I don’t often feature enlisted men in the Fiddler’s Green series, for the simple reason that there isn’t normally much information available about them. I found the case of Ephraim Adams somewhat unique, though. He literally grew up in his company, and held every enlisted rank in it before falling at its head in battle.
Ephraim Adams was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in late 1839. He was enlisted into Company F, 2nd U.S. Dragoons at Carlisle on December 24, 1855 by Lieutenant Tyler as a bugler at the age of 16. His enlistment documents describe him as 5’4″ tall, with gray eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion. He served his first enlistment on the frontier with his regiment, earning the rank of sergeant just before reenlisting in Company F at Fort Kearney, Nebraska Territory on September 20, 1860.
Ephraim continued to serve with his company through most of the Civil War, earning the rank of first sergeant by the time he reenlisted a second time. Lieutenant Robert Lennox, his former sergeant major, reenlisted him into Company F on July 12, 1864 at Light House Landing, Virginia, as the regiment recovered from Sheridan’s two raids. Due to heavy losses among the regiment’s officers, he was commanding his company when the regiment moved to the Shenandoah Valley in early September.
First Sergeant Adams was leading his company during the battle of Cedar Creek when he received a gunshot wound to the face on October 19, 1864. After initial treatment at a field hospital on the battlefield, he was admitted to the U.S. General Hospital at York, Pennsylvania on October 26th. He did not regain consciousness before he died there on November 1, 1864. According to the final statement signed by First Lieutenant James Cahill, a former fellow first sergeant, he was buried on November 3, 1864 in plot #130 at Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania.