Base Ball Match - The following is the result of a match game of base ball played yesterday, on Gamble's Addition, by the Empire and Union Base Ball Clubs of this city: [Unions 15, Empires 14.]
-Missouri Republican, December 20, 1861
I think this is most likely the first game ever played between the Empire and Union clubs. Tobias wrote that the Unions had organized in 1859 and that this game took place during the "holidays of '60..." He had the score right but was off by a year. He also mentions a series of games between the two clubs that took place in "1860 and the early part of '61..." Again, he was off by a year, as I also now have primary source evidence of the first Empire/Union series taking place in 1862.
I once had a bit of an email debate with someone about when the Union club was formed and the question of when this particular game was played was central to their argument. I never believed that this game was played in 1860 and went so far as to look up weather data for the winter of 1860/61 in St. Louis. Just so you know, the winter of 1860/61 in St. Louis was one of the coldest on record, with a great deal of snowfall. I don't think anybody was playing baseball in St. Louis that winter. But now I have conclusive evidence that this game was played in 1861. I'm not here to say I told you so, but...
In all seriousness, it was important to find an account of this game. We no longer have to speculate about whether Tobias' timeline was off or if I was reading the source material wrong. The weight of the primary source evidence supports the idea that the Union club was formed in 1860 and first played the Empires in 1861. And this is not to be taken as a slam against Tobias, who remains the most significant St. Louis baseball historian of all-time. While I know that he was working with a lot of the records of the pioneer-era clubs, it's also true that we know that some of the antebellum and Civil War era records were lost by the time Tobias sat down to write his history. It's obvious that his work is much stronger when dealing with the post-war era and the errors that he makes with regards to the pre-1865 era are not all that significant. As a human being writing thirty odd years after the fact, he confused some dates and events. It happens.
The Prisoners - Preparations for their Accommodations. - A portion of the large number of prisoners, recently captured by Gen. Pope, were expected to arrive at the Pacific Depot last evening, but up to a late hour the train upon which they were expected had not made its appearance. They are to be quartered at McDowell's College, or as many of the whole number as that institution is capable of accommodating. About fifty workmen were yesterday engaged in preparing the College for their reception. Among those thus engaged were fifteen or twenty contrabands, who are at present in charge of Jailor Roderman. They were taken out of jail for the purpose named. In cleansing the College and clearing out the rubbish in the basement, two or three wagon loads of human bones were found. Skulls, arms, legs, ribs, and so on; the relics of various "subjects" experimented upon by the medical students in former days. The work of hauling these "relics" was very distasteful to the contrabands, and they frequently expressed their unqualified disgust thereat.
The college will be a very suitable place for the prisoners, as it is commodious, and the location healthy. It is not probable that the nerves of any of the rebels who will be confined therein, are very susceptible, and even if a "skeleton in the closet" should run and then be revealed, no general alarm would ensue.
-Missouri Republican, December 23, 1861
During the Civil War Gratiot Street Military Prison was operated in St. Louis, Missouri by the Union army. Gratiot was unique in that it was used not only to hold Confederate prisoners of war, but spies, guerillas, civilians suspected of disloyalty, and even Federal soldiers accused of crimes or misbehavior. The prison also was centered in a city of divided loyalties. Escapees could find refuge in homes not even half a block away. Many of the most dangerous people operating in the Trans-Mississippi passed through its doors. Some escaped in dramatically risky ways; others didn't and lost their lives at the end of a Union rope, or before a firing squad.