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The 54th Massachusetts infantry
Transcript of The 54th Massachusetts infantry
The 54th Infantry was the the first black regiment recruited in the North. Governor John A. Andrew of Massachusetts issued the first call for African American soldiers and put Robert Shaw in charge. Massachusetts was the first to respond with the formation of the 54th regiment and the 54th Infantry became the first military unit consisting of African American men.
What is the 54th Infantry?
How did they get their start?
After the Emancipation Proclamation, John A. Andrew started the 54th Infantry in February 1863, newspapers and posters were made for the need of recruits. At the end of the week there was only 72 recruits and by May 1,000 African American men were enlisted in the 54th Infantry. The 54th Infantry was a good test of the fitness of black men as soldiers and citizens. Soldiers for the 54th Infantry were recruited from the North, South, and Canada. The soldiers were as young as 16.
What role did they play in the war?
The 54th Infantry fought in many battles and was helpful to the Union. As the first black regiment, if they did well then they would prove african Americans could be soldiers. The future of African Americans as soldiers depended on the 54th Infantry.
Where did they fight?
The 54th Infantry's first battle was at Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863. They suffered 281 causalities including General Shaw and they lost the battle. Even though they lost the battle, the 54th Infantry did great damage to the South. They also fought at the Battle of Olustee and Honey Hill, but the Battle of Fort Wagner proved Africans can be soldiers. They returned to Boston in September 1865.
Were any significant battles won because of their existence?
The 54th Infanry fought at Fort Wagner and even though they lost, the battle was important because it proved Africans can be soldiers. One of the battles they won was the Battle of Boykin's Mill, where Lieutenant Stevens died. He was considered the last known Federal officer to die in the Civil War.
Based on what you have researched, in what ways was their fate tied to the war?
The 54th Infantry's fate was tied to the war because if they did well then they would prove Africans are fit to be soldiers. Even though they lost at Fort Wagner, the use of African American soldiers was viewed as a success and it opened the way for other black regiments. The Infantry's fate was also tied to the war because if the Union won then they would be free but if the South won then they could be enslaved again.
African American soldiers were paid $3 less than white soldiers.
Two sons of Frederick Douglass, Charles and Lewis N. Douglass, were in the Infantry.
There's a movie called "Glory" which is about the 54th Infantry and mentions the Battle of Fort Wagner.
Twenty-five men responded promptly to the recruit of men for the 54th Infantry.
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"54th Massachusetts." 54th Massachusetts. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. www.us-civilwar.com/54th.htm
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The 54th Massachusetts: History on the Battlefield." The 54th Massachusetts: History on the Battlefield. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/ushistory/54thmassachusetts.htm.
by Ivana Wijedasa #22 8B