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Friday, June 14, 2013

Paul Morphy’s House

Paul Morphy died in his Royal Street home in 1884. In 1891 his brothers and sisters sold the mansion and today it is Brennan's Restaurant.

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      After Morphy returned to America in May 1859 he was intent on starting his law practice but his law career was disrupted in 1861 by the outbreak of the American Civil War. Morphy’s brother Edward joined the Confederate Army and his mother and sisters emigrated to Paris.
      Paul’s Civil War service is a gray area. He visited the Confederate capital of Richmond trying to obtain an appointment in the diplomatic service but  was unsuccessful. He then returned to New Orleans and was there when the city was captured by Federal forces. It has been rumored that at some point he was appointed to General P.G.T. Beauregard’s staff and was eventually seen at Manassas, Virginia.
     One reportedly reliable witness who was a resident of Richmond in 1861 said Morphy was an officer on Beauregard’s staff but other sources indicate Beauregard considered Morphy unqualified. Curiously, at this time General Beauregard owned the house where Morphy was born. Morphy's many contacts abroad were of considerable use to the South and he supposedly became both a spy and unofficial 'ambassador' to European diplomats and businessmen.
      New Orleans was captured in the spring of 1862 and in October Morphy escaped to Havana in a Spanish man-of-war, the Blasco de Garay. After remaining there for a brief time, he sailed for Cadiz and from there he travelled on to Paris by rail where, apart from visits to London and Liverpool, he remained until the spring of 1865. All records of Morphy's activities were supposedly stored in the basement of a sheet iron and tin store belonging to John R. Mountcastle and were destroyed by fire in August 1868.

Non-chess books on Morphy:

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