obtain, if possible, from the Secretary of War
, authority to recruit a regiment of colored cavalry.
On the 10th of September, Mr. Stanton
wrote to the Governor
, in reply,—
My own impressions are entirely in favor of the measure.
The infantry regiments raised by you have settled the question of the colored man's fitness for infantry service; and I think that you would be able to demonstrate, in a manner equally satisfactory, their adaptation for cavalry service, which is the only point of dispute remaining unsettled.
The main difficulty is that suggested by Mr. Parsons and yourself in regard to obstacles or jealousies that might arise in other States.
This does not seem to me to be insurmountable.
Still, the question is one in respect to which I desire some further time for consideration and conference; but I will speedily give a definite answer to your proposition, my present purpose being only to explain the reason for delay.
Leave to raise the regiment was subsequently given; and early in the year 1864 the regiment was raised, and designated the Fifth Regiment of Massachusetts Cavalry.
On the 26th of September, the Governor
received a confidential letter, from a gentleman of the highest respectability, from which we make the following extracts:—
Commander Maffit, of the Confederate steamer “Florida,” was formerly engaged in the service of the Coast Survey, and is as familiar with our coast and harbor as any pilot. I am told that he had recently said, while in Paris, that it had been his intention to run into Boston and New York, and shell those cities, but that he was prevented by the attempt of Reed at Portland, as he feared that occurrence had alarmed our Government, and that we were now prepared to prevent his entrance.
During the present week, I have endeavored to inform myself how well we are prepared.
I learn, with astonishment, that at this late day there is nothing to prevent the “Florida” and “Alabama,” or any other vessel, from coming directly up to our city. All they have to do is to fly the American or English flag, and they come directly by the forts.
There is no order at either of the forts to stop any vessel. Besides this, from my personal observation, I am convinced that is entirely unfit for the place he occupies.
This subject is now before you; and, if any disaster arise, the public will naturally look to you for explanation.
A copy of this letter was sent to the President
of the United