Massachusetts 54th Exhibit

A look at the Massachusetts 54th All African-American Unit

Who were the Massachusetts 54th

The Massachusetts 54th was the first colored regiment that was created during the Civil War. They had to learn to read, write, count, and know left from their right.They had to face discrimination and work long and hard to gain the respect of other soldiers.

Facing Discrimination

The men were treated differently because of their skin color. They couldn't get socks or shoes. They were called names by the white soldiers and even by some of the soldiers in the colored regiment. Their paycheck was less money than normal paychecks for the white soldiers. Even though they weren't treated fairly they still kept fighting and working hard. They didn't quit or give up they kept going. They were happy that they could fight, so they kept going and never quit.

Their First Assignment in South Carolina

Their first assignment was to help get supplies in Georgia. Once they got there they were told to go in and take what you want because the men were in battle and it was only woman and children in the town. As soon as they were done they were told to burn the town down so when the men come back they will know it was the colored regiment.

No Fighting Just Manual Labor for the Massachusetts 54th

They had to cut wood and haul it places. They were upset that they didn't get to go into battle and fight.

Their 1st Battle on James Island

They started the battle and they did good, the first group ran off and they chased after. They came up to another group of soldiers and started to fight, when everybody started to mix more people started to die but the colored regiment was doing good. The soldiers were helping each other and warning each other if someone was about to attack. They helped each other until they had won their first battle.

The Massachusetts 54th Volunteers for the Attack on Fort Wagner

The night before the attack on Fort Wagner everyone is singing and praying because they know this is most likely the last night they will be alive. The next morning on the march to the beach the white soldiers are cheering them on and they have finally earned their respect. Colonel Shaw lets his horse go and decides to fight with them because he is willing to die for them. He ends leading them into the battle and most of them die but they were able to help the North and turn the war around so the North could win.

The Attack on Fort Wagner

The Attack on Fort Wagner was the turning point of the war. The colored regiment made it to the fort losing some men on the way to the fort because of the cannons. Colonel Shaw was leading them and when the regiment started to show fear he went forward with the flag and tried getting into the fort. He knew he would die but it would get everyone else to go with him and get into the fort. Once he was shot everyone went forward showing no fear and got into the fort.

The Outcome

The Outcome of the battle of Fort Wagner was many soldiers had died. They were put into a ditch. They colored regiment helped turn the war around and the north had won the war. The Massachusetts for respected because of their bravery because they knew they would not survive after the battle.