Sunday, January 19, 2014

Civil War Sunday - The Great Snowball Fights

Winter.  The southern United States has had more than its share of winter this year, especially on January 6 and 7, 2014. 

Minus 24 degrees F (-31 Celsius) on top of Mount Mitchell in North Carolina was the coldest.

But, for places that are landmarks in the Civil War it got cold, too.
(all the following temperatures are in Fahrenheit).

Two above zero in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Twelve above zero in Augusta, Georgia.

Five above zero in Chattanooga, Tenneesee.

To Confederate soldiers, they would have been a cause for alarm - so many of them were ill-fed and ill-clothed, their very survival may have been threatened.

And, if you think about the regions that comprised the Confederate States of America (CSA), some of these Confederate soldiers had rarely seen significant snowfall in their lives until they became soldiers.

As it happens, the winters of 1863-1864 brought severe cold weather to portions of the South, 150 years ago.

But all was not grim.

When troop movements brought CSA soldiers to areas with snow on the ground, they did what young men will do. Camp life could be boring, and the soldiers needed a break.

How to cure that boredom?  How about an epic snowball fight?

There were several - one, on January 29, 1863.  Another, in Dalton, Georgia, in March of 1864.  These fights were complete with war strategy.  Prisoners were even taken.   A good time was had by many.

One or two bright moments in an otherwise grim war that was about to get even grimmer.


  1. Wow, that is a really great story! Who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned snowball fight. Talk about making the most of terrible conditions. Here's to hoping we have a milder second-half of the winter!

  2. Some years ago someone who saw some photos I posted of Mt. Mitchell emailed me. He was planning to camp there in the winter! He was in a distant state and had no idea how cold it can get in North Carolina. B-r-r-r!

  3. What a fun post! Glad you came up with it! I like that they even took prisoners. Serious stuff!!!


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