b. 14/05/1842 Boulogne, France. d. 07/12/1904 Brooklyn, New York.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 30/07/1864 Petersburg, Virginia. 29/09/1864 Fort Harrison, Virginia.
Collyer was born in France as Walter Jamieson. He came to the United States as a boy. He joined the Army from Brooklyn in September 1862. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Siege of Petersburg. He left the army with the rank of captain in June 1865.
Following his Army career, he became a lightweight boxer under the name, "Sam Collyer". The first significant contest of Collyer’s career was his bout with Horatio “Race” Bolster. The two met in Alexandria, VA on May 8, 1866. During the contest, Bolster broke his hand, and was given a tremendous beating. The fight ended after 49 rounds and 55 minutes. Collyer ended the contest when he knocked his opponent off his feet, and Bolster’s seconds threw in the towel.
Later that year, Collyer battled former champion Young Barney Aaron for the vacant Lightweight Championship of America. The Title had been vacated since the retirement of Owney Geoghegan back in 1863. The Aaron/Collyer contest was held on June 20, 1866 at Pohick Landing, VA. The fierce battle was contested for 47 rounds taking 2 hours and 14 minutes before Collyer was declared the winner. Collyer lost his title in a rematch with Young Barney Aaron on June 13, 1867. Immediately after winning the title, Young Barney Aaron took a long leave from the ring, leaving the crown open for Collyer to reclaim. His bouts with Collyer were considered among his most memorable and significant.
On August 24, 1868 Collyer lost his championship to Billy Edwards in 47 rounds. Collyer attempted to regain the title in a return match with Edwards on March 7, 1870. This time the former champion was forced to give in after 40 rounds. Following this contest, Collyer’s status as a prize-fighter began to diminish. He lost a third contest with Edwards in 1874, and a bout with legendary undefeated lightweight champion Jack McAuliffe in 1888. His last recorded contest was in 1892.
Voluntarily went between the lines under a heavy fire at Petersburg, Va., to the assistance of a wounded and helpless officer, whom he carried within the Union lines. At Fort Harrison, Va., seized the regimental color, the color bearer and guard having been shot down, and, rushing forward, planted it upon the fort in full view of the entire brigade.
BURIAL LOCATION: CYPRESS HILLS CEMETERY, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.
Section 10, NE 1/2 Lot 178
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