Civil War-style Baseball
With all the documentation of battles and emotional challenges that Civil War soldiers faced, it’s not surprising that people are often unaware of one of the biggest problems of daily life: boredom. Sometimes encamped for months at a time before being sent to their next fighting engagement, soldiers yearned for entertainment and recreation. Sometimes this threatened morale and led to discipline problems.
We have had some fighting in camp lately. An artillery man stabbed one of the 9th and got knocked, kicked and bayoneted for it. . . .They have a skirmish every day.
To discourage mischief, some officers encouraged men to form organized sports leagues. Among the best-liked sports was baseball. The game played by Civil War soldiers was very different from baseball as we know it today. They chose between two versions of the game: New York style and Massachusetts style. The New York version would evolve into modern baseball that we know today, but the Massachusetts version is the one the soldiers preferred.
*Beyond the Battlefield, edited by David Madden, p.99