The Fifty-fourth Regiment of the Cival War

The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment
The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment of the Union army was thefirst Negro regiment in the Civil War.They were formed in March of 1863, and were organized at Camp Meigs in Readville, Massachusetts, right outside of Boston.The fifty fourth regiment proved that the Negro man could fight and was willing to fight contrary to popular demand.
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves of the rebelling territories in the south.Then "In January 1863 the War Department authorized Governor John Andrew of Massachusetts to raise a regiment of Negro soldiers in his state" (McPherson 173).During thefirst six weeks only one hundred men from Massachusetts volunteered.After the poor turn out Governor Andrew made up a committee to raise money for the recruitment of Negro soldiers.Then in February of 1863, Governor Andrew appointed Shaw as the colonel of the fifty-fourth Massachusetts.All of the officers of the fifty-fourth were also white. Shaw was a twenty-six year old member of a Boston abolitionist family.All of Shaw's officers were white abolitionists.
After the recruiting process was over all of the Negroes were sent to Camp Meigs.The fifty-fourth started their training on February 21, 1863.Soon after the men of the fifty-fourth started their training they were told that they would get paid ten dollars per month instead of the thirteen dollars they were promised during recruitment.Shaw then wrote "Governor Andrew insisting that his, entire regiment including white officers, would refuse pay until his soldiers were " 'given the same payment as all the other Massachusetts troops."' Yet Congress did not enact legislation granting equal pay to black soldiers until June 15, 1864." (Kashatus American History)After the Negroes had started their training the Confederate Congress…


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