My Life in the Old Army: The Reminiscences of Abner Doubleday : from the Collections of the New-York Historical Society

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TCU Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 403 pages
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Often thought of as the inventor of baseball - the great American pastime - Abner Doubleday was first and foremost a soldier. My Life in the Old Army is comprised of a set of previously unpublished writings (the originals are housed at the New-York Historical Society) with an emphasis on Doubleday's tour of duty during the Mexican War. He was on hand for the first shots of the conflict, for the battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista, and later served in Saltillo after the campaign moved farther south toward Mexico City. Fluent in Spanish, he traveled far and wide in Mexico and describes his experiences in this volume.

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First Active Duty
First Shots of the Mexican War
From Matamoros to Monterey
The Battle of Monterey
The Battle of Buena Vista
Roguery and Rascality in Mexico
We Leave Mexico
Gardiner Mine Claim
Indians in Texas and Florida
Some Experiences of Wit Humor and Repartee in Army

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About the author (1998)

Abner Doubleday was born on June 26, 1819 in Ballston Spa, New York. Both his maternal and paternal grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary War and his father in the War of 1812 before becoming a U. S. Congressman. After spending much of his childhood in Auburn, New York, Abner was sent to Cooperstown to live with his uncle and attend a private high school. He worked as a surveyor before entering West Point, from which he graduated in 1842, becoming a lieutenant in the U. S. Artillery. He served in the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848, then the Seminole Wars from 1856 to 1858. In 1852, he married Mary Hewitt. At the start of the Civil War, he was second in command at Fort Sumter, and in fact, aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot of the war in 1861. Promoted to major, he was a hero at the Second Battle of Bull Run, and was present at South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and of course Gettysburg, where he spent five hours leading 9,500 Union troops against 16,000 Confederates. Due to a misunderstanding, General George Meade replaced him, and he assumed administrative duties in Washington, D. C. When Abraham Lincoln travelled to Gettysburg, to give his famous address, Doubleday travelled with him. He left the military in 1873. While stationed in San Francisco from 1869 through 1871, he invented the cable car, which still runs there today. Working as an attorney in New York, he also spent much time writing and became a friend of Thomas Edison. Doubleday died on January 26, 1893, at the age of 73, from heart disease in Mendham, New York. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. As to the myth that he was the inventor of baseball, there is no evidence to support that, either historically, or in Doubleday's own writings.

Chance is professor of mathematics at the University of Texas--Pan American in Edinburg.

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