Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Great Rat Hunt

April 20, 1864

The 4th Michigan was camped in Bealeton, Virginia. This Fifth Corps units mission was to guard the Railroad against the likes of John Mosby and other partisans. While they did have some incidents with the partisans during the winter, April 20th was not a day for hunting rebels.

From the diary of Henry Seage, 4th Michigan, "Boys turned out for a "Grand Hunt" on the "Rats" among the rubbish killed about 60 rats old and young. Played ball."

One wonders just how many rats escaped, and how big was the rubbish pile? There isn't much mention of trash in the journals or diaries. I suspect that most of the time, the waste of the army was burnt. It would have been one of the extra duties assigned.

Also, Henry mentions playing ball. He was playing baseball, which had become popular among the soldiers. Famous players of the day were in the army and box scores of some of the games were published in New York newspapers. But I'll leave that discussion for another time

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