authorized the president to employ as many persons of African descent as he might deem necessary and proper for the suppression of the rebellion, and for that purpose to organize and use the in such manner as he might judge best for the public welfare, and the twelfth section of the act of same date, chapter 201, which authorized the President to receive into the service of the United States for the purpose of constructing entrenchments or performing camp service or any other labor, or any military or naval service for which they might be found competent, persons of African descent, such person to be enrolled and organized under such regulations, not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws, as the President might prescribe.
The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment was therefore organized and mustered into the service of the United States under clear authority of law.
But the fifteenth section of the act of July 17, 1862, chapter 201, after directing that all persons who have been or shall be enrolled in the service of the United States under that act shall receive the pay and rations then allowed by law to soldiers, according to their respective grades, contains this proviso:
That person of African descent who,, under this law, shall be employed shall receive ten dollars per month and one ration, three dollars of which monthly pay may be in clothing.
Whether persons of African descent "enrolled in the service of the United States" as private soldiers are included within the words "persons of Africa descent who under this law shall be employed", thereby limiting they pay as soldiers to $10 a month, is not the question you have submitted to me-for Mr. Harrison was not a private soldier, but an officer, serving under the commission of the Governor of Massachusetts, the authority and validity of which were recognized and admitted by the United States when hew was mustered into its service- but the question is, Can a person of Africa descent lawfully hold the office and receive the pay of chaplain of a volunteer regiment in the service of the United States?
I have already said that I knew of no provision of law, constitutional or statutory, which prohibited the acceptance of persons of African descent into the military service of the United States; and if they could be lawfully accepted as private soldiers, so also might they be lawfully accepted as commissioned officers, if otherwise qualified therefor. But the express power conferred on the President by the eleventh section of the act of July 17, 1862, chapter 195, before cited, to employ this class of persons for the suppression of the rebellion as he judge best for the public welfare furnished all needed sanction of law to the employment of a colored chaplain for a volunteer regiment of his own race. Nor is a ny prohibition of the employment of such person found in the statutes which declare the qualifications of chaplains. The ninth section of the act to authorize the employment of volunteers, &c., of July 22, 1861, chapter 9, provides that there shall be allowed to each regiment one chaplain, who shall be appointed by the regimental commander on the vote of the field officers and company commanders on duty with the regiment at the time the appointment shall be made. The chaplain so appointed must be a regularly ordained minister of a Christian denomination, &c. The seventh section of the act of August 3, 1861, chapter 42, for the better organization of the military establishment, declares that one chaplain shall be allowed to each regiment of the army, to be selected and