[Name of recipient:] Francis G. Shaw, Esq., Staten Island, N.Y.
Boston, January 30, 1863.
As you may have seen
by the newspapers, I am about to raise a
Colored Regiment in Massachusetts. This
I cannot but regard as perhaps the most
important corps to be organized during
the whole war, in view of what must be
the composition of our new levies, and
therefore I am very anxious to organize it
judiciously in order that it may be a model
for all future Colored Regiments. I am
desirous to have for its officers- particularly
for its field officers- young men of military
experience, of firm Anti Slavery principles,
ambitions, superior to a vulgar contempt
for color, and having faith in the capacity
of colored men for military service. Such
officers must be necessarily gentlemen of
the highest tone and honor, and I shall
look for them in those circles of Educated
Anti Slavery Society, which next to the col-
ored race itself, has the greatest interest
in the success of this experiment.
Reviewing the young men
of the character I have described, now in
the Massachusetts service, it occurs to me
to offer the Colonelcy of such a Regiment
to your son, Captain Shaw of the 2nd Mass.
Infantry, and the Lt-Colonelcy to Capt.
Hallowell of the 20th Mass. Infantry, the
son of Mr. Morris L. Hallowell of Phil-
adelphia. 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 its failure, will go far to elevate
or to 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. How much your son may
have reflected upon such, a subject
I do not know, nor have I any inform-
ation of his disposition for such a task
except what I have derived from his
general character and reputation, nor
should I wish him to undertake it, unless
he could enter upon it with a full sense
of its importance, with an earnest deter-
mination for its success, and with the
assent and sympathy and support of
the opinion of his immediate family. I
therefore beg to enclose to you the letter in
which I make him the offer of this com-
mission, and I will be obliged to you, if
you will forward it to him accompanying
it with any expression to him of your own
views, and if you will also write to me
upon the subject.
My mind is drawn towards
Captain Shaw by many considerations. I am
sure that he would attract the support,
sympathy and active co-operation of many
besides his immediate family and relatives.
The more ardent, faithful, true Republicans
and friends of Liberty would recognize
in him, a scion for of a tree whose fruit
and leaves have alike contributed to the
strength and healing of our generation.
So, also is it with Captain Hallowell. His
father is a quaker gentleman of Phil-
adelphia, two of whose sons are officers
in our regiments, and another is a Mer-
chant in Boston. Their house in Philadel-
phia is a hospital almost, for Mass. officers,
and the family are full of good works;
Mr. H. being my constant advisor in the
interest of our soldiers, when sick or in
distress in that city. I need not add
that young Captain H. is a gallant and
fine fellow, true as steel to the cause
of Human Nature, as well as to the
flag of the Country.
I wish to engage the field officers
and then get their aid in selecting those
of the line. I have offers from "Oliver T.
Beard, of Brooklyn, N.Y. Late Lt.-Col.
48th N. Y. V.", who says he can already
furnish 600 men, and from others, wish-
ing to furnish men from New York and
from Conn., but I do not wish to start
the regiment under a stranger to Mass-
achusetts. Still I have written to Col. H.
E. Howe to learn about Col. Beard, since
he may be useful in some contingency here-
after. If in any way, by suggestion or
otherwise, you can aid the purpose which
is the burden of this letter, I shall receive
your cooperation with the heartiest gratitude.
I don't want the office to go begging; and if
this offer is refused I would prefer its being kept
reasonably private. Hoping to hear from
you immediately on yr receiving this
Your obdt servant and friend,