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Record of action of the convention held at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., July 15th and 16th, 1863, for the purpose of facilitating the introduction of colored troops into the service of the United States.

1863NY.19.pdf

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Current Saved Transcription [history]

20

The Adjutant-General's office for the organization of colored regiments, whereby the system of employing them as part of the forces of the United States has become the fixed and permanent policy of the Governmment. That policy, sanctioned by Congress, carried into practical effect by the Government, has been approved by the general consent of wise and patriotic men. The country cannot afford to lose the aid of its best and chief supporters in the South.

The employment of colored troops, it is true, was in the beginning experimental. The law of 1862, which first authorized them to enter the service, provided no means of payment.

The second law, which permitted their employment, authorized them to be paid ten dollars per month and one ration per day. This law was, however, made with reference to those who by force of arms, or by provisions of statutes, had been recently freed from bondage.

The important class of colored soldiers from the Free States were probably not in the contemplation of Congress when framing these Acts. But now, while colored men are admitted to be citizens of several of the Northern States and of the United States, and since the Conscription Act makes no distinction between white and colored citizens, but requires them equally to be enrolled and drafted in the forces of the United States, there seems to be no reason why such citizens should not, when volunteering to serve the country,

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