Morris Island, S. C.
General,—In answer to your request that I furnish you with a report of the part taken by the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers in the late assault upon Fort Wagner, I have to state:—
During the afternoon of the 18th of July last, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, Col. R. G. Shaw commanding, landed upon Morris Island and reported at about six o'clock P. M. to Brig.-Gen. G. C. Strong. Colonel Shaw's command present consisted of a lieutenant-colonel of the occasioned one of a number of new and important questions raised for governmental consideration, which it was the fortune of the regiment to present and have decided for the benefit of all other colored soldiers.
Before the actions of July 16 and 18, no considerable number of black soldiers had been captured.
Under the acts of the Confederate Congress they were outlaws, to be delivered to the State authorities when captured, for trial; and the penalty of servile insurrection was death.