Thursday, November 1, 2012

Old Abe

Old Abe - Mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Regiment in the ACW

Today I am going to teach my daughter's history class about the American Civil War. The kids are 8th graders and probably have a short attention span, so I am limiting my presentation to a few anecdotes about the war and some "show and tell" re-enactment uniforms that I have.

I will do a short piece on Old Abe, the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin.


I had a great time teaching the history class on thursday and the students appeared to enjoy it too. I brought along my Confederate colonel re-enactment uniform and let them try it on. Then I passed a few forage caps around the room: infantry grey, artillery red and cavalry grey with yellow bands. I also had a couple of old minie balls that I had acquired over the years and used that as a segue into a discussion of muskets versus rifles and how the latter changed the style of warfare.

Next, we talked about Old Abe and this seemed to be everyone's favorite part of the presentation.

Finally, I selected a few passages from Sam Watkin's diary "Company Aytch". I focused on some of the funnier passages rather than the descriptions of the battles.

Before I knew it, an hour had passed and it was time to pack everything up and head home. I will see if i can post a picture of the class that the teacher took for me. All in all, it was a fun time and I would definitely do it again.


  1. I wish you the best of Luck for your presentation, sir.

    -- Jeff

  2. Do tell us how it went.Wish we had had stuff like that when I was in school!
    best wishes

  3. Mt first memories of "Old Abe" go back to the age of four when my dad took me to see the Cyclorama Painting of the Battle of Atlanta. The eagle was featured in the painting.

    I think it is great that you are doing this presentation for the kids. I used to do a lot of them when I was a re-enactor. 8th graders loved to hear horror stories of bad rations and camp punishments. Especially right before lunch.