Fighting on the Weather Front
MU meteorologists create a Civil War forecast 150 years back in time
In a project that blends history, sleuthing and modern weather analysis, Tony Lupo, professor and department chair of atmospheric sciences at the University of Missouri, and Mike Madden, a meteorology student, have pulled together odd bits of global meteorological flotsam to compile a Missouri weather forecast 150 years back in time.
Their analysis provides a unique insight into the Battle of Carthage, which took place in the first months of the Civil War on July 5, 1861. Here, a Confederate force delayed by rain and wet gunpowder, was expecting an attack from the north. The force, however, encountered, attacked and routed a smaller Union force approaching from the southwest. The engagement set the stage for two later battles that would determine if Missouri stayed in the Union.
“The Carthage battle was rather meaningless from a tactical or strategic view, but pro-Southern elements in Missouri championed their first victory,” Lupo said. “Carthage only played a part in Missouri's war by helping spark recruitment for the Southern regiments.”