Category: don troiani

First Muster of the Massachusetts Bay Colonial…

First Muster of the Massachusetts Bay Colonial Militia in Spring 1637, the birth of the National Guard and the oldest unit of the US military, painted by Don Troiani, 12 Dec 2011

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Don Troiani, “The Eagle of the 8th&rdquo…

Don Troiani, “The Eagle of the 8th”, Old Abe at Vicksburg

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Source: Don Troiani

This painting depicts the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment and its famous mascot, the Bald Eagle affectionately named “Old Abe”, at the 1863 Siege of Vicksburg.

In 1861 an eaglet was captured in Northern Wisconsin by an Ojibwe Indian who sold it to a lumberman for a bushel of corn who in turn sold it for $2.50 to a group of local volunteers who were on their way to Madison for training. The volunteers were members of a company from Eau Claire who called themselves the “Badgers” and presented the eaglet to their commander who named it after President Lincoln. Upon their arrival at Camp Randall they were designated C Company, 8th Infantry Regiment, and changed their nickname from “Badgers” to “Eagle Company” after their new mascot. The Regiment as a whole would eventually be known as the “Eagle Regiment” and would march in to battle behind their colors and Old Abe.

Abe would see action with the 8th throughout the Western Theater of the war where, at Corinth, he was shot through a wing and broke lose from his perch to fly over the Regiment. The incident was then exaggerated by journalists who began to declare that he frequently flew over the Regiment as it was fighting. Southern Civilians took to calling him “that Yankee Buzzard” rather than “Abe” and Confederate Soldiers frequently made efforts to capture him but failed.

When the volunteers of the Regiment mustered out in late 1864 they turned Abe over to the State of Wisconsin who treated him as a war relic. Abe became a celebrity with his own apartment and attendant, he would also frequently tour the country for charitable causes. In February 1881 a fire broke out in the Capitol Building and Abe died as a result of smoke exposure a month later. He was stuffed and his remains were displayed until 1904 when another fire would completely destroy the Capitol Building – just five weeks after the legislature cancelled its fire insurance policy.

Abe would serve as the inspiration for the 101st Airborne Division’s crest and patch after they were stationed in Milwaukee following World War One. A replica of Abe watches over the Wisconsin State Assembly in the Capitol Building and he’s featured prominently in the Camp Randall Memorial Arch.

Confederates of the 2nd Louisiana Brigade, out of ammunition,…

Confederates of the 2nd Louisiana Brigade, out of ammunition, throwing rocks at Union troops at Second Manassas. Don Troiani

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The original name of this painting is “The Diehards”.