54th Massachusetts & Role of African Americans in the Civil War

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54 Massachusetts

  • volunteer infantry
  • first military unit composed of African men to be rasied in Massachusetts
  • first members met in 1863
  • unit had Massachusetts people; 30 Illinois men, inlcuding 12 Galesburg men
  • July 16th 1863- James Island, SC, samuel wells & john Davis were wounded
  • John Davis was wounded and John W. Dickinson was captured
  • All three Galesburg men
  • Fort Wagner- Morris Island, SC on July 18th 1863 was the loss of many officers including Robert Gould Shaw
  • over 125 men were wounded and more than 100 missing
  • Henery Kirk captured Preston Williams of Galesburg
  • regiment mustered out in August 20, 1865

African Americans

  • Frederick Douglass speeches had African Americans enlist in the Union Army and fight for their freedom
  • About 180,000 African Americans
  • 163 units served in the Union Army
  • many more African Americans served in the Union Navy
  • Both free African-Americans and runaway slaves joined to fight in the civil war
  • Fort Wagner (battle) in the 54th Massachusetts was the main battle fought by African American
  • African Americans soldiers made up 10% of the Union Army
  • discrimination in pay
  • 1864 congress granted black soldiers equal pay

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