GDG- William Addleman of the Bucktails

Dave Glorioso glory at
Sun Jan 22 22:17:24 CST 2012

Sorry for the longest post ever but I have a great story to tell-

My father in law has told me about a large amount of fighting in their hometown, Curwensville PA during the civil war. I never believed him.
Then we ate at Clearfield's Denny's, not the chain but a restaurant outside Curwensville, famous for serving 1/2 lb,2lb,3lb and 6lb burgers! Woohoo!
Denny's had a pamphlet describing the fight at Knox township in Clearfield.
Interesting, because it involved Tom Adams who deserted the bucktails feb 1863 and led a gang of Democratic ruffians that were using intimidation to encourage draft evasion and similar Copperhead activities.
The truth is that the home of the Bucktails had become a hotbed for deserters and draft evaders.
The military responded by sending soldiers to discourage and apprehend these traitors. An example that erupted in violence follows:
Col Cyrus Butler had been to Clearfield 
Oct 30 1862 to apprehend  draft evader Joseph Lansberry. When Butler entered Lansberry's house he was shot in the stomach and killed. Before his death he ascended the stairs, shooting Lansberry in the arm. Lansberry yelled" you damned sons of bitches" and clubbed Butler senseless down the stairs!
The fight at Knox in Clearfield was just as interesting.
 Maj Frederick Gaebel, former 7th NY officer, was sent to get Tom Adams, bucktail deserter and leader of the gang of deserters.
Tom Adams was a typical PA Appalachian. Poor. Tough.
When Gaebel and his soldiers came,most of Adam's gang surrendered.
Adams ran upstairs and shot and killed a private from the window.
Adams kicked through a back wall and jumped on the roof of the outhouse.
He escaped into his garden but was shot and killed trying to flee.

I wanted to know more about my wifes hometown!

I then found out that co k of the 13 PA reserves 5 corps was from Curwensville! They were the raftsmen rangers.
My research led me to a great book:
Deserter Country : Civil War Opposition in the Pennsylvania Appalachians (North's Civil War)
by Robert M. Sandow 
Fascinating book about the uncivil war in the PA Appalachians. Detailed with lots of primary sources and insight on why the bucktail region went from rabid support to violent protest.
Briefly, it began with Union war spirit but these lumbermen and raftsmen became bitter about being displaced by local mills that used wageworkers. The draft and brutality of war made them bitter.

Finally, we reach the story of William Addleman. He was from Curwensville and injured at Gettysburg. On Day2, the bucktails charged into the valley of death. Day 3, they cleared the valley of death and devils den of Rebs after picketts charge.
He was involved in a bit of controversial violence that began in a Curwensville tavern, when recovering in 10-1863. From the book:

In October 1863, several self-identified Republican men were drinking in a Curwensville tavern run by an outspoken and ill-tempered Democrat named George W. Bloom. The incident occurred the day before the fall election that would decide the governorship of the state. Democrats had held a large political rally, adding palpable tension in the community. As Bloom tended his customers, William Addleman,a wounded veteran, uttered several cheers for Republican incumbent Andrew Gregg Curtin. The two men scuffled before Bloom knocked the man to the ground, opening his Gettysburg wound anew.
Several witnesses decided to punish Bloom for his shameful mistreatment of the wounded soldier. After the tavern-keeper went to bed, the man’s friends tried to force their way into Bloom’s home pretending that they were provost marshals. Unable to gain entrance, they used stones and clubs to break windows and bang on doors. When the tavern-keeper opened the front door brandishing an axe, the men scurried off leaving behind a can of tar and a bag of feathers. According to Bloom, the attackers threw a stone that struck one of his children and fired a revolver at his wife as she screamed for help from a second story window. At the trial in January, the three men were found guilty of rioting. Asserting that the jury was overwhelmingly Democratic, the Raftsman’s Journal deemed it a “political conviction” complaining that “the cause seems to have assumed more the character of a political crusade, than the vindication of our criminal statutes.”  At the sentencing in March, Democrats came in for their share of disappointment. When the case was called before the judge, defendant’s counsel produced three pardons from Governor Curtin. The Democratic editor took it as a sign that Republicans could terrorize their political opponents with impunity. Most importantly, partisan interpretations of the trial’s outcome added bitterness to community relations.
   William Addleman's sympathetic accomplices were Solomon Pyle, Richard Bard, and Zenas Hartshorn [sic.] The case also involved other partisan interpretations as to who started the fight and who was present on the night of the attack. Bloom argued that the veteran was drunk and given steel knuckles by his Republican friends to goad Bloom on. Republicans countered that Bloom was well known to be combative and of “bad reputation” and had been drinking that night as well.

Thanks for your patience
Hope someone read and enjoyed it half as much as me. Funny thing is Curwensville hasn't changed much.
My wife knew descendants of a good number of the Curwensville past.
In fact, there were articles in the book where soldiers basically called them inbreds!
I have always joked that the town was so small that I suspected everyone was related to each other and  heard dueling banjos. 
Get the book to learn about the dark side of PA during the civil war.
Sent from my iPhone

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