"There they march, warm-blooded champions of a far better day because that man. Over there on horseback among them, in his really habit as he lived, sits the blue-eyed child of fortune, upon who happy youth every divinity had smiled . . . " Oration by william James in ~ the exercises in the Boston Music Hall, may 31, 1897, upon the unveiling the the shaw Monument.

 

Despite his picture in the 1989 movie Glory, Robert Gould Shaw to be a wake up leader that the famed 54th Massachusetts Infantry, one of the an initial African American regiments in the civil War. At the moment he took command the the 54th in 1863, Shaw to be 25 years old and also had currently taken part in numerous battles v his old regiment, the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry, including engagements at Cedar Mountain and also Antietam. Demonstrate was unconvinced to leaving his comrades for service in a regiment that he wondered about would ever before see action.

 

Born come a significant Boston abolitionist family in 1837, shaw did no share the passion of his parental for freeing the slaves. As a young man, that spent several years studying and also traveling in Europe before attending Harvard university from 1856 to 1859. Unsure the what he want to carry out with his life, show dropped out before completing his studies.

 

When battle came in 1861, Shaw seemed to uncover a purpose, and he automatically enlisted in the 7th brand-new York Infantry, and served in the defense the Washington, DC because that 30 days, after which the regiment was dissolved. In may of the year, Shaw join the second Massachusetts together a 2nd lieutenant, serving for two years and attaining the location of Captain.

 

Massachusetts Governor man A. Andrew, a strong abolitionist, recruited demonstrate in in march of 1863 come raise and also command one of the an initial regiments of african American troops in the Union army, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry. Initially taking the command to appease his mother, Shaw ultimately grew come respect his men and believed the they might fight as well as white soldiers. He was eager to get his guys into activity to prove this. Once he learned that black color soldiers to be to receive less pay 보다 whites, shaw led a boycott of every wages until the case was changed.

 

On may 28, 1863, shaw led the 54th in a triumphant parade v Boston to the docks, whereby the regiment departed for business in south Carolina. Shaw had actually married Annie Kneeland Haggerty just 26 work before.

 

Initially assigned to manual labor details, the 54th walk not see real activity until a skirmish through Confederate troops in ~ James Island ~ above July 16. 2 days later, Shaw and also his men were amongst the units liked to command the assault on Battery Wagner, part of the defenses of Charleston. Shaw was killed in the charge, bravely urging his males forward, yet the 54th had actually proven the they were together brave together anyone, black color or white.


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Confederate general Johnson Hagood refused to return Shaw’s body to the Union army, and to show contempt because that the officer that led black color troops, Hagood had actually Shaw’s body buried in a usual trench v his men. Quite than considering this a dishonor, Shaw’s dad proclaimed “We would not have his body eliminated from where it lies surrounded by his brave and devoted soldiers....We can imagine no holier location than that in which the lies, among his brave and committed followers, nor wish because that him far better company – what a body-guard the has!”