The 54th Regiment

The Volunteer Infantry Regiment

  • The 54th Regiment originated in February 1863, when Governor John A. Andrews of Massachusetts issued the Civil War's first call for black soldiers.
  • Massachusetts didn't have many black residents, but more than a 1,000 men had volunteered when the infantry began training camp two weeks later.
  • Many of the volunteers came over from other states, including Ohio, Indiana, New York, Canada, and the Caribbean.
  • The 25 year old officer Robert Gould Shaw was chosen to lead the 54th Regiment. Shaw's parents were wealthy abolitionists, and Shaw dropped out of Harvard to join the Union Army, and was injured in the battle of Antietam.
  • The 1989 film Glory told the story of the 54th Regiment and their leadership.

"Tell It With Pride"

The 54th Regiment of Massachusetts was one of the first African American Regiments. On July 18, 1863, the infantry took on Fort Wagner. Although they failed at capturing the fort, losing 42% of their men, their bravery and leadership greatly impacted people's respect for blacks. What occurred at Fort Wagner showed people the African American potential, and will to fight for freedom alongside everyone else.