Confederate, North Carolina
Ezekiel Wilmoth, 21st North Carolina Volunteer Infantry
An impoverished farm laborer from the northern Piedmont of North Carolina, Ezekiel Wilmoth held $50.00 to his name in 1860. At twenty-seven years old he was the father to a young family, including his wife Martha aged twenty-five, his son Bird (5), and his daughters Tallitha (3) and Elizabeth (6 months). As a farm laborer, he held little status in the hierarchy of the Old South. Nonetheless, he was still a white man, free from chattel slavery, able to sell his labor as he pleased, move as he wished, own property, and vote. In 1861 he likely voted for secession, as he enlisted May 20, 1861, the first day of the state’s new found ‘independence’ within the Southern Confederacy. Fighting with the 21st North Carolina Volunteer Infantry from First Manassas to Gettysburg, he was a veteran by the time he arrived on the field July 1, 1863. However, he fought not with rifle, but with a fife, a martial instrument utilized by militaries on both sides of the war for communication, command and control, and comradery. He likely perished in the fighting around the Brickyard and through the streets just northeast of town on July 1st.