Kentucky's Climate During the Civil War

Glen Conner
State Climatologist Emeritus for Kentucky

The many hardships, privations, and disruptions endured by Kentuckians during the Civil War were exacerbated by the extremely wet and dry spells of Kentucky's climate. These weather conditions are known because the Smithsonian Institution was collecting climate data during the war years. The Smithsonian's climate network was created in 1847. Seven years later, it had observers reporting from Kentucky and each of the other thirty states. By 1860, the Smithsonian Institution had supplanted the Army's network as the primary climatic data collection agency for the United States. During the Civil War, ten stations reported from Kentucky. Springdale, the Army Post at Newport, and Pine Grove reported for the entire period. The other seven stations reported for shorter periods. These records present a description of the daily weather in central Kentucky and information about the hardships that it imposed.

The weather in Kentucky on the dates of the major battles has been summarized. Those battles are listed below. Click on the battle to view its weather summary.

1861 - The First Year

1862 - The Second Year

1863 - The Third Year

1864 - The Fourth Year

1865 - The Last Four Months