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1864 October 8: Draft Exemptions, and ‘Old Abe’ Donated to the State

October 12, 2014

The following two articles appeared in the October 8, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.

Exempting Drafted Men.

It is important that people should know and act upon the information that, when the draft is made in a sub-district, it should not stop, but rather stimulate, recruiting therein. The circular from the Provost Marshal General’s office, dated Sept. 15th, and issued respecting this draft, contains the following paragraphs :

“If the quota of any sub-district shall be entirely filled by volunteers, after the draft, but before the drafted men are sent to the general rendezvous, then the persons drafted will be excused.

“Volunteers will be excepted and counted on the quota as well as drafted men until it is filled ; and when thus filled, and before the drafted men shall have been sent to the general rendezvous, for every additional volunteer mustered in, a drafted man will be excused, the person excused being taken from the bottom of the list of those drafted, in the reverse order in which they were drawn ; but in no instance will a substitute be exonerated or excused.”

“Qualified substitutes may be furnished by drafted men up to the time they are to be forwarded from the general rendezvous.”

“Local authorities may furnish substitutes for drafted me up to the period, and designate the persons for whom the substitution is made.”

Interesting Presentation.

Old Abe

Old Abe, ca. 1875¹

An interesting presentation was made at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon in the Governor’s room. This was nothing less than the presentation of the celebrated Eagle of the 8th Regiment to the State of Wisconsin. Captain Wolf, of Co. C, the color company, and the one having the care of the Eagle, presented it to Gov. Lewis [James T. Lewis], stating how it was valued by the regiment ; how it had been in their midst, between their flags, in many a victorious conflict with the enemy, and how it had cheered and kept up their spirits by its bright eye and dauntless mien during weary marches and tedium of camp life. It had been with them for three years ; and when the time of the men of the company expired, and they were about to leave the service, they and the veterans voted that the Eagle should be presented to the State, to be kept as an honored and inspiring memento of the 8th Regiment, and the times in which it had fought the battles of the national with the true and strong men who rallied around the flag.

Gov. Lewis on the part of the State had pleasure in accepting the famous eagle of the 8th regiment and assured the Captain that it would be well cared for at the Capitol where it would remain to invoke inspiring memories of the brave boys who had carried it with such honor to themselves and the State.

The Governor then handed the eagle on its perch to Quartermaster General Lund, who he said would see that it was suitably kept.

The eagle never looked better than at present, its plumage being full and glossy and its eye piercingly bright. It will be an honored curiosity at the Capitol, and the many tales connected with its service in the field with the gallant 8th, will often be told and retold to the admiring crowns that perhaps, for years and years will come to see the Badger Eagle.—Madison State Journal.

1.  “Old Abe at the Wisconsin State Capitol (Third),” ca. 1875, from the Wisconsin Historical Society, via Wikipedia, (Image ID: 7536 ).

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