Category Archives: May
May 1st, 1862
In a key turning point during the US Civil War, Union forces captured the city of New Orleans on this day in 1862. The Louisiana city on the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of the Mississippi River, was a geographically important city, and in the hands of the Confederacy it was a critical commercial center. In early 1862, Confederate army strategists concentrated most troops and naval forces up the Mississippi near Tennessee and Missouri, where they fought the Battle of Shiloh, leaving New Orleans with just two uncompleted ironclads, a few steamboats, and little militia to defend itself. Despite the obstacles both natural – like a shallow sandbar – and manmade – two forts and an underwater chain barrier – Union Admiral David Farragut easily breached the weak Rebel blockades in a daring run, sinking eight ships. Confederate General Mansfield Lovell realized that resistance was futile, and wanting to spare the city any further damage, surrendered on April 25th. Four days later, Forts Jackson and St. Philip were secure, and the Yankees controlled both New Orleans and a 400-mile stretch of the Mississippi.
Why was the capture of New Orleans so important for the North – and such a devastating blow to the South?
Henry Louis Gehrig, the son of German immigrants who settled in New York, was signed to play for the New York Yankees in 1923. He saw little action until 1925, when he stepped in for a teammate who suffered from a headache. His teammate never made it back to the field and Gehrig became a star player in the Yankees’ golden age. Throughout his career, he hit over 100 home runs and directed his team to six World Series pennants. It was his perfect attendance, though, that made Gehrig a baseball legend. Gehrig played 2,130 consecutive games, not missing a single one in 13 years. By 1938, his batting average and health began to fail. He was found to be suffering from a rare disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (today, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS). On May 2, 1939, the “Iron Horse” benched himself due to poor play, ending his phenomenal streak. Gehrig retired in style, telling a packed Yankee Stadium that he considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” He succumbed to the disease two years later, and the nation mourned the loss of a baseball legend.
Why do you think it is difficult for players to attend every single game scheduled? What is the meaning of the word commitment?
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