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8th Wisconsin Infantry History | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

8th Wisconsin Infantry History

Wisconsin Civil War Regiment

8th Wisconsin Infantry History | Wisconsin Historical Society
Enlarge"Old Abe" and "Color Guard" of the Eighth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, posed in uniform, outside with Old Abe on a shield perch.

Old Abe and the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, 1863.

"Old Abe" and "Color Guard" of the Eighth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, posed in uniform, outside with Old Abe on a shield perch. Likely Edward Homaston of Eau Claire holding the perch. Sgt. Ambrose Armitage is third from left. The portion of the photograph featuring Old Abe appears altered. View the original source document: WHI 1945

The 8th Wisconsin Infantry was organized at Camp Randall in Madison, mustered into September 13, 1861, and left for St. Louis, Missouri on October 12, 1861. During the war it moved down the Mississippi River, east through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, and later went west through Arkansas and Missouri. Old Abe, a bald eagle, also served the 8th Wisconsin Infantry as a mascot. 

It fought at Corinth, Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi, as well as at Nashville, Tennessee. It was mustered out of service at Demopolis, Alabama, on September 5, 1865. The regiment lost during service 280 men during service. Six officers and 53 enlisted men were killed. Two officers and 219 enlisted men died from disease.

[Source: Estabrook, Charles E, ed. Records and sketches of military organizations... (Madison, 1914?)]