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Base Ball [and Wicket] Played by the 10th Massachusetts

Salience Peripheral
Tags Civil War, Military
Location VA
City/State/Country: VA, United States
Immediacy of Report Retrospective
Age of Players Adult

From April 1863 to May 1864, seven mentions of ballplaying – one of them a game of wicket – appear in the account of the 10th Massachusetts. In early April, “in the intervals between [snow] storms the boys found time and place for playing ball” [p. 173]. Later that month, “[i]n the midst of so much warlike preparation it was a relief to find the boys of the Tenth and those of the 36th New York playing a game of baseball and all must have quit good natured, since the game itself was a draw” [p. 177]. At camp at Brandy Station on April 18 1864 the 10th won a “hotly contested” game against the 2nd RI, and again on April 26 the two regiments competed, “but it was lose again for Rhody’s boys” [p.252]. On April 28th the officers of the 10th lost a “game of our favorite baseball” with the 37th [MA?] – p.252. The next day the 10th beat the Jersey Brigade, 15-13. [p253].

“Considering the momentous interests at stake and the dread record that was to be written for May, 1864, it seems not a little strange that the beautiful month was ushered in just as April went out, with baseball. While a game of ball and shell of terrible import was pending, these men of war, after all only boys of a larger growth, happily ignorant of the future, were hilariously applauding the lucky hits and the swift running of bases clear up to the day before the movement across the Rapidan. It was on [May] 3rd that Company I played Company G and won the game by twelve tallies, and with that day came orders to march in the morning at 4.00 a.m.” [p. 253].

The wicket games also occurred at Brandy Station in April 1864;“With the advance of the season came all the indications of quickening life, and athletics became exceedingly prevalent, and one item among many was a game of wicket on [April] 13th, between a picked team in the 37th [MA] and one drawn from the Tenth, resulting in a victory of two tallies for our boys” [p.251]. In a rematch 10 days later, the 10th won again [p.252].

Alfred S. Roe, The Tenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1861-1864 (Tenth Regiment Veteran Association, Springfield MA, 1909). Accessed 6/9/09 on Google Books via “’tenth regiment’ roe” search. The regiment was drawn from Springfield and Western Massachusetts, where wicket was evidently a not uncommon prewar pastime. Cf CW-57, which also reflects the 10th MA.

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