The first person enrolled in the regiment was John Whittier Messer Appleton, who was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant today. He became Captain of Company A on April 14, 1863, and was promoted to Major on July 18, even though wounded in the assault on Ft. Wagner. Appleton began vigorously recruiting for the regiment — securing 25 men in the first 5 days — arranging for posters and placing the following ad which appeared in the Boston Journal on February 16:
                          To Colored Men.
Wanted.  Good men for the Fifty-fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers
of African descent, Col. Robert G. Shaw.  $100 bounty at expiration of term of
service.  Pay $13 per month, and State aid for families.  All necessary information
can be obtained at the office, corner Cambridge and North Russell Streets.
                             Lieut. J.W.M. Appleton,
                             Recruiting Officer.