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(pioneer icon)1924

Memorial Day Card

Ahgamahwegezhig (Chief Sky)

Old Abe was probably the most famous eagle that ever wore feathers. He was a genuine eagle, and a handsome specimen of his kind. His authentic history apparently begins with the day in 1861, when Chief Sky, a Chippewa Indian, made him prisoner on the Flambeau River in Wisconsin. Sky sold him to a white man for a bushel of corn. The man who paid the corn for him, sold him In turn for $5 to a Mr. Mills. Mills made a present of him to a company just about to start out for the war, Company C of the Eighth Wisconsin. No time was lost by them in naming this winged inspiration after the man in the White House. Old Abe the bird became, and Old Abe he stayed till his death years after.

They carried him alongside the colors on a perch at the end of a staff. The army soon came to know them as the "Eagle Regiment." Beginning with Farmington, Miss., the eagle and his followers went through thirty-six battles. He was wounded before Corinth, and again at Vicksburg. It is said that at Corinth the Confederate marksmen made special efforts to kill Old Abe, at the direction of General Price. "I would rather have him than a whole brigade," Price is said to have remarked, such was the eagle's value in encouraging the troops.

Old Abe stayed with his command until it was mustered out in 1864. In September, Lewis, the Wisconsin war Governor, formally accepted him on behalf of the State. Old Abe was exhibited at the Chicago Sanitary Fair that winter, and his history, published in a pamphlet, brought $16,000 for the sick soldiers.

It is pleasant to record that he lived long and happily afterward. He was much in demand at conventions and veterans' reunions. He died in March, 1881, as a result of breathing smoke at the fire of the Madison capitol. Leonard W. Volk, the sculptor, used him as the model for several eagles on his war monuments.--[The Christian Herald.]

Eagle House

Old Abe 11 months old, 1861

Wisconsin 8th Color Guard

Old Abe
Old Abe Souvenirs
War Eagle steamboat