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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.

After some months of duty with the regiment he was made ordnance officer at the Fort Pickens depot, and was subsequently appointed on the staff of Major-General Canby, commanding the Military Division of the West Mississippi, and took part in the operations which ended in the capture of Mobile. For a time he was engaged in taking evidence before the Special Investigating Commission, of which Major-General William F. Smith was president. By this time active hostilities had ceased, and on the loth of June, 1865, he forwarded his resignation, which was accepted. Subsequently he received the brevet rank of captain, to date from June 20, 1865. He at once reentered journalism, and was one of the editorial force of the Philadelphia Press, the newspaper for which he had been an army correspondent.

In 1867 he went South, and took part in the reconstruction of Alabama. In March, 1869, he removed to New York, and, after some desultory writing for the Tribune, became a reporter for the Brooklyn Union, and afterward for the Brooklyn Eagle, resigning his place on the latter newspaper to become a stenographer in the reorganized City Court of Brooklyn, a position which he has held for twenty years. He was admitted an attorney and counsellor in 1872, but by reason of his official position in the court is not engaged in the practice of the law. He married, December 6, 1866, Miss Sallie A. Cotton, of Philadelphia, and is the father of three daughters. He was mustered into the Grand Army of the Republic in June, 1870, and admitted a Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion in February, 1884.

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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