Cockfighters of American Civil War: General Orlando B. Willcox, John Morrissey etc.


Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday which occurs every year on the final Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.

By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

– Gameness til the End

General Willcox headquarters Petersburg Virginia August 1864 (Photo By David Knox)
General Willcox headquarters Petersburg Virginia August 1864 (Photo By David Knox)

Orlando B. Willcox

Orlando Bolivar Willcox (April 16, 1823 – May 11, 1907) was an American soldier who served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

When the Civil War began, Willcox was practicing law in Detroit. He was appointed colonel of the 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry. He was wounded and captured in the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) while in command of a brigade in Maj. Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman’s division. He later received the Medal of Honor in 1895 for “most distinguished gallantry” during the battle.

After his release and exchange more than a year later, on August 19, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Willcox a brigadier general of volunteers, to rank from July 1, 1861. The President had to submit the nomination three times, the last on March 7, 1863, before the U.S. Senate finally confirmed the appointment on March 11, 1863. Willcox commanded the 1st Division of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s IX Corps in 1862. He led the division at the Battle of Antietam and the corps at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

During the 1863 draft riots, Willcox commanded the District of Indiana and Michigan. He again led a division at Knoxville and during Lt. Gen.Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign. On December 12, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln nominated Willcox for appointment to the brevet grade of major general of volunteers to rank from August 1, 1864, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on April 14, 1865. Following the Siege of Petersburg, he led the first troops to enter Petersburg, Virginia, before ending the war serving in North Carolina. He was mustered out of the volunteers on January 15, 1866.

Cock Fighting in the City.

Filed Under Civil War

January 22, 1861, The Charleston Mercury

Yesterday afternoon, the vicinity of Luff, in Harlem lane, presented an animated spectacle. Dozens of carriages were driven up, well dressed gentlemen sprang out and passed into the barroom, where some two or three hundred equally respectable in appearance were collected. Among the party there were several members of the common council, a prominent government official, several Wall street financiers and numbers of well known local politicians. John Morrissey, Dad Cunningham and others of that class made up a small party of the muscular fraternity. Of these, however, there were but few. The reason of this promiscuous gathering was the announcement that a choice lot of New York and Troy fowls were to contend for a purse of $3,000 – Morrissey backing one side, and, it was said, a member of the city government the other.

The tickets of admission to the pit were $3, and though considered a high price every seat was occupied, nearly $900 being received for entrances alone. Morrissey, during some unavoidable delay in preparing the fowls, came into the pit and announced that his lot were affected by sickness and that in consequence $2,600 he had bet outside was withdrawn, but the fight would go on as thirty eight out of the forty two entered were found to be in good condition. Then there was more delay, and why could not be imagined, until Captain Porter, of the Twelfth ward police, came into the pit and announced that there would be no fight that afternoon.

The disappointment of the fancy can better be imagined than described, but nevertheless, no ill feeling was manifested towards the captain, who was said to have simply obeyed orders form the police headquarters. This match has caused more excitement in sporting circles than any other of a similar character which has been made in years past. A sporting man present estimated that the persons at Luffy’s yesterday were interested in the result to the extent of at least $20,000.

The question may be fairly asked; was this match the cause of an adjournment of the board of Aldermen last evening because of the absence of a quorum?

poultry gamefowl chicken gamecock


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