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A Baseball Recovered From A Civil War Battlefield

ShilohBaseball.jpg.CROP.article920-large

The image above is a hand-stitched baseball recovered from the scene of the Battle of Shiloh.

Details:

During the War Between the States, the game was played on the battlefields and even in wartime prison camps. Baseball was, after all, portable, and even amid the horrors of war, soldiers sometimes found opportunities to play on the vast open fields where they needed only a bat, a ball, and a few willing participants.

This ball was found and retrieved in 1862 in Shiloh, in southwestern Tennessee, on the grounds of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles. The ball is inscribed: “Picked Up on the Battle Field at Shiloh by G.F. Hellum.” Giles Hellum was an African-American who worked as an orderly for the Union Army at Shiloh. He later enlisted as a soldier in the 69th Colored Infantry.

The artifact is a “lemon peel ball,” looser and softer than today’s baseballs, and it is hand-stitched in a figure 8 pattern with thick twine.

Found via Facebook

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Brett says:

    That’s nice, but

    During the War Between the States,

    Who refers to the American Civil War this way anymore? I though this particular Confederate-friendly terminology had finally died out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  2. Mike in VAB says:

    @Brett: War of Northern Aggression anyone?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  3. PJ says:

    @Brett:

    Who refers to the American Civil War this way anymore? I though this particular Confederate-friendly terminology had finally died out.

    Both sides do it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  4. JWH says:

    I always liked “the recent unpleasantness between the States.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. Gustopher says:

    How about the Slavers Treason?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0