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Old Abe, Wisconsin's Civil War Eagle

Engraving of Old Abe, mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry
WHI 33811

Old Abe, a tame bald eagle, was the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry in the Civil War and became a living symbol of the Union at war. He traveled with the 8th throughout the regiment's participation in campaigns in the Western Theater from 1861 to 1864. Carried on a perch atop a shield, Old Abe was never wounded in any of the 37 engagements he participated in. He became famous for spreading his wings and shrieking at appropriate moments and was glorified by the Northern media. At the end of the war, the 8th donated him to the state, and Old Abe spent his postwar years living at the state Capitol in Madison, attending political rallies and being displayed at charity fundraisers.

:: Posted April 18, 2011

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