‘The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, the pioneer State colored regiment of this country, recruited at a time when great prejudices existed against enlisting any but socalled white men in the army, when a colored soldiery was considered in the light of an experiment almost certain to fail, this command—which now returns crowned with laurels, and after two hundred thousand of their brethren, from one end of the traitorous South to the other, have fought themselves into public esteem—had such a reception to-day as befitted an organization the history of which is admitted to form so conspicuous a part of the annals of the country.’In the words of Von Moltke, ‘War is an element in the order of the world ordained by God. In it the noblest virtues of mankind are developed,—courage and the abnegation of self, faithfulness to duty and the spirit of sacrifice: the soldier gives his life.’ With the loyal volunteers who defended the Union of States these virtues were not only dominant, but were joined with the nobler one of
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