It sounds like you have UTC time running (or UTC minus 5 hours) for some weird reason, which would be Atlantic time, not Eastern time.
You probably need to use the 'date' and 'hwclock' utilities to reset the time. They have to be run in specific order, and I don't remember the order. Google up some info.
You would be well advised to also investigate the man pages for: adjtimex, stime, mktime, timelocal,