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Ballplaying on the Lines at the Siege of Vicksburg

Salience Peripheral
Tags Civil War, Military
Location Mississippi
City/State/Country: Vicksburg, MS, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Retrospective
Age of Players Adult

“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.

“’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.’”

The siege of Vicksburg MS occurred from late May to July 4 1863.  Many Iowa regiments participated.


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.

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Note: can we locate an original source for the Dryden data?

I can't find a mention of this in any online newspaper. A Carlton Dryden, Sgt. in the 10th Iowa, is the likeliest candidate for the "Sgt. Dryden" mentioned.

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External Number 136


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