|Civil War snowball battle.|
With all of the snow we’ve been having this year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at how the soldiers dealt with snow during the Civil War.
I found that two back-to-back snowstorms in February of 1863 provided the ammunition for a friendly snowball battle among rival divisions of Confederate troops near
On February 19, eight inches of snow fell on the region, and two days later, nine inches of snow fell. On February 25, sunny skies and mild temperatures softened the deep snow cover, providing ideal conditions for making snowballs, and helping to spark a huge snowball battle in which approximately 10,000 Confederate soldiers participated. One soldier who participated in the snowball battle described it as one of the “most memorable combats of the war.”
The battle started when General Hoke’s
Hoke’s beaten soldiers retreated back to their camp. Stiles decided to organize his men and march directly into their camp, with snowballs in hand. When Stile’s forces finally arrived in Hoke’s camp, they were quite surprised to find that their adversaries had rallied and filled their haversacks to the top with snowballs. This allowed Hoke’s soldiers to provide an endless barrage of snowballs “without the need to reload.” The attacking force was quickly overwhelmed and many of their soldiers were captured and “whitewashed” with snow.
The snowball battle came to an end and both brigades settled back into their respective camps. The captured prisoners were quickly paroled and returned to their camp, to much heckling from fellow soldiers.