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1850s.48 'Bama Boys Play Town Ball on Campus
"Remembering his days as a student at the University of Alabama in the 1850s, George Little wrote of the penchant for playing town ball: 'Our favorite outdoor game was town ball. This game was played very much like the modern game of baseball but was played with a soft rubber ball. The ball was thrown at the runner and if he was hit between bases he was out.'"
George Little, Memoirs of George Little (Weatherford Printing Company, Tuscaloosa, 1924), age 14. As reported by Tom Altherr, Town Ball at the University of Alabama in the 1850s, Originals, volume 3, number 10 (October 2010), page 2.
1860.57 Alabamans Choose Cricket
"Cricket in Alabama. - The lovers of this active and healthful game will be gratified to learn that a cricket club has been organized in Mobile [AL], under favorable auspices, and has already upon its roll a list of forty seven prominent and respectable merchants."
New York Clipper, March 17, 1860.
Mobile is on the Gulf Coast about 30 miles E of the Mississippi border.
Bad timing, eh?
1864.78 55th IL Plays Baseball in Alabama
"War Diary of Thaddeus H. Capron, 1861-1865", Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 12 (1919) 330-406, p. 378, March 10, 1864 entry: "We are still in camps, leading a monotonous life--Our principal pastime being games of baseball."
Capron's 55th IL was stationed near Larkinsville, AL at the time.
"War Diary of Thaddeus H. Capron, 1861-1865", Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 12 (1919) 330-406, p. 378
1865.5 Minnesotans Play Ball in Near Selma Alabama.
“Wednesday [May] 17 : Laid in camp. Boys playing ball. Weather fine and warm with breeze. David reported captured.”
Civil War Diary of William Johnston Dean, August 1862 – September 1865. This entry was written near Selma. Alabama. Diary accessed via Google Web search “’william johnston dean’ diary.” Dean was with the 9th Minnesota.