Chronology: 1861 - 1865
1861 - 1865
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The chronology from 1861 to 1865 (198 entries)
1861.1 Chadwick Tries to Start Richmond VA Team, but the Civil War Intervenes
Bill Hicklin notes (email of Feb 4, 2016) that "Chadwick visited his wife's family frequently and was disappointed that, as of the verge of the Civil War, there appeared to be no base ball clubs there at all."
Ward, Geoffrey C., and Ken Burns, Baseball: An Illustrated History [Knopf, 1994], p.12, no ref given.
John Thorn, email of 2/10/2008, suggests that Beadle may have more detail.
Schiff, Millen, and Kirsch also cite Chadwick's attempt, but do not give a clear date, or a source.
Is there a primary source for this claim?
1861.2 Stoolball Played, in Co-ed Form
"Stoolball was played at Chailey [Sussex] in 1861. Major Lionel King . . . first saw stoolball in the early 'sixties, while still a very small boy. He watched a game in a field belonging to Eastfield Lodge, Hassocks [Sussex], and both men and maidens were playing"
Russell-Goggs, in "Stoolball in Sussex," The Sussex County Magazine, volume 2, no. 7 (July 1928), page 322. Note: Russell-Goggs does not give a source for this report.
1861.4 Henry Chadwick Links Base Ball to Rounders - But It's More "Scientific"
"The game of base ball is, as our readers are for the most part aware, an American game exclusively, as now played, although a game somewhat similar has been played in England for many years, called 'rounders,' but which is played more after the style of the Massachusetts game. New York, however, justly lays claim to being the originators of what is termed the American Game, which has been so improved in all its essential points by them, and it scientific points so added to, that it does not stand second to either [rounders or the Mass game?] in its innate excellencies, or interesting phrases, to any national game in any country in the world, and is every way adapted to the tastes of all who love athletic exercises in the country."
Chadwick article in The New York Clipper (October 26, 1861).
This is an excerpt from a Hoboken game account.
1861.5 15,000 Watch Ice Base Ball in Bkn: Atlantic 37, Charter Oak 26.
"[A] novel game of base ball was played on the skating-pond in the Eighth Ward, between the Atlantic and Charter Oak Base Ball Clubs. Ten members of each Club were selected for the match, and the game was played on skates, the prize being a silver ball. The Atlantic ten won the ball, making 37 runs to 27 by their opponents. Some 15,000 people witnessed the game."
"Base Ball on Skates," Philadelphia Inquirer (February 6, 1861).
This bit was also reprinted in the pro-Confederacy Columbus OH paper The Crisis (February 14, 1861).
Coverage of the game, including the box score, appeared in The Spirit of the Times (Feb. 9), the New York Sunday Mercury (Feb. 10), and the New York Clipper (Feb. 16).
1861.6 The Clipper Looks Back on the 1861 Season
Some general points:
The War: "[D]espite the interruptions and drawbacks occasioned by the great rebellion [it] has been really a very interesting year in the annals of the game, far more than was expected . . . ; but the game has too strong a foothold in popularity to be frowned out of favor by lowering brows of 'grim-faced war,' and if any proof was needed that our national game is a fixed institution of the country, it would be found in the fact that it has flourished through such a year of adverse circumstances as those that have marked the season of 1861."
HolidayPlay: "On the 4th of July, all the club grounds were fully occupied, that day, like Thanksgiving, being a ball playing day."
Juiced Ball? On July 23, it was Eagles 32, Eckfords 23, marking the Eckfords' first loss since 1858. "The feature of the contest was the unusual number of home runs that were made on both sides, the Eckfords scoring no less than 11, of which Josh Snyder alone made four, and the Eagles getting five." 3000 to 4000 fans watched this early slugfest.
The Clipper (date omitted in scrapbook clipping) printed a long review of the 1861 season. It appeared in the issues of Jan. 11, Jan. 18, and Jan. 25, 1862.
1861.7 Ontario Lads to Try the New York Game, May Forego "Canadian Game"
The year-old Young Canadian Base Ball Club [Woodstock, ON] met in Spring 1861, elected officers, reported themselves "flourishing" with forty members, and basked in the memory of a 6-0 1860 season. "At the last meeting of the club it was resolved that they should practice the New York game for one month, and if at the end of that time they liked it better than the Canadian game, they would adopt it altogether."
See also #1820s.19, #1838.4, #1856.18, and #1860.29 above.
The New York Clipper (date omitted in scrapbook clipping; from context it was about May 1861). Note- not found in May issues
1861.9 Buckeye BBC Forms in Cincinnati OH
"The Buckeye Base Ball Club is the first institution of the kind organized in Cincinnati."
The New York Clipper, April 20, 1861
does this imply that this club was the first in town to play the New York game?
1861.10 Atlantic 52, Mutual 27, 6 Innings: Reporter is Wowed by 26-Run 3rd
Going into the 3rd inning, the Brooklyn club trailed 8-7. Three outs later, the Atlantic led 33-8. Ball game! The article put it this way: "The Atlantics have always had a reputation for superior batting; but never have they before displayed, nor, in fact, had there ever been witnessed on any field, in all our base ball experience - which covers a period of ten years - such a grand exhibition of splendid batting. . . . Altogether, the game exhibited the tallest batting, and more of it, than has ever before been witnessed." He goes on to chronicle every at-bat of the Atlantic's thumping third. As for the crowd: "The best of order was preserved on the ground by an extensive police force, and everything passed off well."
"A Grand Exhibition," New York Sunday Mercury (October 20, 1861).
The full article and box score of the 10/26/1861 game is found at http://www.covehurst.net/ddyte/brooklyn/favorite%207.html
1861.11 Meeting of National Association is Subdued
Meeting in late 1861, the National Association of Base Ball Players undertook no large issues, perhaps in light of what a reporter called "the disturbed state of the country." Sixty-one clubs attended, one-third less strength that in 1860.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 12, 1861, page 11.
Meeting summaries also appeared in the New York Sunday Mercury (Dec. 15), Wilkes' Spirit of the Times (Dec. 21), and the New York Clipper (Dec. 21)
1861.12 Modern Base Ball Comes to Sanford ME
"The national game of base-ball was introduced in 1861."
Edwin Emery, The History of Sanford Maine (Fall River MA, 1901), page 383.
Sanford ME is about 30 miles N of Portsmouth NH, near the NH border.
1861.13 Modern Game Comes to the Eastern OH Town
"The Portage County Democrat reported in its April 10, 1861 edition, 'The young men of Ravenna have organized a base ball club . . . .' But again, their games were intra club affairs."
John Husman, "Ohio's First Baseball Game," Presented at the SABR Convention, July 16, 2004, page 5.
Ravenna OH is about 35 miles SE of Cleveland in eastern Ohio.
1861.14 "Silver Ball" Match Features Brooklyn and New York All-Stars, Attracts Up To 15,000
Harry Wright played 3B for New York, and atop the Brooklyn lineup were Dickie Pearce and Jim Creighton. The major NYC area clubs contributed leading players to this game, the first since 1858 to pit all-stars from New York and Brooklyn. New York held a 4-2 lead through 4 innings, but a 7-run fifth ["considerable muffy fielding took place by the New Yorkers"] propelled Brooklyn to a 18-6 win, and the silver ball was put in the hands of the Atlantic club, as its players had scored the most runs. Crowd estimates of 12,000 to 15,000 were printed. The game was played at the Gotham club grounds in Hoboken on October 21.
Sponsored by the New York Clipper, the game's organizer, Clipper base ball editor Henry Chadwick, was roundly criticized for favoritism toward Brooklyn and sloppy organization by the New York Atlas and the New York Sunday Mercury in their issues of Oct. 27, 1861
1861.15 First Sunday in the Army: "Ball-playing, Wrestling, and Some Cards
In early May 1861, the new 13th Illinois Regiment assembled in East St. Louis IL. Writing of the first Sabbath in the camp, the veterans later said "There was drill: so the notion of the leaders ran. A better view obtains now. There was ball-playing and wrestling and some card-playing, but that [just the card-playing?] was generally regarded as out of order."
Military History and Reminiscences of the Thirteenth Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Woman's Temperance Publishing, Chicago, 1892), page 10. PBall file: CW-122.
This may be the first recorded instance of ballplaying by Civil War soldiers.
1861.16 NY Regiment Plays "Favorite Game" After Dress Parade in Elmira NY
"After [the camp's dress] parade, which generally lasted about an hour, the camp was alive with fun and frolic . . . leap-frog, double-duck, foot and base-ball or sparring, wrestling, and racing, shared their attention."
A visitor to the camp wrote the next day, "I was not surprised . . . to see how extensively the amusements which had been practiced in their leisure hours in the city [Buffalo?], were continued in camp. Boxing with gloves, ball-playing, running and jumping, were among these. The ball clubs were well represented here, and the exercise of their favorite game is carried on spiritedly by the Buffalo boys." [page 43.] PBall file: CW-123.
J. Harrison Mills, Chronicles of the Twenty-First Regiment, New York Volunteers (21st Veteran Assn., Buffalo, 1887), page 42.
The newly-formed regiment, evidently raised in the Buffalo area, was at camp in Elmira in May 1861 in this recollection, and would deploy to Washington in June.
Duplicate of 1861.34?
1861.17 American Guard [71st NY Regt] 42, Nationals BB Club 13
"The National Base Ball Club requests the pleasure of your company on their grounds at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and 6th Street, East, on Tuesday, July 2d , at twelve o'clock, to witness a match game with the 71st Regiment Base Ball Club"
71st Regiment Veterans Association, "History of the 71st Regiment, N.G., N.Y.," (Eastman, New York, 1919), pages 157, 232, and 236-237. Accessed 5/30/2009 via Google Books search "71st regiment baseball." PBall file: CW-3.
The 71st had the duty to protect the Nation's Capital against rebel incursions, and fielded a picked nine to play a National BBC nine. After three innings, they led 12-2, and coasted to victory. A familiar name for the 71st was 3b Van Cott, and for the Nationals French played 3b. The regimental history later reported that the game "was witnessed by a large number of spectators." The Philadelphia Inquirer announced the contest on July 1 under the headline "The New York Seventy-First Despairing of Work, Going to Play Ball." Note: Frank Ceresi reports [19CBB posting of 2/28/2009] that the French collection of the Washington Historical Society includes a handwritten scoresheet for the match, which describes a 41-13 Army victory.
The two sides played again a year later. On August 7, 1862, the Nationals won a rematch, 28-13. The regimental history says that "the game was played on the parade ground; the result was not as satisfactory to the boys as the year before. There was quite a concourse of spectators on the occasion, including a number of ladies . . . . At the close the players were refreshed with sandwiches and lager." On June 25th, 1862, and the regiment's company K took on the rest of the regiment and lost 33-11.
1861.18 Confederate Base Ball Players Finds Field "Too Boggy" in VA
"Confederate troops played townball as well as more modern versions of the game in their army camps. In November 1861 the Charleston Mercury of South Carolina reported that Confederate troops were stuck in soggy camps near Centreville, Fairfax County, [northern] Virginia. Heavy rains created miserably wet conditions so that 'even the base ball players find the green sward in front of the camp, too boggy for their accustomed sport.'" Centreville is adjacent to Manassas/Bull Run. 40,000 Confederate troops under Gen. Johnson had winter quarters there [the town's population had been 220] in 1861/62.
Charleston Mercury, November 4, 1861, page. 4, column 5. Mentioned without citation in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 39. PBall file: CW-6
1861.19 Second NJ Regiment Forms BB Club in Virginia Camp
[A] A six-inning game of base ball was played at Camp Seminary on Saturday November 16, 1861. The 2nd NJ challenged the 1st NJ and prevailed. A member of the 2nd NJ sent a short report and box to the Newark newspaper.
[B] Members of the 2nd New Jersey regiment formed the Excelsior club, evidently named for the Newark Excelsior [confirm existence?] in late November 1861. A report of an intramural game between Golder's side and Collins' side appeared in a Newark paper. The game, won 33-20 by the Golder contingent, lasted 6 innings and took four hours to play. The correspondent concludes: "The day passed off pleasantly all around, and I think every one of us enjoyed ourselves duely [sic?]. We all hope to be at home one year hence to dine with those who love us. God grant it!"
[A] "A Game of Ball in the Camp," Newark Daily Advertiser, November 20 1861. PBall file: CW7.
[B] Newark Daily Advertiser, 12/4/1861. PBall file: CW8.
Camp Seminary was located near Fairfax Seminary in Alexandria VA, near Washington DC.
One may infer that the 2nd NJ remained at winter quarters in Alexandria VA at this time, providing protection to Washington.
1861.20 Confederate Soldier's Diary Reports on Town Ball Playing, 1861-1863
December 1861 (Texas?): "There is nothing unusual transpiring in Camp. The boys are passing the time playing Town-Ball."
January 1862 (Texas?): "All rocking along finely, Boys playing Town-Ball"
March 1863 (USA prison camp, IL?): The Rebels have at last found something to employ both mind and body; as the parade ground has dried up considerably in the past few days, Town Ball is in full blast, and it is a blessing for the men."
March 1863 (USA prison camp, IL?): "Raining this morning, which will interfere with ball playing, but the manufacture of rings 'goes bravely on,' and I might say receives a fresh impetus by the failure of the 'Town-ball' business."
W. W. Heartsill, Fourteen Hundred and 91 Days in the Confederate Army: A Journal Kept by W. W. Heartsill: Day-by-Day, of the W. P. Lane (Texas) Rangers, from April 19th 1861 to May 20th 1865. Submitted by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09. Available online at The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries Database, at http://solomon.cwld.alexanderstreet.com/. PBall file: CW10.
Heartsill joined Lane's Texas Rangers early in the War at age 21. He was taken prisoner in Arkansas in early 1862, and exchanged for Union prisoners in April 1863. He then joined Bragg's Army in Tennessee, and was assigned to a unit put in charge of a Texas prison camp of Union soldiers. There are no references to ballplaying after 1863.
manufacture of rings?
POWs commonly fashioned hair or bone rings to while away the time [ba].
1861.22 Ad Biz
"(advertisement) JOHN C. WHITING, 87 FULTON STREET, N. Y., manufacturer of BASE BALLS and Wholesale and Retail Dealer in everything appertaining to BASE BALL and CRICKET. Agent for Chicester's Improved SELF-FASTENING BASES, and the PATENT CONCAVE PLATES for Ball Shoes, which are free from all the danger, and answer all the purposes, of spikes."
New York Sunday Mercury, Dec. 8, 1861
With thousands in the Greater New York City area playing the game, providers of playing grounds, playing manuals, and equipment sprang up.
1861.23 War Sinks Silver Balls
[A] "CONTESTS FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP.-- Additional interest will be imparted to the ensuing base ball season by the playing of a series of contests between the senior, as well as between the junior clubs, for a silver champion ball (and)...will initiate a new system of general rivalry, which will, we hope, be attended with the happiest results to the further progress and popularity of the game of base ball.
[B] "We learn from Daniel Manson, chairman pro tem. of the Junior National Association, that the Committee on Championship have resolved to postpone the proposed match games for the championship...Among the reasons...is the fact that quite a number of the more advanced players, from the clubs selected for the championship, have enlisted for the war."
[C] The senior-club silver ball competition, offered not by the national association but by the Continental BBC, a non-contender, was also not held due to the war. In 1862, with the war then appearing to be of indefinite duration, the Continental offered it as a prize to the winner of the informal championship matches, with those games played as a benefit for the families of soldiers.
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, April 7, 1861
[B] New York Sunday Mercury, May 12, 1861
1861.37 Modern Base Ball Played Widely At Outset of War
[A] After having doubled in scope in bother 1857 and 1858, the game was played in all of America's largest 12 cities in 1858. It was played in the top 21 cities exceeding 42,000 population, and in about one-half of the largest 100 US cities (the smallest of which had a population of 9,500) before the Civil War started in April 1861. Twenty-seven of the thirty-four States had seen the game by then.
[B] Expansion slowed considerably during the war years, but have have aboiut 150 accounts of playing in war camps during the fighting..
[A] "BASE BALL. The excitement incident to the new and warlike attitude of our national affairs also monopolized the attention of everybody during the past week; and out-door sports, like everything else, were for the time forgotten."
[B] "BASE BALL'. For the time being, base ball is almost entirely laid aside. Not one of the senior clubs has yet mustered sufficient numbers on the regular play-days to have a game...Several of the clubs have, we understand, resolved to postpone regular field exercise until after the Fourth of July."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, April 21, 1861
[B] New York Sunday Mercury, April 28, 1861
1861.40 Shortstops to Soldiers
[A] "BASE BALL...So many of the best players, belonging to the first nines of the more prominent base ball clubs, have enlisted and gone with different regiments to the seat of war, that there will be some difficulty in getting up any matches of special interest this season."
[B] "BASE BALL...Hundreds of the best base all players in the States are now withing or on their way to Washington, ready to prove to the world, that while in times of peace they are enthusiastic devotees of the National Game, they are no less ready, in time of war, to make any sacrifice..."
[C] "CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WAR.-- The Star and Exercise Clubs, of Brooklyn, have together contributed nearly forty volunteers for the war. Good boys!"
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, April 28, 1861
[B] New York Sunday Mercury, May 5, 1861
[C] New York Sunday Mercury, May 26, 1861
1861.41 Base Ball A Silver Lining
[A] "The first base ball match of the season came off yesterday...It was thought that cannon balls would supersede base balls this season-- that our meetings and delightful measures would be exchanged for the pride, pomp, and circumstances of glorious war, but even in their ashes live our wonted fires, and though faint and few, we are fearless still. The event of yesterday is therefore generally regarded as a promising sign of the times."
[B] "THE HOBOKEN BASE BALL CLUBS.-- The ball grounds at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken, begin to wear a very lively look...Several important matches are nearly arranged...The return of the Seventh, National Guard, added a reinforcement of some forty members to our prominent base ball clubs."
[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 6, 1861
[B] Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, June 16, 1861
1861.45 Shrunken NABBP Meeting Does Little
"BASE BALL. Annual Meeting of the National Association of Base Ball Players....The attendance of delegates was not so large as we had hope to see..the delegates of thirty-one clubs answered to their names...The Committee on Rules...reported that they had no changes in the Rules to recommend...only one proposition had been submitted to them (discussion of a proposition to change the rule for deciding the outcome of a game called by darkness was tabled; a resolution to donate the Association's surplus funds to war relief was also tabled, as the funds were small...the existing rebellion, which has enlisted amny base-ball players in the service of the country, has had a tendency to temporarily disorganize many of the base ball clubs."
New York Sunday Mercury, Dec. 15, 1861
Three clubs were admitted to the Association; of 80 existing members, nine were expelled due to non-payment of dues for two years, and 27 more listed who had not paid for 1861.
1861.46 37th Illinois plays in camp in Springfield
Wilder's History of the 37th Illinois, p. 30: "The officers and men of the [Waukegan] company were reported as playing baseball amidst beautiful weather."
This book cites a letter home by a soldier to the Waukegan Weekly Gazette, May 7, 1861. The unit was in camp near Springfield.
Waukegan had baseball as early as 1859.
Waukegan Weekly Gazette, May 7, 1861
1861.48 Too Cold for Baseball in Confederate Camp
The Rome (GA) Tri-Weekly Courier, Dec. 3, 1861 prints a Nov. 24, 1861 letter from a soldier in the 8th GA Infantry: "Up to a week ago ball playing was quite in vogue, but it is now a little too cold for this kind of recreation..."
The letter is datelined camp of the 8th GA, near Centreville [near Manassas, VA]. The letter writer was probably Moses Dwinnell (1825-87), an officer in the 8th who had been prewar editor of the Rome Courier.
The Rome (GA) Tri-Weekly Courier, Dec. 3, 1861
1861.49 Playing Ball in Racine Camp
The Monroe (WI) Sentinel, Oct. 23, 1861 reports that at Camp Utley, in Racine, the volunteers "have until two o'clock to rest, which time is generally occupied in playing ball, jumping, throwing dumb bells, running foot races, and wrestling."
The letter appears to have been written by a member of the La Crosse Artillery.
The Monroe (WI) Sentinel, Oct. 23, 1861
1861.50 Baseball at Benton Barracks
The Marshall (IL) Flag of Our Union, Oct. 25, 1861 prints a Oct. 21 letter from a soldier ("G. Shaw") at Benton Barracks, St. Louis in which he says: "Here can be enacted, among the young men, all of the scenes of their school days. Some are engaged in playing ball, some racing, some jumping, and not infrequently some playing leap frog."
The Marshall (IL) Flag of Our Union, Oct. 25, 1861
1861.51 Ball Playing competes with fencing in camp
The Ogdensburg Advance, Aug. 23, 1861 picks up an Albany Journal item about life in camp: "The People's Ellsworth Regiment spends their leisure hours "in great part to athletic exercises--fencing, boxing, ball playing--while their evenings are passed in singing."
This unit was the 44th New York Infantry, which at this time was in camp near Albany, NY.
The Ogdensburg Advance, Aug. 23, 1861
1861.52 Christmas Baseball in Camp
The New York Clipper, Jan. 11, 1862, headlined "Christmas in Camp," reports on a game on Christmas Day between the officers of the "1st Regiment, Excelsior Brigade" (70th NY Infantry) at Camp Farnum, Sandy Point, MD. Capt. Mitchell's nine defeated Lt. Dennson's 32-12. A greased pig chase followed.
The New York Clipper, Jan. 11, 1862
1861.53 8th New York Intersquad game
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 29, 1861 prints a long letter from a soldier in the 8th NY, stationed at Arlington Heights, VA, who mentions that the Left and Right wings of the regiment played a game of baseball, the Left wing winning 26-12. Gives a box score.
See also New York Sunday Mercury, June 30, 1861.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 29, 1861
1861.54 The "best players" of NYC and Brooklyn play in the army
The DC National Republican, June 28, 1861 prints a June 25th letter from Camp Wool [in DC] saying that Steers' nine (Company E) played Baldwin's nine (Company D), the two nines containing some of the best players of NYC and Brooklyn. The Washington Evening Star, July 1, 1861 reports that this was between 2 companies of the 14th New York, camped near 7th Street Park, and that Co. D won 39-17.
See also the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 5, 1861, which calls the soldiers in Co. D "many old and almost professional players." The regiment's colonel umpired the game.
The DC National Republican, June 28, 1861
1861.55 Base Ball at Camp Tippicanoe
The Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 7, 1861 quotes the Lafayette Journal about life of the soldiers at Camp Tippicanoe, near Lafayette. The soldiers belong to the 15th Indiana Volunteers.
"The boys are in the best spirits, and wehn off duty enjoy themselves in running foot races, playing ball, jumping, wrestling, and other healthful exercises..."
The Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 7, 1861
1861.56 Soldiers play ball in Denver
The Denver Daily Colorado Republican and Rocky Mountain Herald, Nov. 2, 1861: "We noticed yesterday the members of Capt Downing's company engaged in the exhilarating game of base-ball. This is excellent exercise for the muscle, besides being good amusement, and all our soldiers would receive benefits by indulging in his pleasant mode of training."
Downing's unit was company D, 1st Colorado Volunteers.
The Denver Daily Colorado Republican and Rocky Mountain Herald, Nov. 2, 1861
1861.57 Wilson's Zouaves play base ball
The St. Louis Missouri Democrat, May 21, 1861 prints a may 16 letter from the camp of Wilson's Zouaves, on Staten Island, NY: "We found a majority of the force engaged in exercise--some at base ball, some at leap frog--others running, boxing, exercise..."
Zouaves were dressed in the style of the North African light infantry of the French army--short red coats, baggy pants--very colorful.
The St. Louis Missouri Democrat, May 21, 1861. New York Herald, May 16, 1861.
1861.58 13th Massachusetts looks forward to an "exciting game"
The Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, Nov. 23, 1861 prints a Nov. 15th letter from a soldier of the 13th MA, in Williamsport, MD: "We are to have a game of base ball on that day [Thanksgiving], between the right and left wings of the regiment, and it will be an exciting one. We also play frequently at foot-ball."
The Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, Nov. 23, 1861
1861.59 1st MA has plenty of exercise
The Boston Traveler, Oct. 26, 1861 prints a letter from the 1st Massachusetts in Bladensburg, MD, denouncing newspaper reports of lack of exercise in the unit. "Six hours of every pleasant day are devoted to it [drill], sometimes at the double quick, and the hours between are filled up with bathing, base-ball, &c."
The Boston Traveler, Oct. 26, 1861
1861.60 Base Ball Prevents Soldier Grumbling
The Boston Christian Advocate, July 18, 1861 notes that army regulations urge commanders to "encourage useful occupation and manly exercises and diversions among their men, and to repress dissipation and immorality." After noting that the French and British armies encourage sports, the Advocate opines that "Baseball, cricket, ten pins, &c., wold save any amount of grumbling" by bored soldiers.
The Boston Christian Advocate, July 18, 1861
1861.61 Army of the Potomac relaxes with base ball
The Chicago Tribune, Nov. 18, 1861 lauds the Army of the Potomac's good conduct in camp: "A song, a light-hearted laugh, a group in ecstasies as two stout-hearted fellows roll, one over another, in a wrestling match, a foot race, or a party at base ball are the leading variations on the more formal duties of duty and drill..."
The Chicago Tribune, Nov. 18, 1861
1861.62 Ohio Soldiers box and play ball
The Cadiz (Ohio) Democratic Sentinel, May 25, 1861 reports on Ohio soldiers at Camp Dennison, east of Cincinnati: "Various are the sports devised by the soldiers to pass away their leisure hours: such as sparring, ball playing, singing, dancing, and almost every sport that could be thought of, or that ever was practiced..."
The Cadiz (Ohio) Democratic Sentinel, May 25, 1861
1861.67 Base ball at Camp Vermont
The Burlington Weekly Free Press, Dec. 19, 1861 prints a Dec. 6th letter from the 12th Vermont, at Camp Vermont, near Alexandria: After a game of foot ball on Thanksgiving, "many joined in games of base ball."
See also chronology 1862.39.
The Burlington Weekly Free Press, Dec. 19, 1861
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
1861.72 Secesh and Unionists fraternize on ball field
The New York Herald, June 28, 1861: "Fraternization--I had the pleasure of beholding an oasis of fraternization of members of the Excelsior Base Ball Club, of Brooklyn, N.Y., composed in part of officers and privates attached to the Thirteenth Regiment New York State Militia, stationed on Mount Clare, near the city, and the Excelsior Base Ball Club of Baltimore, which is composed of secessionists almost to a man..." They played a game, the Baltimore club winning 26-25.
The New York Herald, June 28, 1861
1861.77 White House Secretaries watch Zouaves play ball
"When John Hay and George Nicolay drove their rented buggy over to Camp Lincoln to say hello to their friend Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, they found him wearing his “blouzy red shirt” and enjoying that New York favorite: Base Ball. Most New York firefighters played the game, and among those involved was Ellsworth’s aide-de-camp, Captain John “Jack” Wildey.
Wildey played ball before he became a Fire Zouave. He played for the New York Mutuals, named for his own Mutual Hook and Ladder Company Number 1. The Mutuals were formed in 1857 and played amateur ball at the Hoboken Grounds, their home field. Many firefighters and city employees played in a variety of New York teams, but the Mutuals were reckoned the best. It was perfectly normal for a handmade ball, a bit larger and softer than today’s baseball, to be found in the knapsack of an 11th New York Fire Zouave."
Hay and Nicolai were Pres. Lincon's Secretaries, and Ellsworth was perhaps Lincoln's closest young friend. Hay later became Secretary of State.
"Home Run Derby Star Captain "Jack" Wildey, The Emerging Civil War blog, July 16, 2018
1861.84 2nd Fire Zouaves Match
The New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 17, 1861 reports on a game between two nines of the 2nd Fire Zouaves, camped near Indian Head, MD. Company K's nine defeated Company I's 23-19.
The regiment was formally known as the 73rd NY Infantry.
1861.86 A Battalion of Base Ballists?
The New York Sunday Mercury, Aug. 18, 1861 reports: "We are informed by a correspondent that several gentlemen well known in base ball circles, have a project under consideration for the formation of a battalion or regiment, exclusively of base ball players: and it is seriously contemplated to recommend a call fora special meeting of the National Association of Base Ball Players, for the purpose of bringing the matter more immediately before representatives of all the clubs." The Mercury notes that many ball players are already in the army, so the idea may not be practical, but that if only 5 men from each club joined, "better material for soldiers... cannot be found."
1862.1 Brooklyn Games Organized as Benefits for Sick and Wounded Soldiers
Three games were announced in June 1862 for which net proceeds would be used for sick and wounded Union soldiers. The Eckfords and the Atlantics would play for a silver ball donated by the Continental Club. William Cammeyer provided the enclosed Union grounds without charge. Admission fees of 10 cents were projected to raise $6000 for soldiers' relief. The Eckford won the Silver Ball by winning two of three games.
"Relief for the Sick and Wounded," Brooklyn Eagle, June 21, 1862, page 2.
Craig Waff, "The 'Silver Ball' Game-- Eckfords vs. Atlantics at the Union Grounds", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 39-42
1862.2 The Death of Jim Creighton at 21
Excelsior star pitcher James Creighton, 21 years old, suffered some sort of injury during the middle innings of a game against the Union of Morrisania on October 14, 1862, and died four days later of a "strangulated intestine" associated with a hernia. (Other accounts cite a ruptured bladder - ouch.) One legend was that Creighton suffered the injury in the process of "hitting out a home run." Excelsior officials attributed the death to a cricket injury incurred in a prior cricket match.
Creighton was perhaps base ball's first superstar.
R. M. Gorman and D. Weeks, Death at the Ballpark (McFarland, 2009), pages 63-64.
Richard Bogovich, "The Martyrdom of Jim Creighton-- Excelsiors of Brooklyn vs. Unions", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 43-46
Tom Shieber, Hall of Fame curator who has studied Creighton extensively, believes the injury was an inguinal hernia which ruptured. In an article published on December 7, 1862, the New York Sunday Mercury recounts a conversation with Creighton before the Union game in which he states that he had injured himself in a recent cricket match. It is assumed that he received the hernia in the cricket match and that it ruptured during the Union game.
1862.3 US Cricket Enters Steeper Decline
[A] "The cricket season last year was a very dull one, this clubs in this locality [Brooklyn] playing but a few matches, and those of no importance." The recent delline:
[B] "For several years, cricketers had been talking of forming as association similar to that set up by the baseball fraternity. Despite several meetings, they had not done so. At the annual convention of 1862, the Clipper noted the meager attendance and proclaimed the gathering 'a mere farce.' It despaired of cricket ever becoming popular unless it was made more American in nature. The disappointing convention was the last the cricketer would hold."
[A] Brooklyn Eagle, April 25, 1862. Contributed by Bill Ryczek, December 29, 2009.
[B] William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 105. The Clipper quoted is the May 24, 1862 issue.
See also Beth Hise, "American Cricket in the 1860s: Decade of Decline or New Start?," Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 143-148.
1862.4 State Championship Base Ball Game in PA
"Base Ball Match. - A grand base ball match will take place at the St. George's Cricket Ground, near Camac's Wood, for the championship of Pennsylvania, between the 'Olympic' and 'Athletic' Clubs, on next Saturday."
The New York Sunday Mercury reported on Oct. 12 that the Olympic won, 19-18, and that it was the first of a best two-of-three match.
Philadelphia Inquirer, October 2, 1862. Accessed via subscription search May 20, 2009.
On what authority did it convey championship status?
1862.5 Brooklynites and Philadelphians Play Series of Games
Various assortments of leading players from Brooklyn and Philadelphia vied in both cities in 1862. Philadelphia sent an all-star assortment north in June, where it lost to Newark and to select nines in Brooklyn's eastern and western districts, but beat an aggregation of Hoboken players. Two select Brooklyn nines headed south and played two all-Philly sides in early July.
At the end of August, the Mutual club traveled to Philadelphia, winning 2 of 3 against Phila clubs. In October, the Eckford traveled to Philadelphia for a week of play against individual local clubs, and also played an "amalgamated nine" of locals, winning all games played.
Sources: various, including overviews at "Philadelphia vs. Brooklyn," Wilkes Spirit, July 12, 1862, and "Base Ball Match," Philadelphia Inquirer, October 22, 1862.
1862.6 Harvard Seeks Base Ball Rivals, Settles on Brown
"Base-Ball, the second in importance of [Harvard] University sports, is even younger than Rowing [which still prevailed]. It originated apparently, in the old game of rounders. Up to 1862 there were two varieties of base-ball - the New York and the Massachusetts game. In the autumn of 1862 George A. Flagg and Frank Wright organized the Base Ball Club of the Class of '66, adopting the New York rules; and in the following spring the city of Cambridge granted use of the Common for practice. A challenge was sent to several colleges: Yale replied that they had no club, but hoped soon to have one; but a game was arranged with Brown sophomores, and played at Providence [RI] June 27, 1863. The result was Harvard's first victory."
D. Hamilton Hurd, compiler, History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts (J. W. Lewis, Philadelphia, 1890), page 137. Accessed 2/18/10 via Google Books search <"flagg and frank" hurd>.
Frank Wright wrote another version in James Lovett, Old Boston Boys and the Games They Played (Riverside Press, 1907). Accessed in Google Books.
This was not Harvard's introduction to the New York game. See entry 1858.51.
Flagg and Wright reportedly had played avidly at Phillips Exeter Academy. See entry #1858c.57 above.
1862.7 "Massachusetts Balls" on Sale in Rochester NY
An advertisement in a Rochester paper offered "New York Regulation Size Ball, Massachusetts Balls, Children's Rubber and Fancy Balls, Wholesale and Retail."
Rochester[NY] Union and Advertiser, April 28, 1862. Posted to the 19CBB listserve by Priscilla Astifan on May 14, 2005.
We know that an "old-fashioned base ball" was being played in Central New York prior to the Civil War: see #1858.48 and #1860.45 above.
1862.8 Earliest Base Ball in Colorado Territory
"The first baseball games in Colorado Territory occurred in March 1862, when the Base Ball (two words back then) Club was formed. The first recorded contest happened on April 26, 1862."
Rocky Mountain News, March 13 and April 29, 1862. Cited in Brian Werner, "Baseball in Colorado Territory," in Thomas L. Altherr, Above the Fruited Plain: Baseball in the Rocky Mountain West (SABR Convention Publication, July 2003), page 71.
Werner identifies the game as the New York game.
Richard Hershberger, email of 1/19/2009, writes that on April 29 the Denver [CO] Daily Evening News reported on intramural game played by the Denver Base Ball Club, a likely reference to the games cited by Werner. He also notes that a March 12 issue of the Evening News referred to a "game played yesterday [that] went off well, considering that there were but two or three persons engaged who had ever played the game before, according to the New York rules, and it will take but a few more meetings to enable them to become proficient."
Jim Wohlenhaus, email of 2/24/2014, reports his own attempts to pin down Colorado's earliest games -- see the Supplemental Text, below. Jim's summary:
"The first recorded game was March 11, 1862 and not March 15. I do not believe the March 15 scheduled game ever was played.
"The Club was formally established on Mar 15, 1862. I am not sure if the first three games were played on April 26, or earlier. A comment in Protoball entry #1862.8 states these games were “intramural”. I would hazard a guess they were indeed, probably the first nine vs. the second nine. Since this was the only Club around, this was probably the only way to have competition. As an aside, I have found no mention of another Club until 1864 in Colorado Territory when two Clubs formed and challenged each other. Then baseball really started to take off in that year."
1862.9 First Admission Fees for Baseball?
May 15, 1862: "The Union Baseball Grounds at March Avenue and Rutledge Street in Brooklyn is opened, the first enclosed ball field to charge an admission fee."
James Charlton, The Baseball Chronology (Macmillan, 1991), page 15.
Regarding the opening of the Union Grounds, see:
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 12 and May 16, 1862; New York Clipper, Feb. 22, 1862; New York Sunday Mercury May 11 and May 18, 1862,
Caveats: Admission was charged in 1858 for the Brooklyn-New York games at the Fashion Race Course, Queens, which was enclosed but not a 'ball field'.
Before the Union Grounds, there were no ball field enclosed for the purpose of charging admission.
Admission had occasionally also been charged for "benefit" games for charities or to honor prominent players.
1862.10 PA Base Ball Moves Beyond Philadelphia
"Base Ball Match. Harrisburg, August 21. - The first match game of base ball ever play in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, cam off here yesterday, between the Mountain Club of Altoona, and the Keystone Club of Harrisburg. It resulted in a victory for the latter."
PhiladelphiaInquirer, August 22, 1862. Accessed 5/20/2009 via subscription search.
See 1860.38. Either the 1860 game in Allegheny was unknown, or not considered to have been played under National Association rules.
Harrisburg PA is in central PA, about 90 miles W of Philadelphia.
1862.11 Banned in Boston's Public Garden: "Games of Ball, Foot-ball"
"Sect. 10. No person or persons shall, without the consent of the mayor or board of aldermen, engage in games of ball, foot-ball, or other athletic sports, upon the public garden."
Ordinance and Rules and Order of the City of Boston (Mudge and Son, Boston, 1869), page 132. Accessed 2/18/10 via Google Book search ("ball, foot-ball" ordinances 1869).
A note identifies this section as having been written in 1862, along with one that prohibits shaking carpets on public lands, including streets, lanes, alleys, etc.
1862.12 Reverend Beecher: Base-Ball is Best Form of Exercise
Henry Ward Beecher
"It is well, therefore, that so many muscular games are coming into vogue. Base-ball and cricket are comparatively inexpensive, and open to all, and one can hardly conceive of better exercise."
Henry W. Beecher, Eyes and Ears (Sampson Low, London, 1862), age 191. Accessed 2/18/10 via Google Books search ("vogue baseball" beecher).
Beecher is here lauding exercise that is both vigorous and inexpensive.
1862.13 Government Survey: Athletic Games Forestall Woes of Soldiers Gambling
After examining nearly 200 regiments, the Sanitary Commission [it resembled today's Red Cross] was reported to have found that "in forty-two regiments, systematic athletic recreations (foot ball, base ball, &c) were general. In one hundred and fifty-six, there were none. Where there were none, card playing and other indoor games took their place. This invited gambling abuses, it was inferred.
"War Miscellanies. Interesting Army Statistics," Springfield [MA] Republican, January 25, 1862. Accessed via Genealogybank, 5/21/09. PBall file: CW13.
is it worth inspecting the report itself in search of further detail? It is not available online in May 2009.
1862.14 22nd MA beats 13th NY in the Massachusetts Game
"Fast Day (at home) April 3, there was no drill, and twelve of our enlisted men challenged an equal number from the Thirteenth New York, to a game of base-ball, Massachusetts game. We beat the New-Yorkers, 34 to 10."
J. L. Parker and R. G. Carter, History of the Twenty-Second Massachusetts Infantry (The Regimental Association, Boston, 1887), pages 79-80.
Fast Day in MA was traditionally associated with ballplaying. The 22nd MA, organized in Lynnfield MA (about 15 miles N of Boston), was camped at Falmouth VA in April, as was the 13th NY. The 13th was from Rochester and would likely have known the old-fashioned game. PBall file: CW-126.
1862.15 NY and MA Regiments Play Two Games Near the Civil War Front
Mr. Jewell, from the 13th NY Regiment's Company A, provided a generous [15 column-inches] account of two regulation NY-rules games played on April 15, 1862, near the Confederate lines at Yorktown VA. Sharing picket duties with members of the 22nd MA Regiment, Jewell says that "at about half-past 10 o'clock some one proposed a game of Base Ball. Sides were chosen and it commenced." [As scorer, Jewell's box scores did not mark the sides as a contest between regiments, and it may have involved mixed teams. He did note that the leadoff batter/catcher for the "Scott" side was a member of Boston's Trimountain Base Ball Club.] "It was decidedly 'cool' to play a game of Base Ball in sight of the enemy's breastworks." Between games the ball was re-covered with leather from a calf boot found on the ground. During the afternoon game, Union troops in the area were evidently sending artillery fire out toward the Rebs as they were building new fortifications in the distance. General McClelland's entourage is reported to have passed toward the front while the game was in progress. Jewell sent his account to the Rochester paper. The two games, each played to a full mine innings, were won by Scott's side, 13-9 and 14-12.
Source: Rochester Union and Advertiser, April 24, 1862, page 2, column 2. PBall file: CW16.
1862.16 13th Massachusetts Plays Ball Near Officers, Dignitaries, Enemy Lines
"In the afternoons, after battalion drill, the game of base-ball daily occupied the attention of the boys. On one of these occasions, General Hartsuff riding by, got off his horse and requested permission to catch behind the bat, informing us there was nothing he enjoyed so much. He gave it up after a few minutes and rode away, having made a very pleasant impression."
Davis also mentions a game of ball being played in April 1863 as large numbers of troops were awaiting a formal review by President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton near the Potomac River, "to the no small amusement of the lookers-on" [page 198]. In November 1863, still in Virginia, Davis reports that while awaiting an order to attack a nearby Confederate force, "Time dragged along, and no movement was made. We were all tired of the inaction and the heavy strain on the mind from hours of expectation, and so we had a game of ball to pass away the time. Occasionally the ball would be batted over the crest of the hill in front, in range of the rebel skirmishers, necessitating some one going after it. It was a risky piece of business and required quick work, but it was got every time." [page 288.]
In March 1864, the 13th played the 104th NY and won 62-20. "As opportunities for indulging our love for this pastime were not very frequent, we got a deal of pleasure out of it." [page 309.] Later that month, the regiment celebrated the escape and return the colonel of the 16th Maine with base-ball, along with chasing greased pigs and a sack race. [Page 313.]
Charles E. Davis, Jr., Three Years in the Army: The Story of the Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers (Estes and Lauriat, Boston MA, 1894), page 56. The full text was accessed on 6/1/09 on Google books via a search for "'Charles E. Davis' three". PBall file: CW20.
Also cited in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 41.
The first entry is dated May 6, 1862, when the regiment was in the vicinity of Warrenton VA. There is no further detail on the version of base ball that was played.
1862.17 Ballplaying Frequently Played at Salisbury Prison in North Carolina
Beginning in 1862, prisoners' diary accounts refer to a number of base ball games [by New York rules; Millen infers that games occurred "almost daily"] at Salisbury prison in NC. Charles Gray, a Union doctor who arrived at Salisbury in May 1862, reported ball playing "for those who like it and are able." RI soldier William Crossley in March 1863 described a "great game of baseball" between prisoners transferred from New Orleans and Tuscaloosa AL.
[A] In an unattributed and undated passage, Josephus Clarkson, a prisoner from Boston "recalled in his diary that one of the Union solders wandered over and picked up a pine branch that had dropped on the ground. Another soldier wrapped a stone in a couple of woolen socks and tied the bundle with a string. The soldiers started a baseball game of sorts, although there was much argument over whether to use Town Ball rules or play like New Yorkers. 'To put a man out by Town Ball rules you could plug him as he ran,' wrote Clarkson. 'Since many of the men were in a weakened condition, it was agreed to play the faster but less harsh New York rules, which intrigued our guards. The game of baseball had been played much in the South, but many of them [the guards] had never seen the sport devised by Mr. Cartwright. Eventually they found proper bats for us to play with and we fashioned a ball that was soft and a great bounders.'" According to Clarkson, a pitcher from Texas was banished from playing in a guards/captives game after "badly laming" several prisoners. "By and large," he said, "baseball was quite a popular pastime of troops on both sides, as a means of relaxing before and after battles."
[B] Otto Boetticher, a commercial artist before the war, was imprisoned at Salisbury for part of 1862 and drew a picture of a ball game in progress at the prison that was published in color in 1863. A fine reproduction appears in Ward and Burns.
[C] Adolphus Magnum, A visiting Confederate chaplain, noted in 1862 that "a number of the younger and less dignified [Union officers] ran like schoolboys to the playing ground and were soon joining In high glee in a game of ball."
[D] An extended account of ballplaying at Salisbury, along with the Boetticher drawing, are found in From Pastime to Passion. It draws heavily on Jim Sumner, "Baseball at Salisbury Prison Camp," Baseball History (Meckler, Westport CT, 1989). Similar but unattributed coverage is found in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), pp 43-45. PBall file: CW21.
[E] See also Giles W. Shurtleff account of prison life in the history of the Seventh Ohio, p. 324. Shurtleff had played while at Oberlin College. See also The Congregationalist, May 4, 1864.
[A] Wells Twombley, 200 Years of Sport in America (McGraw-Hill, 1976), page 71.
[B] Ward and Burns, Baseball Illustrated, at pages 10-11.
[D] Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), pp.27-31.
[E] Patricia Millen, "The POW Game-- Captive Union Soldiers Play a Baseball Game at Salisbury, NC", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 36-38
It would be desirable to locate and inspect the Josephus Clarkson diary used in Twombley [A, above.]. Clarkson, described as a ship's chandler before the war, does not yield to Google or Genealogy bank as of 6/6/2009 or 4/3/2013. John Thorn's repeated searches have also come up empty. Particularly questionable is Clarkson's very early identification of Cartwright as an originator of the NY game.
1862.18 Impact of War Lessens in NYC
[A] "BALL PLAYERS OFF TO THE WAR.-- But few of the fraternity, in comparison with the number who left in May, 1861, have gone off to the war this time in the militia regiments...All the clubs have their representatives in the several regiments...but the hegira of warlike ball-players is nothing near as great as in 1861, the necessity not being as pressing..."
[B] "Base Ball. The return of the 47th and 13th regiments has given quite an impetus to ball playing, and the vigor and energy that characterizes the ball player are again displaying themselves in the various clubs."
[C] "BASE BALL. THE BALTIC BASE BALL CLUB OF NEW YORK. It is really a pleasure to welcome the 'Old Baltics' again to the base ball field. At the commencement of the rebellion a great many of the most active and prominent members of this club, patriotically enlisted under and fought for the 'old flag;' this was the main cause of the club's temporary disbandment..."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, June 1, 1862
[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sep. 9, 1862
[C] Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, Nov. 29, 1862
In an editorial printed on Aug. 9, 1862 Fitzgerald's City Item, of Philadelphia listed arguments for continuing base ball during the war.
1862.19 The 39th Massachusetts Plays Ball
The regimental history of the 39th MA has two passing references to ballplaying. On Thanksgiving Day of 1862, "There was a release from the greater part of camp duties and the time thus secured was devoted to baseball, football and other diversions so easily devised by the American youth" [p. 50]. The regimental camp was in southern MD, within 15 miles of Washington. April 2, 1863 "was the regular New England Fast Day, and a holiday was proclaimed by the Colonel . . . . [T]here was no failure in taking part in the races, sparring-matches, and various games, of at least witnessing them. The baseball game was between the men of Sleeper's Battery and those selected from the 39th with the honors remaining with the Infantry, though the cannoneers were supposed to be particularly skillful in the throwing of balls." [page 64]. The regiment was now in Poolesville MD, about 30 miles NW of Washington.
Alfred S. Roe, The Thirty-Ninth Regiment. Massachusetts Volunteers 1862-1865 (Regimental Veteran Association, Worcester, 1914). Accessed 6/3/09 on Google Books via "'thirty-ninth' roe" search. PBall file: CW-26.
The regiment was drawn from the general Boston area.
1862.20 Wisconsin Man's Diary Included a Dozen References to Ballplaying
Private Jenkin Jones sprinkled 12 references to ballplaying in his Civil War Diary. They range from December 1862 to February 1865. Most are very brief notes, like the "played ball in the afternoon" he recorded in Memphis in February 1863 [page 34]. The more revealing entries:
· Oxford, 12/62: "The delightful weather succeeded in enticing most of the boys form their well-worn decks and cribbage boards, bringing them out in ball playing, pitching quoits,etc. Tallied for an interesting game of base ball" [pp 19/20]
· Huntsville, 3/64: "Games daily in camp, ball, etc." [p. 184]
· Huntsville, 3/64: "Played ball all of the afternoon" [p.193]
· Fort Hall, 4/64: "[Col. Raum] examined our quarters and fortifications, after which he and the other officers turned in that had a game of wicket ball." [p.203]
· Etowah Bridge, 9/64: "a championship game of base-ball was played on the flat between the non-veterans and the veterans. The non-veterans came off victorious by 11 points in 61." [p. 251]
· Chattanooga, 2/65: "The 6th Badger boys have been playing ball with our neighbors, Buckeyes, this afternoon. We beat them three games of four.
Jenkin Lloyd Jones, An Artilleryman's Diary (Wisconsin History Commission, 1914). Accessed on Google Books 6/3/09 via "'wisconsin history commission' 'No. 8'" search. PBall file: CW-28.
Jones was from Spring Green, WI, which is about 30 miles west of Madison and 110 miles west of Milwaukee WI. Jones later became a leading Unitarian minister and a pacifist.
1862.21 Michigan Colonel Plays Ball in Tennessee, Still Rebuffs Rebs
The 12th Michigan Regiment had the task in December 1862 of guarding a supply railroad in Tennessee. On December 24, a detachment under Col. Wm. Graves was surrounded by a large rebel force that approached under white flag, demanding surrender. Graves' account: "The officer asked, 'Who is in command?' I answered, 'I am;' whereupon he surveyed me from head to foot (I had been playing ball that morning, pants in boots, having a jacket without straps) . . . ." Graves refused, a two-hour fight ensued, and the rebels retreated.
J. Robertson, compiler, Michigan in the War (W. S. George, Lansing MI, 1882), page 327. Accessed 6/4/09 on Google Books via ""michigan in the war" search. PBall file: CW-29.
The regiment seems to have been drawn from the vicinity of Niles, MI, which is 10 miles north of South Bend IN and 60 miles east of Chicago.. The 1862 engagement occurred at Middleburg TN, which is at about the midpoint between Nashville and Memphis.
1862.22 Crowd of 40,000 Said to Watch Christmas Day Game on SC Coast
"In Hilton Head, South Carolina, on Christmas Day in 1862, recalled Colonel A. G. Mills in 1923, his regiment, the 165th New York Infantry, Second Duryea's Zouaves, [engaged a?] picked nine from the other New York regiments in that vicinity.' Supposedly, the game was cheered on by a congregation of 40,000!" Mills eventually served as President of the National League and chair of the Mills Commission on the origins of baseball.
Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), pp 21-22. Millen cites A. G. Mills, "The Evening World's Baseball Panorama." Mills Papers, Giamatti Center, Baseball HOF. The account also appears in A. Spalding, Americas' National Game (American Sports Publishing, 1911), pp 95.96. PBall file -- CW-30
Is this crowd estimate reasonable? Are other contemporary or reflective accounts available?
The crowd estimate is exaggerated. There weren't anywhere near 40,000 troops on the island at that time. [ba]
1862.23 Soldiers' Christmas in Virginia - Ballplaying "on Many a Hillside"
A correspondent near Fredericksburg VA told Philadelphia readers about "orders from head-quarters that Christmas day should be observed as a day or recreation. The men gladly availed themselves of this privilege, and on many a hill-side might be seen parties playing at ball, or busy at work dragging Christmas-trees to the quarters . . . ."
The article also reported that "Brown cricket jackets are now issued to the men instead of the brown blouses formerly issued. These jackets make a very comfortable garment . . . but they are very unmilitary-looking."
"Christmas in the Army," Philadelphia Inquirer, December 29, 1862. Accessed via Genealogybank, 5/21/09. PBall file CW-31.
was a PA regiment involved?
1862.24 Ball Game Photographed at Fort Pulaski, Georgia
A ball game appears in the background of photographs of the 48th New York at Fort Pulaski. The Fort, near the Georgia coast, had been taken by the North in July 1862. The National Park Services dates its image to 1862.
One shot appears in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 32, and another, apparently, at the NPS site http://www.nps.gov/fopu/historyculture/baseball.htm [accessed 6/6/09.] PBall file: CW-33.
we welcome your interpretation of these photos.
The 48th NY was from NYC, and thus likely had members familiar with the game. [ba]
1862.25 Hitting Creighton: Patience Pays
"The question will naturally be asked, how came the Unions to score so well against Creighton's pitching? and the reply is, that they waited until they got a ball to suit them, Creighton delivering, on an average, 20 or 30 balls to each striker in four of the six innings played."
New York Sunday Mercury, Aug. 2, 1862
The report goes on to disclose the secrets of Creighton's success as a pitcher. The Union of Morrisania club had defeated Creighton and the Excelsior of South Brooklyn, 12-4.
1862.57 Games Between NY and MA Regiments Punctuated by Artillery
Union General George McClellan
Members of the Massachusetts 22nd Regiment and the NY 14th squared off for two matches on April 15, 1862, in the vicinity of active fire, and "in sight of the enemy’s breastworks mounted with heavy 64’s and 32’s." A discarded boot supplied material for a new cover for the game ball. Union General McClellan passed by while play was in progress.
Additional details are provided in the supplemental text, below.
Rochester Union and Advertiser, April 24, 1862.
Undoubtedly, Game played near Yorktown, VA
1862.60 Confederate POWs play baseball in New York City
May 9, 1862: "This morning we received balls and bats from New York and have organized a regular Base Ball Club. We have been playing considerable today and I feel quite fine in consequence."
"A Confederate Yankee: The Journal of Edward William Drummond,a Confederate Soldier from Maine" (Drummond and Roger S. Durham), p. 51.
Drummond, along with his Savannah "Chatham Artillery" unit, were captured at Fort Pulaski, outside Savanna, and taken to Governors Island POW camp in New York harbor. The next month he and his comrades play baseball almost daily.
Drummond was a Maine-born bookkeeper in Savannah at the start of the war. This entry suggests that his fellow townsmen were perfectly familiar with the game of base ball.
"A Confederate Yankee: The Journal of Edward William Drummond,a Confederate Soldier from Maine" (Drummond and Roger S. Durham), p. 51.
1862.61 Confederate POWs in Indianapolis play base ball
Confederate army POWs at Camp Morton, Indianapolis, played baseball in 1862, according to a letter from a POW, and a report by a Union general. See James R. Hall, "Den of Misery. Indiana's Civil War Prison" p. 39, 71.
Camp Morton was situated on the old state fairgrounds, and was used as a baseball field postwar.
James R. Hall, "Den of Misery. Indiana's Civil War Prison" p. 39, 71.
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
1862.65 Base Ball at Fort Monroe on Christmas Eve
The Semi Weekly Wisconsin of Milwaukee, Jan. 9th, 1863 reports that on Christmas Eve at Fort Monroe "I saw the soldiers playing at base ball..."
See also New York Herald, Jan. 5, 1863, headlined "Amusements of the Army"
The Semi Weekly Wisconsin, Jan. 9th, 1863
1862.66 In camp near Rochester, New York
The Brockport (NY) Republic, Oct. 2, 1862 prints a letter from Camp Fitz John Porter, Sept. 24, 1862, from a member of the 140th NY: "The boys are playing ball, writing to friends, and some are target shooting..."
The camp was at/near Rochester, NY.
The Brockport (NY) Republic, Oct. 2, 1862
1862.67 Playing Ball near Yorktown
The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 30, 1862 prints an April 24 letter from a soldier in "camp near Yorktown" discussing the soldier's life there:
"While not on duty, they engage in almost every variety of exercise and amusement, playing ball, pitching quoits, and other athletic sports."
At this time the Army of the Potomac camped opposite the Confederate lines running south from Yorktown, VA.
The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 30, 1862
1862.68 Christmas Day on Hilton Head
"The New South" a union army newspaper, Dec. 27, 1862 reports on a Dec. 25th game at Hilton Head between the Van Brunt and Frazer base ball clubs. James L. Frazer was colonel of the 47th NY and George B. Van Brunt was then major of the 47th. The 47th was raised in NYC and Brooklyn.
A Charles Van Brunt had headed an early New Jersey team.
"The New South" Dec. 27, 1862
1862.70 Drummers defeat Fifers on Hilton Head
The Manchester Daily Mirror, Dec. 20, 1862 reports that "Base ball is the favorite amusement at Hilton Head just at present" and notes a game among the 3rd New Hampshire Infantry in which Galvin's Drum Corps nine defeated Davis' Fifers nine 30-27.
The Manchester Daily Mirror, Dec. 20, 1862
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 1862 battle of Shiloh was fought.
The Mattoon Gazette, April 17, 1862
1862.78 Baseball at Camp Cleveland
Theodore Tracie's 1874 book, "Annals of the Nineteenth Ohio Volunteer Artillery" recalls soldier life in 1862 in Camp Cleveland (bounded by West 5th, Railway, West 7th and Marquardt) in what is now Tremont. Says that among other diversions, "Baseball games were played on the parade grounds."
1862.80 Union POWs seen playing ball in Macon
Croom, "The War Outside My Window" contains the diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham of Macon. The May 6, 1862 entry (p. 133): "In the evening went downtown and saw the Yankee prisoners. Some were drilling, others cooking, some played ball."
The was a POW facility, Camp Oglethorpe, in Macon.
Croom, "The War Outside My Window" p. 133
1862.85 76th NY plays baseball--or is it drive ball?
The 1862 letters of Lester Winslow, of the 76th NY, at the National Archives, feature stationary printed with the heading "Camp Doubleday" "76th New York" and show soldiers playing a bat-ball game. On this David Block writes:
"In the foreground of the illustration two soldiers face each other with bats, one striking a ball. Since no other players are involved, the only game that seems to correlate to the image is, in fact, drive ball. If not for Abner Doubleday's association, we would pay this little heed, but it is a matter of curiosity, if not amusement, to place baseball's legendary noninventor in such close proximity to a game involving a bat and ball." David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It (U Nebraska, 2005), page 198. See entry on Drive Ball.
Camp Doubleday, named for brigade commander General Abner Doubleday, was a fort protecting DC, near where Fort Stevens is/was.
1862.86 An interesting game of base ball in Oxford, MS
Jenkins Lloyd Jones, "An Artilleryman's Civil War Diary": "Near Oxford, Friday, Dec. 19th... The delightful weather succeeded in enticing most of the boys from their well worn decks [of cards] and cribbage boards,bring them out in ball playing, pitching quoits, etc. Tallied for an interesting game of base ball."
Dec. 19, 1862, near Oxford, MS. Jones was a member of the 6th WI Battery.
Jenkins Lloyd Jones, "An Artilleryman's Civil War Diary"
Dup of 1862.20?
1862.87 Maryland Confederates Play Town Ball
"Our only game out here is Town Ball and with the rest of the Maryland Boys we sometimes get up a game."
Diary of Edward Tilghman Paca, Oct. 26, 1862 entry, in Maryland Historical Magazine, 1994, p. 459.
Maryland Historical Magazine, 1994, p. 459.
1862.94 Union Army Parolees Play baseball at Camp Douglas
The New York Sunday Mercury, Oct. 26, 1862 reports on a game of baseball at Camp Douglas, the Confederate POW camp in Chicago, on the 22nd. between two teams of Union army parolees from Companies A and F, 5th NY Artillery. The latter won 15-14, with "good pitching" shown on both sides. Se also same, Nov. 9, 1862.
Parolees were army prisoners who were at home, awaiting exchange for enemy POWs.
1862.99 First ball playing in Wyoming
The 1862 Journal of Jane Holbrook Gould, in Annals of Iowa, 3rd series v. 37, relates the experience of emigrants on the Lander Trail. Her July 20th entry, when the group was camped at the Green River crossing of the Lander Trail (near modern Big Piney, WY): "Toward night the men played ball and appeared to enjoy it very much. It seemed like old times."
Unfortunately, the Journal doesn't make clear what kind of "ball" was played.
1862.100 Mormon soldiers play ball in Wyoming
Fisher, "Utah and the Civil War" p. 52 quotes the diary of Dr. Harvey C. Hullinger, of Lot Smith's company of Utah volunteers, sent to guard the immigrant trails: "Friday, June 6, 1862... It rained this afternoon, and the men played ball."
The company was then camped at/near Independence Rock, a site on the Pioneer Trail that is today a historic site.
Is this the first baseball in Wyoming?
Fisher, "Utah and the Civil War" p. 52
1862.102 First Inter-City AA Game?
The following appeared in the Newark Daily Advertiser on September 30, 1862:
"Considerable excitement was created among the "colored" boys of this city yesterday by a base ball match between the Hamilton Club of this city and the Henson Club of Jamaica, Long Island, both composed of the descendants of Ham. The match was played on the grounds on Railroad Avenue, [near today's Penn. Station], in the presence of a goodly number of the "gentler sex," and resulted in favor of the Hensons."
Curious if anyone knows of intercity games between black clubs prior to September 1862 and any thoughts on what claim this game might have as an earliest known. [John Zinn]
Newark Daily Advertiser on September 30, 1862
Curious if anyone knows of intercity games between black clubs prior to September 1862 and any thoughts on what claim this game might have as an earliest known. [John Zinn]
1863.1 Ballplaying Peaks in the Civil War Camps
[A] "[In April 1863] the Third Corps and the Sixth Corps baseball teams met near White Oak Church, Virginia, to play for the championship of the Army of the Potomac."
[B] "Ballplaying in the Civil War Camps increased rapidly during the War, reaching a peak of 82 known games in April 1863 -- while the troops still remained in their winter camps. Base ball was by a large margin the game of choice among soldiers, but wicket, cricket, and the Massachusetts game were occasionally played. Play was much more common in the winter camps than near the battle fronts."
[C] Note: In August 2013 Civil War scholar Bruce Allardice added this context to the recollected Army-wide "championship game":
"The pitcher for the winning team was Lt. James Alexander Linen (1840-1918) of the 26th NJ, formerly of the Newark Eureka BBC. Linen later headed the bank, hence the mention in the book. In 1865 Linen organized the Wyoming BBC of Scranton, which changed its name to the Scranton BBC the next year. The 26th NJ was a Newark outfit, and a contemporary Newark newspaper says that many members of the prewar Eurekas and Adriatics of that town had joined the 26th. The 26th was in the Sixth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, stationed at/near White Oak Church near Fredericksburg, VA. April 1863, the army was in camp. The book says Linen played against Charlie Walker a former catcher of the Newark Adriatics who was now catcher for the "Third Corps" club.
"With all that being said, in my opinion the clubs that played this game weren't 'corps' clubs, but rather regimental and/or brigade clubs that by their play against other regiments/brigades claimed the Third and Sixth Corps championships.
"Steinke's "Scranton", page 44, has a line drawing and long article on Linen which mentions this game. See also the "New York Clipper" website, which has a photo of Linen."
[A] History. The First National Bank of Scranton, PA (Scranton, 1906), page 37. This is, at this time (2011), the only known reference to championship games in the warring armies.
As described in Patricia Millen, On the Battlefield, the New York Game Takes Hold, 1861-1865, Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 149-152.
[B] Larry McCray, Ballplaying in Civil War Camps.
[C] Bruce Allardice, email to Protoball of August, 2013.
[D] (((add Steinke ref and Clipper url here?)))
Note Civil War historian Bruce Allardice's caveat, above: "In my opinion the clubs that played weren't 'corps' clubs, but rather regimental or brigade clubs that by their play other regiments/brigades claimed the Third and Sixth Corps championships."
Is it possible that a collection of trophy balls, at the Hall of Fame or elsewhere, would provide more evidence of the prevalence of base ball in the Civil War?
1863.56 Have Fast Ball Will Travel
[A] THE ATHLETIC CLUB OF PHILADELPHIA.--...Pratt, the well-known pitcher of the club...has been desirous for some time past of belonging to one of our leading clubs here; and during the visit of the Athletics to New York, Pratt being offered a good situation here, accepted it, and at once had his name proposed as a member of the Atlantic Club...Of course, he will henceforth be their pitcher...His accession to the Atlantic nine will strengthen them in what they have considered their weak point...We presume that the Atlantics will not play their match with the Eckfords until they can get Pratt in their nine..."
[B] "THE ATHLETIC CLUB OF PHILADELPHIA.-- A great change has suddenly occurred in the formation of the first nine of the Athletic club of Philadelphia. Pratt, their able pitcher, resigned from the club the day of his arrival in Philadelphia, the reason he assigned being that he had been offered a good situation in New York, and had joined the Atlantic club of Brooklyn, and henceforth he was to be the pitcher of that noted club, an honor no doubt that he was exceeding ambitious of obtaining."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, July 12, 1863
[B] New York Clipper, July 18, 1863
Tom Pratt was age 19.
1863.62 The Times Calls a Spade a Spade-- Base Ball is Obliterating Cricket
...cricket has been almost obliterated by base ball, which, but ten years since, was in its infancy...The main cause of this is, that a few cricketers...play pretty much all the matches for the few Clubs that exist only in name; while Bass Ball Clubs play their matches with their bona fide members, and consequently their medium players always have a prospect before them of being chosen to play..."
New York Times, Sep. 25, 1863
1863.63 NABBP Curbs Swift Pitching, Swats Fly Rule Again
The (NABBP) meeting of December 9 (1863) adopted all recommendations made by the Rules Committee. Though the suggestion of counting wild pitches as runs was not approved, three measures were taken to curb fast, wild pitching: a back line was added to the pitcher’s position, ending the practice of taking a run-up to increase speed, as in cricket; pitchers were required to have both feet on the ground at the time of delivery; and, finally, walks...:
"Should a pitcher repeatedly fail to deliver fair balls to the striker, for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or for any other cause, the umpire after warning him, shall call one ball, and if the pitcher persists in such action, two and three balls, and when three balls have been called, the striker shall be entitled to his first base, and should any base be occupied at that time each player occupying them shall be entitled to one base.
The exception to the meeting’s unanimous acceptance of the Rules Committee’s action concerned the fly game, which, as with all previous attempts, was rejected, by a vote of 25 to 22.
Robert Tholkes, "A Permanent American Institution: The Base Ball Season of 1863", in Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, Vol.7 (2013), pp. 143-153
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Dec. 10, 1863
1863.65 Ravaged By War
The Sunday Mercury, in its summary of the (NABBP) meeting on December 13, 1863, first noted that the disappointing attendance (28 clubs, compared to 32 in 1862)...The convention’s action in dropping 29 clubs, one more than attended the meeting, from the rolls because of inactivity in 1862 and 1863 indicated the scope of the war’s impact...In addition to diminished activity in New York City, Brooklyn, Boston, and Philadelphia, the widespread formation of clubs and beginning of match play in the west and in some southern states before the war came to a halt in most locales. The contributors to Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870 (Morris et al, eds.,2012) found interclub play on a regular basis continuing in 1863 only in upstate New York and in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, including its inauguration that year at the University of Michigan. Other places, such as Baltimore, Washington, D. C., Altoona and Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, Chicago and Freeport, Illinois, St. Louis, and perhaps San Francisco) retained single clubs that relied on rare intercity visits for interclub competition. In a far greater number of locales, from Minnesota to Louisiana and from Maine to Augusta and Macon, Georgia, organized play apparently ceased.
Robert Tholkes, "A Permanent American Institution: The Base Ball Season of 1863", in Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, Vol. 7 (2013), pp. 143-153
1863.66 They didn't know the rules!
The members of the Chicago Light Artillery (Taylor's Battery) played baseball at the army's base at Young's Point, LA (across the Mississippi River from Vicksburg), in April of 1863. According to soldier Israel P. Rumsey, the soldiers broke out their balls and bats and "played Base Ball according to the rule for the first time" even though nobody could agree on exactly what the rules were! Rumsey's diary is quoted in Bjorn Skaptasan, "The Chicago Light Artillery at Vicksburg," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Autumn/Winter 2013, p. 422-462 at 438
Bjorn Skaptasan, "The Chicago Light Artillery at Vicksburg," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Autumn/Winter 2013, p. 422-462 at 438
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
1863.70 10th Vermont loves its Baseball
The Vermont Watchman, April 3, 1863, prints a letter from the 10th Vermont Infantry Regiment, camped at Conrad's Ferry, MD, stating that now the ground is drying up from winter, "base ball has come into vogue."
Conrad's Ferry is now known as White's Ferry. It's on the Potomac River.
1863.71 Ball Playing a "Favorite Amusement"
The Middletown (NY) Whig Press, April 8, 1863 prints a letter from a soldier in the "Tenth Legion" (56th NY) datelined St. Helena Island [near Port Royal], March 21, 1863: "Ball playing is a favorite amusement with them. They, however, are tired of inactivity, and long for a chance to meet the foe."
The Middletown (NY) Whig Press, April 8, 1863
1863.72 Soldiers confront idleness with ball playing
The Akron "Summit County Beacon," Sept. 10, 1863 prints a letter from "The Encampment of Camp Cuyahoga" (in Cleveland) saying that on the 25th "the day was spent in idleness and ball playing" because needed quartermaster supplies had not yet arrived.
The Akron "Summit County Beacon," Sept. 10, 1863
1863.73 CT soldiers indulging in ball playing and swimming
The Hartford Courant, Feb. 24, 1863 prints a letter about CT soldiers in Newport News, VA: "The soldiers are delighted with the position--were indulging in ball playing and swimming."
The Hartford Courant, Feb. 24, 1863
1863.74 No fear of breaking windows
The Elyria Independent Democrat, March 15, 1863 prints a letter, dated Feb. 15th, from Corporal H. J. Hart of the 8th Ohio, in camp near Falmouth VA: "While I write this Monday morning, the boys are having a game of ball nearby. We play ball near the house without fear of breaking windows."
The Elyria Independent Democrat, March 15, 1863
1863.75 Ohio soldiers play at Lexington, KY
The Summit County Beacon, March 26, 1863 prints a letter from a soldier in the 104th Ohio, datelined Lexington, March 15th: "The 19th Battery Boys have enjoyed themselves hugely this past week, playing ball. The 104th has also participated in the game and take hold of it as gayly as they were wont to do upon the old school house green in days of yore."
The Summit County Beacon, March 26, 1863
1863.76 Hawkeyes beat Suckers in Corinth, MS
The New Albany (IN) Daily Ledger April 4, 1863, reprints a letter from a soldier in Corinth, MS, dated March 29, 1863, saying that yesterday a base ball team from the 2nd Iowa defeated a team from the 52nd IL 100 to 77.
See also the Davenport (IA) Daily Gazette, April 18, 1863.
The New Albany (IN) Daily Ledger April 4, 1863
1863.77 New York Regiments play in camp near Falmouth
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 2, 1863, headlined "Base ball in camp," reports that on April 19th, the 1st Long Island Volunteers (67th NY) played the 62nd New York. See also The New York Sunday Mercury, April 26, 1863.
At this time the 2 units were part of the VI Corps, stationed near Falmouth, VA.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 2, 1863
1863.78 Base Ball relives the monotony
The Madison State Journal, June 4, 1863 prints a Wisconsin soldier's letter from Columbus, KY dated May 31, 1863: "There have been no guerrilla raids or threatened attacks to relieve the monotony of camp and garrison life: but the foot race and the game of base ball have been substituted..."
The Madison State Journal, June 4, 1863
1863.79 Thousands of soldiers playing ball
The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1863, reports on the camps of the Army of the Potomac, opposite Fredericksburg, VA: "...in camp the man are out by thousands playing ball, pitching horseshoe quoits, running foot races and indulging in other athletic sports."
The camps were near Falmouth.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1863
1863.80 New Years Day on Hilton Head
"The New South" Jan. 3, 1863 reports a game on New Years Day among Major Van Brunt's provost guard. He was major of the 47th New York.
"The New South" Jan. 3, 1863
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
1863.82 Base ball in camp part of Muscular Christianity
The Augusta Maine Gospel Banner, May 2, 1863 praises muscular Christianity in the army: "Added to their faithfulness in military duties, their occasional participation in the manly sports of base ball, foot ball, wrestling and leaping helps them in their growth to the stature of health, strength and cheerfulness."
The Augusta Maine Gospel Banner, May 2, 1863
1863.83 Bay Staters play ball in NC
The Boston Traveler, March 4, 1863 prints a letter from Camp Stevenson, NC, datelined 2-27-63: "the boys enjoy their spare time to a great extent, in base ball, foot ball and other healthy amusements; great rivalry has commenced between the companies as to their respective merits in base ball, and friendly games for the superiority are constantly taking place." The 44th and 25th MA are to play tomorrow, and "great interest is manifested by both regiments as to the result."
Camp Stevenson was at New Bern, NC.
The Boston Traveler, March 4, 1863
1863.84 1st MA versus 16th MA
The Boston Post, April 30, 1863 prints a letter from Camp Falmouth, dated April 26: "The men of the 1st Mass. and 16th Mass. having played a match game of base ball, and the 1st being worsted, the officers of the 1st Mass. challenged the officers of the 16th Mass. to play a game; the challenge was accepted; the game came off yesterday, and resulted in favor of the 16th, they winning in thirteen innings." The teams had 12 a side.
This appears to be the same set of games mentioned in John Hildreth Atkins (ed.), "1863 Civil War Diary" [of Corporal John A. Irving]: "April 22. No drill today. A base ball match between the 16th Mass. The 16th Mass. won the game."...
April 25: "No duty today. The officers played a match game of baseball."
The Boston Post, April 30, 1863
1863.85 New England rules game in camp
The Boston Traveler, June 2, 1863, prints a letter from Camp Gore, VA, March 22, 1863: "About the middle of the month, eleven men from our regiment played a match game of base ball, according to the rules of the New England Association of Base Ball Players, with eleven members of the 18th Mass. regiment." The 5 hour match was won by the 18th by "three tallies."
Camp Gore was at Falmouth.
The Boston Traveler, June 2, 1863
1863.86 Draftees Play Ball on Rikers Island
The Boston Herald, Sept. 8, 1863 notes that at the Riker's Island, NY camp for draftees, "Fishing, base-ball, quoits, and other healthful amusements, are among their daily engagements."
Riker's Island is near Manhattan.
The Boston Herald, Sept. 8, 1863
1863.87 The Colonel umpired the game
The Worcester National Aegis, March 30, 1863: "The Thirty-Fourth regiment, now encamped on Upton's Hill [outside of DC]... had a spirited and exciting game of base ball on Saturday." Putnam's nine beat Chickering's, 50-31. Colonel Lincoln umpired in this 5-hour game.
The Worcester National Aegis, March 30, 1863
1863.88 Vermont soldiers play base and foot ball
The Montpelier Green Mountain Freeman, April 20, 1863 prints a letter from the 13th VT volunteers, datelined Fairfax County, April 14: "The boys of late have been indulging in games of ball--base and foot ball having occupied their spare moments."
The Montpelier Green Mountain Freeman, April 20, 1863
1863.90 Union soldiers watch Confederates play ball
John G. B. Adams of the 19th MA recalled that in early 1863, when the regiment was stationed opposite Fredericksburg, Unions soldiers watched the Confederates playing ball games cross the river. "We would sit on the bank and watch their games, and the distance was so short we could understand every movement and would applaud good plays."
Cited in Kirsch, "Baseball in Blue and Gray," which uses Adams' history of the regiment as source. See 1863.17 for the citation of the Adams book.
Kirsch, "Baseball in Blue and Gray,"
1863.91 Confederate soldiers play ball near Fredericksburg
The Augusta Constitutionalist, Feb. 8, 1863, reprints a column by "Personne," the Charleston Courier's war correspondent, Jan. 29, 1863, under the heading "Interesting Letter from Virginia." "The amusements of the army are rational and generous. Ball playing is a common game when the weather is pleasant..."
The letter was from Lee's army, then in camp near Fredericksburg, and mentions Jenkins' SC brigade. This confirms Union reports at this time of seeing Lee's soldiers playing ball.
The Augusta Constitutionalist, Feb. 8, 1863
1863.92 Alabama soldiers play ball near Fredericksburg
The Greensboro (AL) Beacon, March 287, 1863, prints a letter from the 5th Alabama, camped near Fredericksburg, March 8, 1863: "Since coming off picket the only amusement in camp is ball playing, which serves to while away the lonely hours."
The Greensboro (AL) Beacon, March 287, 1863
1863.93 Rebel POWs at Fort McHenry
The New Haven Daily Palladium, Sept. 24, 1863 writes of "Rebel" POWs at Fort McHenry, site of the Star Spangled Banner: they "have the run of the fine parade ground, amuse themselves with ball play and other exercises."
The New Haven Daily Palladium, Sept. 24, 1863
1863.96 Union soldiers play ball in California
The San Francisco Daily Bulletin, April 27, 1863 reports on the 1st California Cavalry camp near Stockton: "We drill four times a day, and in the interim devote our time to reading, playing ball, or fishing in various sloughs."
The San Francisco Daily Bulletin, April 27, 1863
1863.99 Confederate government clerks should play ball
The Richmond Examiner, Dec. 5, 1863, castigates lazy Confederate government clerks who just lounge around eyeing the ladies: "If nothing better offers, the organization of a base ball, cricket, or quoit club, with a play ground in the square, would do [to make the clerks less lazy]."
The Richmond Examiner, Dec. 5, 1863
1863.101 Rebel POWs play town ball at Camp Butler
The diary of William W. Heartsill, Confederate soldier (published under the title "1491 Days...") says that in March 1863, while in Camp Butler POW Camp near Springfield, IL, the prisoners played "town-ball."
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
1863.103 Arkansas soldiers play "Old Fashioned Town Ball"
General Abe Buford
Willis, Arkansas Confederates, p. 406, refers to Arkansas Confederates playing town ball, citing J. P. Cannon, "Inside of Rebeldom" p. 98 [Nov. 1863 in camp at Canton, MS]: "One of the most popular schemes invented to have fun and to pass the time was a game called 'old fashioned town ball,' which is the ancestor of today's baseball. Even Gen. Buford took great interest in the game, although his 300 pounds of flesh and fat (mostly fat)... prevented any participation more than a mere spectator."
Confederate Gen. Abraham Buford was an overweight and fun-loving brigade commander.
J. P. Cannon, "Inside of Rebeldom" p. 98
1863.104 Grant's Men Play Town-Ball in the Swamps
Woodworth, "Nothing But Victory: The Army of Tennessee, 1861-1865" p. 299 writes that Grant's army , in camp at Lake Providence opposite Vicksburg, "had time to play 'town ball' in their off-duty hours."
Woodworth cites the diary of Abram J. Vanauken, Feb. 3, 7, 12, 13, 1863, at the Illinois State Historical Library.
Woodworth, "Nothing But Victory: The Army of Tennessee, 1861-1865" p. 299
1863.106 1st Delaware Plays Ball and Horseshoes
The Library of Virginia's online index to manuscripts lists the letter of Thomas D. G. Smith, March 31, 1863, which "mentions playing ball and horseshoes." The index lists the game as in Stafford County.
At this time the 1st was stationed near Falmouth, Stafford County, VA.
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"
1863.118 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
1863.120 A bully game of base ball
"Had a bully game of base ball. Received letters from home."
Livermore, "My Story of the War" p. 379, quoting from the Chicago Mercantile Battery, at the siege of Vicksburg.
Livermore, "My Story of the War" p. 379
1863.136 Gen. Grant enjoys watching ball game
The National Tribune, Aug. 29, 1895, prints a letter from C. W. Colby of the 97th Illinois, who writes that in April of 1863 his unit was detailed to guard Gen. Grant's headquarters at Milliken's Bend. "Every evening we had a game of ball on the lawn in front of headquarters, and the General would sit on the porch, enjoying the sport as much as we did."
The National Tribune, Aug. 29, 1895
1863.137 72nd NY Plays Baseball in Camp
The 1863 diary of Henry Squire, 72nd New York Infantry and includes entries from January through July. Early entries detail camp life, war news, and in particular, playing baseball and boxing, an inspection by Lincoln, and camp rumors (from March 'Gen. Lee [was] dead and [Stonewall] Jackson had been wounded'). Entries during the first part of May talk about Squire's experiences while at Libby Prison in Richmond. He was captured at Chancellorsville May 3rd and paroled May 13.
The unit was near Falmouth, VA at the time.
From Squire Diary, Civil War Diaries website.
1863.138 48th NY Infantry plays on Thanksgiving
The 48th was a Brooklyn unit, and its baseball games often made the newspapers.
The one side ran short players, so some drummer boys were "drafted" to fill out the one nine.
Brooklyn Times Union, Dec. 18, 1863
1864.35 Government Promotes Base Ball
"GOVERNMENT BALL GROUNDS.-- The game of base ball has lately received such an indorement (sic) at the hands of the U. S. government as will go far toward giving it permanency as the national game of ball in America. Not only have base ball matches been encouraged by the military authorities, at the various army stations, as a means of recreation, as a means of recreation and exercise for the soldiers, in hours of relaxation from active service...but the naval authorities have recently made arrangements by which our sailors can similarly enjoy a pleasurable sport and healthy exercise at the same time. A large space of ground, lately recovered from the swamp lands adjoining the Navy yard, has been prepared as a ball ground, and during the summer the sailors and marines on board the several vessels at the depot are to use it when off duty. ...Ball players are being made by the hundred in our army. The few members of clubs who happen to get into the different regiments that have emanated from the Metropolis have inoculated the whole service with the love of the game, and during last year, for the first time, we believe, that base ball matches took place in every State in the Union-- or out of it, as the case may be--this side of the Mississippi."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 30, 1864
1864.38 Base Ball On The Rebound
[A] "THE SEASON OF 1864...The prospects for a successful season for 1864 are more favorable than those of any season since 1861..."
[B] "THE OPENING PLAY OF THE SEASON. NOT since 1861 has there been a season that has opened more auspiciously for the welfare of the game than the present one; and the prospects are that we shall have one of the most enjoyable series of matches of any year since base ball was inaugurated as our national game of ball."
[C] 'THE JUNIOR FRATERNITY.-- Not a week passes that some new junior organization does not spring into existence..."
[D] "MATCHES FOR SEPTEMBER.-- ...We are glad to note the fact that not even in the palmy days of 1860, when every vacant lot or available space for playing ball was occupied by junior clubs, have these young players been so numerous as this season."
[E] "THE SEASON OF 1864.-- Taking into consideration the existence of civil war in the country, the ball-playing season of 1864 has been the most successful and advantageous to the interests of our national game known in the annals of baseball...We are glad also to record the fact, that among the marked features of the past season none has been more promising for the permanence of the game than the great increase of junior players and clubs."
[A] New York Clipper, April 16, 1864
[B] New York Clipper, May 14, 1864
[C] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug. 22, 1864
[D] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sep. 9, 1864
[E] New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 13, 1864
1864.40 Signals for Throwing to Base
"THE SIXTH RULE OF THE GAME...all pitchers should follow the example of the Excelsior players in 1860. The pitcher and catcher of the Excelsiors had regular signals whereby the pitcher knew when to throw to the bases. This is the only right plan to pursue in playing this point of the game."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 13, 1864
1864.41 Legal Pitching Deliveries
"Base Ball in Albany...The Mutual Club had a fine time in Utica...although the Utica nine had a pitcher who "bowled" the ball to the bat, he being a cricketer...by the way, bowling is fair, provided full pitched balls be sent in, as it is neither a jerk nor a throw, and what is neither one nor the other is fair pitching, according to the rules."
Brooklyn Daily eagle, Sept. 2, 1864
1864.42 Is THIS How Bunting Started?
"EXCELSIOR VS. ENTERPRISE.-- The "muffins" of these clubs played their return game yesterday on the Excelsior grounds...The feature of the play was the batting of Prof. Bassler of the Enterprise team...Being an original of the first water, he adopted an original theory in reference to batting, which we are obliged to confess is not of the most striking character. His idea is not a bad one though, it being to hit the ball slightly so as to have it drop near the home base, therefore necessitating the employment of considerable skill on the part of the pitcher to get at the ball, pick it up and throw it accurately to first base."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sept. 16, 1864
1864.43 Like It or Lump It, Gents
[A] "ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.-- ...If any club is dissatisfied with our reports of their games, let them personally inform us of the fact; not go to our employers to revenge any fancied injury or trying to injure us. The base ball clubs must either take our reports as we give them, in our endeavor to do impartial justice to all, or they will not have a line of notice emanating from our pen...the next time the club our correspondent refers to see their name written by us in any paper with which we are connected, it will be when they behave to us like other clubs...we do not harbor ill will towards a solitary member of the Atlantic club...but there is a principle involved...it being the right of a reporter of base ball matches to fairly criticise the actions of players..."
[B] "ATLANTIC VS. GOTHAM.-- ...Our reporter will give a full account of the proceedings, as the satisfactory explanations made to him by the Secretary of the Club on Friday, have, as far as he is concerned, entirely restored the friendly relations which had previously been interrupted."
[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 29, 1864
[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sept. 17, 1864
1864.44 Canadian Baseball Association Forms
"BASE-BALL IN CANADA. A meeting of delegates appointed to form a Base-Ball Association in Canada was held in the town of Woodstock on Monday evening, 15th August, 1864."
Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, Sept. 10, 1864
Four clubs, all in Ontario, were represented-- the Young Canadian Club (Woodstock); Maple Leaf Club (Hamilton); Barton Club (Barton); and Victoria Club (Ingersoll)
1864.45 Playing for Prizes
"ECKFORD vs. MUTUAL-- AN INTERESTING GAME. -- These clubs played their return match together on the Union ballgrounds, Brooklyn, on Monday last...considerable interest being taken in the match, from the fact that it was the last of the season in which the Mutual first-nine would be engaged, and also that the Mutuals had offered a series of prizes to their players, amounting to one hundred dollars, as an incentive to extra exertions."
New York Sunday Mercury, Oct. 16, 1864
1864.47 "Union" Games Started 1864 Season
[A] "...These practice games are simply nothing more or less than substitutes for the useless and uninteresting ordinarily played on practice days by our first-class clubs. It has been suggested, time and again...that they devote one day in a week...to practicing their men together as a whole against the field; but as yet, not a solitary club has ever practiced their best players together in this way...It is this neglect on the part of or clubs, to improve the character of the practice games on their club grounds, that has led to the arrangement of these Union Practice Games.”
[B] “THE GRAND PRIZE-MATCH IN BROOKLYN. The prize-game of the series of Union practice-games inaugurated by Mr. Chadwick, which took place on Saturday, May 21st...proved to be a complete success in every respect, and one of the best-played and most interesting games seen for several seasons past...(it) afforded those present proof of the advantage of such a class of games...”
[C] “THE SECOND PRIZE-GAME IN BROOKLYN.—...the Atlantics refused to play according to the rules of these series of games...They also seemed to regard the match as one on which their standing as a playing-club was concerned, rather than...one of a series of games designed to test the merits of the flygame.”
[D] "The Eckford was defeated by the field at the so-called prize game, and the Atlantic won the game with the field. The prize game, so far as it interferes with the rules of the Convention, should be frowned down by all clubs, as it was repudiated by the Atlantic and Enterprise clubs.”
[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 21, 1864
[B] Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, May 28, 1864
[C] New York Sunday Mercury, June 5, 1864
[D] New York Evening Express, June 13, 1864
See Supplemental Text for further newspaper coverage.
1864.48 NABBP Hobbles Pitchers
[A] “THE NEW RULES.—...’Section 5. Should the pitcher repeatedly fail to deliver to the striker fair balls, for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or for any other cause, the umpire, after warning him, shall call one ball, and if the pitcher persists in such action, two and three balls; when three balls shall have been called, the striker shall be entitled to the first base, and should any base be occupied at that time, each player occupying them shall be entitled to one base. Section 6. The pitcher’s position shall be designated by two lines, four yards in length, drawn at right angles to a line from home to second base, having their centres upon that line at two fixed iron plates, placed at points fifteen and sixteen yards distant from the home-base, and for the striker...Section 7...whenever the pitcher draws back his hand, or moves with the apparent purpose or pretention to deliver the ball, he shall so deliver it, and must have neither foot in advance of the line of his position or off the ground at the time of delivering the ball; and if he fails in either of these particulars then it shall be declared a balk.’”
—“THE NEW RULES—adopted by the last Convention, promise to work out a desirable reform. The Pitcher can no longer push a game into the dark, by the old style of baby-play, but is ‘compelled’ to deliver balls to the Striker, or else a base is given. And then again, instead of taking a wide range, in which to swing a bill and move the feet, he must keep within his circumscribed limit, and deliver a fair ball.”
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, March 27, 1864
[B] New York Evening Express, April 22, 1864
For various reasons, umpires enforced the new rules only inconsistently. See Supplemental Text.
1864.50 Dime for Admission, Two Dimes for Carriages
"THE REGULATIONS OF THE CAPITOLINE BALL GROUNDS...Rule 1st,-- The admission to the Ball ground shall be as follows: for a single person ten cents, for a carriage twenty cents, its occupants of course being charged additional."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 16, 1864
The Capitoline Grounds were just opening, and were the second closed grounds; see 1862.9 for the Union Grounds, also in Brooklyn.
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"?
1864.54 Daily Eagle Sees Base Ball Now Played Throughout US North (East of the Mississippi)
"Ball players are being made by the hundred in our army. The few members of clubs that happen to get into the different regiments that have emanated from the Metropolis have inoculated the whole service with a love of the game, and during last year, for the first time, we believe, base ball matches took place in every State in the Union-- or out of it, as the case may be-- this side of the Mississippi. Materials are now furnished to the various regiments that require them, and this by order of the Government, and this year, unless some very stirring work is done, games of ball will be played throughout the country, not only by civilians in the great cities, but by our soldiers in every camp, North, East, West, and South."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 30, 1864
In submitting this piece, Bob Tholkes writes: "In recent years the role of the Civil War in expanding baseball, once considered crucial, has suffered bombardment by several large-bore researchers. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle made the case for the influence of the war. If the crucial nature of the war's role is a myth, it is a myth reaching back to the beginning."
1864.55 Soldiers on leave play ball in Chicago
The Chicago Tribune, June 28, 1864 reports that the Turchin Base Ball Club of the 19th Illinois Infantry will play a base ball game this afternoon at the Prairie Cricket grounds, West Madison St., Chicago. "All friends of the Nineteenth, and of this healthy and invigorating game, are expected to attend."
Basil Turchin was colonel and commander of the 19th. Some members of the 19th had played for the prewar Excelsiors of Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune, June 28, 1864
1864c.56 Confederate Prisoners Play Ball in Chicago
At Camp Douglas, a prisoner of war camp in Chicago, the Confederate army prisoners played "the old-fashioned game of ball--with a ball and bats--but no base ball" (because to the prisoner, base ball meant you had to dress up in uniforms).
Copley, "A Sketch of the Battle of Franklin...." p. 172. He was taken prisoner in late 1864, thus the ballplaying he witnessed occurred in late 1864 or early 1865.
There are mentions in other books of POWs playing base ball at Camp Douglas.
For example, the Chicago Tribune, March 25, 1862 reports that the Camp Douglas POWs played " a game of ball.... giving full play to the arms, legs and lungs." Same Oct. 19, 1863, June 9, 1862, reports that the prisoners are playing base ball and quoits. Confederate Veteran, Vol. 15, p. 234 prints the recollections of T. J. Moore, 3rd TN Infantry, who was a POW at Camp Douglas: "We were allowed to play town ball." Keller, The Story of Camp Douglas" p. 114 cites POW Curtis Burke as saying "The prisoners amuse themselves out of doors ... playing ball."
Copley, "A Sketch of the Battle of Franklin...." p. 172
1864.57 Union Army Parolees Play Baseball in Camp
Cox, "Civil War Maryland" says Union army parolees played baseball in 1864 at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland.
"Parole" was a system of POW exchange whereby the soldier, after surrender, took an oath not to serve again until properly exchanged, and was then released. Union parolees went to the parole camp near Annapolis that the Federal government established, to wait (in friendly territory) until notified that they'd been exchanged for a Confederate parolee. So this is another example of Union army POWs playing baseball.
Cox, "Civil War Maryland"
1864.59 Union POWs Play Town Ball
The Savannah Republican, Dec. 2, 1864 prints an item from the Canton MS Citizen of Nov. 11, says that Union soldiers captured at Athens, AL, while on parole and en route to Memphis for exchange, "played quite spiritedly in a game of old fashioned town ball" while in Canton.
Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest had captured the Union garrison at Athens shortly before this. "Parole" is a form of captivity where the POW gives his pledge not to escape, and will await a POW exchange.
The Savannah Republican, Dec. 2, 1864
1864.60 Baseball "the favorite game of our soldiers"
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 19, 1864, under the heading "Base Ball in the Army" reported " In every army corps there are ball clubs formed, whose members take advantage of every opportunity to have a game together. Base ball has become the favorite game of our soldiers when not engaged in actual service."
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 19, 1864
The Union army consisted of approximately 20 corps at this time. At this time the Eagle constantly promoted baseball.
1864.61 Artillerists enjoying fine exercise
The Sacramento Daily Union, April 25, 1864, prints a story from the New York Herald, March 17, 1864, from the Army of the Potomac camp near Culpeper Court House: "The artillery brigade attached to the First Army Corps are enjoying fine exercise at match games of base ball. The men of Battery L, from Rochester, Captain Reynolds, played a game yesterday with the employees of the Quartermaster, Captain Crittenden." The quartermasters lost badly.
See also 1864.89.
The Sacramento Daily Union, April 25, 1864
1864.62 Louisiana Confederates play in Virginia
The Richmond Examiner, April 2, 1864 mentions "a friendly match of base ball, played between Hayes' and Stafford's Second Brigade, of the same corps, which match was won by General Hayes' brigade."
Stafford and Hays' brigades were stationed with the Army of Northern Virginia's 2nd Corps, near Orange, VA at this time. They were both LA units, and contained many prewar baseball players from the New Orleans teams. The POWs at Johnson's Island who played baseball there were often from these units.
The Richmond Examiner, April 2, 1864
1864.63 Entire Regiment Plays Sports
The Boston Traveler, March 18, 1864, prints a letter from the 1st Massachusetts, dated Brandy Station, March 15, 1864: "Camp Sports. Base ball, foot ball, and various gymnastic exercises, are in full tide of popularity and successful daily prosecution now, and the entire regiment, officers and men, turn out to engage in them."
The Boston Traveler, March 18, 1864
1864.64 Confederate POWs play baseball at Rock Island
Confederate army prisoners at the Rock Island, Illinois POW Camp, played baseball there. See Ben McAdams, Rebels at Rock Island (2000), p. 68, citing the diary of J. W. Minnich, Private 6th Louisiana Infantry.
Ben McAdams, Rebels at Rock Island (2000), p. 68
1864.65 Ball playing at Spotsylvania battlefield
The Fayetteville Observer, May 30, 1864: From Lane's (NC) Brigade, datelined Spotsylvania, May 17: "We pass our leisure moments in watching the enemy's and our skirmishers popping away at each other; while a little further off we see some of them running around apparently plying ball."
The Fayetteville Observer, May 30, 1864
1864.67 Confederate Major pitches Town Ball
The 1934 History of Worth County, Georgia, p. 501: "About the middle of March, 1864, while quite a number of he men were engaged in a game of town ball some evening, Major Rylander acting as he often did as pitcher, orders came for the battalion to report as soon as possible at Orange Court House, Virginia, for duty.... The game of ball was abandoned."
John Emory Rylander was major of the 10th GA Battalion. The unit was stationed at/near Franklin, VA (near Suffolk) at the time.
The 1934 History of Worth County, Georgia, p. 501
1864.73 Baseball near Petersburg
In late 1864, the New York Times reported the game among the fortifications and camps along the Appomattox River, “Sometimes a few enterprising minds get up a baseball match, and they are as punctilious over ‘fair’ and ‘foul’ as the most ambitious club at home.”
"The Army of the Potomac," New York Times, Oct. 30, 1864.
1864.75 12th Kansas plays ball in Fort Smith
Private Henry A. Strong writes about camp entertainment in his journal on January 14th, 1864 in Fort Smith, AR:
"Ball playing is got to be a chief amusement. Well, anything to drive away the blues when a fellow is on short rations"
Courtesy Caleb Hardwick
A Rough Introduction to This Sunny Land: The Civil War Diary of Private Henry A. Strong, Co. K, Twelfth Kansas Infantry
1864.77 196th PA plays ball in Baltimore
Morris et al., "Base Ball Pioneers," p. 255, quotes Griffith, "The Early History of Amateur Baseball" as saying in 1864 he watched soldiers of the 196th PA practice baseball in Baltimore. Among the soldiers practicing was Dick McBride, the well known pitcher. The 196th was a 100-days regiment that contained many Philadelphia area ballplayers.
Morris et al., Base Ball Pioneers," p. 255
1864.78 55th IL Plays Baseball in Alabama
"War Diary of Thaddeus H. Capron, 1861-1865", Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 12 (1919) 330-406, p. 378, March 10, 1864 entry: "We are still in camps, leading a monotonous life--Our principal pastime being games of baseball."
Capron's 55th IL was stationed near Larkinsville, AL at the time.
"War Diary of Thaddeus H. Capron, 1861-1865", Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 12 (1919) 330-406, p. 378
1864.83 176th NY Plays 9th CT in LA
The New York Sunday Mercury, March 20, 1864 reports that at Madisonville, LA the 176th NY played the 9th CT, both teams composed "exclusively of commissioned officers." The 176th won, 46-5.
1864.84 Artillerymen Play Artillerymen in VA
The New York Sunday Mercury, March 20, 1864 reports a game played on the 15th at Rappahannock Station, VA between the 5th NY Battery and the 6th Regiment, NY Heavy Artillery. The latter won 23-16.
1864.90 Union POWs play base ball in Macon POW Camp
Mattocks' "Unspoiled Heart" (a journal of the 17th Maine Infantry) p. 162 (7-6-64 entry): "Some of our officers amuse themselves hugely with cricket, base-ball, fencing, &c., ..."
Mattocks' "Unspoiled Heart" (a journal of the 17th Maine Infantry) p. 162
1864.91 DC Cavalry play in camp
"When not on duty, these men from Maine [of the 1st DC Cavalry] relaxed by playing cards, singing, drinking, wrestling, boxing, horse racing, target shooting, and baseball."
Citing contemporary sources, from March 1864 in DC. The cite is Mangrum's "Edwin M. Stanton's Special Military Units" (Thesis, U of North Texas, 1978), p. 270.
The cite is Mangrum's "Edwin M. Stanton's Special Military Units" (Thesis, U of North Texas, 1978), p. 270.
1864.92 Baseball in Culpeper Camp
The diary of Jacob Wallace Smiley, a Union sharpshooter with the 7th Company, 1st Battalion, New York Sharpshooters, in the Northern Virginia region. The majority of the entries detail his experiences in and around Culpepper from December 1863 to May 1864. He talks about camp life, drills, daily activities, letters from home, and playing baseball in camp. Smiley's last complete entry was on May 4, 1864, when the regiment moved from Culpepper toward Wilderness.
Smiley diary, at Civil War Diaries web site
1864.93 Seventh Wisconsin Infantry plays baseball in Petersburg tranches
The letters of Capt. Henry F. Young, 7th WI, include an 8-4-64 letter stating: "The men are beginning to Show their old life and animation last evening they had a game of ball."
This refers to baseball while in the Petersburg trenches. The letter appears on p. 251 with a lengthy annotation on 253n31, of the book "Dear Delia."
Smith and Larson, eds., "Dear Delia," p. 251, 253.
1864.94 Wicket Match
A match game of wicket in Waterbury Saturday between the club of that city and the East Hartford Club, resulting in the defeat of the latter.
Waterbury first inning 111
Waterbury second inning 147
East Hartford first inning 82
East Hartford second inning 43
The defeated party paid the suppers according to the agreement of the match
October 1, 1864 Connecticut Courant
1865.8 First Integrated (Adult) Club Takes the Field?
Luther B. Askin of Florence, MA (a hamlet of fewer than 1500 souls lying about 2 miles W of Northampton and about 90 miles W of Boston) is thought to be the first adult of African lineage to play on an integrated team in a standard match game. The first baseman is listed in box-scores of the first 13 matches played by the Florence Eagles Club in 1865.
Brian Turner, "America's Earliest Integrated Team?" National Pastime,Number 22 (2002), pages 81-90.
Brian Turner (email to Protoball, 2/1/2014), has supplementary data on early integrated play, and he reports that the 1865 game evidently remains the earliest known case of integrated adult play in a standard game.
Florence is recalled as one of the centers of Anti-Slavery activism in those times. The next earliest known instance of integration occurred in 1869 in Oberlin, OH, also a center of Anti-Slavery activism (see Ryczek, When Johnny Came Sliding Home, 1998, page 102). Further instances of early integration might be found in communities that held similar views.
Brian notes in 2014 that juvenile clubs were apparently less unlikely to engage in integrated play, even prior to the Civil War. The son of Frederick Douglass, for instance, is known to have played on a white junior club in Rochester NY in 1859. Luther Askin also played on such juvenile teams prior to the Civil War.
Have any earlier instances of integrated adult clubs arisen in recent years?
1865.10 New England Association Formed
[A] "...the fact is, the Massachusetts and Maine players are so far removed from New York, that they cannot conveniently participate in the meetings of the National Association, and therefore they purpose setting up a duplicate institution...They will, of course, indorse the rules of the National Association...At a meeting lately held at the rooms of the Tri-Mountain Club, the following resolutions were adopted...Resolved, That the Tri-Mountain Base ball Club us its utmost influence and endeavors to secure the formation and organization of a New England Convention of National Baseball Players."
[B] "...A preliminary meeting of Delegates from those Clubs who propose joining the New England Convention of National Base Ball Players will be held on WEDNESDAY next, Oct. 25th, at 12 M., at the Hancock House, Court square, Boston...The following named Clubs have signified their intention of taking part...Tri-Mountain, of Boston, Fly-Away of East Boston, Harvard of Cambridge, Granite of Holliston, King Phillip of East Abingdon, Dictator of Newton, Continental of Newtonville."
[C] "N. E. CONVENTION OF BASE BALL CLUBS.-- A convention of delegates from the Dictator, Eureka, Electric, Fly-Away, Granite, Harvard, King Phillip, Lightfoot, Lowell, Orient, and Tri-Mountain Base Ball Clubs, was held at the Hancock House, yesterday...the association shall be called the New England Association of National Base Ball Clubs."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, Feb. 19, 1865
[B] Boston Herald, Oct. 21, 1865
[C] Boston Herald, Nov. 9, 1865
1865.12 "Professional" Players? Yes. Playing For Money? No
[A] "THE MUTUAL CLUB AND THEIR GROUNDS. The Mutual Club...have rented the enitre ground (at the Elysian Fields)...their object being to afford equal opportunities for both the 'professional' and amateur players of the club to enjoy practice to their hearts' content."
[B] "PLAYING BASEBALL FOR MONEY.-- ...We trust never to see our national pastime brought down to the level of contests in the prize ring of pugilism. The honor of incasing the ball as the only trophy of victory in a match is sufficient without bringing pecuniary rewards into the game as incentives for extra efforts. When the time arrives for money to be made the object in playing ball, then good-bye to friendly contests and the rule of gentlemanly ball-players..."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, May 7, 1865
[B] New York Sunday Mercury, July 30, 1865
1865.13 Elysian? Yes. Sacred? No.
"The old (Elysian Field baseball) grounds have lately been greatly improved. Trees have been cut down, rocks have been taken up, hollows filled up and hills levelled, and in fact everything has been done to make the field one of the finest ball grounds in the country. Permanent seats are to be placed on the boundary line set apart for spectators, and henceforth no difficulty will be experienced in keeping the crowd from interfering with the players around the catcher's and first and third base player's positions."
New York Clipper, May 13, 1865
1865.15 Base Ball for the Haute Monde
"Base Ball. EXCELSIOR OF BROOKLYN VS. KNICKERBOCKER OF NEW YORK. The Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, which in 1860 was the model club of the United States, and which, socially speaking, has but few equals now, had a friendly game with their old competitors of the veteran Knickerbocker Club, the Nestors of base ball, yesterday, at Hoboken, and a most enjoyable meeting it was. On this interesting occasion the busy denizens of Wall street, Exchange place, &c., threw aside their speculative ideas for the time being, and ignoring oil and gold stocks seek the green turf, and with bats and balls chase dull care away in brilliant style."
New York Herald, July 8, 1865
1865.16 Boom in Base Ball Travel
"Base Ball Clubs.-- The city (Philadelphia) will be visited by a number of ball clubs during fall...the Athletics themselves will visit Baltimore, Washington, Altoona, Princeton, and Salem...The clubs who will visit this city are mainly of New York. They will include the Mutuals, Eckfords, Actives, Unions, Empires, Eagles, Gothams, Excelsiors, Knickerbockers, Eurekas, hudson Rivers, Newark of Newark, Lowell of Boston, Enterprise and Pastimes of Baltimore, Mountain Club of Altoona, Alleghany of Pittsburg, Nassau of Princeton, &c."
Philadelphia National American, reprinted in the New York Evening Post, July 17, 1865
1865.17 Mass Game Survived the Civil War
"BASE BALL. A very interesting game (Massachusetts) was played on the 17th, between the Warren Club of Roxbury and the Lightfoot Clup of Neponset, on the grounds of the latter."
Boston Herald, June 21, 1865
1865.19 The "Slide Game" Protested
"You will appreciate my motive in calling the attention of first-class players of the game of Base-Ball, to a notorious custom practiced by players of the present day...The system of which I disapprove...is, that on the field we notice the 'slide game,' or when a player in an effort to gain his base will throw himself on the ground, feet foremost, sliding for fully a distance of twenty feet. It is not only the unmanliness of such a proceeding, but the danger encountered by a basekeeper from his opponent dashing at the base, feet first, convincing you that in the attempt to 'put him out' half a dozen steel spikes may enter your hands or body, hence the necessity of abolishing such an unfair practice, benefiting only the party in play, and angering or humiliating the base players. It is almost impossible to put a player out who is determined to enforce this manner of avoiding the ball, unless you are willing to risk the severe injury of your hands. It is not only an improper play, but destroys the spirit of the game."
Anonymous reader communication in the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 24, 1865
1865.21 Fitz Credited With Originating Tournaments
“To the untiring exertions of Col. (Thomas) Fitzgerald, the worthy President of the Athletic, is due the inauguration of the ‘tournament’, which has awakened such a wide-spread interest in all parts of the country...”
Philadelphia Illustrated New Age, Nov. 1, 1865
Few and far between in prior years, festivals or tournaments mushroomed in 1865, for example:
Portland, ME—at July 4 celebration. Open to all teams in ME, considered for state championship. 4 teams entered, knockout competition. 2 games at a time in the morning, championship game in the afternoon. 9 innings. Cash prizes for 1st and 2nd. Portland Daily Evening Advertiser coverage on July 6 indicated that the only out-of-town team was subject to “expressions of strong sympathy against them.”
Altoona, PA- per a reprint in Fitzgerald's City Item (Philadelphia) on 7/22, Altoona Tribune was promoting a baseball carnival—Athletics, Mountain Club of Altoona, and Alleghany Club of Pittsburg
Wash DC- Games on 8/28 between the Nationals and Athletics, 8/29 between the Nationals and the Atlantic of Brooklyn, “a festival such has never before been offered in Washington”. Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 8/28
Wash DC- Oct. 9-11 tourney had the Excelsior of Brooklyn, the Nationals, and the Enterprise of Baltimore. Round robin, one game per day. Wilkes Spirit of the Times, 10/21
Wilkes Spirit of the Times on Oct. 21 printed a letter from Chicago describing problems encountered at a tourney in Rockford, IL. 5 teams, two days, two games each day.
1865.23 NABBP Meeting Sets Attendance Record
[A] "The ninth annual convention...proved to be most numerously attended...ever held...over ninety clubs were present."
[B] "...forty-eight clubs from New York State; fourteen from Pennsylvania; thirteen from New Jersey; four from Connecticut; four from Washington, D. C.; two from Massachusetts; and one each from Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Maine, making a grand total of 91 clubs represented..."
[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 15, 1865
[B] New York Clipper, December 23, 1865
1865.24 Change Pitchers
"Their nine [the Stars], however, needs two pitchers on it, no nine being
complete without a change pitcher."
New York Clipper, June 10, 1865
Earliest comment on need for more than one pitcher on a club. From a 19cbb post by Robert Schaefer, Nov. 9, 2003
1865.25 Three Mutuals Banned for "Heaving" Game to Eckfords for $100
"On September 27, 1865, gambler Kane McLoughlin paid $100 collectively to three [Mutual] players to heave, in the favored term of the period, a game the following day to the Eckfords. . . . in the fifth inning the Mutuals amazingly allowed eleven runs to score through [what the NYTimes described as] 'over-pitched balls, wild throws, passed balls, and failures to stop them in the field.' "
The Mutuals obtained confessions and banned catcher Bill Wamsley and two others. John Thorn cites this as base ball's first game-fixing incident.
John Thorn, Baseball in the Garden of Eden (Simon and Schuster, 2011), page 127. The book includes [pp. 128-129] the written confession of the youngest plotter, Tom Devyr, whom the Mutuals reinstated the following year.
See also Philip Dixon, "The First Fixed Game-- Eckfords vs. Mutuals", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp.46-48.
1865.26 Otis MA Bests Lee MA at Wicket, 236 - 232
Lee, August 21, 1865
"To the Editor of the Pittsfield Sun: --
"The long-talked-of match game of wicket ball between the Otis and Lee Clubs, took place on Saturday last, resulting in a victory for the former. The game was well-contests, booth sides manifesting extraordinary skill and zeal, and aside from the one-sided decisions of the Referee, nothing occurred to mar the harmony of the occasion. The following was the result:
"Lee. First Innings 78, Second Innings 80, Third Innings 74, Total 232.
"Otis. First Innings 73, Second Innings 79, Third Innings 84, Total 236.
"It appears that the Otis Club were allowed to furnish a Referee -- and they furnished one who was a resident of [nearby] Sandisfield. In the minor details, when called upon to decide a question, he was so manifestly unjust as to bring forth showers of hisses from the spectators.
"The Lee Club have again challenged the Otis Club to play a match game for $50 and the suppers. If the challenge is accepted, it is to be hoped that an impartial referee may be chosen, who will be acceptable to both Clubs."
Pittsfield Sun, August 24, 1865, page 2.
1865.27 First Organized Base Ball Game in NC?
The New York Clipper, April 29, 1865 gives the box score of a game played near Goldsboro, NC on April 5th, between the drum corps and the privates of the 102nd NY Infantry, Sherman's Army, that had recently marched into NC.
Other than play at Salisbury POW camp, this might be the first organized base ball game ever played in the state.
The New York Clipper, April 29, 1865
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
1865.29 Ballplaying at Appomattox surrender?
There's long been a story that when Robert E. Lee's Confederate army surrendered at Appomattox, April 9, 1865, the Union victors played baseball games with the Confederate POWs. According to Pat Schroeder, who works for the NPS at Appomattox, that is not true--the Union and Confederate soldiers did indeed play baseball that week, but they played in their own camps, not against each other.
1865.31 Union soldiers play baseball with Confederates
"A letter from the Army of the Potomac dated the 1st inst., says that for five hours after the truce was declared along our lines in front of the 9th Corps, thousands of our boys threw down their arms and engaged in ball playing with the rebel soldiers. The utmost good feeling prevailed..."
This "truce" appears to have been connected with the Hampton Roads Peace Conference, and probably occurred Jan. 29th, 1865.
If true, this would be perhaps the first verified instance of ball playing between the two sides, in a battlefield situation. The story was printed in many newspapers that month. However, no contemporary diary mentions this event.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Feb. 6, 1865
1865.32 133rd New York plays an amateur club
The Washington Daily National Republican, May 19, 1865 reports on a game at Fort Meigs, near DC, where the 133rd New York lost to the National Club of DC. Gives a box score.
Fort Meigs was on the eastern edge of DC, in Maryland.
The Washington Daily National Republican, May 19, 1865. The New York Sunday Mercury, May 21, 1865.
1865.34 Sherman's army plays base-ball in SC
The Madison State Journal, Feb. 28, 1865 prints a letter from a soldier in the 22nd WI, dated Feb. 1, 1865, Robertsville, SC, which claims: "For the first time in an month, large numbers of men are engaged in the sports of school-boy days--the running leap, the wrestle and the base ball."
The Madison State Journal, Feb. 28, 1865
1865.38 Ball Playing at Andersonville POW Camp
The January 5, 1865 diary entry of W. H. Smith, a prisoner of war at Andersonville POW camp, says “Capt. Wirz gives me a pass to go to hospital. Have been down there all afternoon playing ball.”
Andersonville is in western Georgia. It is about 55 miles E of Columbus GA, which is on the Alabama border. It was the site of the most notorious and deadly camp for Union POWs.