In March 1864, Major General Forrest led his Confederate cavalry into Kentucky. He occupied Paducah in McCracken County on 25 March when the U.S. troops withdrew toward the west. The Confederates attacked but the U.S. force at Fort Anderson under Colonel Hicks held with support from U.S. gunboats on the Ohio River under Lieutenant Commander Shirk. The Confederates withdrew with captured supplies, mules, and horses.
The drought was continuing as Confederate Major General Forrests force moved toward Paducah. At the nearest climate station at Springdale in Jefferson County, Eliza Lawrence had not recorded any precipitation since the cold front passed on 14 March 1864. The 0.18 inch that fell on that day brought the March total to 1.41 inches well below the normal monthly rainfall. From the 15th through the 24th, the cold and dry air remained with morning lows mostly in the twenties except for three mornings in the teens. During the night of the 24th, 0.16 inch of rain fell as temperatures rose. On 25 March 1864, she entered her observations of a temperature of 38°F at 7 a.m., 42°F at 2 p.m., and 43°F at 9 p.m. It rained 0.06 inch during that night with winds from the east during that overcast day and night. The barometer fell steadily and was 29.05 inches at 9 p.m. It appears that a warm front had passed. The temperature rose to 70°F by the afternoon of the 27th. To the west in Paducah, the Confederates had not been hampered by the weather during this engagement.