Soldiers' Superstitions: Lucky Rabbit's Foot


Brigadier General
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Mar 15, 2013

Confederates and Federals - Rabbits' Feet - A Steel Button
From the Detroit Free Press
As to whether the Confederate soldier was any more superstitious than the Federal, I neither admit nor deny, but I think the same superstitions in regard to battles probably prevailed to an equal extent on both sides. We may laugh at them now, but we once accepted and pinned our faith to them...
<extensive excerpt of detailing other superstitions witnessed>
There was a superstition in my regiment that anyone who went into battle with the foot of a rabbit tied around his neck was safe. This was all right, and rabbits' feet were at a high premium for two or three weeks. My brigade was pushed ahead on a reconnaissance, bumped up against the Yanks, and we not only got severely thrashed but we lost a good many men. Out of the seventy men in my company I presume that thirty had the talisman. It so happened that the three killed belonged to this lucky set, and the next day rabbits' feet took a decided fall in price. [The Morning News. (Savannah, Ga.), May 13, 1887, page 3; reprinted from the Detroit Free Press.]

[The Morning News. (Savannah, Ga.), May 13, 1887, page 3; reprinted from the Detroit Free Press.]
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John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts
The earliest mentions of the rabbit's-foot talisman that I've come across speak of it as a slave-superstition ... a charm with magical properties. Perhaps it is of African origin, with voodoo-like associations? Soldiers of both armies latched onto it to a degree. But it wasn't until the 1890s that the rabbit's foot fad swept the country, & remained popular through both world wars. It would be hard to find one today (to the great relief of bunnys everywhere!)

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