Horrifying account of the Little Ice Age – Segment 5

A must-see video.

“When I talk to people about the Grand Solar Minimum (GSM) I usually point them to the BBC documentary called “Little Ice Age Big Chill”,” says reader Norman Grant Smith. “I tell them that the documentary will show them exactly what happened during the last GSM, and this is exactly what will happen in the GSM that is starting right now.”

“This video is an amazing history lesson. And it’s also kind of a horror story as well. People eating their children. Thousands and thousands of “witches” being burned for “causing the clouds rain storms, snow storms, crop failures, plagues etc. That kind of thing. It’s a must-see for all of us.”

This is a l-o-o-o-o-n-g video, so I’ve taken notes (below) in 10 to 15-minute segments.

Here are notes from the 57-minute to the 1:08-minute mark.


Victory or defeat often hinged on the frigid weather. Generals learned that the weather could be their most formidable enemy. Or ally.

The skeletons of more than 3,000 of Napoleon Bonapart’s forces have been found in a mass grave in Vilnius, Lithuania, victims of the Little Ice Age.

Napoleon’s lesson began in the fall of 1812 after he had invaded Russia with a mammoth force of 600,000 men.

Although he succeeded in capturing Moscow, he had failed to destroy the Russian army. Three-quarters of Napoleon’s men had already died of starvation.

As he ordered his remaining 130,000 soldiers to retreat for home, the frigid climate took a nightmarish turn. The temperature dropped down into the thirties below zero.

Napoleon’s starving exhausted troops began dying by the thousands. Many froze to death as they slept. Many fought off the bitter cold, only to die of starvation. Only 40,000 soldiers, a fraction of those who started the campaign, made it back to Vilnius. But the city had very little food, and thousands more soldiers died of starvation. Thousands more died in make-shift field hospitals of gangrene and typhus.

Only about 5,000 of the 40,000 soldiers who trudged into Vilnius escaped the city alive.

The video also talks of the destruction of the Spanish Armada in temperatures below freezing … in early September. Some of the sailors actually froze to death, again, in early September. In all, the storm destroyed 56 of the armada’s 130 warships. Most of those that did make it back to Spain were so battered that they were dismantled for their wood. A total of 21,000 Spaniards perished.

In 1776, the Little Ice Age again helped change the course of history.

It looked like the American revolution was lost. But on Christmas Eve, General George Washington led his troops across the Delaware River. Throughout the Little Ice Age, unlike now, the Delaware was often clogged with ice. And on this particular Christmas Eve, it was “choked” with ice. But after nine hours, Washington’s troops made it across the river and succeeded in their surprise attack. The success of that attack rescued the revolution.

Still to come: The notorious “Year without a summer.”

I stopped taking notes at the 1:08-minute mark. See more tomorrow.

Thanks to Norman Grant Smith for this video

6 thoughts on “Horrifying account of the Little Ice Age – Segment 5”

  1. The unsaid part of this part of the story. Of the 600k. Each army man, of that era had a wife and children to support on their rations. We call the families ” camp followers”, wives went into battle with their loved ones. Where their mate fell, they abandoned the March. Many adapted to the area.

  2. In the video they mention it was so cold birds would fall out of the sky. I have seen a number of news stories from around the world over the past 10 or so years about large masses of birds falling dead out of the sky for no apparent reason. Might the reason be because of cold?

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