That all able-bodied male colored persons, between the ages of 20 and 45 years, whether citizens or not, resident in the United States, shall be enrolled according to the provisions of this act, and of the act to which this is an amendment. and form part of the National forces; and, when a slave of a loyal master shall be drafted and mustered into the service of the United States, his master shall have a certificate thereof; and thereupon such slave shall be free; and the bounty of a hundred dollars, now payable by law for each drafted man, shall be paid to the person to whom such drafted person was owing service or labor at the time of his muster into the service of the United States. The Secretary of War shall appoint a commission in each of the slave States represented in Congress, charged to award to each loyal person to whom a colored volunteer may owe service, a just compensation, not exceeding $300, for each such colored volunteer, payable out of the fund derived from commutations; and every such colored volunteer, on being mustered into the service, shall be free.The report of the Conference Committee was agreed to by the two Houses respectively, and the bill, thus amended, became the law of the land. By a section of the-Act of 1862, aforesaid, the said “persons of African descent” were to be paid $10 per month, $3 of it in clothing; while the pay of the White soldiers was $13 per month, beside clothing. Gov. Andrew, of Mass., on his solicitation, was authorized1 by Secretary Stanton to raise of three years men “volunteer companies of artillery for duty in the forts of Massachusetts and elsewhere, and such companies of infantry for the volunteer military service as he may find convenient, and may include persons of African descent, organized into separate corps.” Under this order, Gov. A. proceeded to raise two full regiments of Blacks, known as the 54th and 55th Massachusetts; which in due time were mustered without objection into the service of the Union, and there won honorable distinction. When, at length, the paymaster made his usually welcome appearance at their camp, and offered them $10 per month, they refused to accept that or anything less than the regular pay of soldiers of the United States; and a tender of the State to make good the difference between what they were offered and what they demanded, they declined; going wholly without pay for more than a year in order to establish their right to be regarded, not especially as negroes, but as men. Those who, being meantime hopelessly disabled by wounds or by disease, received honorable discharges from the service, did accept what was offered them by the Federal paymaster, and the residue of their full pay from Maj. Sturgis, agent of the State. At last, after repeated and most urgent representations to the War Department by Gov. Andrew, and upon the opinion of Attorney-General Bates that they were legally as well as equitably entitled to it, they received from the United States the full pay they had persistently claimed. And Rev. Samuel Harrison, the Black chaplain of the 54th, being refused by the U. S. paymaster the regular pay of a chaplain because
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1 Jan. 26, 1863.
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