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1827.7 NY Boy Celebrates "Releasement" from School By Playing Ball
"In consequence of a dismission from school this afternoon, I play at ball . . . and perhaps you will say that I might have been better employed . . . If so are your thoughts, I can tell you, that you are much mistaken. If you have ever been confined to a study where every exertion of intellect was required, for any length of time, you must, upon releasement therefrom, have felt the pleasure of relaxation."
-- Nathaniel Moore, Student at Clinton Academy, East Hampton, Long Island.
Nathaniel Moore, "Diaries 1827-1828," Manuscript Division, New York Public Library, 106-L-1, May 26, 1827. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 36 and ref #45.
1846.22 Loss of "Fine Grassy Fields" for Base Ball and Quoits is Decried in Manhattan
"The heavy rain-storm has taken off every vestige of snow in the upper part of the city, and the ground is settling and verging into a tolerable walking condition. A casual glance at the region between 23d and 40th streets yesterday, convinced us that the usual spring business in the way of Sunday amusements is to open on the most extensive scale in the course of a few weeks. Play-grounds, however, are becoming scarce below 40th street, and "the boys" are consequently driven further out. The city authorities (Corporations have no souls) are tearing down, filling up, grading and extending streets each way from the Fifth Avenue, and have destroyed all the fine grassy fields where the rising generation once set their bounds for base-ball and quoit-pitching. Some were there, yesterday, in spite of soft turf and little of it, trying their favorite games."
New York True Sun March 15, 1846
From finder Richard Hershberger:
"This is consistent with Peverelly's account, which has the proto-Knickerbockers playing at 27th street 1842-43, moving to Murray Hill (which is what, around 34th Street?) in 1844, and throwing in the towel and going to New Jersey in 1845. My guess is that this provoked the formation of the club, since the Elysian Fields ground needed to be paid for, with the club the vehicle for doing this."
1856.19 Five-Player Base Ball Reported in NY, WI
Two games of five-on-five baseball appear in the Spirit of the Times, starting in 1856. The '56 game matched the East Brooklyn junior teams for the Nationals and the Continentals. The Nationals won 37-10. In 1857, an item taken from the Waukesha (WI) Republican of June 6, pitted Carroll College freshmen and "an equal number of residents of this village. They played two games to eleven tallies, and one to 21 tallies. The collegians won all three games. Neither account remarks on the team sizes. Other five-on-five matches appeared in 1858.
Spirit of the Times, Volume 26, number 39 (Saturday, November 8, 1856), page 463, column 3.
Spirit of the Times Volume 27, number 20 (June 27, 1857), page 234, column 2.
Was 5-player base ball common then? Did it follow special rules? How do 4 fielders cover the whole field?
1865.28 Union Guards at Elmira Prison Play Baseball with Confederate POWs
Baseball play was part of the Elmira POW Camp throughout the war.
The Chemung Union played against some Elmira POWs in 1865, according to James E. Hare, "Elmira," p. 75.
Janowski, "The Elmira Prison Camp" p. 360 says that in 1864 "The teams of the different [Confederate] states used to play baseball for the edification of the guards," quoting a soldier who was in the 54th NY guarding the POWs.
Horrigan, "Elmira: Death Camp of the North" says that on 9-3-64 two guards regiments, the 54th and 56th NY Infantry, played baseball against each other outside the camp.
James E. Hare, "Elmira," p. 75