The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 5
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The Texas Norther
posure alone."* Lew Wallace, who later became a major general
and the author of Ben Hur, mournfully described the scene at
Point Isabel where many soldiers were laid to rest under the sands
of the dunes only to have their bones uncovered soon afterwards
by a sea breeze or a norther.1"
A future military giant, George Gordon Meade, who was serv-
ing with Taylor's army at this time, took a dim view of the northers
during a scouting expedition along the Laguna Madre. He wrote
to his wife as follows:
We had very bad weather upon our expedition, and I was much
exposed. Upon two separate occasions my tent was blown over my
head, and I [was] wet through and through. Indeed, I returned much
the worse for my exposure, having become quite bilious and slightly
jaundiced. The weather has been extremely cold, and the high winds
that constantly prevail here, prevent you from getting your tent com-
fortable. Indeed in all my experience of field service, I have never been
so comfortless as now. I feel the cold here more than in Maine, because
there we had no wind, and plenty of fuel, and could encamp in the
woods. Here it is all open beach, where the wind sweeps in gales, day
and night, and there is barely wood sufficient for cooking purposes,
to be procured. It is a fine climate in summer, when the wind tempers
the burning rays of the sun, but now, when the winds are from the
north, and cutting cold, it is the most disagreeable and trying I was
ever in. I shall consider myself lucky if I can get out of it without
rheumatism or some such pleasant remembrance of it.15
Mrs. Jefferson Davis was well-posted on the conditions of the
army, for her husband was commanding a regiment of Mississippi
volunteers. In her memoirs Mrs. Davis says:
While they were there, sometimes every tent in camp was prostrated
by the norther, and during its prevalence, great confusion reigned in
camp, as in their exposed position the sharp dry sand blew into the
men's eyes, and the keen cold wind pierced them. My husband never
could control his risibles when he told of a certain civilian colonel who
did now know how to pitch his tent. After he retired a norther blew
it and the rest of the regimental tents of his command down over their
inmates. They were all greatly startled and rushed out in their night
clothes. The greatest confusion prevailed, and in the darkness no one
13 (Anonymous), "The Army in Texas," Southern Quarterly Review, IX (1846),
14Lew Wallace, An Autobiography (2 vols.; New York, 19o6), I, 126.
1sGeorge Gordon Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade (2 vols.;
New York, 1913), I, 36-37.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/17/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.