Thursday, June 21, 2012
Have I ever mentioned how much I really like Basil Duke? Yeah, I probably have. His life story is just extraordinarily interesting and he was an important historical figure, as a pioneer baseball player in St. Louis and as one of the commanding officers of Morgan's Raiders. Sure, I kind of make him out to be the villain in the story of antebellum St. Louis baseball but, if he was anything, Duke was a man of honor and the things that he did, he did because he believed in them. Also, it should be noted, he was also a historian and Civil War Reminiscences and History of Morgan's Cavalry are important works. Duke, in the 1880s, was a regular contributor to Southern Bivouac, a historical journal, and he helped found the Kentucky chapter of the Southern Historical Society. In many ways, his work helped shape the idea of the Lost Cause.
I found the above photo of Duke at a website about poetry-writing lawyers and it comes from a book published in 1897 called Some Kentucky Lawyers of the Past and Present. The photo below is really cool and it comes 1864, when Duke was a prisoner of war in Ohio. Duke is in the back row, second from the right. I found the picture at a very nice website about the Lexington Rifles, Morgan's original cavalry unit.