Captain David Norton, 1st Zouave Regiment of Chicago

Captain David Norton (Courage Under Fire, Wiley Sword, p. 21)
1st Zouave Regiment of Chicago

November 1862 (near Nashville)

The day before the first troops arrived the Rebels attacked us at 2 o’clock at night and it took us until 2 o’clock p.m. to beat them back from our picket lines. We only lost five or six killed, and perhaps 50 wounded, while, according to the reports of the citizens, the Rebels must have lost from 50 to 100 killed, & many more wounded . . . I had the pleasure of shooting one Rebel myself. My company was employed as skirmishers, and one of my boys fired twice as at Rebel without hitting him, and I was a little mad at it, and took a rifle from one of my boys and shot at him myself. I hit him in the leg, and he was carried back to the rear into the woods. I was skirmishing for more than an hour, and the shits were flying very close around, but our luck is so good that not a man of my company was shot, although shots fired at us hit several men in the rear of us. My company received the compliment of being the best skirmishers the general had ever seen under fire. Of course I was proud of the praise, as it was given in the hearing  of a large group of officers who were behind us while we were actually engaged. . . . I think it was in earnest. At the time it was said, I was under a perfect storm of balls, & charging up a hill to drive the enemy skirmishers from behind a hedge, to allow our artillery to advance across an open field while the Secesh were covered by the hedge. I can’t account for their not hitting some of us. According to tactics, I should have been in[the] rear of my skirmishers, but when the balls began to fly pretty freely, it seemed cowardly for me to stay in the rear and order my men to go forward when it appeared to be certain death to enter that open field. So I went up on the line, & every man said he would keep as near the enemy as I [did]. I advanced on the run through the field & drove the Secesh fromt heir position. The day after our fight, . . . the advance of Gen. Rosecrans; army arrived, & the Rebels skedaddled.

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