Chronology:Military

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1477.1 List of Banned Games May Include Distant Ancestors of Cricket?

Tags:

Bans, Military

A Westminster statute, made to curb gambling by rowdy soldiers upon their return from battle, reportedly imposed sanctions for "playing at cloish, ragle, half-bowls, handyn and handoute, quekeborde, and if any person permits even others to play at such games in his house or yard, he is to be imprisoned for three years; as also he who plays at such game, to forfeit ten pounds to the king, and be imprisoned for two years."

Observations Upon the Statutes, Chiefly the More Ancient, from Magna Charta to the Twenty-first [Year] of James the First, etc. (Daines Barrington, London, 1766), page 335.

The author adds: "This is, perhaps, the most severe law which has ever been made in any country against gaming, and some of the forbidden sports seem to have been manly exercises, particularly the handing and handoute, which I should suppose to be a kind of cricket, as the term hands is still retained in that game [for what would later be known as innings].

An1864 writer expands further: "Half-bowls was played with pins and one-half of a sphere of wood, upon the floor of a room. It is said to be still played in Hertfordshire under the name of rolly-polly. Hand-in and hand-out was a ring-game, played by boys and girls, like kissing-ring [footnote 31]." John Harland, A Volume of Court Leet Records of the Manor of Manchester in the Sixteenth Century (Chetham Society, 1864), p 34. Accessed 1/27/10 via Google Books search ("court leet" half-bowls). "Roly-poly" and hand-in/hand-out are sometimes later described as having running/plugging features preserved in cat games and early forms of base ball. Thus, these prohibitions may or may not include games resembling baseball. Query: Can residents of Britain help us understand this ancient text?

Year
1477
Item
1477.1
Edit

1758.1 Military Unit Plays "Bat and Ball" in Northern NYS

Tags:

Military

Age of Players:

Adult

In 1758, Benjamin Glazier recorded in his diary that "Captain Garrish's company played 'bat and ball'" near Fort Ticonderoga.

Sources:

Benjamin Glazier, French and Indian War Diary of Benjamin Glazier of Ipswich,1758-1760.  Essex Institute Historical Collections, volume 86 (1950), page 65, page 68. The original diary is held at the Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem MA. 

Note: Brian Turner notes, August 2014, that: "I've had to cobble together the above citation without seeing the actual publication or the original ms.  The Hathi Trust allows me to search for page numbers of vol. 86, but not images of those pages, and when I put in "bat and ball" I get hits on p. 65 and p. 68.  P. 65 also provides hits for "Ticonderoga" and "Gerrish's," so that would be the most likely place for all the elements to be cited.  The original clue came from a website on the history of Fort Ticonderoga, but I can no longer find that website."

 

Comment:

Fort Ticonderoga is about 100 miles N of Albany NY at the southern end of Lake Champlain.  Ipswich MA is about 10 miles N of Salem MA.

Query:

Can the date of the diary entry be traced?

Year
1758
Item
1758.1
Edit

1770s.1 British Soldiers Seek Amusements, Rebels Yawn

Tags:

Military

Game:

Cricket

"the presence of large numbers of British troops quartered in the larger towns of the [eastern] seaboard brought the populace into contact with a new attitude toward play. Officers and men, when off duty, like soldiers in all ages, were inveterate seekers of amusement. The dances and balls, masques and pageants, ending in Howe's great extravaganza in Philadelphia, were but one expression of this spirit. Officers set up cricket grounds and were glad of outside competition. . [text refers to cock-fighting in Philadelphia, horseracing and fox hunts on Long Island, bear-baiting in Brooklyn].

"There is little indication, however, that the British occupation either broke down American prejudices against wasting time in frivolous amusements or promoted American participation and interest in games and sports."

Krout, John A., The Pageant of America: Annals of American Sport (Oxford U Press, 1929), page 26.

Decade
1770s
Item
1770s.1
Edit

1775.1 Soldier in CT "Played Ball All Day"

Tags:

Military

Location:

New England

"Wednesday the 6. We played ball all day"

Lyman, Simeon, "Journal of Simeon Lyman of Sharon August 10 to December 28, 1775," in "Orderly Book and Journals Kept by Connecticut Men While Taking Part in the American Revolution 1775 - 1778," Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, volume 7 (Connecticut Historical Society, 1899), p. 117. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 26. Lyman was near New London CT.

Year
1775
Item
1775.1
Edit

1775.2 Soldier in MA Played Ball

Tags:

Military

Thomas Altherr writes in 2008: "Ephriam [Ephraim? - TA] Tripp, a soldier at Dorchester in 1775, also left a record, albeit brief, of ball playing: 'Camping and played bowl,' he wrote on May 30. 'Bowl' for Tripp meant ball, because elsewhere he referred to cannonballs as 'cannon bowls.' On June 24 he penned: 'We went to git our meney that we shud yak when we past muster com home and played bawl.'" Note: Dorchester MA, presumably? Is it clear whether Tripp was a British soldier? May 1775 was some months before an American army formed.

E. Tripp, "His book of a journal of the times in the year 1775 from the 19th day," Sterling Memorial Library Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University: "Diaries (Miscellaneous) Collection, Group 18, Box 16, Folder 267. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 39.

Year
1775
Item
1775.2
Edit

1776.2 NJ Officer Plays Ball Throughout His Military Service

Tags:

Military

Location:

New Jersey

Elmer, Ebenezer, "Journal of Lieutenant Ebenezer Elmer, of the Third Regiment of New Jersey Troops in the Continental Service," Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society [1848], volume 1, number 1, pp. 26, 27, 30, and 31, and volume 3, number 2, pp.98. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 29.

Year
1776
Item
1776.2
Edit

1776c.3 Revolutionary War Officer Plays Cricket, Picks Blueberries

Tags:

Military

Game:

Cricket

"The days would follow without incident, one day after another. An officer with a company of Pennsylvania riflemen [in Washington's army] wrote of nothing to do but pick blueberries and play cricket." David McCullough, 1776 (Simon and Schuster, 2005), page 40. McCullough does not give a source for this item. Provided by Priscilla Astifan, 19CBB posting of 8/5/2008 and email of 11/16/2008. McCullough notes that the majority of the army comprised farmers and skilled artisan [ibid, page 34].

Circa
1776
Item
1776c.3
Edit

1778.2 Teamster Sees Soldiers Play Ball.

Tags:

Military

Year
1778
Item
1778.2
Edit

1778.3 MA Sergeant Found Some Time and "Plaid Ball"

Tags:

Military

Location:

New England

Symmes, Rebecca D., ed., A Citizen Soldier in the American Revolution: The Diary of Benjamin Gilbert of Massachusetts and New York [New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, 1980], pp. 30 and 49; and "Benjamin Gilbert Diaries 1782 - 1786," G372, NYS Historical Association Library, Cooperstown. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 30.

Year
1778
Item
1778.3
Edit

1778.4 Ewing Reports Playing "At Base" and Wicket at Valley Forge - with the Father of his Country

Tags:

Famous, Military

Game:

Wicket, Base

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] George Ewing, a Revolutionary War soldier, tells of playing a game of "Base" at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: "Exercisd in the afternoon in the intervals playd at base."

Ewing also wrote: "[May 2d] in the afternoon playd a game at Wicket with a number of Gent of the Arty . . . ." And later . . .  "This day [May 4, 1778] His Excellency dined with G Nox and after dinner did us the honor to play at Wicket with us."

 

[B]

"Q. What did soldiers do for recreation?

"A: During the winter months the soldiers were mostly concerned with their survival, so recreation was probably not on their minds. As spring came, activities other than drills and marches took place. "Games" would have included a game of bowls played with cannon balls and called "Long Bullets." "Base" was also a game - the ancestor of baseball, so you can imagine how it might be played; and cricket/wicket. George Washington himself was said to have took up the bat in a game of wicket in early May after a dinner with General Knox! . . . Other games included cards and dice . . . gambling in general, although that was frowned upon."

Valley Forge is about 20 miles NE of Philadelphia.

 

 

Sources:

[A] Ewing, G., The Military Journal of George Ewing (1754-1824), A Soldier of Valley Forge [Private Printing, Yonkers, 1928], pp 35 ["base"] and 47 [wicket]. Also found at John C. Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. Volume: 11. [U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1931]. page 348.  The text of Ewing's diary is unavailable at Google Books as of 11/17/2008.

[B] From the website of Historic Valley Forge;

see http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/youasked/067.htm, accessed 10/25/02. Note: it is possible that the source of this material is the Ewing entry above, but we're hoping for more details from the Rangers at Valley Forge. In 2013, we're still hoping, but not as avidly.

Comment:

Caveat: It is unknown whether this was a ball game, rather than prisoner's base, a form of tag played by two teams, and resembling the game "Capture the Flag."

Note:  "Long Bullets" evidently involved a competition to throw a ball down a road, seeing who could send the ball furthest along with a given number of throws.  Another reference to long bullets is found at http://protoball.org/1830s.20.

 

 

Query:

Is Ewing's diary available now?

Year
1778
Item
1778.4
Edit

1779.2 Lieutenant Reports Playing Ball, and Playing Bandy Wicket

Tags:

Military

Location:

New Jersey

Game:

Wicket

"Samuel Shute, a New Jersey Lieutenant, jotted down his reference to playing ball in central Pennsylvania sometime between July 9 and July 22, 1779; 'until the 22nd, the time was spent playing shinny and ball' Incidentally, Shute distinguished among various sports, referring elsewhere in his journal to 'Bandy Wicket.' He did not confuse baseball with types of field hockey [bandy] and cricket [wicket] that the soldiers also played." Thomas Altherr. Note: Gomme says that "bandy wicket" was a name for cricket in England. [XXX add cite here]

[Shute, Samuel], "Journal of Lt. Samuel Shute," in Frederick Cook, ed., Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan against the Six Nations of Indians in 1779 [Books for Libraries Press, Freeport NY, reprint of the 1885 edition], p. 268. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 28.

Year
1779
Item
1779.2
Edit

1779.3 Revolutionary War Soldier H. Dearborn Reports Playing Ball in PA

Tags:

Military

Brown, Lloyd, and H. Peckham, eds., Revolutionary War Journals of Henry Dearborn 1775 - 1783 Books for Libraries Press, Freeport NY, 1969 (original edition 1939), pp 149 - 150. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 1.

Year
1779
Item
1779.3
Edit

1781.1 Teen Makes White Leather Balls for Officers' Ball-Playing

Tags:

Military

Hanna, John S., ed., A History of the Life and Services of Captain Samuel Dewees, A Native of Pennsylvania, and Soldier of the Revolutionary and Last Wars [Robert Neilson, Baltimore, 1844], p. 265- 266. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref #37.

Year
1781
Item
1781.1
Edit

1803.3 Cricket Reaches Australia

Tags:

Military

"The first mention of cricket in Australia is in the Sydney Gazette of 8 January 1804. 'The late intense weather has been very favourable to the amateurs of cricket who have scarce lost a day for the last month.'"

Egan, Jack, The Story of Cricket in Australia (ABC Books, 1987), page 6. It is believed that the players included officers and/or men from the Calcutta, which arrived in Sydney in December 1803. (Ibid., page 10.)

Year
1803
Item
1803.3
Edit

1812.2 Soldier Van Smoot's Diary Notes Playing Catch at New Orleans LA

Tags:

Military

Location:

US South

Peter Van Smoot, an Army private present at the Battle of New Orleans, writes in his diary: "I found a soft ball in my knapsack, that I forgot I had put there and started playing catch with it."

Note: Citation needed. John Thorn, 6/15/04: "I don't recognize this one"

Year
1812
Item
1812.2
Edit

1813.2 War of 1812 General in OH Said to Play Ball with "Lowest" Soldiers

Tags:

Military

General Robert Crooks was in Ohio during the War of 1812 to deal with Indian uprisings. One published letter-writer was not impressed: "These troops despise every species of military discipline and all the maxims of propriety and common sense . . . . Gen. Crooks would frequently play ball and wrestle with the lowest description of common soldiers, his troops were never seen on parade . . . "

"Extract of a Letter dated Marietta, Feb. 3, 1813," Washingtonian, May 5, 1813. Accessed via subscription search, 4/9/2009.

Year
1813
Item
1813.2
Edit

1815c.1 US Prisoners in Ontario at End of War of 1812 Play Ball

Tags:

Military

Location:

Canada

Fairchild, G. M., ed., Journal of an American at Fort Malden and Quebec in the War of 1812 (private printing, Quebec, 1090 (sic; 1900?), no pagination. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 87.)

Circa
1815
Item
1815c.1
Edit

1815c.2 US Prisoners in England Play Ball - at Some Peril, It Turned Out

Tags:

Military

  1. [Waterhouse, Benjamin], A Journal of a Young Man of Massachusetts, Late a Surgeon on Board an American Privateer, Who Was Captured at Sea by the British in May, Eighteen Hundred and Thirteen, and Was Confined First, at Melville Island, Halifax, then at Chatham, on England, and Last, at Dartmoor Prison (Rowe and Hooper, Boston, 1816), p. 186. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 88.
  2. "Journal of Nathaniel Pierce of Newburyport [MA], Kept at Dartmoor Prison, 1814 - 1815," Historical Collections of Essex Institute, volume 73, number 1 [January 1937], p. 40. Per Altherr ref # 89.
  3. [Andrews, Charles] The Prisoner's Memoirs, or Dartmoor Prison (private printing, NYC, 1852), p.110. Per Altherr ref # 90.
  4. [Valpey, Joseph], Journal of Joseph Valpey, Jr. of Salem, November 1813- April 1815 (Michigan Society of Colonial Wars, Detroit, 1922), p. 60.

A ball game reportedly led to the killing of nine US prisoners in April 1815: "On the 6th of April, 1815, as a small party were amusing themselves at a game of ball, some one of the number striking it with too much violence, it flew over the wall fronting the prison and the sentinels on the other side of the same were requested to heave the ball back, but refused; on which the party threatened to break through to regain their ball, and immediately put their threats into execution; a hole was made in the wall sufficiently large for a man to pass thro' - but no one attempted it." 500 British soldiers appeared, and the prisoners were fired upon en masse.

"Massacre of the 6th of April," American Watchman, June 24, 1815. Accessed via subscription search 2/14/2009.

Circa
1815
Item
1815c.2
Edit

1818.3 "Baseball" at West Point NY?

Tags:

Military, College

Game:

Base Ball

"Although playing ball games near the barracks was prohibited, cadets could play 'at football' near Fort Clinton or north of the large boulder neat the site of the present Library. [Benjamin] Latrobe makes curious mention of a game call 'baseball' played in this area. Unfortunately, he did not describe the game. Could it be that cadets in the 1818-1822 period played the game that Abner Doubleday may have modified later to become the present sport?"

Pappas, George S., To The Point: The United States Military Academy 1802 - 1902 [Praeger, Westport Connecticut, 1993], page 145. Note: Pappas evidently does not give a source for the Latrobe statement. I assume that the 1818-1822 dates correspond to Latrobe's time at West Point.

Year
1818
Item
1818.3
Edit

1830.14 Australia's First Recorded Cricket Match Played

Tags:

Military

The Sydney Gazette [date not supplied] reported on a match between a military club and the Australia Cricket Club, comprising native-born members. They played at "the Racecourse" at Sydney's Hyde Park, attracted as many as 200 spectators, and set stakes of £20 per side.

Egan, Jack, The Story of Cricket in Australia (ABC Books, 1987), page 12.

Year
1830
Item
1830.14
Edit

1842.4 Duke of Wellington Requires Cricket Ground for Every Military Barrack.

Tags:

Military, Famous

Wisden's history of cricket [1966]. Note: Way cool, but not very American.

Year
1842
Item
1842.4
Edit

1847.2 Soldier Sees January Ball Games at Camp at Saltillo

Tags:

Military

Adolph Engelmann, an Illinois volunteer in the Mexican War, January 30, 1847: "During the past week we had much horse racing and the drill ground was fairly often in use for ball games."

"The Second Illinois in the Mexican War: Mexican War Letters of Adolph Engelmann, 1846-1846," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol. 26, number 4 [January 1934], page 435. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. César González adds that Saltillo is in the northeastern part of Mexico, and that the soldier may have been preparing for the battle of Buena Vista that occurred a few weeks later; email of 12/6/2007.

Year
1847
Item
1847.2
Edit

1847.7 Occupation Army Takes Ballgame to Natives In . . . Santa Barbara?

Tags:

Military

Location:

California

The New York Volunteer Regiment reached California in April 1847 after the end of the Mexican War, and helped to occupy the province. They laid out a diamond [where State and Cota Streets now meet], made a ball from gutta percha, and used a mesquite stick as a bat. Partly because batted balls found their way into the windowless nearby adobes, there were some problems. "Largely because of the baseball games, the Spanish-speaking people of Santa Barbara came to look upon the New Yorkers as loudmouthed, uncouth hoodlums. . . . the hostilities between Californians and Americanos continued to fester for generations."

Walter A. Tompkins, "Baseball Began Here in 1847," It Happened in Old Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara National Bank, undated), pages 77-78. 

Warning:

Caveat: Angus McFarland has not been able to verify this account as of November 2008.

Comment:

Note -- Actually, an earlier account of California ballplaying was recorded a month before this, in San Diego.  See 1847.15

Query:

Is there any indication of what Tompkins' source might have been?

Year
1847
Item
1847.7
Edit

1847.15 Soldiers Play Ball During Western Trip

Tags:

Military

Age of Players:

Adult

"Saturday March the 6th. We drilled as before and through the day we play ball and amuse ourselves the best way we can. It is very cool weather and clothing scarce."

Bill Swank adds:  "Private Azariah Smith (age 18 years) was a member of the Mormon Battalion (United States Army) that marched almost 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa To San Diego, California during the Mexican War.  Hostilities had ended shortly before their arrival in San Diego.  On March 6, 1847, his Company B was in bivouac at Mission San Luis Rey (Oceanside, CA) when Smith made his journal entry.

"During the summer of 1847, Smith was mustered out of the army and traveled north to Coloma, CA.  Remarkably, he was also present when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill, as noted in his diary on January 24, 1848." 

Sources:

Smith, Azariah, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith [Utah State University, Logan UT, 1996], page 78. Submitted by John Thorn, 10/12/2004.

Email from Bill Swank, March 6, 2013

Comment:

This game was presumably a pre-modern form of ballplaying.

Year
1847
Item
1847.15
Edit

1851.5 Robert E. Lee Promotes Cricket at West Point?

Tags:

College, Famous, Military

Game:

Cricket

Age of Players:

Youth

Notables:

Robert E. Lee

A twenty-one year old cricket enthusiast visited West Point from England, and remarked on "the beautiful green sward they had and just the place to play cricket. . . . The cadets played no games at all. . . . It was the first time that I had a glimpse of Colonel Robert E. Lee [who was to become Superintendent of West Point]. He was a splendid fellow, most gentlemanly and a soldier every inch. . . .

"Colonel Lee said he would be greatly obliged to me if I would teach the officers how to play cricket, so we went to the library. . . .Lieutenant Alexander asked for the cricket things. He said, 'Can you tell me, Sir, where the instruments and apparatus are for playing cricket?' The librarian know nothing about them and so our project came to an end."

Sources:

"The Boyhood of Rev. Samuel Robert Calthrop." Compiled by His Daughter, Edith Calthrop Bump. No date given. Accessed 10/31/2008 at http://www-distance.syr.edu/SamCalthropBoyhoodStory.html.

Warning:

Robert E. Lee is reported to have become Superintendent of West Point in September 1852; and had been stationed in Baltimore until then; can Calthrop's date be reconciled?

Year
1851
Item
1851.5
Edit

1860.48 "Veterans of 1812" Play OFBB . . . Annually?

Tags:

Military

Age of Players:

Adult

One of the earliest instances of an apparent "throwback" game occurred in August 1860, when a newspaper reported that the "Veterans of 1812" held their "annual Ball play" in the village of Seneca Falls NY, east of Geneva and southeast of Rochester NY.

[A] The "old warriors," after a morning of parading through local streets, marched to a field where "the byes were quickly staked out," sides were chosen, and the local vets "were the winners of the game by two tallies."

[B] "...[they] seemed to be inspired with renewed energy by the memory of youthful days and the spirit (?) of boyhood, and displayed a degree of skill and activity in the noble game of base ball that showed they had once been superior players..."

 

Sources:

[A] Seneca Falls Reveille, August 18, 1860, reported by Priscilla Astifan.

[B] New York Sunday Mercury, August 19, 1860, reported by Gregory Christiano.

Comment:

We would presume that this was not modern base ball.  It seems plausible that the vets had played ball together during their war service, and that this game was played in remembrance of good times past.

 

Query:

Further insight is welcome from readers.

Year
1860
Item
1860.48
Edit

1862.13 Government Survey: Athletic Games Forestall Woes of Soldiers Gambling

Tags:

Civil War, Military

Age of Players:

Adult

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.

 

Sources:

"War Miscellanies. Interesting Army Statistics," Springfield [MA] Republican, January 25, 1862. Accessed via Genealogybank, 5/21/09. PBall file: CW13.

Query:

is it worth inspecting the report itself in search of further detail? It is not available online in May 2009. 

Year
1862
Item
1862.13
Edit

1862.14 22nd MA beats 13th NY in the Massachusetts Game

Tags:

Civil War, Holidays, Military

Location:

New England

"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."

 

Sources:

J. L. Parker and R. G. Carter, History of the Twenty-Second Massachusetts Infantry (The Regimental Association, Boston, 1887), pages 79-80. 

Comment:

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.

Year
1862
Item
1862.14
Edit

1862.15 NY and MA Regiments Play Two Games Near the Civil War Front

Tags:

Civil War, Military

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

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.

 

Sources:

Source: Rochester Union and Advertiser, April 24, 1862, page 2, column 2. PBall file: CW16.

Year
1862
Item
1862.15
Edit

1862.16 13th Massachusetts Plays Ball Near Officers, Dignitaries, Enemy Lines

Tags:

Civil War, Military

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"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.] 

Sources:

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.  

Comment:

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. 

 

Year
1862
Item
1862.16
Edit

1862.17 Ballplaying Frequently Played at Salisbury Prison in North Carolina

Tags:

Civil War, Military

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

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.

Sources:

[A] Wells Twombley, 200 Years of Sport in America (McGraw-Hill, 1976), page 71.

[B] Ward and Burns, Baseball Illustrated, at pages 10-11.

[C] Magnum.

[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

 

 

 

 

Warning:

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.

Year
1862
Item
1862.17
Edit

1862.19 The 39th Massachusetts Plays Ball

Tags:

Civil War, Holidays, Military

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

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.

 

Sources:

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.

Comment:

The regiment was drawn from the general Boston area.

Year
1862
Item
1862.19
Edit

1862.20 Wisconsin Man's Diary Included a Dozen References to Ballplaying

Tags:

Civil War, Military

Location:

Wisconsin

Game:

Wicket

Age of Players:

Adult

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.

 

Sources:

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.

Comment:

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. 

Year
1862
Item
1862.20
Edit

1862.21 Michigan Colonel Plays Ball in Tennessee, Still Rebuffs Rebs

Tags:

Civil War, Military

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

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.

 

Sources:

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.

Comment:

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. 

Year
1862
Item
1862.21
Edit

1862.22 Crowd of 40,000 Said to Watch Christmas Day Game on SC Coast

Tags:

Civil War, Holidays, Military

Game:

Base Ball

"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.

 

Sources:

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

Query:

Is this crowd estimate reasonable? Are other contemporary or reflective accounts available?

Year
1862
Item
1862.22
Edit

1862.24 Ball Game Photographed at Fort Pulaski, Georgia

Tags:

Civil War, Military

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

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.</div>

Sources: 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.</p>
Comment: we welcome your interpretation of these photos.

</div>

Year
1862
Item
1862.24
Edit

</div>

</div>

1862.57 Games Between NY and MA Regiments Punctuated by Artillery

Tags: <p>Civil War, Famous, Military</p>
Game: <p>Base Ball</p>
Age of Players: <p>Adult</p>
Notables: <p>Union General George McClelland</p>
<p>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 McClelland passed by while play was in progress.</p> <p>Additional details are provided in the supplemental text, below.
</p>
Sources: <p>Rochester Union and Advertiser, April 24, 1862.</p>
Query: <p> </p> <p> </p>
Year
1862
Item
1862.57
Edit
Source Text

1863.1 Ballplaying Peaks in the Civil War Camps

Tags: <p>Civil War, Military</p>
Location: <p>VA</p>
Age of Players: <p>Adult</p>
<p>[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."</p>

<p>[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."</p> <p>[C] Note: In August 2013 Civil War scholar Bruce Allardice added this context to the recollected Army-wide "championship game":</p> <p>"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.</p> <p>"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.</p>

<p>"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."</p>
Sources: <p>[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.</p>

<p>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.</p> <p>[B] Larry McCray, Ballplaying in Civil War Camps.</p> <p>[C]  Bruce Allardice, email to Protoball of August, 2013.</p> <p>[D] (((add Steinke ref and Clipper url here?)))</p> <p> </p>

<p> </p>
Warning: <p>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."</p>
Query: <p>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?</p>
Year
1863
Item
1863.1
Edit

1863.58 Ballplaying on the Lines at the Siege of Vicksburg

Tags: <p>Civil War, Military</p>
Game: <p>Base Ball</p>
Age of Players: <p>Adult</p>
<p>“The civil war, however, arrested the development of the new game [base ball] for a time. It was played during the war in camps all over the south. Regiments and companies having their teams. Sergeant Dryden, of an Iowa regiment, relates that during the long waits in the trenches before Vicksburg, the Union and Confederate soldiers jokingly challenged each other to play baseball, and that during the brief truces the men of his company and the enemy played catch from line to line.</p>

<p>“’We were throwing and catching the ball belonging to our company ne day,’ he relates, ‘when firing commenced afresh and the men dived into their holes. There was a big fellow named Holleran who, after we got to cover, wanted to go over and whip the ‘Johnny Reb’ who hd stolen our ball. The next morning during a lull in the firing, that ‘Reb’ yelled to us and in a minute the baseball came flying over the works, so we played a game on our next relief.’”</p>

<p>The siege of Vicksburg MS occurred from late May to July 4 1863.  Many Iowa regiments participated.</p>
Sources: <p>J. Evers and H. Fullerton, Touching Second: The Science of Baseball (Reilly and Britton, Chicago, 1910), pages 21-22. Accessed 6/28 on Google Books via “touching second” search. This book provides no source for the Dryden passage.</p>
Differences from Modern Baseball: 136
Query: <p>Note: can we locate an original source for the Dryden data?</p>
Year
1863
Item
1863.58
External
136
Edit

1863.67 Excelsior Club Expels Turncoat Surgeon

Tags: <p>Civil War, Military</p>
Game: <p>Base Ball</p>
Age of Players: <p>Adult</p>
<p>"A Base Ball Player Turned Rebel – The Excelsior Base Ball Club of Brooklyn recently expelled one of its members, A.T. Pearsall, for deserting the flag of the Union, and going over to the rebels. He was a physician, and doing a good business. During the past winter he left, and no one knew where he had gone. Some time since he was heard from in Richmond, Va., as a Brigade Surgeon, on the rebel General Morgan’s staff. He had charge of some Union prisoners, taking them along the streets of Richmond, when he recognized a gentleman of Brooklyn, formerly a member of the Excelsior Club, and entered into conversation.  He asked particularly about Leggett, Flanley, Creighton, and Brainerd, whom, as members of the Club, he wished particularly to be remembered to. These facts came to the knowledge of the Club, and they expelled him by a unanimous vote."</p>
Sources: <p>New York Clipper, July 4, 1863.</p>
Year
1863
Item
1863.67
Edit

1863.68 24th Wisconsin Plays Baseball

Tags: <p>Civil War, Military</p>
Game: <p>Base Ball</p>
Age of Players: <p>Adult</p>
<p>"Nothing of importance has 
transpired in the Twenty-fourth since I wrote you last, except the 
regular routine of camp life. The Regiment went to Selma, a little town 
about five miles from camp, on a light trip. They parted on the 4th and 
came back the 13th. The Brigade was thrown out as a picket. The boys 
amused themselves while there in making briar-root pipes, gobbling up 
sheep, calves, porkers, etc., and playing base ball, which afforded 
them a good deal of fun. "</p>
Sources: <p>Milwaukee Sentinel, Feb. 26, 1863, per 19cbb post by Dennis Pajot, Dec. 21, 2009</p>
Year
1863
Item
1863.68
Edit

1864.35 Government Promotes Base Ball

Tags: <p>Ball in the Culture, Civil War, Military</p>
Location: <p>US</p>
Game: <p>Base Ball</p>
Age of Players: <p>Adult</p>
<p>"GOVERNMENT BALL GROUNDS.-- The game of base ball has lately received such an endorement (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 pleasureable sport and healthy exercise at the same time...Ball players are being made by the hundred i 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."</p>
Sources: <p>Brooklyn Daily Eagle,  March 30, 1864</p>
Year
1864
Item
1864.35
Edit

1864c.52 Former Mass-Game Champs Form Winning Wartime Team

Tags: <p>Championship Games, Civil War, Military</p>
Age of Players: <p>Adult</p>
<p> </p>

<p>"A much more pleasing picture is the recreation enjoyed by the boys of the 33rd [MA] Regiment.  There were thirteen Sharon boys in the regiment and most of them had been members of the Sharon Massapoags, the state baseball champions of 1857. . . .</p>

<p>"They formed a nine of their own and soon defeated every team in the regiment.  The New York boys of the 136th regiment next fell before them.  At Atlanta their contest with a nine from the whole Cumberland army was crowned with success.   Though unfortunately, but quite naturally the victors became insufferably conceited."</p>
Sources: <p>Amy Morgan Rafter Pratt, The History of Sharon, Massachusetts to 1865 (Boston U masters thesis, 1935), page 74.  Search string: <morgan rafter pratt>.</p>
Circa
1864
Item
1864c.52
Edit


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