into the service of the United States
; the first company muster bearing date, November 7, 1862, and the others following in quick succession.
The second regiment in order of muster was the “First Kansas colored,” dating from January 13, 1863.
The first enlistment in the Kansas
regiment goes back to August 6, 1862; while the earliest technical date of enlistment in my regiment was October 19, 1862, although, as was stated above, one company really dated its organization back to May, 1862.
My muster as colonel dates back to November 10, 1862, several months earlier than any other of which I am aware, among colored regiments, except that of Colonel Stafford
(First Louisiana Native Guards), September 27, 1862. Colonel Williams
, of the “First Kansas colored,” was mustered as lieutenant-colonel on January 13, 1863; as colonel, March 8, 1863.
These dates I have (with the other facts relating to the regiment) from Colonel R. J. Hinton
, the first officer detailed to recruit it.
To sum up the above facts: my late regiment had unquestioned priority in muster over all but the Louisiana
It had priority over those in the actual organization and term of service of one company.
On the other hand, the Kansas
regiment had the priority in average date of enlistment, according to the muster-rolls.
The first detachment of the Second South Carolina Volunteers (Colonel Montgomery
) went into camp at Port Royal Island
, February 23, 1863, numbering one hundred and twenty men. I do not know the date of his muster; it was somewhat delayed, but was probably dated back to about that time.
Recruiting for the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts (colored) began on February 9, 1863, and the first squad went into camp at Readville, Massachusetts, on February 21, 1863, numbering twenty-five men. Colonel Shaw
's commission (and probably his muster) was dated April 17, 1863.
(Roport of Adjutant-General
for 1863, pp. 896--899.)
These were the earliest colored regiments, so far as I know.