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 FRANK, THE GETTYSBURG WAR HORSE: Meet Frank a veteran of the Civil War. he was assigned to Issac R. Swartout, private of Battery D of the 1st NY Artillery. Frank first saw action with his owner at Gettysburg on July 1st 1863. He proceeded to participate in 14 more battles from The Wilderness and Cold Harbor, all the way thru to the surrender of Lee at Appomatox Court House April 9th 1865. He was purchased by Isaac after the war and remained with him the rest of his life. Here is a scan of the  back of this souvenir photo.

From: Wild Bill Burroughs on Tumblr

Old Abe, Wisconsin’s Civil War Eagle


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 Old Abe, Wisconsin’s Civil War Eagle

Old Abe, a tame bald eagle, was the mascot of the 8th Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteer 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. The 8th donated him to the government of Wisconsin, and Old Abe spent his postwar years living at the state Capitol, attending political rallies and being displayed at charity fundraisers.

More on Old Abe’s Life and Legacy

Ah-ga-mah-we-zhig (Chief Sky) of the Lac du Flambeau Lake Superior Chippewas captured Old Abe when he was an eaglet in 1861. Chief Sky traded the eaglet to the McCanns of the Jim Falls area. The McCanns later sold the adolescent eagle to the Eau Claire company of the Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry who named him Old Abe. The Eau Claire company combined with others to form the 8th regiment, and Old Abe became famous as their mascot and a constant presence in battle, on the march and in camp. During his life with the regiment, Old Abe became known for pilfering from the camp, spreading his wings on command and dancing to music.

In 1863 the 8th Wisconsin presented Old Abe to the state, and the eagle spent the rest of his life captive at the Capitol building in Madison or on display for various political, social and cultural causes. Old Abe’s living conditions while in the government’s care declined over time and he suffered from exhaustion, exposure and malnutrition on a number of occasions.

In 1881 a small fire broke out in the basement of the Capitol, igniting stored paints and oils and filling Old Abe’s quarters with smoke. The flames did not reach Old Abe’s confines, but the smoke seemed to negatively affect his health. He sickened and died within a month.

After his death, the state had Old Abe’s corpse preserved by taxidermy. He was displayed at the Wisconsin Historical Society until 1903 when he was moved to the G.A.R. Memorial Hall in the Capitol. A fire the next year in 1904 consumed his remains.

During his life and after his death, Old Abe has been the subject of numerous semi-fictionalized accounts and tributes.

Old Abe and the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
Image ID: WHi-1945

Source: State Historical Society of Wisconsin Visual Archives and wiki

From: The Civil War Parlor

Confederate Mule

"I rode a mule, a large gentle one, a good traveler and gentle. My bridle was made of home tanned fox or coon hides. The bit was made in a shop near by and was what was called a curb bit. 

The saddle, home made also, consisted of two pieces of poplar - shaped so it was supposed to fit the mule's back as they lay length - ways on her. They were fastened together in front by a piece of tough oak with rivets made of iron in the shops nearby, the back part was fastened the same way by tough oak out so as to resemble any ordinary saddle.

This saddle had holes mortised, through which a leather strap fastened with a ring and this made the girth. The back had holes mortised by which to tie on the belongings of a soldier of the C.S.A. When this was covered with a heavy woolen blanket spun and woven at home by my mother and sister and colored with bark, the soldier, dressed in clothes made the same way by the same loving hands, was ready to mount and be off [for] the war. 

Neither the boy nor his equipment would make a formidable looking soldier or inspire terror, you will say. True! But the mule could travel and the boy could shoot, and either could very nearly find their own rations. These three formed the chief requisites for a soldier in Forrest's Cavalry."

- Mrs. Calvin S. Brown Papers, Z/0182.000, Mississippi Department of Archives & History

From: Civil War Talk

War Horses

Horses were a valuable commodity during the Civil War because they carried supplies, weapons, men and messages, but like the men who fought alongside them, they were not immune to the perils of war.

In early February 1863, Assistant Quartermaster Capt. W.R. Downing in Wheeling was assigned the arduous task of nursing back to health more than 40 worn-out, sick and injured horses.

“We never before saw such a melancholy, ghostly looking lot of skeletons,” the Wheeling Intelligencer said in a story published Feb. 4, 1863. “The Gothic steed Pegasus … was a gay and frisky courser in comparison with the best of these forty scare-crows. 

“Their sides looked like washboards and their ribs can be counted as far as they can be seen. Their backs were scarred and their limbs and bodies were covered with wounds, sores and running corruptions. They have evidently been beaten, driven, ridden, and starved without mercy and ‘regardless of expense.’” 

While acknowledging Downing’s knack for healing broken-down horses, the newspaper said “if he succeeds in bringing anything in the shape of a horse out of a single one of the miserable brutes under consideration, he will indeed be a magician.” 

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting