Shaw Memorial Inscriptions

The Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial contains the following inscriptions:


Beacon Street Side

ROBERT GOULD SHAW 
COLONEL OF THE FIFTY FOURTH REGIMENT OF MASSACHUSETTS 
INFANTRY BORN IN BOSTON OCTOBER X MDCCCXXXVII 
KILLED WHILE LEADING THE ASSAULT ON FORT WAGNER 
SOUTH CAROLINA JULY XVIII MDCCCLXIII 

RIGHT IN THE VAN ON THE RED RAMPART'S SLIPPERY SWELL 
WITH HEART THAT BEAT A CHARGE HE FELL 
FORWARD AS FITS A MAN 
BUT THE HIGH SOUL BURNS ON TO LIGHT MEN'S FEET 
WHERE DEATH ENDS MAKES DYING SWEET.

JAMES RUSSEL LOWELL.

 

Boston Common Side

TO THE FIFTY FOURTH REGIMENT OF MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT

THE WHITE OFFICERS 
TAKING LIFE AND HONOR IN THEIR HANDS CAST IN THEIR LOT 
WITH MEN OF DESPISED RACE UNPROVED IN WAR AND 
RISKED DEATH AS INCITERS OF SERVILE INSURRECTION 
IF TAKEN PRISONERS BESIDES ENCOUNTERING ALL THE 
COMMON PERILS OF CAMP MARCH AND BATTLE. 

THE BLACK RANK AND FILE 
VOLUNTEERED WHEN DISASTER CLOUDED THE UNION CAUSE 
SERVED WITHOUT PAY FOR EIGHTEEN MONTHS TILL GIVEN 
THAT OF WHITE TROOPS FACED THREATENED ENSLAVE- 
MENT IF CAPTURED WERE BRAVE IN ACTION PATIENT 
UNDER HEAVY AND DANGEROUS LABORS AND CHEERFUL 
AMONG HARDSHIPS AND PRIVATIONS. 

TOGETHER 
THEY GAVE TO THE NATION AND THE WORLD UNDYING PROOF 
THAT AMERICANS OF AFRICAN DESCENT POSSESS THE 
PRIDE COURAGE AND DEVOTION OF THE PATRIOT SOLDIER. 
ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THOUSAND SUCH AMERICANS 
ENLISTED UNDER THE UNION FLAG IN 
MDCCCLXIII MDCCCLXV.

CHARLES W. ELIOT. 

 

I KNOW NOT MR. COMMANDER WHERE IN ALL HUMAN HISTORY 
TO ANY GIVEN THOUSAND MEN IN ARMS THERE HAS 
BEEN COMMITTED A WORK AT ONCE SO PROUD SO PRECIOUS 
SO FULL OF HOPE AND GLORY AS THE WORK COMMITTED 
TO YOU.

JOHN A. ANDREW, GOVERNOR.



Contact Information & Address:

Mass 54th Memorial 
24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA, 02108 
617.727.3676 
sec.state.ma.us

 


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