Say What Saturday: “Away down South in the land of traitors, rattlesnakes and alligators”

DBF

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 6, 2016
fullsizeoutput_23a1.jpeg


A Wisconsin soldier writes home to his family in May of 1863 describing his discoveries as he marched from his home state to a new world that was to be found in the south. The young man was stationed on the Mississippi River opposite Vicksburg surrounded by the beauty of the bayous, magnolias and palm trees and some never-before-seen nine to ten feet creatures.​

“These hideous looking monsters are said to be harmless, and will not molest anyone unless in self-defense.” {1}

Many Union soldiers had never seen an alligator. To pass the time, soldiers were known to poke the reptiles with their bayonets in the hopes to start a fight amongst the beasts. One soldier reportedly was brave enough to collect some of the scales from the back of a gator and made his girlfriend a pair of earrings. Although they made “fun sport” with the reptiles a regiment near Baton Rouge discovered the “fear of gators” when they were forced to wade up to their armpits as they marched through an alligator habitat.

Another soldier from Vicksburg told the story of his experience. Lieutenant John G. Earnest of the 79th Tennessee wrote home on May 5, 1863:

“A huge old mosquito with claws like a ground hog and a bill half as long as a sergeant’s sword was seated on my shoulder trying to run his bill through my neck and pin me to the ground—fortunately it had lodged against my backbone and before he could make another trial the sentinel came to my relief at a ‘charge bayonets’—when ‘old skeeter’ flew off saying he ‘would be happy to repeat the call’. I sincerely hoped he would not. I now set about tucking the cover under me all around and finally went to sleep again. About daylight I was awakened by a tremendous roar—when I found the mosquitoes had pulled me to the edge of the bayou, and an old alligator jubilant at the prospect of getting me for his breakfast had given a tremendous laugh which awoke me, and I preferring not to be his breakfast shifted from there. I vowed never to allow myself to sleep on that bayou’s bank again.” {2}

In 1864 the 28th Wisconsin Infantry stationed in Arkansas found - - -

"these reptiles are quite abundant about here, and swarm and riot in all the bays, creeks, and lakes in this region, and at this time of the year are found crawling all over the land." {1}

While one enterprising officer managed to capture an alligator and - - -

"brought in under a strong guard, and delivered up as a prisoner of war" to be displayed at the camp headquarters.” {1}

🐊

As the war continued the Southerners discovered a new source of leather when it was difficult to procure. It is estimated that thousands of alligators met their fate for the Confederate cause when they were hunted and killed for their skins. The Confederate Army had discovered a new use for these reptiles as they turned the alligator skins to make saddles and shoes for their fighting men. {3} Of course that was a thousand less the Union army avoided.

According to most sources I could find; there is no record of alligators attacking soldiers, despite the claim of Captain Haydon of the 2nd Michigan. Did alligators visit upon the dead and wounded? It’s left to speculation.​

🐊

How much were stories of alligator encounters have been embellished? I did find this “gem” of a tale regarding a soldier from Louisiana. He writes of the day he decided to grab a canoe and hunt for a trophy to bring home - -

“I had always been anxious to obtain some portion of an alligator to carry home as a trophy. An alligator swimming shows but little bumps above the water, the larger ones at his eyes, the other at his nose; and it requires a marksman of no mean skill to hit it. I soon fell in with a number, and picking out the largest I fired. He turned on his back, his feet quivered in the air, his jaws opened and he sank. I paddled to the spot and brought his lordship to the surface. After a good deal of prying and pulling I got him into the boat, turning his head to the bow. He had hardly struck the bottom of the boat, when his mouth and eyes opened with a start, and his tail swept from side to side with the force of a sledge hammer. In an instant I comprehended my situation. To jump out and swim for shore was to jump into the jaws of a dozen reptiles, and my only salvation was to keep out of the reach of his tail, the canoe being so narrow that he could not face me.

At length, by throwing his head over the side of the boat, he got his head towards me, and made a charge with his jaws wide open. For once in my life I think I was thoroughly frightened. In an instant I plunged my paddle down his throat. His jaws closed on it like a vice, and he was quiet for a moment, and I had time to draw my pistol and send two balls into his head. He now lay quiet for a moment but I saw that he was by no means dead, and I loaded my pistol, preparatory to another attack; but as he did not seem disposed to renew hostilities, I paddled swiftly down the stream, and landed at the first convenient place. I then paid my last respects to his alligatorship by sending another ball entirely through his head and ‘went on my way rejoicing’. I did not succeed in getting the desired trophy, for alligators are like snakes; ‘their tails do not die until sundown’, and every time I touched him his tail would fly from side to side with such force as to endanger my bones. I think I shall never handle another alligator until his head and tail are cut off.”
{4}

🐊

A children’s poem demonstrates the alligator was a predator that took no sides in the Civil War {*}

“Albert the Alligator had a very big mouth!
Teeth pointing north and teeth pointing south”




🐊 🐊 🐊





Sources
1. https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/...cle_dfccfa8a-28a5-11e0-bab0-001cc4c002e0.html
2. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/head-tilting-history/civil-war-soldiers-encounters-with-natur
3 “American Alligator”, by Carla Mooney
4. The Civil war in Song and Story 1860-1865, by Frank Moore · 1889 (Link)
{*} http://www.prekfun.com/a-f/alligators/alligators_songs.htm
Photo in Public Domain
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
View attachment 399423

A Wisconsin soldier writes home to his family in May of 1863 describing his discoveries as he marched from his home state to a new world that was to be found in the south. The young man was stationed on the Mississippi River opposite Vicksburg surrounded by the beauty of the bayous, magnolias and palm trees and some never-before-seen nine to ten feet creatures.​

“These hideous looking monsters are said to be harmless, and will not molest anyone unless in self-defense.” {1}

Many Union soldiers had never seen an alligator. To pass the time, soldiers were known to poke the reptiles with their bayonets in the hopes to start a fight amongst the beasts. One soldier reportedly was brave enough to collect some of the scales from the back of a gator and made his girlfriend a pair of earrings. Although they made “fun sport” with the reptiles a regiment near Baton Rouge discovered the “fear of gators” when they were forced to wade up to their armpits as they marched through an alligator habitat.

Another soldier from Vicksburg told the story of his experience. Lieutenant John G. Earnest of the 79th Tennessee wrote home on May 5, 1863:

“A huge old mosquito with claws like a ground hog and a bill half as long as a sergeant’s sword was seated on my shoulder trying to run his bill through my neck and pin me to the ground—fortunately it had lodged against my backbone and before he could make another trial the sentinel came to my relief at a ‘charge bayonets’—when ‘old skeeter’ flew off saying he ‘would be happy to repeat the call’. I sincerely hoped he would not. I now set about tucking the cover under me all around and finally went to sleep again. About daylight I was awakened by a tremendous roar—when I found the mosquitoes had pulled me to the edge of the bayou, and an old alligator jubilant at the prospect of getting me for his breakfast had given a tremendous laugh which awoke me, and I preferring not to be his breakfast shifted from there. I vowed never to allow myself to sleep on that bayou’s bank again.” {2}

In 1864 the 28th Wisconsin Infantry stationed in Arkansas found - - -

"these reptiles are quite abundant about here, and swarm and riot in all the bays, creeks, and lakes in this region, and at this time of the year are found crawling all over the land." {1}

While one enterprising officer managed to capture an alligator and - - -

"brought in under a strong guard, and delivered up as a prisoner of war" to be displayed at the camp headquarters.” {1}

🐊

As the war continued the Southerners discovered a new source of leather when it was difficult to procure. It is estimated that thousands of alligators met their fate for the Confederate cause when they were hunted and killed for their skins. The Confederate Army had discovered a new use for these reptiles as they turned the alligator skins to make saddles and shoes for their fighting men. {3} Of course that was a thousand less the Union army avoided.

According to most sources I could find; there is no record of alligators attacking soldiers, despite the claim of Captain Haydon of the 2nd Michigan. Did alligators visit upon the dead and wounded? It’s left to speculation.​

🐊

How much were stories of alligator encounters have been embellished? I did find this “gem” of a tale regarding a soldier from Louisiana. He writes of the day he decided to grab a canoe and hunt for a trophy to bring home - -

“I had always been anxious to obtain some portion of an alligator to carry home as a trophy. An alligator swimming shows but little bumps above the water, the larger ones at his eyes, the other at his nose; and it requires a marksman of no mean skill to hit it. I soon fell in with a number, and picking out the largest I fired. He turned on his back, his feet quivered in the air, his jaws opened and he sank. I paddled to the spot and brought his lordship to the surface. After a good deal of prying and pulling I got him into the boat, turning his head to the bow. He had hardly struck the bottom of the boat, when his mouth and eyes opened with a start, and his tail swept from side to side with the force of a sledge hammer. In an instant I comprehended my situation. To jump out and swim for shore was to jump into the jaws of a dozen reptiles, and my only salvation was to keep out of the reach of his tail, the canoe being so narrow that he could not face me.

At length, by throwing his head over the side of the boat, he got his head towards me, and made a charge with his jaws wide open. For once in my life I think I was thoroughly frightened. In an instant I plunged my paddle down his throat. His jaws closed on it like a vice, and he was quiet for a moment, and I had time to draw my pistol and send two balls into his head. He now lay quiet for a moment but I saw that he was by no means dead, and I loaded my pistol, preparatory to another attack; but as he did not seem disposed to renew hostilities, I paddled swiftly down the stream, and landed at the first convenient place. I then paid my last respects to his alligatorship by sending another ball entirely through his head and ‘went on my way rejoicing’. I did not succeed in getting the desired trophy, for alligators are like snakes; ‘their tails do not die until sundown’, and every time I touched him his tail would fly from side to side with such force as to endanger my bones. I think I shall never handle another alligator until his head and tail are cut off.”
{4}

🐊

A children’s poem demonstrates the alligator was a predator that took no sides in the Civil War {*}

“Albert the Alligator had a very big mouth!
Teeth pointing north and teeth pointing south”




🐊 🐊 🐊





Sources
1. https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/...cle_dfccfa8a-28a5-11e0-bab0-001cc4c002e0.html
2. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/head-tilting-history/civil-war-soldiers-encounters-with-natur
3 “American Alligator”, by Carla Mooney
4. The Civil war in Song and Story 1860-1865, by Frank Moore · 1889 (Link)
{*} http://www.prekfun.com/a-f/alligators/alligators_songs.htm
Photo in Public Domain
Alligators rarely attack people , but it does happen . I think they would feed on any dead bodies in the river . There was , and still is , a lot of mythology about reptiles . The tails of snakes and gators don't live until sundown as the Louisiana soldier said . Captain Haydon was from Michigan where the is pretty much nothing dangerous swimming in the lakes and streams , so going to the land of cottonmouths , gators and large rattlers must have been a shock .
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Ah, @DBF , you've done it again :smoke:

You find the most interesting and entertaining aspects of the war to bring to our attention.

Who would have thought of alligators :eek: 🐊🐊🐊

Alligators rarely attack people , but it does happen
I have heard that if you don't disturb them they won't disturb you when both of you are in the water. They would rather swim away.

Oh, and the other thing I heard was you don't want to be in the water with them when there is other food around!

We took a swamp tour in Louisiana and the guide was feeding the alligators marshmellows! Who would have thought that's what you would feed a 'gator, unless you were trying to sweeten him up :wub: They came right out of the water for chicken on a string :chicken:

Love the title for the thread, btw ... land of traitors and 'gators indeed :giggle:
 

Biscoitos

Corporal
Joined
May 14, 2020
View attachment 399423

A Wisconsin soldier writes home to his family in May of 1863 describing his discoveries as he marched from his home state to a new world that was to be found in the south. The young man was stationed on the Mississippi River opposite Vicksburg surrounded by the beauty of the bayous, magnolias and palm trees and some never-before-seen nine to ten feet creatures.​

“These hideous looking monsters are said to be harmless, and will not molest anyone unless in self-defense.” {1}

Many Union soldiers had never seen an alligator. To pass the time, soldiers were known to poke the reptiles with their bayonets in the hopes to start a fight amongst the beasts. One soldier reportedly was brave enough to collect some of the scales from the back of a gator and made his girlfriend a pair of earrings. Although they made “fun sport” with the reptiles a regiment near Baton Rouge discovered the “fear of gators” when they were forced to wade up to their armpits as they marched through an alligator habitat.

Another soldier from Vicksburg told the story of his experience. Lieutenant John G. Earnest of the 79th Tennessee wrote home on May 5, 1863:

“A huge old mosquito with claws like a ground hog and a bill half as long as a sergeant’s sword was seated on my shoulder trying to run his bill through my neck and pin me to the ground—fortunately it had lodged against my backbone and before he could make another trial the sentinel came to my relief at a ‘charge bayonets’—when ‘old skeeter’ flew off saying he ‘would be happy to repeat the call’. I sincerely hoped he would not. I now set about tucking the cover under me all around and finally went to sleep again. About daylight I was awakened by a tremendous roar—when I found the mosquitoes had pulled me to the edge of the bayou, and an old alligator jubilant at the prospect of getting me for his breakfast had given a tremendous laugh which awoke me, and I preferring not to be his breakfast shifted from there. I vowed never to allow myself to sleep on that bayou’s bank again.” {2}

In 1864 the 28th Wisconsin Infantry stationed in Arkansas found - - -

"these reptiles are quite abundant about here, and swarm and riot in all the bays, creeks, and lakes in this region, and at this time of the year are found crawling all over the land." {1}

While one enterprising officer managed to capture an alligator and - - -

"brought in under a strong guard, and delivered up as a prisoner of war" to be displayed at the camp headquarters.” {1}

🐊

As the war continued the Southerners discovered a new source of leather when it was difficult to procure. It is estimated that thousands of alligators met their fate for the Confederate cause when they were hunted and killed for their skins. The Confederate Army had discovered a new use for these reptiles as they turned the alligator skins to make saddles and shoes for their fighting men. {3} Of course that was a thousand less the Union army avoided.

According to most sources I could find; there is no record of alligators attacking soldiers, despite the claim of Captain Haydon of the 2nd Michigan. Did alligators visit upon the dead and wounded? It’s left to speculation.​

🐊

How much were stories of alligator encounters have been embellished? I did find this “gem” of a tale regarding a soldier from Louisiana. He writes of the day he decided to grab a canoe and hunt for a trophy to bring home - -

“I had always been anxious to obtain some portion of an alligator to carry home as a trophy. An alligator swimming shows but little bumps above the water, the larger ones at his eyes, the other at his nose; and it requires a marksman of no mean skill to hit it. I soon fell in with a number, and picking out the largest I fired. He turned on his back, his feet quivered in the air, his jaws opened and he sank. I paddled to the spot and brought his lordship to the surface. After a good deal of prying and pulling I got him into the boat, turning his head to the bow. He had hardly struck the bottom of the boat, when his mouth and eyes opened with a start, and his tail swept from side to side with the force of a sledge hammer. In an instant I comprehended my situation. To jump out and swim for shore was to jump into the jaws of a dozen reptiles, and my only salvation was to keep out of the reach of his tail, the canoe being so narrow that he could not face me.

At length, by throwing his head over the side of the boat, he got his head towards me, and made a charge with his jaws wide open. For once in my life I think I was thoroughly frightened. In an instant I plunged my paddle down his throat. His jaws closed on it like a vice, and he was quiet for a moment, and I had time to draw my pistol and send two balls into his head. He now lay quiet for a moment but I saw that he was by no means dead, and I loaded my pistol, preparatory to another attack; but as he did not seem disposed to renew hostilities, I paddled swiftly down the stream, and landed at the first convenient place. I then paid my last respects to his alligatorship by sending another ball entirely through his head and ‘went on my way rejoicing’. I did not succeed in getting the desired trophy, for alligators are like snakes; ‘their tails do not die until sundown’, and every time I touched him his tail would fly from side to side with such force as to endanger my bones. I think I shall never handle another alligator until his head and tail are cut off.”
{4}

🐊

A children’s poem demonstrates the alligator was a predator that took no sides in the Civil War {*}

“Albert the Alligator had a very big mouth!
Teeth pointing north and teeth pointing south”




🐊 🐊 🐊





Sources
1. https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/...cle_dfccfa8a-28a5-11e0-bab0-001cc4c002e0.html
2. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/head-tilting-history/civil-war-soldiers-encounters-with-natur
3 “American Alligator”, by Carla Mooney
4. The Civil war in Song and Story 1860-1865, by Frank Moore · 1889 (Link)
{*} http://www.prekfun.com/a-f/alligators/alligators_songs.htm
Photo in Public Domain
I have read an account of a Confederate deserter during the seige of Port Hudson, La. being killed and at least partially eaten by an alligator.
 

lelliott19

Brigadier General
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Oh my @DBF this is fantastic! Being from the deep south, I have to admit that my favorite part and IMHO the most accurate part of Lieut. John G. Earnest 79th TN's account was the part about the mosquitos.

If you've never been in AL, GA, LA, MS or TX in the summertime, you may have never experienced anything like this:
run his bill through my neck and pin me to the ground—fortunately it had lodged against my backbone and before he could make another trial the sentinel came to my relief at a ‘charge bayonets’—
when I found the mosquitoes had pulled me to the edge of the bayou
But believe me when I say -- and I think @MS2623 will back me up --- it could happen! :D:frantic:
Southern mosquitos are known to carry on conversations.
First mosquito:"Should we eat him here or carry him back to the swamp?"
Second mosquito: "We better eat him here. If we carry him back to the swamp, the big ones will take him."
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
OK , I'm sure you folks are right about the flying critters down south . However , there are times of the year in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where you deal with clouds of mosquitoes , stable flies , deer flies and those insidious little black flies that make any activity along a trout stream impossible . I do like snakes , but I'm happy to go fishing in Michigan without keeping my eye out for cottonmouths .
 

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
Southern mosquitos are known to carry on conversations.
First mosquito:"Should we eat him here or carry him back to the swamp?"
Second mosquito: "We better eat him here. If we carry him back to the swamp, the big ones will take him."
First time I heard that joke, the conversation was between two Maine black flies eyeing a football game at the U. of Me.
1619875292811.png
They're only about 1/8 inches, but they're that mean!
 

lelliott19

Brigadier General
Moderator
* OFFICIAL *
CWT PRESENTER
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Regtl. Staff Chickamauga 2018
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
I do like snakes , but I'm happy to go fishing in Michigan without keeping my eye out for cottonmouths .
I like snakes too. But water moccasins are no joke! They are very aggressive - the "chase you down and kill you" kind. :frantic: Best not to venture where they are, if you can help it. If you do run up on one, ease away slowly - very slowly. Don't take your eye off of them and, whatever you do, do .... not ..... run.
@lelliott19 you are very correct on both accounts. People not from the deep south think we are kidding when we talk about it but it's serious business down here fighting with them "big ole skeeters".
My husband says that the reason Lieut. Earnest had so much trouble was because Deep Woods Off was not yet invented. Folks in other places worry about the effects of "too much" DEET; while we here plot to find and mix concoctions with as high a DEET concentration as possible. :roflmao: :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::roflmao:
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
I like snakes too. But water moccasins are no joke! They are very aggressive - the "chase you down and kill you" kind. :frantic: Best not to venture where they are, if you can help it. If you do run up on one, ease away slowly - very slowly. Don't take your eye off of them and, whatever you do, do .... not ..... run.

My husband says that the reason Lieut. Earnest had so much trouble was because Deep Woods Off was not yet invented. Folks in other places worry about the effects of "too much" DEET; while we here plot to find and mix concoctions with as high a DEET concentration as possible. :roflmao: :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::roflmao:
I've caught them in Florida , but I was looking for them . Their disposition can vary . I caught an eastern diamondback that was the calmest venomous snake I've ever seen , yet others rattle from yards away . Years ago I had DEET start to melt my flyline when trout fishing . I figured if it would do that it was probably time to give up on the bugs and go back inside . I know heavy concentrations are not recommended for children . I wonder what concoctions they used in the 1860s to ward off mosquitoes ? Thankfully chiggers are rare up here .
 

Tom Hughes

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2019
Location
Mississippi
View attachment 399423

A Wisconsin soldier writes home to his family in May of 1863 describing his discoveries as he marched from his home state to a new world that was to be found in the south. The young man was stationed on the Mississippi River opposite Vicksburg surrounded by the beauty of the bayous, magnolias and palm trees and some never-before-seen nine to ten feet creatures.​

“These hideous looking monsters are said to be harmless, and will not molest anyone unless in self-defense.” {1}

Many Union soldiers had never seen an alligator. To pass the time, soldiers were known to poke the reptiles with their bayonets in the hopes to start a fight amongst the beasts. One soldier reportedly was brave enough to collect some of the scales from the back of a gator and made his girlfriend a pair of earrings. Although they made “fun sport” with the reptiles a regiment near Baton Rouge discovered the “fear of gators” when they were forced to wade up to their armpits as they marched through an alligator habitat.

Another soldier from Vicksburg told the story of his experience. Lieutenant John G. Earnest of the 79th Tennessee wrote home on May 5, 1863:

“A huge old mosquito with claws like a ground hog and a bill half as long as a sergeant’s sword was seated on my shoulder trying to run his bill through my neck and pin me to the ground—fortunately it had lodged against my backbone and before he could make another trial the sentinel came to my relief at a ‘charge bayonets’—when ‘old skeeter’ flew off saying he ‘would be happy to repeat the call’. I sincerely hoped he would not. I now set about tucking the cover under me all around and finally went to sleep again. About daylight I was awakened by a tremendous roar—when I found the mosquitoes had pulled me to the edge of the bayou, and an old alligator jubilant at the prospect of getting me for his breakfast had given a tremendous laugh which awoke me, and I preferring not to be his breakfast shifted from there. I vowed never to allow myself to sleep on that bayou’s bank again.” {2}

In 1864 the 28th Wisconsin Infantry stationed in Arkansas found - - -

"these reptiles are quite abundant about here, and swarm and riot in all the bays, creeks, and lakes in this region, and at this time of the year are found crawling all over the land." {1}

While one enterprising officer managed to capture an alligator and - - -

"brought in under a strong guard, and delivered up as a prisoner of war" to be displayed at the camp headquarters.” {1}

🐊

As the war continued the Southerners discovered a new source of leather when it was difficult to procure. It is estimated that thousands of alligators met their fate for the Confederate cause when they were hunted and killed for their skins. The Confederate Army had discovered a new use for these reptiles as they turned the alligator skins to make saddles and shoes for their fighting men. {3} Of course that was a thousand less the Union army avoided.

According to most sources I could find; there is no record of alligators attacking soldiers, despite the claim of Captain Haydon of the 2nd Michigan. Did alligators visit upon the dead and wounded? It’s left to speculation.​

🐊

How much were stories of alligator encounters have been embellished? I did find this “gem” of a tale regarding a soldier from Louisiana. He writes of the day he decided to grab a canoe and hunt for a trophy to bring home - -

“I had always been anxious to obtain some portion of an alligator to carry home as a trophy. An alligator swimming shows but little bumps above the water, the larger ones at his eyes, the other at his nose; and it requires a marksman of no mean skill to hit it. I soon fell in with a number, and picking out the largest I fired. He turned on his back, his feet quivered in the air, his jaws opened and he sank. I paddled to the spot and brought his lordship to the surface. After a good deal of prying and pulling I got him into the boat, turning his head to the bow. He had hardly struck the bottom of the boat, when his mouth and eyes opened with a start, and his tail swept from side to side with the force of a sledge hammer. In an instant I comprehended my situation. To jump out and swim for shore was to jump into the jaws of a dozen reptiles, and my only salvation was to keep out of the reach of his tail, the canoe being so narrow that he could not face me.

At length, by throwing his head over the side of the boat, he got his head towards me, and made a charge with his jaws wide open. For once in my life I think I was thoroughly frightened. In an instant I plunged my paddle down his throat. His jaws closed on it like a vice, and he was quiet for a moment, and I had time to draw my pistol and send two balls into his head. He now lay quiet for a moment but I saw that he was by no means dead, and I loaded my pistol, preparatory to another attack; but as he did not seem disposed to renew hostilities, I paddled swiftly down the stream, and landed at the first convenient place. I then paid my last respects to his alligatorship by sending another ball entirely through his head and ‘went on my way rejoicing’. I did not succeed in getting the desired trophy, for alligators are like snakes; ‘their tails do not die until sundown’, and every time I touched him his tail would fly from side to side with such force as to endanger my bones. I think I shall never handle another alligator until his head and tail are cut off.”
{4}

🐊

A children’s poem demonstrates the alligator was a predator that took no sides in the Civil War {*}

“Albert the Alligator had a very big mouth!
Teeth pointing north and teeth pointing south”




🐊 🐊 🐊





Sources
1. https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/...cle_dfccfa8a-28a5-11e0-bab0-001cc4c002e0.html
2. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/head-tilting-history/civil-war-soldiers-encounters-with-natur
3 “American Alligator”, by Carla Mooney
4. The Civil war in Song and Story 1860-1865, by Frank Moore · 1889 (Link)
{*} http://www.prekfun.com/a-f/alligators/alligators_songs.htm
Photo in Public Domain
I have seen alligators on a consistent basis floating around the backwaters in the vicinity of Grant's Canal. I can certainly see how these Union soldiers had contact with these reptiles and had a fascination with them. Great post. There's one alligator in particular that the locals call "Grandaddy" and he is said to be a real monster. He has alluded capture for some time from what I'm told.
One day, while relic hunting in the area, a local guy comes riding up on his 4-wheeler saying they've caught another gator on a baited line they had set. "Is it Grandaddy?" was the question that was asked of the local.
"No", was his reply...."This one appears to only be 9 ft. or so".....
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
How much were stories of alligator encounters have been embellished?
Greatly embellished.

Alligators are naturally cautious of humans, and will swim away during a chance encounter.
The problem with gators is that we've been moving into their habitat. ( building new homes and such ).
Then the goofy new homeowners think it's fun to start feeding these animals. The gators loose their caution about people and start expecting lunch at the same time every day.

If the alligators are not fed on this new schedule, the home owners wonder why their little "lap dogs" disappear.

IMHO, snakes are a much greater threat.
Especially the “Cottonmouths /Water Moccasins.”
At least a Rattlesnake will normally give advanced warning to move away from their space.

:smoke:

Being from the deep south, I have to admit that my favorite part and IMHO the most accurate part of Lieut. John G. Earnest 79th TN's account was the part about the mosquitos.

If you've never been in AL, GA, LA, MS or TX in the summertime, you may have never experienced anything like this:
and the horsefly will carry the young children away!

I would rather approach a nest of red wasps than deal with one horse fly.
At least the wasps won't attack unless provoked.

( But horseflies are evil insects) !

:D
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
We took a swamp tour in Louisiana and the guide was feeding the alligators marshmellows! Who would have thought that's what you would feed a 'gator, unless you were trying to sweeten him up :wub: They came right out of the water for chicken on a string :chicken:

Gators will eat anything.
The easier the better.

Sounds like they've been trained by the tour operators to expect that daily appetizer of marshmellows and chicken on a string.

:bounce:
 
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