First, I searched the Kentucky Census to see if I could find where he may have lived just prior to the war. This is helpful because some soldier enlisted in the county where they lived.
Search 1860 Kentucky Census.
I got hundred hits for surname. I limited the search for John Hickman. I got hits for males born on these calculated Years.
Born 1827, 1857, 1829, 1858, 1845, 1785
1816, 1833, 1839, 1847, 1821, 1860,
1821, 1825, 1852
The one that seems to be the right year is:
John Hickman age 21 M Born in KY
Living with Head of House Elizabeth Hickman, age, 58 and siblings Mary(23), Benmamin W.(19), Elizabeth(17).
Living in Franklin County, District No. 2, Frankfort.
Searched for soldiers in Kentucky Confederate units. 17 names but no "John" and no "J".
Searched for soldiers in Kentucky Union units. 322 matches. Searched for "John Hickman" and got 3 results
John D. Hickman 37 Regiment / 39 Regt / 40 Regt.
John D. Hickman 39 Regiment
John W. Hickman 39 Regiment
Here is a summary of the contents of the records:
John D. Hickman, age 19 yrs, enlisted in Co. E, 39 Kentucky Regiment (Mounted) at Peach Orchard Ky on Oct 30, 1862.
July-Aug 1863 - Sick in Hospital at Ashland. Name is written as "John B".
Present in the other rolls.
Sept 15, 1865 - Mustered out at Louisville, KY. Rank 1st-Sgt. States 19 years age but that may be at time of enlistment in 1862.
John W. Hickman, Age 18 yrs, enlisted in Co G, 39 Kentucky Regiment (Mounted) at Peach Orchard Ky on Sept 29, 1862.
May - Jue 1864 On Detached Service Lexington
Sept 15, 1865 - Mustered out at Louisville, KY. Rank 4th-Sgt. States 18 years age but that may be at time of enlistment in 1862.
The two records above seem to be for the same soldier.
This third hit (item 1, above) was filed in the Misc Abstracts which are a separate file where the archivist put miscellaneous information. These are all filed under same name but have 2 differnt names in the files.
Misc Card Abstract Records -
Misc Card John D. Hickman, Co. E. 39 Kentucky Regiment
Description of the soldier. Age 19 yrs
Born Sarah Co. N.C.
Enlistment Oct 30, 1862 at Piketon
Sick in Ashland Hospital Aug 1863
and same file continues with
Misc Card John W. Hickman, 4th-Sgt, Co. G. 39 Kentucky Regiment
Age 18 years. Includes description
Born Lawrence Co. KY
Enlisted Sept 29, 1862 at Peach Orchard
June 1863 - Corp. Sick at home Peach Orchard, Lawrence Co. KY
The Service Records and the Misc Abstract records all seem to be for the same soldier. Their ranks thru the war seem to match. The ages and company differ. The puzzling part is the birth location is different in the Misc Abstract. Usually you find a clue that som archivist says these are the same.
I was hoping that I would find an important detail such as one was Killed. The best clue is the birth location. I tried search for Widow Pension---I never have much luck with that in Fold3 records.
This is not The Answer. I did not search regiments in other States. He could have easily traveled into an adjoining state to enlist. He may have wanted to enlist with a cousin or uncle.