Encyclopedia > 54th Massachusetts

  Article Content

54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Redirected from 54th Massachusetts

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that participated in the American Civil War which was the first formal Army unit to be comprised of African-Americans.

This unit, organized by the governor of Massachusetts and commanded by Col. Robert Gould Shaw[?] after the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, was created for the express purpose of proving that African-Americans could be good soldiers. The 54th left Boston, Massachusetts to fight for the Union on May 28, 1863.

Although the unit participated in skirmishes, the regiment gained nationwide fame on July 18, 1863 when it spearheaded an assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina. Although the unit was not able to take and hold the exceptionally secure fort, the regiment was widely acclaimed for its valor and the event helped encourage the further enlistment and mobilization of African Americans which Abraham Lincoln once noted was a key development that help secure final victory in the Civil War. Decades later, William Harvey Carney, the flag bearer of the unit during that attack was the first African-American to participate in an action that would result in his being awarded the Medal of Honor.

The unit was disbanded after the Civil War and was eventually largely forgotten outside a monument at the Boston Common[?]. However, the story of the unit was depicted in an 1989 Academy Award winning film called Glory starring Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington. The film restablished in the popular image of the combat role African Americans played in the Civil War and now the unit, often played in historical battle simualations, now has the nickname of The Glory Regiment.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
French resistance

... Germans surrendered in August 25. In August 28 De Gaulle gave an order to dismantle Free French Forces and the resistance organizations. Many of those who still wanted ...

This page was created in 31.4 ms