24 April 2017

Military Monday : Charles E. Sickman, 1st Class Boy

Military Monday this week focuses on Charles E. Sickman. At age 15 he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Civil War as a 1st Class Boy. Not quiet sure what a 1st Class Boy was I did some sleuthing and found that they were also called Powder Monkeys. Their duties were to carry gun powder from the hold up to the large cannons on Civil War gun boats. Young teenage boys on the shorter side were chosen for this task so that their heads were not above the side rails and targets for sharp shooters. Also the teenagers could move very swiftly about. Below is a colorized photo of an unknown 1st Class Boy from the Civil War.



Charles E. Sickman was born in 1849 in Brooklyn to Mathias Henry Sickman (1814-1872) and Ellen Cummings (1824-?). Charles served enlisted on 07 March 1864 and was discharged on 26 August 1865. He served aboard the following ships:
  • North Carolina
  • New Hampshire
  • Wissahickon
  • Huntsville
Below is a scan of the gun boat New Hampshire.



According to his pension records Charles stood at 5'-1 1/2" when he served. Below are miscellaneous papers from his pension files.



After being discharged from service, Charles never married and appears to have spent the rest of his life working as a peddler in Brooklyn. Charles died at age 78 on 11 September 1926 and was buried three days later at Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn.