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Southern Officers Play Ball in Ohio Prison

Salience Peripheral
Tags Civil War, Military
Location Ohio
City/State/Country: Johnson's Island, OH, United States
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

Perhaps 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.

In-depth 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.

See also W. A. Nash, "Camp, Field and Prison Life" p. 234, 168.

See also Benjamin Cooling, "Forts Henry and Donelson" p. 257, stating the POWs played town ball, which cites the prison journal of Captain John Henry Guy at the VA Historical Society; Curran, "John Dooley's Civil War..." p. 295, which has a diary entry on an Aug. 29, 1864 game.

See also John Snead Lambdin's "Recollections of my prison Life," in the Magnolia (MS) Gazette Oct. 22, 1880.

See also Diary of Lt. William Peel, 11th Mississippi, MS Dept of Archives and History, entries for July 29 and Aug. 28, 1864; D. R. Hundley diary, publsihed in 1874.

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External Number 110
Submitted by Bruce Allardice


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