Why did it have to be snakes?

amweiner

2nd Lieutenant
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Feb 8, 2017
Location
Monterey, CA
I've read several posts here, and warnings elsewhere, regarding caution given some of the venomous snakes that slither around the Gettysburg battlefield.

Has anyone ever read accounts of the beasties interfering with the battle? Did any soldier record seeing them, either during or after the fight?

And of course, I gotta:
Sallah: Indy, why does the floor move?
Indiana: Give me your torch.
Indiana: Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?
Sallah: Asps... very dangerous. You go first.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082971/quotes
 

ucvrelics

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I really don't know what effect the fighting at Gburg would have done to the reptiles in and around the battlefield. My experience with snakes in the US Army was that when we would run our tanks out in the field at Fort Hood the snakes would come out in droves. The ground vibration brought them out. In Iraq it was the camel spiders and scorpions. That why I always slept on the back deck on my M1.
 

Wallyfish

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Location
Greensburg, Pa
Tom Elmore wrote the thread below previously. Discusses animals during the battle. One snake story.

I have had too many Gettysburg snake encounters in my life. I still get the willies whenever I think of them. Other than the improved sight lines, snakes or that lack there of is why I like to go in the cold months. Darn now I have the willies again. Remember the cartoon The Far Side by Gary Larson? He had one with a pyschologist attempting to simultaneously cure for the fear of claustrophobia, heights and snakes. A crane was on top of a tall building hanging a phone booth (remember them?). In the phone booth was a bug eyed man with snakes all in the bottom of the phone booth. No way for me!

By the way, it is the snakes you don't see that are my biggest concern. Did I mention I hate snakes!
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/do...ysburg-other-than-horses.124086/#post-1321836
 
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Tom Elmore

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"A snake that rustled through the grass was promptly dispatched by a squad." (Henry Blake, 11th Massachusetts).

"One night in Pennsylvania we bivouacked in a field where the wheat had just been cut, and was in shocks. We tore down the shocks for bedding. A moccasin snake was in one, and the cry was, 'Snake, snake! Kill him, kill him!' Bill Waterson had already fixed his bed and was laying on it. The snake was under his blanket. 'Get up Bill, the snake is under you.' 'Oh, d--- the snake,' said Bill, 'I’m going to sleep,' and the next morning we found the snake in his straw." (10th Georgia account).
 

rpkennedy

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"One night in Pennsylvania we bivouacked in a field where the wheat had just been cut, and was in shocks. We tore down the shocks for bedding. A moccasin snake was in one, and the cry was, 'Snake, snake! Kill him, kill him!' Bill Waterson had already fixed his bed and was laying on it. The snake was under his blanket. 'Get up Bill, the snake is under you.' 'Oh, d--- the snake,' said Bill, 'I’m going to sleep,' and the next morning we found the snake in his straw." (10th Georgia account).

That's just all kinds of nope.

Ryan
 

Bee

Captain
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
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I've been creeped out thinking about how I just wandered blissfully around the battlefield without a care in my younger days.

No need to be creeped out, Adam, the much maligned snakey is a shy, retreating creature by nature. Having spent a significant amount of time in snake country -- the Southwest-- you learn a basic rule: snakes like rocks, as they provide both warmth and coolness. Look before you leap, so to speak, in these areas -- especially when feeling around for hand holds (more relevant to canyoneering ) Otherwise, some snakes may have specialized habitat (marshy areas) that are probably well known and not likely to be visited often. I have seen many poisonous snakes during my ventures. They are beautiful, and they have their place, and I have mine.......waaaaay over there
 

Bee

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Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
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I really dislike snakes. Some can be aggressive. One is water moccasin. Many a time they have tried to jump in boats that my family had on different lakes and rivers in Ky. One chased my Uncle's boat when we were out fishing. It was frightening.

I spent summers in southern Louisiana -- I remember the water moccasins, well. My auntie had an edict that we all followed when venturing into the garden (we were practically in Bayou Lafourche): Walk softly and carry a BIG stick. Before you touched anything in the garden, you poked around with the stick, first.
 

Burning Billy

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 6, 2016
With a few exceptions snakes usually have enough sense to keep their distance from the bald apes. When people do get bit it is usually because they tried to pick up the snake or accidentally stepped on it.

Phobias aside, I would imagine bugs would have been a much greater nuisance to men sleeping on the ground. They will crawl on you when you sleep, and some like spiders, think warm, dark boots are cozy.
 

rpkennedy

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With a few exceptions snakes usually have enough sense to keep their distance from the bald apes. When people do get bit it is usually because they tried to pick up the snake or accidentally stepped on it.

Phobias aside, I would imagine bugs would have been a much greater nuisance to men sleeping on the ground. They will crawl on you when you sleep, and some like spiders, think warm, dark boots are cozy.

Bugs and spiders don't bother me. But I would burn buildings down to kill a snake.

Ryan
 
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amweiner

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Location
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No need to be creeped out, Adam, the much maligned snakey is a shy, retreating creature by nature. Having spent a significant amount of time in snake country -- the Southwest-- you learn a basic rule: snakes like rocks, as they provide both warmth and coolness. Look before you leap, so to speak, in these areas -- especially when feeling around for hand holds (more relevant to canyoneering ) Otherwise, some snakes may have specialized habitat (marshy areas) that are probably well known and not likely to be visited often. I have seen many poisonous snakes during my ventures. They are beautiful, and they have their place, and I have mine.......waaaaay over there
Thanks @Bee! I must be a little too citified, despite spending a lot of time outdoors. My basic rule has been that snakes, bugs, and spiders are icky and should be avoided. :smile:

When I went to Israel, we camped for a night someplace in the Negev and our guides decided to take us on a hike to find "nocturnal desert animals". At one point, armed only with a penlight, we discovered we were quite literally in the middle of a pile o' scorpions. One of my traumatic wet-pants moments, surpassed only by one of my crew's WWII reenactments at Camp Roberts here in California. As we drove to the battle site, my friends saw my shocked look and (although I don't remember it) equally shocked question about eight-legged cats. It seems we decided to have a battle in the midst of tarantula mating season, so there were giant spiders every few feet. Needless to say, I kept about half an eye on the tanks and machine guns, with 1 1/2 eyes peeled for gigundous, fur-covered monstrosities.

Okay, now I'm scared.
 

Tin cup

Captain
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Location
Texas
This is "Dirty Harry", a friends pet Western Cottonmouth. He had a hard time shedding all of his skin one day, so we put him in a tub of water, soaking the skin till it got soft enough to peel off. My friend held him, I helped peel that old skin off. I probably won't do THAT again with a Cottonmouth, too many things could go wrong. (This was WAY back before I got married!

Kevin Dally
Cotton mouth.jpg
 

captaindrew

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At a reenactment last year a snake cleared out our company like a round of double canister. We were in a freshly cut field in our battle line and there was a thick coating of cut high grass on the ground. Just when the action started getting hot one of our comrades took a hit. As a few of us looked down at him and there was a snake slithering right down our line at our feet heading right for our poor casualty. We hollered and yelled for him to get up but with all the battle noise he was oblivious. Now here comes our captain chasing it with his sword trying to slash it as the snake went down in the grass and right under the body of our fallen comrade and out the other side. By this time the whole company was jumping around like little girls and making a hasty retreat from the intruder much to the chagrin of the rest of our forces who must have thought we all went into shell shock and the amusement of our Yankee foes to our front.
 
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