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1609.1 Polish Origins of Baseball Perceived in Jamestown VA Settlement
US South, VA
"Soon after the new year , [we] initiated a ball game played with a bat . . . . Most often we played this game on Sundays. We rolled up rags to make balls . . . Our game attracted the savages who sat around the field, delighted with this Polish sport."
A 1975 letter from Matthew Baranski letter to the HOF said:
"For your information and records, I am pleased to inform you that after much research I have discovered that baseball was introduced to America by the Poles who arrived in Jamestown in 1609. . . . Records of the University of Krakow, the oldest school of higher learning in Poland show that baseball or batball was played by the students in the 14th century and was part of the official physical culture program."
The 1609 source is Zbigniew Stefanski, Memorial Commercatoris [A Merchant's Memoirs], (Amsterdam, 1625), as cited in David Block's Baseball Before We Knew It, page 101. Stefanski was a skilled Polish workingman who wrote a memoir of his time in the Jamestown colony: an entry for 1609 related the Polish game of pilka palantowa(bat ball). Another account by a scholar reported adds that "the playfield consisted of eight bases not four, as in our present day game of baseball." If true, this would imply that the game involved running as well as batting.
1975 Letter: from Matthew Baranski to the Baseball Hall ofFame, March 23, 1975. [Found in the Origins file at the Giamatti Center.] Matthew Baranski himself cites First Poles in America1608-1958, published by the Polish Falcons of America, Pittsburgh, but unavailable online as of 7/28/09. We have not confirmed that sighting.
See also David Block, "Polish Workers Play Ball at Jamestown Virginia: An Early Hint of Continental Europe's Influence on Baseball," Base Ball (Origins Issue), Volume 5, number 1 (Spring 2011), pp.5-9.
Per Maigaard's 1941 survey of "battingball games" includes a Polish variant of long ball, but does not mention pilka palantowa by name. However, pilka palantowa may merely be a longer/older term for palant, the Polish form of long ball still played today.
The likelihood that pilka palantowa left any legacy in America is fairly low, since the Polish glassblowers returned home after a year and there is no subsequent mention of any similar game in colonial Virginia
1861.19 Second NJ Regiment Forms BB Club in Virginia Camp
[A] A six-inning game of base ball was played at Camp Seminary on Saturday November 16, 1861. The 2nd NJ challenged the 1st NJ and prevailed. A member of the 2nd NJ sent a short report and box to the Newark newspaper.
[B] Members of the 2nd New Jersey regiment formed the Excelsior club, evidently named for the Newark Excelsior [confirm existence?] in late November 1861. A report of an intramural game between Golder's side and Collins' side appeared in a Newark paper. The game, won 33-20 by the Golder contingent, lasted 6 innings and took four hours to play. The correspondent concludes: "The day passed off pleasantly all around, and I think every one of us enjoyed ourselves duely [sic?]. We all hope to be at home one year hence to dine with those who love us. God grant it!"
[A] "A Game of Ball in the Camp," Newark Daily Advertiser, November 20 1861. PBall file: CW7.
[B] Newark Daily Advertiser, 12/4/1861. PBall file: CW8.
Camp Seminary was located near Fairfax Seminary in Alexandria VA, near Washington DC.
One may infer that the 2nd NJ remained at winter quarters in Alexandria VA at this time, providing protection to Washington.
1861.25 Brooklyn Soldiers Play Ball “in Seccesia”
“In October 1861 a ‘bold soldier boy’ sent the Clipper an account of a baseball game played by prominent Brooklyn club members on the parade ground of the ‘Mozart Regiment, now in Secessia.’” The Mozart Regiment was the 40th NY volunteers, and originally comprised men [mostly] from the NYC area. The writer added that the were times when the men were “engaged in their old familiar sports, totally erasing from their minds the all-absorbing topic of the day.” It appears that the regiment was in northernmost Virginia in October 1861, defending Washington.
Attributed to a soldier, apparently, in an article in the New York Clipper, October 26, 1861, page 220, (per Kirsch book).
A more extensive report of the Mozart regiment's play (same games?) is in the New York Sunday Mercury, Oct. 20, 1861, Oct. 27, 1861.
At the time the 40th was stationed at Camp Sedgwick, near Fairfax, VA.
1861.27 Second NJ 27, First NJ 10, in Virginia Camp
A six-inning game of base ball was played at Camp Seminary on Saturday November 16, 1861. The 2nd NJ challenged the 1st NJ and prevailed. A member of the 2nd NJ sent a short report and box to the Newark newspaper.
Source: “A Game of Ball in the Camp,” Newark Daily Advertiser, November 20 1861. Facsimile submitted by John Zinn, 3/10/09. Camp Seminary was located near Fairfax Seminary in Alexandria VA, near Washington DC.
Duplicate of 1861.16?
1861.31 RI Soldier Mentions Game of Ball
“December 18th: Many of the boys had a revival of their school days in a game of ball. These amusements had much to do in preventing us from being homesick and were productive, also, of health and happiness.” The unit was stationed at Camp Webb, near Alexandria VA. No further description of the rules or play are given. Note: can we find the location of the 1st Regiment in late 1861? Are there other accounts of this unit that may add details to this account?
Source: George Lewis, The History of Battery E, First Regiment, Rhode Island Lioght Artillery (Snow and Farmham, Providence, 1892), page 26. Adduced in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 33. Lewis makes no other mention of ballplaying in this history.
1861.53 8th New York Intersquad game
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 29, 1861 prints a long letter from a soldier in the 8th NY, stationed at Arlington Heights, VA, who mentions that the Left and Right wings of the regiment played a game of baseball, the Left wing winning 26-12. Gives a box score.
See also New York Sunday Mercury, June 30, 1861.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 29, 1861
1861.67 Base ball at Camp Vermont
The Burlington Weekly Free Press, Dec. 19, 1861 prints a Dec. 6th letter from the 12th Vermont, at Camp Vermont, near Alexandria: After a game of foot ball on Thanksgiving, "many joined in games of base ball."
See also chronology 1862.39.
The Burlington Weekly Free Press, Dec. 19, 1861
1861.73 NC Lt. mentions baseball
Cornell University has a ms. letter dated 12-29-1861 from Lt. William Nunnally, 13th NC infantry, in which he mentions baseball, and visiting the CSS Merrimac. From the context, he must have been near Norfolk, VA at the time.
Cornell U., Box 1, Folder 19, catalog entry.
1861.74 New York Times advocates baseball for the army
“Let our army of 150,000 amuse themselves, and let cricket, quoit and base ball, alternating with the daily drill, give them vigor and endurance."
“The Lines of Arlington,” New York Times, Sept. 15, 1861.
“The Lines of Arlington,” New York Times, Sept. 15, 1861.
1861.82 "Old members of New York Clubs" play near DC
The New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 3, 1861 reports that the Van Houten Club of the 1st NJ defeated company A of that regiment 49-24 in a 6 inning game. "Many of the contestants are old members of New York clubs..." Gives a box score. Letter dated Oct. 29, Camp St. John, near Alexandria.
1861.83 The Mozart Regiment Plays Baseball
The New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 3, 1861 reports that on Oct. 28th, near Fairfax, VA, members of Company I of the Mozart Regiment (40th NY), "partly composed of ball-players," defeated a picked nine from the rest of the regiment. The New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 10, 1861 reports the return match, also won by Co. I.
The regiment wasn't musical, but rather named after the Mozart Hall wing of the NYC Democratic Party.
1861.85 Colonel calls off drill so game can be played
The New York Sunday Mercury, Dec. 8, 1861 reports that the 14th NY defeated a team from the 24th NY so badly that the 24th quit in the 5th inning, already down 25-4. Game played in camp on the 25th. When the game started, the 30th NY was drilling on the hoped-for ball field, but upon request, the colonel of the 30th called off the drill so the game could be played.
The 24th was stationed near Upton's Hill, Fairfax County.
1862.15 NY and MA Regiments Play Two Games Near the Civil War Front
Mr. Jewell, from the 13th NY Regiment's Company A, provided a generous [15 column-inches] account of two regulation NY-rules games played on April 15, 1862, near the Confederate lines at Yorktown VA. Sharing picket duties with members of the 22nd MA Regiment, Jewell says that "at about half-past 10 o'clock some one proposed a game of Base Ball. Sides were chosen and it commenced." [As scorer, Jewell's box scores did not mark the sides as a contest between regiments, and it may have involved mixed teams. He did note that the leadoff batter/catcher for the "Scott" side was a member of Boston's Trimountain Base Ball Club.] "It was decidedly 'cool' to play a game of Base Ball in sight of the enemy's breastworks." Between games the ball was re-covered with leather from a calf boot found on the ground. During the afternoon game, Union troops in the area were evidently sending artillery fire out toward the Rebs as they were building new fortifications in the distance. General McClelland's entourage is reported to have passed toward the front while the game was in progress. Jewell sent his account to the Rochester paper. The two games, each played to a full mine innings, were won by Scott's side, 13-9 and 14-12.
Source: Rochester Union and Advertiser, April 24, 1862, page 2, column 2. PBall file: CW16.
1862.39 Vermonters Play Manly Sport of Football, (and Base Ball) in Virginia
Thanksgiving in Fairfax County in northernmost VA: “At 2 o’clock, the regiment turned out on the parade ground. The colonel had procured a foot ball. Sides were arranged by the lieutenant colonel and two or three royal games of foot ball – most manly of sports, and closest in its mimicry of actual warfare – were played. . . . Many joined in games of base ball; others formed rings and watched friendly contests of the champion wrestlers of the different companies . . . . It was a “tall time” all around.”
George G. Benedict, “Letter from George Grenville Benedict, December 6, 1862,” Army Life in Virginia: Letters from the Twelfth Regiment (Free Press, Burlington, 1895), pp 80-81. Accessed 6/3/09 on Google Books via “army life in Virginia” search. Benedict, from Burlington, had been an editor and postmaster before the Civil War, and later became a state senator. The regiment appears to have been raised in the Burlington area. Submitted by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09.
1862.44 Ohio Soldier Sees “Most of Our Company “ Playing Pre-battle Bat Ball
“The report of musketry is heard but a very little distance from us . . . yet on the other side of the road is most of our company, playing Bat Ball and perhaps in less than half an hour, they may be called to play a Ball game of a more serious nature.”
Attributed to “an Ohio private” who wrote home from Virginia in 1862, in Ward and Burns, Baseball: An Illustrated History (Knopf, 1994), page 13. No source is given. Note: can we find the original source and fill in some detail? Note: the private’s use of the term “bat ball” is unusual. “Bat ball” is found in much earlier times [it was banned in both Pittsfield and Northampton MA in 1791]. In this case, since the private is an observer, not a player, it may be that he is using an incorrect label for the game he observes in 1862. Still, it may possibly imply that the term “bat ball” was current in Ohio in the pre-war years (in the private’s youth?), if not later.
1862.48 Pork, Hard-Tack, Beans, and Baseball in the 5th Mass Artillery
“We had plenty of pork and hard tack to go with the beans. We amused ourselves when the weather would permit by having a game of baseball.”
William A. Waugh, Reminiscences of the rebellion or what I saw as a private soldier on the 5th Mass. Light Battery from 1861-1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15 2009. Waugh is here describing life in winter quarters near Falmouth on the Virginia coast and east of Fredericksburg.
1862.49 Photo Caption Sings of “Marvelous New Game,” Doesn’t Deliver
“THE BIRTH OF BASE-BALL. Some of the men who went home on furlough in 1862 returned to their regiments with tales of a marvelous new game which was spreading though the Northern States. In camp at White Oak Church near Falmouth, Va., Kearny’s brigade played this ‘baseball,’ as it was known. Bartlett’s boys won this historic game.”
F. Miller and R. Lanier, The Photographic History of the Civil War, Volume Eight, Soldier Life, (Review of Reviews Co., New York, 1911), plate following page 243. This text sits next to a photograph of men playing football in 1864. Note: can we locate the cited photo?
1862.57 Games Between NY and MA Regiments Punctuated by Artillery
Union General George McClellan
Members of the Massachusetts 22nd Regiment and the NY 14th squared off for two matches on April 15, 1862, in the vicinity of active fire, and "in sight of the enemy’s breastworks mounted with heavy 64’s and 32’s." A discarded boot supplied material for a new cover for the game ball. Union General McClellan passed by while play was in progress.
Additional details are provided in the supplemental text, below.
Rochester Union and Advertiser, April 24, 1862.
Undoubtedly, Game played near Yorktown, VA
1862.63 Right and Left wings of 13th NY in Sufolk, VA
The Brooklyn Evening Star, July 9, 1862 prints a 7-5-62 letter from the 13th NY Regt. at Camp Cook, Suffolk, VA: "As soon as we got dinner settled, we got up a game of ball between the right and left wings. It was a very interesting game, and lasted all the afternoon. The Left Wing being 18 runs to 11--Company C in the left wing, of course."
This game is also reported in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 12, 1862. From Camp "Crook," on July 4th. See also The New York Sunday Mercury, July 13, 27, 1862 for other games of the 13th at Camp Crook.
The Brooklyn Evening Star, July 9, 1862
1862.65 Base Ball at Fort Monroe on Christmas Eve
The Semi Weekly Wisconsin of Milwaukee, Jan. 9th, 1863 reports that on Christmas Eve at Fort Monroe "I saw the soldiers playing at base ball..."
See also New York Herald, Jan. 5, 1863, headlined "Amusements of the Army"
The Semi Weekly Wisconsin, Jan. 9th, 1863
1862.67 Playing Ball near Yorktown
The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 30, 1862 prints an April 24 letter from a soldier in "camp near Yorktown" discussing the soldier's life there:
"While not on duty, they engage in almost every variety of exercise and amusement, playing ball, pitching quoits, and other athletic sports."
At this time the Army of the Potomac camped opposite the Confederate lines running south from Yorktown, VA.
The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 30, 1862
1862.76 Ball playing, running and jumping
The Boston Daily Advertiser, April [Aug?] 8, 1862: "From the Army of Virginia [at Sperryville] Their labor is light, and time enough is left and to spare for them to enjoy themsleves as they wish, such as ball playing, running, and jumping."
The Boston Daily Advertiser, April [Aug?] 8, 1862
1862.79 Exhilarating Game of Ball
The Burlington Daily Times, May 24, 1862, reports on state adjutant general Washbrn's visit to Vermonters in Camp near Yorktown. "When off duty they amuse themselves with quoits, the exhilarating game of ball, or in other harmless sports."
The Burlington Daily Times, May 24, 1862
1862.83 Irish Brigade plays near Richmond
Frommer, "Old Time Baseball" p. 36-37 lists an 1862 game of the Union's "Irish Brigade" seen by Confederates across the Chickahominy River, just east of Richmond, during the Peninsula Campaign.
Frommer, "Old Time Baseball" p. 36-37
1862.87 Maryland Confederates Play Town Ball
"Our only game out here is Town Ball and with the rest of the Maryland Boys we sometimes get up a game."
Diary of Edward Tilghman Paca, Oct. 26, 1862 entry, in Maryland Historical Magazine, 1994, p. 459.
Maryland Historical Magazine, 1994, p. 459.
1862.88 21st MA "played ball a good deal..."
James Madison Stone, "Personal Recollections of the Civil War" chapter 3 says that in mid-1862 "While at Newport News we had a rather pleasant time. We drilled a little, we played ball a good deal..."
Stone was with the 21st MA.
James Madison Stone, "Personal Recollections of the Civil War"
1863.1 Ballplaying Peaks in the Civil War Camps
[A] "[In April 1863] the Third Corps and the Sixth Corps baseball teams met near White Oak Church, Virginia, to play for the championship of the Army of the Potomac."
[B] "Ballplaying in the Civil War Camps increased rapidly during the War, reaching a peak of 82 known games in April 1863 -- while the troops still remained in their winter camps. Base ball was by a large margin the game of choice among soldiers, but wicket, cricket, and the Massachusetts game were occasionally played. Play was much more common in the winter camps than near the battle fronts."
[C] Note: In August 2013 Civil War scholar Bruce Allardice added this context to the recollected Army-wide "championship game":
"The pitcher for the winning team was Lt. James Alexander Linen (1840-1918) of the 26th NJ, formerly of the Newark Eureka BBC. Linen later headed the bank, hence the mention in the book. In 1865 Linen organized the Wyoming BBC of Scranton, which changed its name to the Scranton BBC the next year. The 26th NJ was a Newark outfit, and a contemporary Newark newspaper says that many members of the prewar Eurekas and Adriatics of that town had joined the 26th. The 26th was in the Sixth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, stationed at/near White Oak Church near Fredericksburg, VA. April 1863, the army was in camp. The book says Linen played against Charlie Walker a former catcher of the Newark Adriatics who was now catcher for the "Third Corps" club.
"With all that being said, in my opinion the clubs that played this game weren't 'corps' clubs, but rather regimental and/or brigade clubs that by their play against other regiments/brigades claimed the Third and Sixth Corps championships.
"Steinke's "Scranton", page 44, has a line drawing and long article on Linen which mentions this game. See also the "New York Clipper" website, which has a photo of Linen."
[A] History. The First National Bank of Scranton, PA (Scranton, 1906), page 37. This is, at this time (2011), the only known reference to championship games in the warring armies.
As described in Patricia Millen, On the Battlefield, the New York Game Takes Hold, 1861-1865, Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 149-152.
[B] Larry McCray, Ballplaying in Civil War Camps.
[C] Bruce Allardice, email to Protoball of August, 2013.
[D] (((add Steinke ref and Clipper url here?)))
Note Civil War historian Bruce Allardice's caveat, above: "In my opinion the clubs that played weren't 'corps' clubs, but rather regimental or brigade clubs that by their play other regiments/brigades claimed the Third and Sixth Corps championships."
Is it possible that a collection of trophy balls, at the Hall of Fame or elsewhere, would provide more evidence of the prevalence of base ball in the Civil War?
1863.5 NJ Regiment Plays Ball on the Rappahannock in VA
The regimental history, writing of winter camp on the Rappahannock River in late January,: “The duties of a soldier’s life in camp were resumed. Drill, dress parade, inspection, picket and guard duty, policing, building roads, were the usual occupations. Amusements were encouraged and chess, checkers, baseball and athletic exercises helped to while away tedious hours.”
Camille Baquet, History of the First Brigade, New Jersey Volunteers (State of New Jersey, 1910), page 71. This is the only reference to ballplaying in the book, which covers 1861 to 1865. Accessed 6/6/09 on Google Books via “baquet ‘first brigade’’’ search.
1863.6 NY Private Plays a Lot of Ball Over Seven Weeks
The 1863 diary of George Brockway includes 10 entries on ballplaying from February 27 to April 17 1863. Most are terse, along the lines of the March 11 entry: “played ball.” On March 2 Brockway elaborated a little: “In the afternoon the Company played base ball. O yes made a batter club also.” Two entries cite extramural play. April 11: “The boys play a game of ball with the 77th N. Y. V and beat them 12 members.” April 14: “The boys play a match game of ball with the Jersey boys and got bet by 40.” There are no references to ballplaying after April 17, and Brockway’s diaries for his other 3.5 years as a soldier are not referenced.
George F. Brockway, Diary of 1863. Unpublished. Provided by Michael Aubrecht May 15 2009. The diary does specify Brockway’s location in spring 1863.
George F. Brockway of Auburn, NY was a saddler in Cowan's NY battery of artillery, attached to the VI corps. In early 1863 it was stationed near Fredericksburg, VA. Brockway moved to MI postwar. [ba]
1863.7 PA Unit Tries Cricket and Base-ball
In February 1863 the 48th PA took a steamboat to Newport News VA, where it camped for a month. From the regimental history: “Many amusements were indulged in during the stay at Newport News – horse racing, cricket matches, base-ball and the like. Leaves of absence became frequent.” This is the only reference to ballplaying. In late March the unit headed off to Lexington KY.
Oliver C. Bosbyshell, The 48th in the War (Avil Printing, Philadelphia, 1895), pp 102-103. Accessed 6/7/09 on Google Books via “bosbyshell 48th” search. The regiment formed in Schuylkill County of PA in late 1861, an area about 40 miles west of Allentown and 85 miles NW of Philadelphia.
1863.10 5th Massachusetts Artillery Plays Base Ball, 1863-1864
The history of the Fifth MA Battery has four brief references to base ball from March 1863 to February 1864. Two soldiers’ diaries note games on March 11, March 29, and April 11 1863 in Falmouth VA. A Captain Phillips wrote from Rappahannock Station on February 23, 1864: “I am sitting at my desk with my door wide open, and the men are playing ball out of doors.”
History of the Fifth Massachusetts Battery [1861-1865] (Luther E. Cowles, Boston, 1902), pages 559, 564, 572, 774. Accessed . . .
1863.12 Line Officers of 17th Maine Play 9 Innings for an Oyster Dinner
“What think you, man of pen and scissors, of our hardships and sufferings, including the rigors of a winter campaign and other poetical ideas, when I tell you that the line officers of our Regiment played a match game of base ball last Saturday. The contest was between the right and left wings for the purpose of ascertaining which party should pay the expenses of an oyster supper.” The Left Wing won, 24-21, in a game evidently played by NY rules – nine players played nine innings and with 27 outs.
“From the 17th Maine Regiment,” Lewiston [Me] Daily Evening Journal, March 23, 1863, page 1. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The printed missive, signed “Right Wing,” is headed “Camp Pitcher near Falmouth, VA, March 15th 1863.” The full text of the Regiment’s history, The Red Diamond Regiment, by William Jordan, is not accessible online as of June 2009. Lewiston ME is about 35 miles N of Portland.
1863.14 Sergeant from 15th MA Plays Round Ball with 34th NY
At Falmouth VA, excerpts from the diary of Sgt Earle of the 15th MA notes games of ball with the 34th NY on March 18 and again on April 16, 1863 in the regimental history.
The historian, Andrew Ford, writes 35 years later that “during March and April ball playing is frequently mentioned in the diary. The game played in those days was the old-fashioned round ball. Practice games inside the regiment occurred almost daily, and there were several great games with the New York Thirty-Fourth. Our boys were so successful that the captain of the New York team gave up the contest with the admission that if they ‘had been playing for nuts his men wouldn’t even have the shucks.’ The interest taken in these games in the army as a whole almost rivaled that taken in the races, sparring matches, and cock-fights of Meagher’s troops.” Ford does not elaborate on how he concludes that round ball was played, or that the army as a whole was taking to base ball.
Andrew E. Ford, The Story of the Fifteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry [1961-1864] (W. J. Coulter, Clinton [MA?], 1898), pages 242 and 244. Accessed 6/8/09 on Google Books via “’fifteenth Massachusetts’” search. The 15th MA drew significantly from Worcester County MA. The 34th NY regiment was known as the “Herkimer Regiment,” with roots in Herkimer County in Upstate New York; the town of Herkimer is about 15 miles east of Utica on the Mohawk River. The game in this area that preceded the NY game may have been round ball.
1863.16 Vermonters Play Ball in Virginia
The diary of Benjamin Franklin Hackett, of Rochester VT, describes ballplaying twice in the 7 months of his diary as a member of the 12th VT. On March 30, 1863, “near Wolf Run Shoals Va,” he wrote “very pleasant in afternoon. Boys played ball all the afternoon. In the same camp on April 14, he wrote “the boys are playing ball and are as cheerful as could be expected.”
Diary of Benjamin Franklin Hackett, provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. An article based on the diary appears as Elna Rae Zeilinger and Larry Schweikart, ““’They Also Serve . . .’: The Diary of Benjamin Franklin Hackett, 12th Vermont Volunteers, Vermont History, Volume 51, Number 2 (Spring 1983), pp.89 ff. The article accessed on Google Books via “’benjamin franklin Hackett’” search.
1863.17 In 19th MA Camp, “Base Ball Fever Broke Out” in 1863
John G. B. Adams of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment: “While in camp at Falmouth [VA] the base ball fever broke out. It was the old-fashioned game, where a man running the bases must be hit by the ball to be declared out. It started with the men, then the officers began to play, and finally the 19th challenged the 7th Michigan to play for sixty dollars a side. . . . The game was played and witnessed by nearly all of our division, and the 19th won. The one hundred and twenty dollars was spent for a supper . . . . It was a grand time, and all agreed that it was nicer to play base than minié [bullet] ball.”
Capt. John G. B. Adams, Reminiscences of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment (Wright and Potter, Boston, 1899), pp 60-61. Accessed 6/8/09 on Google Books via “reminiscences nineteenth” search. The regiment arose in northern MA, near the NH border.
1863.18 Base Ball [and Wicket] Played by the 10th Massachusetts
From April 1863 to May 1864, seven mentions of ballplaying – one of them a game of wicket – appear in the account of the 10th Massachusetts. In early April, “in the intervals between [snow] storms the boys found time and place for playing ball” [p. 173]. Later that month, “[i]n the midst of so much warlike preparation it was a relief to find the boys of the Tenth and those of the 36th New York playing a game of baseball and all must have quit good natured, since the game itself was a draw” [p. 177]. At camp at Brandy Station on April 18 1864 the 10th won a “hotly contested” game against the 2nd RI, and again on April 26 the two regiments competed, “but it was lose again for Rhody’s boys” [p.252]. On April 28th the officers of the 10th lost a “game of our favorite baseball” with the 37th [MA?] – p.252. The next day the 10th beat the Jersey Brigade, 15-13. [p253].
“Considering the momentous interests at stake and the dread record that was to be written for May, 1864, it seems not a little strange that the beautiful month was ushered in just as April went out, with baseball. While a game of ball and shell of terrible import was pending, these men of war, after all only boys of a larger growth, happily ignorant of the future, were hilariously applauding the lucky hits and the swift running of bases clear up to the day before the movement across the Rapidan. It was on [May] 3rd that Company I played Company G and won the game by twelve tallies, and with that day came orders to march in the morning at 4.00 a.m.” [p. 253].
The wicket games also occurred at Brandy Station in April 1864;“With the advance of the season came all the indications of quickening life, and athletics became exceedingly prevalent, and one item among many was a game of wicket on [April] 13th, between a picked team in the 37th [MA] and one drawn from the Tenth, resulting in a victory of two tallies for our boys” [p.251]. In a rematch 10 days later, the 10th won again [p.252].
Alfred S. Roe, The Tenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1861-1864 (Tenth Regiment Veteran Association, Springfield MA, 1909). Accessed 6/9/09 on Google Books via “’tenth regiment’ roe” search. The regiment was drawn from Springfield and Western Massachusetts, where wicket was evidently a not uncommon prewar pastime. Cf CW-57, which also reflects the 10th MA.
1863.20 Soldier: “Our Camp is Alive with Ball-Players”
In letters home written on April 6, and April 10, 1863 from Acquia Creek, VA, officer Mason Tyler wrote: “When I arrived this afternoon [from Washington] I found all the officers with Colonel Edwards at their head out playing ball. Games are all the rage now in the Army of the Potomac. [page 78]” A few later he wrote: “[T]he wind is fast drying up the mud. Our camp is alive with ball-players, almost every street having its game. My boy Jimmie is so busy playing that he hardly knows how to stop to do my errands. He can play ball with the best of them, and pitching quoits he can beat anybody in my company, captain and all. [page 78]”
“On November 20th  there was a baseball game between the Tenth and Thirty-Seventh, and the Thirty-Seventh won. [page 125]”
He wrote from Brandy Station VA in January 1864 to report on his recent reading, he added, “Sometimes we get up a game of ball, and now we have some apparatus for gymnastics, that occupies some of my time.” [page 131]”
Mason W. Tyler, Memoir of Mason Whiting Tyler, in Recollections of the Civil War (Putnams, New York, 1912) page 78. Provided by Jeff Kittel, May 12, 2009. Accessed 6/6/09 at Google Books via “mason whiting tyler” search. Tyler was a new Amherst College graduate when he enlisted, and was shortly elected a 1st Lieutenant.. PBall file: CW-XX.
Tyler was in the 37th MA. [ba]
1863.21 Pennsylvania Soldier Notes Ballplaying in the 12th PA
In a diary extending from 1862 to 1864, Sgt. Franklin Horner referred to ballplaying only on April 11, April 13, and April 18, 1863. The entries are brief: the most informative is: “April 11 Saturday – Warm and pleasant . . . . no news from our armies all quiet in front the boys are enjoying themselves by playing ball the health of the men is good I am well.”
Diaries of Franklin Horner, Company H, 12th PA reserves regiment volunteers. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The file states, “The diaries, in their original form, are part of the Curatorial Collection at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Their catalog numbers are as follows: 1862 Diary (GETT-6848), 1863 Diary (GETT-6850), 1864 Diary (GETT-6849).” It appears that in April 1863 the regiment camped in the Falls Church VA vicinity, a day’s march from Washington DC. The march to Gettysburg was ahead.
1863.22 Chaplain Reports Many Games of Ball in 16th New York
Chaplain Frank Hall of the 16th New York Infantry mentioned games of ball 10 times in his journal and letters home. [Note: we need to ascertain the range of actual dates; all seem to be for Feb. –April 1863.] All are passing references, like “Saturday, they had another splendid game of ball.” The men played on February 11, 1863, and Hall notes that “Gen. Bartlett came out . . . and played too & men from nearly the whole Brigade entered into the game. Col. Adams, shortly after Gen. Bartlett was called away & as he past on horseback someone threw the ball and it happened to pass right to his saddle bow. He caught it very gracefully & threw it back.”
In an April 11 1863 letter to his wife he describes the scene at camp. “I thought I would just write out the sheet to try & give you a picture of things a bit. I am sitting in the tent by the table on one of the three legged stools which I fixed with straps the other day. The day is delightful. The wind is pleasantly flapping the tent. The Jersey band back of it has just finished a delightful air. On the hill in front, to the left of the camp, the boys are playing a game of ball & a few men are to be seen in camp who are excused from picket.”
Frank Hall file, #BV-419-01, provided by Michael Aubrecht May 15, 2009. The 16th NY was drawn from northern counties, and included men from Plattsburg and Ogdensburg. The 16th was in northern VA in early 1863.
1863.23 Sgt. in the 6th Maine Reports “Huge Game of Ball” in VA
Sgt. Sewell G. Gray, 23, wrote in his diary entry for April 10, 1863: “. . . inspected at 1 o’clock p.m. by Captain Totten. This ended the duties of the day. I participated in a huge game of ball in the afternoon that proved disastrous to my powers of locomotion as it so lamed me that I can hardly stand on my pegs. Weather fine.” No other references to ballplaying are found.
“Diary of Captain Sewell Gray 1862 to 1863,” page 12. The 6th Maine was at Falmouth VA at this time. Gray died at the second battle of Fredericksburg in May 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009.
1863.26 19th MA bests 7th MI, Wins Stake of $110
“Falmouth April 27th, 63. Dear sister . . . we expect to move very soon perhaps to night other troops have been on the move all day the 19th Mass regt and the 7th Michigan have had a great game of ball to day the stakes were one hundred & ten dollars a side the Mass boys beat & won the money . . . write often.”
Letter from James Decker to Francis Decker, April 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. Other Decker letters suggest that Decker may have been from the Syracuse NY area. Note: identify Decker and his military unit?
1863.27 Weary Soldier Plays Ball a Little While
“April 26th 1863. “Another day has passed and I have made a full day in the pay rolls. I heartily wish they were finished for I am tired of them. After parade played ball for half an hour . . . I think we will certainly march in a day or two:
George French, Diaries for 1862 and 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. French was a sergeant in the 105th NY. Note: we need to re-examine the context for this reference; where was the 105th in April, where was French from. The regiment had some soldiers from Rochester NY, including many Irish immigrants.
The 105th was near Falmouth, VA that April. [ba]
In March 1863 the much-reduced 105th NY was consolidated with the 94th NY. The new unit acted as provost guard (military police) near Falmouth, VA in April 1863.
1863.28 Box Score Shows D Company Over H Company, 40-15
Near Falmouth VA in April 1863, two companies of the 11th New Jersey Regiment played a ball game for which a box score was preserved. Each team was captained by, well, a Captain, and each Captain captain inserted himself as leadoff hitter. The box shows a nine-player, nine-inning game [or maybe eight] with a three-out side-out rule. [There seem to have been no outs recorded in one nine-run half-inning, but let’s not be picky.] Captain Martin’s D Company rushed out to an 18-2 lead and coasted to a 40-15 win over Captain Logan’s H Company.
A handsome account of the game’s context, with the box score, is found in John W. Kuhl, “The Game,” Military Images, Volume 25, Number 3 (November/December 2003), pp. 19-22. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The article’s author reports that the box score appeared in the regimental history but does not give a further source. Sadly, both captains were to be killed at Gettysburg in a matter of weeks. The regiment’s history is Thomas D. Marbaker, The History of the Eleventh New Jersey Volunteers from its Organization to Appomattox (MacCrellish and Quigley, Trenton, 1898). It appears to be available online via the subscription site ancestry.com as of June 2009.
1863.29 From Union Camp, Rebs are “Daily Seen Playing Ball”
The New Haven Palladium said that “a letter from an officer of the 27th Regiment . . . goes on to say: from Falmouth [the VA camp] the rebels [defending Fredericksburg] are daily seen, playing ball and apparently enjoying themselves. When the river is narrow, our pickets and theirs hold daily conversations and make friendly exchanges of tobacco, coffee, &c.”
“Amenity,” New Haven Palladium, April 1, 1863. Accessed May 21, 2009, via Genealogybank subscription. The 27th CT, centered in New Haven. The online regimental history [Google search: “27th Connecticut Volunteers] appears to have no references to ballplaying.
1863.31 New Jersey Eighth Trims New Jersey Fifth, 50 to 15
“A match game at Base Ball occurred between selected nines of the Fifth and Eighth New Jersey Regiments on Tuesday last, resulted in favor of the Eighth by a score of 50 to 15. . . . On the second innings the Eighth Regiment made 14 runs.”
“Base Ball in the Army,” Trenton State Gazette, April 30, 1863. Accessed May 20, 2009 via Genealogybank subscription. According to a fellow named Abner Doubleday, the 5th NJ was part of a “brilliant Counter-charge at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3: thus, the regiment and the match must have been in Virginia. [See A. Doubleday, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg (Scribners, New York, 1882), page 47.] An identical article appeared in the Newark Daily Advertiser on April 28, 1863 [provided by John Zinn on 3/10/09], and in the Daily State Gazette and Republican [City?] on 4/30/1864 [provided by John Maurath on 1/18/2009].
1863.34 First New Jersey Brigade Plays Ball in 1863 and 1864.
Spring 1863: “The boredom became unbearable as the winter wore on. Mud was everywhere, limiting outside activities . . . . By the end of February, they walker a mile for wood, and the distance increased each day. During the long days the men also played chess, checkers, cards, and, when weather permitted, baseball and other athletic pursuits.”
Spring 1864: “The men played baseball and football as the weather moderated. ‘The exercise will do more toward restoring health in the regiment than all the blue pills in the medical department,’ noted Lucien Voorhees. Some men secured boxing gloves, and daily fights were all the rage.
Bradley M. Gottfried, Kearney’s Own: The History of the First New Jersey Brigade During the Civil War (Rutgers U Press, 2005), pages 100 and 157. Gottfried does not document these observations, other than briefly noting [p. 107] the 1863 game between the 2nd and the 26th Regiments noted in file CW-66. In 1863 the Brigade wintered at White Oak Church near Falmouth VA. Accessed 6/14/09 on Google Books via “’kearny’s own’” search; available in limited preview format.
1863.39 2nd NY Plays 9th NJ for $300.00
“April 22d pleasant. On wood detail this morning. This afternoon the 9 best base ball players of the 2 New York Troy regiment play with the best 9 Jerseymen in our brigade for 300.00. The Jersey boys beat 20 inings & a ining not played.”
Heyward Emmell, Journal, April 22 1863. Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. It would seem that Emmell was not familiar with base ball, or the game was played by unusual rules. A NPS research note places Emmell in the 7th NJ regiment, which may have been in the same brigade as the 2nd NY and 9th NJ. Note: the men were about to fight at Chancellorsville in VA, but we do not know the location of this game.
The New York Herald, April 29, 1863, appears to report this game, in a letter datelined April 24 from "near the Rappahannock." The 2nd brigade, 2nd division, Army of the Potomac included 4 NJ regiments and the 2nd NY. A team from the 5th/7th/8th NJ played the 2nd NY for $100 a side and "betting ran high." NJ won. Gives a box score.
The New York Herald, April 29, 1863
The 7th NJ was stationed near Fredericksburg, VA at this time.
1863.48 11th MA and 26th PA Play by Mass Game Rules for $50 a Side.
“That June a correspondent to the [New York] Clipper reported a match following the Massachusetts game rules played for $50 a side between Massachusetts’ Eleventh Regiment and the Twenty Sixth of Pennsylvania. He noted: ‘we have four clubs in our brigade, and there are several more in the division.’”
George B. Kirsch, Base Ball in Blue Gray (Princeton U Press, 2003), page 39. The 26th had fought in the May 1863 Chancellorsville battle, seems likely to be in Virginia in June, perhaps back at Falmouth. Kirsch does not specify the date of the Clipper article. It seems unusual that a MA – PA game would have been featured in a New York paper. Note: can we locate this article?
1863.49 Union Men Celebrate Thanksgiving with “Grand Game of Townball”
“During the [Thanksgiving] holiday of 1863, twenty picked men from the brigade [2nd Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac] and some of the members of the old ‘Honey Run Club’ from the Germantown, Pennsylvania area reportedly played ball.”
Patricia Millen, Passion to Pastime: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), page 24. Millen cites the New York Clipper for November 14th and November 28, 1863. The location of the game is not indicated in the book.
See also 1862.84. The Clipper of Nov. 14th indicates that the game would be town ball, played on the 25th at the parade ground of the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac, then stationed in VA.
1863.51 Base-Ball and Foot-Ball Were Favorite Amusements”
“[Horse] [r]aces were a favorite amusement of the men in this camp . . . . Foot-races among the men wre frequently indulged in, not for the purpose of developing any retreating qualities. These were always exciting, and usually afforded themes for discussion and conversation for one day at least. Base-ball and foot-ball were favorite amusements among the soldiers, and afforded recreation which was highly appreciated.”
Rev. Geo. W. Bicknell, History of the Fifth Regiment Maine Volunteers (Hall L. Davis, Portland, 1871), page 298. Bicknell writes this of the 63/64 winter camp. The camp was at White Oak Church, near Falmouth VA – which is about 3 miles NE of Fredericksburg.
1863.52 At Winter Camp, Pleasant Days Saw Base-Ball or Wicket
“[T]he Thirty-Seventh provided liberal physical recreation. Nearly every pleasant day in the intervals between drills a game of base-ball or ‘wicket’ formed a center of attention for the unemployed members of the brigade; these games were becoming largely inter-regimental, a variety of ‘teams’ were organized throughout the brigade, some of which became very proficient. If a fall of snow prevented the regular pastime, it only furnished the opportunity for another, and many a battle of snow-balls was conducted. . . . ”
James L. Bowen, History of the Thirty-Seventh Regiment, Mass. Volunteers (Bryan and Co., Holyoke), 1884), page 260. In winter 1863/1864 the regiment, and evidently its brigade, was at “Camp Sedgwick” on the Rapidan River in VA.
The regiment was in a camp at Warren Station VA [near Petersburg], the 37th history [page 406] paints this early spring 1865 tableau: “As the warming weather of early succeeded the interminable storms of the severe winter, and the hoarse voice of the frog began to resound from the surrounding marshes, games of quoits and ball became possible on the color line and mingled with the good news of the collapsing of the rebellion in other directions.”
1863.53 In Virginia: Tenth Mass 15, First New Jersey 13
“A game between the ‘first 9’ of the 1st New Jersey and the 10th Massachusetts was also recorded in the New York Clipper as being played near Brandy Station [VA] on May 14, 1863 – the 1st New Jersey losing 15 to 13.”
Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books,2001), page 26. Note: can we obtain the article?
1863.54 In VA Camp, “Base Ball was the Popular Amusement”
“On the 25th [of March 1863] all cartridges were taken up, and fresh ammunition issued. From this time till after the fist of April, ‘base ball’ was the popular amusement in camp, and a select nine from our regiment played many games and return games with the 32nd New York Regiment, the 27th winning a good share of the games. The sharp exercise put the men in good condition after the winter of idleness in their tents and cabins.”
C. Fairchild, History of the 27th Regiment N. Y. Vols (Carl and Matthews, Binghamton NY, 1888), page 153. The regiment was camped near Falmouth VA.
1863.55 First and Second Nines of 9th NY Prevail at Yorktown VA
“The ‘first team’ of the Ninth New York Regiment beat the Fifty-first New Yorkers 31-34 [sic] at Yorktown Virginia, in 1863. But a few days later the ‘second nine’ of the two units played, with the Ninth Regiment triumphing by the fantastic score of 58-19!”
Bell Irvin Wiley, The Common Soldier in the Civil War, Book One, “The Life of Billy Yank,” page 170. Unavailable online in full text June 2009. Wiley’s footnotes are complicated, but it seems most likely the this account comes from “diary of Charles F. Johnson, March 4, 8, 1863, manuscript Minn. Historical Society.” It is unclear that the 9th was near Yorktown in early March. Note: can we confirm or disconfirm this Wiley reference?
[ba]--the book "The Long Roll" is the wartime journal of Charles F. Johnson, 9th NY, and undoubtedly is Wiley's source (or the same as Wiley's source). Pages 215-217 note these games, which were played in camp near Newport News, VA. "Frank Hughson, President of the Hawkins Zouaves Baseball club" accepted a challenge from the 51st NY. Wagers were made, and the games played March 4 and 8, 1863. Graham, "The Ninth Regiment, New York Volunteers" p. 405 and the published Letters of Edward King Wightman, p. 121, also mention these games.
1863.59 General Supports Ballplaying by RI Unit
The regimental history of the First Rhode Island Artillery, covering 1861-1865, contains 13 references to ball-playing between August 1863 and January 1864. It also shows several other more general references to playing games, some of them pitting different regiments, starting in August 1861. A General Hayes is mentioned as watching several games, sometimes along with his wife.
The most detailed of the ballplaying entries occurred on January 25, 1864, in winter camp near Brandy Station VA: :On the 25th we had a fine game of ball in honor of General Hays, who had sent to Washington for balls and bats to enable us to play to good advantage. When the general and his wife came galloping into camp, with a number of officers and ladies, our captain went out to greet them and said: ‘Ah! general, I suppose you would like to see the battery on drill.’ The general quickly replied: ‘No; I want to see them play ball, which they can do better than any men I ever saw.’” Few other entries are more than minimal references. A typical example is for August 21, 1863: “The 21st was another fine day. The men continued to engage in different sports, and there were ball games, jumping, putting the shot, and other amusements.”
Thomas M. Aldrich, The History of Battery A: First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery (Snow and Farnham, Providence, 1904), pages 272-273. Accessed 6/28/09 on Google Books via “’history of battery a’ aldrich” search. In August 1863 the regiment was back in Virginia from the Battle of Gettysburg, and in January it was in winter camp near Brandy Station. The Hays passage appears without citation in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 41. Millen reports that Aldrich and a member of the 13th MA “believed or were thought to have believed, based on their track record of wins in the army, that their teams could have beaten any of the professional teams of the 1890. She does not give an original source for this, but cites L. Fielding, “Sport: The Meter Stick of the Civil War Soldier,” Canadian Journal of History of Sport, May 1978, pp 17-18.
1863.61 Drawing Shows 1st NJ Artillery Playing Ball Game on a Diamond
A large drawing reposing in the Civil War file at the Giamatti Research Center at the Baseball Hall of Fame shows nine men in uniform playing a game conspicuously located on a diamond-shaped infield. The Caption: Camp of Battery B, 1st NJ Artil. Near Brandy Station Va.” The drawing, noted as “never-before published,” is reproduced opposite page 25 in Patricia Millan, From Pastime to Passion (Heritage, 2001). The ballplaying depiction is on the primitive side, and reveals little about the game played. There appear to be two balls in play, and one may be served to the batsman in a gentle toss from a soldier standing next to the batsman. The 1st NJ Artillery formed at Hoboken NJ in 1861. It fought mostly in Virginia, and its winter camp for ’63-’64 was near Brandy Station.
1863.73 CT soldiers indulging in ball playing and swimming
The Hartford Courant, Feb. 24, 1863 prints a letter about CT soldiers in Newport News, VA: "The soldiers are delighted with the position--were indulging in ball playing and swimming."
The Hartford Courant, Feb. 24, 1863
1863.74 No fear of breaking windows
The Elyria Independent Democrat, March 15, 1863 prints a letter, dated Feb. 15th, from Corporal H. J. Hart of the 8th Ohio, in camp near Falmouth VA: "While I write this Monday morning, the boys are having a game of ball nearby. We play ball near the house without fear of breaking windows."
The Elyria Independent Democrat, March 15, 1863
1863.77 New York Regiments play in camp near Falmouth
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 2, 1863, headlined "Base ball in camp," reports that on April 19th, the 1st Long Island Volunteers (67th NY) played the 62nd New York. See also The New York Sunday Mercury, April 26, 1863.
At this time the 2 units were part of the VI Corps, stationed near Falmouth, VA.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 2, 1863
1863.79 Thousands of soldiers playing ball
The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1863, reports on the camps of the Army of the Potomac, opposite Fredericksburg, VA: "...in camp the man are out by thousands playing ball, pitching horseshoe quoits, running foot races and indulging in other athletic sports."
The camps were near Falmouth.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1863
1863.84 1st MA versus 16th MA
The Boston Post, April 30, 1863 prints a letter from Camp Falmouth, dated April 26: "The men of the 1st Mass. and 16th Mass. having played a match game of base ball, and the 1st being worsted, the officers of the 1st Mass. challenged the officers of the 16th Mass. to play a game; the challenge was accepted; the game came off yesterday, and resulted in favor of the 16th, they winning in thirteen innings." The teams had 12 a side.
This appears to be the same set of games mentioned in John Hildreth Atkins (ed.), "1863 Civil War Diary" [of Corporal John A. Irving]: "April 22. No drill today. A base ball match between the 16th Mass. The 16th Mass. won the game."...
April 25: "No duty today. The officers played a match game of baseball."
The Boston Post, April 30, 1863
1863.85 New England rules game in camp
The Boston Traveler, June 2, 1863, prints a letter from Camp Gore, VA, March 22, 1863: "About the middle of the month, eleven men from our regiment played a match game of base ball, according to the rules of the New England Association of Base Ball Players, with eleven members of the 18th Mass. regiment." The 5 hour match was won by the 18th by "three tallies."
Camp Gore was at Falmouth.
The Boston Traveler, June 2, 1863
1863.87 The Colonel umpired the game
The Worcester National Aegis, March 30, 1863: "The Thirty-Fourth regiment, now encamped on Upton's Hill [outside of DC]... had a spirited and exciting game of base ball on Saturday." Putnam's nine beat Chickering's, 50-31. Colonel Lincoln umpired in this 5-hour game.
The Worcester National Aegis, March 30, 1863
1863.88 Vermont soldiers play base and foot ball
The Montpelier Green Mountain Freeman, April 20, 1863 prints a letter from the 13th VT volunteers, datelined Fairfax County, April 14: "The boys of late have been indulging in games of ball--base and foot ball having occupied their spare moments."
The Montpelier Green Mountain Freeman, April 20, 1863
1863.89 2nd New Jersey colonel plays base ball
The Newark Daily Advertiser, April 17, 1863: "Since the math game between the 2d and 20th [NJ], the game has become very popular--Col. Beck, Lt. Col. Wiebecke, Maj. Close and Chaplain Proudfit, of the 2d, indulged in the sport quite extensively on the 14th inst."
The Newark Daily Advertiser, April 17, 1863
1863.90 Union soldiers watch Confederates play ball
John G. B. Adams of the 19th MA recalled that in early 1863, when the regiment was stationed opposite Fredericksburg, Unions soldiers watched the Confederates playing ball games cross the river. "We would sit on the bank and watch their games, and the distance was so short we could understand every movement and would applaud good plays."
Cited in Kirsch, "Baseball in Blue and Gray," which uses Adams' history of the regiment as source. See 1863.17 for the citation of the Adams book.
Kirsch, "Baseball in Blue and Gray,"
1863.95 Rebels seen playing ball
New Haven Daily Palladium April 1, 1863, prints a letter from the 27th CT: "From Falmouth, the rebels are daily seen, playing ball and apparently enjoying themselves."
New Haven Daily Palladium April 1, 1863
1863.98 Playing ball during a bombardment
The New York Herald, May 4, 1863 prints a May 2, 1863 (fast mail service!) from the Rappahannock River: "Playing Ball During the Shelling. Thursday afternoon several of the men of this brigade were playing ball just in the rear of our skirmishers, heedless of the shrieking of the shells or the whizzing of the shot from the rebel batteries in front of them. This was intrepidity indeed."
The New York Herald, May 4, 1863
1863.99 Confederate government clerks should play ball
The Richmond Examiner, Dec. 5, 1863, castigates lazy Confederate government clerks who just lounge around eyeing the ladies: "If nothing better offers, the organization of a base ball, cricket, or quoit club, with a play ground in the square, would do [to make the clerks less lazy]."
The Richmond Examiner, Dec. 5, 1863
1863.100 Georgians change from base to snow-balling
The Weekly Columbus Enquirer, Feb. 17, 1863 reports of Toombs' Georgia Brigade, stationed near Fredericksburg, VA: "The amusements of the camp since the late heavy fall of snow have changed from "base" to "snow-balling"--both of which are very healthful exercise.
The Weekly Columbus Enquirer, Feb. 17, 1863
1863.105 16th Vermont Plays Baseball
The Library of Virginia's online index to manuscripts lists the letters of Herbert G. Bond, 16th VT, 1862-63, which "mention the troops playing baseball." The index lists the ballplaying in Fairfax County.
The 16th was stationed in the VA defenses of Washington DC for most of this time.
1863.106 1st Delaware Plays Ball and Horseshoes
The Library of Virginia's online index to manuscripts lists the letter of Thomas D. G. Smith, March 31, 1863, which "mentions playing ball and horseshoes." The index lists the game as in Stafford County.
At this time the 1st was stationed near Falmouth, Stafford County, VA.
1863.108 Ball playing popular in 1st Minnesota
"Campaigning with the First Minnesota: A Civil War Diary" diary of Isaac Lyman Taylor, 1st MN, in MN Historical Society Journal. March 18, 1863 entry "Reading, writings, & playing ball." March 23 entry notes that ball playing is very popular in the regiment. The regiment was stationed near Falmouth, VA.
"Campaigning with the First Minnesota: A Civil War Diary"
1863.109 17th Mississippi plays town ball
Tucker, "Barksdale's Charge" p. 34 cites a 4-20-63 letter of Pvt. Joseph A. Miller, 17th MS: "We [here] taken a game of town ball this morning..."
Tucker, "Barksdale's Charge" p. 34
1863.112 19th Massachusetts plays 7th Michigan
Ward's "The 96th Pennsylvania.." p. 301 cites Fairchild's History of the 27th NY as noting games played between the 19th MA and 7th MI.
Same page 146: On St. Patrick's Day "regiments of the VI Corps played a game of baseball."
Ward's "The 96th Pennsylvania.." p. 301, 146
1863.113 A Change from Dodging Leaden Balls
The New York Clipper reported on a game between the 14th Regiment from Brooklyn and the 30th New York Volunteers during the summer of 1863. The Clipper included the box score and commented, “Our soldier boys will have their ‘hand in’ at base ball, it seems, and we commend them there for, as it must be a very agreeable change from dodging leaden balls.”
“Base Ball in the Army,” New York Clipper, June 13, 1863.
1863.119 The officers mingled with the men
"The 6th was in fine shape. The return of the sick and wounded and the new recruits put us well up in numbers. The officers with one or two exceptions mingled with the men in fun and friendship. We played Base Ball, Foot Ball and Snow Ball when there was snow together."
C. N. Drew, "Yankee Scout" p. 89. He was with the light division, 6th Corps, near Falmouth in 1863.
C. N. Drew, "Yankee Scout" p. 89
1863.122 64th New York played ball
Marsh, "Brotherhood of Battle" quotes a soldier letter as saying the 64th NY "played ball" near Fredericksburg in early 1863. The author notes this was probably baseball.
Marsh, "Brotherhood of Battle"
1863.124 49th NY plays base-ball near Falmouth
The Buffalo Evening Courier, April 4, 1863, prints a letter from a soldier in the 49th NY, datelined March 28 near Falmouth, Va: "Captain Seilkirk's Company (Co. D), which consists nearly of sporting boys, have excellent times in amusing themselves with boxing-gloves, base-ball, &c."
The Buffalo Evening Courier, April 4, 1863
1863.126 Hawkins' Zouaves Play 51st NY
The New York Sunday Mercury, March 29, 1863 reports that at Newport News on the 24th, the first nine of Hawkins' Zoauves (9th NY) Played a match game with the first nine of the 51st NY, winning 21-10. A box score is given. The report notes that several names will be familiar to those in the baseball fraternity.
1863.129 9th NY plays for a barrel of ale
The New York Sunday Mercury, April 26, 1863 reports that on the 20th and 21st, near Fletcher's Chapel, VA, two nines of the 9th NY (Hawkins' Zouaves) played "3 fine games," the prize being a barrel of ale. At the end the barrel was "besieged" by the whole regiment, and "run out" in no time.
1863.130 62nd NY wins twice
The New York Sunday Mercury, May 24, 1863 reports that on the 16th, near Falmouth, VA, the 10th MA and 62nd NY had a match game won by the New Yorkers 19-8. Tow days previous, the 62nd (Anderson's Zouaves) played the Pioneers of the 3rd division, VI Corps, winning 8-4.
"Pioneers" were sort of an army construction battalion.
1863.131 Cavalry defeats Infantry in VA
The New York Sunday Mercury, May 24, 1863 reports that on the 16th inst. near White House, VA, the Union club of the 168th NY played the first nine of the Harris Light Cavalry, the latter winning 37-33.
White House is near the coast.
1863.132 26th NJ wins twice
The New York Sunday Mercury, May 21, 1863 reports that on the 21st inst., the 26th and 8th NJ played a match game, the former winning 27-24. A return match was played on the 23rd, the 26th again winning 28-18.
1863.133 4th NY Battery Plays Extra Inning game
The New York Sunday Mercury, May 31, 1863 reports that on the 15th Inst. near Falmouth, the 4th NY Battery played baseball, with Johnson's side winning 33-32 in extra innings.
Same, June 14, 1863 reports that the Hooker Base Ball Club of this unit has formed, named after the army's commander, with Sgt. James H. Cabe as president and Corporal Jo. B. Johnson as treasurer. They've already played the 8th NJ and 11th MA.
1864.1 Southern Soldier Notes Repeated Ballplaying, Including Game of Cat
Finding, on the Chancellorsville battlefield, a partly used diary in the abandoned knapsack of a Union soldier from the 87th NY, Robert T. Douglass started making entries in May 1864.
“May 26 . . . Quite pleasant this afternoon. Played a game of ball with my friends in the 40th Va. Reg.” “May 27. . . . Relieved from guard this morning. Out in the field playing ball with a portion of the 40th Reg.” “May 28. . . . Played ball.” “May 30. . . . Played ball this evening for sport as I had nothing else to do. Bad news from home.” “June 2. . . . Played ball this afternoon. No news in camp of any importance.” “June 11 . . . . Played a game of ball called cat.” Douglass returned the diary to its original owner in 1867.
Provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The diary is also found online: Google web search: “douglass diary morrisville.” Note: Douglass’ unit appears to have stayed near the Stafford/Chancellorsville area in May and June. His diary entries continue through 1863 but have no additional ballplaying references. Accessed online 6/15/09.
1864.4 10th Vermont Lieutenant Describes Ballplaying in Northern Virginia
In his diary for the year 1864, Lieutenant Lemuel Abbott [10th VT] includes six entries on ballplaying. One involved a challenge from the non-commissioned officers to the officers to play for an oyster dinner [January 29], and another in which his Company challenged the regiment to “play a game of ball for $50 [March 19]. One day he reports that “a game of ball came off this afternoon in which the commissioned offers won. Two more games are to be played Monday if a good day. [January 30]” All ballplaying entries appear between January 29 and April 29.
Lemuel A. Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary 1864 (Free Press, Burlington, 1908), pages 13, 20, 28, 30, 41. The January entry is mentioned in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 41. Accessed 6/19/09 on Google Books via “recollections 1864” search. Abbott’s Company B was from Burlington VT. Their camp during early 1864 was near Brandy Station, VA, about 60 miles SW of Washington and about 75 miles NW of Richmond.
See also Montpelier Daily Journal, Feb. 15, 1864, and Vermont Watchman, Feb. 19, 1864, for notice of the commissioned/non-commissioned officers game.
1864.12 In Virginia, Two PA Regiments Play “Great Base Ball Game”
“7th [April, 1864]. Fine weather. Drilled. Great base ball game between ours and the 143rd Regiment.”
Diary of John Bodler, 149th Pennsylvania, provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009.
The 149th regiment’s history also records this game. “The first days of spring  weather greeted the legions of the vast army gathered around Culpeper that March and the men found a new activity to enjoy: baseball. Letters and diaries recorded the great fun the game brought in camp. Men gathered after the evening meal to lay the game for pleasure but soon there were games of competition between companies. Samuel Foust admitted losing a $20 bet when the team of the 149th lost to the 143rd regiment [page 125].” The history also refers to baseball games when the regiment was in Washington [September 1862?; page 27] and in June 1863 [page 68].
Richard E. Matthews, The 149th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War (McFarland,1994). Accessed in limited preview format 6/19/90 via Google Books “149th pennsylvania” search.
1864.13 NY Artilleryman Notes Two Inter-regimental Games
“[Illeg. Date ] April 1864. Base ball match between the 9th NYSM and 14th Regt. Score 9th Regt [illeg.] and 14th Regt 59 runs. . . .” [Illeg. Date] April 1864. Return match between 9th NTSM and 14th Regiment score 9th Regt [illeg.] and 14th Regt 33 runs”
Diary of Henry C. Sabine of the 14th NY Infantry, provided by Michael Aubrecht May 15, 1864. Sabine was near Culpeper VA on these dates.
The Clipper ran box scores of these games, fixing the dates as April 20 and 25, 1864, and noting them as the regiments’ first matches of the season. The scores were Ninth 36, Fourteenth 29 in the first match, and Fourteenth 38, Ninth 33 in the second match. Facsimile supplied by Gregory Christiano, June 15 2009. “Ball Play in the Army,” New York Clipper, May 7, 1864.
1864.15 Maine Soldier Lame from Ballplaying
“Rappahannock Station, Va., April 18th 1864. Dear Wife, . . . . there is a move on the foot or I am no judge of Soldiering. Our Dr. seems to think we shall stay here this summer. It is nothing but play ball when we are in camp lately and I must stop for my arm is lame throwing. I thought I would write today for the Picket goes out tomorrow and it is my turn to go.”
Letter from Eugene B. Kelleran, 20th Maine; provided by Michael Aubrecht, May 15, 2009. The 20th was spared in the upcoming battle of Chancellorsville in May 1864 when it was quarantined for suspected smallpox.
In 1864 the unit was facing the upcoming battle of the Wilderness, not Chancellorsville (which occurred in 1863). [ba]
1864.18 RI Soldier Cites “:A Game in Our Regt, Nine Innings a Side”
“We are enjoying our share of April showers . . . the soldiers prayer is that it may continue to rain until the 5th of June. When it is pleasant the boys are at their games of ball. Yesterday we had a game in our Regt 9 innings to a side. One side got 34 tallies the other 28. There was some fine playing. [4/15/1864].”
Letter from Corporal Henry Blanchard, 2nd Rhode Island, as cited in an auction lot accessed online June 20, 2009, by a Google Web search for “’lot 281 civil war’ RI”. Blanchard was at Camp Sedgwick near Petersburg VA in April. He was killed three weeks later in the Battle of the Wilderness. One can infer that Blanchard was new to a nine-inning game, presumably the New York game, and he uses the term “tallies” usually seen in the New England game.
1864.27 NH Officers and Men Together on the Ball Field
“During some portions of the winter of 1864-’65, in fine weather, the officers and men of the Eleventh often indulged in a friendly game of ball together. As they were playing one day, some general officers passed them on horseback, and one of them was overheard to remark, ‘That’s a good regiment, for the men and officers play ball together.’ Whoever that officer was, he never uttered truer words.”
Leander W. Cogswell, A History of the Eleventh New Hampshire Regiment (Republican Press Assn, Concord NH, 18911), pages 396-397. From June 1864 to early April 1865, the 11th NH was part of the siege of Petersburg VA. The regiment formed in Concord NH.
1864.28 NJ Artillerymen Play Ball in Virginia
[On April 29, 1864] “It rained some during the day, regular April showers. The men amused themselves, jumping, wrestling, running three-legged races. One lot was playing ball. At night there was a drizzling rain.”
Michael Hanifen, History of Battery B, First New Jersey Artillery (Republican-Times, Ottawa Illinois, 1905), page 45. Accessed 6/27/09 on Google Books via “of battery b first” search. Battery B was in Falmouth Virginia and about to join the Chancellorsville campaign. Millen writes that this indicates that ballplaying was seen as commonplace in the unit [page 26]. Battery B formed in the Trenton NJ area.
The Chancellorsville Campaign was in 1863.
1864.29 Two NY Regiments Play “Grand Game on the Parade Ground” in VA
“During the winter the ground was occasionally covered with snow and battles with snow balls took place, different regiments challenging each other. When the weather was pleasant baseball became popular, and there were many excellent players on the Third Brigade. These games were watched by great crowds with intense interest. On April 18th, the 49th and 77th Regiments played a grand game on the parade ground.”
F. D. Bidwell, History of the Forty-Ninth New York Volunters (J. B. Lyon, Albany, 1916), pages 28-29. Accessed on Google Books 6/27/09 via “forty-ninth new” search. The regiment formed in the Buffalo area, and was at Falmouth VA on April 18.
1864.31 Trophy Ball Kept in 22nd MA Regiment
“657a Scarce Civil War era inscribed Massachusetts style trophy baseball . . . . Black leather 9” diameter four piece lemon peel style baseball with a period inscription on two side panels, ‘22nd MASS REGIMENT UNION Feb 2, 1864 U.S.A.’ The 22ndMass. Regiment fought in many of the War’s most important battles, including Chancellorsville, Gainsville [sic] and Gettysburg. . . .” The baseball may also be considered as a ‘true’ example of a ball created specifically under the rules of the ‘Massachusettsgame.’ In February 1864 it was camped at Beverly Ford VA, evidently near Brandy Station.
From an undated and unidentified auction catalog page accessed 6/26/09 at the Giamatti Center of the Baseball Hall of Fame [Civil War file]. The 22nd MA formed north of Boston. Note: are we sure that the lemon peel style was closely associated with the MA game?
1864.34 Tenth MA Plays Inter-regimental Games of Base Ball and Wicket in VA
“[The 10th and?] the 2nd RI are to have a grand match of Base Ball to day. a few days ago they played a game of Wicket with the 37th and our boys beat them handsomely . . . .[Source letter not available on Google Books.]
“Our Regiment played another match game of Base Ball with the 2nd RI to day and beat them as usual. They played a second game of Wicket with the 37th last Saturday and beat them again worse than the first time.
“I was out with the Officers of our Regt and the 7th this morning playing Wicket when I got hit in the eye with the ball which has blacked it most beautifully. My eye is ornamented with a black spot as big as a silver dollar, if you can remember the size of one of those, I had almost forgotten it.” The last two passages are from an April 26, 1864 letter home.
Charles Harvey Brewster, When This Cruel War is Over: the Civil War Letters of Charles Harvey Brewster (UMass Press, 1992), pages 284 and 288. Accessed 7/709 on Google Books [in limited preview], via “brewster ‘when this cruel’” search. From the apparent context, this passage appears in a chapter covering March to June 1864, when the 10th MA was near Brandy Station VA. The regiment was from Springfield in western Massachusetts, and the 37th MA formed in Pittsfield MA.
1864.61 Artillerists enjoying fine exercise
The Sacramento Daily Union, April 25, 1864, prints a story from the New York Herald, March 17, 1864, from the Army of the Potomac camp near Culpeper Court House: "The artillery brigade attached to the First Army Corps are enjoying fine exercise at match games of base ball. The men of Battery L, from Rochester, Captain Reynolds, played a game yesterday with the employees of the Quartermaster, Captain Crittenden." The quartermasters lost badly.
See also 1864.89.
The Sacramento Daily Union, April 25, 1864
1864.62 Louisiana Confederates play in Virginia
The Richmond Examiner, April 2, 1864 mentions "a friendly match of base ball, played between Hayes' and Stafford's Second Brigade, of the same corps, which match was won by General Hayes' brigade."
Stafford and Hays' brigades were stationed with the Army of Northern Virginia's 2nd Corps, near Orange, VA at this time. They were both LA units, and contained many prewar baseball players from the New Orleans teams. The POWs at Johnson's Island who played baseball there were often from these units.
The Richmond Examiner, April 2, 1864
1864.63 Entire Regiment Plays Sports
The Boston Traveler, March 18, 1864, prints a letter from the 1st Massachusetts, dated Brandy Station, March 15, 1864: "Camp Sports. Base ball, foot ball, and various gymnastic exercises, are in full tide of popularity and successful daily prosecution now, and the entire regiment, officers and men, turn out to engage in them."
The Boston Traveler, March 18, 1864
1864.65 Ball playing at Spotsylvania battlefield
The Fayetteville Observer, May 30, 1864: From Lane's (NC) Brigade, datelined Spotsylvania, May 17: "We pass our leisure moments in watching the enemy's and our skirmishers popping away at each other; while a little further off we see some of them running around apparently plying ball."
The Fayetteville Observer, May 30, 1864
1864.67 Confederate Major pitches Town Ball
The 1934 History of Worth County, Georgia, p. 501: "About the middle of March, 1864, while quite a number of he men were engaged in a game of town ball some evening, Major Rylander acting as he often did as pitcher, orders came for the battalion to report as soon as possible at Orange Court House, Virginia, for duty.... The game of ball was abandoned."
John Emory Rylander was major of the 10th GA Battalion. The unit was stationed at/near Franklin, VA (near Suffolk) at the time.
The 1934 History of Worth County, Georgia, p. 501
1864.69 Lithograph shows soldiers playing bat-ball game
A Lithograph at the library of Congress, "Camp of the 37th Mass. Vol's. Near Brandy Station" published in 1864, shows soldiers playing a bat ball game.
The 37th is/was known to have played baseball.
1864.70 16thMississippi plays Town Ball
Evans' "The 16th Mississippi Infantry" p. 238 cites the James Johnson Kirkpatrick diary,2-22-64, from Camp Rapidan in VA: "...very sorry that drill is so early resumed. It interfered with our amusements. Town Ball is all the rage."
Evans' "The 16th Mississippi Infantry" p. 238
1864.72 New Jerseyan enjoys watching army baseball
Gettysburg College's online ms. catalog has (MS-015) the letters of Frederick H. Kronenberger, 2nd NJ Infantry. From the catalog: "He writes of enjoying baseball games between other units."
Gettysburg College's online ms. catalog, (MS-015)
1864.73 Baseball near Petersburg
In late 1864, the New York Times reported the game among the fortifications and camps along the Appomattox River, “Sometimes a few enterprising minds get up a baseball match, and they are as punctilious over ‘fair’ and ‘foul’ as the most ambitious club at home.”
"The Army of the Potomac," New York Times, Oct. 30, 1864.
1864.84 Artillerymen Play Artillerymen in VA
The New York Sunday Mercury, March 20, 1864 reports a game played on the 15th at Rappahannock Station, VA between the 5th NY Battery and the 6th Regiment, NY Heavy Artillery. The latter won 23-16.
1864.85 South Carolina soldiers Play Ball near Petersburg
Wil Greene, "Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion..." p. 133, cites the William J. Miller memoir,Winthrop University, as saying "We younger soldiers played ball often [in the winter of 1864] and in winter time we had snow..." This while they were defending Petersburg.
1865.33 Texas Confederate Plays Town Ball Near Petersburg
A March 11, 1865 letter from Private Willis Watts of the 1st TX Infantry, Lee's army reports "We have pretty good huts to live in and are always very lively & merry when the weather permits we often Play Town Ball Cat Bull Pin or Something of that Sort."