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Pamplin Park Roundtable speaker pitches baseball

baseball
(© Sean Gladwell – stock.adobe.com)

Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier welcomes the park’s executive director and Civil War historian, Jerry Desmond, on Thursday at 7 p.m. to share baseball insights from the Civil War.

Desmond will discuss the history of baseball to include the largest game played up to that time during his presentation titled, “It Will Repair Our Losses and be a Blessing: Baseball in the Civil War.”

Baseball is believed to have evolved from an older bat-and-ball game in Great Britain and Ireland known as rounders in the mid-1700s. By the 1830s variants of baseball began to be played in North America. It was not until June 19, 1846, that the first recognized baseball game was played in the United States between the New York Knickerbockers and the New York Nine. The Knickerbocker Rules would form the basis of modern baseball continuing to change over the next half a century.

Soon journalists were referring to baseball as the “national pastime” before the storm clouds of Civil War emerged on the horizon. Civil War soldiers on both sides would play baseball when in camp or during breaks on the march. Early in the war, even prisoners-of-war would play the game while incarcerated to pass the time. The game was a little different then, being played with either two or four bases and a runner was only considered out when “hit” with the pitcher’s ball.

Desmond’s career includes 22 years of professional museum experience in the areas of education, curation, and administration. He has written numerous historical articles and multiple books including “Turning the Tide at Gettysburg: How Maine Saved the Union.” Since his time at La Paglia and Associates, he has served as a consultant leading the development and expansion of new and existing museums. Desmond was involved with over 20 mostly Civil War-related museum projects across the Southeast while serving with La Paglia and Associates.

Desmond has received the Tennessee Association of Museums Award of Excellence for four consecutive years 1996-1999. More recently, he has served as the Director of the Rome History Museum in Georgia and the Birmingham History Center in Alabama. His master degrees in both education and history were completed at the University of Maine. Jerry’s early career includes 12 years of secondary school education and college-level teaching experience.

The Petersburg Civil War Roundtable will meet the first Thursday of each month at Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier from 7-8 p.m. Annual membership is $40. Individuals who are already members of Pamplin Historical Park can become members of PCWRT for $20. Non-members can attend for $5 each meeting. Call (804) 861-2408 for more information.


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