Capt. Laurens Joyce of Co. F of the 15th Maine Regiment, who had previously written to Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley, military governor of Louisiana expressing his desire to be head of a regiment of black troops, wrote to Shepley in May 1863 to further his plea for such a position.
Joyce, of Brunswick, who was 36 when he enlisted in December 1861, wrote of his knowledge of the blacks in the area around Barrancas, Florida, where the 15th Maine was headquartered, and the trust the black population had in him.
Joyce wrote, "With the information which I possess I do not hesitate to say that a Regiment of Negroes can be raised here and in the neighborhood."
He also wrote, "I respectfully solicit your influence if not incompatible with previous engagements in procuring me such a command."
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