Recruitment began in Boston on February 9. By February 21, barracks were readied at Camp Meigs in Readville, outside Boston. Massachusetts had only a small black community, so recruits were enlisted from other states including New York, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and even Canada. Among the enlisted men were Frederick Douglass' sons Charles and Lewis.
Recruiting broadside, 1863, Massachusetts Historical Society;
Sergeant-Major Lewis Douglass, Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Infantry, 1863, photograph, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University