Massachusetts 54th Exhibit
A look At The Massachusetts 54th All African-American Union
Who Were The Massachusetts 54th
The Massachusetts 54th was the first all African-American Union regiment in the Civil War. They were not treated equal even when they volunteered for a suicide mission. They had to endure many deaths, fights, and racist comment until they gain respect from the white soldiers.
Training of the Massachusetts 54th
Most of the soldiers who volunteered could not read or write. This became a problem when they started training. Some soldiers had to be taught their left for their right so they could march. They were trained in a similar way to the white soldiers but they still had to endure very mean racial comments. They did marching, shooting, the basics that all soldiers get. This way they would look like they belong in the army.
These soldiers had to deal with a lot of discrimination. The white soldiers would walk past the African-American soldiers and make comments about how they were just going to be used for work, not fighting. They were always being told they are stupid and their trainer was really mean. He always was calling the racist thing.
Their Arrival in South Carolina
The soldiers were not happy to be back in the south, but glad they were fighting and not working. It was important that they showed up. They made the volunteers even more happy and excited to fight. They saw the soldiers and new they had a chance to fight, and show what they are made of.
Their 1st Assignment in South Carolina
They thought they were going to get supplies. Well they didn't. They were used to take all the valuables in the town, then they burned it. The reason for this was, the soldiers weren't going to fight so they had to do something to keep the soldiers busy.
No Fighting Just Manual Labor for the Massachusetts 54th
They had to do all of the hard work. They had to clear trees for places to set up camp. They had to dig all of the bathrooms and things. They were just being used basically as slaves.
Their 1st Battle Assignment on James Island
The soldiers came running up to the front line. They got in formation and waited. Enemy soldiers came riding in on horses, and were shot. The Massachusetts 54th cheered. Until another wave of enemy soldiers came in. They killed some of the Massachusetts 54th. Then the enemy soldiers were pushed back until they retreated.
The Massachusetts 54th Volunteers for the Attack on Fort Wagner
The soldiers who go first to attack Fort Wagner were used mainly to keep the enemies distracted long enough for the other soldiers to get to the fort. This was a very dangerous mission. Anyone who volunteered was expected to be killed because of the way they had to go. They had to run out in the open on sand. It was a suicide mission.
The attack on Fort Wagner
The soldiers just took off running down the sand towards the fort. They had cannon balls landing all around them and they didn't stop. They kept running until they got to the point that they had to stop. They hid in the sand dunes until night. Once it was night they went again. They got up to the fort and try to climb up the walls. They are standing at the edge of the wall. Then Shaw runs up the wall trying to get everyone else who hasn't been killed to do the same, but no one else did and Shaw got shot and killed. Then the soldiers got motivated once they saw that Shaw was willing to die with the soldiers and they charged up the wall, they got inside and started running through the fort. They then were killed inside.
The soldiers of the Massachusetts 54th Were killed. They were not buried properly. They were all put in a trench that was dug. They were put on top of each other and not nicely put on top of each other. The soldiers just dropped them in. This battled made it possible for African American soldiers to join the war. There were a lot of African American soldiers that join after this battled.