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 The career of the Massachusetts officers in organizing colored troops elsewhere need not here be followed in detail, but that of the 54th and 55th was too exceptional not to be more particularly mentioned. It has already been shown that, contrary to a prevalent impression, they were not the first colored regiments organized. Five such regiments were already in existence in the year 1862, whereas Governor Andrew's permission to recruit a colored regiment was not received until Jan. 26, 1863, and recruiting did not begin until February 9. The first squad of recruits went into camp at Readville on February 21, and the regiment was more than filled on May 15, the surplus going into the 55th, which was also finally mustered on June 22. The men meanwhile had been recruited in various States by Massachusetts agents; and this, with the careful and elaborate preparation made, gave a peculiar prominence to the new organizations. The officers selected were largely those who had seen service in other regiments, and the first colonel was young Robert G. Shaw, who, though a resident of New York, was of Boston birth, and had been a Harvard student, though not a graduate. He had already served with honor in the 2d Mass., had proved himself a good organizer and commander, and had, among other special qualifications, that of a peculiarly striking appearance; looking very youthful, with a blond coloring, which made him, as he rode at the head of his dusky regiment, beyond all comparison the most picturesque figure who had passed through the streets of Boston or marched down Broadway. So easily in time of warlike excitement are men influenced by such externals, that no contemporary description of the march of the 54th fails to dwell with enthusiasm on this seemingly trivial circumstance. The 54th left camp on May 28, 1863, under orders to report to Major-General Hunter at Beaufort, S. C. Arriving there, it was brigaded under Col. James Montgomery of the 2d South Carolina Volunteers (afterwards 34th U. S. Colored Troops). He was a man of mature years, a veteran guerrilla leader from Kansas, personally daring and active, but utterly without the system and order needed by a brigade commander, and with a taste for guerrilla methods very unattractive to the better-trained officers of the 54th Mass.1 Their ultimate removal to the command of Brig.-Gen.
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