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  Mollusks 161 Confederate nurse Ada Bacot near Charlottesville, Virginia, on July 18, 1862: “after tea I was sitting here by the fire with no other light in the room, when I saw a little black somthing run out from under the bed, & as quickly run back again, I thought it must be a lizard so I ran out & called Savary & one of the other servants & made them move the bed & look every where they found nothing so I thought it must have escaped through a hole in the window shuter, how I am to sleep I cant tell, I have even a greater horror of a lizard than a snake.”1 Sergeant George A. Remley, 22nd Iowa Volunteers, in a letter to his father from Matagorda Island, Texas, on March 24, 1864: “Snakes, lizzards and many such creeping things are numerous. There is one the boys call a horned toad, but it does not resemble a toad in the least. It does not hop but runs along the ground. It is five or six inches long, the body three or four inches across has a tail and legs resembling those of the lizard. Its peculiarity is several sharp horns, like thorns, on the top of the head and the rough jagged appearance generally. It is tame & perfectly harmless.”2 Captain Jacob Ritner, 25th Iowa Infantry, in a letter to his wife from near Acworth, Georgia, on June 7, 1864: “But there are several things that make a night’s sleep down here, not just so pleasant as it might be. For instance , we always have to put our pants inside of our stockings at night to keep the lizards, spiders, bugs and ants, &c from crawling up our legs!”3 Private William H. Bradbury, 129th Illinois Infantry, in a letter to his young daughter from near Atlanta, Georgia, on July 11, 1864: “We see lizards every day. They are about six inches long and live about old logs where they feed upon insects. They don’ harm anybody. I have not seen a snake yet. I saw some lizard’s eggs the other day. These eggs make young lizards.”4 M o l l u s ks Mollusks are a very diverse group of invertebrates that includes snails, clams, oysters (addressed separately in this book), squids, and octopus. Most live in the oceans of the world, but many are found in fresh water 162 Fauna and on land. For centuries, humans have exploited certain species of mollusks for food. Others are used as a source for pearls, mother of pearl, and dye. Seashells are the protective structures excreted and occupied by some mollusks. Collecting seashells was just as popular during the Civil War as today. John M. Follett, 33rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry, at Matagorda Bay, Texas, in a letter to his wife on Dec. 13, 1863: “I picked up some shells yesterday and when I came in I sorted out the best ones and put them in a box and shall send them. . . . In the box I send a sample of sea weed, a sea crab claw (the blue long one) a lobster claw, some specimens of coral a specimen of oyster formation, very small, and several other shells.”1 Captain William J. Bolton, 51st Pennsylvania Volunteers, at Roanoke Island, North Carolina, on Feb. 12, 1862: “A most beautiful day. Wrote several letters and sent home a box of shells I had picked up along the beach.”2 Lieutenant Robert M. Addison, 23rd Wisconsin Infantry, on the Texas coast below Galveston on Jan. 30, 1864: “No battalion drill this afternoon many of the boys went fishing and I went to the sea shore and gathered some shells to send home.”3 • Conchs are a group of large saltwater snails valued around the world as epicurean delights. Omnivorous Civil War soldiers on the Atlantic coast ate them opportunistically. Private John Westervelt, 1st New York Volunteer Engineer Corps, at Folly Island, South Carolina, on April 23, 1863: “Do you recollect the conk shells up to grandpops that they used to blow for dinner well there are plenty of them here alive and we consider them a great dish.”4 Sergeant William D. Dixon, [Savannah] Republican Blues, at St. Catherine ’s Island, Georgia, on Aug. 26, 1861: “We walked about 3 miles, gathering some Conks and brought them to camp. It is very good walking on the beach on the south side for it is fully exposed to the open sea.”5   Opossum 163 • Idle soldiers, including prisoners, often spent...


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