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Civil War Weather in Virginia Hardcover – July 15, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The quotations included are very vivid.”
—David Laskin, author of Braving the Elements: The Stormy History of American Weather


“Students of the Civil War will find the book an extremely useful reference work. The tables and additional commentary from widely scattered sources offer indispensable information for anyone interested in military campaigns in Virginia. To have all of this information for the entire war readily available in one place is the single most significant contribution of this work.”
—George C. Rable, President, Society of Civil War Historians


“[Krick is] the greatest secret weapon for Civil War battlefield preservation we’ve ever had.”
—Former New York Representative Robert J. Mrazek

About the Author

Robert K. Krick is the former chief historian of the battlefield park that preserves the sites of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. He is author of 14 books and more than 100 published articles. Widely regarded as the top historian in modern times on the Army of Northern Virginia and the foremost authority of Chancellorsville, Krick is a popular lecturer and battlefield tour guide. Battlefield preservation is a prime concern for Krick, who has pushed tirelessly for legislation and federal funding for Civil War sites.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University Alabama Press; 1st Edition edition (July 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817315772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817315771
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,143,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
What is the temperature of "very hot" or "almost frozen"? How many inches of rain are in a "torrent"? Douglas Southall Freeman speaking in 1955 cited a need for detailed information on weather during the Civil War. With the exception of Joseph L. Harsh's, book "Sounding the Shallows"; no one has tried to address this subject. Harsh's book only considers weather during the month of September 1862 as part of his detailed study for the Antietam Campaign. Part of the problem is detailed weather records were not a government responsibility. The little detail we have is from amateur meteorologists and the families that preserved their work. The record have gaps, illegible entries and areas where no one kept records. All of these problems, taken together, make a detailed weather record spanning years a difficult undertaking. Robert Krick recognizes this by saying the Victorian title would be "Civil War Weather in Washington, D.C., and in the Virginia Theater of War, Encompassing Virginia and Maryland and Pennsylvania, including Weather Affecting Some Military Operations in what became West Virginia Halfway through the War." The current title is much easier to use but the Victorian title gives you a much better idea of what this book contains.

Each month from October 1860 to June 1865 is a one page. The monthly format is a few pages of contemporary observations about the weather and a daily table for the month. Table entries are date, day of the week, sunrise and sunset in Richmond and the DC temperature at 7 AM, 2 PM and 9 PM. Each day has a remarks entry for comments like overcast, amount of rain or an observation about the day. This may not seem to be much but it is invaluable in building a picture of the war.
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Format: Hardcover
Bob Krick is the unquestioned authority on the Army of Northern Virginia and the Virginia theater. He is also my favorite historian and has been for a number of years. I have greatly enjoyed reading his many books and monographs. His most recent work, "Weather in Civil War Virginia," is an unusual study in that it is a subject so infrequently discussed or addressed in major campaign studies. Most historians give the weather only a passing remarks. This is a reference book, and as such will be invaluable when reading about marches or battles. The weather played a major role in battles and campaigns. Krick has done a wonderful job of putting together this data that documents the weather conditions on each day of the war in Virginia. He fleshes out the book by adding anecdotes and personal experiences from letters and journals of the men who endured some very harsh weather conditions at times. I now know how cold it really was during the Romeny campaign or how hot it was at the battle of Cedar mountain. The one major drawback to the book is the price. This is a small hardback book, only 177 pages, yet the price is close to forty dollars. Granted, a lot of research went into a work of this type, and the information can be very helpful. But it could have served the same purpose by being published in soft cover and priced under $20.00.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For years it has been generally accepted that after every large battle in the Virgina Cockpit (as well as Gettysburg) there were torrential rain storms. Often this was true; sometimes not. This book will give students and writers of the Civil War in Virginia much needed evidence as to what role the all-important factor of weather played in tactics and strategy. Weather has often been alluded to, but never studied to this extent before (unlike the phenomenon of acoustic shadows).

The only regret I have is that, as a Virginia resident in the area of the major battlefields, I know the weather in Richmond and DC often has very little resemblance to the weather in the Shenandoah or the Piedmont, EXCEPT for temperature. Here this book makes a great contribution. No one writing about events in this area of war can afford to overlook it in the future.

It would be nice if this were turned into a website, where the myriad of Civil War buffs could send any chance weather observations they come across in their reading and research to a central clearinghouse for use in the next edition
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A book on weather? Seriously? Yes and worth every penny. Very hard to find this book but essential to an understanding of the war in Virginia. Bob takes the incredible records of DC and Richmond based writers and shares their minute recordings about weather in their respective areas of the state. When reading about any battle or campaign in VA, have this book open and refer to it often. You will find that the weather played a huge and often overlooked role on strategy, combat effectiveness, morale, health, etc; the Mud March of the Fredericksburg campaign being an example. I found the weather reports for the Valley in May of 1864 interesting since the Battle of New Market was fought in a downpour. Remains one of the strangest subjects I've ever read about relating to the war, but so glad I purchased it.
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