With all the hype about Global Warming, I thought it would be interesting to print something about the weather during the Civil War. It’s eye-opening to see the weather cycles that have been occurring since the beginning of time.
According to the Virginia Vignette, weather was influential in shaping events during the American Civil War (1861–1865). For instance, concerns about weather helped determine overall strategy as well as tactics on the battlefield.
Generals looked to the skies to decide when to begin spring campaigns, cursed at flooded rivers for impeding progress, and pushed their men to endure the extremes of the Southern climate.
Weather also colored the war experience for soldiers and civilians. Becoming a veteran soldier meant being seasoned by the weather as much as being transformed by combat.
Meanwhile, men and women in Virginia and across the nation religiously recorded meteorological events in diaries, letters, and newspapers, knowing how decisive this force of nature, so completely beyond human control, could be on wartime events.
Meteorologically, the Civil War took place at the tail end of what is often termed the “Little Ice Age,” a period of general cooling and unpredictability that most scholars date from roughly 1310 to 1850.
Despite what its name suggests, the Little Ice Age actually encompassed dramatic fluctuations in weather, with one year bringing an intensely cold winter and easterly winds, and the next heavy rains and raging heat. On the whole, conditions began to warm after 1850, but during the war Virginia experienced extreme precipitation and alternate periods of blazing heat and bitter cold.
This information was taken from Virginia Vignettes.