National Wrestling Hall of Fame

William Muldoon and the Civil War

Wrestling was one of the two most popular activities in the Union camps between battles in the Civil War, as General Grant thought the sport made his soldiers tough both mentally and physically. William Muldoon of New York City became the Union camp champion and then returned to New York City to become a policeman. But he continued wrestling on the side and soon quit his job with the police department to tour as a wrestler – becoming the nation’s first professional athlete of note!