Why did it have to be snakes?

Flag Guy

Private
Joined
Aug 7, 2017
If you read account of Bragg's Army of Pensacola you will see mentions of Coral snakes which have a neuro-toxin venom. I recall one where a soldier grabbed some baby Coral snakes not knowing what they were and got bitten several times and died a not so good death.

An author in Blue & Gray Magazine a few years ago did an article on snakes in the Civil War that was a fun read.

I have heard from a friend who does Perryville tours that the stone wall by teh Bottom House in the warm months is a Rattlesnake haven.

I do staff rides for the Army and tours for civilians of the Fort Donelson Campaign and much prefer doing them in the winter than warmer months for two reasons - 1) with underbrush and leaves being gone the lines of sight in the forest are much better. 2) no Snakes - Copperheads love the woods, Moccassins love the water and shorelines and Rattlers seem to love everywhere. I did a FODO tour for the then Civil War Trust in 2014 and the tour before mine by another guide found a large Moccasin on the path to the Fort Henry outer works. NOPE!
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
We all went for the thrill of some sport from the time of our youth; hang-gliding, water-skiing, parachuting, dirt-bike riding. I happened to pick 'snake-hunting' when I was eight years old. By the time of my 18th birthday I was an expert on identification of American snakes, and the neighborhood herpetologist for anyone finding a snake in the garden. I caught 15 snakes in April of 1972 and completed my Senior High School Project of the 'Watersnakes of the Virginia Peninsula', and passed. Meanwhile let it be known that I have never touched a living venomous reptile. I may like thrills but I am not foolish. I have watched more than one Diamondback go by my camp in Florida, had a standoff with a Canebrake in the palmettos, went to the side of a field to relieve myself one morning and almost bulls-eyed a water moccasin. And came across the tail-end of a python slithering by that stupefied me in 1996, before the outbreak infestation down in the everglades. I learned to tread lightly, and always scan my path. Spider-webs knock me down, if I don't knock them down first. I did end up sleeping with a scorpion that stung the tip of my little finger as I brushed it off my belly. I am glad it did not get a sweet spot. That hurt worse than any bee sting, hornet sting that I have had. Oh yeah back to the civil war, those long marches at night or day to cross a vast land has been experienced by me. I have more snake tales than the Greek Medusa.
p.s. went on a class nature hike studying ornithology and came back with a milk snake. Take me to the battlefield!!
Lubliner.
 

Stone in the wall

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Month
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Location
Blue Ridge Mountains, Jefferson County WV
I am NOT a fan of the “nope ropes!” I’m coming to the belief that all the Civil War Musters ought to be held in the winter down South. I’m very cool with that! What do you think @Stone in the wall? :help:
The south is a wonderful place to be in the winter or any time. Once I see what kind of snake it is, no real problems and I have only been bitten once by a Black Snake when I was real Young and real Dumb. About 2 miles from here I believe is the largest known den of Timber Rattlers, but Copperheads are the ones to watch out for. Never seen a Cottonmouth here but have been told they are indeed here.
 

Crossroads

Private
Joined
Jan 2, 2021
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
I actually got bitten by a non poisonous snake at Vicksburg NMP one summer.
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC
The south is a wonderful place to be in the winter or any time. Once I see what kind of snake it is, no real problems and I have only been bitten once by a Black Snake when I was real Young and real Dumb. About 2 miles from here I believe is the largest known den of Timber Rattlers, but Copperheads are the ones to watch out for. Never seen a Cottonmouth here but have been told they are indeed here.
We have three kinds of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads, and coral snakes. Not a place for the incautious.
 

Tony Z

Private
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Since August 1963, I have walked the Gettysburg battlefield hundreds of times, including multiple times with the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute and dozens of Ranger walks. Not a single time did I see a snake (but then again I was not looking for them!).

Now, ticks, well that is a different matter entirel!
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area
In a new video from the Adams County (PA) Historical Society, historian Tim Smith discusses snakes of the Gettysburg Battlefield. He quotes two historical sources related to the legend that Devil's Den got its name from a large snake known as "The Devil." And he lists the eight species of snakes known to live on the Battlefield. Do you know them all?

Fun fact: Tim Smith has seen snakes many times at Devil's Den, but he has never seen a rattlesnake at the Gettysburg Battlefield.
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
I actually looked for timber rattlers in some remote rocky areas in the park and never found one . Other common Pennsylvania snakes that are probably present are the eastern hognose , eastern milksnake , ring neck snake , northern brown snake and northern red bellied snake . As I commented on the video , snake sheds stretch and are usually about 20% longer than the snake is , but it was still a very impressive size .
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
I do like snakes, and it makes me wonder if a hognose snake is the legendary, “Devil”…they can get big, and if you had an old one…
Hognoses get to a maximum of about 4 feet . They are a favorite of mine because they hood up and act like a very dangerous snake , but if that doesn't work they play dead . The stories about "The Devil" are exaggerations. There was a lot of mythology about snakes back in the day . My late mother swore she was chased by a "hoop snake" when she was a child . Even today some people in my home state of Michigan call water snakes water moccasins and think they are dangerous . The nearest that they actually come to Michigan is southern Indiana . I included a hognose image I took . Sometimes they will hiss loudly and strike at you , but they don't open their mouth when they do . If you keep pestering them , they will play dead and roll on their back with their tongue usually hanging out . They are completely harmless , but unfortunately their favorite food is toads .

DSC_0152.JPG
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
Hognoses get to a maximum of about 4 feet . They are a favorite of mine because they hood up and act like a very dangerous snake , but if that doesn't work they play dead . The stories about "The Devil" are exaggerations. There was a lot of mythology about snakes back in the day . My late mother swore she was chased by a "hoop snake" when she was a child . Even today some people in my home state of Michigan call water snakes water moccasins and think they are dangerous . The nearest that they actually come to Michigan is southern Indiana . I included a hognose image I took . Sometimes they will hiss loudly and strike at you , but they don't open their mouth when they do . If you keep pestering them , they will play dead and roll on their back with their tongue usually hanging out . They are completely harmless , but unfortunately their favorite food is toads .

View attachment 408450
Some of the water snakes, Nerodius sippidon, can be quite cranky. Here in Lake Erie, we have black water snakes and they will as soon bite you as look at ya. I remember in field school swimming into a site with one of the snakes. If they could have said, “Ewww, hoomans” it would have!
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
Some of the water snakes, Nerodius sippidon, can be quite cranky. Here in Lake Erie, we have black water snakes and they will as soon bite you as look at ya. I remember in field school swimming into a site with one of the snakes. If they could have said, “Ewww, hoomans” it would have!
I don't think I've ever picked up a northern watersnake that didn't try to bite me . Several succeeded .
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
I think what freaked me out about snakes was in Alabama where I grew up we had cottonmouths, timber rattlers, water moccasins, copperheads, pygmy rattlers and coral snakes. Didn't wanna mess with any of em, some of em would chase ya a good ways if ya riled em !
I understand completely . It's easy for me since we only have one venomous snake in Michigan , the threatened Massassauga rattler . I know if you fish or hunt or just enjoy the outdoors in the south , you always need to watch where you step .
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
My dad often asserted that there was no such thing as a harmless snake. He said that any of them could make you hurt yourself! I don't like being startled by them, but I find them pretty interesting. A couple of years ago I was at an old family cemetery that is part of a state park. It's one of those burial grounds with a low stone wall built around it and a stile about three steps high going over the wall. As we approached, I saw a black snake about 3 or 4' long stretched out on the steps. It was trying to hide, so it was more or less conforming to the shape of the steps. We just walked around it, keeping several feet of distance. As soon as we passed, it continued on its way over the steps. Very interesting.
 
Top