Gleason enlisted as a private in the 4th New Jersey Infantry Militia
Regiment (Also known as the Twentieth New Jersey Infantry) on April
14,1861, and was subsequently assigned to Company G. The Fourth Regiment Militia was commanded by Colonel
Matthew Miller, Jr.; his officers were Lieutenant Colonel Simpson R.
Stroud and Major Robert C. Johnson. This regiment was mustered into
the U. S. service at Trenton, April 27, 1861, to serve for three months, and left the state for Washington,
D. C., on May 3, with 37 commissioned officers and 743 non-commissioned
officers and privates, a total of 777. On the evening of May 5 it
reached the capital, and on the 9th it was ordered to go into camp
at Meridian hill, where, within a few days the entire brigade was
encamped, and where, on the 12th, it was honored by a visit from
the president, who warmly complimented the appearance of the
troops. On the evening of May 23 it joined the 2nd and 3d regiments
and about midnight took up the line of march in silence for the
bridge that spanned the Potomac. This bridge was crossed at 2
o'clock on the morning of the 24th, the 2nd was posted at Roach's
spring, and the 3d and 4th about half a mile beyond on the
Alexandria road. On July 16, a guard was detailed from the 4th for
a section of the Orange & Alexandria railroad, which it was important
to hold; one company from the regiment guarded the Long bridge;
still another was on duty at Arlington mills; and the remainder of
the regiment, together with the 2nd, was ordered to proceed to
Alexandria. On July 24, the term of service having expired, the 4th
returned to New Jersey and was mustered out at Trenton, July 31, 1861.
The total strength of the regiment was 783, and it lost by
discharge 6, by promotion 2, by death 2 and by desertion 7,
mustered out, 766.
Private Gleason was among those mustered out on July 31, 1861 at
men who served with Company G became members of the Camden Fire
Department after it was founded in 1869, including Benjamin
Kelly Brown, Henry F.
Surault, Edward Mead, William
Cox, William W. Mines, and
James M. Lane. Other Fourth Infantry men who served
A. Zimmerman, Charles
G. Zimmerman, William
C. Lee, George B.
H.H. Clark, Cornelius
M. Brown, John
J. Brown, Benjamin
Connelly, and G.
Rudolph Tenner. Several other Fourth Infantry veterans played
significant roles in Camden in the ensuing years.
June of 1863, in response to General Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, a
call was issued in that state for new troops by the states' governor.
Eight "emergency regiments" were raised prior to the battle at
Gettysburg, and other militia units followed. William Gleason crossed
the Delaware and on July 9, 1863 enlisted as a Corporal in Company
K, 52nd Infantry Regiment Pennsylvania.
The emergency regiments were mustered out soon after the battle of
Gettysburg, the regiments of militia a little later, various duties
within the state requiring their services for a short time. Some
were employed at Gettysburg, some at Philadelphia in preserving
order, and elsewhere they rendered valuable service.
Corporal William Gleason mustered out of Company K, 52nd Infantry
Regiment Pennsylvania on September 1, 1863.
Gleason worked for the railroad as a foreman at the Market Street depot
after the Civil War. The 1870 Census shows him living in Camden's Middle
Ward with his wife Ellen and children Walter, Elizabeth, William, Isaac,
and Theodore. Three more sons came during the 1870s, Samuel, Harry, and
John. A daughter, Marion, was born in June of 1880
Gleason's brother-in-law, Alfred
Ivins, was appointed to the Camden Fire
Department on April 20, 1872. On October 9, 1872 William Gleason and
nine other men were appointed as extra men with the Camden Fire
Department as replacements for members of Engine
Company 2 and of the Hook & Ladder
Company who had resigned the previous day. William
Gleason took the place of Thomas McCowan with the
Hook & Ladder
Company. He was then living on John Street, as was railroad co-worker
and brother firefighter James M.
Lane, both he and Lane worked for the
railroad. When William Gleason was appointed to the Fire Department, his
stated occupation was "railroad agent". On November 2, 1872 John
W. Streeper, a brother-in-law of William Gleason, was appointed to
the Fire Department and joined William Gleason with the
Hook & Ladder
Gleason served with the Hook & Ladder
Company until May of 1874 when he and nine other men
were removed from service from the Fire Department. During these years,
he and James M.
Lane were next door neighbors, the Lanes at 644 John Street (renamed
Street around 1883), the Gleasons at 646 John Street. Three other firefighters lived
in the 600 block of John Street in the early 1870s, Isaac Randolph at
607, John Vanstavern at
647, and John W. Streeper at 649.
William Gleason was reappointed to the Camden Fire Department on April
8, 1876 as an extra man with Engine
Company 2, replacing William
Bassett. He served for one year, and was replaced in turn by Frank
Turner. William Gleason was still at 646 John Street in 1876.
1878-1879 City Directory lists William Gleason at 406 North Front
1880 Census shows William Gleason and his family at 404 North Front
Street in Camden's First Ward. His occupation at the time was foreman at
the Pennsylvania Railroad's docks. He would remain in this post until
Directories during the 1880s and 1890s give the following address for
William Gleason and family- 1882-1883 at 332 Stevens
at 308 Benson
Street, 1884-1885 at 512 Clinton
Street, 1887-1888 and
1888-1889 at 212 Bridge
Avenue, 1890 at 606 Federal Street, and
1894-1895 at 572 Mickle
a resident of 572 Mickle
Gleason passed away on April 1, 1896. He was survived by his widow,
Ellen Gleason. His widow lived and children lived at 576 Mickle from 1897
through 1899. Nine of his ten children were still alive in 1900. At
that time his widow and children Isaac, Harry, John, and Marion were
living at 704 Washington
Gleason's son, William J.
"Kid" Gleason, was a star baseball player locally and in
the major leagues. He managed the Chicago White Sox to the American
League pennant in 1919, only to have eight of his players throw the
World Series in what came to be known as the Black Sox scandal. Kid
Gleason coached for the Philadelphia Athletics until the end of the
of William Gleason's sons, Harry Gleason, played parts of five years in
the major leagues as well, for Boston and St Louis in the American
League, from 1901 through 1905, and son Isaac "Ike" Gleason
played semi-pro baseball for the Camden Base Ball Club in the 1890s.