Status: Needs Review


ALS: Gerrit Smith Papers, NSyU.

1. George L. Stearns.

2. George Luther Stearns was commissioned by Massachusetts governor John Andrew in 1863
as a military recruiter to enlist black troops. Because of the small black population in Massachusetts,
Stearns was then directed to go to New York, where he set up headquarters in the greater Buffalo
and Rochester region. In addition to his efforts in New York, Stearns sought recruits throughout the
Midwest and in Canada. He encouraged black leaders such as Frederick Douglass to support and ad-
vertise his recruiting efforts. Stearns’s success as a recruiter was recognized by the War Department,
and he was granted permission to recruit nationally, after which he traveled even more extensively
throughout the North and into Tennessee. Russell Duncan, ed., Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune: The
Civil War Letters of Robert Gould Shaw
(Athens, Ga., 1992), 26–34; Noah Andre Trudeau, Like Men
of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862–1865
(Boston, 1998), 72; Stearns, Life and Public Ser-
, 286–95; Heidler and Heidler, Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, 1854–55.

3. On 26 May 1863, Gerrit Smith spoke at the Loyal League of the State of New York Conven-
tion, which was held 26-27 May at Mechanics Hall in Utica, New York. Smith’s speech reiterated
many of his remarks from his Albany speech in February 1863, in which he called for the continued
fight to end the Confederate rebellion. In his speech in Utica, Smith asserted once again that the Con-
federacy had to be toppled at any cost, even if it meant risking the fate of the Union, the Constitution,
and the entire country. Smith called for the cultivation of earnestness and resentment against the reb-
els, which would help the North more vigorously and effectively fight the Confederacy. Ultimately,
Smith urged that a man’s love for his country should be measured by his hatred for the rebels, and that
only that would effectively end the Confederacy. DM, 5:855–56 (August 1863).

4. Douglass was probably in error regarding the position of Lewis H. Douglass and the Fifty-
fourth Massachusetts. Shortly after arriving at the Union army camp at Port Royal, South Carolina,
in early June 1863, the regiment was sent to participate in the infamous attack on Darien, Geor-
gia, as part of a brigade of black soldiers commanded by James Montgomery. The next month, the
Fifty-fourth was transferred back to South Carolina, where it would join the assault on Fort Wagner.
Emilio, Brave Black Regiment, 36–50.

5. Norwood Penrose Hallowell (1839–1914), a banker and wool merchant, served briefly as
lieutenant colonel of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. On 30 May 1863, he was
named colonel of the newly organized Fifty-fifth Massachusetts. Hallowell graduated from Harvard
in 1861 and then promptly joined the volunteer forces. He served as first lieutenant of the Twentieth
Massachusetts Volunteers, and was wounded at Glendale and Antietam before transferring to com-
mand African American troops. His brother, Edward N. Hallowell, succeeded Robert Gould Shaw as
commander of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts following the latter’s death at Fort Wagner. Disability
from previous wounds forced “Pen” Hallowell to leave military service in November 1863. Following
the war, he entered into a successful partnership as a commission merchant in the wool business. John
C. Rand, comp., One of a Thousand: A Series of Biographical Sketches of One Thousand Represen-
tative Men Resident in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, A.D, 1888–’89
(Boston, 1890), 277–78;
Josiah Granville Leach, History of the Penrose Family of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1903), 79–80;
Benjamin Brawley, A Social History of the American Negro (New York, 1921), vii.

6. This second regiment of Massachusetts black troops was organized in May 1863 and mus-
tered into federal service on 22 June. The efforts of Douglass and other war recruiters resulted in an
especially large number of volunteers, who consequently made up the first recruits for the new regi-
ment. The Fifty-fifth spent much of the war assigned to fatigue duty, finally seeing action at James
Island, South Carolina, in the late spring and summer of 1864. Massachusetts Soldiers, 4:715–16;
James Fuller, Men of Color, To Arms!: Vermont African-Americans in the Civil War (Lincoln, Neb.,
2001), 174–75.

7. Born in Utica, New York, Charles Dudley Miller (1818–96) married Gerrit Smith’s only
surviving daughter, Elizabeth, a reformer and women’s rights activist, in 1843. Miller supported his

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