“The Separate Battalion”
James Reese Europe enlisted as a private and was assigned to a machine gun company when war broke out. At this time William Hayward called Jim Europe, whom he knew to be the most famous orchestra leader in the city, to his office to discuss a problem. Europe came to the decision that he would tell Hayward that he would agree to take on the organization of the band but only if several conditions were met. Colonel Hayward and the other leaders of New York's black regiment had been focusing their efforts toward the singular goal of organizing and training their men to take their place as a fully recognized unit of the National Guard. One black National Guard unit, the 1st Separate Battalion of the District of Columbia, had been called up for guard duty, and rumors began circulating that others would soon follow. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 15th Regiment were not scheduled to be released from guard duty until October 8, so the officers and men had more than a month to discuss the Times' article and prepare themselves for the hostile reception they could expect in Spartanburg.
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