The Battle of Rowlett's Station

Earlier on 10 December 1861, the Confederate forces under Brigadier General Hindman had damaged the Louisville & Nashville railroad bridge over the Green River near Munfordville in Hart County. Subsequently, the U.S. forces completed a pontoon bridge across Green River on 17 December 1861 and portions of an Infantry Regiment had crossed over. That afternoon, the all German-speaking regiment under Colonel Willich confronted the Confederate force. After the engagement, both forces withdrew leaving the river crossing is U.S. hands.

Springdale Kentucky Weather
17 December 1861
During the
Battle of Rowlett's Station

On 10 December 1861, as the U.S. and Confederate forces engaged near Munfordville in Hart County, Eliza I. Young at Springdale in Jefferson County was entering her weather measurement on the Smithsonian Observer form. This Tuesday would see the Confederates partially destroying the Louisville & Nashville railroad bridge over the Green River. The day began with balmy temperatures rising from 60°F at 7 a.m. to 73°F at 2 p.m., the highest temperature recorded for the entire month at Springdale. The sky was overcast and the southwest winds continued to bring warmth and moisture. At 5:00 p.m., the temperature was still a warm 69°F and rain that began to fall at 6:30 p.m. continued into the night. She recorded 0.16 inch of rainfall. By 7 a.m. the next morning (11 December), the sky was clear and a strong wind was coming from the northwest. This cold front passage had dropped the temperature to 33°F that morning and only reached 40°F by 2 p.m.

The high pressure system that settled into the area behind the cold front kept the weather clear and crisp for the next week. The clear nights produced subfreezing temperature each morning. During the week, both the morning lows and the afternoon highs were gradually warming. On 17 December 1861, the U.S. completed construction of a pontoon bridge and U.S. troops crossed the river and engaged. That morning the temperature was 33°F under continued clear sky. The east wind that had persisted for the past two days shifted to come from the west-southwest. By 2 p.m., the temperature had risen to 61°F and only fell to 53°F by 5 p.m. Unlike some Civil War battles, weather was pleasant for this one.