The Empire Base Ball Club of this city has challenged the Empire Club of Freeport, Ill., to a match game which will take place in the latter city on the coming 4th of July. We have no doubt the St. Louis boys will fully maintain their reputation and come home with a good account of themselves. We understand there will be quite a number of the friends of the game who will take advantage of the opportunity and will accompany the club on their excursion. Round trip tickets at reduced prices may be had of Mr. S.M. colburn, at St. Louis, Alton, & T.H.R.R. office, under Planters’ House. Success to the St. Louis boys.
-Missouri Republican, June 25, 1865
Obviously, the Empire Club took a train up to Freeport, which is in the northern part of Illinois, about fifty miles east of Rockford. It seems like they took the St. Louis, Alton, & Terre Haute Railroad to Alton and then they could have taken the Chicago & Alton Railroad to Chicago and transferred to the Galena & Chicago Union, which would take them to Freeport. It's also possible that they took the Chicago & Alton Railroad, transferred to the Illinois Central in Decatur or Pana, and straight on to Freeport. I think the later scenario is more likely but I can't find a good map of the Illinois Central Railroad for the era so I'm not sure exactly where it intersected with the Chicago & Alton Railroad.
Regardless, it wasn't easy for the Empire Club to get to Freeport. They had to take a ferry across the Mississippi and change railroads at least twice.