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Emilio, Luis F., History of the Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry , 1863-1865 2 0 Browse Search
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out the country. In response the most respectable, intelligent, and courageous of the colored population everywhere gave up their avocations, headed the enlistment rolls, and persuaded others to join them. Most memorable of all the meetings held in aid of recruiting the Fifty-fourth was that at the Joy Street Church, Boston, on the evening of February 16, which was enthusiastic and largely attended. Robert Johnson, Jr., presided; J. R. Sterling was the Vice-President, and Francis Fletcher Secretary. In opening, Mr. Johnson stated the object of the gathering. He thought that another year would show the importance of having the black man in arms, and pleaded with his hearers, by the love they bore their country, not to deter by word or deed any person from entering the service. Judge Russell said in his remarks, You want to be line-officers yourselves. He thought they had a right to be, and said,— If you want commissions, go, earn, and get them. [Cheers.] Never let it be s