GDG- William Addleman of the Bucktails

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Sun Jan 22 22:25:30 CST 2012

Good Post.
Why don't you do another even longer?
"Just  the facts, ma'am." 

Your Most Obediant Servant

In a message dated 1/22/2012 11:18:40 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
glory at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
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.
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