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General David Hunter's Order Establishing the First Black
War of the Rebellion Records
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S.C., May 8, 1862.
General ISAAC I. STEVENS,
Commanding, Beaufort, Port Royal Island, &c.:
GENERAL: I am authorized by the War Department to form the negroes into "squads, companies, or
otherwise," as I may deem most beneficial to the public service. I have concluded to enlist two regiments
to be officered from the most intelligent and energetic of our non-commissioned officers; men who will go
into it with all their hearts. If you have any such, please appoint them to officer all the companies you can
furnish me except the first. For the first company to be raised at Beaufort I have appointed Captain
Trowbridge and two lieutenants from the Volunteer Engineer Regiment. Captain Trowbridge has orders to
report to you, and you will very much oblige me if you will furnish him with a good company as soon as
possible, and then send him down to report to me. And send, also, other companies as fast as you can
have them organized. The noncommissioned officers appointed as officers will not be dropped from the
rolls of their respective companies till their new appointments shall have been approved by the President.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
* * *
This document is the beginning of what would be called "Hunter's Regiment." Company A that Captain
Trowbridge commanded would remain active until the regiment was formed as the 1st South Carolina
(33rd USCT). This regiment would be organized under General Rufus Saxton and commanded by Col.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson.