Shaw was an officer in the Federal Army during the American Civil War who volunteered to lead the first company of black soldiers. Shaw was forced to deal with the prejudices of both the enemy (who had orders to kill commanding officers of blacks), and of his own fellow officers. Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lance Norris: Boston radio legend appears as a man in the crowd as the troops are marching through Boston. See more »
On the night before the failed attack on Ft. Wagner the soldiers of the 54th are gathered around a campfire singing a Negro spiritual in which Noah is counting the animals boarding the ark 'two by two'. One of the pairs mentioned were kangaroos which were probably unknown to most Americans living at the time of the Civil War. Kangaroos were much less likely to have been known to Negro slaves in the south who were prohibited education - the likely source of the spiritual being sung -- nor would the elite educated (northern) recruits who actually made up the 54th Mass likely be familiar with work songs originating in the fields of southern plantations, much less contribute personally to adding new lyrics to the tune. See more »
Robert Gould Shaw, the son of wealthy Boston abolitionists, was 23 years old when he enlisted to fight in the War Between the States. He wrote home regularly, telling his parents of life in the gathering Army of the Potomac. / These letters are collected in the Houghton Library of Harvard University.
Colonel Robert G. Shaw:
Dear Mother, I hope you are keeping well and not worrying much about me. You mustn't think that any of us are going to be killed. They are collecting such a force here, that an attack ...
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