The Arsenal seems to have been the attraction for some time past, and thousands have gone there to see the preparations for war. The first battle to be fought this season in this place will be between the married and single men of the Commercial, Cyclone and Morning Star Base Ball Clubs, at Lafayette Park, this afternoon at 3 o'clock. The nine selected on each side are first rate players, and we have no doubt but the game will be highly exciting, and we would advise those who are fond of this sport to go to the Park and witness the game. The married men will no doubt take their wives along, and we think it nothing more than right that the young ladies should go out and encourage the single men with their divine presence. Seats for the accommodation of any number of persons will be prepared.
-Missouri Republican, May 7, 1861
On May 6, Arkansas and Tennessee seceded.
The Arsenal, mentioned above, was the St. Louis Arsenal, which housed the largest supply of arms and ammunition in Missouri. The Federal government had another arsenal in Liberty, Missouri, but it had been seized by pro-Confederate forces on April 20 and, if you remember, Basil Duke had planned to seize the St. Louis Arsenal in March. To ensure the safety of the Union's property and that the Arsenal's arms did not fall into the hands of the enemy, Captain Nathaniel Lyons, who was temporarily in command of Union forces in St. Louis, had the stockpile of arms and ammunition transported across the river to Alton, Illinois.