December 5, 1862: In Virginia, Gen. Burnside tries a crossing downstream, closer to Port Royal. A flotilla of gunboats steams up the river to help, but well-placed Confederate artillery drives the ships back downstream. In addition, the movement of the army is hampered by roads nearly impassable from rain, so the Federals return to their muddy base at Falmouth, watching the Rebels across the river in Fredericksburg.
---Gen. Thomas Hindman and his Confederate army of 11,000 have advanced north towards the Fayetteville area. Gen. Blunt of the Union army awaits them with 5,000 just south of Cane Hill, building defences to block the way of what will surely be the Rebels’ route of advance. But on a smaller road to the east, the Cove Creek Road, Hindman heads north. Blunt has left a small Kansas cavalry regiment to picket that route.