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A House Divided
Posted at 03:15 PM ET, 07/22/2011

Sleeping in a Civil War pup tent — with an unusual alarm clock

Circling back to last night at Camp Manassas ...

I camped with Confederate cavalry reenactors last night and they set me up in a pup tent, much like those used by the common soldier during the
A Civil War pup tent used by common soldiers. The bale of hay served as a sofa. (Timothy R. Smith/The Washington Post)
war. The tents were made of two sheets of canvas, both provided by the soldier himself, who would button them together to make a small structure that would fit two.

A saber and a cotton shirt hung from the wood pole at the front of my tent; a bale of hay served as my sofa.

The comforter and pillows weren’t authentic and I suppose I should have slept on straw and a tarp, but the reenactors made an exception. (There wasn’t all that much hay around anyway.)

About 30 feet away from me were five horses tied to a picket line. My tent smelled strongly of petting zoo. Having sweated all day and not showered it was about to get a whiff of locker room.

After a long day. I finally got to remove my boots, which were wooden and uncomfortable. I peeled from my vest and ignored the wet T-shirt that was my closest thing to air conditioning. I heard the horses munching on hay.

I fell asleep listening to them and clattering sabers as reenactors arrived for the night.

Then in the middle of the night I jumped awake. Something out of my tent startled me. It was a whinnying horse. That’s one alarm clock this city slicker has never had before.

By Timothy R. Smith  |  03:15 PM ET, 07/22/2011

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