Abner Doubleday Research and Book Project

My favorite guy on the Antietam Battlefield is Union General Abner Doubleday. Before I was a part of the Antietam Battlefield Guides, I was working on the research for a biography on this interesting fellow. At that time, there was no such product – though two have been published since. The busyness of life with its varied demands has caused me to put that project on hold, but I hope to finish it at some point.

Abner Doubleday is an especially quotable fellow – even in an era of highly quotable and colorful personalities. My tours of the Battlefield are often salted with some of his better lines and observations.

For example, the town of Harpers Ferry is situated at the confluence of two rivers, and is surrounded on all sides by three rather imposing peaks. The town itself is quite small. Abner Doubleday was stationed there briefly in the early stages of the War in 1861 and wrote that, “To be in Harpers Ferry is feel like one is at the bottom of a pickle barrel.”

Doubleday rises to the front page of the Antietam story in the portion of the conflict involving the famous 30-acre Miller Cornfield.  His men – specifically the Iron Brigade – are a part of the opening attack of the day … moving south along the Hagerstown Turnpike, through the Miller farmstead and orchard, and entering into the western portions of the cornfield itself.

Many people associate Abner Doubleday with the invention of the game of baseball, and indeed, the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY is there because of the erroneous connection of the General with the sport. There is a lengthy explanation and analysis for this (which I’ll save for blog posts and the “threatened” book, but to summarize it in one sentence: Abner Doubleday was more of a boy scout than a little leaguer, and baseball is more about evolution than creation.

As time goes by, I will post numerous and sundry blog entries about Abner Doubleday … so look at the blog “categories” under Abner Doubleday for this information.

2 responses »

  1. Gerald Talbert says:

    Randy:
    It’s my understanding that Abner Doubleday did not invent baseball. What does your research show?
    Gerald Talbert, Guide Trainee

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