As a staff officer serving under General David Hunter, Charles G. Halpine drafted the orders that brought the first black soldiers into the Union Army. After issuing an order on April 12, 1862, freeing all slaves then in custody of Federal forces -- an order that President Lincoln voided on the grounds that Hunter had "exceeded his authority" -- Hunter also enlisted the first black regiment to take up arms for the Union, the First South Carolina.
Although the Lincoln administration was already beginning to shift the focus of the War away from preserving the Union and towards freeing the slaves, Hunter's move was not without its detractors in the North. Halpine wrote this poem, which appeared in the New York Herald in 1862, as "Private Miles O'Reilly" in defense of his commanding officer's decision.
"Sambo's Right To Be Kilt"