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Confederate Prisoners Play Ball in Chicago

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Civil War, Military
Location IL
City/State/Country: Chicago, IL, United States
Game Town Ball
Immediacy of Report Retrospective
Age of Players Adult

At Camp Douglas, a prisoner of war camp in Chicago, the Confederate army prisoners played "the old-fashioned game of ball--with a ball and bats--but no base ball" (because to the prisoner, base ball meant you had to dress up in uniforms).

Copley, "A Sketch of the Battle of Franklin...." p. 172. He was taken prisoner in late 1864, thus the ballplaying he witnessed occurred in late 1864 or early 1865.

There are mentions in other books of POWs playing base ball at Camp Douglas.

For example, the Chicago Tribune, March 25, 1862 reports that the Camp Douglas POWs played " a game of ball.... giving full play to the arms, legs and lungs." Same Oct. 19, 1863, June 9, 1862, reports that the prisoners are playing base ball and quoits. Confederate Veteran, Vol. 15, p. 234 prints the recollections of T. J. Moore, 3rd TN Infantry, who was a POW at Camp Douglas: "We were allowed to play town ball." Keller, The Story of Camp Douglas" p. 114 cites POW Curtis Burke as saying "The prisoners amuse themselves out of doors ... playing ball."


Copley, "A Sketch of the Battle of Franklin...." p. 172

Submitted by Bruce Allardice



381 days ago
Score 0
Postwar, Camp Douglas was the site of numerous baseball games between the amateur clubs of Chicago. Cf. The Chicago Tribune Sept. 6, 1865.

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