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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 email@example.com. 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.
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 .
5-page inductive summary of these accounts, and how they affect our general
understanding of ballplaying in the Civil War camps, is here.
 First Sunday in the Service: “Ball-playing, Wrestling, and Some Cards”
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
History and Reminiscences of the Thirteenth Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Woman’s Temperance
Publishing, Chicago, 1892), page 10. PBall file: CW-122.
 Regiment Plays “Favorite Game” After Dress
Parade in Elmira NY
[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.”
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.
 Awaiting Deployment to Washington, the 44th NY Plays
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].
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.
 Future Nurse Muses on Enlistees Playing Ball
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
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.
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.
 Lieutenant Views Ballplaying at Albany NY
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.”
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.
 American Guard [71st NY Regt] 42,
Nationals BB Club 13
National Base Ball Club requests the pleasure of your company on their grounds
at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and 6th Street, East, on
Tuesday, July 2d , at twelve o’clock, to witness a match game with the 71st
Regiment Base Ball Club”
71st 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.
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.
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.
 Knocker Plugged in Head in 6-on-6 Game at Long Island NY
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
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.
Soldiers Play Ball “in Seccesia”
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,
to a soldier, apparently, in an article in the New York Clipper, October
26, 1861, page 220, [[[per Kirsch book]]]
PBall file CW-5.
 Confederate Soldier Reports “Several Kinds of
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.”
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:
 Confederate Base Ball Players Finds Field
“Too Boggy” in VA
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
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:
 Second NJ 27, First NJ 10, in Virginia Camp
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
“A Game of Ball in the Camp,” Newark Daily Advertiser, November 20 1861. Facsimile submitted by John Zinn,
Seminary was located near Fairfax
Seminary in Alexandria VA,
near Washington DC.
PBall file: CW7.
 2nd NJ Forms “Excelsior Base Ball
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!”
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.
 3rd NH Celebrates Thanksgiving in
SC “In Playing Ball, Turkey Shooting”
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.
 Imprisoned Maryland Senator Notes Ballplaying
12 : “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.
19 . 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.
 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
March 1863 (USA prison camp, IL?): “Raining this morning, which will interfere with
ball playing, but the manufacture of rings ‘goes bravely on,’ and I might say
receives a fresh impetus by the failure of the ‘Town-ball’ business.”
Source: W. W. Heartsill, Fourteen Hundred and 91
Days in the Confederate Army: A Journal Kept by W. W. Heartsill: Day-by-Day, of the W. P. Lane (Texas)
Rangers, from April 19th 1861 to May 20th 1865. Submitted by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09. Available online at The Ameridcan Civil War:
Letters and Diaries Database, at http://solomon.cwld.alexanderstreet.com/. Heartsill joined Lane’s Texas Rangers early
in the War at age 21. He was taken
prisoner in Arkansas
in early 1862, and exchanged for Union prisoners in April 1863. He then joined Bragg’s Army in Tennessee, and assigned to a unit put in charge of a Texas prison camp of
Union soldiers. There are no references
to ballplaying after 1863. Query: “manufacture
of rings?” PBall file: CW10.
 RI Soldier Mentions Game of
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.
 Union General Refers to “Long Ball”
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.”
Hays, “Letter from Alexander Hays, 1861,” in Life and Letters of Alexander
Hays, Brevet Colonel United States Army (publisher?
date?), page 708.
Provided by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09.
Not available online May 2009. Jeff notes that Hays was a Union general from
PA who was killed in the Battle
of the Wilderness in May 1864. Available
online at The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries Database, at http://solomon.cwld.alexanderstreet.com/. PBall file: CW12.
Was Hays using a literal
reference to the game of long ball, or was this a general analogy used at the
 Survey Finding: Common Athletic Games Forestall Woes of
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
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.
 22nd MA beats 13th NY
in Massachusetts Game
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.”
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.
 MA Regiment Plays Daily
Intramural Games in Spring Months
played amongst themselves daily during April and May of 1862.”
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.
 Southern Newspaper Urges:
“More Manly Sports Like Cricket and Base Ball, Less Cardplay”
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.
 NY and MA Regiments Play Two
Games Near the Front
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.
 Rebel Prisoners Seen Playing Ball in WI
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.
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.
 Game Suspended When BIG Fight Breaks Out
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.
 Officer’s Wife Reports on an
Evening at Camp with 16th NY Regiment
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.”
Howland, “Diary of Eliza Newton
Woolsey Howland, April 1862, in Letters of a Family During the War for the
Union 1861-1865 [Pubr? Date?] Volume 1, page 360. Eliza Howland’s husband
Joseph was an officer with the 16th New York Volunteers. The couple lived in Mattawan NY
before the War. Provided by Jeff
Kittell, 5/12/09. Available online at
The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries Database, at http://solomon.cwld.alexanderstreet.com/. PBall file: CW19. Note: can we determine the location of the event?
 Thirteenth Massachusetts Plays Ball Near Officers,
Dignitaries, Enemy Lines
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.”
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’
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.]
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.]
that month, the regiment celebrated the escape and return the colonel of the 16th
base-ball, along with chasing greased pigs and a sack race. [Page 313.] PBall file: CW20.
 Ballplaying Frequently Played at Salisbury Prison in North
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
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
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
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
high glee in a game of ball.”
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.
 51st Pennsylvania Plays Ball 1862-1864 in VA, KY, MD, Sometimes Daily.
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].
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.
Officers Play Ball in May, on July 4
“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
4: “Some of the officers played baseball
and drill was neglected.”
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.
 Hawthorne Sees Ballplaying at Washington-area
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
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
 Photo Caption Sings of “Marvelous New Game,”
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
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
 CT Boys Play Ball on March to Fredericksburg
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
Story of the Twenty-First Regiment, Connecticut
Volunteer Infantry, During the Civil War. 1861-1865 (Stewart Printing Co.,
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.
 Thanksgiving and Foot-ball .
. . and Base-Ball
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.”
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
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
 The 39th Massachusetts Plays Ball
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.
S. Roe, The Thirty-Ninth Regiment. Massachusetts Volunteers
1862-1865 (Regimental Veteran Association,
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.
 Vermonters Play Manly Sport
of Football, (and Base Ball) in Virginia
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.”
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
area. Submitted by Jeff Kittel,
5/12/09. PBall file: CW-27.
 Pork, Hard-Tack, Beans, and Baseball in the 5th
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.”
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.
Wisconsin Man’s Diary Included a Dozen References to Ballplaying
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.
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.
Colonel Plays Ball in Tennessee
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.
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:
 Crowd of 40,000 Said to
Watch Christmas Day Game on SC Coast
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.
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
 Soldiers’ Christmas in Virginia – Ballplaying
“on Many a Hillside”
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 . . . .”
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
 Southern Brigade’s Play Base
. . . Somewhere
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
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:
Soldier Sees “Most of Our Company “ Playing Pre-battle Bat Ball
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
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.
 Ball Game Photographed at Fort Pulaski, Georgia
ball game appears in the background of photographs of the 48th New York at Fort
Pulaski. The Fort, near the Georgia coast, had been taken by
the North in July 1862. The National
Park Services dates its image to 1862.
One shot appears in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 32,
and another, apparently, at the NPS site http://www.nps.gov/fopu/historyculture/baseball.htm
[accessed 6/6/09.] Note: we welcome your interpretation of these photos. PBall file: CW-33.
 Monotony and Base-base in the 48th
“[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
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.
 Officers Play Base Ball on Some Parade
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.’”
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.
 Diarist Records 12 References to
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
are simple diary notes like the first entry:
“Staid around camp and plaid at ball and had a good time nothing else
other examples: “April 2  “went on picket plaid ball at the reserve
10:00 till 1:00 o’clock” April 6 
“plaid at ball and saw the boys play drop ball.” April 15  “plaid ball some jumped
some” April 30  “Laid around camp Saw
the 40 and our boys play.” June 21
 “Read some quite lonesome Saw the 73rd & 40th
play ball some in the afternoon.”
Haradon saw action at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg
, and was wounded at Spotsylvania.
War Diary of Edwin Albert Haradon.
Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 2009.
 MA Regiment Organizes a
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.”
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:
 NJ Regiment Plays Ball on the Rappahannock in VA
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.”
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.
 NY Private Plays a Lot of Ball Over Seven
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.
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:
 PA Unit Tries Cricket and Base-ball
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.
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.
Soldier Reportedly “Died While Playing Wicket”
2 . Jas Mitchell falls. Died while playing wicket.”
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:
 First and Second Nines of 9th NY
Prevail an Yorktown VA
‘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!”
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.
 In Coastal SC: Union Men Played Ball “In
Almost Every Camp”
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.
 5th Massachusetts Artillery Plays Base Ball,
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
of the Fifth Massachusetts Battery [1861-1865] (Luther E. Cowles,
Boston, 1902), pages 559, 564, 572, 774. Accessed . . . PBall file: CW-43.
 23-Year-Old Iowa
Cavalryman Played Ball, Probably in SW Missouri
13  Wrote a letter to George and one to father. In the afternoon played a game of ball. Mar 14 Played a game of ball in the
afternoon. Bill rode my horse on the
H. Cowan, “Cowan’s Civil War Diary,” transcribed by Juanita Lewis, accessed
6/7/098 at http://iagenweb.org/civilwar/regiment/cavalry/01st/cowan.html. The diary, noted as volume 2, covers from
September 1862 through April of 1863.
The website notes that Cowan was from northernmost Iowa.
His location in early March is inferred, perhaps incorrectly, from towns
named [Springfield, Rollo [(Rolla?),
Salem in the
Feb/March entries. PBall file:
 Line Officers of 17th Maine Play 9 Innings for
an Oyster Dinner
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.
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
 Diarist in 8th Minnesota Mentions Ballplaying 4 Times –
Maybe 5 Times
C. Paxson left Pennsylvania in 1862 to teach
school in Lake City MN, joining the 8th MN in August
of that year.
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.
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.
 Sergeant from 15th MA Plays Round
Ball with 34th NY
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
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.
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
 Soldier Under General Rosecrans Sees
Ballplaying in Tennessee
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
Transcription by William E. Henry of a Civil War Diary,”
accessed 6/8/09. PBall file: CW – 48.
 In VA Camp, “Base Ball was
the Popular Amusement”
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.”
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.
 Vermonters Play Ball in Virginia
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.”
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.
 In 19th MA Camp, “Base Ball Fever
Broke Out” in 1863
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.”
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.
 Base Ball [and Wicket] Played by the 10th
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.
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].
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].
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
 Eventual National League Prexy Sticks with
Cricket in War Camp
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.”
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.
“Our Camp is Alive with Ball-Players”
letters home written on April 6, and April 10, 1863 from Acquia
Creek, VA, officer Mason Tyler
wrote: “When I arrived this afternoon
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.
November 20th  there was a baseball game between the Tenth and
Thirty-Seventh, and the Thirty-Seventh won. [page 125]”
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”
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”
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
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.”
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
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.”
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.”
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.
 Sgt. in the 6th Maine Reports “Huge Game of Ball” in VA
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.
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.
 Massachusetts Private Notes Eight April Games of Ball [One was Wicket]
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
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.
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
 Men in 59th NY Play Ball, Run,
Pitch Quarters, Etc
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.”
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:
 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 . . .
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.
 Weary Soldier Plays Ball a Little While
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:
French, Diaries for 1862 and 1863.
Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. French was a sergeant in the 105th
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.
 Box Score Shows D Company Over H Company,
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.
handsome account of the game’s context, with the box score, is found in John W.
Kuhl, “The Game,” Military Images, Volume 25, Number 3 (November/December 2003), pp. 19-22. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15,
2009. The article’s author reports that
the box score appeared in the regimental history but does not give a further
source. Sadly, both captains were to be
killed at Gettysburg
in a matter of weeks. The regiment’s
history is Thomas D. Marbaker, The History of the Eleventh New Jersey
Volunteers from its Organization to Appomattox (MacCrellish
and Quigley, Trenton, 1898).
It appears to be available online via the subscription site ancestry.com
as of June 2009. PBall file: CW-61.
 From Union Camp, Rebs are “Daily Seen Playing
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,
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.
 Herald Reports
[Presumably] NY/NJ Match in Army of the Potomac
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
Unfortunately, no corresponding text is in the article as retrieved
online. The dispatch from Virginia is dated April 28.
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.
 New Jersey Eighth Trims New
Jersey Fifth, 50 to15
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.”
Ball in the Army,” Trenton
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.
 Championship Game for Army of the Potomac Held in VA
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,
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.
 Twenty Sixth NJ 20, Second NY 12, in Virginia
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
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.
 First New
Jersey Brigade Plays Ball in 1863 and 1864.
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.”
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.
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.
 Correspondent Sees Playing
Base Ball and Cricket As Common Pastimes
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
[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
Regiments Play NY Game Most, Mass Game Some
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.”
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
 Diarist at White Oak Church Camp in VA Plays Ball
April 17, 1863 Quite a fine day. Boys all playing ball. Co. drills
in the afternoon.
April 22, 1863 Cool with some
appearances of a storm. Played ball
today and got somewhat tired.”
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.
 In 10th MA: Ballplaying Has “Become a Mania” in 1863
Camp, Wicket Also Played in 1864
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.”
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
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.
 2nd NY Plays 9th NJ for
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.”
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.
 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.
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.
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:
 High-Stakes Matches Dot VA
as Winter Camps Thaw Out
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
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.
 Union Army Captain Sees Base Ball Good for
Morale, and Health Too
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.”
Zitz, “Soldiers Recount Stafford Baseball Games,” carried on the
Fredericksburg.com website, accessed 6/14/09.
Google search “’of the veteran 13th.’”
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.
 Floridian: “Game of Ball . . . Has Become a
Great Amusement Here”
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.’”
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
was from Alabama. PBall file: CW-77.
 10th Maine Played “Time-Honored Game of Base-ball”
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
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.
 NJ Artillerymen Play Ball in Virginia
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
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
 Two NY Regiments Play “Grand Game on the
Parade Ground” in VA
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
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.
 Future National League Prexy Learns Baseball
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
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
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.
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.”
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.
 Ballplaying on the Lines at the Siege of Vicksburg
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.
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.’”
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.
 Ballplaying Watched by “Great Crowds of Soldiers,”
and Some Play at Verge of Battle
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.’”
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.
[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:
 Southern Soldier Notes Repeated Ballplaying,
Including Game of Cat
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.
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.
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:
Sergeant Notes Baseball Fever – Well, Town-Ball Fever, Actually
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.’”
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.
York Soldier Seeks Baserunning Rule from Clipper
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
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
 In Virginia:
Select Nine 29, 2nd NJ Brigade 15
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.
 11th MA and 26th PA
Play by Mass Game Rules for $50 a Side.
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.’”
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.
 Union Men Celebrate Thanksgiving with “Grand
Game of Townball”
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
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.
 Rebel Soldier Plays “Fine Game of Town Ball”
Confederate soldier Corporal William Harding wrote while stationed in Georgia
in 1863, ‘had a fine game of Town ball which gave me good exercise. . .’”
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
 Minnesotan’s Diary Shows Ballplaying on Ten
Days Over Ten Weeks[
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
of Isaac W. Clason, accessed online at ancestry.com by Google web search
“clason diary.” PBall file: CW-86.
 New Yorker Plays January Games of Ball
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?
War Diary of James Cordin Lormor, 103rd New York Infantry, at
civilwararchive.com, accessed 6/16/09 via Google web “stormo inlet”
search. PBall file: CW-87.
 10th Vermont Lieutenant Describes
Ballplaying in Northern Virginia
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.
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.
 “Base-Ball and Foot-Ball Were Favorite
[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.”
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.
 Army Base-ball, the Light of Day, and the
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.
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.
 Officers in 30th MA Play Base Ball
12, 1864. Officers played a game of base
ball this afternoon.”
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
Regiment Plays in Louisiana
game between the Eighth and the 114th Vermont Regiments near Franklin, Louisiana,
in February 1864 was won by the former, 21 to 9.”
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.
 At Winter Camp, Pleasant Days Saw Base-Ball
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. . . . ”
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
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.
Soldier Plays Wicket Ball
1 . . . I played wicket ball, pitched quarters and stayed with Smith.” “March 2 . . . Helped get dinner, drilled,
played ball, got some water to drink . . .”
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
Marine Plays Base Ball in Louisiana
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
10] “Went out in the afternoon and exercised my men in company drill. Played a game of ball.”
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.
 PA Soldier Records
Ballplaying in NC
March 7, 1864. Warm again as usual to
day. Great and exciting game of Ball in
which Chaplain Rowlings figures conspiculously.”
War Diary of Charles Lepley, 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry,” online at
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.
 NJ Regiment Takes on Massachusetts and New
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.”
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.
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.
 In Virginia,
Two PA Regiments Play “Great Base Ball Game”
[April, 1864]. Fine weather. Drilled.
Great base ball game between ours and the 143rd Regiment.”
of John Bodler, 149th Pennsylvania,
provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009.
149th regiment’s history also records this game. “The first days of spring  weather
greeted the legions of the vast army gathered around Culpeper that March and
the men found a new activity to enjoy: baseball. Letters and diaries recorded the great fun
the game brought in camp. Men gathered after the evening meal to lay
the game for pleasure but soon there were games of competition between
companies. Samuel Foust admitted losing
a $20 bet when the team of the 149th lost to the 143rd
regiment [page 125].” The history also
refers to baseball games when the regiment was in Washington [September 1862?; page 27] and in
June 1863 [page 68].
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.
 NY Artilleryman Notes Two
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”
of Henry C. Sabine of the 14th NY Infantry, provided by Michael
Aubrecht May 15, 1864. Sabine was near Culpeper
VA on these dates.
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.
 Players “Lamed Badly” at Ballplaying
baseball must have been vigorous. One
Yank noted after a contest in Tennessee,
“We get lamed badly.”
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.
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.”
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.
 14th Louisiana
Plays Ball in Virginia
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.”
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.
 Florida Regiments Mix it Up in Town Ball
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.”
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
 RI Soldier Cites “:A Game in Our Regt, Nine
Innings a Side”
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].”
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:
 Waiting for Sherman,
and Playing, in Georgia
James Hall of the 24th Alabama Regiment observed his men playing [.
. . ] ‘just like school boys’ while waiting for the advance of Union General
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.
 In Virginia:
Tenth Mass 15, First New Jersey
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.”
Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books,2001), page 26. Note: can
we obtain the article? PBall file:
 150th Pennsylvania Pursues “The Pleasant Game of
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.”
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.
 Match at Coney Island
Proposed for Two Returned Regiments
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.”
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.
 Union POWs in SC Given
“Plot of Ground Where They Could Play Ball”
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.”
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.
 Southern Officers Play Ball in Ohio Prison
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.
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.
 Ohioan in Sherman’s Force Plays Near Atlanta
[September] 27  pleasant weather,
I was detailed for Camp guard the A.M. we had a game of ball this afternoon, I
stood two tricks of guard only.”
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:
 The Hothead Union Captain and the Foul Ball
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.
 Union Prisoners in Texas Given a Ball
Ground – For a While
new person being put in command of the inside [of the Texas prison] about the 1st of
October , made suggestions which the commandant allowed him to carry out,
and relieved us ever afterward. He gave
us a fine ball ground which was well occupied and proved a blessing.”
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.
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.
 NH Officers and Men Together on the Ball
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
W. Cogswell, A History of the Eleventh New Hampshire Regiment (Republican Press Assn, Concord
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.
 NY Artilleryman Sees Ball
Games, Maybe “Cricket or Wicket Ball”
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.”
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
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.
 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.”
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.
 Bay Stater to Wife: “We had a gay old time playing ball . . .
send me five dollars”
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
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
‘auction contents.’” The letter is
descried under auction #2.1. PBall file:
 On Last Day of Service, PA Soldiers Play Ball
May 4, 1865] “Not much to do in
camp. Most of us playing ball.”
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.
 Minnesotans Play Ball in
Near Selma Alabama.
[May] 17 : Laid in camp. Boys playing ball. Weather fine and warm with breeze. David reported captured.”
War Diary of William Johnston Dean, August 1862 – September 1865. This entry was written near Selma. Alabama. Diary accessed via Google Web search
dean’ diary.” Dean was with the 9th
Minnesota. PBall file: CW-119.
 Detachment Forms BB Club in Trenton
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.
Trenton State Gazette,
June 7, 1865. Accessed via
Genealogybank, 5/20/09. Camp Perrine
was in Trenton. PBall file: CW-120.
 Awaiting Release, Soldier in DC Plays and
Watches Base Ball
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”
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.
 General Supports
Ballplaying by RI Unit
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.
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.”
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.
 Union Prisoner Reported Shot While Playing
Ball in Texas
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.”
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:
 New Bats and Balls Arrive, But 91st NY Loses Again
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.”
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.
 Trophy Ball Kept in 22nd MA
“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.
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.
 NY Horseman Gets Banged Up Playing Ball
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
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:
 New Yorkers Lose Their Only Ball, and Their Centerfielder
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.
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.
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.
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
 Tenth MA Plays Inter-regimental Games of Base
Ball and Wicket in VA
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.]
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.
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.
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.
 Texas Ranger Plugs Waaay Too
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.’”
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,
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-
 4th NY and 13th NY Play
Base Ball in VA
five years after the fact, the Ball Players’ Chronicle evidently dug up
an old CW letter and published it:
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.”
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.
 Base Ball Listed Among Sports in NH
was, also, no lack of athletic sports, such as jumping, pitching quoits,
wrestling, etc., with now and then, in the regiments favorably stationed in
forts or on garrison duty, a game of base ball, although this game was not then,
as now , the craze of the day.”
W. Bartlett, History of the Twelfth Regiment,
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
 CSA Prisoners Said to Learn Base Ball from “New Orleans Boys”
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
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
 Marylander Sees Officers Play Base Ball
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.”
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.
 Drawing Shows 1st NJ Artillery
Playing Ball Game on a Diamond
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:
 Zouave Pitcher Baffles Batters With “Weak,
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.”
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.