91st PA: William Adams

William Adams

Before the war

He was born in Tyrone, Ireland, in 1829/30. [source: date: 5, 12 (56 in 1883). place: 5]

When he enlisted, he was a farmer. [sources: 5, 12 (gardener)]


When he enlisted, he was 5 feet 9 inches tall, and had a light complexion, light eyes, and light hair. [source: 5]

During the war

He enlisted and was mustered into service on 1, 2, 12, or 21 October 1861. He was enlisted for three years, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Captain Sinex. He was a private in company H. [sources: 1, 5, 6 (12 Oct), 9 (2 Oct), 11, 12 (21 Oct, or 2 Oct)]

He was transferred to company D on 4 December 1861. [sources: 1, 6]

He deserted at Alexandria, Virginia. [sources: 3, 4, 5]

On 3 November 1863, he was reported regained from desertion and under arrest. [source: 2]

In December 1863, he was tried by court martial. He was sentenced to lose $5 per month for one year. [sources: 10, 12]

He was wounded on 10 May 1864, at Spottsylvania Court House, Virginia. He was initially treated in a field hospital. [sources: 1, 8, 12]

In his pension application, he claimed that he was transferred first to Fredericksburg, Virginia about 24 May 1864, then to Emory US General Hospital at Washington DC about 20 July 1864, and finally to the US General Hospital at Broad and Prime Streets Philadelphia, in October 1864. He claimed to spend several weeks there, but didn't explain what happened after that. [sources: 12]

According to official records, on 24 May 1865, he was admitted to Harwood General Hospital, Washington DC, with a gunshot flesh wound of the back. [source: 12]

From the May-June 1864, through the May-June 1865, muster rolls, he is reported absent wounded. He owned the US $23 for his gun, and $16 for his arrest. [source: 12]

On 6 June 1864, he received a furlough, for 30 days. [source: 12]

On 31 July 1864, he was reported a deserter. After the war, he applied for charge of desertion to be removed, but he was denied an honorable discharge. [source: 12]

According to the company muster-out roll, he was absent, in hospital, at muster out. He was a private, in company D. [sources: 1, 11]

After the war

On 22 March 1883, he unsuccessfully applied from Pennsylvania for a pension. Since he was discharged, he had been living near Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and working as a farm laborer. He claimed to be partly disabled because of his wound. He was living at 4708 Rhinehart Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [sources: 7, 9, 12]


1 Bates, Samuel Penniman. History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: B. Singerly, state printer, 1869-71. 5 volumes. 'Ninety-first regiment', volume 3, pages 186-233. (In the roster)

2 consolidated morning report, 91st PA, 3 November 1863 (Priv Adams)

3 company D, register of deserters (William Adams)

4 company D, register of deserters (William Adams [second entry])

5 company D, second descriptive roll, entry 12 (William Adams)

6 company H, register of men transferred (William Adams)

7 pension index, by name (William Adams)

8 'The Ninety-first Pennsylvania volunteers', Philadelphia Inquirer 8 June 1864 page 3 (Wm Adams)

9 pension index, by regiment, 91st PA Infantry, company D (William Adams)

10 National Archives Archival Research Catalog (accessed 24 July 2010) (William Adams)

11 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (William Adams)

12 pension documents packet, selected from pension application file, application 476,767 (William Adams)

Sources checked unsuccessfully

1850-1880, 1900-1930 US censuses
can't identify - too many candidates; searched FamilySearch for William Adams born Ireland 1828-1831 (also tried resident Philadelphia 1860) (accessed 6 March 2012)
1860 US census
the two best candidates in 1860 living in Philadelphia (by age and birthplace)—and remember I don't know he was living in Philadelphia—were not farmers; see (A) ward 17 eastern part, microfilm series M653, film 1167, page 555 = 52 (William Adams, 32, drayman, with Mary, 34, born England) and (B) ward 1, precinct 8, microfilm series M653, film 1151, page 426 = 166 handwritten (William Adams 29 laborer, with Ann 43 and three Murphy's)
records of headstones of deceased Union soldiers, 1879-1903
FamilySeach index (accessed 5 March 2012)
Pennsylvania veterans' burial cards
Ancestry index (accessed 7 March 2012)--note that some cards had no regiment listed (but none were in Adams County)


William Adams in the 91st PA gedcom on RootsWeb WorldConnect

William Adams in the 91st PA database

index to compiled service records

[index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania]
[transcribed 5 Mar 2014, from Fold3]

Adams, William
Co. H D, 91 Pennsylvania Inf.
Sgt. | Pvt.
See also 155 Pa. Vols.


pension documents packet

[pension documents packet, selected from pension application file, application 476,767, William Adams]
[transcribed 17 January 2015; received from National Archives and Records Administration]

[image 1]

NO. 476767
VETERAN William Adams
SERVICE Co "D" 91 Pa Inf

[image 2]


War Department,
Washington, Nov 20, 1883.

[in left margin: JM]

Respectfully returned to the Commissioner of Pensions. William Adams, a Private of Company "D", 91 Regiment Penn Volunteers, was enrolled on the 21 day of Oct, 1861, at Philadelphia, Pa for 3 years, and is reported: on Roll for May + June /64, Absent wounded May 10 /64 at which time the Regt was in action at Spottsylvania, Va. So borne to Aug. 31 /64 Sept + Oct /64 Absent, with remark, "wounded May 10 /64 due U.S. $23 for Gun +c and $16 for arrest, Sentenced by Gel. C. M. to lose five dollars per month for one year." So borne to June 30 /65. M.O.R. of Company dated July 10/65, absent Sick in Hosp'l no discharge furnished.

[in left margin: M.S.S.]

Location of wound or nature of sickness not stated.

Regimental Hospital Records or Company Morning Reports are not on file.

[in left margin: 3679-B-83]
"He was admitted to Harwood GH Washington DC
"May 24" 1864 with G.S. flesh wound of back received at
"Wilderness Va May 7th 1864 and furlough June 6" 1864
"for 30 days - reported a deserter July 31st 1864."
"Application for the removal of charge of desertion
"and for an honorable discharge in this case has been

M Baker
Assistant Adjutant General.
[illegible initials]
3679 B" 1883

[image 3]

[written over the top of this card: Patrick Nov 6. 65 [?] V]

Department of the Interior.
June 1", 1883

Respectfully requested of the ADJUTANT GENERAL U.S.A. a report of service and disability in the case No. 476.769, of William Adams. Co. D." 91." Pa. Inftry.

Disabled by g.s. wound in left side received at Spottsylvania, Va. May 10", 184
Discharge not given
W. W. Dudley Commissioner.

[image 4]

11108 B


[image 5]

This must be Executed before a Court of Record or some Officer thereof having Custody of the Seal.

State of Penna County of Philada ss.

On this 20th day of March A.D. one thousand eight hundred and eighty Three personally appeared before me Depy Prothy of the Common Pleas a Court of Record within and for the county and State aforesaid William Adams aged 56 years, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that is [sic] the identical William Adams who was ENROLLED on the 2nd day of October, 1861, in company D of the 91st regiment of Penna Vols commanded by Col Gregory and was honorably DISCHARGED at [blank] on the [blank]; That his personal description is as follows: [blank] That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Spottsylvania in the State of Virginia on or about the 10th day of May, 1864 he Received a Gun Shot wound of left side this while in action and engaged with the enemy.

That he was treated in hospitals as follows: Field Hospital until about May 24th 1864 Then Fredericksburg Va until about July 20th 1864. then Emory US Genl Hospl Washington DC until Oct 1864 Then US Genl Hospl Broad + Prime Sts Phila for two weeks.
That he has not been employed in the military or naval service otherwise as stated above [blank]
That he has not been in the military or naval service of the United States since the [blank] day of Oct 1864
That since leaving the service this applicant has resided in near Darby Delaware Co Penna in the State of Penna and his occupation has been that of a Farm Laborer
That prior to his entry into the service above named he was a man of good, sound, physical health, being when enrolled a Gardener
That he is now Partially disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor by reason of his injuries, above described, received in the service of the United States; and he therefore makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the invalid pension roll of the United States. He hereby appoints with full power of substitution and revocation William B. Rose of 717 Sansom Street. Phila. Pa his true and lawful attorney to prosecute his claim. That he has never received never applied for a pension; that his residence is No. 4708 Rhinehart street Philada Penna and that his post office address is 4708 Rhinehart Street. Phila. Pa

William Adams X his mark

Samuel L McElwee
W H Scholendorn
(Two witnesses who can write sign here.)

[image 6]

Also personally appeared William Simmons residing at 4708 Rhinehart Street, Philada, and Samuel J McElwee residing at 437 North 63rd St Phila, persons whom I believe to be respectable and entitled to credit, and who being by me duly sworn, say that they were present and saw William Adams the claimant sign his name, (make his mark) to the foregoing declaration; that they have every reason to believe from the appearance of said claimant and their acquaintance with him that he is the identical person he represents him self to be; and that they have no interest in the prosecution of this claim.

William Simmons X his mark
Samuel J McElwee
(Signatures of Affiants.)

W H Schloendorn
Samuel L McElwee

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 20th day of March A.D. 1883 and I hereby certify that the contents of the above declaration, &c., were fully made known and explained to the applicant and witnesses before swearing, including the words [blank] erased, and the words [blank] added; and that I have no interest, direct or indirect in the prosecution of this claim.

E A Smith
Clerk of the Depy Prothy [sic]


William Adams Applicant
Co. D, 91st Reg't
Pennsylvania Vols.
Enlisted Oct 2nd 1861
Discharged [blank]

Filed by
William B. Rose
717 Sansom Street
Philada Pa.

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revised 17 Jan 15
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