In November 1863, Confederate Gen. James Longstreet led a force from Chattanooga to attack Union Gen. Ambrose E, Burnside's army at Knoxville. The campaign failed, and in December Longstreet's men marched east along the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad to winter quarters in Russellville, where they remained until March 1864. Numerous small engagements between Longstreet's and Burnside's armies occurred during the winter.
On January 14, 1864, Union Gen. John G. Parke advanced in to this area in search of forage and supplies. Confederate Gen. James Longstreet, whose army was in winter quarters nearby, planned to attack the Federals. Union Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis led his cavalry into Dandridge on January 15, with the remainder of Parke's corps following the next day and concentrating in and around the town.
At about noon on January 17, Confederate Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson's men charged down the Chucky road against the Union positions while Gen. Micah Jenkin's brigade attacked down the Morristown Road from the north. The onslaught caused Federal brigades under Gen. Oscar LaGrange and Gen. Israel Garrard to tall back. That night, Parke decided to withdraw, and his corps was done by morning. Longstreet's infantrymen were unable to pursue the Federals because of the frigid
weather and their shortage of shoes and supplies. He sent Gen. William T. Martin's cavalry division after Parke, but Martin did not engage and the Federals withdrew to Knoxville. Longstreet and his army returned to their winter quarters around Morristown and Russellville, to gather what provisions they could find in the neighborhood.