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home loving, and in this country have ever been stanch and patriotic citizens.
During the active part of my career, which covered many years in Nebraska, I held the office of emigrant agent for the Hamburg-American Steamship Company. Through that connection I learned the facts concerning the way in which immigration from Bohemia was promoted. Bohemian farmers in this country as soon as their circumstances permitted financed the transportation to America of their needy relatives in the home country. These new people usually began as laborers, but they have developed into well-to-do farmers.
It is many years since I last traversed the charming bluff-bordered valley of Blue River in Wisconsin. I am informed, however, that Bohemians now own most of the good lands in that and neighboring valleys, and that some of the finest, most up-to-date farms and farm homes are the properties of children of Bohemian immigrants. These people are themselves taking advantage of available means of intellectual and vocational improvement, such as farmers' institutes, farmers' week at the State College of Agriculture, reports, bulletins, and magazines. Their children are graduating from town high schools, and in many cases from college and university as well. These facts reinforce what is said above about the rapidity with which Bohemians assimilate the ease with which they become, like their neighbors of Yankee or southern origin, devoted, patriotic Americans.
THE STORY OF OLD ABE1
The War Eagle of Company C, Eighth Wisconsin Volunteers, was captured in the spring of 1861 by a young Indian-called Chief Sky, in English-on the headwaters of the Flambeau River in Chippewa County. I saw Chief Sky in the summer of 1867 while up in the pinery building a dam for log driving, and had a long talk with him. He said that there were two eagles in the nest, but one got hurt so that it died later on. The nest was about as large as a bushel basket.
About the latter part of August, 1861, the Indian came down in his canoe to Chippewa Falls bringing furs and other things to sell-among them, the young eagle. When he reached Jim Falls, Daniel McCann, a citizen of the place, offered him a bushel of corn for the bird; this was accepted, and the eagle changed owners. A few days afterwards Mr. McCann brought him down to Eau Claire, where Company C of the Eighth Wisconsin was organizing for the War of the Rebellion, and offered to sell him for two and a half dollars. We got together I was a member of the company, having enlisted on August 26, a few days before-and chipped in ten cents apiece and bought him. About that time a citizen of the city, S. M. Jeffers, came along to find out what we were doing, and told Mr. McCann to return the money and he would pay for the eagle and present him to the boys, which he did. We made up our minds to take him as far as Madison if some of the company would volunteer to care for him. James Maginnis said he would do it, and his offer was accepted.
1 See also "The Story of Old Abe,” by Frederick Merk, in this magazine, volume 2, page 82-84 (September, 1918). A photograph of Old Abe appears in connection with that article.-EDITOR.
Eau Claire made a handsome perch for the eagle, and on the third of September, 1861, we steamed down the Chippewa for Madison on the steamer Stella Whipple, arrived there on the sixth, and were mustered into the United States service that afternoon for three years or during the war. The Seventh Wisconsin was already organized and about ready to start for the front when we reached there, but they got very excited over our eagle, lined up on each side of the entrance gate to Camp Randall, and cheered him with a will. Governor Alexander Randall was very much interested in him too. There were very few days while we were at Camp Randall when the governor and some of his friends were not seen examining and admiring our eagle, and it was this that made us make up our minds to take him south.
The eagle was carried the same way that the flag was. The bearer wore a belt with a socket attached to receive the end of the staff, which was about five feet long. Holding the staff firmly in hand, the bearer could raise the eagle about three feet above his head, which made him quite conspicuous. The bird had a leather ring around one leg to which was attached a strong cord about twenty feet long. When marching or engaged with the enemy, the bearer wound the cord up on the shield, giving the eagle about three feet of slack.
On the morning of October 12, 1861, we left Madison for St. Louis, Missouri, where we arrived on the fourteenth. In marching up through the city of Benton Barracks, in some manner the eagle got loose and flew up over the tops of the high buildings out of sight. We thought we had lost him, but in a short time a policeman returned him to us; so we were all happy again. The policeman said that when the eagle got over the buildings he lit on the next street.
We stayed in St. Louis only one night, when we were ordered to Pilot Knob and from there to Frederickson,
Missouri, where we had our first engagement with the Confederate general Jeff Thompson. We gave him a good whipping which kept him quiet for some time. About the middle of January, 1862, the Eighth and its eagle were ordered to Cairo, Illinois, where we stayed until March 4, when we were ordered south to take part in the siege and capture of Island No. 10 and New Madrid, Missouri, which surrendered on the eighth of April, 1862, with seven thousand prisoners and a large amount of heavy guns and stores. During all this time our eagle was growing to be a very beautiful bird, admired by everybody. The officers of the gunboats and their men would come ashore and hunt up our regiment to see our eagle and admire him, and question us about how he behaved in battle, what we fed him, etc.
About the twentieth of April we were ordered up the Tennessee River to Hamburg Landing to take part in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi. May 9 we had a hard battle at Farmington, Mississippi, where our eagle showed his grit by spreading his wings and screaming through the smoke and roar of battle. He was borne safely through by James Maginnis. After the rebels evacuated Corinth, May 29, 1862, we marched in and took possession on the morning of the thirtieth. The same day Maginnis was taken sick and sent to the hospital, where he died September 19, 1862. Thomas J. Hill was detailed bearer on May 30, 1862, and served until August 18 of the same year, when he was appointed to a position in the wagon train, and the writer of this article was detailed bearer, serving until December 28, 1862.
We called the eagle "Old Abe" at that time. Then we followed the retreating enemy as far as Booneville, Mississippi, where we were ordered back to Corinth and went into camp at Clear Creek, Mississippi. There the eagle had the best time of his life for about two months. He was given complete liberty. He would go all through the brigade
but would come home to Company C in the evening and fly onto his perch. Tom Hill would take him down to the creek two or three times a week and let him bathe in the water, much to Old Abe's delight. After we left that camp we allowed him no more liberty, as we were never long enough in one place for him to get acquainted with his surroundings.
We started August 22, 1862, on a campaign through Alabama, marched as far as Courtland, stayed there a few days; then marched to Iuka, Mississippi, where we had a hard skirmish with rebel cavalry. That was on September 13, 1862. Another skirmish took place there on September 16 and a very severe battle on the nineteenth in which we routed the enemy in good shape.
Our next move was to Corinth, as it had been reported that the rebels under Generals Price and Van Dorn were organizing a force of about twenty-five thousand men at Holly Springs to retake that place. Now as there have been many exaggerated stories told about the eagle's behavior in that battle, I am going to give the straight facts. course, all of the members of Generals Price and Van Dorn's army knew that there was a Wisconsin regiment opposed to them which carried a live eagle, and the officers had cautioned their men the morning of the third of October to take that eagle dead or alive. I got my information from prisoners of war whom we captured there. That was one of the battles in which I carried him, so I know the facts. The eagle was borne beside the flag and made quite a conspicuous mark. About 3 P.M. we reached the battle field. The troops in front of us were running out of ammunition and were slowly falling back for want of cartidges. General D. S. Stanley, commanding our division, ordered us to lie down and let the enemy get up closer. When we got up, our eagle and flag were in plain sight of the enemy, and then they gave a rebel yell and came for the eagle and