I had a very fruitful day at the library today, thanks to the spectacular efforts of Connie Phelps and Sonnet Ireland. I was able to find an article in an issue of the Louisiana Historical Quarterly about the history of the events leading up to the battle, and the after effects of the conflict. What’s really exciting about the article is it contains a report from the leader of the White League forces and also the State Supreme Court’s take on the events. I’ve also checked out Jacob A. Wagner’s dissertation, The Myth of Liberty Place: Race and Public Memory in New Orleans, in hopes that I will come across some useful works in his bibliography. With America’s Historical Newspaper database, I found that the New-Orleans Times covered the incident quite extensively. I was surprised to find that the Times even had a report on the battle the day after it happened.
While researching Major Marcus Albert Reno, I came across a document on the Library of Congress on the trial of Marcus Albert Reno after the Battle of Little Big horn. The trial was the military vs. Albert Reno from special orders from the headquarters of the Army General’s Office in Washington, DC. The original court date was scheduled for January 13, 1879 for his conduct during the Battle of Little Big Horn. Nineteen people were summoned to testify during the trial. The trial was to take place in Chicago, IL. On the 13th of January, Reno was waiting for his lawyer Lyman D. Gilbert, so the court was suspended until the two days later. On the 15th, Reno’s attorney arrived in Chicago and the court convened. The first matter of business was a letter sent from Reno to man named Whitaker. Reno did not want this letter to be evidence for the trial. His lawyer tried to get it dismissed, but the court ruled it would be evidence. The first person to take the stand was a lieutenant named Edward McGuire. McGuire was an engineer officer that arrived after the battle was over. The court had asked him questions about positioning on maps, location of the dead, condition of the grounds, and proximity of locations. The lieutenant responded to the mapping questions and the map was allocated as exhibit 2. The positions of each battalion (American and Indian) were placed on a map for the court to have a visual illustration. McGuire also explained to the court the morale of the troops upon his arrival. He claimed Reno’s men had mixed emotions, from crying to insanity. The court documents are long and lengthy. I am looking forward to see what is in the letter that Reno wrote to Whitaker and why he did not want the courts to have it in the trial. I made it through the first 40 pages and I have about 600 to go.
In reading about Caroline’s daughter, Laura, having died of Yellow Fever she would have been one of thousands to have succumbed to this dreaded disease in New Orleans although it affected many other states as well.
The outbreaks occurred off and on starting in 1796. In the summer of 1853, 29,120 people contracted the disease and 8,647 died from it. Newspapers and citizens began to call it the “Black Day.” In the 100-year period between 1800 and 1900, yellow fever assaulted New Orleans for sixty-seven summers.
Before the source of the disease was discovered, people tried many things for a “cure.” Physicians relied upon bloodletting, blistering, purging, leeching, vomiting, and mercury. Note the advertising for leeches.
It was also common in the antebellum era to shoot cannons and burn barrels of tar during epidemics hoping the disrupting the dangerous “miasma” in the air, which was believed to be a cause of the disease.
The Yellow Fever attacks in Louisiana occurred less after the Civil War. At the time, physicians believed that the disease was bacterial and was transmitted through human waste. However, in 1881 a Cuban physician, Dr. Charles Finlay, had developed a theory that the disease was transmitted through the common mosquito but his findings were dismissed. Dr. Walter Reed proved Finlay’s theory in 1900. The epidemics ended in New Orleans in October 1905.
Source: Kelley, Laura D. “Yellow Fever.” In KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010-. Article published January 16, 2011. http://www.knowla.org/entry/766/.
Photo Source: Swedish Leeches – Newspaper Advertisement, January 9, 1852, From the Daily Delta. Photo Source: Mosquito, http://historyofcollierville.wikispaces.com/Yellow+Fever.
Photo Source: Yellow Fever – http://www.louisianahistory.org/education/quiz4.html, Courtesy of Harper’s Weekly.
Photo Source: The female Aegi aegepti mosquito,” The Secret of the Yellow Death, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, New York, New York, 2009, p. 28
After reading more of Joe Gray Taylor’s Louisiana Reconstructed, I learned that there was quite an audience watching the battle: “thousands of spectators watched from windows, rooftops, and boats on the Mississippi” (Taylor 294). I suppose it must have been a spectacular sight to see such a large fight break out in downtown New Orleans. I also learned that Longstreet and Badger’s forces faced a much larger regiment of troops with the White League commanding around 8,400 men while Longstreet and Badger had about 3,600 men. As Taylor notes, the casualties on both sides were relatively light considering the number of men involved and the rather close quarters fighting in downtown New Orleans. The Republican side lost eleven men with sixty others wounded, while the White League lost twenty-one men with nineteen wounded.
Joe Gray Taylor. Louisiana Reconstructed 1863-1877. Louisiana State University Press, 1974.
A major person in Al Spalding baseball career was William Hulbert. William Hulbert was the founder of the National League of baseball. He determined that the League should be founded on square dealings, recognition of contracts, and business integrity along with a more orderly game on the field through prohibitions on drinking, gambling, and Sunday baseball. He was also the owner of the Chicago White Stockings. Hulbert was able to get Al Spalding away from the Boston Red Caps with a huge contract and with him he gained few other players from Boston. William Hulbert’s Chicago White Stockings one the first National League championship.
William A. Hulbert, president of NationalLeague,The A. G. Spalding Baseball Collection at Stephen A. Schwarzman Building / Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=137670&imageID=56505&total=10&num=0&word=national%20league%20of%20baseball&s=1¬word=&d=&c=&f=&k=1&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&imgs=20&pos=2&e=r&cdonum=0
When looking up information about Al Spalding I found a lot of interesting stuff, particularly about how baseball leagues functioned at the time. The National League was established in 1876. William Hulbert convinced great players to switch teams. In 1876, the National League had eight teams in it, four from the East and four from the West. Surprisingly I also found out that teams were named after the socks they wore, like the Boston Red Stockings and St Louis Browns. In March of 1876, Hulbert convinced three other players to move to Chicago but I am having trouble on finding how much they made.
Al Spalding, The A. G. Spalding Baseball Collection at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building / Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=137988&imageID=56180&word=albert%20spalding&s=1¬word=&d=&c=&f=&k=1&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=575&num=0&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=13
While studying Al Spalding, I have learned much about how baseball became the sport it is today. Before 1876, baseball was a fairly corrupt sport. The creation of the National League helped to create a governing body over all the teams, removing the gambler’s influences, stabilizing franchises and ending the dominance of the Boston Red Stockings. Why would it matter if the league did not have central authority? Well, without some authority governing the league teams they would break commitments to play other teams, for instance, if they knew they would not have a chance to win the championship. It would be like the Jacksonville Jaguars refusing to travel to the West Coast to play. After the 1876 season, two teams were expelled from the National League for refusing to travel to the West to play their road games during the season. When Al Spalding left Boston for Chicago, it demonstrated that even popular and great players could switch teams and make a difference. Al Spalding’s move was quick and sudden, and the move had an influence on other players. With players switching teams, all the teams became more equally good. In Al Spalding’s career, we can see the end of Boston’s dominance in the league and the rise of other national teams.
With the creation of the National Leagues, baseball became a fairer sport. The League is now over hundred years old and running strong with fifteen teams, arguably with no team having clear dominance over the others. With the creation of the American League, the National league began playing a championship World Series in 1903.
Some stats on Spalding:
During the 1876 season, Al Spalding could be seen as the MVP. During that year as a pitcher he played in 61 games completing 53 games of them and played in 528.2 innings. He faced 2,219 batters with only allowing 542 hits with 6 home runs. During those games he had 39 strike outs allowing 226 runs but had 8 shutouts and 7 double plays. Overall he won 47 games. As a batter with 292 at bats during 66 games, Spalding had 75 singles 14 doubles 2 triples and zero home runs. He had also 91 hits and was shuck out 3 times and got out 201 times. He also made 54 runs and batted in 44 other players to make runs.