Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/125

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95
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

camp life in the early sixties. Especially would it be of interest to note that while Americans of the North were fighting Americans of the South, between battles both were playing a game that had been devised nearly a quarter of a century before by a youth who, in the pending struggle, had sighted the first gun in defense of Fort Sumter, and who, later on, was to wear the epaulets of a Major General.

It was during the Civil War, then, that the game of Base Ball became our national game; for against it there was no prejudice—North or South; and from that day to this it has been played with equal fervor and with equal prowess in every section of our beloved country.

It is said that in Virginia, in the long campaign before Richmond, at periods when active hostilities were in abeyance, a series of games was played between picked nines from Federal and Confederate forces. I have heard rumors of this series repeatedly, but have not been able to trace them to any authoritative source. I refer to them here, not as history, but simply as of sufficient interest to be worthy of mention. I have not found any soldier of either army to corroborate these rumors or to deny them. Several have told me that they took part in many games, on one side or the other, and that they believed the rumors might be founded on fact, because they had themselves known of cases where good-natured badinage had been exchanged between Union and Confederate soldiers on the outposts of opposing armies in the field.

However, it is of record that many games of Base Ball were played by soldiers during the war. On Christmas