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Play ball!

This lithograph by Major Otto Boetticher in 1863 of a baseball game between Union prisoners at Salisburg, North Carolina illustrates the popularity of the game no matter where or in what circumstances baseball fans found themselves. It was said that until 1864 the Salisburg Prison was a pleasant place to be with good water and shade. Men spent their time whittling, bartering and writing, as well as playing baseball in the enclosed compound. After 1864, the prison became extremely overcrowded -- 10,000 men were forced to live in a prison designed for 2,500 men.

For more about baseball, see Documents 25 and 86. For more about prisons, see Documents 57, 63, and 74.

Citation - Document 53
Summer 1863
Courtesy National Archives, photo no. 111-BA-1952

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