Portrait of Abner Doubleday

In 1907, the Mills Commission issued a report that credited Abner Doubleday with inventing the game of baseball at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. Extensive historical research, including examinations of Doubleday’s public works and private correspondence, has unearthed no evidence that Abner Doubleday had any connection with the development of the game of baseball. [Wikimedia Commons]

Abner Doubleday - Facts

June 26, 1819 - January 26, 1893

Key facts about Abner Doubleday who was a career military officer and prominent Union general in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.

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Full Name:

  • Abner Doubleday

Birth Date:

  • June 26, 1819

Birth Location:

  • Ballston Spa, New York

Parents:

  • Ulysses Freeman Doubleday and Hester (Donnelly) Doubleday

Education:

  • United States Military Academy (1842)

Occupation:

  • Military officer

Career Summary:

  • Colonel (USA)
  • Major General (USVA)

Spouse:

  • Mary Hewitt (1852)

Nickname(s):

  • Forty-Eight Hours

Place of Death:

  • Mendham, New Jersey

Date of Death:

  • January 26, 1893

Place of Burial:

  • Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

Significance:

  • Abner Doubleday was the third of eight children of Ulysses Freeman Doubleday and Hester (Donnelly) Doubleday, four of whom survived to adulthood.
  • Both of Abner Doubleday’s grandfathers were veterans of the Revolutionary War.
  • Abner Doubleday’s father fought in the War of 1812.
  • Abner Doubleday’s father represented New York’s 24th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives during the 22nd Congress (March 4, 1831 – March 3, 1833) and the 24th Congress (March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1837).
  • As a youth, Abner Doubleday attended school in Auburn, New York.
  • In 1838, Abner Doubleday received an appointment to the United States Military Academy.
  • Abner Doubleday attended the United States Military Academy from September 1, 1838 to July 1, 1842.
  • Abner Doubleday ranked 24th in his class of 56 cadets at the United States Military Academy.
  • Among Abner Doubleday’s classmates at the United States Military Academy were future Civil War general officers William S. Rosecrans, John Pope, and George Sykes on the Union side and James Longstreet, Richard Anderson, Earl Van Dorn, and Lafayette McLaws on the Confederate side.
  • Following his graduation from the United States Military Academy, Abner Doubleday was brevetted to second lieutenant and assigned to the U.S. 3d Artillery.
  • On February 24, 1845, Abner Doubleday was promoted to the full rank of second lieutenant.
  • During the Mexican-American War, Abner Doubleday was assigned to General Zachery Taylor’s Army of Occupation, and participated in the American victories at the Battle of Monterrey (September 21-24, 1846) the Battle of Buena Vista (February 22–23, 1847).
  • On March 3, 1847, Abner Doubleday was promoted to first lieutenant.
  • On January 16, 1852, Abner Doubleday married Mary Hewitt of Baltimore. Their marriage, which lasted until Doubleday’s death in 1893, produced no offspring.
  • Abner Doubleday was promoted to captain on March 3, 1855.
  • Abner Doubleday served in Florida during the Third Seminole War (1855-1858).
  • On the morning of April 12, 1861, at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, Abner Doubleday directed the aim and ordered the first shot fired by Union forces during the American Civil War.
  • Abner Doubleday was promoted to the rank of major with the 17th Infantry on May 14, 1861.
  • When the Civil War began, Abner Doubleday was transferred to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia where he served under Major-General Robert Patterson during the summer of 1861.
  • After the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861), Abner Doubleday was sent to Washington, DC, to assist with manning artillery defenses of the nation’s capital.
  • Abner Doubleday was appointed as brigadier general of volunteers on February 3, 1862.
  • In May 1862, Abner Doubleday was given command of a brigade in Major General Irvin McDowell’s 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac.
  • Abner Doubleday played a prominent role in covering the Union retreat during the Confederate victory at the Second Battle of Bull Run (August 28–30, 1862).
  • Following the Union defeat at Bull Run, Abner Doubleday was reassigned to Brigadier General John P. Hatch’s division of Major General Joseph Hooker’s 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac.
  • When Brigadier General John P. Hatch was wounded during the Battle of South Mountain (September 14, 1862), Abner Doubleday assumed command of Hatch’s division.
  • Abner Doubleday commanded the 1st Division of the 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac during the Battle of Antietam.
  • Abner Doubleday was injured during the Battle of Antietam when he was thrown from his startled horse after an artillery shell exploded nearby.
  • Abner Doubleday was brevetted to lieutenant colonel in the regular army for “for gallant and meritorious service at the Battle of Antietam, Md.” on September 17, 1862.
  • Abner Doubleday was promoted to major general in the volunteer army, effective November 29, 1862 (confirmed in General Orders, No. 316 (U.S. War Department) on September 18, 1863).
  • Shortly after his appointment, Burnside reorganized the Army of the Potomac into three “Grand Divisions” and moved to engage Lee’s army near Fredericksburg, Virginia. During the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 15, 1862),
  • Abner Doubleday’s 1st Division of the 1st Corps, of the Left Grand Division of the Army of the Potomac was held in reserve during the Battle of Fredericksburg.
  • Abner Doubleday’s 3rd Division of the 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac was held in reserve during the Battle of Chancellorsville.
  • Abner Doubleday assumed command of the 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg after Major General John Reynolds on July 1, 1863.
  • After the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Major General George G. Meade replaced Abner Doubleday as 1st Corps commander with Major General John Newton, an officer junior in rank to Doubleday.
  • On July 2, 1863, Abner Doubleday received a neck injury while leading the 3rd Division of the 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • On July 3, 1863, Abner Doubleday’s division played a decisive role in repelling Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • At the conclusion of the Battle of Gettysburg, George G. Meade refused Abner Doubleday’s request to be reinstated as commander of the 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac, prompting Doubleday to travel to Washington where he was reassigned to administrative duties.
  • Abner Doubleday was promoted to the grade of lieutenant colonel in the regular army on September 20, 1863.
  • In March 1864, Abner Doubleday provided unfavorable testimony about his former commander, George G. Meade, when the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War held hearings investigating Meade’s leadership at Gettysburg.
  • Abner Doubleday briefly returned to combat duty, but saw no action, when Confederate forces threatened the nation’s capital during Early’s Raid in July 1864.
  • On March 11, 1865, Abner Doubleday was brevetted to the rank of colonel in the regular army.
  • On March 13, 1865, Abner Doubleday was brevetted to the grade of brigadier general and also to major general, for gallant and meritorious service during the rebellion.
  • On January 15, 1866, Abner Doubleday mustered out of volunteer service, but he remained in the regular army as a lieutenant colonel with the 17th Infantry.
  • Following a five-month assignment in New York, he was sent to Galveston, Texas where Abner Doubleday served as garrison and as Assistant Commissioner in the Freedmen’s Bureau in Galveston, Texas from November 20, 1866, to August 1, 1867.
  • On September 15, 1867, Abner Doubleday was promoted to colonel and assigned to the 35th Infantry.
  • Following another half-year assignment in New York, sandwiched by two leaves of absence, Doubleday was sent to San Francisco, where
  • Abner Doubleday served as Superintendent of General Recruiting Service in San Francisco, from June 16, 1869 to January 11, 1871.
  • While stationed in San Francisco, Abner Doubleday and three business partners received a franchise for what would become the city’s famous cable car line. Unable to raise the capital needed to construct the line, however, the men sold their charter before cable line was built.
  • Abner Doubleday served as commander all-black 24th Infantry regiment in Texas from April 7, 1871 to June 13, 1873.
  • Abner Doubleday retired from the United States Army on December 11, 1873, having been credited with thirty years of continuous service.
  • After leaving the U.S. Army, Abner Doubleday settled in Mendham, New Jersey and he worked as a lawyer in New York.
  • During his retirement, Abner Doubleday authored several books about the Civil War, including Reminiscences of Fort Sumter and Moultrie in 1860-61, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and My Life in the Old Army: The Reminiscences of Abner Doubleday.
  • Abner Doubleday died of heart disease in Mendham, New Jersey on January 26, 1893, at the age of 73.
  • In 1907, the Mills Commission issued a report that credited Abner Doubleday with inventing the game of baseball at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839.
  • Extensive historical research, including examinations of Doubleday’s public works and private correspondence, has unearthed no evidence that Abner Doubleday had any connection with the development of the game of baseball.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Abner Doubleday - Facts
  • Coverage June 26, 1819 - January 26, 1893
  • Author
  • Keywords Abner Doubleday
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 1, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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