Letter – David Norton, 22 August 1861

2015.002.167

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Letter written by Captain David Woodman Norton of Company E, 42nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry, to his father Joshua Norton, Jr., dated August 22nd, 1861, from Camp Douglas near Chicago, Illinois. Norton has recently been promoted to captain, and was presented with a sword, belt, sash, and an undress uniform. Norton has immense support from the men in his company, which he says makes all of his hard work worthwhile. He writes that he has spent most of his time in camp, usually drilling squads. He concludes the letter by writing that he must “fall in” with his company for the regimental drill.


-Page 1-

Camp Douglas

Near Chicago Ill Aug 22nd /61

Dear Father

Your last was gladly received. I feel in better spirits than when I last wrote you for since then I have had a sword – belt – sash & an undress uniform presented to me. Mr. Haskell and some other friends of mine subscribed and paid for the above articles for me. I have had good luck in another respect too – I am a Captain of one of the Companies of this Regiment. The Company is not quite full but is fast filling up and the men all tell me that they shall elect me as captain. One of the privates told me that if I could take every man in the camp who wanted me for Capt. that I should have a company of at least 500 men. That make me

-Page 2-

feel as though all the hard work I have done for this Regiment had not been wasted. The Col. appointed me over the company I now command and told me that he would rather see me a captain in his Rep. than any other man in the Camp. Wasn’t that a compliment from my Col.? I guess I begin to feel a little proud. I have hardly been out of the camp for 3 weeks and am always at work drilling squads.

I saw Haskell’s family last week they were all well.

We cant tell when we shall leave camp for the field. I must not write any more now as I must “fall in” my comp’y for the regimental drill. I will write again as soon as I have any thing new to tell you.

Give my love to mother & the rest and write as often as you can.

Your Affect Son

Capt. D. Woodman Norton

Douglas Brigade Chicago Ill.


Major David Woodman Norton was born 31 January 1838 in Chelsea, MA. He had two other brothers (Joshua and John) who also enlisted and served in the Union Army. He enlisted with the 1st Zouave Regiment of Chicago and was then promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the 42nd IL Infantry then Captain on July 22, 1861. He eventually joins Major General John M. Palmer’s staff as acting Assistant Inspector General. He was killed in action near New Hope Church, GA on June 2, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign.

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