Massachusetts Fifty-fourth
 

Governor Andrew's letter to Francis Shaw, written January 30, 1863, explained his plan to raise a Massachusetts regiment of African-American soldiers. It read, in part:
"I am desirous to have for its officers...young men of military experience, of firm antislavery principles....With my deep conviction of the importance of this undertaking, in view of the fact that it will be the first colored regiment to be raised in the free States, and that its success or failure will go far to elevate or depress the estimation in which the character of the colored Americans will be held throughout the world, the command of such a regiment seems to me to be a high object of ambition for any officer."

From A Brave Black Regiment: History of the Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Massashusetts Volunteer Infantry 1863-1865 (Salem, New Hampshire, 1990), pp. 3-5.
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