Captain John E. Norcross, U.S.V.
Captain John E. Norcross was born in England, February 3, 1842, and was
brought to the United States while an infant. His childhood was
principally passed in Philadelphia, where he received the ordinary school
education. He entered the Philadelphia High School in 1855, but did not
complete the four years' course, leaving that institution to become a
clerk in a business house. Having acquired a knowledge of short-hand at
the High School, he became in the early part of 1860 a newspaper reporter
on the Philadelphia Ledger. In the latter part of that year he was
stationed in Washington, where he did service in the Senate gallery as an
assistant in the Globe corps, and duly recorded the farewells of the
secession Senators. Immediately after the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln he
went to Harrisburg to assist in the reporting corps of the Pennsylvania
Legislature, and was so engaged at the firing on Sumter. Subsequently, as
a correspondent of the Philadelphia Press, he was stationed at Washington
and then at Fortress Monroe, where he saw and described for his newspaper
the destruction of the " Cumberland," and the battle between the "
Monitor" and " Merrimac." Then followed a tour of duty as army
correspondent on the Peninsula, and other newspaper work, succeeded by a
short term of service as private in Company K- of the Twentieth Regiment
Pennsylvania Militia during the Antietam emergency. A hurried visit to
Europe followed for the purpose of settling an estate, and returning to
the United States he was in time to serve with the Twentieth Regiment in
the Gettysburg campaign. On the 3oth of July, 1863, two days after his
return from the latter service, he was conscripted, having been enrolled
during his absence in Europe, and was assigned, by request, to the One
Hundred and Eighteenth Pennsylvania, better known as the Corn Exchange
Regiment, with which he served until the latter part of April, 1864, when
he was appointed a second lieutenant in the Twenty-fifth Regiment United
States Colored Troops then part of the garrison at Fort Barrancas.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.
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