Remembering:Thomas B Winslow and the Bucktails
It appeared apparent in the early part of 1861, that a major conflict between the northern and southern states was inevitable. Thomas L. Kane, an attorney, was an active abolitionist who lobbied Governor Curtain for authorization to raise a regiment of men from Mc Kean, Elk, and Cameron Counties to meet this threat. It was Kane’s belief that Pennsylvania loggers and woodsmen would make excellent soldiers in that they were free spirited men, accustomed to hard work, knew the ways of woods, and were very handy with a rifle, as dinner often depended upon their marksmanship .
Once the governor granted Kane’s request, Kane went to work recruiting men. Kane came to Benezette seeking assistance to raise men. He met with Cole (probably Caleb) Winslow, a local lumberman, to help in this endeavor. Within twenty-four hours, Winslow, with help from his nephew Thomas B. Winslow and John A. Wolfe, was able to sign up 109 men from the Elk County area for this cause. The group assembled at Benezette and elected Thomas Winslow as Captain and thus formed the Elk County Rifles, Company G. The new raw, untrained group of recruits then proceeded to Driftwood to meet the other two companies Kane recruited. This group called themselves the Bucktails. A monument depicting the Bucktails and commemorating their courage stands in a special square in Driftwood.
Kane’s Bucktails built rafts and floated down river to Harrisburg. At Harrisburg, Winslow, due to the small number of men comprising the Elk County Rifles, worked out an arrangement with Hugh Mc Donald, a captain of a group of about the same size from Tioga County, to merge the two units. Winslow, being aware that Mc Donald was a veteran of the Mexican War with knowledge in military matters, felt it was in the best interest of the unit to withdraw his name from election in favor of Mc Donald. During the beginning of the Civil War, captains were selected by a vote of the men in the unit.
Thomas B. Winslow, of the Pennsylvania Bucktials, enlisted on April 21, 1861 at age 24, and then again on May 15, 1861 at Harrisburg as a private in Company G 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 13th Pennsylvania Reserves. He was promoted on January 11, to first lieutenant on January 11, 1862. He was wounded in the fighting near Harrisonburg, Virginia, when a shell fragment hit him. He was captured at Catlett’s Station, Virginia, on August 22, 1862, and confined in Richmond. He was released on September 24, 1862, and sent to Camp Parole, Maryland. Winslow rejoined the regiment in time to participate in the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, where he was again wounded, this time a flesh wound, the bullet having passed through his left hip. He was in command of Company K during the battle, a post he held from October 31, 1862, until February 28, 1863. He was out of action for over a month as it was noted that his wound had not healed by January 15, 1863. In June 1863, Winslow was detached from the regiment to perform recruiting duty at Clearfield. In January to February of 1864, he was on recruiting service in Washington D.C., and again in March and April of the same year at Harrisburg. Winslow mustered out with the regiment on June 11, 1864.
“LEST WE FORGET”
The above is an excerpt from the chapter on the Winslow Family in “Pioneer of Second Fork” by James Burke