Summary

Conflict Period:
Civil War (Union) 1
Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Sergeant Major 1
Birth:
Maine 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
William B Hincks 1
Birth:
Maine 1
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Civil War (Union) 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Sergeant Major 1
Enlistment Location:
Connecticut 1
Date:
03 Jul 1863 1
Location:
At Gettysburg, Pa 1
Military Unit:
14th Connecticut Infantry 1

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  1. Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863-2013 [See image]
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Stories

During the highwater mark of Pickett's charge on 3 July 1863 the colors of the 14th Tenn. Inf. C.S.A. were planted 50 yards in front of the center of Sgt. Maj. Hincks' regiment. There were no Confederates standing near it but several were lying down around it. Upon a call for volunteers by Maj. Ellis, commanding, to capture this flag, this soldier and 2 others leaped the wall. One companion was instantly shot. Sgt. Maj. Hincks outran his remaining companion running straight and swift for the colors amid a storm of shot. Swinging his saber over the prostrate Confederates and uttering a terrific yell, he seized the flag and hastily returned to his lines. The 14th Tenn. Carried 12 battle honors on its flag. The devotion to duty shown by Sgt. Maj. Hincks gave encouragement to many of his comrades at a crucial moment of the battle.

William B. Hincks is described in the regimental history as born in Bucksport, Maine who moved to Bridgeport,
Connecticut as a lad who abandoned his educational dreams to enlist in Company A, Fourteenth Connecticut.
He is described as a man with strength of mind and purity of purpose, integrity of character, and frankness of
manner who could not fail to influence his comrades and win their love and esteem. (Regimental History,
p.157) Hincks enlisted as a private and rose quickly through the ranks of the regiment. On August 20, 1862 he
mustered into "A" Co. Connecticut 14th Infantry as a private, promoted Sergeant in February, 1863, Sergeant
Major in June, 1863, Adjutant, in October 1863 and Major in April, 1965. He was mustered out with his
regiment on May 31, 1865 (American Civil War Research Database), having been in service from Antietam to
Appomattox with the 14th Connecticut Regiment.
He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on December 1, 1864. His citation read: During the
highwater mark of Pickett’s charge on 3 July 1863 the colors of the 14th Tenn. Inf. C.S.A. were planted 50
yards in front of the center of Sgt. Maj. Hincks’ regiment. There were no Confederates standing near it but
several lying down around it. Upon a call for volunteers by Maj. Ellis, commanding, to capture this flag, this
soldier and 2 others leaped the wall. One companion was instantly shot. Sgt. Maj. Hincks outran his
remaining companion running straight and swift for the colors amid a storm of shot. Swinging his saber over
the prostrate Confederates and uttering a terrific yell, he seized the flag and hastily returned to his lines. The
14th Tenn. carried 12 battle honors on its flag. The devotion to duty shown by Sgt. Maj. Hincks gave
encouragement to many of his comrades at a crucial moment in the battle. (R.J. (Bob) Pfoft, Editor, United
States of America’s Medal of Honor Recipients, Fifth Edition, Pg. 897.)
Major Hincks returned to Bridgeport after the war and became a bank executive; he served on many corporate
boards and helped P.T. Barnum found the Barnum Museum and Bridgeport Hospital. He also wrote about local
history. He married Mary Louise Hart in 1866 and they had three sons. They lived in a house on Park Avenue
and Prospect Streets that has since been demolished. He was a deacon in his church and involved in many
community activities. Major Hincks died on November 7, 1903 at the age of sixty-two and is buried in
Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

William B. Hincks; Sergeant Major, 14th Connecticut Infantry. Issued December 1, 1864.

July 3rd. During the high water mark of Pickett's Charge on July 3rd. the colors of the 14th Tennessee Infantry C.S.A. were planted 50 yards in front of the center of Sgt. Maj. Hincks' regiment. There were no Confederates standing near it but several were lying down around it. Upon a call for volunteers by Major Ellis to capture this flag, this soldier and two others leaped the wall. One companion was instantly shot. Sgt. Maj. Hincks outran his remaining companion running straight and swift for the colors amid a storm of shot. Swinging his saber over the prostrate Confederates and uttering a terrific yell, he seized the flag and hastily returned to his lines. The 14th Tennessee carried twelve battle honors on its flag. The devotion to duty shown by Sgt. Maj. Hincks gave encouragement to many of his comrades at a crucial moment of the battle.

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