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Like wild dogs they did fight, this Fourth of July night, of course they laid their plans accordin'; some were wounded and some killed, and lots of blood spill'd, in the fight on the other side of Jordan.
— Henry Sherman Backus

The Dead Rabbits was the media-bestowed name of an Irish American gang in New York City, and were one of the infamous Gangs of New York in the mid-19th century. The Dead Rabbits were named because they supposedly carried a dead rabbit on a pike or were said to throw a dead rabbit in the middle of a fight before it commences. They often clashed with Nativist political groups seeking to eliminate Irish immigrant communities from New York City and were instrumental in protecting their ethnic communities and identities from these radical groups. Their chief rival gang was the Bowery Boys; Native-born New Yorkers who supported Know Nothing political party in favor of kicking out the immigrant groups. These two rival gangs fought over 200 gang battles in a span of 10 years beginning in 1834, and they often outnumbered the police force and even the state militias. They were also in the forefront of the Dead Rabbits Riot and the New York Draft Riots.

Besides street-fighting, the Dead Rabbits also supported politicians such as Fernando Wood and the Tammany Hall whose platforms included the welfare and benefit of immigrant groups and minorities, and under the leadership of Isaiah Rynders, the gang also acted as enforcers to violently persuade voters during elections to vote for their candidates. One Dead Rabbit leader, John Morrissey, would later become a Democratic State Senator and U.S. Congressman who alleviated the conditions of the Irish-American communities for years to come. The Dead Rabbits would become the precursor of today's most notorious organized crime syndicates, the Irish Mob.

Battle vs. Dog Soldiers (by Elgb333)[]

Dead Rabbits: BlueBlueBlueBlueBlue Dog Soldiers: RedRedRedRedRed

The sun was in its highest peak in a small port town in New Jersey. The streets were dry and empty for the searing heat prevented the people from going out. The whole town was in a deserted-like state, with screeching silence permeating through the place. In the docks, where the town usually gets its income, one can still hear the usual noise of an urban community. There, five Dead Rabbits were hanging about like they owned the place. The local government initially hired these rascals to guard the docks from invading drifters, squatters and vandals. But these Dead Rabbits, who were known to take an opportunity when it presents itself, quickly took over the docks as their new territory. These five Dead Rabbits, armed to the teeth with knives and guns, sat around drinking, gambling and singing Irish pub songs, not even minding the heat that’s been crippling the town.

However, their little merry-making soon fell silent when the Dead Rabbits spotted a small boat slowly drifting towards them. This small boat was just a makeshift water craft hastily put together with raw unfurnished wood. It had a torn up sail, a small shelter and floats like a bloated carcass above the water. It felt odd to the Dead Rabbits because there were no boats scheduled to be docking that day. As it finally stopped near the port, the curious Dead Rabbits went closer for a better look. The boat looked abandoned and there were no signs of passengers present. Concerned, the gang sent one of their own to check the boat. The Dead Rabbit jumped into the craft and almost lost his balance as the rickety boat bobbed up and down. As his fellow gangmates watched, he poked around and stomped on the floor to check any signs of life. Seeing nothing, he then opened the door to the shelter and went inside to investigate. The shelter was dark and humid, with the floor slippery and the whole place reeking of urine and smoked meat, and the Dead Rabbit tried his best to resist the vile atmosphere. Treading carefully, the Dead Rabbit went deeper and deeper into the filthy room, before colliding head first into a wall of flesh in front of him.

Suddenly, the other Dead Rabbits soon heard loud and violent commotions inside the boat. There was smashing, heavy footsteps, breaking of wood and glass, as well as screams that were enough to rock the small boat and frighten the Dead Rabbits who were watching. And then suddenly, there was silent just as soon as it happened. Fearing for their fellow comrade inside, the Dead Rabbits called out for him to see if he’s okay. Then the door slowly opened and there came out their fellow Rabbit, looking at them pale and shaking... with a tomahawk sticking in his head. To the horrors of his gang, the Dead Rabbit fell into the water now literally dead, painting the sea water red with blood.Blue

But before the rest of the Dead Rabbits can get their heads together, a party of five Cheyenne Dog Soldiers stormed out of the boat and into the docks; firing their guns and their arrows. One awestrucked Dead Rabbit was shot with an arrow to the eye before falling down dead.Blue With their surprise attack and overwhelming firepower, the Dog Soldiers started moving forward and pushed the shocked Dead Rabbits away. They shout their bloodthirsty warcry as they pushed forward, signalling their hunger to annihilate these white folks and avenge the injustices done to the Indian nations. The Dead Rabbits tried to run as far away as possible from the Cheyenne firepower, but one of them took an arrow to the knee and fell down with a loud cry. The others tried to get back to help him, but the Dog Soldiers caught him first, and with their warcry, butchered and ripped the screaming Irishman into five pieces with their axes. They then howled like maniacs and scalped him in the eyes of his own gang.Blue

The horrified Dead Rabbits stopped, took cover and hid behind crates and building walls they can find. Deciding to act fast before they all get annihilated, the remaining Dead Rabbits soon readied their guns to retaliate. As the Dog Soldiers approached their position looking for them, the Dead Rabbits fired their guns and rifles. One Dog Soldier, who was standing in the open, took multiple revolver shots to the torso before falling dead.Red The others quickly took cover and continued firing. The superior range of the Rabbits' rifles pinned down and immobilized the once unstoppable Dog Soldiers. One Dog Soldier unluckily took a bullet to the skull, shattering his temple and sending grey matter everywhere.Red Another tried to fire back, but his carbine lacked the range and missed. But a Dead Rabbit with his Joselyn rifle didn’t, and the Dog Soldier's chest obliterated as a rifle round penetrated his heart.Red

With the Dog Soldiers trapped, the Dead Rabbits took the chance to charge in and finish the fight. They quietly moved to the side, flanked and surprised the pinned down Dog Soldiers. With this, the fight soon turned into brutal close-quarters combat. One Dead Rabbit, using the knuckles of his knuckle duster, punched a Dog Soldier in the jaw, dislocating it and sending blood and teeth flying from his mouth. With the Dog Soldier's lower jaw hanging like a thread below his skull, the Dead Rabbit soon connects with a stab to the Indian's neck, ripping it wide open while the poor Indian howled in anguish.Red

Now the only remaining Dog Solider faces off against another Dead Rabbit with a pocket revolver in his hand. The Indian was quick enough to dodge the initial fire from the revolver, but in the end took two bullets in the abdomen and in the thighs before falling down on the ground. The smirking Irishman then kicked the downed Indian to the side, stood above his body and pointed the pistol at his face, before pulling the trigger. However, only a "click" was heard that signified the pistol was empty. Cursing, the Dead Rabbit tried to draw another pistol but the Dog Soldier grabbed his tomahawk and dismembered the Dead Rabbit’s right leg, making him fall to the ground. As the Dead Rabbit cried in pain and shock, the Dog Soldier smashes his ax on his head, killing him instantly.Blue

Now only one Dead Rabbit and one Dog Soldier remained, and they eyed each other with contempt. The Irish, with a knuckle duster in his hand, held a boxing stance as the Dog Soldier circles him like a hungry animal. The Indian made the first move by throwing his tomahawk at the Irish, but the latter manages to dodge the incoming ax. The Dead Rabbit then charges and smashes the Dog Soldier’s temple with a well-placed hook with his knuckle duster. The Dog Soldier, though dazed from the attack, manages to draw another tomahawk and quickly sliced the Dead Rabbit in the belly. As the Dog Soldier tried to strike him again, the undeterred Dead Rabbit, though holding his bleeding abdomen, blocked the attack with his knife. He then counters by quickly striking the Dog Soldier in the solar plexus with an uppercut, before the Dead Rabbit plunges his knife to the Dog Soldier’s chest. With a loud gasp, the Dog Soldier looked at the blade sticking in his chest, then looked at the Dead Rabbit who was grinning at him, before falling down dead.Red

With his fallen foe on his feet, the Dead Rabbit kicked the Dog Soldier multiple times with rage, before raising his knife and yelling in victory. He then slowly limps back into the town to get medical attention, and hopefully warn the people before more Indians attack.

Expert's Opinion[]

While the Dog Soldier’s Sharpe’s carbine and bow have faster rates of fire, they were not as effective in urban battles than the Dead Rabbit’s revolvers and pocket pistols. The only true advantage the Dog Soldiers had in weapons was their tomahawk which beat the Dead Rabbit’s knuckle dusters. In terms of x-factors, the Dog Soldiers were indeed the better trained and experienced warriors. But it was the Dead Rabbits who had better tactics and strategies that made them more successful. These reasons are what the experts believe why the Dead Rabbits won this battle.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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