to have another regiment like those which you have organized as a standard of organization in that department.
This mainly impresses me to the necessity of changing the destination of your Fifty-fifth Regiment, although I have not absolutely determined upon the change.
Any consideration which you may be disposed to present, will be attentively considered.
A copy of this despatch was sent to Colonel Hallowell
, commanding the regiment at Readville, who replied,—
The officers of the Fifty-fifth desire that the regiment may be sent to that point where, in the opinion of their Government, it will do the most good.
As we have already stated, the regiment was not sent to New Orleans, but to South Carolina
As these were the only colored infantry regiments raised in Massachusetts
, before proceeding to other matters, we propose to give a brief abstract of the voluminous correspondence of the Governor
with the department at Washington
in Congress, and to private citizens, in regard to the pay of these troops and of the colored chaplains.
It was the belief of the Governor
, that the enlisted men and the chaplains were entitled to the same pay and allowances as the enlisted men in white regiments, and chaplains in white regiments.
The Government, however, did not so regard the matter.
They would pay the men and the chaplain but seven dollars a month.
On the fourth day of July, 1863, the Governor
wrote to J. W. Langston
, a colored lawyer in Ohio
, a long letter in answer to certain inquiries which he had made respecting the organization and pay of colored troops, and contended that the law made no distinction between them and white troops, and urged him to go on with the enlistment of colored men.
‘I trust,’ he said, ‘there will be no hesitation or delay.
The Government will do right.
The Secretary of War, as soon as the argument is at once stated to and perceived by him, I have no manner of doubt, will free your minds by prompt, decisive, and correct action.
But, at all events, right will take place, and justice will be done.’
The letter concludes as follows:—