54 Regt Mass Vol
Nov 23rd 1863
To His Excellency John A. Andrew, Governor of Massachusetts
Copies of your address, delivered to the Legislature of Massachusetts Nov. 11, 1863 have been received in this regiment. Such parts of it as recommend the General Court to authorize the payment to the enlisted men of the 54th Mass. Vols. of that portion of the lawful monthly pay of United States Volunteers which has been or may be refused them by the Paymaster of the United States, are received unfavorably by the enlisted men of this Regiment. They were enlisted and mustered into the Service of the United States with the understanding that they would be treated in all respects as other soldiers from Massachusetts. They will refuse to accept any money from the United States until the United States is willing to pay them according to the terms of this enlistment. They feel that by accepting a portion of this just dues from Massachusetts and a portion from the United States, they would be as acknowledging a right on the part of the United States to draw a distinction between them and other Soldiers from Massachusetts and in so doing they would compromise their self respect. They enlisted because men were called for, and because the Government signified its willing use to accept them as such not because of the money offered them. They would rather work and fight until they are mustered out of the Service, without any pay than accept from the Government less than it gives to other soldiers from Massachusetts, and by so accepting acknowledge that because they have African blood in their veins, they are less men, than those who have saxon.
Thanking you in behalf of the men, for the kind spirit you have always manifested in your efforts to establish to their just rights.
Your Obdt. Svt.
Col. Comdg. 54 Mass