"The Mud March" by Mort Kunstler
I trust that all of you along the east coast have made the best of this nasty weather and are safe. I am particularly concerned about my small contingent of “fans” in the Virginia Beach – Suffolk area, though I trust that they are also doing just fine. Here in Boston it is raining and a little windy, but so far nothing too serious at all – just a very wet Sunday morning.
With all the talk about the weather over the past few days it occurred to me that perhaps we have much to learn about its influence on campaigns as well as the physical and psychological well-being of the men in the ranks. Yes, we have plenty of descriptions of various kinds of weather, but it seems to me that the analytical side of our understanding may fall short. Perhaps I am just ignorant of the literature.
A few studies stand out. Robert Krick recently published, Civil War Weather in Virginia, which offers a handy chronology of weather information in the Washington D.C. – Richmond corridor. George Rable, Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! includes a fine chapter on how the weather influenced the failed Mud March following the battle of Fredericksburg. More recently, Kathryn S. Meier published, “No Place for the Sick: Nature’s War on Civil War Soldier Mental and Physical Health in the 1862 Peninsula and Shenandoah Valley Campaign” in The Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2011). What else do you recommend? I am not just thinking about weather, but broader environmental issues as well.
Finally, I recently learned that Ken Noe’s next book will focus on weather related issues. Perhaps he can give us a sense of what he is up to.