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sports during the civil war
Transcript of sports during the civil war
"Baseball was born in the brain of an American soilder. It recieved its baptisim during the bloody days of our Nation's dire danger. It had its early evoulition when soilders North and South, were striving to for get there foes by cultivating, through this grand game ferternal friendship with comrads in arms." -Albert Spalding It is considered America's National Pastime. Far more than just a mere sporting event, baseball has become a major part of the American culture and has often been responsible for bringing people together in times of crisis. During war, following natural disaster and in the midst of economic hardship, the game has always provided an emotional escape for people from every race, religion and background who can collectively find solace at the ballpark. Therefore, it somehow seems fitting that the origins of modern baseball can be traced back to a divided America when the country was in the midst of a great Civil War. Despite the political and social grievances that resulted in the separation of the North and South, both sides shared some common interests such as playing baseball. Although baseball was somewhat popular in larger communities on both sides of the Mason Dixon line, it did not achieve widespread popularity until after the war had started. The mass concentration of young men in army camps and prisons eventually converted the sport formerly reserved for "gentlemen" into a recreational pastime that could be enjoyed by people from all backgrounds. For instance, both officers and enlisted men played side by side and soldiers earned their places on the team because of their athletic talents, not their military rank or social standing. Both Union and Confederate officers endorsed baseball as a much-needed morale builder that also provided physical conditioning. After long details at camp, it eased the boredom and created team spirit among the men. Often, the teamwork displayed on the baseball diamond often translated into teamwork on the battlefield. Many times, soldiers would write of these games in letters home as they were much more pleasant to recall than the hardship of battle. It has been disputed for decades whether Union General Abner Doubleday was in fact the "father of the modern game". Many baseball historians say that Doubleday wasnt the one that made the grand game and the rules. Nothing in his personal writings corroborates this story, which was originally put forward by an elderly Civil War veteran, Abner Graves, who served under him. Still, the City of Cooperstown, NY dedicated Doubleday Field in 1920 as the "official" birthplace of the organized baseball. Later Cooperstown became the home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Regardless of really being (or not being) the actual "inventor" of the modern version, Doubleday did apparently organized several exhibitions between Union divisions and was an apparent student and fan of the game. Many of these contests were attended by thousands of spectators and often made front-page news equal to the war reports from the field. Today, over a century later, baseball is still a popular American institution and remains a testament to both "Billy Yank" AND "Johnny Reb" who laid down their muskets to pick up a ball and help establish a National Pastime.
rules of the game Throughout the early part of the 19th century, small towns formed teams, and baseball clubs were formed in larger cities. In 1845, Alexander Cartwright wanted to formalize a list of rules by which all teams could play. Much of that original code is still in place today. Although popular legend says that the game was invented by Abner Doubleday, baseball's true father was Cartwright.