Strange Bedfellows of the Bivouac

A Virginia soldier who spent his post-war years in Missouri, Francis T. Meriwether shared this reminiscence of the Gettysburg campaign with his fellow readers of Confederate Veteran magazine in 1893:

“On the night of July 3 I was again with my old company, and we were stationed for picket duty on the extreme left of our army. Two of the boys, telling their experience since our separation, related that while on the summit of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the purpose of observation a rattlesnake had during the cool night entered their fly tent to share their blanket. We were stationed in the yard of a deserted farmhouse. A heavy thunderstorm arose, and I placed three fence rails against the fence, inclined so as to allow the water to run freely from my waterproof coverlet. After the storm had subsided, and while the rain was still dripping from the trees, I felt conscious of something crawling up under the cover by my legs. Still impressed with the horror of sleeping with a rattler, I clutched what I fancied might be one. But to my joy and surprise I discovered that the intruder was a poor, deserted, half-drowned pup evidently seeking a place to dry and warm himself. Being damp and chilly myself, I took the little fellow to my bosom, and we both slept till the sun had been up an hour or more.”

~ By Francis T. Meriwether, Louisiana, MO, Confederate Veteran, 1893, Vol. 21, p. 443)

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