Cold Weather in early Winter of 1813

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Cold Weather in early Winter of 1813

Post by pud » Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:58 pm

It's always nice to see the occasional reference to weather and how it interfered with, or changed, the process of the war. This next reference, from 196 years ago, tells of freezing temperatures equivalent to -25°C below zero today. Here in the Kawartha's we experienced that very temperature just before Christmas in 2008. As I write this today it is currently -12°C below zero.

Cruikshank, Lieut. Col. E. (1902). Documentary history of the campaign upon the Niagara frontier in 1813: Part V, January to June, 1813. Edited for the Lundy’s Lane Historical Society; The Tribune Office, Welland.

" From the Buffalo Gazette, 12th January, 1813.
Arrangements are, we understand, in great forwardness for completely guarding the coast since the Lake has closed. During the last week several families have removed from the country; we think their fears are groundless. We have no doubt but that we shall be effectually guarded. However, it would not be inconsistent with the principles of self preservation that every citizen have his arms in good order, with a supply of ammunition.
It is rumored that General Boyd has been assigned to the command on this frontier and may be expected on here very shortly. General Boyd is a skillful warrior and a brave man; his valor and skill have been tested in battle. We hope the rumor may prove true. We believe, even now, he would receive the confidence of the soldiery.
Cold Friday.-On Friday last Fahrenheit's thermometer stood at 12° below cypher-the same degree of cold as on the coldest day of last season. The coldest day of last Winter was the second of March.
The Lake between Sturgeon and Abino points is, we believe, completely and effectively closed. Between Buffalo Creek and Fort Erie, owing to the rapidity of the current, there are several places not yet closed" (Cruikshank, 1902, p.p. 39 - 40).

Information like this is really neat to read about. Like so many things weather is extremely important in the role that it plays during warfare. The reference above tells us a great deal not only how cold it was on that day and in that area of battle between Buffalo/Black Rock in New York State and Fort Erie in Upper Canada but it tells us that just the year before the coldest day was recorded as being in the month of March. Perhaps they were experiencing global warming almost 200 years ago too! :^0 But when we read about the British/Canadians crossing to Buffalo to attack the American forces at the beginning of the Winter season we now understand that it would have been a unique opportunity to take advantage of the ice that had formed at the mouth of the Niagara River by that time each year but that due to the high speed of the current there, as a result of Lake Erie emptying into the Niagara River at that very point, that there were still some open water areas and weak ice areas that the army would have had to navigate in order to get themselves safely to Buffalo.

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