Irene as Retribution?

So suggests this rather curiously executed You Tube video, featuring someone who must be a failed American Idol contestant.  Note that it highlights the role of the North in the transAtlantic slave trade.

I think this video serves as retribution on several levels.  It also serves as a point of departure to discuss the role of weather in affecting Civil War operations, including the Mud March, the rain on July 4 at Gettysburg, and the storm that resulted in the sinking of the USS Monitor.  What other examples can you think of?


15 thoughts on “Irene as Retribution?

  1. Jeff Davis August 27, 2011 / 9:44 am

    How about the horrible winter weather for Longstreet’s east Tennessess ventures after Bragg sent him packing with little supplies? Probably payback for that bizarre meeting with Jefferson Davis after Longstreet, et al, complained to Davis about Bragg.

    • Jeff Davis August 27, 2011 / 9:45 am

      Certainly seems like retribution to me, let alone the lousy weather.

  2. Tony Gunter August 27, 2011 / 10:13 am

    Without the ingenuity of the federal troops and the quick construction of a series of locks and dams to float the federal fleet out of harm’s way, the historic drop in the water levels of the Red River in 1864 would have been the most catastrophic.

    • Ned Baldwin August 27, 2011 / 12:40 pm

      There is evidence that it was Confederate engineering that made the drop in the water level so historic.

  3. Ray O'Hara August 27, 2011 / 1:21 pm

    Burnside’s Mud March which is the champion and the ice storm that delayed the Union attack at Nashville stand out.

    Rain after battles was common the concussion of the arty with all the sulfurous smoke would cause it to rain.
    A phenomena also noted for WWI and WWII naval surface battles.

    Old west rainmakers would travel with a cannon.
    They were CW vets who noticed that it rained after battles and who were clever enough to figure out why.

    • Noma August 29, 2011 / 10:15 pm

      Fascinating. They sure needed the rain after the Wilderness.

  4. Bob Huddleston August 27, 2011 / 2:17 pm

    Some years ago at the now defunct Boulder CWRT, there was a young woman who worked for NOAA. She was fascinated, obviously, by weather. I do not remember her name but wonder if she ever got anything published.

    She argued that the Mud March was simply a typical Nor’easter, quite common. Just Burnside’s bad luck to get caught in one. She also had tracked the weather in Western Tennessee and thought that the Shiloh storm, as well as such deluges as July 4 at Gettysburg were typical for the time of year. She had diary entries and newspaper reports from Western Ohio in early July 1863, talking of heavy rain, which patterns lead to ditto in Central Pennsylvania a couple of days later.

    David Ludlum has written a couple of books on American historical weather. _Early American Winters II, 1821-1870_ and _History of American Weather: Early American Hurricanes 1492-1870_ are relevant for us. Ludlum tells that the 1860s were a down time in hurricanes hitting North America and the Civil War weather was pretty typical.

  5. Richard August 27, 2011 / 2:41 pm

    The heat and drought in the fall of 1862 certainly provided some motivation for the armies of Bragg and Buell to search for water. Those searches contributed at least a little to those armies meeting near the Chaplin River in what became the Battle of Perryville.

    I think heavy rains may have at least delayed George Thomas and his men before what became the Battle of Mill Springs (Logan’s Crossroads) in early 1862

  6. Dave Jordan August 27, 2011 / 4:15 pm

    Chantilly (Ox Hill) was fought during a driving rainstorm – probably caused by the fighting at Brawner’s Farm and 2nd Manassas on the previous days.

  7. Carl Schenker August 28, 2011 / 8:15 am

    Before Shiloh, while Charles F. Smith was in command of the Union’s Tennessee River expedition, he sent Sherman up the Tennessee to cut the M&C railroad east of Corinth. Sherman was forced to abort the mission due to the flooding in the vicinty of Yellow Creek and fell back to Pittsburg Landing. (IIRC, his memoirs talk of wheeling submerged artillery pieces back to his transports.)

  8. Bob Huddleston August 28, 2011 / 6:17 pm

    The Civil War occurred in a period of low storm intensity. Only three hurricanes made landfall in the United States in 1861 – one in Florida, and two in North Carolina, all Category One storms. The next hurricane to make landfall in the now-reunited United States struck Louisiana and Texas September 13, 1865. Colin McAdie, et al, _Tropical Cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean, 1851-2996_ (NOAA, 2009), 32.

    • Carl Schenker August 29, 2011 / 10:24 am

      Bob — Were the United States ever disunited? I have the impression that Lincoln once objected to Union officer talk of invading enemey territory, on the ground that secession was invalid/inoperative and the enemy had no territory to be invaded. (Semantics, I know.) CRS

  9. John Foskett August 29, 2011 / 10:58 am

    How about the effects of torrential downpours the night before Fair Oaks/Seven Pines? Bob makes an interesting point. It seems easy to find radical weather conditions affecting earlier wars. There was a probable hurricane/tropical storm (sound familiar?) which hammered the armies in the weeks between Brandywine and Germantown in 1777 (and the blinding fog during Germantown itself) and Monmouth was fought during the heart of a 100 degrees+ New Jersey heatwave in 1778 – not to mention the awful winter cojnditions accompanying the American assault on Quebec in 1775 and a Caribbean hurricane which ripped up the French and British fleets c. 1781. In the War of 1812 the British raid on Washington, D.C. was interrupted by a probable tornado..

  10. John Foskett August 29, 2011 / 1:51 pm

    How, by the way, did i forget the attack on Trenton in a full scale sleet storm in 1776? Those 18th century troops were tough – or lacked good meteorologists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s