Monday, July 27, 2015

18 July 1863: Union Attack on Fort Wagner by Massachusetts 54th Infantry

18 July marks the anniversary of the assault on Fort Wagner by African-American troops of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, made famous to the present generation by the film, "Glory."

This year, instead of posting about it on that day, I earlier wrote about the changing reactions to the "Shaw Memorial" in Boston, which commemorates Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the troops that he commanded.

For today, several engraved representations of the battle over on the tumblr:

(details here

(details here)

Note the difference: Although both depict the assault, including a heroic bearer of the Union flag (the first bearer was hit, and then Sgt. William Harvey Carney seized it, the first Black to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor), the first was produced by a British reporter "embedded" with the Confederate troops, and thus views the attack from the inside. The second, based on a painting by Thomas Nast, presents the (to us) more familiar view of the assault seen from the perspective of the Union attackers.

This piece, from an August 1863 issue of Harper's Weekly, depicts African-American troops digging fortifications as the siege of Fort Wagner continued

 (details here)

See all posts relating to the Mass 54th regiment (including the soldiers who came from Amherst).

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