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The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment


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The Original 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment


INTRODUCTION

It is 3:30 a.m. in the middle of the night. You have just woken up from a long and strange night of sleep. You have been learning about the Civil War in school, and last night you dreamt that you were fighting in civil war battles, talking to soldiers, and listening to President Lincoln give an Address at Gettysburg.

Suddenly, you hear a knock outside of your window. You open your window and see a boy peering in at you. You ask him who he is and want he wants. "I need your help," he replies.

You ask him how he got here and he replies that he has been traveling through time warps for years. He tells you that he just came back from the year 2015. You are amazed to find out that something terrible has happened in the future. Nobody in the year 2015 remembers anything about the Civil War. He is afraid that if something isn't done about it, this important event in history will be forgotten forever.

"What can I do to help?" you ask.

"You can help me by gathering up a group of classmates, coming with me through the time warp, learning more about the Civil War, particularly the first all African-American Regiment in the Civil War and then sharing it with your fellow classmates. It is important that they learn all about it so that they can share it with others, who will share it with others, who will share it with others, and so on."

"Will you accept this challenge?"

"Absolutely!"


TASK

Your task will be to read through the information on:

-what the 54th Massachusetts regiment was
-the most notable event during its operation
-the most major battles won and lost

YOU HAVE EXACTLY 15 MINUTES TO ANSWER THE GUIDED QUESTIONS IN YOUR TIME WARP!




WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN AND WHY - ALL ABOUT THE 54TH REGIMENT

WHO
The 54th regiment was an ALL African-American part of the UNION ARMY during the Civil War. The officers were all white with the highest of honors, experience and medals. The 54th's commanding officer was Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, an abolitionist (wanted to end slavery) and Massachusetts high ranking officer.

WHAT
The 54th were made up of 252 free African Americans who wanted to fight for their freedom during the Civil War.

WHERE
The 54th was created in Massachusetts and trained at Camp Meigs near Boston.

WHEN
The 54th was authorized in March 1863, in the middle of the Civil War.

WHY
The 54th was authorized by Massachusetts Governor John A Andrew. Abolitionists knew that black citizens would never be considered truly equal if they did not personally take up arms in defense of the UNION. When President Lincoln eventually gave his agreement to creating an African American regiment, it would be led by experienced white officers.



MOST EVENT DURING ITS OPERATION

- On December 23, 1862, the CONFEDERATE CONGRESS (south) proclaimed that any black enlisted Union army and white officers commanding those armies, if caught, would have a death sentence by capital punishment of the Confederate Army.

- Southern Confederate, Jefferson Davis created this "death sentence procl amation."
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DAVIS: Created "Death Sentence Proclamation"





MOST MAJOR BATTLES WON AND LOST

James Island

1. The regiment's first battlefield action took place in a skirmish with Confederate troops on James Island, South Carolina, on July 16. The regiment stopped a Confederate assault, losing 42 men in the process, most notably Kyree Fuller. The 54th won this skirmish in South Carolina


Fort Wagner
2. The regiment gained recognition on July 18, 1863, when it spearheaded an assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina. At this battle, Colonel Shaw was killed, along with 29 of his men. 24 more later died of wounds, 15 were captured, 52 were missing in action and never accounted for, and 149 were wounded. The total regimental casualties of 272 would be the highest total for the 54th in a single engagement during the war. Although Union forces were not able to take and hold the fort (despite taking a portion of the walls in the initial assault), the 54th was widely acclaimed for its valor during the battle. The 54th and the Union Army lost the battle to gain control of Fort Wagner in South Carolina.
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Decades later, Sergeant William Harvey Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for grabbing the U.S. flag as the flag bearer fell, carrying the flag to the enemy ramparts and back. Carney was the FIRST EVER African American to be awarded the MEDAL OF HONOR.

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Battle of Fort Wagner





The Battle of Olustee/Honey Hill
3. Under the command of now-Colonel Edward Hallowell, the 54th fought a rear-guard action covering the Union retreat at the Battle of Olustee. As part of an all-black brigade under Col. Alfred S. Hartwell, they unsuccessfully attacked entrenched Confederate militia at the November 1864 Battle of Honey Hill. The 54th lost the attack upon a Confederate entrenchment in South Carolina.

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Battle of Olustee/Honey Hill



YOU ARE NOW FINISHED WITH THE GUIDED NOTES - QUESTIONS

PLEASE RETURN BACK TO YOUR SEATS!