Posts Tagged   Edward Hallowell

June 3, 1863

Gooding’s 15th letter to the Mercury, his first from South Carolina;  three letters from Shaw — to his mother, his father, and his cousin, John Murray Forbes; and a letter from Maj.-General David Hunter (commanding the Department of the South) to Governor Andrew:

Mercury, June 19, 1863 [OAF]
Port Royal, June 3

Messrs. Editors:

—After a long passage of seven days, we have arrived at Port Royal. We are still on board the vessel, and I write my first letter on the top of my knapsack, with one of the loudest noises around me ever heard, and heat enough to make a fellow contemplate the place prepared for the ungodly. There is nothing interesting to write as yet, for the very good reason that we have none of us been ashore. I write this letter to let the friends of the men know that we are all safe, except one, who jumped overboard the first night out from Boston. I think he must have been cracked or drunk, more likely the latter. The men are all in good health and spirits, not one man in the whole regiment being now on the sick list. After we are quartered on shore, and have an opportunity to look around, you may expect better letters.

J. H. G.

Steamer De Molay [BCF]
June 3,1863, Off Charleston

Dearest Mother,

Here we are near the end of our voyage. Everything has prospered thus far. We have had no illness on board, with the exception of a little “heebin” (heaving), as the men call it. I have had no sea-sickness at all myself. The more I think of last Thursday, the more complete a triumph it seems to me. You know from the first day the regiment was organized, no one connected with it has talked extravagantly, or boasted about it in any way; we went on quietly with our work, letting outsiders say what they chose, and wound up with what you saw, as we passed through Boston. That was the greatest day for us all that we ever passed, and I only hope it was of corresponding importance to the cause.

We saw the blockading fleet, and the top of Fort Sumter, off Charleston this morning. We expect to get in this afternoon. I shall go on shore immediately, and report to General Hunter, and if we can find a good camping-ground, shall land the regiment this evening.

Your loving Son

June 3/63 [BCF]

Dear Father,

My note to Mother will tell you of our prosperous voyage. My horses are all doing well fortunately. Major Hallowell’s died the 3d day out.

I told Annie that if she needed any more money than her allowance, towards the end of the year, to write to you for it. I shall soon be sending you home plenty. Will you please send an account of how much I have drawn, since I went home, and how much property I own now in the bank & in treasury notes.

I shall send Annie’s letters to her Father’s care, unless she is staying at the Island, as I think that is the quickest way.

I enclose a note for Anna Curtis. Call and Tuttlc are making me a flannel suit, which I ordered to be sent to you. Please put in the bundle a good stock of stationery and waste paper — and a supply of quinine, in pills & powder — and some postage stamps.

Your loving son

p.s. I enclose draft of R. P. Hallowell for $137.00

Hilton Head — Arrived safe at 2 1/2. We go to camp at Beaufort up the bay. Montgomery has just ret. from an expedition with 725 blacks from plantations.

Str. De Molay, Off Hilton Head, S.C. [BCF]
June 3,1863

Dear Cousin John,

Here we are (the 54th Mass. Vols, (coloured) close to our Department, and in a very different condition from that in which you left us. Our recruiting system did not get well under weigh, until sometime after you went, and then we filled up very rapidly. The Governor gave Ned Hallowell the Majority without any difficulty, and soon after Norwood was ordered to take the 55th which was started about the 10th of May. He refused the Colonelcy for some time, but has finally decided to take it, as the Governor wouldn’t let him come with us, at any rate.

The 54th has been a success from beginning to end. The drill & discipline are all that anyone could expect. Crowds of people came to our battalion drills & dress parades every afternoon, and we have heard nothing but words of praise & astonishment from friend & foe — from hunkers & fogeys, old and young. The camp was crowded on the day of our banner presentation — and the Governor made an excellent speech. Last Thursday, 28 May, we left Readville at 7 A.M. & went by rail to Boston. We marched from the Providence Depot through Essex, Federal, Franklin, School Sts., Pemberton Square, Beacon St. to the Common — then by Tremont & State Sts. to Battery Wharf where we embarked. The streets were crowded, & I have not seen such enthusiasm since the first troops left for the war. On the Common the regiment was received

[rest of letter missing]

(from [BBR] pp.36-37):

HILTON HEAD, PORT ROYAL, S. C, June 3, 1863.


GOVERNOR, — I have the honor to announce that the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (colored) troops, Colonel Shaw commanding, arrived safely in this harbor this afternoon and have been sent to Port Royal Island. The regiment had an excellent passage, and from the appearance of the men I doubt not that this command will yet win a reputation and place in history deserving the patronage you have given them. Just as they were steaming up the bay I received from Col. James Montgomery, commanding Second South Carolina Regiment, a telegraphic despatch, of which certified copy is enclosed. Colonel Montgomery’s is but the initial step of a system of operations which will rapidly compel the Rebels either to lay down their arms and sue for restoration to the Union or to withdraw their slaves into the interior, thus leaving desolate the most fertile and productive of their counties along the Atlantic seaboard.

The Fifty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers shall soon be profitably and honorably employed; and I beg that you will send for service in this department the other colored regiment which Colonel Shaw tells me you are now organizing and have in forward preparation.

Thanking you heartily for the kindness and promptness with which you have met my views in this matter, and referring you to my letter to Mr. Jefferson Davis as a guarantee that all soldiers fighting for the flag of their country in this department will be protected, irrespective of any accident of color or birth,

I have the honor to be, Governor, with the highest esteem,
Your very obedient servant,
Major-General Commanding.

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June 1, 1863

A letter from Shaw to his (new) wife, Annie:

Steamer De Molay [BCF]
June 1,1863, Off Cape Hatteras

Dearest Annie,

We have got thus far on our voyage without accident, excepting the loss of Major Hallowell’s mare, which died this morning, and was consigned to the sea.

We left the wharf at 4 P.M., having been detained nearly two hours in packing the arms. That night, and the next day, the sea was very smooth, but Friday evening the wind rose, and before long we had a very sea-sick cargo. Since then, we have been rolling and pitching very steadily. I myself have not been ill at all, so I have done nothing but think over the events of the last three months; which has given me so much occupation, that I have hardly read anything. It is only three months and a half since I got to New York, and Nellie called to you to come down and see me. I hope I shall never forget the happy days we have passed together since then, and that I shall always look back on them with the same pleasure as now. It may be a long time before we find ourselves driving about Berkshire together again; but I do hope that some day we can live over those days at Lenox once more; or even Mrs. Crehore’s, with a regiment close by to worry us, would not be very bad.

.. . The more I think of the passage of the Fifty-fourth through Boston, the more wonderful it seems to me. Just remember our own doubts and fears, and other people’s sneering and pitying remarks, when we began last winter, and then look at the perfect triumph of last Thursday. We have gone quietly along, forming the regiment, and at last left Boston amidst a greater endiusiasm than has been seen since the first three-months troops left for the war. Every one I saw, from the Governor’s staff (who have always given us rather the cold shoulder) down, had nothing but words of praise for us. Truly, I ought to be thankful for all my happiness, and my success in life so far; and if the raising of coloured troops prove such a benefit to the country, and to the blacks, as many people think it will, I shall thank God a thousand times that I was led to take my share in it.

This steamer is a very slow one, but fortunately perfectly clean, and well-ventilated. She is entirely free from all disagreeable odours; and the cabin is as comfortable as possible. The weather to-day is perfectly clear, and the sun is getting hot. We have a fine large awning over the quarter-deck, so that we can sit there very pleasantly. You would hardly believe that we have very little trouble in keeping the men’s quarters clean, and that the air there is perfectly good. The men behave very well; in fact, they have so much animal spirits, that nothing can depress them for any length of time. I heard one man saying, “I felt sick, but I jes’ kep’ a ramblin’ round, and now I’m right well.” My three horses are perfectly well, though thin. I wonder where you now are; whether on the way to Lenox, or already there. Remember that the vessel is rolling and pitching in the most persevering manner, and don’t criticise my calligraphy too severely… .

June 3d, 10 A.M.— We passed the blockading fleet off Charleston at seven this morning, and saw the top of Fort Sumter, and the turrets of the iron-clads, or at any rate, something that looked like them. We expect to reach Hilton Head at about three this afternoon. O dear! I wish you were with us.

. . . Did any one tell you that, after bidding you and Mother and the girls good bye so stoically, Harry and I had to retire into the back parlour, and have a regular girl’s cry? It was like putting the last feather on the camel’s back; I had as much as I could carry before. It was a great relief, though.

Give my dearest love to your Mother and to Clem. I hope they are well, though I suppose you don’t know much about the latter, as she is not with you. How nice and cool and pleasant it must be at Lenox now. The air is pretty hot here, even at sea, but it is not close or oppressive. Remember me to “Mammy Did.” I thought yesterday at dinner that I should like some of her soup. Some day we will make that journey we used to talk of, from Lenox through Springfield and Northampton.

I will add a P. S. to this after we get safely established on dry land. Until then, good bye, darling Annie. I hope you have recovered your spirits, got over your cold, and are feeling happy. Remember all your promises to me; go to bed early, and take as much exercise as you can, without getting fatigued

Your ever loving Husband

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May 7, 1863

A letter from Shaw to his sister:

Lenox [BCF]
May 7,1863

Dear Sue,

I have just received a telegram from Hallowell, saying that the Governor is going to send us off on the 20th. Please drop a line to Mother, and tell her this. We go down Saturday instead of Monday. O, how glum I feel! Colonel Hallowell remains at Readville to start the Fifty-fifth. If I lose the Major too, I don’t know what I shall do.

Give my love to Robert, and tell him his cigars are splendid. Annie sends her best love. I shall send this to Father, so you needn’t write to Mother.

Always dear Susie,

Your loving Brother


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April 14, 1863

A letter from Shaw to his mother:

Readville [BCF]

April 14 1863

Dearest Mother,

Annie received your note this morning, and showed it to me. I am very glad, of course, that you feel perfectly satisfied about our marriage. She and I agree that it is much better to have it as quiet as possible. If it were to be a Show Wedding, I should wear my uniform, as you wish, but under the circumstances it would be very inconvenient, as I should have to change it before we went away. You don’t seem to appreciate how unpleasant it is to wear a uniform in public. If I were not on duty here, I shouldn’t wear one in Boston, ever.

Everything, as regards the regiment, is going on swimmingly, as usual. We have 630 men, and shall probably have over 700 before the week is out. I don’t remember whether I told you that Col. Wild has been ordered to raise, and take command of a brigade of coloured troops at Newbern. He is an excellent man. He lost his arm at Antietam and, I am afraid, may not be able to remain in active service, though he is determined to try it.

We have decided to have the wedding on Saturday 2d of May—and I think, by that time, there will be no objection to my taking a week’s vacation. Edward Hallowell, who has just returned from Philadelphia, says he heard Susie was at Uncle Robert’s. Is it so?  I suppose Robert M. will be home before long. Mrs. Haggerty and Clem arc here, and the change of air is doing them a great deal of good. I am getting very fond of them. When we come back from Lenox, I hope Uncle Henry Grew, will invite Annie to stay at his house a little while, as it is close to my camp.

Ever your loving son,

Robert G. Shaw

P.S. Tell Father I bought a good horse today for $300. The reason I have drawn so much money is because I have had to pay several times for the regt.

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April 7, 1863

A letter from Shaw to his mother:

Readville [BCF]

April 7 1863

Dearest Mother,

I didn’t mean to worry you by what I said of our being sent away suddenly. I really thought you knew the officers of coloured regiments were supposed to be in rather a ticklish situation, if caught by the Rebels—and it was not any feeling of annoyance at your letter which made me speak of it.

The Governor has permission to organize a brigade at Newbern, and wants to start our four companies off immediately. So that I am just now in the midst of much correspondence on the subject. If they do Edward Hallowell will be in command of them. I hope that they will be left though, unless there is some great benefit to be gained by sending them away, as I want to march & arrive at our destination, with a full & well organized regiment. At Newbern they would serve as a nucleus for the Brigade, which might then be started a little sooner.

Love to Susie. In haste

Your loving son

Col. Wild of the 35 Mass. will probably command the Brigade, though I want Barlow very much.

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April 2, 1863

Two letters from Shaw, to his brother-in-law George Curtis (married to Shaw’s sister Anna), and to his father:

Readville [BCF]
April 2/63

Dear George,

Your letter of the 31 March reached me yesterday. I have already seen Mr. Guerrier several times. I liked him very well, but didn’t think him one of the best on our list of applicants. Now, we are absolutely full, but I may have a 2d Lieut.’s vacancy, before we start. There are other men from my own regiment though, whom I want to take very much, and whom I am sure of, as regards qualifications.

I wish I could serve Mr. Ricketson, but see very little chance of it, now. I am sorry that your only recommendation should not have met with more success. I didn’t think Mr. Phillips particularly well qualified to give an opinion as to the merits of an officer.  A great many men have come with such recommendations & with papers from the Common Councilmen of their towns, but I never pay any attention to such, & call for recommendations from their superior officers, if they have been in service.

The other day I called on Mr. Josiah Quincy Seniorissimo, and had a very interesting visit. He told me to say to you, that he often heard of you in Boston, but hadn’t seen you lately and that if you didn’t go to see him the next time you came, he should drop you from his books. His memory is evidently failing him, and he talked principally of events which happened in the last century, which of course I was delighted to hear about. He had an engraving of Uncle Sam hanging at the head of his bed, and referred to him continually during my visit. He seemed to recollect him with a sort of veneration. He said “I shook hands with him last, on the wharf, when he sailed for China, in 17 hundred & something.” What a beautiful head & face Mr Quincy has! I sat & looked at him in perfect wonder, as I thought of the men he had known & the events he had an active part in.

They showed me some of the most interesting relics I ever saw. Some of Washington’s hair, letters, gloves & documents & letters from hosts of celebrated men & women. They have a metal plate like this [drawing included here] which Washington wore, with the arms of Virginia engraved on it & with the ribbon with which he hung it round his neck.

Give my best love to dear Anna. God bless you both, and may you get happily through this month.

I see Annie every evening almost, and feel more & more satisfied every day, as I learn to know her better. Effie & Charley are well & enjoying each other.

Goodbye dear George & believe me,

Always your loving brother

April 2 1863

Dear Father,

Jackson has been examined & passed by the Surgeon. Yours of 31st ulto. received. I hardly think that a man of 46 would pass. Still if he were perfectly sound in every other respect he might. In my opinion Dr. Stone is not too strict in his examinations. In fact I have continually urged him to be particular—and the committee here have complained of it very much, because the expense of sending men home is so great. The consequence is that we have an empty hospital, while that of the cavalry opposite, is full — though they have only 60 or 70 men in camp. To accept a man who is doubtful, is, in my opinion, cheating the Government, wronging the man, & harming the regiment. The standard of most surgeons is very low, because it has been so difficult lately to fill the town quotas — and in consequence our regiments dwindle away very fast, and the Govt hospitals are full of men who never did a day’s duty. In the 2d, I have seen several recruits die from mere fatigue & exposure. Stone has gone to Buffalo to examine a large squad, & set the Surgeon there on the right track. He will afterwards probably go to Philadelphia. We have another man who comes out from Boston every day.

Edward Hallowell will undoubtedly be major. The Govr promised me as much day before yesterday. I myself shall be mustered in a major this week in order to leave a vacancy in the 2d. My name ought to be Sam for a little while. The Governor has written to the Secretary of War, asking to have my regt sent to Newbern, to form the nucleus of a brigade — also recommending Barlow, very strongly, for the command. The latter wants it, and I have done all I could to get him for a commander. Charley Lowell too has been writing & talking to a great many people, for the same object. I think if the thing works we can do a good work in that way.

Give my love to Mother & Susie.
Your loving son
p.s. We have accepted men over age, but they were physically perfect. Col. Frank Lee says a brigade of coloured men could be easily raised in North Carolina. The country there is more easy to operate in, than South Carolina.

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March 10, 1863

Emilio [BBR] describes the support for the regiment among Massachusetts residents:

In consequence of the cold weather there was some suffering in the regimental camp. When this became known, a meeting was held at a private residence on March 10, and a committee of six ladies and four gentlemen was appointed to procure comforts, necessities, and a flag. Colonel Shaw was present, and gave an account of progress. To provide a fund, a levee was held at Chickering Hall on the evening of March 20, when speeches were made by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wendell Phillips, Rev. Dr. Neale, Rev. Father Taylor, Judge Russell, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hallowell. Later, through the efforts of Colonel Shaw and Lieutenant-Colonel Hallowell, a special fund of five hundred dollars was contributed to purchase musical instruments and to instruct and equip a band.

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February 23, 1863

A letter from Shaw to his fiance:

Boston [BCF]
Feb. 23, (Monday) 1863

Dearest Annie,

We have opened the camp at Readville, got the barracks in good order, and sent twenty-seven men out there. I have a good quartermaster, who has got all the necessary stores out there, and seems to be attending to his business in the most satisfactory manner. Captain Edward Hallowell, a brother of the Lieutenant-Colonel, is in command of the camp. Day before yesterday he had the men all washed and uniformed, which pleased them amazingly. They are being drilled as much as is possible in-doors, for it is too cold out there to keep them in the open air for any length of time. These twenty-seven men are all from Philadelphia and Boston.

From other recruiting-offices we hear very good accounts, and the men seem to be enlisting quite fast. Governor Sprague has authorized a recruiting-office to be opened in Providence for this regiment. We have an officer at Fortress Monroe, but he has to be very secret about his work; and to-day three men are going on a campaign into Canada. By these different means we expect, or rather hope, to fill our ranks pretty rapidly. We are getting men from Pennsylvania, NewYork, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. So far, they are not of the best class, because the good ones are loath to leave their families, while there is a hope of getting a bounty later. Now, they receive only the $100 from the Federal government at the expiration of their term of enlistment.

Hallowell and I get along together in the pleasantest way. I like Governor Andrew more and more every day. As Charles Lowell says: “It was worth while to come home, if it were only to get acquainted with him.” … All my mornings are spent in the State-House; and as in-door, furnace-heated work does not agree with me, I shall get out to Readville as soon as possible.

Good bye for the present, my darling.

Always your loving Rob

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February 19, 1863

An entry from Emilio [BBR] describing the early recruiting efforts:

Much the larger number of recruits were obtained through the organization and by the means which will now be described. About February 15, Governor Andrew appointed a committee to superintend the raising of recruits for the colored regiment, consisting of George L. Stearns, Amos A. Lawrence, John M. Forbes, William I. Bowditch, Le Baron Russell, and Richard P. Hallowell, of Boston; Mayor Howland and James B. Congdon, of New Bedford; Willard P. Phillips, of Salem; and Francis G. Shaw, of New York. Subsequently the membership was increased to one hundred, and it became known as the “Black Committee.” It was mainly instrumental in procuring the men of the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry, the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, besides 3,967 other colored men credited to the State. All the gentlemen named were persons of prominence. Most of them had been for years in the van of those advanced thinkers and workers who had striven to help and free the slave wherever found. The first work of this committee was to collect money; and in a very short time five thousand dollars was received, Gerrit Smith, of New York, sending his check for five hundred dollars. Altogether nearly one hundred thousand dollars was collected, which passed through the hands of Richard P. Hallowell, the treasurer, who was a brother of the Hallowells commissioned in the Fifty-fourth. A call for recruits was published in a hundred journals from east to west. Friends whose views were known were communicated with, and their aid solicited; but the response was not for a time encouraging

With the need came the man. Excepting Governor Andrew, the highest praise for recruiting the Fifty-fourth belongs to George L. Stearns, who had been closely identified with the struggle in Kansas and John Brown’s projects. He was appointed agent for the committee, and about February 23 went west on his mission. Mr. Stearns stopped at Rochester, N. Y., to ask the aid of Fred Douglass, receiving hearty co-operation, and enrolling a son of Douglass as his first recruit. His headquarters were made at Buffalo, and a line of recruiting posts from Boston to St. Louis established.

Soon such success was met with in the work that after filling the Fifty-fourth the number of recruits was sufficient to warrant forming a sister regiment.

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February 16, 1863

Two letters from Shaw, to his fiance Annie and to his Father; description of initial recruiting from Emilio [BBR 9,10]; one of the recruiting ads.

Boston [BCF]

Feb. 16,1863, Monday

Dearest Annie,

I arrived here yesterday morning, after a very uncomfortable night in the sleeping-car. I have been at work all day, looking over papers with Hallowell, and talking with Governor Andrew. We have decided to go into camp at Readville, and not at Worcester. It is near enough to Boston to make the transportation of supplies an easy matter, and we see no reason to apprehend any trouble from the white soldiers stationed there. Now that it is decided that coloured troops shall be raised, people seem to look upon it as a matter of course, and I have seen no one who has not expressed the kindest wishes for the success of the project. Governor Andrew’s ideas please me extremely, for he takes the most common-sense view of the thing. He seems inclined to have me do just what I please.

With much affection, your


Boston [BCF]
Feb. 16,1863

Dear Father,

I arrived here yesterday morning. Things arc going along very well, and I think there is no doubt of our ultimate success. I took a long drive with the Governor, and liked him very much. His views about the regiment are just what I should wish. We have decided to go into camp at Readville; as we think it best to plunge in without regard to outsiders. We shall have to do it some time, and it is best to begin immediately; I do not apprehend any trouble out there. We have a great deal of work before us, but every one seems anxious to give us a helping hand, and applications for commissions come in, in shoals. The more money we can get, the better; the transportation of men from other States will cost a great deal.
I will write to Mother soon.

In haste,
Your affectionate Son

In five days [after the Boston Journal ad] twenty-five men were secured; and Lieutenant Appleton’s work was vigorously prosecuted, with measurable success. It was not always an agreeable task, for the rougher element was troublesome and insulting. About fifty or sixty men were recruited at this office, which was closed about the last of March. Lieutenant Appleton then reported to the camp established and took command of Company A, made up of his recruits and others afterward obtained.

Early in February quite a number of colored men were recruited in Philadelphia, by Lieut. E. N. Hallowell, James M. Walton, who was subsequently commissioned in the Fifty-fourth, and Robert R. Corson, the Massachusetts State Agent. Recruiting there was attended with much annoyance. The gathering-place had to be kept secret, and the men sent to Massachusetts in small parties to avoid molestation or excitement. Mr. Corson was obliged to purchase railroad tickets himself, and get the recruits one at a time on the cars or under cover of darkness. The men sent and brought from Philadelphia went to form the major part of Company B.

New Bedford was also chosen as a fertile field. James W. Grace, a young business man of that place, was selected as recruiting officer, and commissioned February 10. He opened headquarters on Williams Street, near the post-office, and put out the United States flag across the street.Colored ministers of the city were informed of his plans; and Lieutenant Grace visited their churches to interest the people in his work. He arranged for William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, and other noted men to address meetings. Cornelius Rowland, C. B. H. Fessenden, and James B. Congdon materially assisted and were good friends of the movement. While recruiting, Lieutenant Grace was often insulted by such remarks as, “There goes the captain of the Negro Company! He thinks the negroes will fight! They will turn and run at the first sight of the enemy! ” His little son was scoffed at in school because his father was raising a negro company to fight the white men.

At camp the New Bedford men, — some seventy-five in number,—with others from that place and elsewhere, became Company C, the representative Massachusetts company.

Watson W. Bridgee …[his] headquarters were at Springfield, and he worked in Western Massachusettts and Connecticut. When ordered to camp, about April 1, he had recruited some seventy men.

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