This Week in the Civil War - 737

Jan 3, 2014

On Friday, January 1, 1864 extreme cold swept throughout much of the American North and South, bringing extensive ice and snow and dropping temperatures below zero as far south as Memphis, Tennessee. 

Such an extremity of weather caused enormous suffering to both the Federals and the Confederates, with the average soldier desiring only adequate shelter and warmth. Harsh conditions posed communication and supply chain problems which made large scale maneuvering extremely difficult.

Despite these conditions and the concerns of the average soldier, skirmishing continued in some areas, including Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee. The severe weather even provided a brief respite to the beleaguered Confederate defenders of Fort Sumter at Charlestown, South Carolina; during most of January 1864 Union batteries abandoned their prolonged bombardment and only randomly fired on Fort Sumter.