View Full Version : weather report for sharpsburg?

02-04-2004, 05:29 PM
Does anybody have a source for the weather conditions in Maryland prior to the Sharpsburg engagement? Maybe the week preceeding the battle.

02-10-2004, 09:08 AM
Mr. Beall,

The closest weather observatory taking regular readings (three per day), that I know of, was in Georgetown, D.C. Those records are located at the National Archives, but were microfilmed a few years ago by the National Weather Records Center in Asheville, N.C.

Anyway, here are the daily averages for the week preceding Sharpsburg, as recorded in Georgetown:

Date - Average Temperature
Sept. 10 - 80.63
Sept. 11 - 84.66
Sept. 12 - 78.5
Sept. 13 - 69.5
Sept. 14 - 65.66
Sept. 15 - 74.33
Sept. 16 - 72.5

The seperate readings for Sept. 17, the day of battle, were:

7 am - 69
2 pm - 76
9 pm - 70

Again, these are for Georgetown, D.C. but they should give you some idea of what the temps were like the week before the battle.


K Bartsch
02-11-2004, 03:52 PM
Perhaps you'll find this useful, from the USNO website:

The following information is provided for Sharpsburg, Washington County, Maryland (longitude W77.8, latitude N39.5):

17 September 1862 Eastern Standard Time

Begin civil twilight 5:27 a.m.
Sunrise 5:54 a.m.
Sun transit 12:05 p.m.
Sunset 6:16 p.m.
End civil twilight 6:43 p.m.

Moonrise 11:31 p.m. on preceding day
Moon transit 7:04 a.m.
Moonset 2:31 p.m.
Moonrise 12:28 a.m. on following day

Phase of the Moon on 17 September: waning crescent with 36% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.

Last quarter Moon on 15 September 1862 at 11:22 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

K. Bartsch

02-11-2004, 10:24 PM
Thanks to Eric and Keith.
Any precipitation figures for those days?

K Bartsch
02-12-2004, 08:40 PM
Nope. But an educated guess. 20 degree temp drop between the 11th and the 14th of September. I bet they got some rain during that time frame.
K. Bartsch

02-13-2004, 08:07 AM
The information I had did include notes on precipitation. However, I have loaned the roll of microfilm out and probably won't see it again for some time. I suggest doing some research in diaries. Although mundane, that type of observation was often recorded in soldiers' journals.


02-15-2004, 06:38 PM
Thanks again fellows.

08-16-2004, 03:03 AM
To the same question I got this reply from Ted Alexander, Staff Historian at the Antietam National Battlefield:

"One of the best sources on weather during the Maryland Campaign is the book Sounding the Shallows:A Confederate Companion for the Maryland Campaign of1862, by Joseph L. Harsh. (The Kent State University Press, 2000 - ISBN 0 -87338-641-8). Chapter 1, pp. 1 -31, covers this subject in great detail. I highly recommend this work."

Their Website is at: http://www.nps.gov/anti/home.htm. I'm always astonished at how much the Park Service folks do on so few tax dollars. That's my two cents' worth (perhaps quite literally!)

Paul M. Bauer
South Salem, NY

Does anybody have a source for the weather conditions in Maryland prior to the Sharpsburg engagement? Maybe the week preceeding the battle.