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Cpl. Norman R. Fuller
Company E

Cpl. Norman FullerNorman R. Fuller was a Corporal in Company E of the 28th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment and was recruited from Walworth County. He signed up for three years and was enlisted August 21, 1862 through August 23, 1865. His pension records show he was hospitalized several times, but generally healthy throughout the war. He was never wounded. He marched all the way from Milwaukee to New Orleans and saw some action at Fort Pemberton and Helena, Arkansas. The Battle of Helena happened July 4, 1863. It was completely overshadowed in Civil War history, however, by the much more strategic battles at Vicksburg and Gettyburg which took place on the same day.

Apparently, he was forward deployed during a failed attempt to siege and capture Fort Pemberton (February 24-5 April, 1863).
"Norman R. Fuller, a private of Capt. J. R. Kenyon, Company E having applied for a certificate on which to ground an application for furlough; I do hereby certify that I have examined this soldier and find him incapable of performing military duty by reason of diarrhea arising from inordinate exposure as a sharp shooter before Fort Pemberton, Mississippi and in my opinion, he will not be able to resume his duties in a period less than thirty (30) days and further I believe a change of climate necessary to his speedy recovery."

D. McL. Miller,
Asst. Surgeon in charge of 28th Regt. Ind. Vol. Infty

Helena, Arkansas
June 3, 1863

The plan was for the 28th Wisconsin and 46th Indiana to storm the Fort after a bombardment by naval gunboats. The bombardment was unsuccessful and the expedition pulled back. After Norman returned to Helena he was hospitalized. His physician's appears at right.

As a result of the very harsh marches and exposure to the hot sun while in Alabama, Norman contracted serious inflammation of the eyes. An accompanying case of "facial neuralgia" resulted in an uncontrollable twitching or contraction of the muscles around his left eye. According to the affidavits in his pension file, this problem bothered him for the rest of his life and prevented him from working at times. Eventually, he went blind in his left eye. Norman still seems to have lead a long, fruitful life, however.

Two days before the Battle of Helena, Norman was promoted to corporal. Nothing in his record indicates he was wounded or hospitalized as a direct result of that Union victory.

At the end of the war, Norman, like many soldiers returning to their farms, purchased his musket for $6.00 and settled his clothing account. No telling where that rifle is today, but no doubt someone has it in their collection.

Personal Life

Norman was 5'7 " tall and dark complexioned. He had gray eyes, black hair, and a medium build. He was born in New England at Ashley Falls Village, which in 1837 was part of Sheffield, Massachusetts. His middle name, Ransford, came from his grandmother, Pearley Ransford (on his mother's side). His father was a miller on the Housatonic River very near the Connecticut - Massachusetts state line until about 1851 when the family moved west as the frontier opened. They settled on a farm in the very small town of Hebron, Jefferson County, Wisconsin. For the next ten years, Norman was a simple pioneer farmer.

About a year after the war began, Norman and his younger brother, Charles, enlisted in same company of the 28th Infantry. His bother-in-law, Walter P. Hall (sister Jane's husband) also signed, and so did a good neighbor-friend, Martin Van Duser. Martin was married to Eliza Jane Ferguson who was to become Norman's sister-in-law after the war. Eventually Charles was discharged to take a promotion as a 2nd lieutenant in charge of Battery H in the 2nd Regiment, U.S. Colored Light Artillery.

After the war was over Norman went back up the Mississippi River to Wisconsin and eventually returned to his parents' farm. In 1867, Norman married a neighbor girl, Louisa Ferguson, in the little church at Hebron. Although badly rotting and falling apart, this church is still standing today. It would be lovely to reconstruct that wedding, in a town where literally everybody knew everybody. In 1869 he moved to richer farmland in Iowa and settled in the little township of Nodaway where the couple was to spend the rest of their lives.

This lovely couple, Norman and Louisa, had only three children; Eva, Maud, and Harry. They were all born on the farm in Nodaway, near Guss, Iowa.

Information and Photo contributed by: Andrew Kirby