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I feel convinced I shall never regret having taken this step, as far as I myself am concerned; for while I was undecided I felt ashamed of myself, as if I were cowardly.

He soon obtained leave from the war department to report at Boston, and begin the labor of raising and drilling the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment. Extracts from his letters at this time show his opinion of black troops.

Boston, February 16, 1863.

I arrived here yesterday morning; things are going on very well and I think there is no doubt of our ultimate success.

We go into camp at Readville. We have a great deal of work before us. The pay is thirteen dollars per month, the same as white soldiers receive.

March 17, 1863.

The regiment continues to flourish. Yesterday we had some officers out to take a look at the men. They all went away very much pleased. Some were very sceptical about it before, but say now that they shall have no more doubt of negroes' making good soldiers.

March 25.

If the success of the Fifty-fourth gives you so much pleasure, I shall have no difficulty in giving you good news of it whenever I write. Everything goes on prosperously. The intelligence of the men is a great surprise to me. They learn all the details of guard duty and camp service infinitely more readily than most of the Irish I have had under my command. There is not the least doubt that we shall leave the State with as good a regiment as any that has marched.

March 30.

The mustering officer who was here to-day is a Virginian, and has always thought it was a great joke to try to make soldiers of “Niggers,” but he tells me now that he has never mustered in so fine a set of men, though about twenty thousand had passed through his hands since September. The sceptics need only to come out here to be converted.

On the 2d of May he was married to Anne Kneeland, daughter of Ogden Haggerty, Esq., of New York; and on the 28th of the same month he left Boston at the head of as fine and well drilled a regiment as had ever left the city. Their triumphal march through Boston has been often described.

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