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Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrews received a letter from Secretary of War Stanton authorizing the Governor to raise a regiment of black free men for service in the Union Army. Recruiting began almost immediately. On May 28th the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment departed Boston for Beaufort SC. the 54th was the first black regiment authorized by the War Department. Another black regiment (1st Kansas Colored Infantry) had been raised earlier, but it had not been authorized by the War Department. These were the first of 175 black regiments of infantry, artillery, cavalry and engineers raised for the Union Army. By…

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