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Col Robert Gould Shaw
Birth: Oct. 10, 1837
Boston
Suffolk County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Jul. 18, 1863
Charleston County
South Carolina, USA

American Civil War Union Army Officer. He is remembered as the commander of the first all-black regiment (the 54th Massachusetts) during the American Civil War. Born into a prominent and wealthy family with strong abolitionist views, he enrolled at St. John's College (now Fordham Preparatory School) in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York in 1846. Five years later, he traveled with his family to Europe and continued his education there. In 1855 he returned home with his family and the following year he enrolled at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts but left before graduating and went to work in his uncle's mercantile firm in New York City . Immediately following the outbreak of the American Civil War in April 1861, he enlisted as a private in the 7th New York Militia and the following month he received a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in Company H, 2nd Massachusetts Infantry. He saw his first combat at the 1st Battle of Winchester in Virginia in May 1862, followed by the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia three months later. Promoted to the rank of captain, he was wounded at the Battle of Antietam, Maryland in September 1862. In February 1863 his father, on behalf of Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew, offered for him to take command of a new all-black regiment which he accepted, and he travelled to Boston, Massachusetts to begin recruiting and training black soldiers. In April 1863 he was promoted to the rank of colonel and the following month, his newly-formed 54th Massachusetts Regiment departed for South Carolina to serve under Union Major General David Hunter's Department of the South. His unit saw its initial action in the attack on Darien Georgia, but he refused to participate when the attack escalated into a looting and burning melee. In July 1863 after repulsing a Confederate attack at James Island, he was directed to lead the 54th on their ill-fated assault on Fort Wagner. Marching on an open beach in full view of the Confederate defenders, they were met with heavy fire, but some of them, including Shaw, managed to scale the wall. In an effort to urge his men to continue the assault, he was killed by a bullet through the heart at the young age of 26. The attack was soon repulsed and while the mission was deemed to be a failure, it clearly demonstrated that black soldiers were equal to whites in terms of courage and valor on the battlefield. He was unceremoniously stripped of his uniform and thrown into a mass grave at the battle site, which became lost after the remains of Fort Wagner were washed out to sea by hurricanes over the years. A cenotaph in his honor resides at the Moravian Cemetery in New Dorp (Staten Island), New York as well as the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A bronze relief memorial in his honor as well as the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, that was designed by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, resides in Boston, Massachusetts at the edge of the Boston Common. A similar memorial resides at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. In films, he was portrayed by actor Matthew Broderick in the Oscar-winning "Glory" (1989). (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Burial:
Moravian Cemetery *
New Dorp
Richmond County (Staten Island)
New York, USA
Plot: Section A
*Cenotaph [?]
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Mar 21, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 4870
Col Robert Gould Shaw
Added by: Anonymous
 
Col Robert Gould Shaw
Added by: Frankie D
 
Col Robert Gould Shaw
Added by: Russ Dodge
 
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Thank you for your courage and valor in leading the first Union black regiment during the American Civil War. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Apr. 18, 2016

- Ryan D. Curtis
 Added: Jul. 18, 2015
Thank you
- Keil
 Added: Feb. 22, 2015
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