The 54th Massachusetts, by the admission of all who witnessed their heroic conduct at the storming of Fort Wagner, have added one more argument to sustain the policy of raising negro regiments, and furnished one more practical contradiction to the slanders of the enemies of the policy. We trust, for the honor of human nature, that there is not a person in the loyal States, — if we except the brutes, ruffians and assassins of New York mob, — who can read the accounts of the assault, without feeling his prejudices insensibly giving away before such examples of fortitude and daring, and without being impressed anew with the unfathomable baseness of the miscreants in New York City, who wreaked every outrage on the defenceless brethren of such soldiers, and who, recreants themselves to their country’s call, were furious at the idea that men whose skins were black should presume to be patriots and heroes.
The crimes perpetrated in New York against the negro were palliated by some disloyal journals on the ground that they were a natural reaction against the attempt of the Administration to raise the blacks above their natural level. It was highly presumptuous in the negro to wish to die for the nation, and therefore it was to be expected that whites should instantly proceed to burn black tenements and murder black citizens! We wonder if the white gentlemen of Five Points, Corlaers’ Hook and Mackerelville, even now consider the 54th Massachusetts as “up to their level.” Boston Transcript
(Liberator, August 7, 1863, pg 3)