WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

Nine Paces/Nine Strides: Dueling In D.C.

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Dueling was a not uncommon way to settle the score in the early 19th century.
Library of Congress
Dueling was a not uncommon way to settle the score in the early 19th century.

On Feb. 20, 1839, Congress passed legislation barring the practice of dueling in the District of Columbia. Rebecca Sheir and historian Paul Dickson talk about the popularity of dueling in D.C.'s history, and tell tales of prominent figures who visited the Bladensburg Dueling Grounds to even up various scores -- often on the flimsiest of grounds -- by walking nine paces and firing at close range.

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