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1861.71 Irish Soldiers play ball with Rebel shells
The Cleveland Herald, Nov. 26, 1861, headlined "New One for Paddy" explains how Irish-American soldiers reacted to Confederate shelling: "One of the Massachusetts regiments had a game of base ball they day after the slaughter of Edwards' Ferry [the battle of BAlls Bluff], bu the Cleveland Hibernian Guard of the Eighth Ohio regiment, beat them at Romney... the Hibernian Guard actually stacked their arms and commenced playing ball with the six pounders that the enemy sent among them, tossing them about as cooly as if they were in the Cleveland Public Square."
Given the weight of the cannon balls, could this have been a rugby-like ball game?
The Cleveland Herald, Nov. 26, 1861
1862.64 Winter Baseball in West Virginia
The Gallipolis Journal, Jan. 8, 1863 reports that last month soldiers of the 91st Ohio amused themselves by playing ball in the camp at Fayetteville.
The Gallipolis Journal, Jan. 8, 1863
1862.72 Town Ball club formed by Ohio Regiment in West Virginia
The Leavenworth (KS) Daily Conservative, May 18, 1862 prints a May 2 letter from a soldier in the 84th Ohio, Camp Union, Fayetteville, VA (now WV): "We are enjoying ourselves hugely. We have a town-ball club organized and a splendid field to play in. ..."
At this time town-ball was popular in Cincinnati (and Philadelphia and Evansville). Query if the unit had soldiers from that city.
The Leavenworth (KS) Daily Conservative, May 18, 1862
1863.117 Future President notes ballplaying in camp
Rutherford B. Hayes
"Conspicuous Gallantry: Civil War Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes" contains a April 22, 1863 letter from Camp White in which Hayes' notes that "Drilling, boating, ball-playing and the like make the time pass pleasantly."
Camp White was near Charleston, WV. Hayes had played ball while in college.
"Conspicuous Gallantry: Civil War Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes"
1863.123 Confederate Cavalry plays ball in WVA
"...Jones and Imboden linked up, and spent several days together in Weston, where they staged a parade through the town and the troops under their command played ball on the grounds of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum."
Charleston Gazette-Mail, May 2, 2013. Jones and Imboden commanded brigades of VA Confederate cavalry. See also Summers, "The Baltimore and Ohio in the Civil War" p. 136, which notes this game was May 4, 1863 in Weston, now WVA.
Charleston Gazette-Mail, May 2, 2013
1865.3 Bay Stater to Wife: “We had a gay old time playing ball . . . send me five dollars”
“My dear wife, We were drawn up in line this afternoon and informed we would be discharged and sent to our Regiments in ten days. We had a gay old time playing ball. . . . You must send me five dollars without fail. I am almost distracted by the want of tobacco.”
Letter home from Wheeling, West Virginia, by John R. Irving, May 4, 1865. Irving, in a Massachusetts Cavalry unit, was assigned to General Custer’s Division. Note: it is possible that the ellipsis in this rendering omits a bit more detail about the ballplaying. Accessed 6/22/09 by Google Web search “’john r irving’ ‘auction contents.’” The letter is descried under auction #2.1.