Much the larger number of recruits were obtained through the organization and by the means which will now be described.
About February 15, Governor Andrew
appointed a committee to superintend the raising of recruits for the colored regiment, consisting of George L. Stearns
, Amos A. Lawrence
, John M. Forbes
, William I. Bowditch
, Le Baron Russell
, and Richard P. Hallowell
, of Boston
; Mayor Howland
and James B. Congdon
, of New Bedford; Willard P. Phillips
, of Salem
; and Francis G. Shaw
, of New York.
Subsequently the membership was increased to one hundred, and it became known as the ‘Black Committee.’
It was mainly instrumental in procuring the men of the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry, the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, besides 3,967 other colored men credited to the State
All the gentlemen named were persons of prominence.
Most of them had been for years in the van of those advanced thinkers and workers who had striven to help and free the slave wherever found.
The first work of this committee was to collect money; and in a very short time five thousand dollars was received, Gerrit Smith
, of New York, sending his check for five hundred dollars. Altogether nearly one hundred thousand dollars was collected, which passed through the hands of Richard P. Hallowell
, the treasurer, who was a brother of the Hall
owells commissioned in the Fifty-fourth.
A call for recruits was published in a hundred journals from east to west.
Friends whose views were known were communicated with, and their aid solicited; but the response was not for a time encouraging
With the need came the man. Excepting Governor Andrew
, the highest praise for recruiting the Fifty-fourth