Mortally Wounded at Pickett’s Charge! Grouping of Wartime Letters, Wallet, and Tintypes of J. A. Hicks, 47th North Carolina Infantry, Mortally Wounded July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg. Includes the Letter Notifying His Wife of Her Husband’s Death - Inventory Number: GET 397
Stunning and historic grouping from the descendants of J.A. Hicks, a 25 year old painter that enlisted in March, 1862 as a sergeant in the 47th North Carolina Infantry. Hicks’ regiment was part of Pettigrew’s Brigade where it was heavily engaged in Reynold’s Woods during the first day’s action at Gettysburg. The depleted 47th formed in the front rank of Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd as part of Pettigrew’s former brigade, now under the command of James Marshall. The 47th North Carolina suffered severe casualties advancing nearly to the stone wall just north of The Angle. A few men actually crossed the wall and were immediately captured. J.A. Hicks was among those listed as killed in action during the grand assault. The accompanying letter to Hester A. Hicks by a member of the U.S. Christian Commission details her husband’s death at Gettysburg.
“Gettysburg July 13th 1863
Mrs. H.A. Hicks
Morganton, N. Carolina
I have just witnessed the death of your dear husband Sergeant J. A. Hicks, 47th Regiment N. Carolina Troops. He was badly wounded at the battle of Gettysburg, July 3rd and lingered until today about 12 o’clock. He died trusting in his savior, and was happy and willing to depart. I send you by the Christian Commission some shirt studs which I thought you would appreciate as mementos. He was buried about 4 miles South East of Gettysburg on the grounds occupied by the 2nd U.S. Army Corps near the woods by the creek- marked Sgt. J.A. Hicks 47th N.C. Regiment. Hoping that God will abundantly counsel you on this sad bereavement, I remain truly yours for the U.S. Christian Commission.
54 N 8th, Phila.”
The lot includes two more wartime letters. The first is a partial letter from his sister, which Sergeant Hicks has used to keep a record of his regiment’s movements and marches during the month of April 1862. The second is a full letter to his wife Hester, written just prior to the commencement of the Gettysburg Campaign.
“Camp Hanover Junction VA, June 2/63
I resume my seat a pon the ground as yousail for the purpose of informing you that I am in good health and I cincearly hope when this reaches you that you will be injoying the same blessing wee have bin fairing sumptuously sence we came to VA wee draw flour bacon beef shugar rice & a little soap. The boys came to VA verey reluctantly thinking they would hav to starve but they hav faired verey well so far as for my part I am verey well contented with what we get if uncle Jeff will just continue to give us as good as we ar getting at this time. I have know news of interest to write at this time the yanke forces has fallen back from Vicksburg 25 mls I hear so meney fals rumors a bout the federal army on the Rappahanick I know not what to beleave I can hear one day that our army is crossing over towards Maryland and the next that the yankes is crossing the Rappahanick near Fredericksburg a gain for a nother fight. I expect they will be something dun in a few days I herd this morning that the 11st Regt. started towards Fredericksburg last knight and a good meney other troops that was near the junction our Regt is not ordered of yet and may not be.
My dear hester this war is a trubelsome and anoying thing to me when I cast a reflecting mind a pon the sean of action knowing the trubel that is in our land and that I am deprived of so grate pleasure as that of being with you and our sweet babe but thank god I have a hope that will keep me from dying in despair- I would be happy to be with you all if I could giv my love and respects to all the fameley write soon from your affectonet husband J.A. Hicks.”
Hicks continues his letter with a record of the moves and marches of the 47th North Carolina from April 1862 to June 1863. He tallied the number of miles traveled as 1,064 by railroad and 792 marched.
The grouping includes a document for North Carolina troops, appointing Hicks as Fifth Sergeant of Company I, dated May 1862.
The accompanying leather wallet was presumably with Hicks’ personal effects upon his death, and contained the included One Dollar Confederate note and the small, Fifty Cent 1861 dated North Carolina note. The wallet is lined with green Moroccan leather and is in strong condition with supple leather. There is a partially legible ink inscription on the exterior of the wallet.
Two 1/9th plate tintypes are included in this great family collection. One depicts a young woman with some emulsion loss and bends, as if it was frequently carried. It’s a fair assumption that the image is that of Hester Hicks, found in his personal effects upon his death. The second image depicts a young man in civilian dress, seated with his hand on a bible. It is unknown who the subject is, given the U.S. revenue stamp affixed to the back of the image.
This is an outstanding and poignant Confederate grouping from the HighWater Mark of the Confederacy at Gettysburg.
J A. Hicks
Residence Wake County NC; a 25 year-old Painter.
Enlisted on 3/4/1862 at Wake County, NC as a Sergeant.
On 4/29/1862 he mustered into "I" Co. NC 47th Infantry
He was Killed on 7/3/1863 at Gettysburg, PA
born in Burke County, NC
Inventory Number: GET 397