Massachusetts 54th Exhibit

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

Who were the Massachusetts 54th

The Massachusetts 54th was the first all African-American regiment. They were former slaves. Some were poor and some were rich. Some were educated and some were uneducated. They were mostly young men in their 20's-30's and were inexperienced.

Training of the Massechusetts 54th

They didn't know basic knowledge like counting, left and right, and how to march. This made their first day in training very hard.

Facing Discrimination

Any African-American captured while in war with the Confederacy will become a slave again. If they wear a uniform, them and their white officer will be killed.

Their Arrival in South Carolina

They were a little scared to to return to the South. Rawlins is cautious about the return. The African-Americans sing, read, and write at the party. Colonel Shaw meets lots of people at the party.

Their 1st Assignment in South Carolina

In their first assignment they thought that they were going to get supplies but they really went to steal from the people in a town. Shaw doesn't like what is happening with the regiment, but he is forced to follow the commands. The town was later burnt down.

No Fighting Just Manual Labor for the Massachusetts 54th

They created a road. They had to drag and clear timber.

Their 1st Battle Assignment on James Island

At the beginning of the battle they were doing good in the two lines. When they started the hand to hand combat they did even better. They won the battle by driving out the Southerners. Thomas was shot but refuses to go home. In the end, 42 were dead.

The Massachusetts 54th Volunteers for the Attack on Fort Wagner

There were lots of men at the fort. There was only a narrow strip of land that they could march on. They could only go in one regiment at a time. They requested the honor of leading the attack. They are scared but excited. "We'll be ready," said Colonel Shaw.

The Attack on Fort Wagner

As they are marching towards the fort, they had already lost lots of men so they took cover in the dunes. Later they try to climb the dunes to get into the fort. Shaw tries to get into the fort but is shot and killed. The other men in the regiment kept going and take over the walls of the fort.

The Outcome

At the end they lost. The dead are all put into one big grave. The black and white were all buried together.