Stories of the Civil War Soldiers of St. Charles Written by Jennifer Trail

An Eagle Named Abe

The 17th Illinois Cavalry Regiment, which was the second regiment to be stationed at Camp Kane, had a golden eagle mascot named Abe.  The soldiers had heard stories of eagles seizing children, lambs and rabbits, so they gave Abe the eagle a chicken to ensure the children and livestock of St. Charles would be safe.  The soldiers quietly waited to see if the eagle would make a meal of the chicken.  The two birds cautiously observed each other before Abe made his move. To the soldiers surprise, instead of eating the chicken Abe tucked the chicken under his wing and guarded the hen.  The two were quite attached and stayed by one another for a few days.  The soldiers eventually had to dispose of the chicken but there was no doubt that the chicken and eagle were friends.

A Grand Reunion

On July 14th, 1924, 206 Civil war veterans from the 8th Illinois Cavalry Regiments came together to march together one last time.  They disembarked from the Northwestern train and marched to Main Street.  The men all marched in perfect unison, not one was distracted by the cheers of the crowd on either side.  They marched over the Main Street Bridge and up the hill until they were across from where the Baker Memorial Park is today. The trees the men saw were planted when they were young boys and this was where the magnificent silk banner was torn in the wind they day they assembled to go to the front.  From there they marched south and within a few more turns they had arrived at their old camp ground.  There all voices broke into song as they remembered their days in the war.

A Bad Omen

Before the 8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment left for war, the town of St. Charles gathered to send the soldiers off with the presentation of a silk flag.  As the beautiful silk banner was placed on the flagstaff all eyes were upon the flag in anticipation.  People were in awe as the silk gleamed in the light of the sun.  A gust appeared and instead of flowing gracefully, the wind struck the banner and it was thrown about and torn.  They believed this was a sign that the United States Government would be divided and the 8th Illinois Cavalry would be the causes of this division.