A winter storm started last night as small fluffy flakes floating down and disapearing on the pavement. This morning it has colected into a superb winter storm. The trees have a layer of snow accenting their branches and the world is silent. Snow has a way of silencing the air and cold snow makes people consider the act of hibernation. Many of us wrap up in blankets and sit by the fire or watch the snow fall as if we were living in our own little snow globe.
During the Civil War, snowball fights were a pastime of many children and also many soldiers. Snowball fights sometimes just occurred between members of the same company but occasionally one or more companies would fight each other. Soldier letters and memoirs tell us that snowball fights were sometimes just as dangerous as real battle, many men suffered from broken teeth and bones from snowballs filled with ice or stones. One "snow battle" took place in 1864 near Dalton, Georgia. During this snow battle, two whole divisions participated, took prisoners and were commanded by real commanders to the calls of buglers. Can you picture your boss leading your coworkers into "battle?" After the battle one general even gave his men a ration of whiskey, a rare item in the south usually reserved for hospitals. It is no wonder, one Arkansas soldier described the snow fighting: “Such pounding and thumping, and rolling over in the snow, and washing of faces and cramming snow in mouths and in ears and mixing up in great wriggling piles together.”
This picture illustrates The Great Snowball Fight of Rappahannock Academy on February 25, 1863 which 10,000 Confederate troops are reported as participating in. More on this snowball fight can be read here.
(*Note:Photo courtesy of Princeton University Archives)