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Photo by Bryan Skipworth
William A. Hicks
Joseph T. Hicks,
This borrowed in-a-nutshell description of Lt. Hick's naval activities is excellent.
William Anderson Hicks,
born Mississippi, 1843; previous service in the United States Navy, as
midshipman; later served as midshipman aboard the CSS Sumter, 1861; ordered by
his commander, Raphael Semmes, in July, 1861, to take charge of the prize bark
Joseph Maxwell, and proceed to a port in Cuba, for adjudication, by an agent of
the Confederate States, in that port, and then to proceed to the Confederate
States and report to the Secretary of the Navy, for further orders; captured,
while in command of the prize vessel, and sent as a prisoner of war, to New
York; appointed acting master in the line of promotion on September 24, 1861;
later served as lieutenant on the Jackson station, 1862; awaiting orders,
February 8, 1862 to March 26, 1862; Hicks had been appointed lieutenant for the
war, at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on February 8, 1862; attached to the gunboat
Arkansas, March 27, 1862, and died on the steamer CSS Capitol, at Yazoo City,
Mississippi, on April 29, 1862; after his death, his mother, Mrs. Martha M.
Hicks, made claims for his back pay. [1860 U.S. Census; ORN 1, 1, 614 & 625; 1,
16, 738 and 2, 1, 318; ORA 2, 3; CSS Sumter Muster Rolls; Confederate Navy
subject file M - Medical; MN - Discharges from medical custody and deaths;
Deaths - discharges, pages 137-139; Confederate Navy subject file N - Personnel;
NN- Acceptances......Revoked commissions; Acceptances - Appointments of officers
(A - K), pages 556 and 557.]
This is the entry for William A. Hicks in Ragland's Fisher Funeral Home Records Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1854-1867 : "Hicks. W. A. (Lieut.), 7 May 1862; C. S. N.; V. B." [V. B. indicates Vicksburg Hospital.]
He is interred in the family lot at Cedar Hill
William A. Hicks, formerly U.S. Navy, served in the Confederate Navy under Commander Raphael Semmes, C.S. Navy.
This letter to Semmes from Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory in Montgomery, Ala., orders Semmes to assume command of the the Sumter and notes the appointment of William A. Hicks as one of the officers on the Sumter under Semmes. (Offiical Records of the Navies Series 1-1, pg. 613)
Confederate States of America,
Sir : You are hereby detached from duty as Chief of the Light-House Bureau, and will proceed toNew Orleans and take command of the steamer Sumter. The following officers have been ordered to report to you for duty on board tliat vessel, viz : Lieutenants John M. Kell, R. T. Chapman, John M. Stribling, and William E. Evans; Paymaster Henry Myers, Surgeon Francis L. Galt, Midshipmen William A. Hicks, Richard F. Armstrong, Albert G. Hudgins, John F. Holden, and Joseph D. Wilson.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. R. Mallory,
Commander Raphael Semmes, C. S. Navy.
On 22 April 1861, Semmes arrived at the steamer Sumter and began making plans for altering his ship for the purpose he had in mine -- a blockade runner. Along the way, there were enemy ships to destroy or capture for ransom (prizes).
William A. Hicks appears as a Midshipman on the "List of officers of the C.S.S. Sumter" sent by Semmes to the Honorable S. R. Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy 23 May 1861.
Among other ships taken as prizes, was the bark Joseph Maxwell.
William A. Hicks was assigned the duty of the disposition of this ship. Instructions were given to him in this letter from his Commander Semmes. (Official Records of the Navies Series 1-1, pgs. 614, 625)
C. S. S. Sumter, At Sea, July 27, 1861.
Sir : You will take charge of the prize bark Joseph Maxwell and proceed with her to some port on the south side of the island of Cuba,say St. Jago [SantiagoJ, Trinidad, or Cienfuegos, 1 think it would be safest for you to go into Cienfuegos, as the enemy, from the very fact of our having been there recently, will scarcely be on the lookout for us there a second time. Upon your arrival you will inform the governor or commandant of the port of the fact; state to him that your vessel is the prize of a ship of war, and not of a privateer, and ask leave to have her remain in port in charge of a prize agent, until she can be adjudicated by a prize court of the Confederate States. Should he grant you this request you will, if you go into Cienfuegos, put the vessel in charge of Mr. Dias, our agent for the other prizes, but should you go into either of the other ports you will appoint some reliable person to take charge of the prize, but without power to sell until further orders, taking from him a bond with surety for the proper performance of his duty. Should the governor decline to let the prize remain, you will store the cargo with some responsible person, taking his receipt therefor, and then take the ship outside the port beyond the marine league and burn her. Should you need funds for the unlading and storage of the cargo you are authorized to sell so much of it as may be necessary for this purpose.
You will then endeavor to make the best of your way to the Confederate States with your crew, and report yourself to the Secretary of the Navy. You will keep in close custody the accompanying sealed package of papers, being the papers of the captured vessel, and deliver them in person to the judge of the admiralty court in New Orleans. The paymaster will hand you the sum of $100, and you are authorized to draw on the Secretary of the Navy for such further sum as you may need to defray the expenses of yourself and crew to the Confederate States.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, etc.,
Commander, C. S. S.. Navy.
Midshipman W. A. Hicks, C. S. Navy.
A sketch of events concerning William A. Hicks.
This paper concerning Lt. W. A. Hicks says,
I certify that Lieut. W. A. Hicks, C. S. Navy, died at Yazoo City Miss., on
the 29th of April, 1862, while attached to the Gunboat "Arkansas."
This picture is from the Naval Historical Center. It is an engraving of a drawing by J. O. Davidson. The Ram Arkansas is on the left and is being fitted out on the Yazoo River near Vicksburg in spring of 1862. The ship with the cranes is the CSS Capitol, here in the process of loading a gun aboard the Arkansas.
From "Naval Records, Office Memoranda No. 8, Officers in the Confederate
States Navy 1861-1865," Office Naval War Records, Navy Department,
Government Printing Office, Washington, 1898, pg. 62.
Hicks, William A.
Born in ___. Appointed from ___. Resigned as acting midshipman, U.S. Navy, March 7, 1861. Midshipman, April 22, 1861. Acting master, September 24, 1861. Lieutenant for the war, February 8, 1862.
Served on C.S.S. Sumter, 1861. In charge of prize Joseph Maxwell, July 27, 1861. Prisoner, 1861.
[Compiler's note -- not sure about the above mention, "Prisoner." No documentation seen on that yet.]
Many thanks to Bryan Skipworth for help in researching Lt. William A. Hicks.
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