Works of Abner Doubleday

Abner Doubleday
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No one individual came up with the game as it played today - it was a combination of several different games that evolved into baseball.

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It's a myth that has been perpetuated through the years that has become accepted, but it's just not true. The Mills Commission's report issued in concluded that Doubleday was "baseball's inventor" and that his idea "was as brilliant and distinguished as his career as an officer in the Federal Army.

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Doubleday was a Union general who likely fired the first cannon shot in defense of Fort Sumter in South Carolina, the battle that started the Civil War. He later played a key role in the Battle of Gettysburg.


Following his death in , Doubleday left numerous letters and papers, but none of them ever mentioned baseball in any way, let alone that he had invented the game. In addition, it was later learned that Mills, the commission chairman, had been a colleague of Doubleday during his Civil War days and had even served as an honor guard for his body as it lay in state in New York City, Vaught says. As for the game itself, a British version called "rounders" involved hitting a ball with a stick, and Vaught says there are drawings in Egyptian tombs that show men hitting a ball with long rods.

In an ironic twist, he says there are records of the game being played in upper New York as early as , and the city of Cooperstown - where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located today - passed ordinances outlawing baseball there because the town leaders considered it "a decline of American youth.

It was — to say the least — a rather blunt one:.

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I feel too indignant. I can hardly stand the way in which this weak little garrison is treated by the heads of the government.

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He was wounded more than once. Of these I relied most upon Wm. The energy of the American society was diminished by departure of the founders, and hampered by the fact that Olcott had taken the membership list away with him. William T Sherman. Doubleday was transferred to command the garrison at Fort Hamilton in New York. Bowen and K.

Troops and proper accommodations are positively refused, and yet the Commander has orders to hold and defend the fort. Was ever such a sacrifice an intentional one known?

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The Secretary has sent several officers at different times to inspect here, as if that helped. It is a mere sham, to make believe he will do something. In the meantime a crisis is very near.

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These names should be handed down to the end of time. When the last man is shot down, I presume they will think of sending troops.

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The soldiers here deserve great credit — they know what an unequal number is coming to massacre them, yet they are in good spirits and will fight desperately. Within days, Mrs. Abner, in his memoirs, later professed to have no idea how the letter ended up in print. But almost certainly it had been written for public consumption in the first place. Probably his brother Ulysses, who happened to be a Republican campaign operative in New York, had a hand in the transaction.

Doubleday, Abner 1819-1893

Some of the early dispatches went so far as to hint that his commander at Fort Moultrie, the Kentucky-born Maj. Robert Anderson , might soon show his true colors as a Southern traitor. You need no assurance from me that, although I am exerting myself to make this little work as strong as possible and to put my handful of men in the highest state of discipline, no one will do more than I am willing to do to keep the South in the right and avoid the shedding of blood.

You may be somewhat surprised at the sentiment I express, being a soldier, that I think an appeal to arms and to brute force is unbecoming the age in which we live. Would God that the time had come when there should be no war, and that religion and peace should reign throughout the world.

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In any case, the Doubledays — and some of the other junior officers at Fort Moultrie — now had their own idea about how to escape from the trap at Fort Moultrie. They did not plan to wait for their last man to be shot down. They did not require orders or reinforcements from Washington. But they would need to persuade their ambivalent, enigmatic major.