Excursion to Port Gamble, reported September 16, 1877


Last Sunday morning the Steamer Nellie got up steam and blew her first whistle at have past four o'clock. Early as it was there were plenty of lights in town. At half past five the boat was to start on her excursion to Port Gamble, and those who intended to participate were already a stir.
The Pacific Base Ball Club were to try their strength with the Unknowns at Gamble. The day was delightfully pleasant. The trip across the placid waters of the Sound was enough to induce any one to get on board, even if they took no interest in B. B. After the usual delays of waiting for the last man and his Mary Jane, the final whistle was blown and we started down the river, a merry crew on pleasure bent.
Quite an accession to our numbers was received at Lowell, all eager to participate. About seven o'clock we reached the mouth of the river, the tide was nearly out. Bare mud flats with nothing to relieve them except a few snags, storks and gulls, the latter so silent and still that snag or bird could hardly be distinguished the one from the other, stretched away on our left; to the right was Priest Point; behind us great reaches of tide marshes, whose waving tale and wild grasses at this season of the year reminds one of the half ripe rice fields of South Carolina, and ahead Hat Island, with its great white sand bluffs crowned with emerald. Between us and deep water, was a serpentine channel, of shallow depth, whose course could be followed by a constant use of the sounding rod. We all expected to be stuck in the mud at every revolution of the wheel. But we listened in vain for the sound of the bell. On we went, twisting and turning as if hunting a sea-serpent, heading to all points of the compass, stirring up the already ruly water, but still edging out towards Hat Island, till all at once the boat headed up Sound, we glided into deep, blue water and were over the bar at as low a stage of water as ever a steamer crossed before.
Many had tumbled out of bed as early, or rather so late for the boat, that they came aboard before breakfast. But no matter. We ask for no better breakfast than the one we all sat down to on board that morning. It is but just to remark, that all the way over and back, everything was done by Capt. Low that could be done, to make the trip a pleasant one. Every one was made to feel at home on board. Not a word of complaint was heard from any one during the day. May many such excursions fall to the lot of the Nellie, before Capt. Charley's hair turns gray.
Before we reached Gamble, the boys in blue, the Pacifics, sat down to a light lunch, preparatory to the contest to take place immediately on their arrival. We were met at the wharf by the Gamble boys, cordially welcomed and courteously entertained.
Port Gamble is a beautiful town site, and will be a beautiful town, years hence, long after the mammoth mills have become silent for want of forests to consume. It being Sunday, the mills were idle. But the presence of several large vessels at the wharves and so large a concourse of people, employed in the harbor trade and manufacture, indicated the immense business of Puget Mill Company. There are several [best] but no very costly residences. The chief beauty of Port Gamble is her fruit and flower gardens with which every home is ornamented. Where such evidences of taste are seen out door, there must be refinement within. If this is not true of Gamble, the town is an exception.
The B. B. Grounds are about one mile from town. A fine road, beautifully shaded, leads out to them. The ground is not as well fitted up as it should be. There is no convenience for spectators. It is not level. The brush is too near, and the deep gulch in rear of the home base is a great draw back. This is no fault of the club. Suitable grounds are hard to be found anywhere. But, if the ground is level, all other objections can be overcome. Well our boys take the hint, and do a little work before fair time. Our ground if put in order, is every way superior to theirs; But as it now stands, the Gamble boys are entitled to more credit than ours; for, if we had spent as much labor on our ground as they have, we should have the best field- but without more work it is not so good. So take of your coats boys and pitch in. It will do you good. You need a little muscular exercise, to prepare you for the championship at the next contest.
At fifteen minutes of twelve o'clock the game commenced, Mr. Shoe, umpire. W. D. Scott and C. Packard scorers, with the Pacifics in the field. The game was as fair and impartial as ever was played, the only advantage being that the Unknowns were at home and familiar with the ground. The umpire and scorers did their duty like perfect gentlemen, showing neither partiality or favoritism. They all three gave perfect satisfaction to the players of both clubs, and won remarks of praise from the spectators. The most perfect order and decorum prevailed during the entire game. Not a word of obscene or profane language was used by either players or spectators. A great many ladies and gentlemen were present and readily expressed their approbation whenever a good play was made by either side.
The Unknowns took the lead at the start. Towards the middle of the game the Pacifics nearly caught up with them, the former being only two talleys ahead. But they steadily gained from them till the close of the game, beating the Pacifics by a score of sixteen. Both clubs showed want of practice. Each club has some excellent players. Specimens of good pitching, batting, catching and running were exhibited by several of the participants during the play. Some difficult flies were skillfully taken, and many good ones missed. Much wild throwing was done on both sides, but we think the Pacifics did much more of it than their opponents. The utmost good feeling prevailed throughout the contest. No question at any time arose that led to any wordy altercation. The umpires' decision seemed to be received by all with satisfaction; and at the close of the game, rousing cheers were giving for both visitors and vanquished, those for the Pacifics, louder than for their conquerors.
After the game, the two clubs, with a few invited guests, repaired to the hotel and sat down to a magnificent banquet provided by the Unknowns. We acknowledge our inability to do justice in words to this tempting bill of fare, although we showed our appreciation at the time in the usual manner. The table contained all the epicure could wish, carefully prepared and in profuse or drinkable abundance. Nothing edible or drinkable was lacking. All traces of the chagrin of their defeat vanished from faces of the Pacifics as they beheld this bountiful repast. The dinner alone, was worth the trip to Gamble; the trip there and back on the Nellie, with the view of the heavens above, the snowy mountains with summits lost in the clouds to be seen in every directions, the mirror like waters of our beautiful inland sea with its borders of green, reflecting the ever changing clouds, the far off mountains and the nearer foliage of evergreen forest, is worth a trip across the continent to behold. And, then, with these beautiful scenes, free to all, to meet with such whole souled fraternal feeling, is enough to make any one willing to be defeated every day in the year. That is the way our boys felt, after parting with the Unknowns, obtaining promise from them to return the visit on October 5th, shaking hands, shouting good bye boys as we left the wharf and waiving handkerchiefs as long as anybody was in sight.
The trip home, mostly by moonlight, was a fit rounding off of a day of unalloyed pleasure.
Crossing from Port Gamble to Skagit Head we had the best view of Mount Rainier we ever beheld. No matter when whether from where seen, this hoary old sentinel of the ages is always grand, magnificent and sublime; but to see it as we saw it then, with the illusion of the waters of the Sound stretching far away, seemingly to the very foot hills at its base, its western visage all aglow with the rays of the setting sun, will photograph a picture on the brain that live will not efface.
It was approaching midnight when we reached the wharf. There was no expression of regret by any participant no signs of fatigue. We believe all hands would have gladly turned back for a repetition of the day's pleasure. We have been a five years resident of the Sound, and have never spent a happier day since we have been here.

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