Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The Black Hats meet Old Abe, the War Eagle.
As the Seventh Wisconsin was at Camp Randall at Madison preparing to leave for Washington and the warfront, companies of the Eighth Wisconsin were arriving. The one from Eau Claire in north central Wisconsin caught the attention of the Western boys. It included the "proud form" of a live bald eagle perched on a painted shield and carried by a bearer. The eagle liked to spread its wings to retain its equilibrium while being carried, presenting a martial tableau. "It was the center of attraction during the day," said a Seventh Wisconsin man. "The [Eau Claire] boys say they were going to take him with them and are not going to return until he shapoos his head in the Gulf of Mexico." Of course, the bird became famous as "Old Abe, the War Eagle" and was carried into skirmish and battle over the coming years. The Seventh Wisconsin was soon a part of the storied Iron Brigade.