In his 1874 history of the 96th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, J.T. Woods, the regiment's surgeon, paid tribute to the soldiers' special pet, Dick, a Shanghai rooster:
"Dick was only a chicken, and was the property of Col. Brown. The reason why he was the protected pet of the regiment we leave to be determined by Darwin.
"To the general reader it may seem a very trifling, even an unworthy matter, but to the members of the command this sketch would be unpardonably incomplete without a notice of Dick. He was the adopted 'chicken' of the regiment. There was a strange earnestness in their attachment to this bird. The very men who were never known to decline 'fowl' proceedings to obtain any other specimen, would watch this one with jealous care; and any attempt at harming him would have resulted in rough usage, in which they would have been first to 'take a hand.' The fact is, that, without other convenient object on which to bestow their tenderness of soul, they lavished it on Dick.
"Of his early history nothing is known, save that he was 'purchased' by Charles Steveson, Orderly of Col. Brown, near Natchitoches, on the 6th of April, 1864. He was then rather juvenile, and, being of the Shanghai 'persuasion,' was especially remarkable for his old look and pressing need of feathers. In short, he was a very
'Flora McFlimsey, with nothing to wear.'
"In about six months a short and scraggy coat of feathers covered his body without even then producing any especial beauty of appearance, but he was very large and dignified! He walked about with a firm, measured step that had in it something of the military, just as if he felt and knew that any other fowl that could stand on the ground and eat corn off of the top of a barrel, would not there live a minute. His appreciation of danger was as well marked as his good sense on other matters. The firing of a gun in the enemies' works, when seen by the men would cause them instantly to shout, for the benefit of their comrades, 'here she comes, here she comes.' Everybody then 'hunted their holes.' Dick understood this cry as well any of the boys, and gave us much amusement by instantly dropping his head and lighting out for cover, dodging into a tent, under a log, or into any place that would afford even the thinnest protection. His docility was very remarkable, as he could be called and petted like a dog, and often passed through the camp as if to receive the congratulations due to his imperial chickenship.
"A succinct statement of Dick's military experience would make him present at the battle of Sabine Cross-Roads, and also at the retreat of the army to Morganza. He was present at the expedition of Forts Gaines and Morgan; and with us from there to Morganza and White River. He was present at the siege of Spanish Fort, and a spectator at the capture of Fort Blakely. He was 'in at the death' at Mobile and the skirmish at Whistler; in short, was on every march and 'present for duty' at every action after his connection with the regiment, being with them mustered out of the service.
"He did not fail to receive at the hands of Col. Brown the attention deserved by his arduous experience, and was taken by him to his home near Mount Vernon, Ohio. 'The piping times of peace' illy suited the war-worn veteran, and in a few months the unendurable lassitude was kindly terminated by the untimely death of DICK."
~From “Services of the 96th Ohio Volunteers,” by J.T. Woods, MD, 1874