Thursday, May 8, 2008

Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and his 54th Infantry

Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (October 10, 1837 – July 18, 1863)

One of my favorite movies is Glory.
I find the dedication of this man amazing.
Robert grew up in a privileged home in Boston,yet when called to do his duty he went far over what he was called to do.
Often my thoughts go back to this time when things were simpler and honor was easily defined.
When Roberts father heard that he was buried in a common grave with his soldiers,his father said there could be no greater honor.

Below is copied from Wikipedia.

After Abraham Lincoln's election and the secession of several Southern states, Shaw joined the 7th New York Infantry Regiment and marched with it to the defense of Washington, D.C., in April 1861. The unit served only thirty days. In May 1861, Shaw joined the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry as second lieutenant. He served there for over two years, seeing action at the Battle of Antietam, and was promoted to captain.

He was then recruited by Governor John A. Andrew to raise and command one of the first regiments of black troops for the Union. Although he was initially unenthusiastic about his assignment, the dedication of his men deeply impressed him and he grew to respect them as fine soldiers. Upon learning that black soldiers would receive less pay than white ones, he inspired his unit to conduct a boycott until this inequality was rectified.

Shaw was promoted to major on March 31, 1863, and to colonel on April 17, so he was in charge of the 54th when they were ordered to loot and then burn the city of Darien, Georgia, on June 11, much to Shaw's dismay. The destruction of the undefended city of little strategic importance had been ordered by Colonel James Montgomery.

On May 2, 1863, Shaw married Anna Kneeland Haggerty (d. 1907) in New York City. They had decided to marry before the unit left Boston despite their parents' misgivings. They spent their brief honeymoon at the Haggerty farm in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Robert Shaw is well-known for the over 200 letters he wrote to his family and friends during the Civil War. They are currently located in the Houghton Library at Harvard University. Some may also be found in the book Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune, which includes most of his letters and a brief biography of Shaw. They are also quoted liberally by Ken Burns in his documentary miniseries The Civil War.

Death at Fort Wagner

The Storming of Fort WagnerThe 54th was sent to Charleston, South Carolina, to take part in the operations against the Confederates stationed there. On July 18, 1863, along with two brigades of white troops, the 54th assaulted Confederate Battery Wagner. As the unit hesitated in the face of fierce Confederate fire, Shaw led his men into battle by shouting, "Forward, Fifty-Fourth!" He mounted a parapet and urged his men forward, but was shot through the heart and his body fell into the fort


Anonymous said...

thanks mann you helped me with my english project

eric raabe said...

i have a couple of clocks i need fixed can you fix them