Massachusetts 54th Exhibit

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

Who Were the Massachusetts 54th?

African American Soldiers that are in the age range from 25-40. Most of them were former slaves or little education. Did not have a lot of money, and were very gullible.

Training the Massachusetts 54th

On there arrival at training camp, they were treated badly by the others because they didn't think they should be able to fight. They find out how it is like to be trained, they are being called names and being yelled at more than Shaw thought at first. They also weren't given real guns for training. The night guard was given a corn stalk to use as gun.

Facing Discrimination

The south ordered a Proclamation. This stated that if a black man was caught with a gun or in a suit, then they would be put in slavery or to death. There feet are all bloody and skin is tore off because there shoes are wet and rubbed. Then they are told they aren't getting the pay they were promised, so they rip up their pay checks.

Arrival in South Carilina

Their arrival in South Carolina was good and bad. The heat was getting to them, but they didn't let it affect them. The thing that they liked, was they had a party thrown for them. Also, Rawlins gets a promotion to the highest rank a African american can get.

The 1st Assignment in South Carolina

They are told to go get supplies at a town near them, but when they get there, the supplies aren't really there so they are told to burn the town down and steal the stuff the women and children had.

No fighting, Just Labor

They thought that when they went down to South Carolina, that they were going to do work in the fields and get treated badly by the other white soldiers. Not what a good day looked like.

1st Battle Assignment on James Island

The fight doesn't last very long, but the damage that was done was huge. Not physically, but mentally. The troops thought at first they were going to win right away but South came back, but the North stood their ground and won the battle. The injuries were not to bad to the 54th, just a couple casualties.

The 54th Volunteers for the Assault

Robert knew that the 54th wanted to fight so badly and wanted to make an impact. So he volunteered them for a suicide mission, or so to say. They were to lead the pack and make a distraction for the other soldiers could get around the cannons.

Attack on Fort Wagner

The attack on Fort Wagner turned out to be the march of change as i see it. Robert and the rest of the 54th knew that they were not going to be able to take the fort. Yet they still kept marching anyway to make it clear that the African Americans can fight just as well as the others, and are probably more brave. The outcome was the South held strong and the fort was never captured. Honestly this was the breaking point in the war. It made tons of more people sign up that were scared to in the beginning. Lincoln knew this and that is why this so important today still.