Base Ball. - Married vs. Single. - This match which took place at Gamble Lawn, on the morning of the 4th, resulted in a decided victory for the married men. The players were selected from all the senior organizations of the city, which fact imparted an unusual interest in the result of the game, as was shown by the large number of spectators present. The play on both sides was highly commendable - in the field, as well as at the bat - and resulted in a score of 55 for the married and 32 for the single men...
-Missouri Republican, July 7, 1861
The thing that I find just absolutely amazing about all of this is how, in the midst of this great calamity, normal life just went on. The country had fallen apart. War was at hand. Union troops had fired on a crowd in St. Louis, killing men, women, and children. And here we find the people of St. Louis celebrating the Fourth of July with a baseball game.
I understand that the war wasn't all Lincoln and Grant and Lee and huge battles and emancipation but those are the things that hold our interests. I enjoy reading about the Civil War in the western theater and the actions of the navy during the war. I like some of the more obscure things about the war and I've been studying this period for a long time. But I find it almost impossible to imagine day-to-day life in America during the Civil War. Not the life of the soldier but the life of someone like Edmund Tobias, who was living in St. Louis in 1861 and played in the game mentioned above.
I know Tobias, at the time, was working as a salesman and was a member of the Commercial Club. He was about twenty-five years old and still single. But what I don't understand is how the war effected him. What did he think about it? He was born in New York state, so I assume he was pro-Union but I don't know for sure. I'm sure that he knew people who were killed during the war. What did he think about Fremont declaring martial law in St. Louis? How did that change his life? I don't know and I find it impossible to put myself in his shoes because his experiences during the war are just so alien to me.
The very idea of a bloody American civil war is alien to me and that must be one of the reasons why the period fascinates me. It must be one of the reasons I continue to read about and study this era of American history. I just don't understand it and I'm not sure if I ever really will.