Wearing uniforms that hark back to a bygone era, men spread out on a lush green field. In the distance, a red barn is a dot among slightly rolling hills. To the right, a cornfield can be seen just beyond the open pasture. The game being played seems extremely familiar, yet there are a few glaring differences. It appears to be baseball, but the players aren’t wearing gloves, and a fly ball that is caught on one bounce results in an out. In many ways, the sport seems to be as antique and out of place as the players’ uniforms. From what age and place did they come? Did they simply materialize from the nearby cornfield as the ball players did in the Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams”? The answer is far more mundane. This is the annual Gettysburg National 19th Century Base Ball Festival. Not unlike the movie, the event pays tribute to the game of baseball when it truly was the national pastime.

This year the event drew 18 vintage-baseball teams from several states, one from as far away as Tennessee. The players play the way the game was played in the 19th century. Many of the contests during the festival observed the rules that would have been in effect during the Civil War, including underhand pitching. The ball that was used is slightly larger than the modern baseball.

All the games were played on a farm a short distance from the Gettysburg National Military Park. According to Bruce Leith, 46, of Elkton, Md, one of the festival’s main organizers and also a participant, the setting is fitting for an event meant to transport both participants and viewers back in time. “The fields are just pristine,” he said. “It looks like the 19th century. There are no 21stcentury obstructions anywhere that you see. What they played on was pasture land, and so this for us is absolutely perfect.”