Story by Rod Coddington, publisher, Military Images Magazine
Move Over John Burns, Meet John Hicks
Carte de visite of John Hicks by M.S. Simons of Philadelphia, Pa.Officers and enlisted men in the Union army during the second day of the Battle of Shiloh must have been mighty surprised to see a soldier in the ranks old enough to be their grandfather. He was John Hicks, a private in Company D of the 58th Indiana Infantry. A story in the June 16, 1864, issue of the Evansville Daily Journal tells his story:
AN OLD SOLDIER—We had the pleasure yesterday of a visit from a genuine old veteran, a soldier of three wars, a man whose example and patriotism should shame the peace sneaks,and the thousands of of stout, able-bodied stay at homes who are determined that the war shall be prosecuted and the rebellion put down if it takes the last male relative themselves and their wives possess.
One well acquainted with the history of this brave old soldier says:
John Hicks is one of the most remarkable men of our day. A soldier of three wars—he was still in the field at the age of 82. he was born at Flemington, N.J., was raised in Easton, Pa., and worked at his trade in Reading. For the past 20 years he has lived in Indiana. He went into the army in the war of 1812; was again a soldier in 1832 in the Black Hawk war; and in 1860 (being then over 80) he volunteered for three years in the present war, and was enrolled in the 58th Indiana. he was at the Battle of Shiloh, and had a son over 60 years of age, killed there. He has lately been discharged, as somewhat disabled. (His papers prove these facts.) He stands firm and erect, has perfect use of his sight, speech and hearing; uses no cane, and hardly cares to sit down. Such vigor is wonderful. he has lived in the fear of God with temperate habits and hard-working hands. In his manners, modesty and self-respect are combined; he is intelligent and pleasant. Such a man is to be honored; and we owe him something besides. A few persons who chanced to meet him (in the Museum of the Mint) took an interest in him and procured his portrait, which is sold solely for his benefit.
If you are familiar with John Burns of Gettysburg fame, you have to give John Hicks his due.
Researching the life and military service of this soldier is currently in progress. If you have any information to share, including letters, journals, and other personal and public documents, please contact me.