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David Hunter



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General David Hunter's Order Establishing the First Black 


War of the Rebellion Records


Hilton Head, S.C., May 8, 1862.



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,


Major-General, Commanding


* * *

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.


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