He was stationed at Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina in the spring of 1861 when South Carolina militia, under the Confederate flag, fired on the fort. Doubleday commanded the artillery batteries which responded to this bombardment and personally sighted and fired the very first shot of the Civil War fired in defense of the Union. For this action he proclaimed himself the "Hero of Sumter."
In 1862 Doubleday commanded a brigade during the string of defeats and setbacks which Federal forces endured all through that year in northern Virginia, as well as at the inconclusive battle of Antietam in Maryland. In early 1863, Doubleday was promoted to command of a division, and he briefly commanded a corps at Gettysburg in the summer of that year. Despite a solid performance as a corps commander, he was demoted and replaced with a more junior officer by his superior, George Meade, with whom he had an antagonistic relationship. After the battle, when his request to be reinstated to corps command was denied, he transferred from the Army of the Potomac to the Department of Washington. (In Washington, DC he voluntarily testified before the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War that Meade was unfit for independent command.) He would not see action again, though he did oversee preparations of some of the capital city's defenses in anticipation of Jubal Early's Valley campaigns in the summer of 1864.
After the war Doubleday held several regimental-level commands on the frontier and in Texas. He retired from the military in 1873 and may have practiced law. He was active in veterans' groups and the organization of the Gettysburg Battlefield National Park. He died of heart failure in 1893.
In 1905 National League President Abraham Mills chaired a committee assigned with determining the origins of the game of baseball. The committee's final report, issued on December 30, 1907, claimed that Abner Doubleday had created the modern rules of baseball in Cooperstown, NY in the summer of 1839. (He had in fact moved away from Cooperstown a year earlier.) Mills's claims have since been discredited, though Doubleday's name remains indelibly linked with the history of a game which he may well never have seen played.
Abner Doubleday in "The Star and the Rockets"Edit
As Joe Bauman's home run totals for the 1954 season approached 70, Bauman reflected that no ballplayer, on any team, in any league, had ever hit 70 home runs in a single year since Abner Doubleday created the game. Apparently Bauman was unaware of the evidence refuting the Mills Commission's findings.