In Salisbury in 1862

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Awaiting Review
Date of Game 1862
Location Salisbury, NC, United States
Field  Add Field Page POW Camp
NY Rules Likely

Baseball games were played in 1863, and perhaps 1862, at the Salisbury POW camp. See “Base Ball,” Spring 2011, page 152.

Salisbury NC is about 40 miles NE of Charlotte NC.

From's collection of Civil War ballplaying, item 1862.33:

"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.

"In an unattributed and undated passage in Wells Twombley’s 200 Years of Sport in America (McGraw-Hill, 1976), page 71, 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.”

"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, Baseball Illustrated, at pages 10-11.

"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.'

"An extended account of ballplaying at Salisbury, along with the Boetticher drawing, are found in Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), pp.27-31. She 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. Note: It would be interesting to locate and inspect the Josephus Clarkson diary used in Twombley. Clarkson, described as a ship’s chandler before the war, does not yield to Google or Genealogy bank as of 6/6/09. Particularly interesting is Clarkson’s very early identification of Cartwright as an originator of the NY game."



“Base Ball,” Spring 2011, page 152.

Item 1862.33 at

Found by Bruce Allardice
First in Location NC
Players Locality Non-local
Entry Origin Sabrpedia



846 days ago
Score 0
The Chicago Daily Inter Ocean, July 23, 1865 carries an article by a Union POW saying a "match game of base ball" was played at Salisbury Prison July 4, 1862.

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