Mizzou tree ring experts blame Canadian wildfires
George Washington’s diary notes a “dark day” on May 29, 1780, in the midst of the Revolutionary War. He wasn’t referring to a lost battle, or some other bad turn in the struggle against tyranny.
Rather, Washington was describing a mysterious midday darkening of the sky.
Colonists then, and one modern ebook author, saw the event as a terrifying sign from God:
A correspondent of the Boston Gazette and Country Journal (of May 29, 1780) reported observations made at Ipswich Hamlet, Mass., “by several gentlemen of liberal education:”
“About eleven o’clock the darkness was such as to demand our attention, and put us upon making observations. At half past eleven, in a room with three windows, twenty-four panes each, all open toward the southeast and south, large print could not be read by persons of good eyes.
“About twelve o’clock, the windows being still open, a candle cast a shade so well defined on the wall, as that profiles were taken with as much ease as they could have been in the night.
May 19, 1780 and some people in New England thought judgment day was at hand. Accounts of that day, which became known as ‘New England’s Dark Day,’
Scientists at the Missouri Tree-Ring Laboratory (I reckon they do a lot of counting there) now say it was wildfires in Canada that darkening the skies that day:
Mystery Of Infamous ‘New England Dark Day’ Solved By Three Rings
Limited ability for long-distance communication prevented colonists from knowing the cause of the darkness. It was dark in Maine and along the southern coast of New England with the greatest intensity occurring in northeast Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and southwest Maine. In the midst of the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington noted the dark day in his diary while he was in New Jersey.