Volunteers began to respond, and in may 1863 the government established the bureau of colored troops to manage the burgeoning numbers of black soldiers by the end of the civil war, roughly 179,000 black men (10% of the union army) served as soldiers in the us army and another 19,000 served in the navy. African american chapter 11 study play how was the 54th massachusetts different from the south carolina regiments the 54th was composed mainly of free blacks rather than slaves what can be said that is true about black military service during the civil war.
The fifty-fourth massachusetts volunteer infantry regiment was the first military unit consisting of black soldiers to be raised in the north during the civil war prior to 1863, no concerted effort was made to recruit black troops as union soldiers. Massachusetts governor john albion andrew, who had long pressured the us department of war to begin recruiting african-americans, placed a high priority on the formation of the 54th massachusetts andrew appointed robert gould shaw, the son of boston abolitionists, to command the regiment as colonel. The recruitment of african-american soldiers was one of the most important moments in the american civil war in practical terms, it provided soldiers for the union army symbolically, it emphasized the fight to end slavery and make all men equal the most famous unit both then and now, was the 54 th massachusetts regiment, the heroes of the film glory the question of black soldiers the issue of slavery was fundamental to the american civil war.
On the 150th anniversary of the bloody battle that inspired the movie “glory,” take a look back at the all-black 54th massachusetts regiment.
To lead the 54th massachusetts, governor andrew chose a young white officer named robert gould shaw on july 18, 1863, the 54th massachusetts stormed fort wagner, which guarded the port of charleston, in south carolina it was the first time in the civil war that black troops led an infantry attack. Early in february 1863, the abolitionist governor john a andrew of massachusetts issued the civil war’s first call for black soldiers massachusetts did not have many african-american residents, but by the time 54th infantry regiment headed off to training camp two weeks later more than 1,000 men had volunteered. The 55th massachusetts infantry regiment was a volunteer regiment made up of men who wanted to enter the already full 54th massachusetts infantry regiment in the union army during the american civil war the 54th was the first officially recognized black military unit in the united states when.
The 54th massachusetts volunteer infantry regiment was an infantry regiment that saw extensive service in the union army during the american civil war the regiment was one of the first official black units in the united states during the civil war. Monument to colonel robert shaw and the 54th massachusetts medal of honor after the war, william carney would return to massachusetts and carry on with his life he would have to wait some 37 years to receive his honor as was the case for many african-american soldiers of the civil war. For the men of the 54th massachusetts, the assault on a confederate fort outside charleston was much more than just another battle lacking the courage and intelligence of combat-ready soldiers the onset of the civil war set off a rush by free black men to enlist in the us military, but a 1792 law barred ‘persons of color from serving.
Massachusetts governor john albion andrew, who had long pressured the us department of war to begin recruiting african-americans, placed a high priority on the formation of the 54th massachusetts andrew appointed robert gould shaw , the son of boston abolitionists, to command the regiment as colonel. The performance of the 54th regiment at fort wagner convinced many northern leaders that african americans could be good soldiers, which paved the way for further enlistment of african americans in the war effort by the end of the civil war, more than 178,000 african americans had served in the union army, playing a crucial part in the northern victory.
The july 1863 assault on fort wagner, sc, in which the 54th regiment of massachusetts volunteers lost two-thirds of their officers and half of their troops, was memorably dramatized in the film glory by war's end, 16 black soldiers had been awarded the medal of honor for their valor. With the emancipation proclamation in effect as of january 1, 1863, andrew saw the opportunity for massachusetts to lead the way in recruiting african-american soldiers after securing permission from president lincoln, andrew enthusiastically recruited two regiments of african american soldiers, the 54th and the 55th massachusetts infantries.