Supplementary biographies. 1862.

Charles Edward Hickling.

Sergeant 45th Mass. Vols. (Infantry), September, 1862. discharged for disability contracted in the service, February 9, 1863. died of same disease, December 17, 1867.

Charles Edward Hickling was born in Roxbury, Mass., April 24, 1841,—the only son of Charles and Eliza Brown (Edes) Hickling. He was the great-greatgrandson of William Hickling, who came from England in 1724, and established himself as a merchant in Boston. He was also the lineal descendant of Governor Bradford, the first Plymouth governor. He was fitted for Harvard College at the private school of Mr. Thomas G. Bradford, in Boston, entered college in 1858, and graduated in 1862. When the war of the Rebellion broke out in 1861, his room-mate, James Ingersoll Grafton, soon enlisted in the military service, and he had a strong desire to do the same, but was dissuaded by his parents. After graduation he went on a visit to Stockbridge, and while there, in the midst of a gay circle of friends, heard the news of General Pope's defeat. He wrote at once to his father:—

dear father,—The time has now come when it is necessary for me to go to the war. I think that every one who can go ought to go, and I do not wish to remain behind. I hope you will agree with me, and I think you will.

No opportunity for a commission occurring, he enlisted as sergeant in the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts (Infantry), Colonel Codman. He was a member of Company B, Captain Churchill. The regiment was encamped at Readville from September 5 to November 5, 1862, when it embarked on the steamer ‘Mississippi,’ bound for Beaufort, N. C. The troops reached Beaufort on the 14th, and marched at once to Newbern, where they were placed under command of Major-General Foster. [491]

In December, Sergeant Hickling took part in the ten-days' expedition to destroy the railroad-bridge at Gouldsboroa, during which he was engaged in four battles and marched one hundred and eighty miles. He was well during the whole march, but was attacked with typho-malarial fever a week after his return. During this week most of the sergeants in the company had been off duty, and an unusual severity of labor had devolved on him.

He remained eight days in the camp hospital, and was then removed to the Stanley Hospital in Newbern. His father reached him a fortnight later, and found him wholly prostrated by the fever, and with little prospect of recovery. A month later than this it was the opinion of the surgeons that he could not live in that atmosphere another week, while it was yet very doubtful if he could bear the transportation to his Northern home. He was, however, placed on board the small steamer Ellen Terry, on the 17th of February, under charge of his father and of Dr. J. Ware of Milton.

After a rough and comfortless wintry passage, he reached home on the 22d of February, and was borne into the house on his mattress, during a snow-storm, when the mercury stood at 8°. He revived a little the next day, but sank again, and for seven days lay wholly unconscious. In about four months, however, he could be lifted from his bed, and could sit up for a few hours each day. He slowly improved, but found himself afflicted with an utter helplessness of the lower limbs, pronounced by Dr. Brown-Sequard to be Paraplegia, or paralysis of the spinal cord, resulting from the fever.

For the four years following he remained in much the same condition, and was chiefly dependent for locomotion upon a wheeled chair. During two years of this time he remained at his own home, but was removed, during the summer of 1865, to the shores of Buzzard's Bay, in hopes of benefit from sea air. This failing, he embarked with his father on board the bark Fredonia for Fayal, October 20, 1865, and remained on that island till May 1, 1867, with one short visit to St. Michael's. He then returned to Boston, and continued to improve [492] in strength until he could walk without crutches. In November, however, he took a very severe cold, and his enfeebled constitution soon lost all it had gained. He died December 17, 1867, at the age of twenty-six, having suffered nearly five years of exhausting illness, the result of less than five months of military service.

There are many who can do their duty well upon the battlefield for one who can bear patiently, in early youth, the prolonged martyrdom of a disease like his. Yet it is the accumulated testimony of the many who knew him that his sweetness and endurance seemed inexhaustible. In the words of one of his superior officers in the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts, ‘he was one of the bravest men in the regiment, and stood all the intense hardships of his first campaign heroically.’ But his career after his withdrawal from military service won yet higher praise. It is best described, perhaps, in the words of one of that bounteous household who have so long made Fayal such a haven of blessedness to the many invalids who have sought its repose. Miss Clara Dabney writes of him:—

His character was so round and full that it was some time before I found out what a rare person he was. I always expected him to do and be just as he was, it seemed only natural; but in thinking over it all, I found how much he had unconsciously led me to expect from him. He has left an example as precious as his memory. How much he lived for himself and for others in those twenty-six years!

Another of the same family writes:—

His mission to teach patience and resignation to God's holy will was accomplished, and those who were privileged to be taught by him have learned a lesson they can never forget.

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