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Safe at Home: The Civil War

Wherever the war went it seemed baseball followed.

In this photo, behind these soldiers in drill formation, a group plays baseball (look for the batter on the right side). This is the only known photograph of baseball during the Civil War.

- National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum

The myth of Abner Doubleday as baseball's inventor has provided him some level of immortality, but his true life story is just as interesting and full of historic significance.

On April 12, 1861, Captain Doubleday was second in command at Fort Sumter, S.C., when it was bombarded by Confederate cannons igniting the Civil War. He aimed and helped fire the Union's first shots in defense of the garrison and later rose to the rank of Major General serving in several campaigns including the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg where he was wounded.

- National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum


This political cartoon from the election of 1860 features Abraham Lincoln and his three main rivals, from left to right, John Bell, Stephen Douglas and John Breckinridge.

The artist believed the new game of 'base ball' was well known enough for readers to understand his use of it as a metaphor. Lincoln's caption reads: Gentlemen, if any of you should ever take a hand in another match at this game, remember that you must have "a good bat" and strike a "fair ball" to make a "clean score" and a "home run."

- National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum

This illustration shows Union POWs at the Salisbury, N.C., prison camp playing baseball in 1862.

The artist Otto Boetticher was a prisoner himself, captured while serving with the 68th New York Volunteers. - National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum