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Ohio Soldier Sees “Most of Our Company “ Playing Pre-battle Bat Ball

Salience Peripheral
Tags Civil War, Military
Location VA
Age of Players Adult

“The report of musketry is heard but a very little distance from us . . . yet on the other side of the road is most of our company, playing Bat Ball and perhaps in less than half an hour, they may be called to play a Ball game of a more serious nature.”

Attributed to “an Ohio private” who wrote home from Virginia in 1862, in Ward and Burns, Baseball: An Illustrated History (Knopf, 1994), page 13. No source is given. Note: can we find the original source and fill in some detail? Note: the private’s use of the term “bat ball” is unusual. “Bat ball” is found in much earlier times [it was banned in both Pittsfield and Northampton MA in 1791]. In this case, since the private is an observer, not a player, it may be that he is using an incorrect label for the game he observes in 1862. Still, it may possibly imply that the term “bat ball” was current in Ohio in the pre-war years (in the private’s youth?), if not later.

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External Number 32


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