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A Working Chronology
Note: This chronology lists known reports of ballplaying by soldiers during the Civil War years. Where details are uncertain or missing, an entry’s “Note” mentions that. Additional information is welcome from users. To supply such data, or to comment on errors in the text, contact Protoball via Larry McCray. Entries are listed by first year of the event[s] reported in a source. Where possible, they are listed chronologically within the cited year.
Many of the more informative and interesting Civil War entries are included in the current version of the full Protoball chronology, which will ultimately trace data on safe-haven ballplaying up to the beginning of the professional era .
1861.1 Chadwick Tries to Start Richmond VA Team, but the Civil War Intervenes
Bill Hicklin notes (email of Feb 4, 2016) that "Chadwick visited his wife's family frequently and was disappointed that, as of the verge of the Civil War, there appeared to be no base ball clubs there at all."
Ward, Geoffrey C., and Ken Burns, Baseball: An Illustrated History [Knopf, 1994], p.12, no ref given.
John Thorn, email of 2/10/2008, suggests that Beadle may have more detail.
Schiff, Millen, and Kirsch also cite Chadwick's attempt, but do not give a clear date, or a source.
Is there a primary source for this claim?
1861.15 First Sunday in the Army: "Ball-playing, Wrestling, and Some Cards
In early May 1861, the new 13th Illinois Regiment assembled in East St. Louis IL. Writing of the first Sabbath in the camp, the veterans later said "There was drill: so the notion of the leaders ran. A better view obtains now. There was ball-playing and wrestling and some card-playing, but that [just the card-playing?] was generally regarded as out of order."
Military History and Reminiscences of the Thirteenth Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Woman's Temperance Publishing, Chicago, 1892), page 10. PBall file: CW-122.
This may be the first recorded instance of ballplaying by Civil War soldiers.
1861.16 NY Regiment Plays "Favorite Game" After Dress Parade in Elmira NY
"After [the camp's dress] parade, which generally lasted about an hour, the camp was alive with fun and frolic . . . leap-frog, double-duck, foot and base-ball or sparring, wrestling, and racing, shared their attention."
A visitor to the camp wrote the next day, "I was not surprised . . . to see how extensively the amusements which had been practiced in their leisure hours in the city [Buffalo?], were continued in camp. Boxing with gloves, ball-playing, running and jumping, were among these. The ball clubs were well represented here, and the exercise of their favorite game is carried on spiritedly by the Buffalo boys." [page 43.] PBall file: CW-123.
J. Harrison Mills, Chronicles of the Twenty-First Regiment, New York Volunteers (21st Veteran Assn., Buffalo, 1887), page 42.
The newly-formed regiment, evidently raised in the Buffalo area, was at camp in Elmira in May 1861 in this recollection, and would deploy to Washington in June.
Duplicate of 1861.34?
1861.17 American Guard [71st NY Regt] 42, Nationals BB Club 13
"The National Base Ball Club requests the pleasure of your company on their grounds at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and 6th Street, East, on Tuesday, July 2d , at twelve o'clock, to witness a match game with the 71st Regiment Base Ball Club"
71st Regiment Veterans Association, "History of the 71st Regiment, N.G., N.Y.," (Eastman, New York, 1919), pages 157, 232, and 236-237. Accessed 5/30/2009 via Google Books search "71st regiment baseball." PBall file: CW-3.
The 71st had the duty to protect the Nation's Capital against rebel incursions, and fielded a picked nine to play a National BBC nine. After three innings, they led 12-2, and coasted to victory. A familiar name for the 71st was 3b Van Cott, and for the Nationals French played 3b. The regimental history later reported that the game "was witnessed by a large number of spectators." The Philadelphia Inquirer announced the contest on July 1 under the headline "The New York Seventy-First Despairing of Work, Going to Play Ball." Note: Frank Ceresi reports [19CBB posting of 2/28/2009] that the French collection of the Washington Historical Society includes a handwritten scoresheet for the match, which describes a 41-13 Army victory.
The two sides played again a year later. On August 7, 1862, the Nationals won a rematch, 28-13. The regimental history says that "the game was played on the parade ground; the result was not as satisfactory to the boys as the year before. There was quite a concourse of spectators on the occasion, including a number of ladies . . . . At the close the players were refreshed with sandwiches and lager." On June 25th, 1862, and the regiment's company K took on the rest of the regiment and lost 33-11.
1861.18 Confederate Base Ball Players Finds Field "Too Boggy" in VA
"Confederate troops played townball as well as more modern versions of the game in their army camps. In November 1861 the Charleston Mercury of South Carolina reported that Confederate troops were stuck in soggy camps near Centreville, Fairfax County, [northern] Virginia. Heavy rains created miserably wet conditions so that 'even the base ball players find the green sward in front of the camp, too boggy for their accustomed sport.'" Centreville is adjacent to Manassas/Bull Run. 40,000 Confederate troops under Gen. Johnson had winter quarters there [the town's population had been 220] in 1861/62.
Charleston Mercury, November 4, 1861, page. 4, column 5. Mentioned without citation in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 39. PBall file: CW-6
1861.19 Second NJ Regiment Forms BB Club in Virginia Camp
[A] A six-inning game of base ball was played at Camp Seminary on Saturday November 16, 1861. The 2nd NJ challenged the 1st NJ and prevailed. A member of the 2nd NJ sent a short report and box to the Newark newspaper.
[B] Members of the 2nd New Jersey regiment formed the Excelsior club, evidently named for the Newark Excelsior [confirm existence?] in late November 1861. A report of an intramural game between Golder's side and Collins' side appeared in a Newark paper. The game, won 33-20 by the Golder contingent, lasted 6 innings and took four hours to play. The correspondent concludes: "The day passed off pleasantly all around, and I think every one of us enjoyed ourselves duely [sic?]. We all hope to be at home one year hence to dine with those who love us. God grant it!"
[A] "A Game of Ball in the Camp," Newark Daily Advertiser, November 20 1861. PBall file: CW7.
[B] Newark Daily Advertiser, 12/4/1861. PBall file: CW8.
Camp Seminary was located near Fairfax Seminary in Alexandria VA, near Washington DC.
One may infer that the 2nd NJ remained at winter quarters in Alexandria VA at this time, providing protection to Washington.
1861.20 Confederate Soldier's Diary Reports on Town Ball Playing, 1861-1863
December 1861 (Texas?): "There is nothing unusual transpiring in Camp. The boys are passing the time playing Town-Ball."
January 1862 (Texas?): "All rocking along finely, Boys playing Town-Ball"
March 1863 (USA prison camp, IL?): The Rebels have at last found something to employ both mind and body; as the parade ground has dried up considerably in the past few days, Town Ball is in full blast, and it is a blessing for the men."
March 1863 (USA prison camp, IL?): "Raining this morning, which will interfere with ball playing, but the manufacture of rings 'goes bravely on,' and I might say receives a fresh impetus by the failure of the 'Town-ball' business."
W. W. Heartsill, Fourteen Hundred and 91 Days in the Confederate Army: A Journal Kept by W. W. Heartsill: Day-by-Day, of the W. P. Lane (Texas) Rangers, from April 19th 1861 to May 20th 1865. Submitted by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09. Available online at The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries Database, at http://solomon.cwld.alexanderstreet.com/. PBall file: CW10.
Heartsill joined Lane's Texas Rangers early in the War at age 21. He was taken prisoner in Arkansas in early 1862, and exchanged for Union prisoners in April 1863. He then joined Bragg's Army in Tennessee, and was assigned to a unit put in charge of a Texas prison camp of Union soldiers. There are no references to ballplaying after 1863.
manufacture of rings?
POWs commonly fashioned hair or bone rings to while away the time [ba].
1861.21 Future Nurse Muses on Enlistees Playing Ball
At the very outset of war, Sophronia Bucklin [born 1828] felt herself driven to serve future wounded soldiers in the Union Army: “From the day on which the first boom of the first cannon rolled over the startled waters in Charleston harbor, it was my constant study how I cold with credit to myself get into military service to the Union.” She does not cite a date for this scene.
She subsequently got her chance. “Sitting at a window at a window in the Orphan Asylum at Auburn, New York, conversing with Mrs. Reed, the kindly matron, and watching the newly enlisted soldiers of the adjacent area, at a game of ball near the camp, I said, ‘I wish I knew of some way to get into the military service just to take care of boys such as those, when they shall need it.’” It turned out that Mrs. Reed knew a way [via the Soldier’s Aid Society], and Bucklin became a nurse in July 1862, serving through the war.
Sophronia E. Bucklin, In Hospital and Camp: A Woman’s Record of Thrilling Incidents Among the Wounded in the Late War (Potter and Company, Philadelphia, 1869), pp. 35-36. Viewed at Google Books 5/27/09, via the search <bucklin camp>.
1861.25 Brooklyn Soldiers Play Ball “in Seccesia”
“In October 1861 a ‘bold soldier boy’ sent the Clipper an account of a baseball game played by prominent Brooklyn club members on the parade ground of the ‘Mozart Regiment, now in Secessia.’” The Mozart Regiment was the 40th NY volunteers, and originally comprised men [mostly] from the NYC area. The writer added that the were times when the men were “engaged in their old familiar sports, totally erasing from their minds the all-absorbing topic of the day.” It appears that the regiment was in northernmost Virginia in October 1861, defending Washington.
Attributed to a soldier, apparently, in an article in the New York Clipper, October 26, 1861, page 220, (per Kirsch book).
A more extensive report of the Mozart regiment's play (same games?) is in the New York Sunday Mercury, Oct. 20, 1861, Oct. 27, 1861.
At the time the 40th was stationed at Camp Sedgwick, near Fairfax, VA.
1861.26 Confederate Base Ball Players Finds Field “Too Boggy” in VA
“Confederate troops played townball as well as more modern versions of the game in their army camps. In November 1861 the Charleston Mercury of South Carolina reported that Confederate troops were stuck in soggy camps near Centreville, Fairfax County, [northern] Virginia. Heavy rains created miserably wet conditions so that ‘even the base ball players find the green sward in front of the camp, too boggy for their accustomed sport.’” Centreville is adjacent to Manassas/Bull Run. 40,000 Confederate troops under Gen. Johnson had winter quarters there [the town’s population had been 220] in 1861/62.
Source: Charleston Mercury, November 4, 1861, page. 4, column 5. Mentioned without citation in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 39.
Duplicate of 1861.18?
1861.27 Second NJ 27, First NJ 10, in Virginia Camp
A six-inning game of base ball was played at Camp Seminary on Saturday November 16, 1861. The 2nd NJ challenged the 1st NJ and prevailed. A member of the 2nd NJ sent a short report and box to the Newark newspaper.
Source: “A Game of Ball in the Camp,” Newark Daily Advertiser, November 20 1861. Facsimile submitted by John Zinn, 3/10/09. Camp Seminary was located near Fairfax Seminary in Alexandria VA, near Washington DC.
Duplicate of 1861.16?
1861.28 2nd NJ Forms “Excelsior Base Ball Club”
Members of the 2nd New Jersey regiment formed the Excelsior club, evidently named for the Newark Excelsior [confirm existence?] in late November 1861. A report of an intramural game between Golder’s side and Collins’ side appeared in a Newark paper. The game, won 33-20 by the Golder contingent, lasted 6 innings and took four hours to play. The correspondent concludes: “The day passed off pleasantly all around, and I think every one of us enjoyed ourselves duely [sic?]. We all hope to be at home one year hence to dine with those who love us. God grant it!”
One may infer that the 2nd NJ remained at winter quarters in Alexandria VA at this time, providing protection to Washington. Facsimile submitted by John Zinn, 3/10/09. Source: Newark Daily Advertiser, 12/4/1861.
1861.29 3rd NH Celebrates Thanksgiving in SC “In Playing Ball, Turkey Shooting”
Writing to the editor of the Manchester NH Farmer’s Cabinet, a soldier Mudsill noted that while awaiting further orders on the South Carolina island of Port Royal in November 1861, the 3rd NH observed a “regular, old-fashioned New England Thanksgiving Thursday, away down here in Dixie?” The pumpkin pies and plum pudding were missing, but “the day was passed in playing ball, turkey shooting, and in the afternoon a pole was erected and the regimental flag run up, amid a thousand cheers.” He does not further describe the ball game.
Source: “Our Army Correspondence: Letter from the N. H. Third,” Farmer’s Cabinet, December 12, 1861.. Accessed via Genealogybank subscription, 5/21/09.
1861.30 Confederate Soldier’s Diary Reports on Town Ball Playing, 1861-1863
December 1861 (Texas?): “There is nothing unusual transpiring in Camp. The boys are passing the time playing Town-Ball.”
January 1862 (Texas?): “All rocking along finely, Boys playing Town-Ball”
March 1863 (USA prison camp, IL?): The Rebels have at last found something to employ both mind and body; as the parade ground has dried up considerably in the past few days, Town Ball is in full blast, and it is a blessing for the men.”
March 1863 (USA prison camp, IL?): “Raining this morning, which will interfere with ball playing, but the manufacture of rings ‘goes bravely on,’ and I might say receives a fresh impetus by the failure of the ‘Town-ball’ business.”
Source: W. W. Heartsill, Fourteen Hundred and 91 Days in the Confederate Army: A Journal Kept by W. W. Heartsill: Day-by-Day, of the W. P. Lane (Texas) Rangers, from April 19th 1861 to May 20th 1865. Submitted by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09. Available online at The Ameridcan Civil War: Letters and Diaries Database, at http://solomon.cwld.alexanderstreet.com/. Heartsill joined Lane’s Texas Rangers early in the War at age 21. He was taken prisoner in Arkansas in early 1862, and exchanged for Union prisoners in April 1863. He then joined Bragg’s Army in Tennessee, and assigned to a unit put in charge of a Texas prison camp of Union soldiers. There are no references to ballplaying after 1863. Query: “manufacture of rings?”
Duplicate of 1861.20?
1861.31 RI Soldier Mentions Game of Ball
“December 18th: Many of the boys had a revival of their school days in a game of ball. These amusements had much to do in preventing us from being homesick and were productive, also, of health and happiness.” The unit was stationed at Camp Webb, near Alexandria VA. No further description of the rules or play are given. Note: can we find the location of the 1st Regiment in late 1861? Are there other accounts of this unit that may add details to this account?
Source: George Lewis, The History of Battery E, First Regiment, Rhode Island Lioght Artillery (Snow and Farmham, Providence, 1892), page 26. Adduced in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 33. Lewis makes no other mention of ballplaying in this history.
1861.32 Union General Refers to “Long Ball”
“Our light artillery rapidly gained position within range and the firing became general. The main body of our army [were] passive spectators of this game of ‘long ball,’ but not without partaking of its dangers.”
Alexander Hays, “Letter from Alexander Hays, 1861,” in Life and Letters of Alexander Hays, Brevet Colonel United States Army (publisher? date?), page 708. Provided by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09. Not available online May 2009. Jeff notes that Hays was a Union general from PA who was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. Available online at The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries Database, at http://solomon.cwld.alexanderstreet.com/.
Query: Was Hays using a literal reference to the game of long ball, or was this a general analogy used at the time?
1861.34 Regiment Plays “Favorite Game” After Dress Parade in Elmira NY
“After [the camp’s dress] parade, which generally lasted about an hour, the camp was alive with fun and frolic . . . leap-frog, double-duck, foot and base-ball or sparring, wrestling, and racing, shared their attention.”
J. Harrison Mills, Chronicles of the Twenty-First Regiment, New York Volunteers (21st Veteran Assn., Buffalo, 1887), page 42. The newly-formed regiment, evidently raised in the Buffalo area, was at camp in Elmira in May 1861 in this recollection, and would deploy to Washington in June. A visitor to the camp wrote the next day, “I was not surprised . . . to see how extensively the amusements which had been practiced in their leisure hours in the city [Buffalo?], were continued in camp. Boxing with gloves, ball-playing, running and jumping, were among these. The ball clubs were well represented here, and the exercise of their favorite game is carried on spiritedly by the Buffalo boys.” [page 43.]
Duplicate of 1861.16?
1861.35 Awaiting Deployment to Washington, the 44th NY Plays Ball Evenings
1861: While the regiment trained at an Albany facility in September, a local newspaper noted: “They are under drill six hours during the day . . . Their leisure hours are devoted in great part to athletic exercises, fencing, boxing, and ball-playing, while their evenings are passed in singing, a glee club having been formed.” [page 17]. In a Virginia camp near Washington, “Christmas day of 1861 was given up to the enlisted men. They played ball in the morning and in the afternoon organized a burlesque parade which was very comical” [page 56].
1863: The regiment was near Culpepper in September. “Capt. B. K. Kimberly was an experienced and skillful base ball player and took the lead in inaugurating a series of games of base ball” [page166].
Captain Eugene A. Nash, A History of the Forty-fourth Regiment, New York Infantry (Donnelley and Sons, Chicago, 1911).
1864: In a May 25th letter to his sister from “Near White’s Tavern,” Sgt Orsell Brown noted “Monday [May] 2d I felt poorly. . . . The officers of the Brigade had a great game of ball in the afternoon, in front of our Reg’t.” Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009.
1861.36 Confederate Soldier Reports “Several Kinds of Ball”
“The troops enjoyed a variety of sports, ‘some of which are harder than any work I ever saw,’ observed a Louisiana soldier at Columbus. Among them were footraces, several kinds of ball, wrestling, climbing trees and a herculean game in which a cannonball was hurled into one of nine holes in the ground.”
Larry J. Daniel, Soldiering in the Army of the Tennessee: A Portrait of Life in a Confederate Army (U of North Carolina Press, 1991), page 90. Daniel evidently attributes this to the New Orleans Crescent, October 29, 1861. He does not give the location or regiment involved. Note: can we locate the article? There was a juvenile English game called None Holes.
This was Columbus, KY where several LA units were stationed.
1861.38 Base Ball at an Illinois Camp
A 5-16-61 letter sent from Camp Scott, a training facility at Freeport, IL, from a soldier named Tyler in the 15th Illinois Infantry, relates that the solders are playing base ball in camp.
Email from Bruce Allardice, 3/12/2013. No source given.
[A] "BASE BALL. The excitement incident to the new and warlike attitude of our national affairs also monopolized the attention of everybody during the past week; and out-door sports, like everything else, were for the time forgotten."
[B] "BASE BALL'. For the time being, base ball is almost entirely laid aside. Not one of the senior clubs has yet mustered sufficient numbers on the regular play-days to have a game...Several of the clubs have, we understand, resolved to postpone regular field exercise until after the Fourth of July."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, April 21, 1861
[B] New York Sunday Mercury, April 28, 1861
1861.40 Shortstops to Soldiers
[A] "BASE BALL...So many of the best players, belonging to the first nines of the more prominent base ball clubs, have enlisted and gone with different regiments to the seat of war, that there will be some difficulty in getting up any matches of special interest this season."
[B] "BASE BALL...Hundreds of the best base all players in the States are now withing or on their way to Washington, ready to prove to the world, that while in times of peace they are enthusiastic devotees of the National Game, they are no less ready, in time of war, to make any sacrifice..."
[C] "CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WAR.-- The Star and Exercise Clubs, of Brooklyn, have together contributed nearly forty volunteers for the war. Good boys!"
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, April 28, 1861
[B] New York Sunday Mercury, May 5, 1861
[C] New York Sunday Mercury, May 26, 1861
1861.41 Base Ball A Silver Lining
[A] "The first base ball match of the season came off yesterday...It was thought that cannon balls would supersede base balls this season-- that our meetings and delightful measures would be exchanged for the pride, pomp, and circumstances of glorious war, but even in their ashes live our wonted fires, and though faint and few, we are fearless still. The event of yesterday is therefore generally regarded as a promising sign of the times."
[B] "THE HOBOKEN BASE BALL CLUBS.-- The ball grounds at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken, begin to wear a very lively look...Several important matches are nearly arranged...The return of the Seventh, National Guard, added a reinforcement of some forty members to our prominent base ball clubs."
[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 6, 1861
[B] Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, June 16, 1861
1861.42 Welcome Back
Ball in the Culture, Civil War
[A] "THE RETURN OF THE 13TH REGIMENT. MEETING OF BASE BALL PLAYERS. A meeting of one delegate from each base ball club of this city will meet at Paul ,Mead's, No. 1 Willoughby street, this evening, to make arrangements for receiving the base ball players connected with the 13th Regt."
[B] "RETURN OF THE 13TH REGIMENT. THE BASE BALL CLUBS. The Base-Ball Clubs were fully represented (13 clubs listed)...The clubs all formed on Furman street, right resting on Fulton. Each member was provided with a badge, bearing the motto, 'Base-Ball, Fraternity'. They occupied the advance of the column."
[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 29, 1861
[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 30, 1861
1861.44 Optimism Despite War
Civil War, Newspaper Coverage
[A] "BASE BALL. The season which is now drawing to a close-- though its opening was not very propitious, owing to the breaking out of the existing rebellion, and the consequent diversion of the minds of all classes to matters of serious import-- has been characterized by a number of very interesting matches, and has afforded some very pleasant entertainment...Though no marked improvement was evidenced in the general playing of the past season, nearly every club has come up to the standard of the preceding year, while several...have presented stronger nines than they have ever before put into the field."
[B] "...the base ball season of 1861...has really been a very interesting year in the annals of the game, far more so than it was expected it would have been in the early part of it; but the game has too strong a foothold in popularity to be frowned out of favor by the lowering brows of 'grim-visaged war,' and if any proof was needed that our national game is a fixed institution of the country, it would be found in the fact that it has flourished through such a year of adverse circumstances..."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 17, 1861
[B] New York Clipper, Jan. 11, 1862
The sporting weeklys' optimism ignores the great decline in the number of clubs and games both in Greater New York City and in the cities to which the game had spread by the end of 1860. In most places interclub play ceased.
1861.45 Shrunken NABBP Meeting Does Little
Business of Baseball, Civil War
"BASE BALL. Annual Meeting of the National Association of Base Ball Players....The attendance of delegates was not so large as we had hope to see..the delegates of thirty-one clubs answered to their names...The Committee on Rules...reported that they had no changes in the Rules to recommend...only one proposition had been submitted to them (discussion of a proposition to change the rule for deciding the outcome of a game called by darkness was tabled; a resolution to donate the Association's surplus funds to war relief was also tabled, as the funds were small...the existing rebellion, which has enlisted amny base-ball players in the service of the country, has had a tendency to temporarily disorganize many of the base ball clubs."
New York Sunday Mercury, Dec. 15, 1861
Three clubs were admitted to the Association; of 80 existing members, nine were expelled due to non-payment of dues for two years, and 27 more listed who had not paid for 1861.
1861.46 37th Illinois plays in camp in Springfield
Wilder's History of the 37th Illinois, p. 30: "The officers and men of the [Waukegan] company were reported as playing baseball amidst beautiful weather."
This book cites a letter home by a soldier to the Waukegan Weekly Gazette, May 7, 1861. The unit was in camp near Springfield.
Waukegan had baseball as early as 1859.
Waukegan Weekly Gazette, May 7, 1861
1861.48 Too Cold for Baseball in Confederate Camp
The Rome (GA) Tri-Weekly Courier, Dec. 3, 1861 prints a Nov. 24, 1861 letter from a soldier in the 8th GA Infantry: "Up to a week ago ball playing was quite in vogue, but it is now a little too cold for this kind of recreation..."
The letter is datelined camp of the 8th GA, near Centreville [near Manassas, VA]. The letter writer was probably Moses Dwinnell (1825-87), an officer in the 8th who had been prewar editor of the Rome Courier.
The Rome (GA) Tri-Weekly Courier, Dec. 3, 1861
1861.49 Playing Ball in Racine Camp
The Monroe (WI) Sentinel, Oct. 23, 1861 reports that at Camp Utley, in Racine, the volunteers "have until two o'clock to rest, which time is generally occupied in playing ball, jumping, throwing dumb bells, running foot races, and wrestling."
The letter appears to have been written by a member of the La Crosse Artillery.
The Monroe (WI) Sentinel, Oct. 23, 1861
1861.50 Baseball at Benton Barracks
The Marshall (IL) Flag of Our Union, Oct. 25, 1861 prints a Oct. 21 letter from a soldier ("G. Shaw") at Benton Barracks, St. Louis in which he says: "Here can be enacted, among the young men, all of the scenes of their school days. Some are engaged in playing ball, some racing, some jumping, and not infrequently some playing leap frog."
The Marshall (IL) Flag of Our Union, Oct. 25, 1861
1861.51 Ball Playing competes with fencing in camp
The Ogdensburg Advance, Aug. 23, 1861 picks up an Albany Journal item about life in camp: "The People's Ellsworth Regiment spends their leisure hours "in great part to athletic exercises--fencing, boxing, ball playing--while their evenings are passed in singing."
This unit was the 44th New York Infantry, which at this time was in camp near Albany, NY.
The Ogdensburg Advance, Aug. 23, 1861
1861.52 Christmas Baseball in Camp
The New York Clipper, Jan. 11, 1862, headlined "Christmas in Camp," reports on a game on Christmas Day between the officers of the "1st Regiment, Excelsior Brigade" (70th NY Infantry) at Camp Farnum, Sandy Point, MD. Capt. Mitchell's nine defeated Lt. Dennson's 32-12. A greased pig chase followed.
The New York Clipper, Jan. 11, 1862
1861.53 8th New York Intersquad game
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 29, 1861 prints a long letter from a soldier in the 8th NY, stationed at Arlington Heights, VA, who mentions that the Left and Right wings of the regiment played a game of baseball, the Left wing winning 26-12. Gives a box score.
See also New York Sunday Mercury, June 30, 1861.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 29, 1861
1861.54 The "best players" of NYC and Brooklyn play in the army
The DC National Republican, June 28, 1861 prints a June 25th letter from Camp Wool [in DC] saying that Steers' nine (Company E) played Baldwin's nine (Company D), the two nines containing some of the best players of NYC and Brooklyn. The Washington Evening Star, July 1, 1861 reports that this was between 2 companies of the 14th New York, camped near 7th Street Park, and that Co. D won 39-17.
See also the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 5, 1861, which calls the soldiers in Co. D "many old and almost professional players." The regiment's colonel umpired the game.
The DC National Republican, June 28, 1861
1861.55 Base Ball at Camp Tippicanoe
The Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 7, 1861 quotes the Lafayette Journal about life of the soldiers at Camp Tippicanoe, near Lafayette. The soldiers belong to the 15th Indiana Volunteers.
"The boys are in the best spirits, and wehn off duty enjoy themselves in running foot races, playing ball, jumping, wrestling, and other healthful exercises..."
The Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 7, 1861
1861.56 Soldiers play ball in Denver
The Denver Daily Colorado Republican and Rocky Mountain Herald, Nov. 2, 1861: "We noticed yesterday the members of Capt Downing's company engaged in the exhilarating game of base-ball. This is excellent exercise for the muscle, besides being good amusement, and all our soldiers would receive benefits by indulging in his pleasant mode of training."
Downing's unit was company D, 1st Colorado Volunteers.
The Denver Daily Colorado Republican and Rocky Mountain Herald, Nov. 2, 1861
1861.57 Wilson's Zouaves play base ball
The St. Louis Missouri Democrat, May 21, 1861 prints a may 16 letter from the camp of Wilson's Zouaves, on Staten Island, NY: "We found a majority of the force engaged in exercise--some at base ball, some at leap frog--others running, boxing, exercise..."
Zouaves were dressed in the style of the North African light infantry of the French army--short red coats, baggy pants--very colorful.
The St. Louis Missouri Democrat, May 21, 1861. New York Herald, May 16, 1861.
1861.58 13th Massachusetts looks forward to an "exciting game"
The Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, Nov. 23, 1861 prints a Nov. 15th letter from a soldier of the 13th MA, in Williamsport, MD: "We are to have a game of base ball on that day [Thanksgiving], between the right and left wings of the regiment, and it will be an exciting one. We also play frequently at foot-ball."
The Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, Nov. 23, 1861
1861.59 1st MA has plenty of exercise
The Boston Traveler, Oct. 26, 1861 prints a letter from the 1st Massachusetts in Bladensburg, MD, denouncing newspaper reports of lack of exercise in the unit. "Six hours of every pleasant day are devoted to it [drill], sometimes at the double quick, and the hours between are filled up with bathing, base-ball, &c."
The Boston Traveler, Oct. 26, 1861
1861.60 Base Ball Prevents Soldier Grumbling
The Boston Christian Advocate, July 18, 1861 notes that army regulations urge commanders to "encourage useful occupation and manly exercises and diversions among their men, and to repress dissipation and immorality." After noting that the French and British armies encourage sports, the Advocate opines that "Baseball, cricket, ten pins, &c., wold save any amount of grumbling" by bored soldiers.
The Boston Christian Advocate, July 18, 1861
1861.61 Army of the Potomac relaxes with base ball
The Chicago Tribune, Nov. 18, 1861 lauds the Army of the Potomac's good conduct in camp: "A song, a light-hearted laugh, a group in ecstasies as two stout-hearted fellows roll, one over another, in a wrestling match, a foot race, or a party at base ball are the leading variations on the more formal duties of duty and drill..."
The Chicago Tribune, Nov. 18, 1861
1861.62 Ohio Soldiers box and play ball
The Cadiz (Ohio) Democratic Sentinel, May 25, 1861 reports on Ohio soldiers at Camp Dennison, east of Cincinnati: "Various are the sports devised by the soldiers to pass away their leisure hours: such as sparring, ball playing, singing, dancing, and almost every sport that could be thought of, or that ever was practiced..."
The Cadiz (Ohio) Democratic Sentinel, May 25, 1861
1861.63 Thanksgiving game of 25th Massachusetts
The Worcester (MA) Spy, Nov. 27, 1861, prints a letter from the 25th Massachusetts datelined Camp Hicks, Annapolis, Nov. 21, where in a Thanksgiving game, company H defeated company A 31-22. The game ended at 5 pm by mutual agreement. Gives a box score. "The game was a hard fought one, lasting three hours, and engaged in by the best players of both companies."
The Worcester (MA) Spy, Nov. 27, 1861
1861.64 Happy Pennsylvanians near DC
The Pottsville Weekly Miners' Journal, June 1, 1861 prints a letter datelined May 26 from Fort Washington, MD, near DC, from a Lieutenant in the 1st company, Washington Artillery (a Pottsville unit): "At the close of the day, our boys indulge in a game of ball in the water battery, where our quarters are located, and are apparently as happy as if they were taking an afternoon game on Lawton's Hill, or back of the basin."
The Pottsville Weekly Miners' Journal, June 1, 1861
1861.65 4th Pennsylvania plays till dark
The Washington Evening Star, May 23, 1861 reports that the day before: "The men of the Fourth Pennsylvania amused themselves and a large number of lookers on with a game of ball in the wide space in front of their quarters at the Assembly Rooms. The activity of the players after a day of hard exercise in the school of the company was astonishing. They kept up the sport until it was too dark to see the ball in it flight."
The Washington Evening Star, May 23, 1861
1861.66 Ball Playing popular in Wisconsin Camp
The Wisconsin State Journal, May 25, 1861, prints a letter datelined 1st Regiment, Camp Scott, Milwaukee, May 24:
"Amusements in camp.....Chess constitutes an agreeable and profitable pastime. Card and ball playing are more general favorites in which a large proportion of the men engage."
Prior to the war, a base ball field was located at where Camp Scott was established.
The Wisconsin State Journal, May 25, 1861
1861.67 Base ball at Camp Vermont
The Burlington Weekly Free Press, Dec. 19, 1861 prints a Dec. 6th letter from the 12th Vermont, at Camp Vermont, near Alexandria: After a game of foot ball on Thanksgiving, "many joined in games of base ball."
See also chronology 1862.39.
The Burlington Weekly Free Press, Dec. 19, 1861
1861.68 7th New Hampshire has no brawls
The New Hampshire Statesman, Dec. 14, 1861, reports on the 7th New Hampshire, in camp at Manchester: "The chaplain remarked that [the men] have no brawls, and the only shouts ever heard in camp are the calls of the guard, or proceed from the ground devoted to ball play."
The New Hampshire Statesman, Dec. 14, 1861
1861.69 Pitching Quoits and Playing Ball
The New York Herald, May 14, 1861 reports on Col. Allen's regiment, the 1st NY National Guard, camped on Staten Island: "The hours of recreation are generally employed by the men in pitching quoits and playing ball."
The New York Herald, May 14, 1861
1861.70 Excelsior Brigade amuses itself
The New York Herald, May 23, 1861, reports on the Excelsior Brigade (a NYC unit), camped at Red House, Harlem: "During the time that the men are at leisure they amuse themselves by boxing, playing ball, jumping, running, or an any other harmless way they may see fit."
The New York Herald, May 23, 1861
1861.71 Irish Soldiers play ball with Rebel shells
The Cleveland Herald, Nov. 26, 1861, headlined "New One for Paddy" explains how Irish-American soldiers reacted to Confederate shelling: "One of the Massachusetts regiments had a game of base ball they day after the slaughter of Edwards' Ferry [the battle of BAlls Bluff], bu the Cleveland Hibernian Guard of the Eighth Ohio regiment, beat them at Romney... the Hibernian Guard actually stacked their arms and commenced playing ball with the six pounders that the enemy sent among them, tossing them about as cooly as if they were in the Cleveland Public Square."
Given the weight of the cannon balls, could this have been a rugby-like ball game?
The Cleveland Herald, Nov. 26, 1861
1861.72 Secesh and Unionists fraternize on ball field
The New York Herald, June 28, 1861: "Fraternization--I had the pleasure of beholding an oasis of fraternization of members of the Excelsior Base Ball Club, of Brooklyn, N.Y., composed in part of officers and privates attached to the Thirteenth Regiment New York State Militia, stationed on Mount Clare, near the city, and the Excelsior Base Ball Club of Baltimore, which is composed of secessionists almost to a man..." They played a game, the Baltimore club winning 26-25.
The New York Herald, June 28, 1861
1861.73 NC Lt. mentions baseball
Cornell University has a ms. letter dated 12-29-1861 from Lt. William Nunnally, 13th NC infantry, in which he mentions baseball, and visiting the CSS Merrimac. From the context, he must have been near Norfolk, VA at the time.
Cornell U., Box 1, Folder 19, catalog entry.
1861.74 New York Times advocates baseball for the army
“Let our army of 150,000 amuse themselves, and let cricket, quoit and base ball, alternating with the daily drill, give them vigor and endurance."
“The Lines of Arlington,” New York Times, Sept. 15, 1861.
“The Lines of Arlington,” New York Times, Sept. 15, 1861.
1861.75 36th Illinois Plays base ball in Aurora Camp
"Hiram, of Big Rock, in lieu of it opened a boxing gymnasium. This, with base ball, filled up the intervals between meal time and drill."
History of the 36th Illinois, p. 24. This was at Camp Hammond in Aurora, IL, in 1861.
Bennett and Haigh, History of the 36th Illinois, p. 24.
1861.76 Base ball in Rochester Camp
"A traveler going south out of Rochester on Mt. Hope Avenue during the war years would pass by Mt. Hope Cemetery, and then, just past the fork in the road formed by the West and East Henrietta roads, would come to the entrance of a military camp. Inside, he might glimpse an artillery company hard at drill, while off-duty recruits played a game of baseball."
This is Camp Hillhouse, in Rochester, NY.
Levy and Tynan, "Campgrounds of the Civil War," Rochester History, Summer 2004, p. 6.
1861.77 White House Secretaries watch Zouaves play ball
"When John Hay and George Nicolay drove their rented buggy over to Camp Lincoln to say hello to their friend Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, they found him wearing his “blouzy red shirt” and enjoying that New York favorite: Base Ball. Most New York firefighters played the game, and among those involved was Ellsworth’s aide-de-camp, Captain John “Jack” Wildey.
Wildey played ball before he became a Fire Zouave. He played for the New York Mutuals, named for his own Mutual Hook and Ladder Company Number 1. The Mutuals were formed in 1857 and played amateur ball at the Hoboken Grounds, their home field. Many firefighters and city employees played in a variety of New York teams, but the Mutuals were reckoned the best. It was perfectly normal for a handmade ball, a bit larger and softer than today’s baseball, to be found in the knapsack of an 11th New York Fire Zouave."
Hay and Nicolai were Pres. Lincon's Secretaries, and Ellsworth was perhaps Lincoln's closest young friend. Hay later became Secretary of State.
"Home Run Derby Star Captain "Jack" Wildey, The Emerging Civil War blog, July 16, 2018
1861.78 12th New York Plays the Nationals of DC
See the New York Sunday Mercury, June 30, 1861. Members of the 12th NY played a pickup team of the Nationals of DC, in DC, on "Tuesday last." Gives a box score.
1861.80 Left and Right Wings of 9th NY Play
. Right and left wings of the 9th NY play. Sgt.Major Burtis, an old member of the
Gotham club, pitchers the left wing to a 40-6 victory. Gives a box score.
New York Sunday Mercury, Oct. 13, 1861
1861.82 "Old members of New York Clubs" play near DC
The New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 3, 1861 reports that the Van Houten Club of the 1st NJ defeated company A of that regiment 49-24 in a 6 inning game. "Many of the contestants are old members of New York clubs..." Gives a box score. Letter dated Oct. 29, Camp St. John, near Alexandria.
1861.83 The Mozart Regiment Plays Baseball
The New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 3, 1861 reports that on Oct. 28th, near Fairfax, VA, members of Company I of the Mozart Regiment (40th NY), "partly composed of ball-players," defeated a picked nine from the rest of the regiment. The New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 10, 1861 reports the return match, also won by Co. I.
The regiment wasn't musical, but rather named after the Mozart Hall wing of the NYC Democratic Party.
1861.84 2nd Fire Zouaves Match
The New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 17, 1861 reports on a game between two nines of the 2nd Fire Zouaves, camped near Indian Head, MD. Company K's nine defeated Company I's 23-19.
The regiment was formally known as the 73rd NY Infantry.
1861.85 Colonel calls off drill so game can be played
The New York Sunday Mercury, Dec. 8, 1861 reports that the 14th NY defeated a team from the 24th NY so badly that the 24th quit in the 5th inning, already down 25-4. Game played in camp on the 25th. When the game started, the 30th NY was drilling on the hoped-for ball field, but upon request, the colonel of the 30th called off the drill so the game could be played.
The 24th was stationed near Upton's Hill, Fairfax County.
1861.86 A Battalion of Base Ballists?
The New York Sunday Mercury, Aug. 18, 1861 reports: "We are informed by a correspondent that several gentlemen well known in base ball circles, have a project under consideration for the formation of a battalion or regiment, exclusively of base ball players: and it is seriously contemplated to recommend a call fora special meeting of the National Association of Base Ball Players, for the purpose of bringing the matter more immediately before representatives of all the clubs." The Mercury notes that many ball players are already in the army, so the idea may not be practical, but that if only 5 men from each club joined, "better material for soldiers... cannot be found."
1861.87 Heavy battle losses don't stop baseball playing
The Chicago Tribune, Nov. 18, 1861 has an article on a visit tot he Army of the Potomac, where the writer visited a regiment recently decimated in the Battle of Ball's Bluff, and sees "a party at play in a vigorous game of base ball, and that not forty eight hours after they stood hemmed in by the rebels..."
The Chicago Tribune, Nov. 18, 1861
1861.88 In camp on Rikers Island
Charles F. Johnson, "The Long Roll," p. 16 (journal entry of May 21, 1861, when in camp at Rikers Island), mentions "a game of ball on the parade ground."
Johnson belonged to the 9th NY (Hawkins' Zouaves). Rikers Island is in New York harbor.
1862c.1 Base Ball Listed Among Sports in NH Regimental History
“There was, also, no lack of athletic sports, such as jumping, pitching quoits, wrestling, etc., with now and then, in the regiments favorably stationed in forts or on garrison duty, a game of base ball, although this game was not then, as now , the craze of the day.”
Asa. W. Bartlett, History of the Twelfth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers (Ira C. Evans, Concord NH, 1897), page 356. Accessed 7/8/09 on Google Books via “bartlett ‘twelfth regiment’” search. This passage is a generic account of camp life, and seems to have no time period associated with it; in fact, it is not entirely clear from this account that the 12th NH itself played the game. The 12th saw major battles including Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and ended the war in the trenches around Richmond.
1862.1 Brooklyn Games Organized as Benefits for Sick and Wounded Soldiers
Three games were announced in June 1862 for which net proceeds would be used for sick and wounded Union soldiers. The Eckfords and the Atlantics would play for a silver ball donated by the Continental Club. William Cammeyer provided the enclosed Union grounds without charge. Admission fees of 10 cents were projected to raise $6000 for soldiers' relief. The Eckford won the Silver Ball by winning two of three games.
"Relief for the Sick and Wounded," Brooklyn Eagle, June 21, 1862, page 2.
Craig Waff, "The 'Silver Ball' Game-- Eckfords vs. Atlantics at the Union Grounds", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 39-42
1862c.2 CSA Prisoners Said to Learn Base Ball from “New Orleans Boys”
“The New Orleans boys also carried base balls in their knapsacks. A few of them found themselves in a Federal prison stockade on the Mississippi. The formed a club. Confederate prisoners from Georgia and South Carolina watched them, got the hang of it and organized for rivalry. In the East and West Series that followed the West won triumphantly by unrecorded scores.”
Will Irwin, Collier’s Weekly, May 8, 1909, as attributed in A. G. Spalding, America’s National Game (American Sports Publishing, 1911), pp. 96-97. Kirsch also cites the Irwin source. Note: can we deduce what prison is described, and obtain an original source? Were the New Orleans soldiers prisoners [and the “West” team?] or prison guards? Are there clues [or other stories] to be found in the original Collier’s piece?
Note: the two Federal POW camps along the MS River were at Alton and Rock Island, IL. From the context, it sounds like what they actually referred to was the "east-west" game at Johnson's Island, which is not on the MS River but rather in Lake Erie.
Note 2: The Sacramento Daily Union, April 14, 1864 prints a letter from a POW on Johnson's Island mentioning "The out-door exercises consist in leap-frog, bull-pen, town-ball, base-ball, foot-ball, snow-ball, bat-ball, and ball."
1862c.3 Marylander Sees Officers Play Base Ball
“[A] wheelbarrow race and a contest to catch two greased pigs rounded out the Christmas Day festivities for a soldier from Maryland, after he witnessed the officers of his company play three innings of baseball.”
Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage, 2001), page 23. Millen’s citation: John Cumming, Runners and Walkers: A Nineteenth Century Sports Chronicle (Regnary Gateway, Chicago, 1981), page 65. Full text of this book is unavailable online July 2009: a snippet view on Google Books via “’runners and walkers’ 1981” search does not include a reference to the officers’ game, nor indicate a time or year for a Christmas celebration.
1862.13 Government Survey: Athletic Games Forestall Woes of Soldiers Gambling
After examining nearly 200 regiments, the Sanitary Commission [it resembled today's Red Cross] was reported to have found that "in forty-two regiments, systematic athletic recreations (foot ball, base ball, &c) were general. In one hundred and fifty-six, there were none. Where there were none, card playing and other indoor games took their place. This invited gambling abuses, it was inferred.
"War Miscellanies. Interesting Army Statistics," Springfield [MA] Republican, January 25, 1862. Accessed via Genealogybank, 5/21/09. PBall file: CW13.
is it worth inspecting the report itself in search of further detail? It is not available online in May 2009.
1862.14 22nd MA beats 13th NY in the Massachusetts Game
"Fast Day (at home) April 3, there was no drill, and twelve of our enlisted men challenged an equal number from the Thirteenth New York, to a game of base-ball, Massachusetts game. We beat the New-Yorkers, 34 to 10."
J. L. Parker and R. G. Carter, History of the Twenty-Second Massachusetts Infantry (The Regimental Association, Boston, 1887), pages 79-80.
Fast Day in MA was traditionally associated with ballplaying. The 22nd MA, organized in Lynnfield MA (about 15 miles N of Boston), was camped at Falmouth VA in April, as was the 13th NY. The 13th was from Rochester and would likely have known the old-fashioned game. PBall file: CW-126.
1862.15 NY and MA Regiments Play Two Games Near the Civil War Front
Mr. Jewell, from the 13th NY Regiment's Company A, provided a generous [15 column-inches] account of two regulation NY-rules games played on April 15, 1862, near the Confederate lines at Yorktown VA. Sharing picket duties with members of the 22nd MA Regiment, Jewell says that "at about half-past 10 o'clock some one proposed a game of Base Ball. Sides were chosen and it commenced." [As scorer, Jewell's box scores did not mark the sides as a contest between regiments, and it may have involved mixed teams. He did note that the leadoff batter/catcher for the "Scott" side was a member of Boston's Trimountain Base Ball Club.] "It was decidedly 'cool' to play a game of Base Ball in sight of the enemy's breastworks." Between games the ball was re-covered with leather from a calf boot found on the ground. During the afternoon game, Union troops in the area were evidently sending artillery fire out toward the Rebs as they were building new fortifications in the distance. General McClelland's entourage is reported to have passed toward the front while the game was in progress. Jewell sent his account to the Rochester paper. The two games, each played to a full mine innings, were won by Scott's side, 13-9 and 14-12.
Source: Rochester Union and Advertiser, April 24, 1862, page 2, column 2. PBall file: CW16.
1862.16 13th Massachusetts Plays Ball Near Officers, Dignitaries, Enemy Lines
"In the afternoons, after battalion drill, the game of base-ball daily occupied the attention of the boys. On one of these occasions, General Hartsuff riding by, got off his horse and requested permission to catch behind the bat, informing us there was nothing he enjoyed so much. He gave it up after a few minutes and rode away, having made a very pleasant impression."
Davis also mentions a game of ball being played in April 1863 as large numbers of troops were awaiting a formal review by President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton near the Potomac River, "to the no small amusement of the lookers-on" [page 198]. In November 1863, still in Virginia, Davis reports that while awaiting an order to attack a nearby Confederate force, "Time dragged along, and no movement was made. We were all tired of the inaction and the heavy strain on the mind from hours of expectation, and so we had a game of ball to pass away the time. Occasionally the ball would be batted over the crest of the hill in front, in range of the rebel skirmishers, necessitating some one going after it. It was a risky piece of business and required quick work, but it was got every time." [page 288.]
In March 1864, the 13th played the 104th NY and won 62-20. "As opportunities for indulging our love for this pastime were not very frequent, we got a deal of pleasure out of it." [page 309.] Later that month, the regiment celebrated the escape and return the colonel of the 16th Maine with base-ball, along with chasing greased pigs and a sack race. [Page 313.]
Charles E. Davis, Jr., Three Years in the Army: The Story of the Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers (Estes and Lauriat, Boston MA, 1894), page 56. The full text was accessed on 6/1/09 on Google books via a search for "'Charles E. Davis' three". PBall file: CW20.
Also cited in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 41.
The first entry is dated May 6, 1862, when the regiment was in the vicinity of Warrenton VA. There is no further detail on the version of base ball that was played.
1862.17 Ballplaying Frequently Played at Salisbury Prison in North Carolina
Beginning in 1862, prisoners' diary accounts refer to a number of base ball games [by New York rules; Millen infers that games occurred "almost daily"] at Salisbury prison in NC. Charles Gray, a Union doctor who arrived at Salisbury in May 1862, reported ball playing "for those who like it and are able." RI soldier William Crossley in March 1863 described a "great game of baseball" between prisoners transferred from New Orleans and Tuscaloosa AL.
[A] In an unattributed and undated passage, Josephus Clarkson, a prisoner from Boston "recalled in his diary that one of the Union solders wandered over and picked up a pine branch that had dropped on the ground. Another soldier wrapped a stone in a couple of woolen socks and tied the bundle with a string. The soldiers started a baseball game of sorts, although there was much argument over whether to use Town Ball rules or play like New Yorkers. 'To put a man out by Town Ball rules you could plug him as he ran,' wrote Clarkson. 'Since many of the men were in a weakened condition, it was agreed to play the faster but less harsh New York rules, which intrigued our guards. The game of baseball had been played much in the South, but many of them [the guards] had never seen the sport devised by Mr. Cartwright. Eventually they found proper bats for us to play with and we fashioned a ball that was soft and a great bounders.'" According to Clarkson, a pitcher from Texas was banished from playing in a guards/captives game after "badly laming" several prisoners. "By and large," he said, "baseball was quite a popular pastime of troops on both sides, as a means of relaxing before and after battles."
[B] Otto Boetticher, a commercial artist before the war, was imprisoned at Salisbury for part of 1862 and drew a picture of a ball game in progress at the prison that was published in color in 1863. A fine reproduction appears in Ward and Burns.
[C] Adolphus Magnum, A visiting Confederate chaplain, noted in 1862 that "a number of the younger and less dignified [Union officers] ran like schoolboys to the playing ground and were soon joining In high glee in a game of ball."
[D] An extended account of ballplaying at Salisbury, along with the Boetticher drawing, are found in From Pastime to Passion. It draws heavily on Jim Sumner, "Baseball at Salisbury Prison Camp," Baseball History (Meckler, Westport CT, 1989). Similar but unattributed coverage is found in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), pp 43-45. PBall file: CW21.
[E] See also Giles W. Shurtleff account of prison life in the history of the Seventh Ohio, p. 324. Shurtleff had played while at Oberlin College. See also The Congregationalist, May 4, 1864.
[A] Wells Twombley, 200 Years of Sport in America (McGraw-Hill, 1976), page 71.
[B] Ward and Burns, Baseball Illustrated, at pages 10-11.
[D] Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), pp.27-31.
[E] Patricia Millen, "The POW Game-- Captive Union Soldiers Play a Baseball Game at Salisbury, NC", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 36-38
It would be desirable to locate and inspect the Josephus Clarkson diary used in Twombley [A, above.]. Clarkson, described as a ship's chandler before the war, does not yield to Google or Genealogy bank as of 6/6/2009 or 4/3/2013. John Thorn's repeated searches have also come up empty. Particularly questionable is Clarkson's very early identification of Cartwright as an originator of the NY game.
1862.19 The 39th Massachusetts Plays Ball
The regimental history of the 39th MA has two passing references to ballplaying. On Thanksgiving Day of 1862, "There was a release from the greater part of camp duties and the time thus secured was devoted to baseball, football and other diversions so easily devised by the American youth" [p. 50]. The regimental camp was in southern MD, within 15 miles of Washington. April 2, 1863 "was the regular New England Fast Day, and a holiday was proclaimed by the Colonel . . . . [T]here was no failure in taking part in the races, sparring-matches, and various games, of at least witnessing them. The baseball game was between the men of Sleeper's Battery and those selected from the 39th with the honors remaining with the Infantry, though the cannoneers were supposed to be particularly skillful in the throwing of balls." [page 64]. The regiment was now in Poolesville MD, about 30 miles NW of Washington.
Alfred S. Roe, The Thirty-Ninth Regiment. Massachusetts Volunteers 1862-1865 (Regimental Veteran Association, Worcester, 1914). Accessed 6/3/09 on Google Books via "'thirty-ninth' roe" search. PBall file: CW-26.
The regiment was drawn from the general Boston area.
1862.20 Wisconsin Man's Diary Included a Dozen References to Ballplaying
Private Jenkin Jones sprinkled 12 references to ballplaying in his Civil War Diary. They range from December 1862 to February 1865. Most are very brief notes, like the "played ball in the afternoon" he recorded in Memphis in February 1863 [page 34]. The more revealing entries:
· Oxford, 12/62: "The delightful weather succeeded in enticing most of the boys form their well-worn decks and cribbage boards, bringing them out in ball playing, pitching quoits,etc. Tallied for an interesting game of base ball" [pp 19/20]
· Huntsville, 3/64: "Games daily in camp, ball, etc." [p. 184]
· Huntsville, 3/64: "Played ball all of the afternoon" [p.193]
· Fort Hall, 4/64: "[Col. Raum] examined our quarters and fortifications, after which he and the other officers turned in that had a game of wicket ball." [p.203]
· Etowah Bridge, 9/64: "a championship game of base-ball was played on the flat between the non-veterans and the veterans. The non-veterans came off victorious by 11 points in 61." [p. 251]
· Chattanooga, 2/65: "The 6th Badger boys have been playing ball with our neighbors, Buckeyes, this afternoon. We beat them three games of four.
Jenkin Lloyd Jones, An Artilleryman's Diary (Wisconsin History Commission, 1914). Accessed on Google Books 6/3/09 via "'wisconsin history commission' 'No. 8'" search. PBall file: CW-28.
Jones was from Spring Green, WI, which is about 30 miles west of Madison and 110 miles west of Milwaukee WI. Jones later became a leading Unitarian minister and a pacifist.
1862.21 Michigan Colonel Plays Ball in Tennessee, Still Rebuffs Rebs
The 12th Michigan Regiment had the task in December 1862 of guarding a supply railroad in Tennessee. On December 24, a detachment under Col. Wm. Graves was surrounded by a large rebel force that approached under white flag, demanding surrender. Graves' account: "The officer asked, 'Who is in command?' I answered, 'I am;' whereupon he surveyed me from head to foot (I had been playing ball that morning, pants in boots, having a jacket without straps) . . . ." Graves refused, a two-hour fight ensued, and the rebels retreated.
J. Robertson, compiler, Michigan in the War (W. S. George, Lansing MI, 1882), page 327. Accessed 6/4/09 on Google Books via ""michigan in the war" search. PBall file: CW-29.
The regiment seems to have been drawn from the vicinity of Niles, MI, which is 10 miles north of South Bend IN and 60 miles east of Chicago.. The 1862 engagement occurred at Middleburg TN, which is at about the midpoint between Nashville and Memphis.
1862.22 Crowd of 40,000 Said to Watch Christmas Day Game on SC Coast
"In Hilton Head, South Carolina, on Christmas Day in 1862, recalled Colonel A. G. Mills in 1923, his regiment, the 165th New York Infantry, Second Duryea's Zouaves, [engaged a?] picked nine from the other New York regiments in that vicinity.' Supposedly, the game was cheered on by a congregation of 40,000!" Mills eventually served as President of the National League and chair of the Mills Commission on the origins of baseball.
Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), pp 21-22. Millen cites A. G. Mills, "The Evening World's Baseball Panorama." Mills Papers, Giamatti Center, Baseball HOF. The account also appears in A. Spalding, Americas' National Game (American Sports Publishing, 1911), pp 95.96. PBall file -- CW-30
Is this crowd estimate reasonable? Are other contemporary or reflective accounts available?
The crowd estimate is exaggerated. There weren't anywhere near 40,000 troops on the island at that time. [ba]
1862.23 Soldiers' Christmas in Virginia - Ballplaying "on Many a Hillside"
A correspondent near Fredericksburg VA told Philadelphia readers about "orders from head-quarters that Christmas day should be observed as a day or recreation. The men gladly availed themselves of this privilege, and on many a hill-side might be seen parties playing at ball, or busy at work dragging Christmas-trees to the quarters . . . ."
The article also reported that "Brown cricket jackets are now issued to the men instead of the brown blouses formerly issued. These jackets make a very comfortable garment . . . but they are very unmilitary-looking."
"Christmas in the Army," Philadelphia Inquirer, December 29, 1862. Accessed via Genealogybank, 5/21/09. PBall file CW-31.
was a PA regiment involved?
1862.24 Ball Game Photographed at Fort Pulaski, Georgia
A ball game appears in the background of photographs of the 48th New York at Fort Pulaski. The Fort, near the Georgia coast, had been taken by the North in July 1862. The National Park Services dates its image to 1862.
One shot appears in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 32, and another, apparently, at the NPS site http://www.nps.gov/fopu/historyculture/baseball.htm [accessed 6/6/09.] PBall file: CW-33.
we welcome your interpretation of these photos.
The 48th NY was from NYC, and thus likely had members familiar with the game. [ba]
1862.26 MA Regiment Plays Daily Intramural Games in Spring Months
“The 13th Massachusetts played amongst themselves daily during April and May of 1862.”
Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), page 19. Millen cites S. Crockett, “Sports and Recreational Practices of Union and Confederate Soldiers, Research Quarterly October 1961, pp?. Crockett article is unprocured as of May 2009, and primary source is unknown. Note: It would be useful to know what game the regiment played, and how they named it. The regiment was reportedly at Ship Island, MS, in these months.
1862.27 Southern Newspaper Urges: “More Manly Sports Like Cricket and Base Ball, Less Cardplay”
“’Every volunteer who has been in service, has realized the tedium of camp life . . . there is waste time, which might be used advantageously at such manly exercises as cricket, base ball, foot ball, quoit pitching, etc.’ That paper lamented the shortage of sporting goods available for the men and called for hardware dealers to supply quoits and also cricket and base ball bats. ‘For want of such things,’ it concluded, ‘the time of the soldier is mainly spent playing cars.’”
Source: Charleston Mercury, April 3, 1862, page. 2, column. 1. Mentioned without citation in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 40. It seems interesting that cricket and base ball receive comparable emphasis in this article.
1862.29 Rebel Prisoners Seen Playing Ball in WI Prison Camp
A Wisconsin newspaper sent a writer to the nearby Camp Randall, where 881 prisoners of war were just arriving. “Some of the men and boys, of the 55th Tennessee regiment were amusing themselves with playing ball.” The reporter notes that many prisoners had only light clothing that would provide little protection against northern winds. Many of the prisoners had been among 7000 men captured in the CSA’s surrender of Island Ten, a strategic position in the Mississippi River near New Madrid, Missouri. The nature of the Tenneseeans’ ballplaying was not recorded.
“Camp Randall,” Weekly Wisconsin Patriot (Madison), April 26, 1862. Accessed at Genealogybank on 5/21/2009. Camp Randall was the former fairground for Madison WI.
See also Madison Journal, April 22, 1862, Milwaukee Daily News, April 24, 1862, Manitowac Weekly Tribune, May 14, 1862. [ba]
1862.30 Game Suspended When BIG Fight Breaks Out
“Sometimes the war disrupted these pastimes . . . . In the spring of 1862 a game between the Fifty-Seventh and Sixty-Ninth Regiments of New York Jacob Cole was lying on the ground watching the match when he heard a ‘rumbling noise.’ When Cole and his friend stood up they heard nothing, but when they put their ears to the ground Cole told his friend that ‘our boys are fighting.’ He remembered: ‘Hardly had I spoken before orders came to report to our regiments at once. So the ball game came to a sudden stop never to resume.’”
Source: Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), pages 41-42. Kirsch does not supply a primary source. It appears that Cole was in the 57th NY, and that the story of the interrupted ball game was carried in Jacob H. Cole, Under Five Commanders: or, A Boy’s Experience with the Army of the Potomac (News Printing Company, 1909), p. [?]. Accessed as snippet-view text May 31, 2009. Note: Can we confirm the source, determine where this game took place, and assess the credibility of Cole’s account?
Per p. 30 of the Cole book, this took place May 31, 1862, near the battle of Seven Pines, VA, a few miles east of Richmond. [ba]
1862.31 Officer’s Wife Reports on an Evening at Camp with 16th NY Regiment
“The evening parade was an uncommonly nice one . . . . The new colors were all brought out and the effect was very pretty, as they were escorted out and back and saluted by all the officers and me. After parade came a game of base-ball for the captains and other officers, and in the sweet evening air and early moonlight we heard cheerful sounds all about us at the men sang patriotic songs, laughed and chatted, or danced jig to the sound of a violin.”
Eliza Howland, “Diary of Eliza Newton Woolsey Howland, April 1862, in Letters of a Family During the War for the Union 1861-1865 [Pubr? Date?] Volume 1, page 360. Eliza Howland’s husband Joseph was an officer with the 16th New York Volunteers. The couple lived in Mattawan NY before the War. Provided by Jeff Kittell, 5/12/09. Available online at The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries Database, at http://solomon.cwld.alexanderstreet.com/. Note: can we determine the location of the event?
Per p. 284 of the Howland book, this took place April 3, 1862, in the camp of Slocum's division, near Fairfax, VA. [ba]
1862.34 51st Pennsylvania Plays Ball 1862-1864 in VA, KY, MD, Sometimes Daily.
The regimental history has four references to ballplaying. In July 1862, the unit arrived at Camp Lincoln at Newport News VA, where “the amusements at this camp were fishing for crabs, bathing, foraging and base-ball playing” [page 187]. Back at Newport News in March 1863, “the officers and men enjoyed themselves much in the innocent games of cricket and base-ball.” [page 290]. In May 1863, at a temporary camp near Somerset KY, “both officers and men enjoyed themselves hugely by playing at base ball in daytime between drill hours and at night by the performance of genuine negro minstrels, who were the field hands belonging to the neighboring plantations” [page 301]. Waiting in Annapolis for expected deployment to North Carolina in April 1864, “[b]ase ball is enjoyed by a large number of officers and men every afternoon, when the weather permits, and, I assure you, some very creditable playing is done – some that would do honor to any base ball club extant. [page 539].
Thomas H. Parker, History of the 51st Regiment of PV [Pennsylvania Volunteers] (King and Baird, Philadelphia, 1869). Accessed 6/2/09 on Google books via “’51st regiment’ parker” search. The regiment formed in Harrisburg in late 1861.
1862.35 Massachusetts Officers Play Ball in May, on July 4
May: “One of the boys in a letter home vividly describes a hailstorm . . . ‘one day we had a regular hailstorm . . . The boys were out playing ball when it commenced sprinkling, and they thought it wasn’t going to be much of a shower, they kept right on playing, when all of a sudden came the [hail] stones, and the boys put for their tents . . . Queer weather here!’”
July 4: “Some of the officers played baseball and drill was neglected.”
Alfred S. Roe, The Twenty-Fourth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, 1861-1866 (Twenty-Fourth Veteran Association, Worcester, 1907), pages 112 and 135. Accessed on Google books 6/2/09 via “twenty-fourth regiment” search. The regiment’s officers were mostly from Boston. The regiment, organized at Readville, 10 miles SW of Boston, and was at Seabrook Island SC on these dates.
1862.36 CT Boys Play Ball on March to Fredericksburg
On a lay day during a long October 1862 march from Harper’s Ferry WV toward Fredericksburg VA, the 21st CT “indulged the natural propensity of the soldier for foraging.” To thwart that, the Captain “ordered the roll to be called every hour, so that it was difficult to get far from camp. The boys enjoyed a game of baseball, notwithstanding the march of the day before, and the prospect of a longer march the next day.” This is the only reference to ballplaying in the history.
The Story of the Twenty-First Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, During the Civil War. 1861-1865 (Stewart Printing Co., Middletown, 1900). Accessed on Google books 6/2/09, via “story of the twenty-first” search. The regiment was recruited in Eastern CT in late summer 1862, with the most men enlisting from Groton and Hartford.
1862.37 Thanksgiving and Foot-ball . . . and Base-Ball
A soldier in the 18th CT, Charles Lynch spent Thanksgiving at a camp near Baltimore. “November. The most important event was our first Thanksgiving in camp. Passed very pleasantly. A good dinner, with games of foot and base-ball.”
After Appomattox, Lynch wrote: June 5th: . . . Thank God the cruel war is over. Playing ball, pitching quoits, helping the farmers, is the way we pass the time while waiting for orders to be mustered out. We have many friends in this town and vicinity.” These are the only references in the diary to ballplaying. In June Lynch was stationed in Martinsburg WV, about 30 miles west of Frederick MD and 75 miles northwest of Washington.
Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary 1862-1865 (private printing, 1915), page 11, page 154. Accessed on Google books 6/2/09 via “charles h. lynch” search. Lynch, and presumably much of the regiment, was from the Norwich CT area. Lead provided by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09.
1862.39 Vermonters Play Manly Sport of Football, (and Base Ball) in Virginia
Thanksgiving in Fairfax County in northernmost VA: “At 2 o’clock, the regiment turned out on the parade ground. The colonel had procured a foot ball. Sides were arranged by the lieutenant colonel and two or three royal games of foot ball – most manly of sports, and closest in its mimicry of actual warfare – were played. . . . Many joined in games of base ball; others formed rings and watched friendly contests of the champion wrestlers of the different companies . . . . It was a “tall time” all around.”
George G. Benedict, “Letter from George Grenville Benedict, December 6, 1862,” Army Life in Virginia: Letters from the Twelfth Regiment (Free Press, Burlington, 1895), pp 80-81. Accessed 6/3/09 on Google Books via “army life in Virginia” search. Benedict, from Burlington, had been an editor and postmaster before the Civil War, and later became a state senator. The regiment appears to have been raised in the Burlington area. Submitted by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09.
1862.44 Ohio Soldier Sees “Most of Our Company “ Playing Pre-battle Bat Ball
“The report of musketry is heard but a very little distance from us . . . yet on the other side of the road is most of our company, playing Bat Ball and perhaps in less than half an hour, they may be called to play a Ball game of a more serious nature.”
Attributed to “an Ohio private” who wrote home from Virginia in 1862, in Ward and Burns, Baseball: An Illustrated History (Knopf, 1994), page 13. No source is given. Note: can we find the original source and fill in some detail? Note: the private’s use of the term “bat ball” is unusual. “Bat ball” is found in much earlier times [it was banned in both Pittsfield and Northampton MA in 1791]. In this case, since the private is an observer, not a player, it may be that he is using an incorrect label for the game he observes in 1862. Still, it may possibly imply that the term “bat ball” was current in Ohio in the pre-war years (in the private’s youth?), if not later.
1862.47 Hawthorne Sees Ballplaying at Washington-area Camp
Notes upon visiting a camp near Alexandria VA: “Here were in progress all the occupations, and all the idleness, of the soldier in the tented field. Some were cooking the company-rations in pots hung over fires in the open air; some played at ball, or developed their muscular power by gymnastic exercise; some read newspapers, some smoked cigars or pipes.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Fortress Monroe,” in I. Finseth, The American Civil War (CRC Press, 2006), page 398. Accessed in restricted view on Google Books 6/16/09.
1862.48 Pork, Hard-Tack, Beans, and Baseball in the 5th Mass Artillery
“We had plenty of pork and hard tack to go with the beans. We amused ourselves when the weather would permit by having a game of baseball.”
William A. Waugh, Reminiscences of the rebellion or what I saw as a private soldier on the 5th Mass. Light Battery from 1861-1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15 2009. Waugh is here describing life in winter quarters near Falmouth on the Virginia coast and east of Fredericksburg.
1862.49 Photo Caption Sings of “Marvelous New Game,” Doesn’t Deliver
“THE BIRTH OF BASE-BALL. Some of the men who went home on furlough in 1862 returned to their regiments with tales of a marvelous new game which was spreading though the Northern States. In camp at White Oak Church near Falmouth, Va., Kearny’s brigade played this ‘baseball,’ as it was known. Bartlett’s boys won this historic game.”
F. Miller and R. Lanier, The Photographic History of the Civil War, Volume Eight, Soldier Life, (Review of Reviews Co., New York, 1911), plate following page 243. This text sits next to a photograph of men playing football in 1864. Note: can we locate the cited photo?
1862.50 Texas Ranger Plugs Waaay Too Hard
“And the game might become so rough as to necessitate precautionary steps. ‘Frank Ezell was ruled out,’ wrote a Texas Ranger in his diary, because ‘he could throw harder and straighter than any man in the company. He came very neat knocking the stuffing out of three or four of the boys, and the boys swore they would not play with him.’”
Bell Irvin Wiley, The Common Soldier in the Civil War (Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1952), Book Two, The Life of Johnny Reb, page 159. Wiley’s end-note is, evidently, “diary of D[esmond]. P[ulaski]. Hopkins, entry of March 15, 1862, typescript, University of Texas.” Neither Hopkins’ unit nor its March 1862 location is noted. Note: can we locate the full text and its context?
D. P. Hopkins and Benjamin Franklin Ezell (1839 MS - 1913 TX) were members of Norris' Frontier Battalion which in March 1862 was stationed at/near Kerrville, TX. The Hopkins diary was published in the San Antonio Express, 1-13-1918. The March 15, 1862 entry (on page 23 of the Express) mentions this game, and mentions that the troops made their own ball out of yarn socks. [ba]
1862.51 4th NY and 13th NY Play Base Ball in VA
Over five years after the fact, the Ball Players’ Chronicle evidently dug up an old CW letter and published it:
“Camp Crooke, July 20th 1862. We had a good afternoon’s sport here yesterday. The selected nine of the 4th N. Y. V. came to our camp, confident of victory, to play us a game of base ball. . . . They played a very strong game and had a tip-top pitcher and catcher, but they were outbatted , our boys doing some tall things in that line. Lieut. Fuller treated them handsomely, and they departed in good spirits, though feeling a little sore at their defeat, having hitherto beaten every other nine they have played against.” A box score of the regulation 16-11 game was included. The article also reports on an earlier match between the 13th’s right wing and left wing, and a shorter impromptu contest between the staff officers and line officers of the 13th, “the latter [game] was a rich match, full of all the attractive features of muffinism.”
“Base Ball Reminiscences,” The Ball Players’ Chronicle, November 28, 1867. From the Giamatti Research Center at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Civil War folder, accessed June 2009. The 13th was evidently a three-month regiment that mustered out in September 1862. The 4th was from New York City.
1862.52 Zouave Pitcher Baffles Batters With “Weak, Puzzling” Delivery
“On Roanoke Island Hawkins' Zouaves formed two scrub teams. A young volunteer pitcher won for his side by a weak, puzzling delivery which baffled the batsmen. It was Alphonse Martin, first in line of great American pitchers.”
A. G. Spalding, America’s National Game (American Sports Publishing, 1911), page 97. Available online via Google Books. Roanoke Island is on the North Carolina Coast near Kitty Hawk NC, and about 80 miles SE of Norfolk VA.. Hawkin’s Zouaves were the 9th NY Regiment, which was organized in New York City and was at Roanoke Island in the early part of 1862. Alphonse “Phonney” Martin was then not yet 17. Known for throwing tricky pitches, “Old Slow Ball” Martin pitched for Troy, Brooklyn, and the New York Mutuals in 1872 and 1873. Spalding gives no source for this note, which may well have been received via personal communication.
The New York Sunday Mercury, April 20, 1862 mentions a match on Roanoke by Company F of this regiment. Another match is reported in same, June 8, 1862.[ba]
1862.53 Southern Brigade’s Play Base . . . Somewhere
“On Christmas Day 1862 the officers of Manigault’s brigade had a footrace, and afterward the colonels ‘chose sides from among the officers and men to play base[ball].’”
Larry J. Daniel, Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee: A Portrait of Life in a Confederate Army (U of North Carolina Press, 1991), page 90. Daniel evidently attributes this quotation of a letter from James Hall to his father, December 25, 1862. His treatment of the name of the game, “base[ball], implies that the original letter read “base.” Manigault’s Brigade formed in Corinth, MS, in April 1862, comprising two South Carolina regiments and three from Alabama. We do not know the location of the brigade in December 1862, when Manigault was apparently elevated from colonel of the 10th SC to lead the brigade.
The brigade was near Murfreesboro, TN on 12-25-62. [ba]
1862c.54 Confederate soldiers in need of base ball and cricket bats
"Camp Games. Every volunteer who has been in service, has realized the tedium of camp life. Between reveille and breakfast--between morning and evening drill--there is waste time, which might be used advantageously at such many exercises as cricket, base ball, foot ball, quoit pitching, etc. A recent visit to some of our camp[s], showed several parties enjoying a quiet hand at pitching quoits in a shady grove. Cannot some of our hardware dealers have a supply cast, and let our soldiers know where they can be procured? Cricket and base ball bats are also wanted, and a few dozen substantial foot balls would, we are sure, find ready sale. For want of such things, the time of the soldier is mainly spent in playing cards."
The Charleston (SC) Mercury (3 Apr 1862). Available digitally through "Accessible Archives."
1862.57 Games Between NY and MA Regiments Punctuated by Artillery
Union General George McClellan
Members of the Massachusetts 22nd Regiment and the NY 14th squared off for two matches on April 15, 1862, in the vicinity of active fire, and "in sight of the enemy’s breastworks mounted with heavy 64’s and 32’s." A discarded boot supplied material for a new cover for the game ball. Union General McClellan passed by while play was in progress.
Additional details are provided in the supplemental text, below.
Rochester Union and Advertiser, April 24, 1862.
Undoubtedly, Game played near Yorktown, VA
1862.58 2nd Mass Troops Beat Wisconsin Regiment, 75 to 7
The men of the Wisconsin 3d challenged our men to a game of base ball & this afternoon it was played & at the end the tally stood 75 for our side & 7 for theirs so I hardly think they will care to play a return match; we have some of the best players of quite a celebrated ball club from Medway & some of the play was admirable.
Letter from Captain Richard Cary, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, May 3, 1862. Reported in The Beehive, the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society, April 5, 2012.
Protoball wonders if the Mass Game was in fact unfamiliar in WI.
Medway was a leading MA-rules club before the War.
Do we know the location of these Regiments in May 1862? Who was Captain Cary writing to?
1862.60 Confederate POWs play baseball in New York City
May 9, 1862: "This morning we received balls and bats from New York and have organized a regular Base Ball Club. We have been playing considerable today and I feel quite fine in consequence."
"A Confederate Yankee: The Journal of Edward William Drummond,a Confederate Soldier from Maine" (Drummond and Roger S. Durham), p. 51.
Drummond, along with his Savannah "Chatham Artillery" unit, were captured at Fort Pulaski, outside Savanna, and taken to Governors Island POW camp in New York harbor. The next month he and his comrades play baseball almost daily.
Drummond was a Maine-born bookkeeper in Savannah at the start of the war. This entry suggests that his fellow townsmen were perfectly familiar with the game of base ball.
"A Confederate Yankee: The Journal of Edward William Drummond,a Confederate Soldier from Maine" (Drummond and Roger S. Durham), p. 51.
1862.61 Confederate POWs in Indianapolis play base ball
Confederate army POWs at Camp Morton, Indianapolis, played baseball in 1862, according to a letter from a POW, and a report by a Union general. See James R. Hall, "Den of Misery. Indiana's Civil War Prison" p. 39, 71.
Camp Morton was situated on the old state fairgrounds, and was used as a baseball field postwar.
James R. Hall, "Den of Misery. Indiana's Civil War Prison" p. 39, 71.
1862.63 Right and Left wings of 13th NY in Sufolk, VA
The Brooklyn Evening Star, July 9, 1862 prints a 7-5-62 letter from the 13th NY Regt. at Camp Cook, Suffolk, VA: "As soon as we got dinner settled, we got up a game of ball between the right and left wings. It was a very interesting game, and lasted all the afternoon. The Left Wing being 18 runs to 11--Company C in the left wing, of course."
This game is also reported in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 12, 1862. From Camp "Crook," on July 4th. See also The New York Sunday Mercury, July 13, 27, 1862 for other games of the 13th at Camp Crook. See also The Ball Players Chronicle, Nov. 28, 1867, for further mentions of these games.
The Brooklyn Evening Star, July 9, 1862
1862.64 Winter Baseball in West Virginia
The Gallipolis Journal, Jan. 8, 1863 reports that last month soldiers of the 91st Ohio amused themselves by playing ball in the camp at Fayetteville.
The Gallipolis Journal, Jan. 8, 1863
1862.65 Base Ball at Fort Monroe on Christmas Eve
The Semi Weekly Wisconsin of Milwaukee, Jan. 9th, 1863 reports that on Christmas Eve at Fort Monroe "I saw the soldiers playing at base ball..."
See also New York Herald, Jan. 5, 1863, headlined "Amusements of the Army"
The Semi Weekly Wisconsin, Jan. 9th, 1863
1862.66 In camp near Rochester, New York
The Brockport (NY) Republic, Oct. 2, 1862 prints a letter from Camp Fitz John Porter, Sept. 24, 1862, from a member of the 140th NY: "The boys are playing ball, writing to friends, and some are target shooting..."
The camp was at/near Rochester, NY.
The Brockport (NY) Republic, Oct. 2, 1862
1862.67 Playing Ball near Yorktown
The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 30, 1862 prints an April 24 letter from a soldier in "camp near Yorktown" discussing the soldier's life there:
"While not on duty, they engage in almost every variety of exercise and amusement, playing ball, pitching quoits, and other athletic sports."
At this time the Army of the Potomac camped opposite the Confederate lines running south from Yorktown, VA.
The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 30, 1862
1862.68 Christmas Day on Hilton Head
"The New South" a union army newspaper, Dec. 27, 1862 reports on a Dec. 25th game at Hilton Head between the Van Brunt and Frazer base ball clubs. James L. Frazer was colonel of the 47th NY and George B. Van Brunt was then major of the 47th. The 47th was raised in NYC and Brooklyn.
A Charles Van Brunt had headed an early New Jersey team.
"The New South" Dec. 27, 1862
1862.70 Drummers defeat Fifers on Hilton Head
The Manchester Daily Mirror, Dec. 20, 1862 reports that "Base ball is the favorite amusement at Hilton Head just at present" and notes a game among the 3rd New Hampshire Infantry in which Galvin's Drum Corps nine defeated Davis' Fifers nine 30-27.
The Manchester Daily Mirror, Dec. 20, 1862
1862.72 Town Ball club formed by Ohio Regiment in West Virginia
The Leavenworth (KS) Daily Conservative, May 18, 1862 prints a May 2 letter from a soldier in the 84th Ohio, Camp Union, Fayetteville, VA (now WV): "We are enjoying ourselves hugely. We have a town-ball club organized and a splendid field to play in. ..."
At this time town-ball was popular in Cincinnati (and Philadelphia and Evansville). Query if the unit had soldiers from that city.
The Leavenworth (KS) Daily Conservative, May 18, 1862
1862.73 14th NY Plays in Annapolis
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct. 11, 1862, under the headline "Ball Playing in the 14th Regiment," reports that in Annapolis on the 6th, Oline's nine defeated Pendleton's, 34-21.
The Eagle wrote a lot of stories on the 14th, which appears to have had many prewar ballplayers.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct. 11, 1862
1862.74 Town Ball at Shiloh Battlefield
The Mattoon Gazette, April 17, 1862 prints a letter from a soldier in the 7th IL, datelined Pittsburgh Landing, March 31, 1862: "Down on the parade ground the old time-honored games of 'ball pin,' and'town ball' have enlisted the attention of fifty or sixty soldiers..."
Pittsburgh Landing is where the 1862 battle of Shiloh was fought.
The Mattoon Gazette, April 17, 1862
1862.75 Confederates Play Ball at Fort Sumter
The Charleston Courier, July 29, 1862, reports on the Confederate army garrison at Fort Sumter: "On the dismissal of the parade, the soldiers entered with zeal into an animated ball play."
The Charleston Courier, July 29, 1862
1862.76 Ball playing, running and jumping
The Boston Daily Advertiser, April [Aug?] 8, 1862: "From the Army of Virginia [at Sperryville] Their labor is light, and time enough is left and to spare for them to enjoy themsleves as they wish, such as ball playing, running, and jumping."
The Boston Daily Advertiser, April [Aug?] 8, 1862
1862.77 42nd Ohio plays ball in Louisville
The Daily Cleveland Herald, April 5, 1862 prints a letter from the 42nd Ohio, in Louisville, April 1: "...the boys are out upon the lawn, playing ball, rolling on the grounds, turning summersaults &c."
The Daily Cleveland Herald, April 5, 1862
1862.78 Baseball at Camp Cleveland
Theodore Tracie's 1874 book, "Annals of the Nineteenth Ohio Volunteer Artillery" recalls soldier life in 1862 in Camp Cleveland (bounded by West 5th, Railway, West 7th and Marquardt) in what is now Tremont. Says that among other diversions, "Baseball games were played on the parade grounds."
1862.79 Exhilarating Game of Ball
The Burlington Daily Times, May 24, 1862, reports on state adjutant general Washbrn's visit to Vermonters in Camp near Yorktown. "When off duty they amuse themselves with quoits, the exhilarating game of ball, or in other harmless sports."
The Burlington Daily Times, May 24, 1862
1862.80 Union POWs seen playing ball in Macon
Croom, "The War Outside My Window" contains the diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham of Macon. The May 6, 1862 entry (p. 133): "In the evening went downtown and saw the Yankee prisoners. Some were drilling, others cooking, some played ball."
The was a POW facility, Camp Oglethorpe, in Macon.
Croom, "The War Outside My Window" p. 133
1862.81 VA Artillerymen play town ball
Walbrook Swank, "Confederate Letters" p. 70 prints a letter from Charles T. Shelton (1839-63), a UVA grad who served in Virginia's Botetourt Artillery:
Our company is engaged in a game of town Ball..."
From the online snippet it is unclear where/when the letter was written. The unit was transferred to East Tennessee in 1862, and in late 1862 was sent with Stevenson's division to defend Vicksburg, MS. He mentions the game was familiar from his days in school.
Walbrook Swank, "Confederate Letters" p. 70
1862.83 Irish Brigade plays near Richmond
Frommer, "Old Time Baseball" p. 36-37 lists an 1862 game of the Union's "Irish Brigade" seen by Confederates across the Chickahominy River, just east of Richmond, during the Peninsula Campaign.
Frommer, "Old Time Baseball" p. 36-37
1862.84 Soldiers Play Philadelphia Champs
Frommer, "Old Time Baseball" p. 36-37 lists an 1862 game where the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division [Army of the Potomac] played selected members of the Honey Run Club, the 1859 Philadelphia champs.
See 1863.49--same game, but put in a different year?
Frommer, "Old Time Baseball" p. 36-37
1862.85 76th NY plays baseball--or is it drive ball?
The 1862 letters of Lester Winslow, of the 76th NY, at the National Archives, feature stationary printed with the heading "Camp Doubleday" "76th New York" and show soldiers playing a bat-ball game. On this David Block writes:
"In the foreground of the illustration two soldiers face each other with bats, one striking a ball. Since no other players are involved, the only game that seems to correlate to the image is, in fact, drive ball. If not for Abner Doubleday's association, we would pay this little heed, but it is a matter of curiosity, if not amusement, to place baseball's legendary noninventor in such close proximity to a game involving a bat and ball." David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It (U Nebraska, 2005), page 198. See entry on Drive Ball.
Camp Doubleday, named for brigade commander General Abner Doubleday, was a fort protecting DC, near where Fort Stevens is/was.
1862.86 An interesting game of base ball in Oxford, MS
Jenkins Lloyd Jones, "An Artilleryman's Civil War Diary": "Near Oxford, Friday, Dec. 19th... The delightful weather succeeded in enticing most of the boys from their well worn decks [of cards] and cribbage boards,bring them out in ball playing, pitching quoits, etc. Tallied for an interesting game of base ball."
Dec. 19, 1862, near Oxford, MS. Jones was a member of the 6th WI Battery.
Jenkins Lloyd Jones, "An Artilleryman's Civil War Diary"
Dup of 1862.20?
1862.87 Maryland Confederates Play Town Ball
"Our only game out here is Town Ball and with the rest of the Maryland Boys we sometimes get up a game."
Diary of Edward Tilghman Paca, Oct. 26, 1862 entry, in Maryland Historical Magazine, 1994, p. 459.
Maryland Historical Magazine, 1994, p. 459.
1862.88 21st MA "played ball a good deal..."
James Madison Stone, "Personal Recollections of the Civil War" chapter 3 says that in mid-1862 "While at Newport News we had a rather pleasant time. We drilled a little, we played ball a good deal..."
Stone was with the 21st MA.
James Madison Stone, "Personal Recollections of the Civil War"
1862.89 71st NY enjoy themselves with a baseball game
The New York Sunday Mercury, June 29, 1862 reports on a baseball game between Co. K, 71st NY, and a picked nine from the rest of the 71st. The box score is given. Co. K lost 33-11, but they were all "enjoying themselves." Another game of the same regiment, same place, is reported in The New York Sunday Mercury, Aug. 3, 1862. The officers of the regiment gave a "splendid colaltion" after the match.
1862.93 71st NY gets treated to beer after a match
The New York Sunday Mercury, Aug. 17, 1862 gives the box score of a game between the 71st NY and the Washington Nationals. The Nationals won 28-13. The ballgame attracted a large crowd, including numbers of the "fair sex." Both teams retired to "sandwiches and lager" after the game.
1862.94 Union Army Parolees Play baseball at Camp Douglas
The New York Sunday Mercury, Oct. 26, 1862 reports on a game of baseball at Camp Douglas, the Confederate POW camp in Chicago, on the 22nd. between two teams of Union army parolees from Companies A and F, 5th NY Artillery. The latter won 15-14, with "good pitching" shown on both sides. Se also same, Nov. 9, 1862.
Parolees were army prisoners who were at home, awaiting exchange for enemy POWs.
1862.98 50th NC Plays ball in Eastern NC
"War Diary of Kinchen Jahu Carpenter" (1955) p. 9: "We drilled some, did picket duty, played ball..." This in the fall/winter of 1862, when the 50th was stationed in eastern NC.
1862.100 Mormon soldiers play ball in Wyoming
Fisher, "Utah and the Civil War" p. 52 quotes the diary of Dr. Harvey C. Hullinger, of Lot Smith's company of Utah volunteers, sent to guard the immigrant trails: "Friday, June 6, 1862... It rained this afternoon, and the men played ball."
The company was then camped at/near Independence Rock, a site on the Pioneer Trail that is today a historic site.
Is this the first baseball in Wyoming?
Fisher, "Utah and the Civil War" p. 52
1862.101 Artillerists play quoits and baseball
Hampton Smith (ed.), "Brother of Mine: The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie," feature the wartime letter of a member of the 1st MN light artillery. There are several mentions of Thomas playing baseball in camp:
p. 56 (letter from Corinth, MS, June 26, 1862): "As to exercise, quoits and base ball fill up every leisure moment I have..." (with quoits being his favorite)
p. 111 (letter from Lake Providence, LA, March 11, 1863): "We sleep sound and dreamless, fatigued by our exertions at Base Ball through the Day."
p. 123 (Lake Providence, April 11, 1863): mentions "my habits of playing cricket, quoits, and base ball..."
Hampton Smith (ed.), "Brother of Mine: The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie,"
1862.103 "A rare Sight I judge in North Carolina"
The Cambridge (MA) Chronicle Dec. 13, 1862 prints a letter from a soldier in the 44th MA Infantry, dated New Bern, NC, Nov. 29, 1862. Writer says they played base ball, "a rare sight I judge in North Carolina," on Thanksgiving Day.
The Cambridge (MA) Chronicle Dec. 13, 1862
1863.1 Ballplaying Peaks in the Civil War Camps
[A] "[In April 1863] the Third Corps and the Sixth Corps baseball teams met near White Oak Church, Virginia, to play for the championship of the Army of the Potomac."
[B] "Ballplaying in the Civil War Camps increased rapidly during the War, reaching a peak of 82 known games in April 1863 -- while the troops still remained in their winter camps. Base ball was by a large margin the game of choice among soldiers, but wicket, cricket, and the Massachusetts game were occasionally played. Play was much more common in the winter camps than near the battle fronts."
[C] Note: In August 2013 Civil War scholar Bruce Allardice added this context to the recollected Army-wide "championship game":
"The pitcher for the winning team was Lt. James Alexander Linen (1840-1918) of the 26th NJ, formerly of the Newark Eureka BBC. Linen later headed the bank, hence the mention in the book. In 1865 Linen organized the Wyoming BBC of Scranton, which changed its name to the Scranton BBC the next year. The 26th NJ was a Newark outfit, and a contemporary Newark newspaper says that many members of the prewar Eurekas and Adriatics of that town had joined the 26th. The 26th was in the Sixth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, stationed at/near White Oak Church near Fredericksburg, VA. April 1863, the army was in camp. The book says Linen played against Charlie Walker a former catcher of the Newark Adriatics who was now catcher for the "Third Corps" club.
"With all that being said, in my opinion the clubs that played this game weren't 'corps' clubs, but rather regimental and/or brigade clubs that by their play against other regiments/brigades claimed the Third and Sixth Corps championships.
"Steinke's "Scranton", page 44, has a line drawing and long article on Linen which mentions this game. See also the "New York Clipper" website, which has a photo of Linen."
[A] History. The First National Bank of Scranton, PA (Scranton, 1906), page 37. This is, at this time (2011), the only known reference to championship games in the warring armies.
As described in Patricia Millen, On the Battlefield, the New York Game Takes Hold, 1861-1865, Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 149-152.
[B] Larry McCray, Ballplaying in Civil War Camps.
[C] Bruce Allardice, email to Protoball of August, 2013.
[D] (((add Steinke ref and Clipper url here?)))
Note Civil War historian Bruce Allardice's caveat, above: "In my opinion the clubs that played weren't 'corps' clubs, but rather regimental or brigade clubs that by their play other regiments/brigades claimed the Third and Sixth Corps championships."
Is it possible that a collection of trophy balls, at the Hall of Fame or elsewhere, would provide more evidence of the prevalence of base ball in the Civil War?
1863.3 Diarist Records 12 References to Ball-Playing, 1863-1864
Edwin A. Haradon, a member of the 86th NY infantry [possibly from the Corning NY area], made 12 terse references to ballplaying from January 17, 1863 to April 15, 1864.
Most are simple diary notes like the first entry: “Staid around camp and plaid at ball and had a good time nothing else going on.”
Some other examples: “April 2  “went on picket plaid ball at the reserve 10:00 till 1:00 o’clock” April 6  “plaid at ball and saw the boys play drop ball.” April 15  “plaid ball some jumped some” April 30  “Laid around camp Saw the 40 and our boys play.” June 21  “Read some quite lonesome Saw the 73rd & 40th play ball some in the afternoon.” Haradon saw action at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg , and was wounded at Spotsylvania.
Civil War Diary of Edwin Albert Haradon. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 2009.
1863.4 MA Regiment Organizes a Baseball Club
“Not even regular guard and fatigue duty, drill and digging in the trenches could exhaust all of the energies of thee Massachusetts boys, so they must needs organize a baseball club, a thing they had never done in the month of January, and company rivalry ran high. The nine from Company I beat that of Company C to the tune of fifty to twenty-nine. It goes without saying that this was in the days of old-fashioned ball, when large scores were not unusual, and a phenomenally small one by no means argued a superior game.”
Alfred S. Roe, The Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Fifth Regiment Veteran Association, Boston, 1911) page 196 The book has no other reference to ballplaying. This passage appears in an account of late January 1863, and the camp was evidently near Newbern VA [a railroad terminus], about 45 miles SW of Roanoke in Southwest Virginia. Accessed at Google Books 6/609 via “fifth Massachusetts roe” search. The regiment comprised men from towns NW of Boston.
The unit was at New Bern, NC in January 1863. [ba]
1863.5 NJ Regiment Plays Ball on the Rappahannock in VA
The regimental history, writing of winter camp on the Rappahannock River in late January,: “The duties of a soldier’s life in camp were resumed. Drill, dress parade, inspection, picket and guard duty, policing, building roads, were the usual occupations. Amusements were encouraged and chess, checkers, baseball and athletic exercises helped to while away tedious hours.”
Camille Baquet, History of the First Brigade, New Jersey Volunteers (State of New Jersey, 1910), page 71. This is the only reference to ballplaying in the book, which covers 1861 to 1865. Accessed 6/6/09 on Google Books via “baquet ‘first brigade’’’ search.
1863.6 NY Private Plays a Lot of Ball Over Seven Weeks
The 1863 diary of George Brockway includes 10 entries on ballplaying from February 27 to April 17 1863. Most are terse, along the lines of the March 11 entry: “played ball.” On March 2 Brockway elaborated a little: “In the afternoon the Company played base ball. O yes made a batter club also.” Two entries cite extramural play. April 11: “The boys play a game of ball with the 77th N. Y. V and beat them 12 members.” April 14: “The boys play a match game of ball with the Jersey boys and got bet by 40.” There are no references to ballplaying after April 17, and Brockway’s diaries for his other 3.5 years as a soldier are not referenced.
George F. Brockway, Diary of 1863. Unpublished. Provided by Michael Aubrecht May 15 2009. The diary does specify Brockway’s location in spring 1863.
George F. Brockway of Auburn, NY was a saddler in Cowan's NY battery of artillery, attached to the VI corps. In early 1863 it was stationed near Fredericksburg, VA. Brockway moved to MI postwar. [ba]
1863.7 PA Unit Tries Cricket and Base-ball
In February 1863 the 48th PA took a steamboat to Newport News VA, where it camped for a month. From the regimental history: “Many amusements were indulged in during the stay at Newport News – horse racing, cricket matches, base-ball and the like. Leaves of absence became frequent.” This is the only reference to ballplaying. In late March the unit headed off to Lexington KY.
Oliver C. Bosbyshell, The 48th in the War (Avil Printing, Philadelphia, 1895), pp 102-103. Accessed 6/7/09 on Google Books via “bosbyshell 48th” search. The regiment formed in Schuylkill County of PA in late 1861, an area about 40 miles west of Allentown and 85 miles NW of Philadelphia.
1863.8 Wisconsin Soldier Reportedly “Died While Playing Wicket”
“March 2 . Jas Mitchell falls. Died while playing wicket.”
Diary entry, presumably by Captain Milo E. Palmer, 12th Regiment, in Deborah B. Martin, History of Brown County Wisconsin (S. J. Clarke Publishing, Chicago, 1913), page 216. The 12th Wisconsin was near “Coliersville” [Collierville?] TN in early March, according to the diary entries. Collierville is about 15 miles SW of Memphis. The 12th WI seems to have been raised in the Madison WI area. The book was accessed 6/7/09 on Google Books via “of brown county” search. No other cited diary entries refer to ballplaying. Caution: It is unconfirmed that “playing wicket” in this case referred to ballplaying. It seems plausible that wicket was played in the 1850s-1860s in WI, but it hardly seems a mortally risky game, and it seems possible that “playing wicket” has a military meaning here. Input from readers on this issue is most welcome.
1863.9 In Coastal SC: Union Men Played Ball “In Almost Every Camp”
The US had captured the Sea Island area of SC in 1861, and a group of anti-slavery advocates from Massachusetts ventured south to help educate former slaves in the region. In a letter home from “H.W.,” described as the sister of a Harvard man just out of college, wrote about seeing, on March 3, 1863, what she called “real war camps.” She listed daily work duties, and added, “in almost every camp we saw some men playing ball.” It appears the trip’s objective was “the 24th,” which seems to have been the 24th MA, where a cousin James was to be found.
Elizabeth Ware Pearson, Letters from Port Royal Written at the Time of the Civil War (W. B. Clarke, Boston, 1906), page 162. Accessed 6/7/09 on Google Books via “from port royal” search. Port Royal is about 15 miles north of Holton Head SC and about 40 miles NE of Savannah GA.
Note: can we determine what Union Army units were deployed to Port Royal and the Sea Islands in early 1863?
1863.10 5th Massachusetts Artillery Plays Base Ball, 1863-1864
The history of the Fifth MA Battery has four brief references to base ball from March 1863 to February 1864. Two soldiers’ diaries note games on March 11, March 29, and April 11 1863 in Falmouth VA. A Captain Phillips wrote from Rappahannock Station on February 23, 1864: “I am sitting at my desk with my door wide open, and the men are playing ball out of doors.”
History of the Fifth Massachusetts Battery [1861-1865] (Luther E. Cowles, Boston, 1902), pages 559, 564, 572, 774. Accessed . . .
1863.11 23-Year-Old Iowa Cavalryman Played Ball, Probably in SW Missouri
“Mar 13  Wrote a letter to George and one to father. In the afternoon played a game of ball. Mar 14 Played a game of ball in the afternoon. Bill rode my horse on the forage guard.”
James H. Cowan, “Cowan’s Civil War Diary,” transcribed by Juanita Lewis, accessed 6/7/098 at http://iagenweb.org/civilwar/regiment/cavalry/01st/cowan.html. The diary, noted as volume 2, covers from September 1862 through April of 1863. The website notes that Cowan was from northernmost Iowa. His location in early March is inferred, perhaps incorrectly, from towns named Springfield, Rollo (Rolla?), Salem in the Feb/March entries.
Cowan was in the 1st Iowa Cavalry. [ba]
1863.12 Line Officers of 17th Maine Play 9 Innings for an Oyster Dinner
“What think you, man of pen and scissors, of our hardships and sufferings, including the rigors of a winter campaign and other poetical ideas, when I tell you that the line officers of our Regiment played a match game of base ball last Saturday. The contest was between the right and left wings for the purpose of ascertaining which party should pay the expenses of an oyster supper.” The Left Wing won, 24-21, in a game evidently played by NY rules – nine players played nine innings and with 27 outs.
“From the 17th Maine Regiment,” Lewiston [Me] Daily Evening Journal, March 23, 1863, page 1. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The printed missive, signed “Right Wing,” is headed “Camp Pitcher near Falmouth, VA, March 15th 1863.” The full text of the Regiment’s history, The Red Diamond Regiment, by William Jordan, is not accessible online as of June 2009. Lewiston ME is about 35 miles N of Portland.
1863.13 Diarist in 8th Minnesota Mentions Ballplaying 4 Times – Maybe 5 Times
Lewis C. Paxson left Pennsylvania in 1862 to teach school in Lake City MN, joining the 8th MN in August of that year.
He very briefly refers to “playing ball four times: on March 16th 1863, September 16, 1863, September 22, 1863, and March 2, 1864. His most expansive entries were his first, “There was ball playing upon the west camp” [p. 113], and that for September 22, “Played leap frog. Played ball.” He called the game “baseball” in the 1864 entry.
Paxson also referred to wicket: On April 30 he wrote “We were mustered. Cronin hurt in playing wicket by being run against.” His entry for the next day was “The mail did not come. Cronin dies.” Caution: It is unconfirmed that “playing wicket” in this case referred to ballplaying. It seems plausible that wicket was played in the 1850s-1860s in MN, but it hardly seems a mortally risky game, and it seems possible that “playing wicket” has a military meaning here. Input from readers on this issue is most welcome.
Source: Collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Part II – Volume II (Tribune, Bismarck ND, 1908), pages 113, 115, 123, 132. It appears that Paxson’s service time from 1862 to 1865 was spent at Fort Abercrombie, ND, about 30 miles S of Fargo. The Fort, evidently meant to protect Minnesota territory, had been attacked by the Sioux in the Dakota War of 1862.
1863.14 Sergeant from 15th MA Plays Round Ball with 34th NY
At Falmouth VA, excerpts from the diary of Sgt Earle of the 15th MA notes games of ball with the 34th NY on March 18 and again on April 16, 1863 in the regimental history.
The historian, Andrew Ford, writes 35 years later that “during March and April ball playing is frequently mentioned in the diary. The game played in those days was the old-fashioned round ball. Practice games inside the regiment occurred almost daily, and there were several great games with the New York Thirty-Fourth. Our boys were so successful that the captain of the New York team gave up the contest with the admission that if they ‘had been playing for nuts his men wouldn’t even have the shucks.’ The interest taken in these games in the army as a whole almost rivaled that taken in the races, sparring matches, and cock-fights of Meagher’s troops.” Ford does not elaborate on how he concludes that round ball was played, or that the army as a whole was taking to base ball.
Andrew E. Ford, The Story of the Fifteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry [1961-1864] (W. J. Coulter, Clinton [MA?], 1898), pages 242 and 244. Accessed 6/8/09 on Google Books via “’fifteenth Massachusetts’” search. The 15th MA drew significantly from Worcester County MA. The 34th NY regiment was known as the “Herkimer Regiment,” with roots in Herkimer County in Upstate New York; the town of Herkimer is about 15 miles east of Utica on the Mohawk River. The game in this area that preceded the NY game may have been round ball.
1863.15 Soldier Under General Rosecrans Sees Ballplaying in Tennessee
E. L. Tabler’s Civil War diary runs from January 1863 through May 1864. In March 1863 he was camped near Murfreesboro TN. On March 25 1863 he wrote: “the boys enjoy themselves very well playing at Ball & pitching Horseshoes.” Tabler notes that his regiment has been taken over by John C. McWilliams; a John C. McWilliams is listed at a Captain in the 51st Illinois, which was in the Murfreesboro area in March 1863.
“1998 Transcription by William E. Henry of a Civil War Diary,”
http://www.51illinois.org/TablerDiaryRaw1863.pdf, accessed 6/8/09.
1863.16 Vermonters Play Ball in Virginia
The diary of Benjamin Franklin Hackett, of Rochester VT, describes ballplaying twice in the 7 months of his diary as a member of the 12th VT. On March 30, 1863, “near Wolf Run Shoals Va,” he wrote “very pleasant in afternoon. Boys played ball all the afternoon. In the same camp on April 14, he wrote “the boys are playing ball and are as cheerful as could be expected.”
Diary of Benjamin Franklin Hackett, provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. An article based on the diary appears as Elna Rae Zeilinger and Larry Schweikart, ““’They Also Serve . . .’: The Diary of Benjamin Franklin Hackett, 12th Vermont Volunteers, Vermont History, Volume 51, Number 2 (Spring 1983), pp.89 ff. The article accessed on Google Books via “’benjamin franklin Hackett’” search.
1863.17 In 19th MA Camp, “Base Ball Fever Broke Out” in 1863
John G. B. Adams of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment: “While in camp at Falmouth [VA] the base ball fever broke out. It was the old-fashioned game, where a man running the bases must be hit by the ball to be declared out. It started with the men, then the officers began to play, and finally the 19th challenged the 7th Michigan to play for sixty dollars a side. . . . The game was played and witnessed by nearly all of our division, and the 19th won. The one hundred and twenty dollars was spent for a supper . . . . It was a grand time, and all agreed that it was nicer to play base than minié [bullet] ball.”
Capt. John G. B. Adams, Reminiscences of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment (Wright and Potter, Boston, 1899), pp 60-61. Accessed 6/8/09 on Google Books via “reminiscences nineteenth” search. The regiment arose in northern MA, near the NH border.
1863.18 Base Ball [and Wicket] Played by the 10th Massachusetts
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.
1863.19 Eventual National League Prexy Sticks with Cricket in War Camp
Civil War, Famous
“[W]hile I played barn ball, one old cat and two old cat in early boyhood days, Cricket was my favorite game, and up to the time I enlisted in the army I never played a regular game of base ball or the New York game as it was then called. In my regiment we had eleven cricketers that had all played together at home and I was the leading spirit in getting up matches. We played a number of good matches but we were too strong for any combination that we could get to play against us, and we finally had to abandon cricket and + take up this so called New York game. I remember well the first game that I played. It was against the 27th NY Inf. at White Oak Church near Fredericksburg Va. In the Spring of 1863. I played occasionally during the remainder of the war, but after my discharge in 1865 I came to Washington and joined the American Cricket Club of this city. But I soon turned my attention to base ball + played with the Olympic Club of this city from 1866 to 1870.”
Nicholas Young was born in Amsterdam NY in 1840, and thus was playing the named games in the 1850s. He was a member of the 32nd NY Infantry, which was at Falmouth VA in spring 1863. He led the NL from 1881 to 1903.
Nicholas E. Young, letter to Spalding, December 2, 1904. Accessed at the Giamatti Center of the Baseball; Hall of Fame, 6/26/09, in the “Origins file.
Summarized in George Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 37.
Zoss and Bowman’s Diamonds in the Rough says that the 32nd had a cricket team and that Young played on it [p. 81].
From online sources we do learn that Young was born in Amsterdam NY, was picked for an all-upstate NY cricket team to play an all-NYC team in 1858, and that he joined the 32nd NY Regiment. The history of 27th NY Regiment, which sprang from the general area of Binghamton, does not mention ballplaying.
1863.20 Soldier: “Our Camp is Alive with Ball-Players”
In letters home written on April 6, and April 10, 1863 from Acquia Creek, VA, officer Mason Tyler wrote: “When I arrived this afternoon [from Washington] I found all the officers with Colonel Edwards at their head out playing ball. Games are all the rage now in the Army of the Potomac. [page 78]” A few later he wrote: “[T]he wind is fast drying up the mud. Our camp is alive with ball-players, almost every street having its game. My boy Jimmie is so busy playing that he hardly knows how to stop to do my errands. He can play ball with the best of them, and pitching quoits he can beat anybody in my company, captain and all. [page 78]”
“On November 20th  there was a baseball game between the Tenth and Thirty-Seventh, and the Thirty-Seventh won. [page 125]”
He wrote from Brandy Station VA in January 1864 to report on his recent reading, he added, “Sometimes we get up a game of ball, and now we have some apparatus for gymnastics, that occupies some of my time.” [page 131]”
Mason W. Tyler, Memoir of Mason Whiting Tyler, in Recollections of the Civil War (Putnams, New York, 1912) page 78. Provided by Jeff Kittel, May 12, 2009. Accessed 6/6/09 at Google Books via “mason whiting tyler” search. Tyler was a new Amherst College graduate when he enlisted, and was shortly elected a 1st Lieutenant.. PBall file: CW-XX.
Tyler was in the 37th MA. [ba]
1863.21 Pennsylvania Soldier Notes Ballplaying in the 12th PA
In a diary extending from 1862 to 1864, Sgt. Franklin Horner referred to ballplaying only on April 11, April 13, and April 18, 1863. The entries are brief: the most informative is: “April 11 Saturday – Warm and pleasant . . . . no news from our armies all quiet in front the boys are enjoying themselves by playing ball the health of the men is good I am well.”
Diaries of Franklin Horner, Company H, 12th PA reserves regiment volunteers. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The file states, “The diaries, in their original form, are part of the Curatorial Collection at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Their catalog numbers are as follows: 1862 Diary (GETT-6848), 1863 Diary (GETT-6850), 1864 Diary (GETT-6849).” It appears that in April 1863 the regiment camped in the Falls Church VA vicinity, a day’s march from Washington DC. The march to Gettysburg was ahead.
1863.22 Chaplain Reports Many Games of Ball in 16th New York
Chaplain Frank Hall of the 16th New York Infantry mentioned games of ball 10 times in his journal and letters home. [Note: we need to ascertain the range of actual dates; all seem to be for Feb. –April 1863.] All are passing references, like “Saturday, they had another splendid game of ball.” The men played on February 11, 1863, and Hall notes that “Gen. Bartlett came out . . . and played too & men from nearly the whole Brigade entered into the game. Col. Adams, shortly after Gen. Bartlett was called away & as he past on horseback someone threw the ball and it happened to pass right to his saddle bow. He caught it very gracefully & threw it back.”
In an April 11 1863 letter to his wife he describes the scene at camp. “I thought I would just write out the sheet to try & give you a picture of things a bit. I am sitting in the tent by the table on one of the three legged stools which I fixed with straps the other day. The day is delightful. The wind is pleasantly flapping the tent. The Jersey band back of it has just finished a delightful air. On the hill in front, to the left of the camp, the boys are playing a game of ball & a few men are to be seen in camp who are excused from picket.”
Frank Hall file, #BV-419-01, provided by Michael Aubrecht May 15, 2009. The 16th NY was drawn from northern counties, and included men from Plattsburg and Ogdensburg. The 16th was in northern VA in early 1863.
1863.23 Sgt. in the 6th Maine Reports “Huge Game of Ball” in VA
Sgt. Sewell G. Gray, 23, wrote in his diary entry for April 10, 1863: “. . . inspected at 1 o’clock p.m. by Captain Totten. This ended the duties of the day. I participated in a huge game of ball in the afternoon that proved disastrous to my powers of locomotion as it so lamed me that I can hardly stand on my pegs. Weather fine.” No other references to ballplaying are found.
“Diary of Captain Sewell Gray 1862 to 1863,” page 12. The 6th Maine was at Falmouth VA at this time. Gray died at the second battle of Fredericksburg in May 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009.
1863.24 Massachusetts Private Notes Eight April Games of Ball [One was Wicket]
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.
1863.25 Men in 59th NY Play Ball, Run, Pitch Quarters, Etc
“Dear Wife . . . . The boys have had fine Sport this Spring, playing Ball pitching quarters and other Sports, it has been fine weather for some time and the ground dry and hard. Last Evening after Dress Parade I could not resist the temptation of joining with the men in there sports. After playing ball for some time I changed the sport by running a foot race with Lt. Murphy, which created a considerable fun after which the whole Redg. joined with the 127th Redg. in the same Sport, officers as well as men.”
Letter from Ambrose F Cole to his wife, Jane Utley Cole, April 14, 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. Note: can we determine where the 59th was formed, and where it was in April 1863?
59th mostly from NYC. Was in Army of the Potomac, in VA in April 1863. [ba]
1863.26 19th MA bests 7th MI, Wins Stake of $110
“Falmouth April 27th, 63. Dear sister . . . we expect to move very soon perhaps to night other troops have been on the move all day the 19th Mass regt and the 7th Michigan have had a great game of ball to day the stakes were one hundred & ten dollars a side the Mass boys beat & won the money . . . write often.”
Letter from James Decker to Francis Decker, April 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. Other Decker letters suggest that Decker may have been from the Syracuse NY area. Note: identify Decker and his military unit?
1863.27 Weary Soldier Plays Ball a Little While
“April 26th 1863. “Another day has passed and I have made a full day in the pay rolls. I heartily wish they were finished for I am tired of them. After parade played ball for half an hour . . . I think we will certainly march in a day or two:
George French, Diaries for 1862 and 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. French was a sergeant in the 105th NY. Note: we need to re-examine the context for this reference; where was the 105th in April, where was French from. The regiment had some soldiers from Rochester NY, including many Irish immigrants.
The 105th was near Falmouth, VA that April. [ba]
In March 1863 the much-reduced 105th NY was consolidated with the 94th NY. The new unit acted as provost guard (military police) near Falmouth, VA in April 1863.
1863.28 Box Score Shows D Company Over H Company, 40-15
Near Falmouth VA in April 1863, two companies of the 11th New Jersey Regiment played a ball game for which a box score was preserved. Each team was captained by, well, a Captain, and each Captain captain inserted himself as leadoff hitter. The box shows a nine-player, nine-inning game [or maybe eight] with a three-out side-out rule. [There seem to have been no outs recorded in one nine-run half-inning, but let’s not be picky.] Captain Martin’s D Company rushed out to an 18-2 lead and coasted to a 40-15 win over Captain Logan’s H Company.
A handsome account of the game’s context, with the box score, is found in John W. Kuhl, “The Game,” Military Images, Volume 25, Number 3 (November/December 2003), pp. 19-22. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The article’s author reports that the box score appeared in the regimental history but does not give a further source. Sadly, both captains were to be killed at Gettysburg in a matter of weeks. The regiment’s history is Thomas D. Marbaker, The History of the Eleventh New Jersey Volunteers from its Organization to Appomattox (MacCrellish and Quigley, Trenton, 1898). It appears to be available online via the subscription site ancestry.com as of June 2009.
1863.29 From Union Camp, Rebs are “Daily Seen Playing Ball”
The New Haven Palladium said that “a letter from an officer of the 27th Regiment . . . goes on to say: from Falmouth [the VA camp] the rebels [defending Fredericksburg] are daily seen, playing ball and apparently enjoying themselves. When the river is narrow, our pickets and theirs hold daily conversations and make friendly exchanges of tobacco, coffee, &c.”
“Amenity,” New Haven Palladium, April 1, 1863. Accessed May 21, 2009, via Genealogybank subscription. The 27th CT, centered in New Haven. The online regimental history [Google search: “27th Connecticut Volunteers] appears to have no references to ballplaying.
1863.30 Herald Reports [Presumably] NY/NJ Match in Army of the Potomac
The Herald headline for an April 1863 article about Hooker’s Army of the Potomac promised “Fun and Sports in the Army: Base Ball Match – New Jersey vs. New York.” Unfortunately, no corresponding text is in the article as retrieved online. The dispatch from Virginia is dated April 28.
“Interesting from Hooker’s Army,” New York Herald, April 29, 1863. Accessed May 21, 2009 via subscription to Genealogybank. Note: can we locate the full text?
Same as 1863.40?
1863.31 New Jersey Eighth Trims New Jersey Fifth, 50 to 15
“A match game at Base Ball occurred between selected nines of the Fifth and Eighth New Jersey Regiments on Tuesday last, resulted in favor of the Eighth by a score of 50 to 15. . . . On the second innings the Eighth Regiment made 14 runs.”
“Base Ball in the Army,” Trenton State Gazette, April 30, 1863. Accessed May 20, 2009 via Genealogybank subscription. According to a fellow named Abner Doubleday, the 5th NJ was part of a “brilliant Counter-charge at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3: thus, the regiment and the match must have been in Virginia. [See A. Doubleday, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg (Scribners, New York, 1882), page 47.] An identical article appeared in the Newark Daily Advertiser on April 28, 1863 [provided by John Zinn on 3/10/09], and in the Daily State Gazette and Republican [City?] on 4/30/1864 [provided by John Maurath on 1/18/2009].
1863.32 In Virginia: Select Nine 29, 2nd NJ Brigade 15
“A match game of base ball was played near the banks of the Rappahannock on the 2nd inst., between selected nines of the 2d and 26th Regiments, and of the 2d New Jersey Brigade, resulting in favor of the former, 29 to 15. Among the players of the former were Lieuts. Linen [see file CW-65] and Neidisch [sic?] of the Eureka and Newark Clubs.”
Newark Daily Advertiser, June 6, 1863. Provided by John Zinn, March 10, 2009.
1863.33 Twenty Sixth NJ 20, Second NY 12, in Virginia
“On Saturday the 11th inst., a match game of ‘base ball’ came off upon the drill ground of the 1st N. J. Brigade, in Virginia, between the players of the 2nd Regt., and the 26th, the former being the challengers. It was witnessed with much interest by most of the Brigade . . . . “A challenge from the 26th is expected soon, when the 2nd hope to carry off the palm.”
“Local Matters. Base Ball in the Army,” Newark Daily Advertiser, April 15, 1863. Provided by John Zinn 3/10/09. Note: this game is also mentioned in passing in B. Gottfried, Kearney’s Own: the History of the First Jersey Brigade in the Civil War (Rutgers U Press, 2005), page 107.
1863.34 First New Jersey Brigade Plays Ball in 1863 and 1864.
Spring 1863: “The boredom became unbearable as the winter wore on. Mud was everywhere, limiting outside activities . . . . By the end of February, they walker a mile for wood, and the distance increased each day. During the long days the men also played chess, checkers, cards, and, when weather permitted, baseball and other athletic pursuits.”
Spring 1864: “The men played baseball and football as the weather moderated. ‘The exercise will do more toward restoring health in the regiment than all the blue pills in the medical department,’ noted Lucien Voorhees. Some men secured boxing gloves, and daily fights were all the rage.
Bradley M. Gottfried, Kearney’s Own: The History of the First New Jersey Brigade During the Civil War (Rutgers U Press, 2005), pages 100 and 157. Gottfried does not document these observations, other than briefly noting [p. 107] the 1863 game between the 2nd and the 26th Regiments noted in file CW-66. In 1863 the Brigade wintered at White Oak Church near Falmouth VA. Accessed 6/14/09 on Google Books via “’kearny’s own’” search; available in limited preview format.
1863.35 Correspondent Sees Playing Base Ball and Cricket As Common Pastimes
“The health of the entire Army remains good, and the men enjoy themselves by athletic exercises and other amusements between parades and drills, pitching quoits, playing base ball and cricket, and horse racing are their every day pastimes.”
“Penn,” [sic?] in “Our Army Correspondence,” [Pittsburgh?] Chronicle, Thursday, April 16, 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. This long piece focuses some on the “three Pittsburgh and Alleghany regiments, viz. Sixty-Second, One Hundred and Twenty-Third, and One Hundred and Fifty-Fifth,” but the remark about recreation does not appear to apply to them only. The correspondent writes from a camp near Falmouth, VA.
1863.36 Massachusetts Regiments Play NY Game Most, Mass Game Some
“All We two Compnys do is to drill 1 and ½ hower in th mornig gon gard once in two Weaks We play ball pitch quoits the rest of the time. We play the New York Gam most of the time. Mass Game some We Changle other Regement and thay us the 25 Mass is the Best plays 46 next 44 next 51 Nex Battarys Next 5 R.I. Last some exciting games to. Have a Greesy pole Grees Pig all sorts of games you can think of Card Domonuse, &c. . . . But How are the girls in M [Marlboro NH] . . . the Boys have bases up & are in a stem to have me play ball I supose I must go. . . [resuming later:] My side got 10 tales. The other side got 7 talies the sam wons are going to try it to morrow.”
Letter from Ora W. Harvey, April 15, 1863, from New Bern NC. Harvey, from Marlboro NH, was with the 46th MA. New Bern had been captured by the North in March 1862 and held for the entire war. Text and facsimile online via the Notre Dame rare book collection, accessed 6/14/09 via ”’msn/cw 5026-01’” search. Marlboro NH is just west of Keene NH, and about 20 miles north of the MA border. New Bern is near the Atlantic coast and is about 100 miles SE of Raleigh.
1863.37 Diarist at White Oak Church Camp in VA Plays Ball
“Friday, April 17, 1863 Quite a fine day. Boys all playing ball. Co. drills in the afternoon.
“Wednesday, April 22, 1863 Cool with some appearances of a storm. Played ball today and got somewhat tired.”
G. S. Stuart and A. M. Jakeman, Jr., eds., John H. Stevens: Civil War Diary (Miller Books, Acton ME, 1997), page 127. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 1863. Note: we need to ascertain Stevens’ home and unit; the 9th PA lists a soldier by this name as a 1st Lt., as does the 5th MI, as does the 5th ME, which seems the most likely unit.. Text is not found via Google Books in June 2009.
1863.38 In 10th MA: Ballplaying Has “Become a Mania” in 1863 Camp, Wicket Also Played in 1864
“The parade ground has been a busy place for a week or so past, ball-playing having become a mania in camp. Officers and men forget, for a time, the differences in rank and indulge in the invigorating sport with a school-boy’s ardor. [The account lists two recent inter-company games.] The game is the fashionable “New York Game,” played by nine on a side, and nine innings making a game. An undecided game is now pending between the Tenth Massachusetts and Thirty-Sixth New York regiments.”
Private Alpheris B. Parker, of the Tenth Massachusetts, on April 21, 1863, as cited [in part] in Ward and Burns, Baseball (Knopf, 1994), page 11. The original source is not there cited, but must be from a letter or diary written by Parker. The full quotation appears in J. K. Newell, Ours. Annals of 10th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, in the Rebellion (C. A. Nichols, Springfield, 1875), page 199. The author of the history indicates that he “pirated” material from men’s accounts, sometimes without attribution, as seems to be the case with this passage. The 10th lists an “Alpheus Parker,” from Colrain in NW MA, on its Company G rolls. The Tenth’s winter camp in 1862-63 was near Falmouth VA, and In April it stood on the eve of the Chancellorsville battle.
In April 1864 the 10th was camped near Brandy Station VA. Ours [page 256] suddenly lists ballplaying on seven days between April 13 and May 3. Wicket was played on April 13 [10th vs, 37th] and April 23rd [10th vs 37th]. Base ball was played on April 18 [10th vs. 2nd RI], April 26 [10thj vs, 2nd RI], April 28 [officers of 120th vs. officers of 37th], April 30 [10th vs. 1st NJ, and May 3 [Company I vs. Company I]. The next day they all left for the Battle of the Wilderness.
Ours was accessed 6/14/09 at Google Books via “ours annals” search.
The New York Sunday Mercury, April 26, 1863 reports on the 10th/36th game, played on the 20th in the rain to a 20-20 tie [ba].
1863.39 2nd NY Plays 9th NJ for $300.00
“April 22d pleasant. On wood detail this morning. This afternoon the 9 best base ball players of the 2 New York Troy regiment play with the best 9 Jerseymen in our brigade for 300.00. The Jersey boys beat 20 inings & a ining not played.”
Heyward Emmell, Journal, April 22 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. It would seem that Emmell was not familiar with base ball, or the game was played by unusual rules. A NPS research note places Emmell in the 7th NJ regiment, which may have been in the same brigade as the 2nd NY and 9th NJ. Note: the men were about to fight at Chancellorsville in VA, but we do not know the location of this game.
The New York Herald, April 29, 1863, appears to report this game, in a letter datelined April 24 from "near the Rappahannock." The 2nd brigade, 2nd division, Army of the Potomac included 4 NJ regiments and the 2nd NY. A team from the 5th/7th/8th NJ played the 2nd NY for $100 a side and "betting ran high." NJ won. Gives a box score.
The New York Herald, April 29, 1863
The 7th NJ was stationed near Fredericksburg, VA at this time.
1863.40 Bettors Beware: NJ Soldiers Upset 2nd NY, 34-11: Daily Inter-regimental Play is Reported
“[O]ur camp was made merry by the common prevalence of a variety of sports. Horse racing was quite extensively practiced, the presence of the paymasters enabling the officers to make up purses with much freedom. . . . In the Second Brigade of the Second division base ball became the popular amusement, and matches between regiments were of every day occurrence. The brigade counts for New Jersey regiments and one (the Second) from New York. The Jerseymen had played a number of matches between themselves, when the New Yorkers challenged the first nine from all the Jersey regiments to a match for $150 a side. The game was played on Tuesday, and attracted a large crowd. Betting ran high, with odds at the outset in favor of the New Yorkers. The playing was spirited on both sides; but the Jersey boys displayed the greater skill, and quickly turned the popular enthusiasm. They won the match on their eighth innings by twenty-three runs.” An elaborate box score is included.
“Near the Rappahannock, April 24, 1863: Sports in Camp,” New York Herald, April 24, 1863. Provided by John Maurath, January 18, 2008. Note: our image is truncated in the middle of the box score, and more text may appear in the full article. The NJ nine comprised 5 players from the 8th NJ, 3 from the 7th NJ, and 1 player from the 5th NJ.
The Trenton State Gazette carried a brief account of this game on May 2, 1863. It reported the final score as 34-14, the stakes were $100 a side, and noted that the 2nd NY was from Troy NY.
Same as 1863.30?
1863.41 High-Stakes Matches Dot VA as Winter Camps Thaw Out
“I thought we should have been half way to Richmond before this time, but here we are all very much taken up with base ball playing recently. Yesterday the fifth N. Jersey played the rest of the Brigade for $100 a side and we beat them, to day we played the second New York on the same terms and beat them, and tomorrow the Eight New Jersey playes the second N.Y. for $300 a side, and then we play the Sickles Brigade.”
Stanley Gaines, 7th NJ, to his sister from “Camp near Falmouth Va April 22d/63. In an earlier letter to a friend on April 14, 1863, Gaines had written, “Morality is certainly at a low ebb in the army, more preferring to play ball than to go to church, but a more generous open hearted and jolly crew than our soldiers it is hard to find.” Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009.
1863.42 Union Army Captain Sees Base Ball Good for Morale, and Health Too
General Joseph Hooker, Union Army
[A] “The Rochester Evening Express published a letter from a soldier dated March 31, 1863, saying the Union Troops near what is now Leeland Station in Stafford were amusing themselves by running races and ‘playing ball, the latter being the favorite amusement or our correspondent. ‘We played nearly all day yesterday, our gallant Colonel looking on with as much pleasure as though he had a hand in . . . . (Quite a number of spectators assembled on our parade ground to witness the expertness of our officers, as they were practicing a match-game with the commissioned officers of the veteran 13th.) I learn that the 108th Regiment and the 14th Brooklyn Regiment were to play a match game of ball to-day for a purse of $25. . . . It may appear that we should be engaged in something else beside playing base ball, but I tell you it is one of the best things in the world to keep up the spirits of the men, , and not only that, but it is of vast importance to their health, and necessary to the development of their muscle . . . . The old veteran Joe (Gen. Joseph Hooker) himself can be seen out on the field encouraging the boys on as earnest as if he were on the battlefield.”
[B] In a 2001 article, Allison Barash cites parts of this communiqué, and adds that the writer was “Captain Patrick H. “True Blue” Sullivan of the 140th New York Volunteers, who had played for Rochester’s Lone Stars Club before the war and was obviously hopelessly addicted to the game, left many written statements of Civil War ballgames.” She does note give a source for this passage or the other writings.
[A]Michael Zitz, “Soldiers Recount Stafford Baseball Games,” carried on the Fredericksburg.com website, accessed 6/14/2009. Google search <of the veteran 13th>.
[B]Allison C. Barash, “Baseball in the Civil War, The National Pastime (January 2001), pp 17-18. Stafford VA is about 10 miles north of Fredericksburg and 65 miles north of Richmond.
1863.43 Floridian: “Game of Ball . . . Has Become a Great Amusement Here”
“William D. Rogers closed a letter to his parents by confessing he was stopping to ‘join the Boys in a game of Ball which has become a great amusement here.’”
J. S. Sheppard, “’By the Noble Daring of Her Sons; The Florida Brigade of the Army of Tennessee,” (PhD Dissertation, Florida State U, 2008), page 200. Sheppard’s citation: “William D. Rogers to Dear Papa and Mother, April 17, 1863. William D. Rogers Letters, 1862-1865.” Thesis accessed 6/15/09 via Google Scholar search “’noble daring’ Sheppard.’’ Rogers’ unit was evidently at winter quarters near Tullahoma TN then, about 80miles SE of Nashville and 245 miles N of the Alabama border. Rogers was from Alabama.
1863.44 Florida Sergeant Notes Baseball Fever – Well, Town-Ball Fever, Actually
“Roddie Shaw wrote that baseball fever also swept through his regiment, mentioned ‘while I write the Regt. Is engaged in a game of town-ball one of our greatest sources of amusement.’”
J. S. Sheppard, “’By the Noble Daring of Her Sons; The Florida Brigade of the Army of Tennessee,” (PhD Dissertation, Florida State U, 2008), page 200. ’’ Sheppard’s citation: “Roddie Shaw to My Dear Sister, May 17, 1863. FSA, Tallahassee, FL.” Thesis accessed 6/15/09 via Google Scholar search “’noble daring’ Sheppard.” Shaw’s 4th FL unit was evidently at winter quarters near Tullahoma TN then, about 80miles SE of Nashville and 245 miles N of the Alabama border. Shaw was from Quincy, FL, which is about 20 miles NW of Tallahassee and about ten miles S of the Georgia border.
1863.45 10th Maine Played “Time-Honored Game of Base-ball”
“Occasionally they indulged in the amusing and time-honored game of base-ball, but not infrequently they were called from this pleasure, to some arduous and important duty.”
William Whitman and Charles True, Maine in the War for Union (Dingley, Lewiston, 1865), page 247. It seems clear from context that ballplaying was not infrequent. It is unclear from the phrasing whether they played the NY game or an old-fashioned form. The passage seems to imply that the game was played in 1862-1863 winter camp; the Tenth ME was at Stafford Court House VA from January to April 1863.
1863.46 New York Soldier Seeks Baserunning Rule from Clipper
“A sergeant from the 62nd N.Y. Volunteers wrote to the New York Clipper sporting weekly on May 30 of 1863 to clarify the rules as he knew them: ‘That in making a home run in a game of baseball the runner is allowed to run 2’ either side of the bases without touching them. I claim that he is obligated to touch each base as he passes it; . . . To play now in N.Y. is to touch the base in all cases; so that the matter is settled, and the rules can now be interpreted correctly.’”
Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books,2001), page 20. The 62nd NY, recruited from New York City, had fought at Chancellorsville in early May, sustaining its heaviest casualties, and Gettysburg was a month ahead. Note: can we obtain the article?
1863.47 Ballplaying Watched by “Great Crowds of Soldiers,” and Some Play at Verge of Battle
“Another favorite amusement in the corps was the game of base ball. There were many excellent players in the different regiments, and it was common for the ball-players of one regiment or brigade to challenge another regiment or brigade.’ He added: ‘These matches were watched by great crowds of soldiers with intense interest.’”
George T. Stevens, Three Years in the Sixth Corps (Gray, Albany, 1866), page 183. Accessed on Google Books 6/15/09 via “’three years with the sixth’” search. (Part of this passage is cited in George B. Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, (Princeton U Press, 2003), page 37). Stevens’ 77th NY was in winter camp at White Oak Church, near Falmouth VA, in 1862-63. Stevens was a regimental surgeon.
Stevens [page 191] also reports that, awaiting the assault on Chancellorsville, even as the sounds of nearby clashes rolled in, “the thundering of the guns and the trembling of the earth seemed like a series of earthquakes. The spirit of our boys rose, and the battle on the right progressed, and there seemed to be indications of work for them. Groups might be seen at any time, when we were not standing in the line of battle, telling yarns, singing songs, playing ball, and pitching quoits, while they momentarily looked for the order to advance upon the heights, into the very jaws of death.”
1863.48 11th MA and 26th PA Play by Mass Game Rules for $50 a Side.
“That June a correspondent to the [New York] Clipper reported a match following the Massachusetts game rules played for $50 a side between Massachusetts’ Eleventh Regiment and the Twenty Sixth of Pennsylvania. He noted: ‘we have four clubs in our brigade, and there are several more in the division.’”
George B. Kirsch, Base Ball in Blue Gray (Princeton U Press, 2003), page 39. The 26th had fought in the May 1863 Chancellorsville battle, seems likely to be in Virginia in June, perhaps back at Falmouth. Kirsch does not specify the date of the Clipper article. It seems unusual that a MA – PA game would have been featured in a New York paper. Note: can we locate this article?
1863.49 Union Men Celebrate Thanksgiving with “Grand Game of Townball”
“During the [Thanksgiving] holiday of 1863, twenty picked men from the brigade [2nd Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac] and some of the members of the old ‘Honey Run Club’ from the Germantown, Pennsylvania area reportedly played ball.”
Patricia Millen, Passion to Pastime: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), page 24. Millen cites the New York Clipper for November 14th and November 28, 1863. The location of the game is not indicated in the book.
See also 1862.84. The Clipper of Nov. 14th indicates that the game would be town ball, played on the 25th at the parade ground of the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac, then stationed in VA.
1863.50 Rebel Soldier Plays “Fine Game of Town Ball” in Georgia
“As Confederate soldier Corporal William Harding wrote while stationed in Georgia in 1863, ‘had a fine game of Town ball which gave me good exercise. . .’”
Patricia Millen, Passion to Pastime: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), page 19. Millen cites “Harding, John. Letter. Cooperstown, NY: National Baseball Hall of Fame Library. 1863.” Note: can we obtain a facsimile of the letter, and determine Harding’s unit and the GA location of the game?
Same as 1863.57?
1863.51 Base-Ball and Foot-Ball Were Favorite Amusements”
“[Horse] [r]aces were a favorite amusement of the men in this camp . . . . Foot-races among the men wre frequently indulged in, not for the purpose of developing any retreating qualities. These were always exciting, and usually afforded themes for discussion and conversation for one day at least. Base-ball and foot-ball were favorite amusements among the soldiers, and afforded recreation which was highly appreciated.”
Rev. Geo. W. Bicknell, History of the Fifth Regiment Maine Volunteers (Hall L. Davis, Portland, 1871), page 298. Bicknell writes this of the 63/64 winter camp. The camp was at White Oak Church, near Falmouth VA – which is about 3 miles NE of Fredericksburg.
1863.52 At Winter Camp, Pleasant Days Saw Base-Ball or Wicket
“[T]he Thirty-Seventh provided liberal physical recreation. Nearly every pleasant day in the intervals between drills a game of base-ball or ‘wicket’ formed a center of attention for the unemployed members of the brigade; these games were becoming largely inter-regimental, a variety of ‘teams’ were organized throughout the brigade, some of which became very proficient. If a fall of snow prevented the regular pastime, it only furnished the opportunity for another, and many a battle of snow-balls was conducted. . . . ”
James L. Bowen, History of the Thirty-Seventh Regiment, Mass. Volunteers (Bryan and Co., Holyoke), 1884), page 260. In winter 1863/1864 the regiment, and evidently its brigade, was at “Camp Sedgwick” on the Rapidan River in VA.
The regiment was in a camp at Warren Station VA [near Petersburg], the 37th history [page 406] paints this early spring 1865 tableau: “As the warming weather of early succeeded the interminable storms of the severe winter, and the hoarse voice of the frog began to resound from the surrounding marshes, games of quoits and ball became possible on the color line and mingled with the good news of the collapsing of the rebellion in other directions.”
1863.53 In Virginia: Tenth Mass 15, First New Jersey 13
“A game between the ‘first 9’ of the 1st New Jersey and the 10th Massachusetts was also recorded in the New York Clipper as being played near Brandy Station [VA] on May 14, 1863 – the 1st New Jersey losing 15 to 13.”
Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books,2001), page 26. Note: can we obtain the article?
1863.54 In VA Camp, “Base Ball was the Popular Amusement”
“On the 25th [of March 1863] all cartridges were taken up, and fresh ammunition issued. From this time till after the fist of April, ‘base ball’ was the popular amusement in camp, and a select nine from our regiment played many games and return games with the 32nd New York Regiment, the 27th winning a good share of the games. The sharp exercise put the men in good condition after the winter of idleness in their tents and cabins.”
C. Fairchild, History of the 27th Regiment N. Y. Vols (Carl and Matthews, Binghamton NY, 1888), page 153. The regiment was camped near Falmouth VA.
1863.55 First and Second Nines of 9th NY Prevail at Yorktown VA
“The ‘first team’ of the Ninth New York Regiment beat the Fifty-first New Yorkers 31-34 [sic] at Yorktown Virginia, in 1863. But a few days later the ‘second nine’ of the two units played, with the Ninth Regiment triumphing by the fantastic score of 58-19!”
Bell Irvin Wiley, The Common Soldier in the Civil War, Book One, “The Life of Billy Yank,” page 170. Unavailable online in full text June 2009. Wiley’s footnotes are complicated, but it seems most likely the this account comes from “diary of Charles F. Johnson, March 4, 8, 1863, manuscript Minn. Historical Society.” It is unclear that the 9th was near Yorktown in early March. Note: can we confirm or disconfirm this Wiley reference?
[ba]--the book "The Long Roll" is the wartime journal of Charles F. Johnson, 9th NY, and undoubtedly is Wiley's source (or the same as Wiley's source). Pages 215-217 note these games, which were played in camp near Newport News, VA. "Frank Hughson, President of the Hawkins Zouaves Baseball club" accepted a challenge from the 51st NY. Wagers were made, and the games played March 4 and 8, 1863. Graham, "The Ninth Regiment, New York Volunteers" p. 405 and the published Letters of Edward King Wightman, p. 121, also mention these games.
1863.57 Georgia Corporal Plays Town Ball
May 16th, 1863. “We have had a fine game of Town Ball which gave me good Exercise, and I was on the Side that beat.” May 28th, 1863. “We have [jus]t had a fine game of Town Ball and I was on the Beating Side. Nothing can beat me and Sergeant. Jones. He is a first rate man.”
Letters from Corporal William Harden, Company G, 63rd Infantry Regiment, Georgia Volunteers, to his wife, written from just east of Savannah at “Thunderbolt.”. Accessed 6/26/09 at the Giamatti Center of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Civil War file. The 63rd formed in Savannah, and Harden had previously lived in Pike County, which is directly south of Atlanta.
Same as 1863.50?
1863.58 Ballplaying on the Lines at the Siege of Vicksburg
“The civil war, however, arrested the development of the new game [base ball] for a time. It was played during the war in camps all over the south. Regiments and companies having their teams. Sergeant Dryden, of an Iowa regiment, relates that during the long waits in the trenches before Vicksburg, the Union and Confederate soldiers jokingly challenged each other to play baseball, and that during the brief truces the men of his company and the enemy played catch from line to line.
“’We were throwing and catching the ball belonging to our company ne day,’ he relates, ‘when firing commenced afresh and the men dived into their holes. There was a big fellow named Holleran who, after we got to cover, wanted to go over and whip the ‘Johnny Reb’ who hd stolen our ball. The next morning during a lull in the firing, that ‘Reb’ yelled to us and in a minute the baseball came flying over the works, so we played a game on our next relief.’”
The siege of Vicksburg MS occurred from late May to July 4 1863. Many Iowa regiments participated.
J. Evers and H. Fullerton, Touching Second: The Science of Baseball (Reilly and Britton, Chicago, 1910), pages 21-22. Accessed 6/28 on Google Books via “touching second” search. This book provides no source for the Dryden passage.
Note: can we locate an original source for the Dryden data?
I can't find a mention of this in any online newspaper. A Carlton Dryden, Sgt. in the 10th Iowa, is the likeliest candidate for the "Sgt. Dryden" mentioned.
1863.59 General Supports Ballplaying by RI Unit
The regimental history of the First Rhode Island Artillery, covering 1861-1865, contains 13 references to ball-playing between August 1863 and January 1864. It also shows several other more general references to playing games, some of them pitting different regiments, starting in August 1861. A General Hayes is mentioned as watching several games, sometimes along with his wife.
The most detailed of the ballplaying entries occurred on January 25, 1864, in winter camp near Brandy Station VA: :On the 25th we had a fine game of ball in honor of General Hays, who had sent to Washington for balls and bats to enable us to play to good advantage. When the general and his wife came galloping into camp, with a number of officers and ladies, our captain went out to greet them and said: ‘Ah! general, I suppose you would like to see the battery on drill.’ The general quickly replied: ‘No; I want to see them play ball, which they can do better than any men I ever saw.’” Few other entries are more than minimal references. A typical example is for August 21, 1863: “The 21st was another fine day. The men continued to engage in different sports, and there were ball games, jumping, putting the shot, and other amusements.”
Thomas M. Aldrich, The History of Battery A: First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery (Snow and Farnham, Providence, 1904), pages 272-273. Accessed 6/28/09 on Google Books via “’history of battery a’ aldrich” search. In August 1863 the regiment was back in Virginia from the Battle of Gettysburg, and in January it was in winter camp near Brandy Station. The Hays passage appears without citation in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 41. Millen reports that Aldrich and a member of the 13th MA “believed or were thought to have believed, based on their track record of wins in the army, that their teams could have beaten any of the professional teams of the 1890. She does not give an original source for this, but cites L. Fielding, “Sport: The Meter Stick of the Civil War Soldier,” Canadian Journal of History of Sport, May 1978, pp 17-18.
1863.60 New Bats and Balls Arrive, But 91st NY Loses Again
“Saturday, November 21, 1863. Fine and cool. The Base Ball match comes off and the 91st gets beat by two runs and the[y] come home jolly.”
From a telephone auction offering that has this description: “Fascinating personal journal was carried on the person of 91st New York Volunteer Infantry Private Edwin Keay during the Union Army campaign of 1863 through the bayous and battlefields of Louisiana. . . Diary is perhaps most valuable, however, for its several mentions of the game of baseball, which are all but impossible to find in journals from the war . . . . ‘Thursday, December 3 . . . The new bats and balls have come up and the match takes place this afternoon . . . the 91st gets beat.’” Accessed at the Giamatti Center of the Baseball Hall of Fame [Civil War file] on June 26, 2009. The auction clip is not dated. The 91st was organized in Albany. It was garrisoned at New Orleans for much of 1863 and early 1864. Note: does the December entry imply that the Union Army supplied bats and balls to the troops? Note: It appears that other baseball-related entries are in the diary. Can we find it? A copy of a Keay diray, possibly a later one, is reportedly held as item MDMS-5433 in the Maryland Manuscript Collection [Keay spent some of 1865 stationed in Baltimore].
1863.61 Drawing Shows 1st NJ Artillery Playing Ball Game on a Diamond
A large drawing reposing in the Civil War file at the Giamatti Research Center at the Baseball Hall of Fame shows nine men in uniform playing a game conspicuously located on a diamond-shaped infield. The Caption: Camp of Battery B, 1st NJ Artil. Near Brandy Station Va.” The drawing, noted as “never-before published,” is reproduced opposite page 25 in Patricia Millan, From Pastime to Passion (Heritage, 2001). The ballplaying depiction is on the primitive side, and reveals little about the game played. There appear to be two balls in play, and one may be served to the batsman in a gentle toss from a soldier standing next to the batsman. The 1st NJ Artillery formed at Hoboken NJ in 1861. It fought mostly in Virginia, and its winter camp for ’63-’64 was near Brandy Station.
1863.65 Ravaged By War
Business of Baseball, Civil War
The Sunday Mercury, in its summary of the (NABBP) meeting on December 13, 1863, first noted that the disappointing attendance (28 clubs, compared to 32 in 1862)...The convention’s action in dropping 29 clubs, one more than attended the meeting, from the rolls because of inactivity in 1862 and 1863 indicated the scope of the war’s impact...In addition to diminished activity in New York City, Brooklyn, Boston, and Philadelphia, the widespread formation of clubs and beginning of match play in the west and in some southern states before the war came to a halt in most locales. The contributors to Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870 (Morris et al, eds.,2012) found interclub play on a regular basis continuing in 1863 only in upstate New York and in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, including its inauguration that year at the University of Michigan. Other places, such as Baltimore, Washington, D. C., Altoona and Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, Chicago and Freeport, Illinois, St. Louis, and perhaps San Francisco) retained single clubs that relied on rare intercity visits for interclub competition. In a far greater number of locales, from Minnesota to Louisiana and from Maine to Augusta and Macon, Georgia, organized play apparently ceased.
Robert Tholkes, "A Permanent American Institution: The Base Ball Season of 1863", in Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, Vol. 7 (2013), pp. 143-153
1863.66 They didn't know the rules!
The members of the Chicago Light Artillery (Taylor's Battery) played baseball at the army's base at Young's Point, LA (across the Mississippi River from Vicksburg), in April of 1863. According to soldier Israel P. Rumsey, the soldiers broke out their balls and bats and "played Base Ball according to the rule for the first time" even though nobody could agree on exactly what the rules were! Rumsey's diary is quoted in Bjorn Skaptasan, "The Chicago Light Artillery at Vicksburg," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Autumn/Winter 2013, p. 422-462 at 438
Bjorn Skaptasan, "The Chicago Light Artillery at Vicksburg," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Autumn/Winter 2013, p. 422-462 at 438
1863.67 Excelsior Club Expels Turncoat Surgeon
"A Base Ball Player Turned Rebel – The Excelsior Base Ball Club of Brooklyn recently expelled one of its members, A.T. Pearsall, for deserting the flag of the Union, and going over to the rebels. He was a physician, and doing a good business. During the past winter he left, and no one knew where he had gone. Some time since he was heard from in Richmond, Va., as a Brigade Surgeon, on the rebel General Morgan’s staff. He had charge of some Union prisoners, taking them along the streets of Richmond, when he recognized a gentleman of Brooklyn, formerly a member of the Excelsior Club, and entered into conversation. He asked particularly about Leggett, Flanley, Creighton, and Brainerd, whom, as members of the Club, he wished particularly to be remembered to. These facts came to the knowledge of the Club, and they expelled him by a unanimous vote."
New York Clipper, July 4, 1863.
1863.68 24th Wisconsin Plays Baseball
"Nothing of importance has
transpired in the Twenty-fourth since I wrote you last, except the
regular routine of camp life. The Regiment went to Selma, a little town
about five miles from camp, on a light trip. They parted on the 4th and
came back the 13th. The Brigade was thrown out as a picket. The boys
amused themselves while there in making briar-root pipes, gobbling up
sheep, calves, porkers, etc., and playing base ball, which afforded
them a good deal of fun. "
Milwaukee Sentinel, Feb. 26, 1863, per 19cbb post by Dennis Pajot, Dec. 21, 2009
Also same, Feb. 27, 1863
1863.69 19th IL vs. 69th Ohio
In May of 1863 the Turchin Boys of the 19th Illinois (Basil Turchin was colonel of the 19th) played a team from the 69th Ohio, on the drill ground just outside the Union army camp at Murfreesboro, TN.
This Turchin team played a wartime game in Chicago (see protoball entry).
Cincinnati Inquirer, Feb. 25, 1879
1863.70 10th Vermont loves its Baseball
The Vermont Watchman, April 3, 1863, prints a letter from the 10th Vermont Infantry Regiment, camped at Conrad's Ferry, MD, stating that now the ground is drying up from winter, "base ball has come into vogue."
Conrad's Ferry is now known as White's Ferry. It's on the Potomac River.
1863.71 Ball Playing a "Favorite Amusement"
The Middletown (NY) Whig Press, April 8, 1863 prints a letter from a soldier in the "Tenth Legion" (56th NY) datelined St. Helena Island [near Port Royal], March 21, 1863: "Ball playing is a favorite amusement with them. They, however, are tired of inactivity, and long for a chance to meet the foe."
The Middletown (NY) Whig Press, April 8, 1863
1863.72 Soldiers confront idleness with ball playing
The Akron "Summit County Beacon," Sept. 10, 1863 prints a letter from "The Encampment of Camp Cuyahoga" (in Cleveland) saying that on the 25th "the day was spent in idleness and ball playing" because needed quartermaster supplies had not yet arrived.
The Akron "Summit County Beacon," Sept. 10, 1863
1863.73 CT soldiers indulging in ball playing and swimming
The Hartford Courant, Feb. 24, 1863 prints a letter about CT soldiers in Newport News, VA: "The soldiers are delighted with the position--were indulging in ball playing and swimming."
The Hartford Courant, Feb. 24, 1863
1863.74 No fear of breaking windows
The Elyria Independent Democrat, March 15, 1863 prints a letter, dated Feb. 15th, from Corporal H. J. Hart of the 8th Ohio, in camp near Falmouth VA: "While I write this Monday morning, the boys are having a game of ball nearby. We play ball near the house without fear of breaking windows."
The Elyria Independent Democrat, March 15, 1863
1863.75 Ohio soldiers play at Lexington, KY
The Summit County Beacon, March 26, 1863 prints a letter from a soldier in the 104th Ohio, datelined Lexington, March 15th: "The 19th Battery Boys have enjoyed themselves hugely this past week, playing ball. The 104th has also participated in the game and take hold of it as gayly as they were wont to do upon the old school house green in days of yore."
The Summit County Beacon, March 26, 1863
1863.76 Hawkeyes beat Suckers in Corinth, MS
The New Albany (IN) Daily Ledger April 4, 1863, reprints a letter from a soldier in Corinth, MS, dated March 29, 1863, saying that yesterday a base ball team from the 2nd Iowa defeated a team from the 52nd IL 100 to 77. The letter-write avers that "'Base Ball' does a good service in killing off the 'blues.'"
See also the Davenport (IA) Daily Gazette, April 18, 1863.
The New Albany (IN) Daily Ledger April 4, 1863
1863.77 New York Regiments play in camp near Falmouth
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 2, 1863, headlined "Base ball in camp," reports that on April 19th, the 1st Long Island Volunteers (67th NY) played the 62nd New York. See also The New York Sunday Mercury, April 26, 1863.
At this time the 2 units were part of the VI Corps, stationed near Falmouth, VA.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 2, 1863
1863.78 Base Ball relives the monotony
The Madison State Journal, June 4, 1863 prints a Wisconsin soldier's letter from Columbus, KY dated May 31, 1863: "There have been no guerrilla raids or threatened attacks to relieve the monotony of camp and garrison life: but the foot race and the game of base ball have been substituted..."
The Madison State Journal, June 4, 1863
1863.79 Thousands of soldiers playing ball
The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1863, reports on the camps of the Army of the Potomac, opposite Fredericksburg, VA: "...in camp the man are out by thousands playing ball, pitching horseshoe quoits, running foot races and indulging in other athletic sports."
The camps were near Falmouth.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1863
1863.80 New Years Day on Hilton Head
"The New South" Jan. 3, 1863 reports a game on New Years Day among Major Van Brunt's provost guard. He was major of the 47th New York.
"The New South" Jan. 3, 1863
1863.81 Base Ball a "common game of amusement"
The Canton (Ohio) Repository, July 1, 1863 prints a letter from Dr. Lewis Slusser, June 18, 1863, stationed near Murfreesboro, TN with the Army of the Cumberland: "The leisure time of our men is variously employed. Cricket, base ball, pitching horse shoes, cards, chess and checker are the most common games of amusement."
The Canton (Ohio) Repository, July 1, 1863
1863.82 Base ball in camp part of Muscular Christianity
The Augusta Maine Gospel Banner, May 2, 1863 praises muscular Christianity in the army: "Added to their faithfulness in military duties, their occasional participation in the manly sports of base ball, foot ball, wrestling and leaping helps them in their growth to the stature of health, strength and cheerfulness."
The Augusta Maine Gospel Banner, May 2, 1863
1863.83 Bay Staters play ball in NC
The Boston Traveler, March 4, 1863 prints a letter from Camp Stevenson, NC, datelined 2-27-63: "the boys enjoy their spare time to a great extent, in base ball, foot ball and other healthy amusements; great rivalry has commenced between the companies as to their respective merits in base ball, and friendly games for the superiority are constantly taking place." The 44th and 25th MA are to play tomorrow, and "great interest is manifested by both regiments as to the result."
Camp Stevenson was at New Bern, NC.
The Boston Traveler, March 4, 1863
1863.84 1st MA versus 16th MA
The Boston Post, April 30, 1863 prints a letter from Camp Falmouth, dated April 26: "The men of the 1st Mass. and 16th Mass. having played a match game of base ball, and the 1st being worsted, the officers of the 1st Mass. challenged the officers of the 16th Mass. to play a game; the challenge was accepted; the game came off yesterday, and resulted in favor of the 16th, they winning in thirteen innings." The teams had 12 a side.
This appears to be the same set of games mentioned in John Hildreth Atkins (ed.), "1863 Civil War Diary" [of Corporal John A. Irving]: "April 22. No drill today. A base ball match between the 16th Mass. The 16th Mass. won the game."...
April 25: "No duty today. The officers played a match game of baseball."
The Boston Post, April 30, 1863
1863.85 New England rules game in camp
The Boston Traveler, June 2, 1863, prints a letter from Camp Gore, VA, March 22, 1863: "About the middle of the month, eleven men from our regiment played a match game of base ball, according to the rules of the New England Association of Base Ball Players, with eleven members of the 18th Mass. regiment." The 5 hour match was won by the 18th by "three tallies."
Camp Gore was at Falmouth.
The Boston Traveler, June 2, 1863
1863.86 Draftees Play Ball on Rikers Island
The Boston Herald, Sept. 8, 1863 notes that at the Riker's Island, NY camp for draftees, "Fishing, base-ball, quoits, and other healthful amusements, are among their daily engagements."
Riker's Island is near Manhattan.
The Boston Herald, Sept. 8, 1863
1863.87 The Colonel umpired the game
The Worcester National Aegis, March 30, 1863: "The Thirty-Fourth regiment, now encamped on Upton's Hill [outside of DC]... had a spirited and exciting game of base ball on Saturday." Putnam's nine beat Chickering's, 50-31. Colonel Lincoln umpired in this 5-hour game.
The Worcester National Aegis, March 30, 1863
1863.88 Vermont soldiers play base and foot ball
The Montpelier Green Mountain Freeman, April 20, 1863 prints a letter from the 13th VT volunteers, datelined Fairfax County, April 14: "The boys of late have been indulging in games of ball--base and foot ball having occupied their spare moments."
The Montpelier Green Mountain Freeman, April 20, 1863
1863.89 2nd New Jersey colonel plays base ball
The Newark Daily Advertiser, April 17, 1863: "Since the math game between the 2d and 20th [NJ], the game has become very popular--Col. Beck, Lt. Col. Wiebecke, Maj. Close and Chaplain Proudfit, of the 2d, indulged in the sport quite extensively on the 14th inst."
The Newark Daily Advertiser, April 17, 1863
1863.90 Union soldiers watch Confederates play ball
John G. B. Adams of the 19th MA recalled that in early 1863, when the regiment was stationed opposite Fredericksburg, Unions soldiers watched the Confederates playing ball games cross the river. "We would sit on the bank and watch their games, and the distance was so short we could understand every movement and would applaud good plays."
Cited in Kirsch, "Baseball in Blue and Gray," which uses Adams' history of the regiment as source. See 1863.17 for the citation of the Adams book.
Kirsch, "Baseball in Blue and Gray,"
1863.91 Confederate soldiers play ball near Fredericksburg
The Augusta Constitutionalist, Feb. 8, 1863, reprints a column by "Personne," the Charleston Courier's war correspondent, Jan. 29, 1863, under the heading "Interesting Letter from Virginia." "The amusements of the army are rational and generous. Ball playing is a common game when the weather is pleasant..."
The letter was from Lee's army, then in camp near Fredericksburg, and mentions Jenkins' SC brigade. This confirms Union reports at this time of seeing Lee's soldiers playing ball.
The Augusta Constitutionalist, Feb. 8, 1863
1863.92 Alabama soldiers play ball near Fredericksburg
The Greensboro (AL) Beacon, March 287, 1863, prints a letter from the 5th Alabama, camped near Fredericksburg, March 8, 1863: "Since coming off picket the only amusement in camp is ball playing, which serves to while away the lonely hours."
The Greensboro (AL) Beacon, March 287, 1863
1863.93 Rebel POWs at Fort McHenry
The New Haven Daily Palladium, Sept. 24, 1863 writes of "Rebel" POWs at Fort McHenry, site of the Star Spangled Banner: they "have the run of the fine parade ground, amuse themselves with ball play and other exercises."
The New Haven Daily Palladium, Sept. 24, 1863
1863.94 Army Chaplain Plays ball in the Army of the Cumberland
The Boston Daily Advertiser, Nov. 5, 1863, picks up a Chicago Evening Journal article on Army chaplains in the Army of the Cumberland (then stationed around Chattanooga, TN), saying a chaplain of an Illinois regiment has been seen "dressing a wound... playing ball, running a race, as well as heard him making a prayer and preaching a sermon."
The Boston Daily Advertiser, Nov. 5, 1863
1863.95 Rebels seen playing ball
New Haven Daily Palladium April 1, 1863, prints a letter from the 27th CT: "From Falmouth, the rebels are daily seen, playing ball and apparently enjoying themselves."
New Haven Daily Palladium April 1, 1863
1863.96 Union soldiers play ball in California
The San Francisco Daily Bulletin, April 27, 1863 reports on the 1st California Cavalry camp near Stockton: "We drill four times a day, and in the interim devote our time to reading, playing ball, or fishing in various sloughs."
The San Francisco Daily Bulletin, April 27, 1863
1863.97 8th Kansas Plays near Nashville
The Atchison Freedom's Champion, May 2, 1863 prints a letter from the 8th Kansas, Nashville, TN, April 22: "The men enjoy themselves well, and it looks more like a college play ground than an encampment in the rebel country, to see our officers and privates playing ball together."
The Atchison Freedom's Champion, May 2, 1863
1863.98 Playing ball during a bombardment
The New York Herald, May 4, 1863 prints a May 2, 1863 (fast mail service!) from the Rappahannock River: "Playing Ball During the Shelling. Thursday afternoon several of the men of this brigade were playing ball just in the rear of our skirmishers, heedless of the shrieking of the shells or the whizzing of the shot from the rebel batteries in front of them. This was intrepidity indeed."
The New York Herald, May 4, 1863
1863.99 Confederate government clerks should play ball
The Richmond Examiner, Dec. 5, 1863, castigates lazy Confederate government clerks who just lounge around eyeing the ladies: "If nothing better offers, the organization of a base ball, cricket, or quoit club, with a play ground in the square, would do [to make the clerks less lazy]."
The Richmond Examiner, Dec. 5, 1863
1863.100 Georgians change from base to snow-balling
The Weekly Columbus Enquirer, Feb. 17, 1863 reports of Toombs' Georgia Brigade, stationed near Fredericksburg, VA: "The amusements of the camp since the late heavy fall of snow have changed from "base" to "snow-balling"--both of which are very healthful exercise.
The Weekly Columbus Enquirer, Feb. 17, 1863
1863.101 Rebel POWs play town ball at Camp Butler
The diary of William W. Heartsill, Confederate soldier (published under the title "1491 Days...") says that in March 1863, while in Camp Butler POW Camp near Springfield, IL, the prisoners played "town-ball."
1863.102 117th IL plays town ball near Memphis
Gerlings's "One Hundred Seventeenth Illinois" p. 105: "May 18. Some of us played "town-ball" on the drill grounds. Col. Moore and Lt. Kerr being the leaders of the two sides." Same May 19, 20.
Col. Risdon Moore's 117th IL was stationed at Fort Pickering, Memphis in May 1863.
Gerlings's "One Hundred Seventeenth Illinois" p. 105
1863.103 Arkansas soldiers play "Old Fashioned Town Ball"
General Abe Buford
Willis, Arkansas Confederates, p. 406, refers to Arkansas Confederates playing town ball, citing J. P. Cannon, "Inside of Rebeldom" p. 98 [Nov. 1863 in camp at Canton, MS]: "One of the most popular schemes invented to have fun and to pass the time was a game called 'old fashioned town ball,' which is the ancestor of today's baseball. Even Gen. Buford took great interest in the game, although his 300 pounds of flesh and fat (mostly fat)... prevented any participation more than a mere spectator."
Confederate Gen. Abraham Buford was an overweight and fun-loving brigade commander.
J. P. Cannon, "Inside of Rebeldom" p. 98
1863.104 Grant's Men Play Town-Ball in the Swamps
Woodworth, "Nothing But Victory: The Army of Tennessee, 1861-1865" p. 299 writes that Grant's army , in camp at Lake Providence opposite Vicksburg, "had time to play 'town ball' in their off-duty hours."
Woodworth cites the diary of Abram J. Vanauken, Feb. 3, 7, 12, 13, 1863, at the Illinois State Historical Library.
Woodworth, "Nothing But Victory: The Army of Tennessee, 1861-1865" p. 299
1863.105 16th Vermont Plays Baseball
The Library of Virginia's online index to manuscripts lists the letters of Herbert G. Bond, 16th VT, 1862-63, which "mention the troops playing baseball." The index lists the ballplaying in Fairfax County.
The 16th was stationed in the VA defenses of Washington DC for most of this time.
1863.106 1st Delaware Plays Ball and Horseshoes
The Library of Virginia's online index to manuscripts lists the letter of Thomas D. G. Smith, March 31, 1863, which "mentions playing ball and horseshoes." The index lists the game as in Stafford County.
At this time the 1st was stationed near Falmouth, Stafford County, VA.
1863.107 Dispute between MA and NY rules
Frommer, "Old Time Baseball" p. 36-37 lists 1863 games--26th PA vs. 22nd MA and 13th NY v. 62nd NY--where disputes broke out over whether to play by the MA or NY rules.
Frommer, "Old Time Baseball" p. 36-37
1863.108 Ball playing popular in 1st Minnesota
"Campaigning with the First Minnesota: A Civil War Diary" diary of Isaac Lyman Taylor, 1st MN, in MN Historical Society Journal. March 18, 1863 entry "Reading, writings, & playing ball." March 23 entry notes that ball playing is very popular in the regiment. The regiment was stationed near Falmouth, VA.
"Campaigning with the First Minnesota: A Civil War Diary"
1863.109 17th Mississippi plays town ball
Tucker, "Barksdale's Charge" p. 34 cites a 4-20-63 letter of Pvt. Joseph A. Miller, 17th MS: "We [here] taken a game of town ball this morning..."
Tucker, "Barksdale's Charge" p. 34
1863.110 Town Ball Played by 28th Alabama
Hallock, editor, "The Civil War Letters of Joshua K. Callaway," p. 94 cites a letter from Shelbyvlle, TN, June 1863: "there is a big game of 'Town Ball' going on out there and they are all very jolly..."
Callaway was in the 28th AL Infantry.
Hallock, editor, "The Civil War Letters of Joshua K. Callaway," p. 94
1863.111 Baseball played at Rhode Island Army Hospital
Grzyb, "Rhode Island's Civil War Hospital" (a book about the Portsmouth Grove Hospital in Portsmouth) p. 114 quotes the diary of Pvt. George Peck, 2nd Rhode Island: "Got my ankle hurt today by a bat playing ball." The book notes that ballplaying was a recreation at this hospital.
Grzyb, "Rhode Island's Civil War Hospital" p. 114
1863.112 19th Massachusetts plays 7th Michigan
Ward's "The 96th Pennsylvania.." p. 301 cites Fairchild's History of the 27th NY as noting games played between the 19th MA and 7th MI.
Same page 146: On St. Patrick's Day "regiments of the VI Corps played a game of baseball."
Ward's "The 96th Pennsylvania.." p. 301, 146
1863.113 A Change from Dodging Leaden Balls
The New York Clipper reported on a game between the 14th Regiment from Brooklyn and the 30th New York Volunteers during the summer of 1863. The Clipper included the box score and commented, “Our soldier boys will have their ‘hand in’ at base ball, it seems, and we commend them there for, as it must be a very agreeable change from dodging leaden balls.”
“Base Ball in the Army,” New York Clipper, June 13, 1863.
1863.114 Southern Girls Play Town Ball and Cat in Clarksville
Civil War, Females
Nannie E. Haskins diary, Feb. 25, 1863
Saturday morning opened with heavy clouds to obscure the Sun; after breakfasted, we all went out and had a game of hot ball – town ball and cat. They were all new to me, that is I never played them before. I have seen my brothers and other boys play them. We came to town about ten o’clock, by dinner time it was raining.
1863.116 "we had a game of ball notwithstanding"
Woodworth, "Cultures in Conflict--the American Civil War" p. 99 cites the Jan. 6, 1863 diary of Aurelius Voorhis, 46th IN, in Grant's army near Vicksburg, writing: "A cold, raw wind blew all day... We had a game of ball notwithstanding... [Drill] will take up some of our ball playing time but it suits me."
Woodworth, "Cultures in Conflict--the American Civil War" p. 99
1863.117 Future President notes ballplaying in camp
Rutherford B. Hayes
"Conspicuous Gallantry: Civil War Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes" contains a April 22, 1863 letter from Camp White in which Hayes' notes that "Drilling, boating, ball-playing and the like make the time pass pleasantly."
Camp White was near Charleston, WV. Hayes had played ball while in college.
"Conspicuous Gallantry: Civil War Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes"
1863.118 36th Illinois loses to 24th Wisconsin by 50
A favorite amusement all through our Murfreesboro stay was
base ball, and many an hour was spent at Camp Schaffer in this absorbing game. Sometimes the fun was varied by a contest with some other regiment, and though the 36th were very skillful, they sometimes met their match, as one record very candidly says : "In the afternoon eight boys of the 24th Wisconsin played ball against eight of ours and beat us (!) by fifty a very interestinggame."
Bennett and Haigh, "36th Illinois" p. 425
1863.119 The officers mingled with the men
"The 6th was in fine shape. The return of the sick and wounded and the new recruits put us well up in numbers. The officers with one or two exceptions mingled with the men in fun and friendship. We played Base Ball, Foot Ball and Snow Ball when there was snow together."
C. N. Drew, "Yankee Scout" p. 89. He was with the light division, 6th Corps, near Falmouth in 1863.
C. N. Drew, "Yankee Scout" p. 89
1863.120 A bully game of base ball
"Had a bully game of base ball. Received letters from home."
Livermore, "My Story of the War" p. 379, quoting from the Chicago Mercantile Battery, at the siege of Vicksburg.
Livermore, "My Story of the War" p. 379
1863.121 Soldiers Play Wicket in Little Rock
From the Civil War journal of James B. Lockney, Wisconsin 28th Regiment.
"In Camp near Little Rock. Ark Wednesday Sept 30, 1863.
Today was rainy in the A.M. & drizzled some P.M. The boys had a game of Wicket the first time I ever saw it played. They used clubs of hurdles and a large ball about 6 in. in diameter. Some of the Officers took part & the game passed off quietly."
Note that the camp was probably in what is now the Little Rock city limits. [Caleb Hardwick]
1863.122 64th New York played ball
Marsh, "Brotherhood of Battle" quotes a soldier letter as saying the 64th NY "played ball" near Fredericksburg in early 1863. The author notes this was probably baseball.
Marsh, "Brotherhood of Battle"
1863.123 Confederate Cavalry plays ball in WVA
"...Jones and Imboden linked up, and spent several days together in Weston, where they staged a parade through the town and the troops under their command played ball on the grounds of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum."
Charleston Gazette-Mail, May 2, 2013. Jones and Imboden commanded brigades of VA Confederate cavalry. See also Summers, "The Baltimore and Ohio in the Civil War" p. 136, which notes this game was May 4, 1863 in Weston, now WVA.
Charleston Gazette-Mail, May 2, 2013
1863.124 49th NY plays base-ball near Falmouth
The Buffalo Evening Courier, April 4, 1863, prints a letter from a soldier in the 49th NY, datelined March 28 near Falmouth, Va: "Captain Seilkirk's Company (Co. D), which consists nearly of sporting boys, have excellent times in amusing themselves with boxing-gloves, base-ball, &c."
The Buffalo Evening Courier, April 4, 1863
1863.125 115th NY soldier Plays Ball
From auction catalog on www.invaluable.com, March 30, 2018, the 1863 Civil War Diary of David L. Mann:
Description: Manuscript diary of Private David L. Mann, New York 115th Infantry, Company E. Mann was a POW at Harper's Ferry in 1862 and notes he returned to Harper's Ferry, as well as Gettysburg, several times. A small selection from the diary, April 17th, "Boys are playing ball." June 13, "Attacked. Hold the enemy 1800 strong in check until the train is out of danger." June 14th, "Skirmished all day." Further discussions of metal caskets for dead soldiers, fighting, scouting, picketing, a drunken captain sounding a false alarm to saddle up. About 40% written in.
[the location is not given, but is probably VA]
1863.126 Hawkins' Zouaves Play 51st NY
The New York Sunday Mercury, March 29, 1863 reports that at Newport News on the 24th, the first nine of Hawkins' Zoauves (9th NY) Played a match game with the first nine of the 51st NY, winning 21-10. A box score is given. The report notes that several names will be familiar to those in the baseball fraternity.
1863.129 9th NY plays for a barrel of ale
The New York Sunday Mercury, April 26, 1863 reports that on the 20th and 21st, near Fletcher's Chapel, VA, two nines of the 9th NY (Hawkins' Zouaves) played "3 fine games," the prize being a barrel of ale. At the end the barrel was "besieged" by the whole regiment, and "run out" in no time.
1863.130 62nd NY wins twice
The New York Sunday Mercury, May 24, 1863 reports that on the 16th, near Falmouth, VA, the 10th MA and 62nd NY had a match game won by the New Yorkers 19-8. Tow days previous, the 62nd (Anderson's Zouaves) played the Pioneers of the 3rd division, VI Corps, winning 8-4.
"Pioneers" were sort of an army construction battalion.
1863.131 Cavalry defeats Infantry in VA
The New York Sunday Mercury, May 24, 1863 reports that on the 16th inst. near White House, VA, the Union club of the 168th NY played the first nine of the Harris Light Cavalry, the latter winning 37-33.
White House is near the coast.
1863.132 26th NJ wins twice
The New York Sunday Mercury, May 21, 1863 reports that on the 21st inst., the 26th and 8th NJ played a match game, the former winning 27-24. A return match was played on the 23rd, the 26th again winning 28-18.
1863.133 4th NY Battery Plays Extra Inning game
The New York Sunday Mercury, May 31, 1863 reports that on the 15th Inst. near Falmouth, the 4th NY Battery played baseball, with Johnson's side winning 33-32 in extra innings.
Same, June 14, 1863 reports that the Hooker Base Ball Club of this unit has formed, named after the army's commander, with Sgt. James H. Cabe as president and Corporal Jo. B. Johnson as treasurer. They've already played the 8th NJ and 11th MA.
1863.134 Played ball "in a new way"
Bardeen, "A Little Fifer's War Diary..." p. 170, entry of March 23, 1863, Falmouth: "Played ball with the 26th in a new way."
Bardeen's note--"This was the 26th Pa. but I have really forgotten the game of ball."
Bardeen was with the 1st MA Infantry.
Bardeen, "A Little Fifer's War Diary..." p. 170
1863c.135 16th Maine Plays baseball, chess, checkers
The catalog of the Southern Historical Society Collection, UNC, includes the letters of William H. Broughton, 16th ME. According to the catalog, "some letters mention games and sports, including baseball, ice skating, chess, and checkers."
The 16th served in Virginia for the entire war. the catalog is silent as to when and where the baseball letters were written, it is probable that they were written in the winter of 1862-63, in camp near Falmouth.
1863.136 Gen. Grant enjoys watching ball game
The National Tribune, Aug. 29, 1895, prints a letter from C. W. Colby of the 97th Illinois, who writes that in April of 1863 his unit was detailed to guard Gen. Grant's headquarters at Milliken's Bend. "Every evening we had a game of ball on the lawn in front of headquarters, and the General would sit on the porch, enjoying the sport as much as we did."
The National Tribune, Aug. 29, 1895
1863.137 72nd NY Plays Baseball in Camp
The 1863 diary of Henry Squire, 72nd New York Infantry and includes entries from January through July. Early entries detail camp life, war news, and in particular, playing baseball and boxing, an inspection by Lincoln, and camp rumors (from March 'Gen. Lee [was] dead and [Stonewall] Jackson had been wounded'). Entries during the first part of May talk about Squire's experiences while at Libby Prison in Richmond. He was captured at Chancellorsville May 3rd and paroled May 13.
The unit was near Falmouth, VA at the time.
From Squire Diary, Civil War Diaries website.
1863.138 48th NY Infantry plays on Thanksgiving
The 48th was a Brooklyn unit, and its baseball games often made the newspapers.
The one side ran short players, so some drummer boys were "drafted" to fill out the one nine.
Brooklyn Times Union, Dec. 18, 1863
1864.1 Southern Soldier Notes Repeated Ballplaying, Including Game of Cat
Finding, on the Chancellorsville battlefield, a partly used diary in the abandoned knapsack of a Union soldier from the 87th NY, Robert T. Douglass started making entries in May 1864.
“May 26 . . . Quite pleasant this afternoon. Played a game of ball with my friends in the 40th Va. Reg.” “May 27. . . . Relieved from guard this morning. Out in the field playing ball with a portion of the 40th Reg.” “May 28. . . . Played ball.” “May 30. . . . Played ball this evening for sport as I had nothing else to do. Bad news from home.” “June 2. . . . Played ball this afternoon. No news in camp of any importance.” “June 11 . . . . Played a game of ball called cat.” Douglass returned the diary to its original owner in 1867.
Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The diary is also found online: Google web search: “douglass diary morrisville.” Note: Douglass’ unit appears to have stayed near the Stafford/Chancellorsville area in May and June. His diary entries continue through 1863 but have no additional ballplaying references. Accessed online 6/15/09.
1864.2 Minnesotan’s Diary Shows Ballplaying on Ten Days Over Ten Weeks
Isaac Clason, of Company B in the 2nd Minnesota Volunteers, made 10 minimal references to ballplaying from January 29 to April 16, 1864. No more appear to the June end of the record. A typical entry was “Had a fine game of ball this afternoon” [March 17]. On January 29: “Spent today playing ball, pitching anvils and everything to amuse myself.” On April 5: “Had a fine game of ball and in the evening went to the Boulten Minstrels performance. Not very good entertainment.” The diary refers to “Ringgold” [and to peach trees in bloom in March] and it would seem that Clason spent his winter in the area of Ringgold Gap, GA, where a September 1863 defeat had stalled the North’s incipient drive toward Atlanta until May 7 1864. Ringgold GA is about 15 miles SE of Chattanooga and about 6 miles south of the Tennessee border.
Diary of Isaac W. Clason, accessed online at ancestry.com by Google web search “clason diary.”
1864.3 New Yorker Plays January Games of Ball
In a diary extending from January 1864 through January 1865, James Lormor of the 103rd New York Infantry made passing reference to having a “game of ball” on three dates from January 27 to February 6. The least laconic: “Saturday February 6 – Got up at five as usual went to work and fixed our tent The 89 and our boys had a game of ball Weather warm and pleasant” He mentions shelling Charleston and serving as picket at Pawnee Landing – was he on the Carolina coast east of Charleston SC?
Civil War Diary of James Cordin Lormor, 103rd New York Infantry, at civilwararchive.com, accessed 6/16/09 via Google web “stormo inlet” search.
1864.4 10th Vermont Lieutenant Describes Ballplaying in Northern Virginia
In his diary for the year 1864, Lieutenant Lemuel Abbott [10th VT] includes six entries on ballplaying. One involved a challenge from the non-commissioned officers to the officers to play for an oyster dinner [January 29], and another in which his Company challenged the regiment to “play a game of ball for $50 [March 19]. One day he reports that “a game of ball came off this afternoon in which the commissioned offers won. Two more games are to be played Monday if a good day. [January 30]” All ballplaying entries appear between January 29 and April 29.
Lemuel A. Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary 1864 (Free Press, Burlington, 1908), pages 13, 20, 28, 30, 41. The January entry is mentioned in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 41. Accessed 6/19/09 on Google Books via “recollections 1864” search. Abbott’s Company B was from Burlington VT. Their camp during early 1864 was near Brandy Station, VA, about 60 miles SW of Washington and about 75 miles NW of Richmond.
See also Montpelier Daily Journal, Feb. 15, 1864, and Vermont Watchman, Feb. 19, 1864, for notice of the commissioned/non-commissioned officers game.
1864.5 Army Base-ball, the Light of Day, and the Southern Soul
A CSA Chaplain wrote: “At leisure hours I frequently engaged with the young men on my regiment in a game of base-ball, for exercise in part, but principally to effect what it was ever my purpose to do, viz., to draw men out from their tents into the light of day, where evil practices are discouraged or corrected.
Rev. A. C. Hopkins [Chaplain, 2nd Virginia Infantry], in “Appendix: Letters from Our Army Workers,” J. W. Jones, Christ in the Camp, or Religion in Lee’s Army (B. F. Johnson, Richmond, 1887), page 472. Accessed on Google Books 6/17/09 via “jones ‘in the camp’” search. Hopkins in this passage refers to the regiment’s winter camp “near Pisgah’s Church in Orange County [VA].The area is about 25 miles E of Fredericksburg and 60 miles NE of Richmond.
1864.6 Officers in 30th MA Play Base Ball In February 1864
“February 12, 1864. Officers played a game of base ball this afternoon.”
H.W. Howe “Diary of Henry Warren Howe, February 1864,” Passages from the Life of Henry Warren Howe ( Courier-Citizen, 1899), page 61. Provided by Jeff Kittel, 2009.
The 30th was stationed at Franklin, Louisiana at this time [Noted by Bruce Allardice]. Franklin is about 100 miles west of New Orleans, a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
Note: As of June 2018, Joshua Bucchioni is doing research on the 30th Massachusetts. See the Supplemental Text for some background on the regiment.
Do we the role of the 30th in February 1864?
Are there any indications as to whether NY or MA or other game rules were employed?
1864.7 Vermont Regiment Plays in Louisiana
“A game between the Eighth and the 114th Vermont Regiments near Franklin, Louisiana, in February 1864 was won by the former, 21 to 9.”
Bell Irvin Wiley, The Common Soldier in the Civil War (Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1952) Book One, page 170. Wiley’s footnotes are clustered, and it difficult to determine source which is which. . The “diary of James F. Williams, Feb. 6, 1864” seems a possibility. The 114th New York was in camp near Franklin in early 1864, and seems the likely opponent of the Eighth VT. [There is no record of a 114th VT regiment.] The Eighth’s Regimental history does not mention any ballplaying, or a 114th regiment. The Eighth was recruited from northern VT.
1864.8 Wisconsin Soldier Plays Wicket Ball
“March 1 . . . I played wicket ball, pitched quarters and stayed with Smith.” “March 2 . . . Helped get dinner, drilled, played ball, got some water to drink . . .”
Alonzo Miller, “Diary of Alonzo Miller, March 1864,” in Alonzo Miller, Diaries and Letters, 1864-1865 (Alexander Street Press, 1958), page 122. Provided by Jeff Kittel, May 12 2009. Miller was with the 12th WI, which participated in Sherman’s Atlanta campaign in 1864. It might be inferred that Miller was from Prescott WI, which is on the Minnesota border and about 20 miles S or St. Paul. Available online via subscription June 2009. Note: can we confirm that Miller’s letters and diaries have no other ballplaying references?
1864.9 Chicago Marine Plays Base Ball in Louisiana
[March 3] “Went on shore at 10 ½ o’clock this morning and played base ball for about 3 hours. At 3 p.m. practiced with revolver.”
[March 10] “Went out in the afternoon and exercised my men in company drill. Played a game of ball.”
J. Jones and E. Keuchel, eds., Civil War Marine: a Diary of the Red River Expedition, 1864 (US Marine Corps, 1975) page 34-35. Provided by Jeff Kittel, May 12, 2009. Church was a member of the small [3800 troops] Marine Corps sent from Cairo IL to support the Red River campaign, intended to liberate TX, AR, and LA [it didn’t]. The base ball entries preceded the March 13 start of fighting. Church’s diary covers three spring months of 1864.
This unit was part of the Mississippi River Marine Brigade, which was NOT a part of the US Marines. [ba]
1864.10 PA Soldier Records Ballplaying in NC
“Monday, March 7, 1864. Warm again as usual to day. Great and exciting game of Ball in which Chaplain Rowlings figures conspiculously.”
“Civil War Diary of Charles Lepley, 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry,” online at www.civilwararchive.com as accessed 6/19/09 via “charles lepley” Google Web search. Lepley’s diary covers the first nine months of 1864. His camp was at Plymouth NC, near the Carolina coast and about 110 miles east of Raleigh. Lepley was captured in April and died of dysentery at Andersonville Prison in September.
1864.11 NJ Regiment Takes on Massachusetts and New York Units
March 28, 1864: “Supply train went to the station but did not get any soft bread. The 2nd Regt boys and a Massachusetts Battery had a game of base ball today. The 2nd Regt boys were the winners.” April 8, 1864: “Went to corps headquarters to see a base ball match between the 2nd Regt and the 77th New York. The New Yorkers did not appear.”
Diary of Stephen Gordon, provided by Michael Albrecht May 15, 2009. The 2nd NJ, 77th NY, and 1st MA artillery were in the 6th corps of the Army of the Potomac, which was at Brandy Station VA in spring of 1864.
The cancelled April 8th 1864 game was also noted in the New York Clipper of April 30, 1864. As noted in Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion (Heritage, 2001), page 22, Clipper correspondent W. B. Wilson complained that there was “great disappointment” among the gathered crowd when the match didn’t come off.
1864.12 In Virginia, Two PA Regiments Play “Great Base Ball Game”
“7th [April, 1864]. Fine weather. Drilled. Great base ball game between ours and the 143rd Regiment.”
Diary of John Bodler, 149th Pennsylvania, provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009.
The 149th regiment’s history also records this game. “The first days of spring  weather greeted the legions of the vast army gathered around Culpeper that March and the men found a new activity to enjoy: baseball. Letters and diaries recorded the great fun the game brought in camp. Men gathered after the evening meal to lay the game for pleasure but soon there were games of competition between companies. Samuel Foust admitted losing a $20 bet when the team of the 149th lost to the 143rd regiment [page 125].” The history also refers to baseball games when the regiment was in Washington [September 1862?; page 27] and in June 1863 [page 68].
Richard E. Matthews, The 149th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War (McFarland,1994). Accessed in limited preview format 6/19/90 via Google Books “149th pennsylvania” search.
1864.13 NY Artilleryman Notes Two Inter-regimental Games
“[Illeg. Date ] April 1864. Base ball match between the 9th NYSM and 14th Regt. Score 9th Regt [illeg.] and 14th Regt 59 runs. . . .” [Illeg. Date] April 1864. Return match between 9th NTSM and 14th Regiment score 9th Regt [illeg.] and 14th Regt 33 runs”
Diary of Henry C. Sabine of the 14th NY Infantry, provided by Michael Aubrecht May 15, 1864. Sabine was near Culpeper VA on these dates.
The Clipper ran box scores of these games, fixing the dates as April 20 and 25, 1864, and noting them as the regiments’ first matches of the season. The scores were Ninth 36, Fourteenth 29 in the first match, and Fourteenth 38, Ninth 33 in the second match. Facsimile supplied by Gregory Christiano, June 15 2009. “Ball Play in the Army,” New York Clipper, May 7, 1864.
1864.14 Players “Lamed Badly” at Ballplaying
“Soldier baseball must have been vigorous. One Yank noted after a contest in Tennessee, “We get lamed badly.”
Bell Irvin Wiley, The Common Soldier in the Civil War (Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1952), page 170. Wiley’s footnotes are clustered, and hard to match to textual claims. His most likely source is “Edward L. Edes for his father, April 3, 1864.” Note: can we verify and enrich this account? Richard Welch’s The Boy General (Fairleigh Dickinson U, 2003), page 76) identifies an Edward L. Edes as a soldier in the 33rd Massachusetts.. In April 1864 the 33rd, apparently raised in Springfield, MA was on the outskirts of Chattanooga awaiting the start of the Atlanta campaign.
1864.15 Maine Soldier Lame from Ballplaying
“Rappahannock Station, Va., April 18th 1864. Dear Wife, . . . . there is a move on the foot or I am no judge of Soldiering. Our Dr. seems to think we shall stay here this summer. It is nothing but play ball when we are in camp lately and I must stop for my arm is lame throwing. I thought I would write today for the Picket goes out tomorrow and it is my turn to go.”
Letter from Eugene B. Kelleran, 20th Maine; provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The 20th was spared in the upcoming battle of Chancellorsville in May 1864 when it was quarantined for suspected smallpox.
In 1864 the unit was facing the upcoming battle of the Wilderness, not Chancellorsville (which occurred in 1863). [ba]
1864.16 14th Louisiana Plays Ball in Virginia
“We went back to our camp and stayed there all winter and until late April 1864. Only doing picket duty on the banks of the [Rapidan] River and playing base ball. During the winter, we fought a snow-ball battle with the Brigade of North Carolina and Virginia.”
Memoirs of W. P. Snakenberg, Wilson, North Carolina, Private, “Louisiana Tigers.” Provided by Michael Aubrecht May 15, 2006. Snakenberg was from Louisiana, and had been a member of the Hope Base Ball and LaQuarte Club, which played weekly in Gretna [across the river from New Orleans].
1864.17 Florida Regiments Mix it Up in Town Ball
“The boys are killing time in camp by playing ball, which is such good exercise that it will fit them for the fatiguing marches to be taken this summer. The Soldiers here are undoubtedly, at this time more lighthearted and like schoolboys than I ever saw them. Maj. Lash and Col. Badger often play ball with the men.”
Letters from Washington Ives, 4th FL regiment, April 14, April 17, May 3, and May 7 1864, as noted in J. Sheppard, “’By the Noble Daring of Her Sons’: The Florida Brigade of the Army of Tennessee,” (FSU Dissertation, 2008), pages 291-292. Some of these letters, and evidently another written by Archie Livingston on April 24, further describe a series of games involving the 1st FL, the 3rd FL, the 4th FL, the 6th FL, and the 7th FL regiments in this period. The Sheppard thesis was accessed 6/20/09 on Google Scholar via “’noble daring’ Sheppard” search. The regiments were camped at Dalton GA, about 30 miles SW of Chattanooga defending the route to Atlanta.
1864.18 RI Soldier Cites “:A Game in Our Regt, Nine Innings a Side”
“We are enjoying our share of April showers . . . the soldiers prayer is that it may continue to rain until the 5th of June. When it is pleasant the boys are at their games of ball. Yesterday we had a game in our Regt 9 innings to a side. One side got 34 tallies the other 28. There was some fine playing. [4/15/1864].”
Letter from Corporal Henry Blanchard, 2nd Rhode Island, as cited in an auction lot accessed online June 20, 2009, by a Google Web search for “’lot 281 civil war’ RI”. Blanchard was at Camp Sedgwick near Petersburg VA in April. He was killed three weeks later in the Battle of the Wilderness. One can infer that Blanchard was new to a nine-inning game, presumably the New York game, and he uses the term “tallies” usually seen in the New England game.
1864.19 Waiting for Sherman, and Playing, in Georgia
“Captain James Hall of the 24th Alabama Regiment observed his men playing [. . . ] ‘just like school boys’ while waiting for the advance of Union General Sherman.”
Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion (Heritage, 2001), page 19. She cites B. I. Wiley, The Common Soldier in the Civil War (Grosset and Dunlap, 1960), page 170. L. J. Daniel, in Soldiering in the Army of the Tennessee (UNC Press, 1991), page 90, seems to identify this quote as taken from a letter from James Hall to his brother, April 19, 1864.
1864.20 150th Pennsylvania Pursues “The Pleasant Game of Cricket”
“Orders to be in readiness to move were received every day . . . . From their very frequency the regiment soon came to regard these orders with serenity, and in the first days of June abandoned itself in unclaimed hours, to the pleasant pastime of cricket – a game very dear to Philadelphians– for which a complete outfit had been ordered some time before.”
Lt.Col. Thomas Chamberlin, History of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers (F. McManus, Philadelphia, 1905), page 106. Accessed 6/20/09 on Google Books via “bucktail brigade” search. The regiment was camped at White Oak Church, near Falmouth VA. The regiment has several companies from Philadelphia.
1864.21 Match at Coney Island Proposed for Two Returned Regiments
“When the Fourteenth Regiment returned to Brooklyn in June 1864 a comrade in arms from the Thirteenth Regiment wrote to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle: ‘Among the returned heroes of our gallant Fourteenth are some well known ball players who, while devoted to the use of more deadly weapons, have not forgotten the use of bat and ball, as the many games played by them during their three years service will prove.’ He proposed an ‘amalgamated match’ between the two regiments to inaugurate a new ball ground in Coney Island.”
Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion (Heritage, 2001), pages 37-38. Millen does not indicate the date of the Eagle article, which is likely her main source for this passage. Note: can we locate the article, and discover whether the game was played?
1864.22 Union POWs in SC Given “Plot of Ground Where They Could Play Ball”
“Vegetable and market wagons were allowed to visit them every morning; a pint of rice, a slice of bacon, and usually a small loaf of bread, with some salt, were allowed them as a daily ration; and a plot of ground where they could play ball and exercise themselves was set apart for their use.”
H. E. Tremain, Two Days of War (Bonnell, Silver and Bowers, New York, 1905), page 218. Accessed 6/20/09 on Google Books via “two days of war” search. Tremain is apparently here describing the improved conditions that ensued after the Union troops threatened to treat rebel prisoners cruelly if inhumane treatment of Union prisoners continued. The location was Charleston SC, which was under bombardment in August 1864.
1864.23 Southern Officers Play Ball in Ohio Prison
Perhaps the best documented instance of ballplaying in the Civil War occurred near Sandusky Ohio, site of the Johnson’s Island prison for southern officers. Beginning in about July 1864, apparently, matches were common. Accounts from 6 diaries give accounts of regular play. According to one diarist, the officers also had a cricket club and a chess club.
In-depth coverage of base ball at Johnson’s Island is found in John R. Husman, “Ohio’s First Baseball Game: Played by Confederates and Taught to Yankees,” Base Ball, Volume 2, Issue 1 (Spring 2008), pp 58-65. Husman reports that while prior interclub play in OH is known, the prison saw the first match game. He also points out that at least some players knew the New York game from pre-war play in New Orleans.
See also W. A. Nash, "Camp, Field and Prison Life" p. 234, 168.
See also Benjamin Cooling, "Forts Henry and Donelson" p. 257, stating the POWs played town ball, which cites the prison journal of Captain John Henry Guy at the VA Historical Society; Curran, "John Dooley's Civil War..." p. 295, which has a diary entry on an Aug. 29, 1864 game.
See also John Snead Lambdin's "Recollections of my prison Life," in the Magnolia (MS) Gazette Oct. 22, 1880.
1864.24 Ohioan in Sherman’s Force Plays Near Atlanta
“Tuesday [September] 27  pleasant weather, I was detailed for Camp guard the A.M. we had a game of ball this afternoon, I stood two tricks of guard only.”
Civil War Diary of Samuel Whitehead, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center MS collection, Ac #4248. Accessed 6/21 on Google Web search with “’samuel whitehead’ diary” search. The diary covers about May through November 1864. In September the 100th OH was at Decatur, GA, about 5 miles east of Atlanta. He was mortally wounded in November.
1864.25 The Hothead Union Captain and the Foul Ball
“The prison guard, Captain Hogendoble, struck by a foul ball from a prisoners’ baseball game, approached the batter, drew his pistol, and threatened to ‘blow their d-----d brains out.’”
Benton McAdams, “Greybeards in Blue,” Civil War Times, February 1998. Accessed 6/21/09 via Google Web search: “’greybeards in blue’ hogendoble.” The article tells the story of the 37th Iowa, comprising many older men, who were assigned in May 1864 to the military prison in Alton, Illinois. The source for this recollection is not provided.
1864.26 Union Prisoners in Texas Given a Ball Ground – For a While
“[A] new person being put in command of the inside [of the Texas prison] about the 1st of October , made suggestions which the commandant allowed him to carry out, and relieved us ever afterward. He gave us a fine ball ground which was well occupied and proved a blessing.”
Major J. M. McCulloch, 77th Illinois, as quoted in Washington Davis, Camp-Fire Chats of the Civil War (Lewis Publishing, Chicago, 1888), page 70. Accessed on Google Books 6/21/09 via “’camp-fire chats’ davis” search. McCulloch does not elaborate on the nature of games played. He had been captured with troops from Ohio and Kentucky as well as Illinois. The prison was at Camp Ford near Tyler TX, about 100 miles E of Dallas.
An escapee from Camp Ford arrived in Milwaukee in November and told the Sentinel about his adventure. “We used to pass time playing checkers, cards, and dominoes. We were let out by twenties on parole to play ball, but so many ran away that the privilege was taken from us.” “Prison Life in Texas – Narrative of an Escaped Prisoner, Milwaukee Sentinel, November 11, 1864.” Accessed 5/21/09 via Genealogybank subscription.
1864.27 NH Officers and Men Together on the Ball Field
“During some portions of the winter of 1864-’65, in fine weather, the officers and men of the Eleventh often indulged in a friendly game of ball together. As they were playing one day, some general officers passed them on horseback, and one of them was overheard to remark, ‘That’s a good regiment, for the men and officers play ball together.’ Whoever that officer was, he never uttered truer words.”
Leander W. Cogswell, A History of the Eleventh New Hampshire Regiment (Republican Press Assn, Concord NH, 18911), pages 396-397. From June 1864 to early April 1865, the 11th NH was part of the siege of Petersburg VA. The regiment formed in Concord NH.
1864.28 NJ Artillerymen Play Ball in Virginia
[On April 29, 1864] “It rained some during the day, regular April showers. The men amused themselves, jumping, wrestling, running three-legged races. One lot was playing ball. At night there was a drizzling rain.”
Michael Hanifen, History of Battery B, First New Jersey Artillery (Republican-Times, Ottawa Illinois, 1905), page 45. Accessed 6/27/09 on Google Books via “of battery b first” search. Battery B was in Falmouth Virginia and about to join the Chancellorsville campaign. Millen writes that this indicates that ballplaying was seen as commonplace in the unit [page 26]. Battery B formed in the Trenton NJ area.
The Chancellorsville Campaign was in 1863.
1864.29 Two NY Regiments Play “Grand Game on the Parade Ground” in VA
“During the winter the ground was occasionally covered with snow and battles with snow balls took place, different regiments challenging each other. When the weather was pleasant baseball became popular, and there were many excellent players on the Third Brigade. These games were watched by great crowds with intense interest. On April 18th, the 49th and 77th Regiments played a grand game on the parade ground.”
F. D. Bidwell, History of the Forty-Ninth New York Volunters (J. B. Lyon, Albany, 1916), pages 28-29. Accessed on Google Books 6/27/09 via “forty-ninth new” search. The regiment formed in the Buffalo area, and was at Falmouth VA on April 18.
1864.30 Union Prisoner Reported Shot While Playing Ball in Texas Pen
“One after another, the men rapidly died off. On the 26th of September, some of the prisoners obtained permission to play ball. One of them, in chasing the ball, ventured within a few feet of the camp lines, when he was short by the guards, and nearly killed.”
“The Death of Lieut. Matthew Hayes, New York Times, January 1864. Accessed 5/21/09 via genealogy subscription. The story depicts health conditions in Camp Groce, near Houston TX.
1864.31 Trophy Ball Kept in 22nd MA Regiment
“657a Scarce Civil War era inscribed Massachusetts style trophy baseball . . . . Black leather 9” diameter four piece lemon peel style baseball with a period inscription on two side panels, ‘22nd MASS REGIMENT UNION Feb 2, 1864 U.S.A.’ The 22ndMass. Regiment fought in many of the War’s most important battles, including Chancellorsville, Gainsville [sic] and Gettysburg. . . .” The baseball may also be considered as a ‘true’ example of a ball created specifically under the rules of the ‘Massachusettsgame.’ In February 1864 it was camped at Beverly Ford VA, evidently near Brandy Station.
From an undated and unidentified auction catalog page accessed 6/26/09 at the Giamatti Center of the Baseball Hall of Fame [Civil War file]. The 22nd MA formed north of Boston. Note: are we sure that the lemon peel style was closely associated with the MA game?
1864.32 NY Horseman Gets Banged Up Playing Ball
From an auction listing: “Includes Civil Diary of H. E. Randell of Co. L, 3rd Regiment of the New York Cavalry . . . . The multi-page hand-written diary gives a highly literate soldier’s accounts of life in the field during the Civil War. Randell’s entry for February 2, 1864 reads, in part, ‘Played Base Ball nearly all day and experienced a ‘chapter’ of accidents. Got a severe blow with ball to the face, and a finger almost broken . . . for it is a healthful sport and quite exciting.’ Randell’s reference to being struck by the ball also corroborates the contention that the game, played between New York and Massachusetts regiments, was played under Massachusetts rules.”
From an undated and unidentified auction catalog page accessed 6/26/09 at the Giamatti Center of the Baseball Hall of Fame [Civil War file]. The 3rd NY Cavalry formed in the Rochester/Syracuse region of upstate NY, where the old-fashioned game of ball[believed to be like the Massachusetts game] had been played before the War. The 3rd Regiment appears to have been in North Carolina in February 1864. Note: the diary is listed in the same lot as the trophy ball noted in file CW-140, and the cited diary entry [2/2/64] is the same as is written on that ball. The two items may be related, but the distance between the two regiments needs to be addressed.
1864.33 New Yorkers Lose Their Only Ball, and Their Centerfielder
“I remember helping to organize for our own regiment as baseball nine which won the championship of the read-guard, defeating some active nines from Connecticut and Massachusetts. For our regimental team I served as pitcher and I believe as captain.
“The baseball contests were, however, brought suddenly to a close through an unfortunate misunderstanding with the Rebels, upon whose considerateness in this matter of sports we had, it appeared, placed too much confidence. We found no really satisfactory ground for baseball within the lines of our fortifications and, after experimenting with a field just outside our earthworks, we concluded that risk of using a better field which was just outside the line of the pickets. It was, of course, entirely contrary not only to ordinary regulations but to special orders prohibiting any men from going through the picket lines. It was particularly absurd for men without arms to run any such risk. I do not now understand how the officers of the 176th, including the major commanding, could have permitted themselves to incur such a breach of discipline, but the thing was done and trouble resulted therefrom.
“We were winning a really beautiful game from the 13th Connecticut, a game in which our own pickets, who were the only spectators, found themselves much interested. Suddenly there came a scattering fire of which the three outfielders caught the brunt: the centre field was hit and was captured, the left and right field managed to get into our lines. Our pickets fell forward with all possible promptness as the players fell back. The Rebel attack, which was made with merely a skirmish line, was repelled without serious difficulty, but we had lost not only our centre field but our baseball and it was the only baseball in Alexandria.
G. H. Putnam, Memories of My Youth 1844-1865 (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1914), pp 48-49. Accessed 6/28/09 on Google Books via “’my youth’ putnam” search. The 176th was part of the Red River Campaign, and Alexandria LA is in mid-Louisiana, about equidistant from Baton Rouge and Shreveport. The 176th, raised in New York City, was at Alexandria LA from mid-April to mid-May of 1864. The 13th CT, organized in Hartford, was there April 30 to May 10. Kirsch and Millen both carry the meat of this colorful passage. Millen identifies Putnam with the 114th NY.
1864.34 Tenth MA Plays Inter-regimental Games of Base Ball and Wicket in VA
“[The 10th and?] the 2nd RI are to have a grand match of Base Ball to day. a few days ago they played a game of Wicket with the 37th and our boys beat them handsomely . . . .[Source letter not available on Google Books.]
“Our Regiment played another match game of Base Ball with the 2nd RI to day and beat them as usual. They played a second game of Wicket with the 37th last Saturday and beat them again worse than the first time.
“I was out with the Officers of our Regt and the 7th this morning playing Wicket when I got hit in the eye with the ball which has blacked it most beautifully. My eye is ornamented with a black spot as big as a silver dollar, if you can remember the size of one of those, I had almost forgotten it.” The last two passages are from an April 26, 1864 letter home.
Charles Harvey Brewster, When This Cruel War is Over: the Civil War Letters of Charles Harvey Brewster (UMass Press, 1992), pages 284 and 288. Accessed 7/709 on Google Books [in limited preview], via “brewster ‘when this cruel’” search. From the apparent context, this passage appears in a chapter covering March to June 1864, when the 10th MA was near Brandy Station VA. The regiment was from Springfield in western Massachusetts, and the 37th MA formed in Pittsfield MA.
1864.35 Government Promotes Base Ball
"GOVERNMENT BALL GROUNDS.-- The game of base ball has lately received such an indorement (sic) at the hands of the U. S. government as will go far toward giving it permanency as the national game of ball in America. Not only have base ball matches been encouraged by the military authorities, at the various army stations, as a means of recreation, as a means of recreation and exercise for the soldiers, in hours of relaxation from active service...but the naval authorities have recently made arrangements by which our sailors can similarly enjoy a pleasurable sport and healthy exercise at the same time. A large space of ground, lately recovered from the swamp lands adjoining the Navy yard, has been prepared as a ball ground, and during the summer the sailors and marines on board the several vessels at the depot are to use it when off duty. ...Ball players are being made by the hundred in our army. The few members of clubs who happen to get into the different regiments that have emanated from the Metropolis have inoculated the whole service with the love of the game, and during last year, for the first time, we believe, that base ball matches took place in every State in the Union-- or out of it, as the case may be--this side of the Mississippi."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 30, 1864
1864.38 Base Ball On The Rebound
[A] "THE SEASON OF 1864...The prospects for a successful season for 1864 are more favorable than those of any season since 1861..."
[B] "THE OPENING PLAY OF THE SEASON. NOT since 1861 has there been a season that has opened more auspiciously for the welfare of the game than the present one; and the prospects are that we shall have one of the most enjoyable series of matches of any year since base ball was inaugurated as our national game of ball."
[C] 'THE JUNIOR FRATERNITY.-- Not a week passes that some new junior organization does not spring into existence..."
[D] "MATCHES FOR SEPTEMBER.-- ...We are glad to note the fact that not even in the palmy days of 1860, when every vacant lot or available space for playing ball was occupied by junior clubs, have these young players been so numerous as this season."
[E] "THE SEASON OF 1864.-- Taking into consideration the existence of civil war in the country, the ball-playing season of 1864 has been the most successful and advantageous to the interests of our national game known in the annals of baseball...We are glad also to record the fact, that among the marked features of the past season none has been more promising for the permanence of the game than the great increase of junior players and clubs."
[A] New York Clipper, April 16, 1864
[B] New York Clipper, May 14, 1864
[C] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug. 22, 1864
[D] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sep. 9, 1864
[E] New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 13, 1864
1864.39 Helping the Sanitary Commission
Ball in the Culture, Civil War
"A BALL-PLAYING JUBILEE IN PHILADELPHIA.-- Wednesday, May 25, and the three days following it, are going to be devoted to a regular gala-time in ball-play in the City of Brotherly Love, the 25th inst. being the occasion on which the grand match was suggested to the ball-players of Pennsylvania and New Jersey is to take place-- the contest being one for the benefit of the United States Sanitary Commission-- the contestants being selected nines from the prominent clubs of New Jersey and Pennsylvania."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, May 15, 1864
[B] Philadelphia Illustrated New Age, May 25, 1864
The United States Sanitary Commission was a private relief agency created by federal legislation on June 18, 1861, to support sick and wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army during the American Civil War. It operated across the North, raised an estimated $25 million in Civil War era revenue and in-kind contributions
1864c.52 Former Mass-Game Champs Form Winning Wartime Team
"A much more pleasing picture is the recreation enjoyed by the boys of the 33rd [MA] Regiment. There were thirteen Sharon boys in the regiment and most of them had been members of the Sharon Massapoags, the state baseball champions of 1857. . . .
"They formed a nine of their own and soon defeated every team in the regiment. The New York boys of the 136th regiment next fell before them. At Atlanta their contest with a nine from the whole Cumberland army was crowned with success. Though unfortunately, but quite naturally the victors became insufferably conceited."
Amy Morgan Rafter Pratt, The History of Sharon, Massachusetts to 1865 (Boston U masters thesis, 1935), page 74. Search string: <morgan rafter pratt>.
1864.53 General Hooker's Players "Pretty Badly Beat", 70-11
A: The match game of base ball between the staff, and orderlies of Gen. Hooker, and thirteen players from our regiment came off this forenoon, the result was in favor of our regiment, the innings stood seventy to eleven, pretty badly beat wasn't they. They will play another game this afternoon. Gen. Hooker ordered Col. Wood to postpone brigade drill, that they might play.
B:Nothing has been stirring for the last week except for ball playing and one brigade drill. We play ball about all the time now. We, or some of the officers, have received a challenge from Gen'l Hooker's staff and escort to play a match. Fourteen players have been selected to play against them, amongst whom is ELE< the letter writer>. Four of them are commissioned officers, the rest enlisted men. We have also had a challenge from the one hundred and thirty.sixth New York, bit I don't know if it will be played or not.
C: Major Lawrence with a skillful nine selected from Hooker's body guard, challenged the [33rd MA] regiment to match them in a manly game of base ball, and his nine got worsted. The New York regiment threw down the glove with a like result. The champion Sharon [MA] boys knew a thing or two about base ball, which they had learned in contests with the laurelled Massapoags at home.
A: Letter of April 13, 1864 by Lt. Thomas Howland. Obtained via Massachusetts Historical Society, August 2015.
B: Letter home by E. L. Edes, April 1864. For full letter, see Supplemental Text, below.
C: A. B. Underwood, Thirty-Third Mass. Infantry Regiment, 1862 - 1865 (A. Williams and Co., Boston, 1881, page 199. Search string: <kershaw had a smart>.
It seems likely that these games were played under Mass game rules.
General Sherman's winter camp was outside Chattanooga, and his march into GA started in the beginning of May 1864.
The Massapoag Club of Sharon MA fielded 10-14 players for its pre-war games, which were subject to Massachusetts rules. Why would the regimental history, 17 years later, refer to "nines"?
1864.54 Daily Eagle Sees Base Ball Now Played Throughout US North (East of the Mississippi)
"Ball players are being made by the hundred in our army. The few members of clubs that happen to get into the different regiments that have emanated from the Metropolis have inoculated the whole service with a love of the game, and during last year, for the first time, we believe, base ball matches took place in every State in the Union-- or out of it, as the case may be-- this side of the Mississippi. Materials are now furnished to the various regiments that require them, and this by order of the Government, and this year, unless some very stirring work is done, games of ball will be played throughout the country, not only by civilians in the great cities, but by our soldiers in every camp, North, East, West, and South."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 30, 1864
In submitting this piece, Bob Tholkes writes: "In recent years the role of the Civil War in expanding baseball, once considered crucial, has suffered bombardment by several large-bore researchers. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle made the case for the influence of the war. If the crucial nature of the war's role is a myth, it is a myth reaching back to the beginning."
1864.55 Soldiers on leave play ball in Chicago
The Chicago Tribune, June 28, 1864 reports that the Turchin Base Ball Club of the 19th Illinois Infantry will play a base ball game this afternoon at the Prairie Cricket grounds, West Madison St., Chicago. "All friends of the Nineteenth, and of this healthy and invigorating game, are expected to attend."
Basil Turchin was colonel and commander of the 19th. Some members of the 19th had played for the prewar Excelsiors of Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune, June 28, 1864
1864c.56 Confederate Prisoners Play Ball in Chicago
At Camp Douglas, a prisoner of war camp in Chicago, the Confederate army prisoners played "the old-fashioned game of ball--with a ball and bats--but no base ball" (because to the prisoner, base ball meant you had to dress up in uniforms).
Copley, "A Sketch of the Battle of Franklin...." p. 172. He was taken prisoner in late 1864, thus the ballplaying he witnessed occurred in late 1864 or early 1865.
There are mentions in other books of POWs playing base ball at Camp Douglas.
For example, the Chicago Tribune, March 25, 1862 reports that the Camp Douglas POWs played " a game of ball.... giving full play to the arms, legs and lungs." Same Oct. 19, 1863, June 9, 1862, reports that the prisoners are playing base ball and quoits. Confederate Veteran, Vol. 15, p. 234 prints the recollections of T. J. Moore, 3rd TN Infantry, who was a POW at Camp Douglas: "We were allowed to play town ball." Keller, The Story of Camp Douglas" p. 114 cites POW Curtis Burke as saying "The prisoners amuse themselves out of doors ... playing ball."
Copley, "A Sketch of the Battle of Franklin...." p. 172
1864.57 Union Army Parolees Play Baseball in Camp
Cox, "Civil War Maryland" says Union army parolees played baseball in 1864 at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland.
"Parole" was a system of POW exchange whereby the soldier, after surrender, took an oath not to serve again until properly exchanged, and was then released. Union parolees went to the parole camp near Annapolis that the Federal government established, to wait (in friendly territory) until notified that they'd been exchanged for a Confederate parolee. So this is another example of Union army POWs playing baseball.
Cox, "Civil War Maryland"
1864.59 Union POWs Play Town Ball
The Savannah Republican, Dec. 2, 1864 prints an item from the Canton MS Citizen of Nov. 11, says that Union soldiers captured at Athens, AL, while on parole and en route to Memphis for exchange, "played quite spiritedly in a game of old fashioned town ball" while in Canton.
Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest had captured the Union garrison at Athens shortly before this. "Parole" is a form of captivity where the POW gives his pledge not to escape, and will await a POW exchange.
The Savannah Republican, Dec. 2, 1864
1864.60 Baseball "the favorite game of our soldiers"
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 19, 1864, under the heading "Base Ball in the Army" reported " In every army corps there are ball clubs formed, whose members take advantage of every opportunity to have a game together. Base ball has become the favorite game of our soldiers when not engaged in actual service."
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 19, 1864
The Union army consisted of approximately 20 corps at this time. At this time the Eagle constantly promoted baseball.
1864.61 Artillerists enjoying fine exercise
The Sacramento Daily Union, April 25, 1864, prints a story from the New York Herald, March 17, 1864, from the Army of the Potomac camp near Culpeper Court House: "The artillery brigade attached to the First Army Corps are enjoying fine exercise at match games of base ball. The men of Battery L, from Rochester, Captain Reynolds, played a game yesterday with the employees of the Quartermaster, Captain Crittenden." The quartermasters lost badly.
See also 1864.89.
The Sacramento Daily Union, April 25, 1864
1864.62 Louisiana Confederates play in Virginia
The Richmond Examiner, April 2, 1864 mentions "a friendly match of base ball, played between Hayes' and Stafford's Second Brigade, of the same corps, which match was won by General Hayes' brigade."
Stafford and Hays' brigades were stationed with the Army of Northern Virginia's 2nd Corps, near Orange, VA at this time. They were both LA units, and contained many prewar baseball players from the New Orleans teams. The POWs at Johnson's Island who played baseball there were often from these units.
The Richmond Examiner, April 2, 1864
1864.63 Entire Regiment Plays Sports
The Boston Traveler, March 18, 1864, prints a letter from the 1st Massachusetts, dated Brandy Station, March 15, 1864: "Camp Sports. Base ball, foot ball, and various gymnastic exercises, are in full tide of popularity and successful daily prosecution now, and the entire regiment, officers and men, turn out to engage in them."
The Boston Traveler, March 18, 1864
1864.64 Confederate POWs play baseball at Rock Island
Confederate army prisoners at the Rock Island, Illinois POW Camp, played baseball there. See Ben McAdams, Rebels at Rock Island (2000), p. 68, citing the diary of J. W. Minnich, Private 6th Louisiana Infantry.
Ben McAdams, Rebels at Rock Island (2000), p. 68
1864.65 Ball playing at Spotsylvania battlefield
The Fayetteville Observer, May 30, 1864: From Lane's (NC) Brigade, datelined Spotsylvania, May 17: "We pass our leisure moments in watching the enemy's and our skirmishers popping away at each other; while a little further off we see some of them running around apparently plying ball."
The Fayetteville Observer, May 30, 1864
1864.67 Confederate Major pitches Town Ball
The 1934 History of Worth County, Georgia, p. 501: "About the middle of March, 1864, while quite a number of he men were engaged in a game of town ball some evening, Major Rylander acting as he often did as pitcher, orders came for the battalion to report as soon as possible at Orange Court House, Virginia, for duty.... The game of ball was abandoned."
John Emory Rylander was major of the 10th GA Battalion. The unit was stationed at/near Franklin, VA (near Suffolk) at the time.
The 1934 History of Worth County, Georgia, p. 501
1864.69 Lithograph shows soldiers playing bat-ball game
A Lithograph at the library of Congress, "Camp of the 37th Mass. Vol's. Near Brandy Station" published in 1864, shows soldiers playing a bat ball game.
The 37th is/was known to have played baseball.
1864.70 16thMississippi plays Town Ball
Evans' "The 16th Mississippi Infantry" p. 238 cites the James Johnson Kirkpatrick diary,2-22-64, from Camp Rapidan in VA: "...very sorry that drill is so early resumed. It interfered with our amusements. Town Ball is all the rage."
Evans' "The 16th Mississippi Infantry" p. 238
1864.71 Soldier in TN asks sister to send him a baseball
Original 2 page handwritten letter from Alonzo P. Brown of the Company E 107th Regiment New York Volunteers as he writes to a young lady (we think his married sister) named Mrs. James H. Giles from the battlefields of the Civil War. Written in ink he talks of her sending him a baseball she had promised as in a previous letter he explained that everyone was baseball crazy and they needed a good ball to play with in camp! He writes, "You state that you are going to send the Ball." I have another letter to document this is clearly in regard to baseball!
Auction notice at http:picclick.com
1864.72 New Jerseyan enjoys watching army baseball
Gettysburg College's online ms. catalog has (MS-015) the letters of Frederick H. Kronenberger, 2nd NJ Infantry. From the catalog: "He writes of enjoying baseball games between other units."
Gettysburg College's online ms. catalog, (MS-015)
1864.73 Baseball near Petersburg
In late 1864, the New York Times reported the game among the fortifications and camps along the Appomattox River, “Sometimes a few enterprising minds get up a baseball match, and they are as punctilious over ‘fair’ and ‘foul’ as the most ambitious club at home.”
"The Army of the Potomac," New York Times, Oct. 30, 1864.
1864.74 86th Indiana Plays Town Ball in East Tennessee
After the camp was established, a ball ground was laid off, and daily, when the weather was favorable, those not on duty took exercise by playing a few games of "town ball."
Barnes, Carnahan and McCain, "Eighty Sixth Indiana" p. 319. This was Jan. 1864 near Knoxville, TN.
Barnes, Carnahan and McCain, "Eighty Sixth Indiana" p. 319.
1864.75 12th Kansas plays ball in Fort Smith
Private Henry A. Strong writes about camp entertainment in his journal on January 14th, 1864 in Fort Smith, AR:
"Ball playing is got to be a chief amusement. Well, anything to drive away the blues when a fellow is on short rations"
Courtesy Caleb Hardwick
A Rough Introduction to This Sunny Land: The Civil War Diary of Private Henry A. Strong, Co. K, Twelfth Kansas Infantry
1864.76 29th Iowa plays ball in Little Rock
Charles Musser of the 29th Iowa writes while stationed in Little Rock, AR on February 15th, 1864 during the Civil War:
"The boys are pretty generally all well and in fine spirits. ... They are laughing and yelling over their ball playing, and such like amusements"
Soldier Boy: The Civil War Letters of Charles O. Musser, 29th Iowa, By Barry Popchock, 1995. Courtesy Caleb Hardwick.
1864.77 196th PA plays ball in Baltimore
Morris et al., "Base Ball Pioneers," p. 255, quotes Griffith, "The Early History of Amateur Baseball" as saying in 1864 he watched soldiers of the 196th PA practice baseball in Baltimore. Among the soldiers practicing was Dick McBride, the well known pitcher. The 196th was a 100-days regiment that contained many Philadelphia area ballplayers.
Morris et al., Base Ball Pioneers," p. 255
1864.78 55th IL Plays Baseball in Alabama
"War Diary of Thaddeus H. Capron, 1861-1865", Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 12 (1919) 330-406, p. 378, March 10, 1864 entry: "We are still in camps, leading a monotonous life--Our principal pastime being games of baseball."
Capron's 55th IL was stationed near Larkinsville, AL at the time.
"War Diary of Thaddeus H. Capron, 1861-1865", Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 12 (1919) 330-406, p. 378
1864.79 Ball Playing in Black Regiment
Reid (ed.), "Practicing Medicine in a Black Regiment: The Civil War Diary of Burt G. Wilder," p. 147 (Nov. 24, 1864 entry): "This afternoon was a grand parade and then a review by Col. Kozlay; then we played ball till dark."
Wilder's 55th Massachusetts was stationed near Beaufort, SC at the time.
Reid (ed.), "Practicing Medicine in a Black Regiment: The Civil War Diary of Burt G. Wilder," p. 147
1864.80 176th NY Plays Baseball in LA
The New York Sunday Mercury, Jan. 3, 1864 reports that the 176th NY, stationed at Bonne Carre Bend, LA, have formed two teams and are enjoying baseball games. Two recent matches (probably in 1863) are mentioned, and the names of the players are given.
1864.83 176th NY Plays 9th CT in LA
The New York Sunday Mercury, March 20, 1864 reports that at Madisonville, LA the 176th NY played the 9th CT, both teams composed "exclusively of commissioned officers." The 176th won, 46-5.
1864.84 Artillerymen Play Artillerymen in VA
The New York Sunday Mercury, March 20, 1864 reports a game played on the 15th at Rappahannock Station, VA between the 5th NY Battery and the 6th Regiment, NY Heavy Artillery. The latter won 23-16.
1864.85 South Carolina soldiers Play Ball near Petersburg
Wil Greene, "Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion..." p. 133, cites the William J. Miller memoir,Winthrop University, as saying "We younger soldiers played ball often [in the winter of 1864] and in winter time we had snow..." This while they were defending Petersburg.
1864.86 Union artillerists play baseball in Texas
Williams, "Chicago's Battery Boys. The Chicago Mercantile Battery in the Civil War" p. 478 cites the diaries of Cone (2-13-64) and F. D. Pitts, Feb. 16/25, 1864 as saying that on Feb. 25th, while stationed on the Matagorda Peninsula, the left section of the battery defeated the right section 16-4 in a game of base ball.
1864c.87 Ball soft enough for soaking
A Vermont soldier described it in this way. "The ball was soft, and a great bounder. To put a base runner out, he had to be hit by the ball, thrown by the pitcher."
Quoted in Bell I. Wiley, The Life of Billy Yank, p. 170, in his page on soldier's baseball. It appears Wiley cites either the James F. Williams diary, at the NYPL (entry of 2-20-64) or the Josiah S. Chandler ms., Western Reserve HS. Chandler was a member of the 5th VT infantry.
1864.88 17th Maine plays the "school-boy game of base-ball"
The Portland Daily Press, April 25, 1864 prints a letter from a soldier in the 17th Maine Infantry, dated April 18, which says that a few weeks ago at James City, VA "the boys got about all manner of games [including] the old school-boy game of base-ball."
The Portland Daily Press, April 25, 1864
1864.89 Artillerymen "great on base-ball"
"[Reynolds'] men are great on base-ball and have a lovely ground for it in front of the stables."
From Charles S. Wainwright, "A Diary of Battle" pp. 325-326 (entry of March 10, 1864). Reynolds commanded a battery of the 1st Corps artillery, stationed near Culpeper, VA.
See also 1864.61 entry.
Charles S. Wainwright, "A Diary of Battle" pp. 325-326
1864.90 Union POWs play base ball in Macon POW Camp
Mattocks' "Unspoiled Heart" (a journal of the 17th Maine Infantry) p. 162 (7-6-64 entry): "Some of our officers amuse themselves hugely with cricket, base-ball, fencing, &c., ..."
Mattocks' "Unspoiled Heart" (a journal of the 17th Maine Infantry) p. 162
1864.91 DC Cavalry play in camp
"When not on duty, these men from Maine [of the 1st DC Cavalry] relaxed by playing cards, singing, drinking, wrestling, boxing, horse racing, target shooting, and baseball."
Citing contemporary sources, from March 1864 in DC. The cite is Mangrum's "Edwin M. Stanton's Special Military Units" (Thesis, U of North Texas, 1978), p. 270.
The cite is Mangrum's "Edwin M. Stanton's Special Military Units" (Thesis, U of North Texas, 1978), p. 270.
1864.92 Baseball in Culpeper Camp
The diary of Jacob Wallace Smiley, a Union sharpshooter with the 7th Company, 1st Battalion, New York Sharpshooters, in the Northern Virginia region. The majority of the entries detail his experiences in and around Culpepper from December 1863 to May 1864. He talks about camp life, drills, daily activities, letters from home, and playing baseball in camp. Smiley's last complete entry was on May 4, 1864, when the regiment moved from Culpepper toward Wilderness.
Smiley diary, at Civil War Diaries web site
1865.2 Illinois Soldier Plays Wicket Near War’s End
“Washington March 29 65. . . . Put up fence round our Q’rs played wicket ball Evening bought cigars and smoked.” “Monday Apr. 3rd Lost and found my Pocket Book Played Wicket Traded watches.” “Tuesday Apr. 4th Played ball.”
Milo Deering Dailey, Civil War Diary of 1865. Accessed 6/22/09 by Google Web search: “’milo deering dailey.’” The diary covers February through-June 1865. Dailey was with the 112th Illinois, which was organized in Peoria IL. The regiment was in North Carolina in early April, closing on Raleigh from the east. Washington NC is about 95 miles E of Raleigh.
1865.3 Bay Stater to Wife: “We had a gay old time playing ball . . . send me five dollars”
“My dear wife, We were drawn up in line this afternoon and informed we would be discharged and sent to our Regiments in ten days. We had a gay old time playing ball. . . . You must send me five dollars without fail. I am almost distracted by the want of tobacco.”
Letter home from Wheeling, West Virginia, by John R. Irving, May 4, 1865. Irving, in a Massachusetts Cavalry unit, was assigned to General Custer’s Division. Note: it is possible that the ellipsis in this rendering omits a bit more detail about the ballplaying. Accessed 6/22/09 by Google Web search “’john r irving’ ‘auction contents.’” The letter is descried under auction #2.1.
1865.4 On Last Day of Service, PA Soldiers Play Ball
[Thursday May 4, 1865] “Not much to do in camp. Most of us playing ball.”
Civil War Diary of Dr. William McKibbin, covering February to August 1865. Accessed via Genealogybank subscription 5/19/09. McKibbin wrote this entry in Carlisle PA. He mustered out of the service on the next day, and three days later “Ella and I married at 7:00 in the evening.”
1865.5 Minnesotans Play Ball in Near Selma Alabama.
“Wednesday [May] 17 : Laid in camp. Boys playing ball. Weather fine and warm with breeze. David reported captured.”
Civil War Diary of William Johnston Dean, August 1862 – September 1865. This entry was written near Selma. Alabama. Diary accessed via Google Web search “’william johnston dean’ diary.” Dean was with the 9th Minnesota.
1865.6 Detachment Forms BB Club in Trenton
“Mr Reporter: The game of ball spoke of in the Gazette on June 5th, as between the Model School B. B. Club and the Veteran Corps, is a mistake. The players belonged to the Old Detachment N. J. Vols., and are men detached from different New Jersey Regiments in the field, and have been doing duty at Camp Perrine. The name taken for the organization is the Old Detachment Base Ball Club. W. H. Dodd, Sec’y.”
Trenton State Gazette, June 7, 1865. Accessed via Genealogybank, 5/20/09. Camp Perrine was in Trenton.
1865.7 Awaiting Release, Soldier in DC Plays and Watches Base Ball
“This afternoon I played ‘base ball’ for four hours a 1st baseman in a match game between the Officers of the 12th V.R.C. and the Officers of the 24th the game – after seven innings – standing in favor of the former club, the score being 53 to 23”
Letter, October 2, 1865, from York Amos Woodward, 24th Veteran Reserves. A series of Woodward’s letters, written in October and November 1865, contain 9 references to base ball, including a report of a game between the National club of Washington and the Excelsior of Brooklyn [October 9]. Woodward appears to have been in Washington at the time. From an auction offering accessed via Google Web search on 5/19/09.
1865.14 Baseball For The Wounded
"The Satterlees are returned wounded veteran soldiers, stationed, temporarily, at the West Philadelphia Hospital. Great difficulty is experienced in obtaining a 'practiced nine,' from the fact of players being constantly returned to duty with their regiments. The Club, with more propriety, might be called the 'Impromptu'."
Philadelphia Inquirer, May 26, 1865
1865.17 Mass Game Survived the Civil War
"BASE BALL. A very interesting game (Massachusetts) was played on the 17th, between the Warren Club of Roxbury and the Lightfoot Clup of Neponset, on the grounds of the latter."
Boston Herald, June 21, 1865
1865.22 89th Illinois beats 49th Ohio
On April 3, 1865, the 89th Illinois Infantry defeated the 49th Ohio 50-23 in a game played in their camp at New Market, TN.
Reyburn, "Clear the Track: A History of the Eight-Ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry," p. 450, citing a soldier's diary.
1865.27 First Organized Base Ball Game in NC?
The New York Clipper, April 29, 1865 gives the box score of a game played near Goldsboro, NC on April 5th, between the drum corps and the privates of the 102nd NY Infantry, Sherman's Army, that had recently marched into NC.
Other than play at Salisbury POW camp, this might be the first organized base ball game ever played in the state.
The New York Clipper, April 29, 1865
1865.28 Union Guards at Elmira Prison Play Baseball with Confederate POWs
Baseball play was part of the Elmira POW Camp throughout the war.
The Chemung Union played against some Elmira POWs in 1865, according to James E. Hare, "Elmira," p. 75.
Janowski, "The Elmira Prison Camp" p. 360 says that in 1864 "The teams of the different [Confederate] states used to play baseball for the edification of the guards," quoting a soldier who was in the 54th NY guarding the POWs.
Horrigan, "Elmira: Death Camp of the North" says that on 9-3-64 two guards regiments, the 54th and 56th NY Infantry, played baseball against each other outside the camp.
James E. Hare, "Elmira," p. 75
1865.29 Ballplaying at Appomattox surrender?
There's long been a story that when Robert E. Lee's Confederate army surrendered at Appomattox, April 9, 1865, the Union victors played baseball games with the Confederate POWs. According to Pat Schroeder, who works for the NPS at Appomattox, that is not true--the Union and Confederate soldiers did indeed play baseball that week, but they played in their own camps, not against each other.
1865.31 Union soldiers play baseball with Confederates
"A letter from the Army of the Potomac dated the 1st inst., says that for five hours after the truce was declared along our lines in front of the 9th Corps, thousands of our boys threw down their arms and engaged in ball playing with the rebel soldiers. The utmost good feeling prevailed..."
This "truce" appears to have been connected with the Hampton Roads Peace Conference, and probably occurred Jan. 29th, 1865.
If true, this would be perhaps the first verified instance of ball playing between the two sides, in a battlefield situation. The story was printed in many newspapers that month. However, no contemporary diary mentions this event.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Feb. 6, 1865
1865.32 133rd New York plays an amateur club
The Washington Daily National Republican, May 19, 1865 reports on a game at Fort Meigs, near DC, where the 133rd New York lost to the National Club of DC. Gives a box score.
Fort Meigs was on the eastern edge of DC, in Maryland.
The Washington Daily National Republican, May 19, 1865. The New York Sunday Mercury, May 21, 1865.
1865.33 Texas Confederate Plays Town Ball Near Petersburg
A March 11, 1865 letter from Private Willis Watts of the 1st TX Infantry, Lee's army reports "We have pretty good huts to live in and are always very lively & merry when the weather permits we often Play Town Ball Cat Bull Pin or Something of that Sort."
1865.34 Sherman's army plays base-ball in SC
The Madison State Journal, Feb. 28, 1865 prints a letter from a soldier in the 22nd WI, dated Feb. 1, 1865, Robertsville, SC, which claims: "For the first time in an month, large numbers of men are engaged in the sports of school-boy days--the running leap, the wrestle and the base ball."
The Madison State Journal, Feb. 28, 1865
1865.35 Indiana Regiment plays Town Ball in NC
The Randolph Journal (Winchester, IN), April 6, 1865 prints a letter from a member of the 124th Indiana, near Kinston, NC, dated March 8, 1865: "I saw Lieut. Col. Neff this morning eagerly engaged in a game of town-ball, and exhibiting as much spirit and dash as a young blood of twenty five..."
The Randolph Journal (Winchester, IN), April 6, 1865
1865.36 Chicago artillerist plays baseball in Baton Rouge, earns $5
Winters, "The Civil War in Louisiana" p. 404 cites the diary of Florison D. Pitts, of the Chicago Mercantile Battery (at LSU): "While at Baton Rouge [in early 1865] he attended the circus and played baseball, receiving five dollars for the latter."
1865.37 Opdycke's Tigers Play ball in AL
Clark, "Opdycke Tigers" (125th Ohio) p. 379, etc. quotes a soldier's diary as saying (Feb. 2, 1865, near Huntsville): "The boys played ball on the parade ground." (Feb. 3, similar). Feb. 27: "Clear day. Ball game in morning. No drill or dress parade."
1865.38 Ball Playing at Andersonville POW Camp
The January 5, 1865 diary entry of W. H. Smith, a prisoner of war at Andersonville POW camp, says “Capt. Wirz gives me a pass to go to hospital. Have been down there all afternoon playing ball.”
Andersonville is in western Georgia. It is about 55 miles E of Columbus GA, which is on the Alabama border. It was the site of the most notorious and deadly camp for Union POWs.
1865.39 Al Pratt learns baseball in the army
Noted ballplayer and manager Al Pratt was interviewed in 1895. Pratt stated "Yes, it is true.... that I learned to play ball while in the army." Pratt notes he served in the 61st PA Infantry and was present at the siege of Petersburg.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 17, 1895.