Anton Hardt wrote three books about souvenir spoons. In his third book, "A Third Harvest of Souvenir Spoons" he illustrated the Old Abe spoon on page 10 and provided this description on page 11. I have quoted the entire description:
"Old Abe, the Wisconsin war eagle, was captured in the northern wilds of the Flambeau River in the spring of 1861. He was adopted as the mascot of the Eagle Regiment, of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry, and used to perch on a standard that had been made for him. Clinging to this standard, Old Abe was carried in parades and marches and into 39 battles and skirmishes of the Civil War.
A contemporary account graphically describes Old Abe's performance in one of these engagements: 'During a battle, his appearance was perfectly magnificent...At the sound of the regimental bugle, which he had learned to recognize, he would start suddenly, dart up his head, and then bend it gracefully, anticipating the coming shock. When the battle commenced, he would spring up, spread his wings uttering his startling scream, heard, and felt and gloried in by all the soldiers. The fiercer and louder the Storm, the fiercer, louder and wilder were his screams.'
After the war, Old Abe lived in a large room fitted for him in the basement of the Wisconsin State Capitol and there he died on March 26, 1881.
On the spoon, Old Abe is shown resting on the rustic perch that had been made for him. The perch itself bears the dates 1861-65 and just below may be seen the chain which confined the eagle. 'Wisconsin' is lettered down the handle of this spoon which was made by Gorham".
When I wrote my first book, I borrowed the spoon for the picture on page 233. I had long since given hope that I would find this spoon for my own collection. In a group of old spoons at a flea market, I was lucky enough to find a perfect example for my collection.
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