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This file was last updated in July 2009



Ballplaying in the Civil War Camps


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 at  Entries are listed by first year of the event[s] reported in a source.  Where possible, they are listed chronologically within the cited year.  When a year is estimated, a “c” is added; thus, entry “1862c.23” is the 23rd listing for the year 1862, which in this case is inferred and not specified in the source document.


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 [1871].


A 5-page inductive summary of these accounts, and how they affect our general understanding of ballplaying in the Civil War camps, is here.




[1]  First Sunday in the Service:  “Ball-playing, Wrestling, and Some Cards”


In early May 1861, the new 13th Illinois Regiment assembled in St. Louis.  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.



[2]  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.]  PBall file: CW-123.



[3]  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 he Brigade had a great game of ball in the afternoon, in front of our Reg’t.”  Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009.  PBall file: CW-124.



[4]  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.”  PBall file: CW-1.


[5]  Lieutenant Views Ballplaying at Albany NY Barracks


“As I look out of our window to the West . . . I see on the green sward, a hundred men laughing, talking, playing ball, cards and leap-frog, drilling and doing a hundred things for this or that purpose of pleasure or profit.”


From a May 5 1861 note by Lt. Willoughby Babcock, in Babcock, Selections from the Letters and Diaries of Brevet-Brigadier General Willoughby Babcock of the Seventy-Fifth New York Volunteers, Bulletin 2 of New York State’s War of the Rebellion Series, 1922, page 92.  (Accessed in Google books, 5/29/09, via the search “Willoughby Babcock”.) . Babcock was a lieutenant in 1862 with the Third New York Volunteers.  A five-page summary of his comments on military recreation has no other reference to ballplaying.  He died in October 1864 of wounds inflicted in the Battle of Winchester VA.  PBall file: CW-2.



[6]  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 [1861], at twelve o’clock, to witness a match game with the 71st Regiment Base Ball Club”


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.


Source: 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.



[7]  Knocker Plugged in Head in 6-on-6 Game at Long Island NY Camp


In an August 2 1861 letter to his brother, a soldier in the 48th NY Volunteer Regiment wrote:  “Yesterday we was playing ball 6 on a side, all good players. Their [sic] was but one man hit.  He was running across the lower bases [? – LMc] and I was throwing ball.  So I caught the knocker out and throwed the ball at him.  It hit him on the head and knocked him down on the spot.  His head swelled awful.  The Capt. Said I was a good shot as it was about 45 yards off.  About 200 laughing at him.  He stood it like a soldier.”


Letter from J. G. Abbott at Camp Wyman, Fort Hamilton Long Island.  Information from an online auction of the letter, accessed 5/19/09.  In August 1861, the regiment’s early recruits were settling in at the Long Island camp.  Recruiting had begun in July in Brooklyn, and Abbott seems to have traveled there to enlist.  In regiment records John G. Abbott appears as a 22-year old sergeant in Company D in 1861.  He died in 1863 of wounds received at Fort Wagner, SC – the battle depicted in the movie Glory.  PBall file: CW-4.



[8]  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 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]]]  PBall file CW-5.


[9]  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.  PBall file: CW-151.



[10]  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.    PBall file:  CW-6


[11]  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.  PBall file: CW7.



[12]  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.  PBall file: CW8.



[13]  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.  PBall file: CW9.



[14]  Imprisoned Maryland Senator Notes Ballplaying


“December 12 [1861]: “Another beautiful day, intensely cold in the morning, but moderating towards noon, the ball players enjoyed it very much” [page 114].  PBall file:  CW-36.


“December 19 [1861].  Another warm and pleasant day, of which the ball-players took advantage.” [page 117].


Lawrence Sangston, “Diary of Lawrence Sangston, December 1862,” Bastiles of the North (Kelly, Hedian and Piet, Baltimore, 1863).  Provided by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09.  After October 31, 1861, Sangston was confined in Fort Warren in Boston Harbor.  He was released on January 2, 1862 PBall file: CW-125.



[15]  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  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?”  PBall file: CW10.



[16] 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.  PBall file: CW11. 



[17]  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  PBall file: CW12.


Query:  Was Hays using a literal reference to the game of long ball, or was this a general analogy used at the time?



[18]  Survey Finding:  Common Athletic Games Forestall Woes of Gambling


After examining nearly 200 regiments, the Sanitary Commission 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.  None: is it worth inspecting the report itself in search of further detail?  It is not available online in May 2009.  PBall file: CW13.



[19]  22nd MA beats 13th NY in 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 know the old-fashioned game.  PBall file: CW-126.



[20] 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.  PBall file” CW14.



[21] 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.  PBall file: CW15.



[22] NY and MA Regiments Play Two Games Near the 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.  Provided by Priscilla Astifan, Autumn 2008.  PBall file: CW16.



[23]  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.  PBall file: CW17.



[24]  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?  PBall file: CW18.



[25] 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  PBall file: CW19. Note: can we determine the location of the event?



[26] Thirteenth 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.”


Charles E. Davis, Jr., Three Years in the Army:  The Story of the Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers (Estes and Lauriat, Boston, 1894), page 56.  The entry is dated May 6, 1862, when the regiment was in the vicinity of Warrenton VA.  Also cited in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 41.  There is no further detail on the version of base ball that was played.  The full text was accessed on 6/1/09 on Google books via a search for “’charles e. davis’ three”


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.]  PBall file: CW20.



[27]  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. 


In an unattributed and undated passage in Wells Twombley’s 200 Years of Sport in America (McGraw-Hill, 1976), page 71, 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.”


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, Baseball Illustrated, at pages 10-11.


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.”


An extended account of ballplaying at Salisbury, along with the Boetticher drawing, are found in Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), pp.27-31.  She 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.  Note:  It would be interesting to locate and inspect the Josephus Clarkson diary used in Twombley.  Clarkson, described as a ship’s chandler before the war, does not yield to Google or Genealogy bank as of 6/6/09.  Particularly interesting is Clarkson’s very early identification of Cartwright as an originator of the NY game.   PBall file: CW21.



[28]  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.  PBall file: CW-22.



[29]  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. PBall file: CW-23. 



[30]  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.  PBall file: CW-127



[31]  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?  PBall file: CW-129



[32]  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.  PBall file: CW-24.



[33] 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.  PBall file: CW-25.



[34] 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.  The  regiment was drawn from the general Boston area.  PBall file:  CW-26.



[35] 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.  PBall file: CW-27.



[36]  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.  PBall file: CW-128.


 [37]  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.  Jones was from Spring Green, WI, which is about 30 miles west of Madison and 110 miles west of Milwaukee.  Jones later became a leading Unitarian minister and a pacifist.  Leads provided by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09. PBall file: CW-28.



[38]  Michigan Colonel Plays Ball in Tennessee


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, 1882), page 327.  Accessed 6/4/09 on Google Books via “”michigan in the war” search.  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.  PBall file:  CW-29.



[39] 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.  Note:  Is this crowd estimate reasonable?  Are other contemporary or reflective accounts available?  PBall file -- CW-30



[40]  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 . . . .”


“Christmas in the Army,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 29, 1862.  The article also reported that “Brown cricket jackets are now issued to the men instead of the brown blouses formerly issued.  These jackets mare a very comfortable garment . . . but they are very unmilitary-looking.”  Accessed via Genealogybank, 5/21/09.  PBall file CW-31.



[41] 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.  PBall file: CW-152.



[42]  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.  PBall file:  CW-32.



[43]  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 [accessed 6/6/09.]  Note: we welcome your interpretation of these photos.  PBall file: CW-33.



[44]  Monotony and Base-base in the 48th NY


“[L]ife at Fort Pulaski resumed with us its monotony.  Our duties were all routine.  Many sports, however, were engaged in to while away the time, and all will recall the fishing for sheep’s-head, the duck-shooting, base-ball, and other sports.  Our baseball nine was a fine success.  In games with picked nines from other regiments it generally won the laurels.  In game with the nine of the Forty-seventh New York, played at Fort Pulaski, January 3, 1863, it won by a score of twenty to seven.”  Fort Pulaski was on the Georgia Coast, about ten miles SE of Savannah. 


Abraham J. Palmer, The History of the Forty-Eighth Regiment New York State Volunteers (Veteran Association of the Regiment, Brooklyn, 1885), page 57.  This is the book’s only ballplaying reference.  Accessed 6/6/09 on Google Books via “forty-eighth palmer” search.  The regiment evidently comprised mostly Brooklynites.  PBall file: CW-34.



[45]  Officers Play Base Ball on Some Parade Ground, Somewhere


“Lieutenant Charles P. Klein documented an engagement between officers on January 10, 1863: ‘Saturday afternoon is allotted the men for necessary washing and cleansing, at which time the commissioned officers of the regiment indulge in a game of base ball on the parade ground.’  The score was 32-14 ‘up to the fifth innings, other duty then interfering.’”


Allison Barash, “Base Ball in the Civil War, National Pastime, January 2001, pp 18.  Barash gives no citation for this item.  A Lieut. Charles P. Klein, of Rochester NY, served in the 140th NY regiment, and died at Gettysburg in July 1863. Note:  Can we locate this source?  PBall file: CW-35.



[46]  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 [1863]  “went on picket plaid ball at the reserve 10:00 till 1:00 o’clock”  April 6 [1863] “plaid at ball and saw the boys play drop ball.”  April 15 [1864] “plaid ball some jumped some”  April 30 [1863] “Laid around camp Saw the 40 and our boys play.”  June 21 [1865] “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.



[47] 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.  PBall file: CW-37



[48]  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.  PBall file: CW-38.



[49]  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.  PBall file:  CW-39.



[50]  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.  PBall file: CW-40.



[51]  Wisconsin Soldier Reportedly “Died While Playing Wicket”


“March 2 [1863].  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.  PBall file:  CW-41.



[52]  First and Second Nines of 9th NY Prevail an 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?  PBall file: CW-131.



[53]  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.  Note: can we determine what units were deployed to Port Royal and the Sea Islands in early 1863?


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.  PBall file:  CW-42.



[54]  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  . . . PBall file: CW-43.



[55]  23-Year-Old Iowa Cavalryman Played Ball, Probably in SW Missouri


“Mar 13 [1863] 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  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.  PBall file: CW-44  .



[56]  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.  PBall file: CW-45.



[57]  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.  PBall file:CW-46.



[58]  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.  PBall file: CW-47.



[59]  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 & piching 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,”, accessed 6/8/09.  PBall file: CW – 48.



[60] 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. PBall file: CW-130.


[61]  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.  PBall file: CW-49.



[62]  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.  PBall file: CW-50.



[63]  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.  PBall file: CW-51.  Cf CW-57, which also reflects the 10th MA.



[64]  Eventual National League Prexy Sticks with Cricket in  War Camp


“Nicholas E. Young, later a president of the National League, was a cricketer from a town in upstate New York who played is favorite sport in the army near White Oak Church, Virginia, in the early spring of 1863.  In that year, he switched his allegiance to baseball after the 27th New York Regiment organized a club.”


Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 37.  Kirsch does not give the original source.  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.  Zoss and Bowman’s Diamonds in the Rough says that the 32nd had a cricket team and that Young played on it [p. 81].  A copy of the letter was made from the Giamatti Center “Origins” folder at Cooperstown in June 2009.  PBall file: CW-52. 



[65]  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 [1863] 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.



[66 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.  PBall file: CW-54.



[67 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.  PBall file CW-55.



[68]  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.  PBall file: CW-56.



[69]  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.  PBall file CW-57.  Cf. CW-51, which also depicts the 10th MA. 



[70]  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?  PBall file: CW-58.



[71] 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?  PBall file: CW-59.



[72]  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.  PBall file:  CW-60.



[73]  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 as of June 2009.  PBall file:  CW-61.



[74]  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.  PBall file: CW-62.



[75] 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?  PBall file: CW-63.



[76] New Jersey Eighth Trims New Jersey Fifth, 50 to15


“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].  PBall file: CW-64.



[77]  Championship Game for Army of the Potomac Held in VA


In April 1863, “the Third Corps and Sixth Corps baseball teams met near White Oak Church, Virginia, to play for the championship of the Army of the Potomac.”  Note: this appears to be the only reference we have to an army corps having a base ball club; can we find corroboration, and/or other cases?


History.  The First National Bank of Scranton, PA (Scranton, 1906), page 37.  This company history includes “A Scrap of Personal History” [page 36 ff] that describes how the 1906 bank President, James A. Linen, had enlisted in the 26th Regiment of the New Jersey Volunteers in 1862, having been the pitcher for the Eureka ballclub in Newark.  Linen pitched for the [unidentified] winning side in the championship game.  He became a teller at the bank in 1865.  Accessed on Google Books 6/13/2009, via “linen scranton history” search.  PBall file: CW-65.



[78]  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.  PBall file:  CW-66.



[79]  First New Jersey Brigade Plays Ball in 1863 and 1864.


Spring 1863: “The boredom became unbearable s 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.  PBall file:  CW-67.



[80] 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.  PBall file: CW-68.



[81]  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.  PBall file: CW-69.



[82]  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.  PBall file: CW-70.



[83]  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, bal-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.  PBall file:  CW-71.



[84]  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 MY and 9th NJ.  Note:  the men were about to fight at Chancellorsville in VA, but we do not know the location of this game.  PBall file:  CW-72.



[85]  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.  PBall file:  CW-73.



[86] 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.  PBall file: CW-74.



[87]  Union Army Captain Sees Base Ball Good for Morale, and Health Too


“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.”


Michael Zitz, “Soldiers Recount Stafford Baseball Games,” carried on the website, accessed 6/14/09.  Google search “’of the veteran 13th.’


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, [who] left many written statements of Civil War ballgames.”  She does note give a source for this passage or the other writings.  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.  PBall file: CW-75.



[88]  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.  PBall file: CW-77.



[89]  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.  PBall file: CW-79.



[90]  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.  PBall file: CW-132



[91]  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.  PBall file: CW-133.



[92]  Future National League Prexy Learns Baseball in Army


“[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 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. 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.  PBall file: CW-134.



[93]  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. PBall file: CW-135.



[94]  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.’”


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 this source?  The siege of Vicksburg MS occurred from late May to July 4 1863.Many Iowa regiments participated.  PBall file: CW-136.



[95]  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.”  PBall file:  CW-82.



[96]  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.  PBall file:  CW-76.



[97]  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.  PBall file: CW-78.



[98]  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?  PBall file: CW-80



[99]  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.  PBall file:  CW-81.



[100]  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?  PBall file: CW - 83.



[101]  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.  PBall file: CW-84.



[102]  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?  PBall file: CW - 85.



[103]  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 by Google web search “clason diary.”  PBall file: CW-86.



[104]  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, accessed 6/16/09 via Google web “stormo inlet” search.  PBall file: CW-87.



[105]  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.  PBall file: CW – 88.



[106]  “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.  PBall file: CW-89.



[107]  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.  PBall file CW-90.



[108]  Officers in 30th MA Play Base Ball


“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 211.  Provided by Jeff Kittel, May 12 2009. Not available on Google Books June 2009.  Note:  Can we find out more about the 30th and where it was in early 1864?  PBall file: CW-91.



[109] 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.  PBall file: CW-92.



[110]  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 he 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.”  PBall file” CW-93.



[111]  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?  PBall file: CW-94.



[112] 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 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.  PBall file: CW-95.



[113] 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 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.  PBall file: CW-96.



[114] 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.  PBall file:  CW-97.



[115]  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 [1864] 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.  PBall file: CW -98.



[116] 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.  PBall file: CW-99.



[117]  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.  PBall file: CW-100.



[118]  Maine Soldier Lame from Ballplaying


Rappahannook 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.  PBall file: CW-101.



[119]  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].  PBall file: CW-101.



[120] 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.  PBall file:CW-103



[121]  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.  PBall file: CW-104.



[122]  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.  PBall file: CW-105.



[123]  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?  PBall file: CW-106



[124]  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 Hudred and Fiftieth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers (F. McManus, Philadelphia, 1905), page 106.  Accessed 6/20/09 on Google Books via “bucktail brigade” serch.  The regiment was camped at White Oak Church, near Falmouth VA.  The regiment has several companies from Philadelphia.  PBall file: CW-107.



[125]  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? PBall file: CW-108.



[126] 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.  PBall file: CW-109.



[127]  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.  PBall file: CW-110.



[128]  Ohioan in Sherman’s Force Plays Near Atlanta


“Tuesday [September] 27 [1864]  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.  PBall file:  CW-111.



[129]  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.  PBall file  -CW-112.



[130] 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 [1864], 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.  PBall file: CW-113.



[131]  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.  PBall file: CW-114.



[132] NY Artilleryman Sees Ball Games, Maybe “Cricket or Wicket Ball”


January 2, 1865:  “No work done.  Boys playing ball. Captain says we might lay abed until sunrise hereafter.”  January 3, 1865:  Not much going on.  Boys playing cricket or wicket ball.  A small mail.”


Civil War Diary of Henry M. Dryer, June 1864 through July 1865.  Accessed 6/22/09 with Google Web search:  “’henry m dryer.’”  Dryer’s 18th New York Artillery [The Black Horse Artillery] was organized in Rochester NY.  They evidently moved to Clinton and Liberty Creek” in November 1864; and the diary implies a Louisiana location, but mentions neither place.  Clinton LA is about 30 miles N of Baton Rouge, and about 10 miles S of the Alabama border.  Liberty Creek is in western LA, about 20 miles from the Texas border.  PBall file: CW-115.



[133]  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 form the east.  Washington NC is about 95 miles E of Raleigh.  PBall file: CW-116.



[134] 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.  PBall file: CW-117.



[135]  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 Carlyle 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.”  PBall file:  CW-118.



[136] Minnesotans Play Ball in Near Selma Alabama.


“Wednesday [May] 17 [1865]:  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.  PBall file: CW-119.



[137]  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.  PBall file: CW-120.



[138]  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.  PBall file: CW-121.



[139] 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.  PBall file: CW -137.  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.  PBall file: CW-137.



[140]  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.  PBall file:  CW-138.



[141]  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].  PBall file: CW-139.



[142]  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 22nd Mass. 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 ‘Massachusetts game.’  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?  PBall file:  CW-140.



[143]  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.  PBall file:  CW-141.



[144]  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.  PBall file: CW -142



[145]  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.  PBall file: CW-143.



[146] 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?  PBall file: CW- 144.



[147]  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.  PBall file: CW-145.



[148]  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 [1897], 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.  PBall file: CW-146



[149]  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?  PBall file: CW-147



[150]  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.



[151]  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.  PBall file: CW-149.



[152]  Zouave Pitcher Baffles Batters With “Weak, Puzzling” Delivery


“On Roanoke Island Hawkin’s 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.  PBall file: CW-150.