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1861.24 Houston, We Have A Problem
"Friend SPIRIT: A meeting for the purpose of organizing a base ball club in this city, was held on hursday evening last, April 4, when eighteen of the most respectable young men of this city met and adopted a constitution, by-laws, rurles and regulations for playing the game, and elected their officers...The club adopted the name of 'Houston Base Ball Club'...They play their first match game among themselves, on Saturday, the 27th of this month. The result you can expect immediately thereafter."
Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, April 27, 1861.
If, held, the planned match on April 27 did not reach (or was not printed by) Wilkes' Spirit. Texas had already seceded and joined the Southern Confederacy by the time the Houston BBC formed. The beginning of the war after Fort Sumter was fired upon on April 12 presumably ended such communication.
1862.50 Texas Ranger Plugs Waaay Too Hard
“And the game might become so rough as to necessitate precautionary steps. ‘Frank Ezell was ruled out,’ wrote a Texas Ranger in his diary, because ‘he could throw harder and straighter than any man in the company. He came very neat knocking the stuffing out of three or four of the boys, and the boys swore they would not play with him.’”
Bell Irvin Wiley, The Common Soldier in the Civil War (Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1952), Book Two, The Life of Johnny Reb, page 159. Wiley’s end-note is, evidently, “diary of D[esmond]. P[ulaski]. Hopkins, entry of March 15, 1862, typescript, University of Texas.” Neither Hopkins’ unit nor its March 1862 location is noted. Note: can we locate the full text and its context?
D. P. Hopkins and Benjamin Franklin Ezell (1839 MS - 1913 TX) were members of Norris' Frontier Battalion which in March 1862 was stationed at/near Kerrville, TX. The Hopkins diary was published in the San Antonio Express, 1-13-1918. The March 15, 1862 entry (on page 23 of the Express) mentions this game, and mentions that the troops made their own ball out of yarn socks. [ba]
1864.26 Union Prisoners in Texas Given a Ball Ground – For a While
“[A] new person being put in command of the inside [of the Texas prison] about the 1st of October , made suggestions which the commandant allowed him to carry out, and relieved us ever afterward. He gave us a fine ball ground which was well occupied and proved a blessing.”
Major J. M. McCulloch, 77th Illinois, as quoted in Washington Davis, Camp-Fire Chats of the Civil War (Lewis Publishing, Chicago, 1888), page 70. Accessed on Google Books 6/21/09 via “’camp-fire chats’ davis” search. McCulloch does not elaborate on the nature of games played. He had been captured with troops from Ohio and Kentucky as well as Illinois. The prison was at Camp Ford near Tyler TX, about 100 miles E of Dallas.
An escapee from Camp Ford arrived in Milwaukee in November and told the Sentinel about his adventure. “We used to pass time playing checkers, cards, and dominoes. We were let out by twenties on parole to play ball, but so many ran away that the privilege was taken from us.” “Prison Life in Texas – Narrative of an Escaped Prisoner, Milwaukee Sentinel, November 11, 1864.” Accessed 5/21/09 via Genealogybank subscription.
1864.30 Union Prisoner Reported Shot While Playing Ball in Texas Pen
“One after another, the men rapidly died off. On the 26th of September, some of the prisoners obtained permission to play ball. One of them, in chasing the ball, ventured within a few feet of the camp lines, when he was short by the guards, and nearly killed.”
“The Death of Lieut. Matthew Hayes, New York Times, January 1864. Accessed 5/21/09 via genealogy subscription. The story depicts health conditions in Camp Groce, near Houston TX.
1864.86 Union artillerists play baseball in Texas
Williams, "Chicago's Battery Boys. The Chicago Mercantile Battery in the Civil War" p. 478 cites the diaries of Cone (2-13-64) and F. D. Pitts, Feb. 16/25, 1864 as saying that on Feb. 25th, while stationed on the Matagorda Peninsula, the left section of the battery defeated the right section 16-4 in a game of base ball.