After Meade called off the attack, both armies continued to face each other throughout the day. Meade's men began fortifying their position, but as one soldier wrote, "It was a ruse only." In the words of Walter Taylor, "General Lee could not believe that after all the display of force General Meade would retire without a battle, and so he waited another day ... hoping Meade would attack...."
The Army of the Potomac withdrew on the night of December 1.
Early the next morning, Captain W. W. Blackford delivered a message to Lee. Lee still did not know that Meade had withdrawn. "Captain, if they don't attack us today, we must attack them!" Lee said. "We must attack them, sir! And you young men must exert yourself. You must exert yourselves, sir!"
But it was too late. The Army of the Potomac had safely recrossed the Rapidan. Lee was sorely disappointed with the missed opportunity and his own performance: "I am too old to command this army. We should never have permitted those people to get away." The Mine Run Campaign was over.