Byron D. Hamlin Commends Volunteers During Bucktail Departure Reenactment

May 8, 2011

Smethport Web — by Nathan Muller

Ross Porter opened the week long Bucktail reenactment on Saturday, April 23, 2011 commemorating the departure of the volunteer militia from Smethport 150 years ago.

“As reenactors, we are a living monument. We do this not to glorify the events, but to give tribute to the events and to the people who struggled and fought.”

See photos of the Bucktail departure reenactment.

The reenactment took place at the Courtyard Restaurant in Smethport, which is the former site of The Bennett House where the first meetings were held to form the Bucktails. Read more

Company “I” Reenactor John Stengel Rallies Militia Volunteers During Bucktail Reenactment

May 3, 2011

Smethport Web — by Nathan Muller

In April 1861 men from throughout the region congregated in Smethport to answer the call of Thomas K. Kane to join a militia. The Bennett House Hotel, site of Kane’s recruiting headquarters, burned in 1881, and is now home to the Courtyard Restaurant.

Among those who volunteered for the militia and took the oath of service in Smethport was S.G. Southwick. During the reenactment, Southwick was played by Friendship, NY resident John Stengel, who gave a rousing speech to motivate the volunteers before they marched off toward Emporium on their way to Harrisburg and, ultimately, legendary Civil War status. Read more

Bucktail Raft Reenactment Held in Driftwood

May 3, 2011

Smethport Web — by Ross Porter

Saturday morning, April 30, Bucktail reenactors launched a giant raft at the Route 555 Driftwood Bridge immediately west of PA Route 120 where Sinnamahoning Creek enters the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, concluding a weeklong commemoration of the Sesquicentennial 2011 Civil War Bucktail Formation and Departure.

The authentic raft was constructed by Bucktail reenactors April 2 and 3 under the guidance of Saint Marys, PA residents, Gary Gilmore and Chuck Copello, both Company K reenactors.

See photos of some of the craftsmen and reenactors.

Following their departure and march from Smethport 150 years ago, the newly ordained Bucktails traveled by foot to Driftwood, PA, a distance of nearly 60 miles through twisted and gnarled woods and wagon trails. Along the way they were joined by the Cameron County Rifles, and new recruits from throughout the region, each now wearing the bucktail symbol. Read more

Bucktail Formation and Departure Reenactment to be Held April 23 in Smethport

April 13, 2011

Smethport Web — by Ross Porter

On Saturday, April 23 in Smethport, PA, the Sesquicentennial 2011 Civil War Bucktail Formation and Departure will be reenacted in front of the McKean County Courthouse at 500 Main Street.

Activities begin with an 8:00 - 9:30 am breakfast at the Bennett House, now the site of Courtyard Restaurant, across from the McKean County Courthouse.

The reenactment officially begins at 9:30 in front of the courthouse with Saint Marys, PA resident Civil War Co. K Reenactor Charles Copello serving as Colonel Kane and Wharton, PA resident Civil War Co. I Reenactor Clarence Walker as Captain William T. Blanchard.   Read more

Tribute to the Bucktails

July 27, 2008

The Bucktails were formed as the result of a recruiting drive by political activist and prominent businessman Thomas L. Kane in 1861. Pennsylvania governor Andrew G. Curtin authorized Kane to form two companies of volunteers.

Throughout the region, about 700 men answered the call for foot soldiers, coming from the wilderness areas of Elk, McKean, Tioga, and Cameron counties. Most were expert marksmen, giving the Bucktails their well deserved reputation as sharpshooters.

Bucktail 'muster'

Bucktail “muster”.

In Smethport, outside the present McKean County courthouse, 70 volunteers assembled for duty. Before leaving the borough one of the men, James Landregan, plucked a tail from a deer hanging outside a local butcher shop and stuck it in his cap. Others took pieces from the hide to put in their caps. When Kane saw this he decided to call his troops the Bucktails. Even the regimental flagstaff, a green hickory pole, was topped by a bucktail.

Company K of the 150th Bucktails was assigned guard duty at President Abraham Lincoln’s summer cottage just three miles from the White House. Other Bucktail units participated in major engagements at Dranesville; the Seven Days Battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill, New Market Crossroads and Malvern Hill; Second Bull Run; South Mountain; Antietam; Fredericksburg; Gettysburg; the Wilderness and Spottsylvania; Bethesda Church.

There are several Bucktail re-enactor groups in the region, including the Bucktail Re-enactors Group, Co. I, in Smethport. Local photographer Les Jordan, Jr. has put togeher this tribute to the Bucktails, featuring members of the re-enactors group.

Ross Porter offers this historical perspective of the Bucktails, focusing on the initial recruitment drives by Thomas L. Kane and Asa Cory, as well as the role of recruit James Landregan in creating the “Bucktail” monicker.

Bucktail Civil War Day for 6th Grade Smethport Elementary

May 14, 2008

Jovanna Porter organized a Smethport Bucktail Unit Civil War Day for her students today. Students were separated into groups and circulated between various workshops. The entire class gathered to witness multiple firings of a replica Civil War Napolean cannon provided by Smethport resident Brian Gustafson. Read more


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