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Massachusetts Private Notes Eight April Games of Ball [One was Wicket]

Salience Peripheral
Tags Civil War, Military
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

Private Berea M. Willsey kept a diary in 1862, 1863, and 1864, and noted ballplaying succinctly 8 times, all in the month of April. In April 1863 there are entries for April 9th, 14th, 18th, 20th, and 22nd. On the 14th, when hostilities seemed near, he wrote “Eight days rations were given out to the different Regts & all surplus baggage sent away. Prepared myself as well as I could for the coming struggle & then had a good game of ball.” Willsey mentions a match against the 35th NY on April 20th and one against the 36th NY on April 22nd. The 10th was in a Virginia winter camp in this period.

In 1864 Willsey reports on a match game with the 2nd RI on April 26 and another against the 1st NJ on April 30. “We have never been beat, he says. On April 23, he records a “game of ball” that was wicket. “The dust has been flying in clouds all day, yet it did not prevent the game of Ball from being played. Our boys were opposed by the 37th Mass at a game of wicket making 337 tallies, while the 37th only made 200.” In 1864 the Regiment was in the vicinity of Brandy Station VA.

Jessica H. DeMay, ed., The Civil War Diary of Berea M. Willsey (Heritage Books, 1995), pp 84-86, 142-143. Full text unavailable online 6/10/09. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The 10th MA was from Western Massachusetts, and Willsey may have been from the North Adams area. Cf. CW-51, which also depicts the 10th MA.

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