The 54th Massachusetts Regiment

A facts page

Facts List

  • Many men in the regiment came from New York, Indiana, Ohio, Canada and even slave states in the Caribbean.
  • Two of the most famous enlistees in the regiment were Charles and Lewis Douglass, sons of the abolitionist Fredrick Douglass.
  • While The 54th lost dearly at the siege of Fort Wagner, they did a great deal of damage and the Confederates abandoned the fort soon after.
  • Many civilians opposed the idea of an African American regiment and groups of violent white rioters began to show up all along the East coast.
  • Many of these rioters injured, tortured and even killed African Americans that were trying to enlist because they believed the Af-Ams were the cause of the war.
  • Abraham Lincoln only allowed Af-Ams to serve in the military because there was a shortage of white men in the military.
  • Massachusetts in reality had a tiny population of African Americans.
  • Sergeant William Carney, of the 54th, was the first Af-Am ever to be awarded the medal of honor. He was awarded the medal after he charged Fort Wagner with the American Flag, planted it, was shot 4 times and still managed to retreat to Union lines with the flag.
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  • "The 54th Massachusetts Infantry." A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.
  • "America's Civil War: 54th Massachusetts Regiment." History Net Where History Comes Alive World US History Online Americas Civil War 54th Massachusetts Regiment Comments. American History Magazine, 12 June 2006. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.