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1862.53 Southern Brigade’s Play Base . . . Somewhere
“On Christmas Day 1862 the officers of Manigault’s brigade had a footrace, and afterward the colonels ‘chose sides from among the officers and men to play base[ball].’”
Larry J. Daniel, Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee: A Portrait of Life in a Confederate Army (U of North Carolina Press, 1991), page 90. Daniel evidently attributes this quotation of a letter from James Hall to his father, December 25, 1862. His treatment of the name of the game, “base[ball], implies that the original letter read “base.” Manigault’s Brigade formed in Corinth, MS, in April 1862, comprising two South Carolina regiments and three from Alabama. We do not know the location of the brigade in December 1862, when Manigault was apparently elevated from colonel of the 10th SC to lead the brigade.
The brigade was near Murfreesboro, TN on 12-25-62. [ba]
1862.74 Town Ball at Shiloh Battlefield
The Mattoon Gazette, April 17, 1862 prints a letter from a soldier in the 7th IL, datelined Pittsburgh Landing, March 31, 1862: "Down on the parade ground the old time-honored games of 'ball pin,' and 'town ball' have enlisted the attention of fifty or sixty soldiers..."
Pittsburgh Landing is where the April 1862 battle of Shiloh was fought.
The Mattoon Gazette, April 17, 1862
1863.8 Wisconsin Soldier Reportedly “Died While Playing Wicket”
“March 2 . Jas Mitchell falls. Died while playing wicket.”
Diary entry, presumably by Captain Milo E. Palmer, 12th Regiment, in Deborah B. Martin, History of Brown County Wisconsin (S. J. Clarke Publishing, Chicago, 1913), page 216. The 12th Wisconsin was near “Coliersville” [Collierville?] TN in early March, according to the diary entries. Collierville is about 15 miles SW of Memphis. The 12th WI seems to have been raised in the Madison WI area. The book was accessed 6/7/09 on Google Books via “of brown county” search. No other cited diary entries refer to ballplaying. Caution: It is unconfirmed that “playing wicket” in this case referred to ballplaying. It seems plausible that wicket was played in the 1850s-1860s in WI, but it hardly seems a mortally risky game, and it seems possible that “playing wicket” has a military meaning here. Input from readers on this issue is most welcome.
1863.15 Soldier Under General Rosecrans Sees Ballplaying in Tennessee
E. L. Tabler’s Civil War diary runs from January 1863 through May 1864. In March 1863 he was camped near Murfreesboro TN. On March 25 1863 he wrote: “the boys enjoy themselves very well playing at Ball & pitching Horseshoes.” Tabler notes that his regiment has been taken over by John C. McWilliams; a John C. McWilliams is listed at a Captain in the 51st Illinois, which was in the Murfreesboro area in March 1863.
“1998 Transcription by William E. Henry of a Civil War Diary,”
http://www.51illinois.org/TablerDiaryRaw1863.pdf, accessed 6/8/09.
1863.68 24th Wisconsin Plays Baseball
"Nothing of importance has
transpired in the Twenty-fourth since I wrote you last, except the
regular routine of camp life. The Regiment went to Selma, a little town
about five miles from camp, on a light trip. They parted on the 4th and
came back the 13th. The Brigade was thrown out as a picket. The boys
amused themselves while there in making briar-root pipes, gobbling up
sheep, calves, porkers, etc., and playing base ball, which afforded
them a good deal of fun. "
Milwaukee Sentinel, Feb. 26, 1863, per 19cbb post by Dennis Pajot, Dec. 21, 2009
Also same, Feb. 27, 1863
1863.69 19th IL vs. 69th Ohio
In May of 1863 the Turchin Boys of the 19th Illinois (Basil Turchin was colonel of the 19th) played a team from the 69th Ohio, on the drill ground just outside the Union army camp at Murfreesboro, TN.
This Turchin team played a wartime game in Chicago (see protoball entry).
Cincinnati Inquirer, Feb. 25, 1879
1863.81 Base Ball a "common game of amusement"
The Canton (Ohio) Repository, July 1, 1863 prints a letter from Dr. Lewis Slusser, June 18, 1863, stationed near Murfreesboro, TN with the Army of the Cumberland: "The leisure time of our men is variously employed. Cricket, base ball, pitching horse shoes, cards, chess and checker are the most common games of amusement."
The Canton (Ohio) Repository, July 1, 1863
1863.97 8th Kansas Plays near Nashville
The Atchison Freedom's Champion, May 2, 1863 prints a letter from the 8th Kansas, Nashville, TN, April 22: "The men enjoy themselves well, and it looks more like a college play ground than an encampment in the rebel country, to see our officers and privates playing ball together."
The Atchison Freedom's Champion, May 2, 1863
1863.102 117th IL plays town ball near Memphis
Gerlings's "One Hundred Seventeenth Illinois" p. 105: "May 18. Some of us played "town-ball" on the drill grounds. Col. Moore and Lt. Kerr being the leaders of the two sides." Same May 19, 20.
Col. Risdon Moore's 117th IL was stationed at Fort Pickering, Memphis in May 1863.
Gerlings's "One Hundred Seventeenth Illinois" p. 105
1863.110 Town Ball Played by 28th Alabama
Hallock, editor, "The Civil War Letters of Joshua K. Callaway," p. 94 cites a letter from Shelbyvlle, TN, June 1863: "there is a big game of 'Town Ball' going on out there and they are all very jolly..."
Callaway was in the 28th AL Infantry.
Hallock, editor, "The Civil War Letters of Joshua K. Callaway," p. 94
1863.114 Southern Girls Play Town Ball and Cat in Clarksville
Nannie E. Haskins diary, Feb. 25, 1863
Saturday morning opened with heavy clouds to obscure the Sun; after breakfasted, we all went out and had a game of hot ball – town ball and cat. They were all new to me, that is I never played them before. I have seen my brothers and other boys play them. We came to town about ten o’clock, by dinner time it was raining.
1863.118 36th Illinois loses to 24th Wisconsin by 50
A favorite amusement all through our Murfreesboro stay was
base ball, and many an hour was spent at Camp Schaffer in this absorbing game. Sometimes the fun was varied by a contest with some other regiment, and though the 36th were very skillful, they sometimes met their match, as one record very candidly says : "In the afternoon eight boys of the 24th Wisconsin played ball against eight of ours and beat us (!) by fifty a very interestinggame."
Bennett and Haigh, "36th Illinois" p. 425
1864.14 Players “Lamed Badly” at Ballplaying
“Soldier baseball must have been vigorous. One Yank noted after a contest in Tennessee, “We get lamed badly.”
Bell Irvin Wiley, The Common Soldier in the Civil War (Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1952), page 170. Wiley’s footnotes are clustered, and hard to match to textual claims. His most likely source is “Edward L. Edes for his father, April 3, 1864.” Note: can we verify and enrich this account? Richard Welch’s The Boy General (Fairleigh Dickinson U, 2003), page 76) identifies an Edward L. Edes as a soldier in the 33rd Massachusetts.. In April 1864 the 33rd, apparently raised in Springfield, MA was on the outskirts of Chattanooga awaiting the start of the Atlanta campaign.
1864.53 General Hooker's Players "Pretty Badly Beat", 70-11
A: The match game of base ball between the staff, and orderlies of Gen. Hooker, and thirteen players from our regiment came off this forenoon, the result was in favor of our regiment, the innings stood seventy to eleven, pretty badly beat wasn't they. They will play another game this afternoon. Gen. Hooker ordered Col. Wood to postpone brigade drill, that they might play.
B:Nothing has been stirring for the last week except for ball playing and one brigade drill. We play ball about all the time now. We, or some of the officers, have received a challenge from Gen'l Hooker's staff and escort to play a match. Fourteen players have been selected to play against them, amongst whom is ELE< the letter writer>. Four of them are commissioned officers, the rest enlisted men. We have also had a challenge from the one hundred and thirty.sixth New York, bit I don't know if it will be played or not.
C: Major Lawrence with a skillful nine selected from Hooker's body guard, challenged the [33rd MA] regiment to match them in a manly game of base ball, and his nine got worsted. The New York regiment threw down the glove with a like result. The champion Sharon [MA] boys knew a thing or two about base ball, which they had learned in contests with the laurelled Massapoags at home.
A: Letter of April 13, 1864 by Lt. Thomas Howland. Obtained via Massachusetts Historical Society, August 2015.
B: Letter home by E. L. Edes, April 1864. For full letter, see Supplemental Text, below.
C: A. B. Underwood, Thirty-Third Mass. Infantry Regiment, 1862 - 1865 (A. Williams and Co., Boston, 1881, page 199. Search string: <kershaw had a smart>.
It seems likely that these games were played under Mass game rules.
General Sherman's winter camp was outside Chattanooga, and his march into GA started in the beginning of May 1864.
The Massapoag Club of Sharon MA fielded 10-14 players for its pre-war games, which were subject to Massachusetts rules. Why would the regimental history, 17 years later, refer to "nines"?
1864.74 86th Indiana Plays Town Ball in East Tennessee
After the camp was established, a ball ground was laid off, and daily, when the weather was favorable, those not on duty took exercise by playing a few games of "town ball."
Barnes, Carnahan and McCain, "Eighty Sixth Indiana" p. 319. This was Jan. 1864 near Knoxville, TN.
Barnes, Carnahan and McCain, "Eighty Sixth Indiana" p. 319.
1865.22 89th Illinois beats 49th Ohio
On April 3, 1865, the 89th Illinois Infantry defeated the 49th Ohio 50-23 in a game played in their camp at New Market, TN.
Reyburn, "Clear the Track: A History of the Eight-Ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry," p. 450, citing a soldier's diary.