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
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The character of Col. Montgomery is portrayed as a greedy, cynical, and hypocritical racist who relishes his former days of being slaveholder. The real James Montgomery was a actually a fanatical abolitionist in the vein of John Brown (for whom he considered mounting a rescue mission). Montgomery's fanaticism did lead him to plunder and burn Darien, GA. Montgomery's motives were sincere (if immoral and brutal), and not cynically excused as portrayed in the movie. 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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