“Old Abe,” a bald eagle, was the mascot of Company C, Eighth Wisconsin, who carried the bird into 37 Civil War battles and skirmishes. Abe was a natural battle mascot, screeching encouragement to the soldiers. After the War, the eagle was given to the state of Wisconsin, and he had special quarters in the basement of the state capitol. Old Abe died in 1881; his stuffed body was displayed in the capitol building. Several replicas of the eagle were made; the original was lost when the capitol burned in 1904. One of the replicas has kept watch over the state Assembly Chambers since 1915..

In March 1865, Alfred Sewell, founder of The Little Corporal, seized on the eagle as a way to make money for the Northwestern Sanitary Fair, by founding the Army of the American Eagle. Abe eventually made his way to the first cover of the magazine, as the Corporal’s mascot. The first issue contained a description of the Army of the American Eagle; when Our Young Folks made errors in its article on Old Abe, Sewell announced here that he would print a correction. The “short sketch” of Old Abe mentioned in this piece may have been History of “Old Abe,” the live war eagle of the Eighth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, a 71-page pamphlet written by Joseph O. Barrett and published by Sewell.

“The Veteran Eagle: A Correction,” by Alfred L. Sewell (from The Little Corporal, November 1866; p. 77)

The October number of an Eastern Magazine stated that “Old Abe,” our live Eagle, made a large sum of money, at the last Sanitary Fair, partly by exhibiting himself, and partly by sales of his pictures.

As the writer of that article evidently did not have the correct history of our Children’s Army, I propose, in the December number of “The Little Corporal,” to give a short but correct statement of my delightful work. I have never done so before, except a brief sketch in my first number; but as the Eagle and his work have attracted so much attention, and as I sometimes see erroneous statements, I desire to have the history of “The Army of the American Eagle" put on record correctly now, while it is fresh, and thousands remember all about it, so that none may have excuse for mistakes by and by.

As “The Army of the American Eagle" was my own work, originated and organized, as well as managed and carried to a successful issue, by myself, and as it accomplished more than any other work in the Great Fair, yielding nearly double the amount of money returned by any of the departments, I have decided that it will not be improper in me to state briefly the facts in its history. And as my work with the children resulted in the establishment of “The Little Corporal,” that is the proper paper in which to print the history.

Next month, then, I will give you a few paragraphs about “The Army of the American Eagle,” in the work of which many of you participated. In the meantime, let me say, I have a good work on hand which I want you to feel interested in, as many hundreds certainly will. I am anxious that not only all the children whose parents are able to pay for The Corporal shall have it, but that many thousands may have the benefit of it, though they may not be able to pay; and for this purpose I still offer for sale the beautiful colored album pictures of the Eagle. To every one who sends ten cents, I will forward by mail a short sketch of the life and exploits of the Soldier Bird, and one of the colored pictures above spoken of. All the money thus received is used in supplying “The Little Corporal" to orphan children who are too poor to pay.

Any who would like to sell the pictures among their friends, may have them hereafter at seventy-five cents per dozen; thus enabling them to make a small profit, while they also help to send The Corporal to the poor. All who thus send me as much as one dollar for pictures, may suggest the name and address of a child who is too poor to pay for the paper.

Address       ALFRED L. SEWELL,
Publisher of The Little Corporal,

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