arrived in Boston
on February 15, and at once assumed the duties of his position.
was already there, daily engaged in the executive business of the new organization; and about the middle of February, his brother, Edward N. Hallowell
, who had served as a lieutenant in the Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry, also reported for duty, and was made major of the Fifty-fourth before its departure for the field.
Line-officers were commissioned from persons nominated by commanders of regiments in the field, by tried friends of the movement, the field-officers, and those Governor Andrew
personally desired to appoint.
This freedom of selection,—unhampered by claims arising from recruits furnished or preferences of the enlisted men, so powerful in officering white regiments,—secured for this organization a corps of officers who brought exceptional character, experience, and ardor to their allotted work.
Of the twentynine who took the field, fourteen were veteran soldiers from three-years regiments, nine from nine-months regiments, and one from the militia; six had previously been commissioned.
They included representatives of wellknown families; several were Harvard men; and some, descendants of officers of the Revolution and the War
Their average age was about twenty-three years.
At the time a strong prejudice existed against arming the blacks and those who dared to command them.
The sentiment of the country and of the army was opposed to the measure.
It was asserted that they would not fight, that their employment would prolong the war, and that white troops would refuse to serve with them.
Besides the moral courage required to accept commissions in the Fifty-fourth at the time it was organizing, physical courage