That Time 150 Years Ago When Thousands of People Watched Baseball on Christmas Day- page 3 | History | Smithsonian
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Company H of the 48th New York Regiment, stiffly posed for this 1863 formal portrait at Fort Pulaski, in Savannah, GA, seems oblivious to the more informal baseball game in progress behind them. The photo is one of the ealiest known photographs of a baseball game. (Jacqueline Moen)

That Time 150 Years Ago When Thousands of People Watched Baseball on Christmas Day

During the Civil War, two regiments faced off as spectators, possibly as many as 40,000, sat and watched

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(Continued from page 2)

By contrast, three pages are devoted to the regiment’s theatricals, which are described as “the great source of amusement” for the men. Speaking of the theaters in which the their troupe performed in, including the one on Hilton Head, the regimental historian declared that “it’s doubtful if anything was as fine in the war.”

While the Civil War in general, and the Christmas Day game in particular, may have been important in the growth of the game in the decades to follow, it would seem that for soldiers in 1862, hamming it up on stage was the real national pastime.

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