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Union Prisoners in Texas Given a Ball Ground – For a While

Salience Peripheral
Tags Civil War, Military
Location Texas
City/State/Country: TX, United States
Immediacy of Report Retrospective
Age of Players Adult

“[A] new person being put in command of the inside [of the Texas prison] about the 1st of October [1864], made suggestions which the commandant allowed him to carry out, and relieved us ever afterward. He gave us a fine ball ground which was well occupied and proved a blessing.”

Major J. M. McCulloch, 77th Illinois, as quoted in Washington Davis, Camp-Fire Chats of the Civil War (Lewis Publishing, Chicago, 1888), page 70. Accessed on Google Books 6/21/09 via “’camp-fire chats’ davis” search. McCulloch does not elaborate on the nature of games played. He had been captured with troops from Ohio and Kentucky as well as Illinois. The prison was at Camp Ford near Tyler TX, about 100 miles E of Dallas.

An escapee from Camp Ford arrived in Milwaukee in November and told the Sentinel about his adventure. “We used to pass time playing checkers, cards, and dominoes. We were let out by twenties on parole to play ball, but so many ran away that the privilege was taken from us.” “Prison Life in Texas – Narrative of an Escaped Prisoner, Milwaukee Sentinel, November 11, 1864.” Accessed 5/21/09 via Genealogybank subscription.

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