was mustered in, October 12, 1862; the Third, on November 24, 1862.
The other regiments of the Guard, or Corps d'afrique as it was called, completed their organizations within a few months later.
At this time, also, in August, 1862, recruiting for a colored regiment was commenced in Kansas
, and over 600 men were soon mustered in. The regiment, however, was not mustered into the United States
service until January 13, 1863.
It was then designated the First Kansas Colored Volunteers, but its name was changed, in December, 1864, to the 79th United States Colored Infantry.
Recruiting for a black regiment had, also, been undertaken in South Carolina
by General Hunter
, and an officer, Sergeant C. T. Trowbridge
, had been detailed for that purpose as early as May 7, 1862.
The recruiting progressed slowly, and was attended with so many difficulties and discouragements that a complete regimental organization was not effected until Jan. 31, 1863.
Some of the companies, however, were organized at an earlier date.
Colonel T. W. Higginson
was assigned to the command of this regiment, his commission dating back to November 10, 1862.
was made Captain
of the first company organized, and subsequently promoted to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy
This regiment, First South Carolina, was the first slave regiment organized, the Louisiana Native Guard having been recruited largely from free blacks.
The designation of the First South Carolina was changed by the War Department, in February, 1864, to Thirty-third United States Colored Infantry.
Recruiting for the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts commenced in February, 1863, and its ten companies were full by May. It was the fist colored regiment raised in a Northern State, the First Kansas having been recruited largely in Missouri
, and partly from enslaved blacks.
The Fifty-fourth was composed mostly of free men, and its recruits came from all the Northern States
, it being their first opportunity to enlist.
By this time the movement had become general, and before the war closed the colored troops embraced 145 regiments of infantry, 7 of cavalry, 12 of heavy artillery, 1 of light artillery, and 1 of engineers; total, 166.
Of these, about 60 were brought into action on the battle field, the others having been assigned to post or garrison duty.
Of the regiments brought into action, only a few were engaged in more than one battle; the war was half over, and so the total of killed does not appear as great as it otherwise would have done.
The total number killed or mortally wounded in the colored troops was 143 officers, and 2,751 men. The officers were whites.
Though participating only in the latter campaigns of the war, the black regiments made a noble record, and if, at times, they failed to win victories, it was through no fault of theirs.
The first action in which colored troops were engaged was an affair at Island Mounds, Mo., October 28, 1862, in which a detachment of the First Kansas was attacked by a superior number of Confederates under command of Colonel Cockerel
Although outnumbered, they made a successful resistance and scored a victory.
Their loss was 10 killed, including a Captain, and 12 wounded The First Kansas, also, lost 16 men killed on May 18, 1863, in a minor engagement at Sherwood, Mo.
In the assault on Port Hudson, La.
, May 27, 1863, colored troops were used for the first time in a general engagement.
The Nineteenth Army Corps, during its besiegement of that stronghold, included several colored regiments in its organization.
There were the First and Third Louisiana Native Guards; The First Louisiana Engineers, Corps d'afrique; and, the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Infantry, Corps d'afrique.
During the siege the First Louisiana Native Guards lost 2 officers and 32 men killed, and 3 officers and 92 men wounded (including the mortally wounded); total, 129.
But few regiments in the Nineteenth Corps sustained a greater loss.
The other regiments of the Corps
d'afrique were actively engaged, but with fewer casualties.
The First Louisiana Native Guard was attached to