Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
Gold Star Biographies
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Pvt. Cleveland Hicks
Co. B, 333rd Infantry, 84th Division
July 8, 1894 - November 4, 1918


   Although Cleveland Hicks entered the service from Evansville
he traveled extensively throughout the South until he was a youth
of sixteen. He was born in DeKalb County, Alabama, July 8, 1894.
The family moved to Nashville, Tenn., Boonsville, Miss., Birmingham,
Ala., and several other towns in Alabama.  In the South, Cleveland
Hicks worked in cotton mills. When he came to Evansville six years
before he entered the service, he worked in a local cotton mill for a
short time, and then he was employed in furniture factories. He
belonged to the local furniture labor union, and the Salvation Army.

   He entered service June 25, 1918, and was sent to Camp Sherman,
Ohio. He was assigned to Co. B, 333rd Infantry.  In September he
went to New Jersey, and then sailed for France. There he was
afflicted with the influenza which developed broncho-pneumonia.
His illness lasted but a few days. He died in Base Hospital No.42,
November 4, 1918, and was buried in France.

   The following letter of comfort was sent to his mother:
     "You have no doubt received a cable telling you about the
      death of your son in our hospital here.  I know that many
      questions will arise during these dark days and I want to
      answer a few of them. Your boy came to us suffering from a
      had attack of the influenza. It soon developed into pneumonia
      and in spite of all the tender care of nurses and doctors,
      he passed away at 6:40a.m., Nov. 4. It is hard to have
      loved ones pass away when they are so far from home. One
      keeps thinking and wondering about his care and those who
      comforted him. It certainly is a comfort to me to be able
      to assure you that no boy ever had more skillful attention
      in his own home. And the nurses and doctors as well as all
      the rest of us love these boys and give them all that it is
      possible and well for them to have.

     "Your son had a military burial. The casket was covered with
      the flag he loved and died for. Six of his comrades carried
      him out. At the grave the Chaplain, who had comforted him
      when he was ill, conducted the service while all the soldiers
      stood at attention about the grave. Then we lowered the casket
      and the bugler sounded taps. A little cross with his name and
      number was raised and then we left him to sleep with his
      comrades all about. There is no more fitting place for a soldier
      to sleep than in this friendly French valley with those who
      fought with him for freedom.

     "The cemetery is on the sunny slope of a quiet hill. Above the
      slope is a forest of trees turning brown and gold in the autumn
      crispness.  Below are green meadows dotted with herds tended by
      little children.  These little children love our brave boys too,
      and stand at attention with their little caps in their hands when
      we pass them with our soldiers who have paid the price of their
      lives.  And then lower down is the river winding along among the
      trees. even yet the wild flowers linger in the sheltered
      places-falming, red poppies and yellow mustard.

     "I am a representative of the Home Communication of the Red Cross
      and I want to do all I can for those who mourn at home as well
      as for the boys over here. It is a glorious, but a better thing
      a son to give this great cause.  But since I am here I know so
      much better how righteous is the fight and any mother should be
      proud to give her boy for the FREEDOM of us all.  No man could
      have a more beautiful death. So we sympathize with you in your
      sorrow and we envy you your sacrifice. May you be spared to
      long enjoy the freedom for which he gave his life."
_____

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
pp85-86.

cdmyers@wowway.com
October 25, 1998