Free Online Lecture: Kenneth W. Noe, "The Howling Storm: Weather, Climate, and the American Civil War"

Shirley Wajda's picture

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February 11, 2021
New Hampshire, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Humanities, Military History

Historian Kenneth W. Noe explores how the American Civil War's unusual weather affected both the battlefield and the home front. Traditional histories describe the conflict as a war between North and South. Dr. Noel suggests it should instead be understood as a war between the North, the South, and the weather.

In his latest book, The Howling Storm: Weather, Climate, and the American Civil War, Dr. Noe retells the history of the conflagration with a focus on the ways in which weather and climate shaped the outcomes of battles and campaigns. He further contens that events such as floods and droughts affecting the Confederate home front constricted soldiers' food supply, lowered morale, and undercut the government's efforts to boost nationalist sentiment. By contrast, the superior equipment and open supply lines enjoyed by Union soldiers enabled them to cope successfully with the South's extreme conditions and, ultimately, secure victory in 1865.

Kenneth W. Noel is the Draughon Professor of Southern History at Auburn University, where he teaches classes on the American Civil War and Appalachian history. In addition to The Howling Storm, Dr. Noe has written or edited (among other books) Southwest Virginia's Railroad: Modernization and the Sectional Crisis (1994); A Southern Boy in Blue: The Memoir of Marcus Woodcock, 9th Kentucky Infantry (U.S.A.) (1996); Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army After 1861 (2010); and The Yellowhammer War: Alabama in the Civil War and Reconstruction (2014). Dr. Noe was a Pulitzer Prize entrant and the winner of the 2003 Kentucky Governor's Award, the 2002 Peter Seaborg Book Award for Civil War Non-fiction (for Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle), and the 1997 Tennessee History Book Award. Dr. Noe is a frequent speaker on the Civil War Round Table circuit and a participant in the Organization of American HIstorians distinguished Lectureship Program. He currently serves on the Board of Editors of Civil War History and was a consultant for the NBC series Who Do You Think You Are?

This free online lecture (through Zoom) is the first of a four-part series, Weather-Wise: Historical Records, Contemporary Conversations, hosted by Enfield Shaker Museum and funded by New Hampshire Humanities. All through 2021, the Museum is hosting a series of events and community-based projects informing discussion and research of the Enfield Shakers' (1793-1923) experiences of "good, bad, or indifferent" weather.

Please register for this event here:

Contact Info: 

Shirley Wajda, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Enfield Shaker Museum

447 NH-4A

Enfield, NH 03748

Telephone: 603.632.4346


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