Image of a Civil War portrait of Captain Joshua M. Addeman of who later went on to be elected Secretary of State of Rhode Island.
Joshua Melancthon Addeman was born on November 15, 1840, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Joshua was the son of Thomas & Mary Ann (Flagg) Addeman who were married on June 20, 1836 in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England. After their marriage they migrated to New Zealand where their son, Joshua was born on November 15, 1838. William H. Chenery in his History of the 14th. Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, a Union Coloured unit, published in 1898 and reprinted by the Negro University Press of New York in 1969, wrote a flowing account of Joshua Addeman.
Addeman’s parents were attracted by accounts of many opportunities being available for new settlers and emigrated to New Zealand from Australia. After arriving and living in New Zealand for a few years they were warned of a possible uprising by hostile New Zealand Maori natives and when Joshua was only 4 years old they hastily arranged to leave the Islands; securing passage on a whaling vessel bound for Providence, Rhode Island. They had barely made good their escape from the islands when the expected rebellion broke out, resulting in the complete destruction of the town they had been living in and the murder of many settlers who had remained behind. At one point they barely escaped shipwreck and death, when Captain Jayne of Warren mistook Stonington Harbor for Newport. After a long and hazardous six months sea voyage, Addeman and his family arrived in Providence, Rhode Island in the United States in 1843, and decided to remain.
Addeman was educated in the Providence public school system, continuing his education at Brown University; graduating in 1862. In America he lived at 72 Courtland Street in Providence, Rhode Island. During Addeman’s senior year at Brown University, on May 22, 1862, he decided to enlist in the 10th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers as a private for a three months period of enlistment, and mustered in on May 25, 1862 into Company B, 10th Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry. At midnight of May 25th the Rhode Island National Guard Regiment of which he was a member, was pressed into Federal service ad the 10th Rhode Island Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Zenas R. Bliss. Though absent in the army, Joshua gained a furlough which allowed him to be at home on graduation day and he still graduated with the class of 1862 at Brown University and subsequently took his A.B. Degree there, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the honorary scholiastic fraternity.
The 10th was an emergency regiment ordered formed by Rhode Island Governor William Sprague, formed from Militia units of the Rhode Island National Guards to reinforce Washington D.C when it was threatened by Stonewall Jackson's flanking movement around General Pope's Union Army; prior to the 2nd Battle of Bull Run. The unit was mustered for 90 days of service under the command of Brevet Colonel Zenas R. Bliss, Captain of the U.S. Army Regulars. Addeman mustered out of the 10th Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry after McClellan's arrival with the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula, ending the emergency threat to Washington D.C.; on 1 September 1862. Many thought the 10th should have been extended until after the Battle of Antietam, but it was sent back to Rhode Island, whereby many of the men re-enlisted in other units; Addeman among those who went back into service, serving in Maryland and Virginia during his term of service.
During that time he was actively engaged in recruiting new members and was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the 13th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers; which had not yet been completed. He was eventually commissioned a Lieutenant of the 14th Rhode Island Heavy (Colored) Artillery by Governor Sprague upon its formation. The 14th was later re-designated the 11th U.S. Regular (Colored) Heavy Artillery and Addeman was promoted to the rank of Captain. The 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery was actually formed in late 1862, prior to the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer (Colored) Infantry, but the 54th was deployed for duty before the 14th. He served as Acting Adjutant at Camp Smith in Providence, Rhode Island during the organization of the 2nd Battalion. Upon the final organization of the 2nd Battalion Addeman was commissioned as Captain in the regiment serving with Company L and later with Company H of the 2nd Battalion until the regiment was disbanded on October 27, 1865. Addeman was often placed on detached duty to serve as a member of a court martial board or as Judge Advocate of courts-martial and military commissions, and as Provost Marshal, during his term of service. Before Addeman was mustered out the War Department promoted him to the rank of Captain in the 11th US Coloured Heavy Horse Artillery; one of the segregated colored regiments, stationed in North Carolina, but he declined to take the position.
He is listed in the National Parks data base as Joshua M. Addeman, Captain, Company H, 11th. Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery, organized from the 14th Rhode Island Colored Heavy Artillery, designated the 8th Heavy Artillery on April 4, 1864, and the 11th Heavy Artillery on May 21, 1864. Attached to Defences of New Orleans, Louisiana, Department. of the Gulf, to October, 1865. They did garrison duty at New Orleans and other points in the Defences of that city until October, 1865; mustering out on October 2, 1865. After receiving a discharge from the Union Army, Addeman resumed his college career, specializing in the study of law and was eventually admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1866; engaging in an active practice of law for awhile. During most of the war, Joshua acted as a special correspondent for the Providence Journal and the Evening Bulletin; Rhode Island newspapers. A letter he had published denouncing the Federals for fleecing the colored troops of their pay before leaving for the front, almost cost him a court-martial; but brought him to prominence with Rhode Islanders.
Addeman later became clerk of the Rhode Island House of Representatives for a number of years and was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1867. In April, 1872 Addeman was elected as the Secretary of State of Rhode Island on the Republican ticket, seceding John R. Bartlett and held the office from 1883 until 1887; a total of fifteen years. Joshua was also appointed to the commission named to revise the state statutes in 1880 and later supervised the publication of the new statutes. He also held the office of City of Providence Clerk of Common Council from 1867 until 1882; for which he was paid $400.00 for the year. He practiced Law and was an Notaries Public in his own law office located at 2 College Street Room # 32 Providence, Rhode Island, from 1881 thru 1889, in 1885 the number of the office changed to 19 College Street, but only the number not the location. He became active in 1884 with the Solders and Sailors Historical Society who meet on the 1st Wednesday of each month at 24 Custom House Street, He served as Vice- President. In 1887 Addeman retired from public life, when the Democratic Party came into power and Edwin McGuinness was elected Secretary of State.
In 1889 He became treasure for the newly formed Industrial Trust Company of 57 Westminster Street Providence, Rhode Island, A general banking and trust company, at which time he moved his Law Office to that location. The Industrial Trust Company was at that location until 1894 when they relocated to 49 Westminster Street Providence, Rhode Island where it remained throughout Joshua's life. He remained in that position until July 1, 1895, when he was elected Vice-President of Industrial Trust. In 1913 he was put on the Board of Directors, and in 1923 became a Trustee of The Rhode Island Safe Deposit Company. He maintained all three until his death.
In 1898 Addeman became Vice-president of the Home for Aged Men of Providence, Rhode Island; President of the 10th Rhode Island Veterans Association and President of the Rhode Island Electric Protective Company. He was also an honorary member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati, a member of Prescott Post No. 1, Grand Army of the Republic; a member of the Grand Lodge of Masons, and other Masonic groups in Rhode Island. He also a writer, authoring, “Manual with Rules and Orders for the use of The General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island 1878-79”; written by Joshua M. Addeman, and published by the Secretary of State in Providence, Rhode Island in 1878 and “Reminiscences of Two Years with the Colored Troops” (read the book below).
Addeman was also a charter member of the University Club, an upper class men’s club in 1902, the club is located in Providence. He became Vice-President of Frees Masons Hall Co. in 1927 thru his death. In 1907 he applied for and was granted an invalid pension for his duty in the war.
Military Records - Civil WarCivil War Recruitment Book (1861) Civil War - Fourth Rhode Island Volunteers, Commission on Clothing Reimbursements (1889 - 1894) The Fourteenth regiment Rhode Island heavy artillery (colored) in the war to preserve the Union, 1861-1865 by William H. Chenery Reminiscences of two years with the colored troops Personal Narratives of events in the War of the Rebellion, being papers read before the Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors Historical Society. No. 7, Second Series by Joshua M. Addeman Missouri State Archives: Letter, from Joshua M. Addeman, Providence, Rhode Island to Charles Henry Hardin, September 26, 1876