Baseball in the Civil War

By: Jenna Turdo

Who created Baseball?

It is unknown who actually invented the game but it is believed to be Abner Doubleday in 1839, or possibly Alexander Cartwright in 1845 after he fix up the rules. However it's assumed that baseball was created before the civil war.

1845 Walt Whitman Quote

"I see great things in baseball. It's our game, the American game."

The Civil War changing Baseball

The Civil War expanded the game into a professional business. Baseball started off as a northern game in New York, but slowly the Union army became board and their morale dropped so the New Yorkers showed the army their game of baseball. The game of baseball was loved and the generals sent reports to other camps promoting the game. The civil war started and ended in April and that became the start of baseball season. In the year 1869 the game became a professional sport where players were paid.

How did the South learn of the game?

Once captured southerners were brought to POW (Prisoner of war) camps the Union showed them the game. Although some of the prison camps were cruel, however not all were. The southern prisoners would then play get to play baseball. In some southern POW camps the Union prisoners got to play the game.

Supplies for the game

The baseballs were made from walnuts, and yarn was wrapped around them until horsehide would fit tightly around it. The bats were made from oak limbs that were cut down and carved. But if you were lucky enough there were professional baseball bats shipped from Cooperstown, NY to you. The baseball gloves however weren't used until the 20th century.

The Legacy of Baseball

After the war was over soldiers from both sides kept the baseballs and bats and kept playing, this led to textile leagues being started (the textile leagues are like our minor leagues today). Colleges picked up the games and started playing. Eventually baseball became a professional sport and a full time well paid job. The first official team was the Cincinnati red stockings, and they won every game they played during the first year. The first women's African American team was the Dolly Vardens made in 1867.
baseball during the civil war by ashley priante

My Reaction

I never knew that baseball started just a little before the Civil War. Let alone that the Civil War expanded baseball into the professional sport we watch today. I love going to the Brewer's games and I love playing baseball myself but I guess I never wondered where baseball came from I just thought someone invented the sport one day I never really knew the back story of it. And I never bothered to look into it, but i'm glad I did. It was really interesting learning about how baseball changed in the little ways and it was interesting to learn how the Civil War totally expanded baseball, but over time baseball remained the same. I'm glad I chose this project.

Works Cited

"1888 Cincinnati Red Stockings Season." Lifetime Topps Project. N.p., 11 Aug. 2011. Web. 05 May 2015.


"Baseball America's Pastime - K & P Weaver, LLC." Baseball America'sPastime - K & P Weaver, LLC. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2015.


Bluett, Terry. "Baseball and the Civil War." Pacivilwartrails. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2015.


"Civil War and Baseball." Civil War and Baseball. N.p., 4 July 2013. Web. 04 May 2015.


Elliot, Suzanne. "Baseball Before the Civil War at Russell Library."Middletown Patch. Patch Media, 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 4 May 2015.


"Johnny Beazley & Baseball in Tennessee, Blue Laws & Baseball." JohnnyBeazley & Baseball in Tennessee, Blue Laws & Baseball.Tennessee Department of State, 2014. Web. 05 May 2015.


"Old War-time Baseball up for Auction..." Endless Summer. N.p., 22 Jan. 2014. Web. 05 May 2015.