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[361] above letter naturally grew out of the system adhered to by the War Department, by not allowing men who had distinguished themselves in service to come home and recruit men for the new regiments, so as to be commissioned officers when the regiment was raised. The town authorities were anxious to fill their quotas; and in every town there were young men in every way qualified, except by practical experience in war, to have commissions. They exerted themselves to raise men, and many enlisted because of their exertion, who preferred that these men whom they knew should be their officers. Hence it was, that, while the Governor wished to appoint officers from the regiments in the field, the town authorities, and the recruits themselves, wished to have men commissioned who had aided in recruiting, and who were personally known to the recruits themselves. Many letters were written by the Governor in regard to this matter; but the evil being chronic, and beyond his power to cure, it continued until the end of the war.

It would appear by the following letter, written by Colonel Browne, to Cyrus W. Francis, Yale College, New Haven, Ct., that the first attempt to enlist colored volunteers was by Governor Sprague, of Rhode Island,—

By direction of Governor Andrew, I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, and to reply, advising you to place yourself in communication and co-operation with the Governor of Rhode Island, on the subject of the enlistment of the company of colored men as volunteers. It will be essential to the recruitment of the colored regiment commenced by Governor Sprague, that the colored population of other States shall contribute towards it, the number of persons of African descent in the State of Rhode Island alone being insufficient for the purpose.

It is proper and just, however, to say that the first regiment of colored troops, of which we shall have more to say hereafter, was raised in Massachusetts.

On the twenty-fourth day of August, the Governor addressed the following letter to Hon. J. G. Abbott, Boston:—

My dear Sir,—Not merely a certain official relation towards a brave young man, a citizen of Massachusetts and a soldier of the Union lately sustained and now severed, but a sincere sympathy with

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Augustus B. R. Sprague (2)
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