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PKelley

Weather Details during the battle

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Does anyone have the statistics on how cold it got and how much rain fell on the night of April 6/ Morning of April 7, 1862 at Shiloh! I'm just curious. - Pat

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Pat,

I have not heard of any statistics concerning the weather during the Battle of Shiloh except mention in a general manner such as heavy rain, downpour, swollen creeks, and never any mention of how much rain fell.  Collecting weather info came to the US later, I believe. 

Ron

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I can tell you one thing, on the night previous to the battle the men were ordered to sleep on their arms in line of battle. Supposedly when dawn came there was frost on the ground. The day that we filmed the Fraley Field scene there was frost on the ground and it got down to 31 that night. We were stomping our feet on the ground and clearing out spots in the frost.

As far as specifically how much rain, don't know. Mike

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Pat, very good questions, but as Ron and Mike indicate, I don't think there are any actual weather statistics from the battle. Or if there are, I'm not familiar with them. I don't believe such stats were officially kept until sometime after the war. I probably should know since my father was a weatherman in the service during WWII, but afraid I don't.

The rain on the night of April 6th/7th I believe was very heavy for around an hour or two, then let up. But from the accounts you read, it dumped a heck of a lot of cold water on those poor folks. About all it really did was add to the misery.

This is a good question, and even though I don't know that anyone has an answer, it might not hurt to contact the park and see what they might know.

Perry

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Although there may be no statistics about the weather at the time of the battle, a review of usual weather conditions in southern West Tennessee in early April will provide some indications. Shiloh at this time of year experiences strong and sometimes violent weather changes. If you read the accounts of Island #10 for April 6th, 1862, you will find accounts of strong thunderstorms (helping the Union flotilla run by the Confederate fort). The front that produced these storms at Island #10, would have arrived at Shiloh about 2 to 3 hours later. These fronts are usually preceded by a few (2 to 4) days of clear weather, with the last day before the front passes being the warmest. Rainfall during the passage of the front can typically range 1/2 to 4 inches. Temperatures usually drop after passage of the front. I remember one account of a Confederate soldier reporting sleet falling on him during the withdrawal to Corinth. There are also many first hand mentions of the storm that occured at Shiloh on the night between the 2 days of battle. I don't remember any accounts that particularly singled out temperature. However, if it was 50 degrees, and the soldiers were soaking wet, those are miserable conditions.

Grandpa

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