longstreet began a 2-day withdrawal from Knoxville to Greeneville, MS on December 3rd.
On the 6th, Union General William T. Sherman broke the siege of Knoxville, entering the city.
On December 8th, the Union declared a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, offering a full pardon to any Southern soldier in exchange for taking a prescribed oath of allegiance to the United States.
As Longstreet withdrew northeast, he was trailed by a Union force under John G. Parke, who had relieved Ambrose Burnside. On the 13th, Longstreet turned back to capture Bean's Station on the Holston River in northeast Tennessee. Longstreet approached in three columns, hoping to trap the northern troops in a vise. His lead forces began attacking Union pickets around 2 a.m. on the 14th. The pickets held and warned Union General Shackleford, who deployed his forces for an assault. The battle lasted most of the day, but the arrival of Southern reinforcements forced a Union retirement. They managed to entrench themselves at Blain's Crossroads on the 15th. Longstreet, seeing the strength of their position, withdrew and went into winter quarters at Russellville. Union forces began probing Longstreet's winter camp, after which Longstreet counter-attacked, driving Shackleford's troops back before they made a successful stand. Later that evening, the Union forces withdrew.
Union Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase, on December 9th, recommends that the words "In God We Trust" be added to U.S. coinage.
Winter brought some changes in the Southern Army. on the 16th, Joe Johnston was ordered to take command of the Army of Tennessee. On the 22nd, Leonidas Polk received similar orders for the Army of Mississippi.
- Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living. I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh. I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me. Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying. I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.