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Civil War Weather in Virginia

Written by Robert K. Krick

Publication Year: 2007

This work fills a tremendous gap in our available knowledge in a fundamental area of Civil War studies, that of basic quotidian information on the weather in the theater of operations in the vicinity of Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia. Krick adds to the daily records kept by amateur meteorologists in these two locations. Anecdotal descriptions of weather found in contemporary soldiers’ dairies and correspondence combines these scattered records into a chronology of weather information that also includes daybreak and sunset times for each day. The information in Civil War Weather in Virginia is indispensable for students of the Civil War in the vital northern Virginia/Maryland theater of operations.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Contents

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p. -

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

Several skilled reference librarians and historians helped me accumulate the material for this book. They include the redoubtable Michael P. Musick of the National Archives; Ham Dozier and Frances Pollard of the Virginia Historical Society; Jeffrey Edmunds, Barbara Pratt Willis, Ann Haley, Sue Willis, Jane Kosa, and Holly SchemmerCentral Rappahannock Regional Li-...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

“I beseech you,” Douglas Southall Freeman said a few days before his death in an address to some avid battlefield tourers, “give us what we do not now have but long have needed, namely, a meteorological register of the War Between the States.” The powerful impact of weather upon military operations suggested to Freeman...

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Chapter 1. 1860

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pp. 7-12

A Washington diarist recorded her thoughts on the capital city’s weather onseveral October days. October 3: “Delightful day, atmosphere very bracing.”4th: “Clear and cold.” 5th: “Raining slightly.” 24th: “Heavy frost last night,fear some of our flowers were injured.” 26th: “Delightfully mild today.” 31st: A weather station reporting from Virginia’s capital city provides steady...

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Chapter 2. 1861

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pp. 13-42

The New Year dawned in Washington clear, but “growing colder every minute.” Rain fell all night on the 2nd and into the morning of the 3rd. On January 8, which was “snowing and raining,” a woman in D.C. grumbled:“ We have had a great deal of damp and gloomy weather this winter.”...

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Chapter 3. 1862

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pp. 43-80

One of the war’s military operations in Virginia most affected by weather began on January 1, when General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson pushed west from Winchester toward Romney on “a bright, warm day, with a touchof spring in the air.” A diarist a few miles ...

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Chapter 4. 1863

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pp. 81-114

The new year dawned in Richmond under gloomy skies, but they quickly gave way to sun that “beamed forth in great splendor.” On January 16 it had been “blowing a gale for two days,” and the “bitter cold” night of the 17th left “everything . . . frozen” in the Confederate capital city. Rain “fell in torrents”on the night of the 20th and continued the next day with “a violent storm of...

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Chapter 5. 1864

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pp. 115-146

Richmond opened the new year with “a bright windy day, and not cold.” The temperature plummeted late on January 1, and the night became “bitter.” On January 2 the morning dawned “bright and clear, and moderating.” After a“dark and threatening” 4th, the 5th proved to be a “bright, pleasant day.” When “a light snow” fell on Richmond on the 7th it was...

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Chapter 6. 1865

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pp. 147-160

The first day of 1865 came in “very cold” in Richmond, “and the ground is covered with snow. . . . Freezing cold weather.” On January 4, “magnificent sunshine” reflected off a blanket of snow, making Richmond “very beautifulbut not very pleasant.” The next day more “lovely . . . bright sunshine” melted the snow and made “the roads . . . very slippery.” The 7th and 8th both...

Notes

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pp. 161-178


E-ISBN-13: 9780817380489
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817315771

Publication Year: 2007

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Richmond (Va.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Chronology.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Chronology.
  • Washington (D.C.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources.
  • Washington (D.C.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Chronology.
  • Meteorology -- Virginia -- Richmond -- History -- 19th century.
  • Washington (D.C.) -- Climate -- History -- 19th century.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources.
  • Meteorology -- Washington (D.C.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Richmond (Va.) -- Climate -- History -- 19th century.
  • Richmond (Va.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources.
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