Plan and Sections of Fort Wagner, 1863

An ill-fated assault was launched on the Confederate stronghold of Fort Wagner, South Carolina on July 18th, 1863.  Leading the attack was the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first official African American units.  The 54th lost two-thirds of their officers and half of their troops in the assault, memorably dramatized in the film Glory

The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground by Rick Reeves

The 54th Massachusetts, a segregated “Colored” Regiment during the American Civil War, makes their assault on Fort Wagner, July 18, 1963. Although the assault failed, the unwavering bravery of the soldiers nevertheless earned respect of their superiors, and ensured that black soldiers would continue to be utilized in combat.

(National Guard)

anonymous asked:

Do you have any facts about Robert Gould Shaw?

Someone… wants… to know… about my longest history crush?? I love this man with all my heart (ALL) even my blog title is a mention towards him?? Because I love him so much!! But here are a bunch of facts about his beautiful beautiful guy:

  • Robert Gould Shaw had eighty-five first cousins (McFeely 2)
  • Robert was a HUGE mama’s boy.
  • After being sent to boarding school at the age of thirteen he hated it, he hated his teachers because they “scolded [him]… because [he] didn’t do something [his teacher] didn’t tell [him] to do…” He was so terribly homesick that he cried in front of his classmates and was very embarrassed. He even ran away twice. 
  • He played the violin, piano and did theater.
  • Once at a “fancy-ball” in February 1855, Shaw shaved his blond beard and dressed as a woman. He “made such fools” of his friends, none of who recognized him until he spoke. Basically all his friends thought he was a girl and hit on him until he revealed himself. (McFeely 9)
  • Robert grew to be 5′5 in height and looked a lot like to his two sisters (whom he was close to). 
  • He confided in his letters about how upset he was at how short he was and that he was not growing anymore. 
  • When going to Harvard, he played football and regularly got beaten up by larger, taller players. (McFeely 12)
  • During the Civil War, he lost many of his close friends including Theodore Winthrop. He lost friends at Cedar, South Mountains, Antietam and Gettysburg. He felt guilt for Theodore’s death because he himself hadn’t been hurt yet and he’d been in the army for twenty months and Theodore was only in the army for a month when he died.  
  • He marched with a descendant of Alexander Hamilton, Philip Schuyler (1836-1906).
  • [Excerpt from a letter sent on November 25th, 1861: “…Often the latter sit round the fire and talk till you get perfectly sick of hearing them and wish every one of their Yankee noses were cut off. Instead of getting accustomed to the Yankee twang it becomes more and more disagreeable to me, and everything I hear a “What sayyyyy?” (every two minutes) I want to go out & kick them all round.”
  • At a party held by his sisters Susanna, he met his future wife Annie Haggerty. That night he decided she would be his “young woman”. 
  • Shaw had photos taken of him which he sent to his mother and got embarrassed when he took those photos and flaunted them around to the girl he was interested in. 
  • He began to teach himself how to write with his left hand in case his right hand had to get amputated one day. 
  • One time, he was shot by a bullet and didn’t even know he had been shot until he was undressing and found a bullet in his pocket watch that gave him just a small bruise. He lived only because he put a pocket watch in the direct place where the bullet nearly killed him. 
  • He also nearly died at the Battle of Antietam when a battle passed through the side of his neck. 
  • [excerpt from one of his letters] “I went to comb my hair, it was all frozen up”
  • Robert Gould Shaw is an important figure of American history and the American Civil War because he was the first to command an all black regiment of soldiers–the 54th Massachusetts. 
  • After he saw his mother for the last time he went into the backroom and cried. 
  • His reputation was slightly ripped when his regiment was commanded by General Montgomery to burn down the down the town of Darien, Georgia–to which Shaw refused but was forced too and received the blame for it. 
  • Before his death at Fort Wagner at the age of only twenty-five, Shaw confided to his second in command, Hallowell, that be believed that he would die in the forthcoming battle. He had this fear of death but got over this fear just before the battle occurred. He told Hallowell, “If I could only live a few weeks longer with my wife, and be at home a little while, I might die happy, but it cannot be. I do not believe I will live through our next fight.”
  • On the charge of Fort Wagner, 1863, Shaw made it to the top of the parapet before a confederate bullet killed him and he fell first into the fort. In his last moments, he waved his sword around, urged his men forward shouting, “Forward 54th!”
  • The Fort’s commander, General Gohnson Hagood, ordered Shaw’s body to be striped and thrown into a ditch with his men and then shoveled sand over him and his fallen men. They refused to return the body back to his family even though it was asked and Shaw’s father remarked that they would have no place other for him to buried than with his men. 
  • His last later is signed off simply as “Rob”, something he hadn’t done in any of his previous letters. 

Scenes From “Glory” (1989)

Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.

More than two years after the Civil War commenced at Fort Sumter, the guns thundered once again across Charleston Harbor. On July 18, 1863, the first regiment of African-American soldiers officially recognized by the U.S. Army led a bloody assault against Fort Wagner. The valor displayed by the 54th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry Regiment that day inspired the 1989 movie “Glory” and changed the way the Union viewed black soldiers.

The closing narration reveals that Fort Wagner was never taken by Union forces. The sacrifice of the 54th, which lost nearly half its men in the battle, was not in vain; their bravery resulted in the Union accepting thousands of black men for combat which President Abraham Lincoln credited with turning the tide of the war.

On May 31, 1897, city and state officials unveiled the Robert Gould Shaw Monument. The Shaw Monument honored the soldiers of the 54th Regiment, the United States’ first documented African American regiment and its white colonel, Robert Gould Shaw.

 Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation made the organization of African American volunteer regiments possible. The Massachusetts 54th was the first regiment to organize, and though it organized in Massachusetts, volunteers came from all over the United States, and as far away as the Caribbean. The regiment suffered heavy losses at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, including Colonel Shaw. Only 598 of the original 1,007 enlisted men were able to attend the dedication of the monument.

Booker T. Washington spoke at the dedication, stating that the monument stood for “effort, not victory complete. What the heroic souls of the 54th Regiment began, we must complete.” Read the rest of Washington’s remarks below.

Exercises at the dedication of the monument to Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the Fifty-fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry, May 31, 1897, Collection 0100.006, Boston City Archives

55 Little Known People in Black History
  1. Elijah Abel- (1808 –1884)- The first African-American elder and seventy in the Latter Day Saint movement, and one of the few black members in the early history of the Latter Day Saint movement to receive the priesthood.
  2. Jordan Anderson- (1825-1907) - A slave who following his emancipation, wrote a letter to his former master offering to work on his plantation. The letter has been described as a rare example of documented “slave humor” of the period and its deadpan style has been compared to the satire of Mark Twain
  3. Josephine Baker- (1906 –1975) - Born in the US but spent most of her life in France, Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934), or to become a world-famous entertainer. She assisted the French Resistance in WWII, receiving the Croix de guerre and was made a Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur.
  4. Ebenezer Bassett-(1833–1908)- The first African-American diplomat, serving as US ambassador to Haiti.
  5. Mary McLeod Bethune- (1875 –1955)- Built schools for African-Americans in Florida. 
  6. Stephen Bishop- (c. 1821–1857)- One of the lead explorers of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system in the world.
  7. Blanche Bruce- (1841 –1898)- The first elected black senator to serve a full term.
  8. Absalom Boston- (1785–1855)- The first African-American captain to sail a whaleship, with an all-black crew.
  9. Melvin “Mel” Boozer-(1945 –1987)- Activist for African American, LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues. In 1980 he became the first openly gay candidate for Vice President of the United States, running on the Socialist ticket.
  10. William Wells Brown- (c.1814-1884)- Wrote Clotel the first novel published by an African American
  11. William Harvey Carney- (1840–1908)- The first African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863. 
  12. Wentworth Cheswell- (1748 –1817)- The first African American elected to public office in the history of the United States, being elected town constable of Newmarket, New Hampshire in 1768.
  13. Fanny Jackson Coppin- (1837 –1913)- An African-American educator and missionary and a lifelong advocate for female higher education.
  14. Martin Delany- (1818 –1885) Abolitionist, journalist, physician, and writer, and arguably the first proponent of black nationalism. He was one of the first three blacks admitted to Harvard Medical School.
  15. Storm DeLarverie- (1920 –2014)- A butch lesbian whose scuffle with police was one of the defining moments of the Stonewall uprising, spurring the crowd to action. She was nicknamed “the Rosa Parks of the gay community.”
  16. James Derham- (c. 1757-1802?)- The first African American to formally practice medicine in the United States though he never received an M.D. degree.
  17. Father Divine- (c. 1876 –1965)- An African American spiritual leader from about 1907 until his death. Father Divine made numerous contributions toward his followers’ economic independence and racial equality.
  18. Mary Fields- (c. 1832–1914)- The first African-American woman employed as a mail carrier in the United States and the second woman to work for the United States Postal Service.
  19. Henry Ossian Flipper- (1856–1940)- The first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point
  20. Gordon- (dates unknown)- A slave on a Louisiana plantation who made his escape from bondage in March 1863.The pictures of Gordon’s scourged back provided Northerners with visual evidence of brutal treatment of slaves and inspired many free blacks to enlist in the Union Army.
  21. Samuel Green- (c. 1802–1877)- Minister who was jailed in 1857 for possessing a copy of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
  22. Nero Hawley- (1742–1817)- Slave who was enlisted in place of his owner, Daniel Hawley, in the Continental Army on April 20, 1777 during the American Revolution and earned his freedom.
  23. Jupiter Hammon- (1711 – before 1806)- The first African-American writer to be published in the present-day United States. He is considered one of the founders of African-American literature.
  24. Michael A. Healy- (1839 –1904)- Nicknamed “Hell Roaring Mike,” Healy has been identified as the first man of African-American descent to command a ship of the United States government. Healy patrolled the 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of Alaskan coastline for more than 20 years, earning great respect from the natives and seafarers alike.
  25. Hercules- (c. 1755-Unknown)- Slave who worked as a cook for George Washington. Hercules escaped to freedom from Mount Vernon in 1797, and later was legally manumitted under the terms of Washington’s Will.
  26. DeHart Hubbard- (1903 -1976)- The first African American to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event; the running long jump at the 1924 Paris Summer games.
  27. Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori- (1762-1829)- A West African prince who was brought as a slave to the US. After 40 years own slavery, he was freed as a result of negotiations between the Sultan of Morocco and President John Quincy Adams.
  28. Thomas L. Jennings- (1791–1856)- The first African American to be granted a patent for his invention of a dry-cleaning process
  29. Anthony Johnson-(c.1600 –1670) - An Angolan who achieved freedom in the early 17th-century Colony of Virginia, where he became one of the first African American property owners and slaveholders.
  30. Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones- (1868/1869 –1933)- First African american to sing at Carnegie Hall.
  31. Barbara Jordan- (1936 –1996)- The first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, the first southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives, and the first African-American woman to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention.
  32. Henrietta Lacks- (1920-1951) - An African-American woman who was the unwitting source of cells from her cancerous tumor which were cultured  to create the first known human immortal cell line for medical research.
  33. Edmond Lewis- (1844 –1907)- The first African-American woman to achieve international acclaim as a sculptor.
  34. Henry Berry Lowrie- (c. 1845-Unknown)- Robin Hood style outlaw who targeted the Confederate government of North Carolina during the US Civil War and the KKK after it. He was never captured although many believe he died of injuries sustained in a 1872 robbery.
  35. Mary Eliza Mahoney- (1845 –1926)- The first African American to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States, graduating in 1879
  36. Jean Saint Malo-(Unknown-1784)- Escaped Spanish slave who led guerrilla attacks against the Colonial Spanish govemrnt of Louisiana
  37. Hattie McDaniel- (1895 –1952)-  First African-Americna to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress fro her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind
  38. Doris Miller- (1919 –1943)- The first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross. During the attack on Pearl Harbor Miller, then a cook on the U.S.S West Virginia, manned a gun tower, firing until he ran out of ammunition. He became an icon for African-American serving in the war.
  39. Tom Molineaux- (1784 –1818)- An African-American bare-knuckle boxer. He spent much of his career in Great Britain and Ireland, where he had some notable successes.
  40. P. B. S. Pinchback- (1837 –1921) - The first person of African descent to become governor of a U.S. state, serving as Governor of Louisiana for 15 days.
  41. George Poage- (1880–1962)- The first African-American athlete to win a medal in the Olympic Games, winning two bronze medals at the 1904 games.
  42. Bass Reeves- (1838-1910)- First black Deputy U.S. Marshals who arrested over 3,000 felons and shot and killed fourteen outlaws in self-defense. It is believed that he may have been the inspiration for The Lone Ranger.
  43. Hiram Rhodes Revels- (1827 –1901)-  The first African American to serve in the United States Senate, and was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress.
  44. John Rock-(1825–1866)- First African-American man to earn a medical degree and the first black person to be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. He coined the phrase “Black is Beautiful”
  45. Robert Smalls- (1839 –1915)- Slave who commandeered a Confederate transport ship, CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor, and sailed it from Confederate controlled waters to the U.S. blockade. he was later elected to the South Carolina State legislature and the United States House of Representatives
  46. D. Augustus Straker- (1842-1908)- Barbadian who immigrated to the United States to educate former slaves. In 1890, he became the first Black lawyer to appear before the Michigan Supreme Court, arguing that "separate but equal" was unconstitutional according to Michigan law
  47. Augustus Tolton- (1854-1897) - First African American to be ordained a Roman Catholic priest. In 2011 he was named a “Servant of God” one of the first steps toward sainthood.
  48. Alexander Twilight- (1795–1857) - The first African American elected as a state legislator, serving in the Vermont General Assembly.
  49. Colonel Tye- (c.1753—1780)- New Jerseyan slave who escaped to fight for the British during the American Revolution. He was one of the most effective guerrilla leaders opposing the American rebel forces in central New Jersey.
  50. Moses Fleetwood Walker- (1856 -1924)- The first African American to play Major League Baseball. After leaving baseball, Walker became a businessman and advocate of Black nationalism.
  51. Robert C. Weaver- (1907–1997)- The first African American to be appointed to a US cabinet-level position, serving as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1966-1968.
  52. Phillis Wheatley- (c. 1753 –1784)- The first African-American poet to have her work published.
  53. Cathay Williams- (1844-1892)- The first African-American female to enlist, and the only documented to serve in the United States Army posing as a man, under the pseudonym William Cathay.
  54. Marcos Xiorro-(Unknown-1821)- An African slave who, in 1821, planned and conspired to lead a slave revolt against the sugar plantation owners and the Spanish Colonial government in Puerto Rico. Although the conspiracy was unsuccessful, he achieved legendary status among the slaves and is part of Puerto Rico’s folklore.
  55. York- (1770?–1822?)- Slave who was part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. He gained the respect to the rest of the expedition and is believed to have been given his freedom or escaped to freedom following their return the the US. 
Badass doesn't always show on the outside.

Alexander the Great: (356 BC- 323 BC)Macedonian King, conqueror of much of the ancient world.

Germanicus: (15BC- 19 AD) Famed Roman military commander.

Hua Mulan: (7th century AD) Young Chinese peasant girl who disguised herself as a man so that her father wouldn’t be conscripted.  Rose the ranks to become a high ranking general.

Joan of Arc: (1412-1431) Teenage girl who led the French to victory against the English during the Hundred Years War.

Pope Julius II:  (1443 - 1514) “The Warrior Pope” who donned armor and personally led armies into battle.  

Elizabeth Stokes: (early 18th century) One of the most popular bareknuckle boxers in 17th century England.

Harriet Tubman: (1820-1913) Former slave, underground railroad conductor, army scout, co-commander of the Combahee River Raid, underwent brain surgery without anesthesia. 

Sgt. John Clem: (1851 - 1937) Enlisted in the Union Army at the age of 9. Youngest non-commissioned officer in the US Army with the rank of Sergeant.  Was wounded twice.

Maj. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain: (1828-1914) “The Fighting Professor”  Spoke nine languages fluently. Taught every subject in the curriculum at Bowdoin College.  Commanded the 20th Maine Regiment in the successful defense of Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg.  Led his men in an assault despite being shot in the groin at the Battle of Petersburgh.  Medal of Honor recipient.

Col. Robert Gould Shaw: (1837 - 1863) Commander of the all black 54th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War.  Killed in action at the 2nd Battle of Fort Wagner.

Edith Garrud: (1872-1971)“The Jiu-Jitsu Suffragist”

Sgt. Stubby: World War I veteran. Served in 17 battles. Warned his unit of gas attacks and incoming artillery, found wounded in no man’s land, and caught a German spy.  Was wounded in action once.

Nancy Wake: (1912 - 2011) Commanded 7,000 French Resistance fighters during World War II. The Gestapo (German Secret Police) had a 5 million franc bounty on her head.

Klavdiya Kalugina: (20th century) Soviet sniper during World War II, age 17.

Audie Murphy: (1925-1971) World War II veteran, Medal of Honor recipient, America’s most decorated soldier in history. Among his awards were the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, four Purple Hearts, the French Legion of Honor, two French Croix de Guerre’s, the French Fourregere (worn around his shoulder),and the Belgian Croix de Guerre. Was rejected by the Marine Corps and Navy because he was only 5'5" and 110 Lbs.

Unsinkable Sam: (1941-1955) Survived the sinking of three warships during World War II. (Bismarck, HMS Cossack, HMS Ark Royal)

Sgt. Major Mike Vining: Delta Force Operator. Veteran of Vietnam, the Iran Hostage Crises rescue attempt, Grenada, the Gulf War, Haiti, as well as numerous other classified missions. 

Below is what he looked like when he was awarded his first Bronze star.

External image

Rukhsana Kauser: 18 year old farmgirl from India who defended her family from 6 heavily armed terrorists with an axe and a captured assault rifle.

Yang Yuode: A Chinese farmer who defended his home from a band of thugs with a homemade rocket launcher and a homemade cannon.

Brennan Hawkins: Survived 5 days lost and alone in the Utah wilderness.



A singular event that encapsulates the movie or gives it a new depth of meaning ~ 

As they march down the corridor, all is quiet. Not a word spoken, a death march. Among the men lining the path was a nameless soldier who had slung racist remarks at them earlier in the movie. Breaking the silence is the nameless soldier. . He shouts "Give ‘em hell 54th!” Suddenly every soldier begins shouting and cheering. A smile spreads across the faces of some of the marching black soldiers. In that moment they were all one. In that moment you could see some of the hatred melting away. You could see that the 54th was doing more than fighting a war.

This scene made the movie’s scope grander. It showed hope for the future. It showed that no matter what happened that the hearts and minds of people were already affected. All of that was expressed in a moment, a great, great moment. by Thomas Crymes


nerd--queen  asked:

Any sad headcanons you have about Kurt?

child you really wanna go down this path. ima cheat a lil’ bit and bring in the hc’s i’m using for one of the scottkurt fics i have:

- When Kurt was in the circus, he really did feel that’s where he belonged. He didn’t look human, not with blue skin, fangs, pointed ears, a tail. He was a demon. There were other “freaks” in the show, of course. But none looked quite like him; maybe they had physical deformities. Maybe they had their skin covered with black ink and designs that Kurt swore could move, maybe they could breathe fire, or be able to feel no pain. But none look like him. When he learns about a being, a God, that many of his circus members pray to - an almighty who can grant any wish to a holy follower - Kurt turns to him for help. He prays away his blue skin, prays away his deformities, prays away his mutation. But he never wakes up the next morning with the dark brown, olive, or peach skin he hopes for, never learns what he’d look like if he were normal. When another member calls him a sin for his devilish appearance, Kurt takes a blade and holy book, and bites down on a rag to keep his cries quiet that night when, instead of praying, he marks the skin he hates so much - hoping that if he were to look more holy to his creator, God may grant him his prayers. 

- When Kurt comes to terms with his appearance at 15 years old, the circus has finally seemed to accept him as a member. They call him by his real name rather than his stage name, he even manages to gain little nicknames. Of course, when he finally feels like he has a family, God decides to punish him again. When he slips from one of the bars during his acrobatic stunt, he’s positive he will die; falling from this height would no doubt be fatal in the end. When he shuts his eyes and waits for the ground, he feels the Earth solid under his feet within seconds later.
A physical mutation had affected his status with the rest of the circus for years. When they all learn of another part of his mutation - teleportation - many people who he had considered friends are gone. He’s shunned, dismissed by all but the ringleader, who sees dollar signs over his head. Kurt’s routine is moved from a partner act to a single act, he’s kept separated from the rest, and worked hard to perfect a new routine until he feels like his heart will give out, like his lungs are burning, like his head is swimming. No one fights against the decision. His prayers for freedom turn to begs those nights.

- When he’s come to terms with his life at the age of 19, he’s taken from the only true home he’s ever known. It wasn’t a good home, no. But it was still a home, still full of people who knew him, who he at least felt understood his pain. When those same people hold him down as he’s shoved down into a box, he cries. Because this isn’t how he wants to die.
The box is cold, dark, quiet. The only way Kurt knows he’s still alive and breathing is when his new cage rattles or moves every other minute, hour, day. He’s unsure of how long he’s locked inside, unsure as to why he can’t teleport out, teleport home. He tries, he tries until the pain from whatever’s keeping him locked inside is too much to bear. He turns to his God, praying and begging for help. He doesn’t want to die this way, not alone and in the dark.
When his box jerks up, his heart leaps up into his throat. He thinks this is it, sees his life flashing before his eyes. Then hears chains being removed, hears a crowd and chanting, hears the fluttering of wings. Hears his stage name. And the doors open, he hits the ground.
When he realizes where he is, he wishes he was back in the box. Dying alone would be better than dying with an audience.

- He doesn’t know this woman. Doesn’t recognize her face. But he feels like he knows her, feels like he can trust her. She’s safe. She’s home. She’s an angel. She’s the freedom he’s prayed for. God’s heard him. He might have crumbled into a sobbing mess if he hadn’t been high on adrenaline. 
It took 19 years before Kurt Wagner felt safe and accepted and loved. And it was worth all that wait and pain.

Tombstone at Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield, Ohio, 2013. Photo courtesy of C. Crawford.

Our ancestor, Pvt. Varnal W. Mayo, was a member of the famous 54th Massachusetts regiment. The soldiers were depicted in the motion picture, “Glory.” He was from Granville County, North Carolina, having moved to Ohio before the Civil War. When a call for volunteers of African descent was issued by the governor of Massachusetts, Varnal went there to enlist. The racial practices of the American military were very clear about the ethnicity of soldiers in regiments and their assignments, with very few minority enlisted or commissioned officers.

A foot injury at the Battle of Fort Wagner on Morris Island and a stay at DeCamp Hospital on David’s Island resulted in his medical discharge. He was married several times, in NC before going to Ohio, and before and after the war in Ohio. Varnal Mayo lived the rest of his life in Ohio, never returning South to live. After the war, he continued to work and as a military veteran, became a pensioner. He was active with the Grand Army of the Republic until his death in 1900. The permission to use this original photograph from Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield, Ohio was granted by Ms. C. Crawford in 2013 and 2016.

Story from A.G. Adan 

Lieutenant Colonel Warren Adams of Co. H, 1st South Carolina Infantry Regiment In Uniform

Lt. Colonel Warren Adams commanded of the 1st South Carolina Infantry Regiment in defense of Battery Wagner at Charleston. He fended off the attacks of the African American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Attacked twice on July 11 and July 18, 1863, he repelled the Union forces with modest losses. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was killed in the second assault on the fort. It eventually succumbed to siege when the Confederates abandoned it on the evening of September 6-7, 1863. The Battles of Battery Wagner are the source of the 1989 movie Glory. Adams went on to serve the 2nd South Carolina Cavalry and was shot from his saddle at the Battle of Bentonville in 1865.- He was the son of South Carolina Governor James Hopkins Adams and Jane Margaret Scott Adams.

  • Purchased from: Cowan’s Auctions, Cincinnati, Ohio, June 2015.
  • Forms part of: Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs (Library of Congress).

Edward “Ned” Needles Hallowell: A Name Forgotten To History

He was an officer that commanded the all black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry following the death of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863. (of the Movie “Glory” Fame).  Legacy: The character of Major Forbes in the film Glory is based somewhat on Edward Hallowell.

He was a Quaker from Philadelphia who’s father was an abolitionist.  Lt. Edward Hallowell accepted an appointment in the 54th Massachusetts, which was to be led by Robert Gould Shaw as colonel and his brother Norwood as Lieutenant Colonel. The regiment was to be made up of white and black abolitionists fighting together for black freedom. Edward recruited African-American soldiers in Philadelphia and was actually the first officer to occupy the barracks set aside for the 54th at Camp Meigs in Reedville. Recruiting for the regiment proved so successful that a second regiment, the 55th, was formed. Norwood Hallowell was designated as the 55th’s colonel and Edward was promoted to major and was second-in-command to Shaw.

By the time of the famous assault by the 54th on Fort Wagner Hallowell was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In the assault on Fort Wagner he commanded the left wing with half the regiment’s companies. Because of the narrow defile through which the 54th had to pass the left wing was deployed directly behind Shaw and the right wing. Hallowell suffered three wounds in the assault and went home to recuperate. Upon returning he commanded the 54th as a full colonel for the rest of the war, except when he was in temporary command of a brigade. The 54th and Hallowell continued to serve with distinction during the war. He fought at the Battle of Olustee, the Battle of Honey Hill and the Battle of Boykin’s Mill. At Boykin’s Mill, Hallowell was in command of Major General Potter’s 3rd Brigade.

He was mustered out of the Union Army volunteer service in 1865. Hallowell marched with the Massachusetts members of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment at a post-war victory review held in Boston in December 1865. After the war Edward returned to Medford and became a wool commission merchant. His wounds from the war undoubtedly cut his life short and he died in 1871. He is buried with his wife Charlotte at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.

Little lasting recognition of either Edward or his brother Norwood exists. One exception is at the famous Union Club off of Boston Common which has meeting rooms dedicated to Edward and Norwood as well as Robert Gould Shaw.


Colonel Robert Gould Shaw-

Robert Gould Shaw was Colonel of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War. It was the first black regiment raised northeast of the Mississippi. Shaw proudly volunteered his regiment to lead the assault on the impregnable Fort Wagner where he was killed. He and the 54th were later memorialized by Augustus Saint-Gauden’s mythic monument placed on the Boston Common.

As one of the Connecticut troops penned to his mother, “But for the bravery of three companies of the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth (colored), our whole regiment would have been captured. As it was, we had to double-quick in, to avoid being cut off by the rebel cavalry. They fought like heroes.”

The Murder of Octavius Catto: One of the Earliest Instances of An African-American Being Murdered In America, And Why His Murder Still Matters & Becomes More Relevant Today

Who Was Octavius Catto?

Octavius Valentine Catto (February 22, 1839 – October 10, 1871) was a black educator, intellectual, and civil rights activist in Philadelphia. He became principal of male students at the Institute for Colored Youth, where he had also been educated. Born free inCharleston, South Carolina, in a prominent mixed-race family, he moved north as a boy with his family. He became educated and served as a teacher, becoming active in civil rights. As a man, he also became known as a top cricket and baseball player in 19th-century Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Catto became a martyr to racism, as he was shot and killed in election-day violence in Philadelphia, where ethnic Irish of theDemocratic Party, which was anti-Reconstruction and had opposed black suffrage, attacked black men to prevent their voting for Republican candidates.

His Life Before His Murder

In Philadelphia, Catto began his education at Vaux Primary School and then Lombard Grammar School, both segregated institutions. In 1853, he entered the all-white Allentown Academy in Allentown, New Jersey, located east of the Delaware River. In 1854, when his family returned to Philadelphia, he became a student at that city's Institute for Colored Youth (ICY).[1] Managed by the Society of Friends(Quakers), ICY’s curriculum included classical study of Latin, Greek, geometry, and trigonometry.[6]

While a student at ICY, Catto presented papers and took part in scholarly discussions at “a young men’s instruction society”. Led by fellow ICY student Jacob C. White, Jr., they met weekly at the ICY (which eventually was renamed as the Banneker Institute, in honor of Benjamin Banneker).[1][4] Catto graduated from ICY in 1858, winning praise from principal Ebenezer Bassett for “outstanding scholarly work, great energy, and perseverance in school matters.”[1] Catto did a year of post-graduate study, including private tutoring in both Greek and Latin, in Washington, D. C. In 1859, he returned to Philadelphia, where he was elected full member and Recording Secretary of the Banneker Institute. He also was hired as teacher of English and mathematics at the ICY.[1][4][7]

On May 10, 1864, Catto delivered ICY’s commencement address, which gave a historical synopsis of the school.[6] In addition, Catto’s address touched on the issue of the potential insensitivity of white teachers toward the needs and interests of African-American students:

It is at least unjust to allow a blind and ignorant prejudice to so far disregard the choice of parents and the will of the colored tax-payers, as to appoint over colored children white teachers, whose intelligence and success, measured by the fruits of their labors, could neither obtain nor secure for them positions which we know would be more congenial to their tastes.[6]

Catto also spoke of the Civil War, then in progress. He believed that the United States government had to evolve several times in order to change. He understood that the change must come not necessarily for the benefit of African Americans, but more for America’s political and industrial welfare. This would be a mutual benefit for all Americans.

“[…] It is for the purpose of promoting, as far as possible, the preparation of the colored man for the assumption of these new relations with intelligence and with the knowledge which promises success, that the Institute feels called upon at this time to act with more energy and on a broader scale than has heretofore been required”.[6]

On January 2, 1865, at a gathering at the National Hall in Philadelphia to celebrate the second anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Catto “delivered a very able address, and one that was a credit to the mind and heart of the speaker.” (Christian Recorder, January 7, 1865).

In 1869, Bassett left ICY when he was appointed ambassador to Haiti. Catto lobbied to replace him as principal; however, the ICY board chose Catto’s fellow teacher, Fanny Jackson Coppin, as head of school. Catto was elected as the principal of the ICY’s male department.[1][8] In 1870, Catto joined the Franklin Institute, a center for science and education whose white leaders supported his membership in the face of racial opposition.[1] Catto taught at ICY until his death in 1871.

The Civil War increased Catto’s activism for abolition and equal rights. He joined with Frederick Douglass and other black leaders to form a Recruitment Committee to sign up black men to fight for the Union and emancipation. After the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania in 1863, Catto helped raise a company of black volunteers for the state’s defense; their help, however, was refused by the staff of Major General Darius N. Couch on the grounds that the men were not authorized to fight. (Couch was later corrected byUS Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, but not until the aspiring soldiers had returned to Philadelphia.) Acting with Douglass and the Union League, Catto helped raise eleven regiments of United States Colored Troops in the Philadelphia area. These men were sent to the front and many saw action. Catto was commissioned as a Major, but did not fight.[1]

On Friday, April 21, 1865, at the State House in Philadelphia, Catto presented the regimental flag to Lieutenant Colonel Trippe, commander of the 24th United States Colored Troops. An account of Catto’s presentation speech was reported the following day in the Christian Recorder:

The speaker then paid a tribute to the two hundred thousand blacks, who, in spite of obloquy and the old bane of prejudice, have been nobly fighting our battles, trusting to a redeemed country for the full recognition of their manhood in the future. He thought that in the plan of reconstruction, the votes of the blacks could not be lightly dispensed with. They were the only unqualified friends of the Union in the South. In the impressive language written on this flag, “Let Soldiers in War be Citizens in Peace,” the Banks policy may plant the seed of another revolution. Our statesmen will have to take care lest they prove neither so good nor wise under the seductions of mild-eyed peace, as heretofore, amidst the tumults of grim-visaged war. Merit should also be recognised in the black soldier, and the way opened to his promotion. De Tocqueville prophesied that if ever America underwent Revolution, it would be brought about by the presence of the black race, and that it would result from the inequality of their condition. This has been verified. But there is another side to the picture; and while he thought it his duty to keep these things before the public, there are motives of interest founded on our faith in the nation’s honor, to act in this strife. Freedom has rapidly advanced since the firing on Sumter; and since the Genius of Liberty has directed the war, we have gone from victory to victory. Soldiers! Accept this flag on behalf of the citizens of Philadelphia. I know too well the mettle of your pasture, that you will not dishonor it. Keep before your eyes the noble deeds of your fellows at Port HudsonFort Wagner, and on other historic fields. Desert them not. Accept, Colonel, this flag on behalf of the regiment, and may God bless you and them. (Christian Recorder, April 22, 1865)

In November 1864, Catto was elected to be the Corresponding Secretary of the Pennsylvania Equal Rights League.[1] He also served as Vice President of the State Convention of Colored People held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in February 1865. (Liberator March 3, 1865: 35).

Catto fought fearlessly for the desegregation of Philadelphia’s trolley car system. The May 18, 1865 issue of the New York Times ran a story discussing the civil disobediencetactics employed by Catto as he fought for civil rights:

Philadelphia, Wednesday, May 17—2 P. M.
Last evening a colored man got into a Pine-street passenger car, and refused all entreaties to leave the car, where his presence appeared to be not desired.

The conductor of the car, fearful of being fined for ejecting him, as was done by the Judges of one of our courts in a similar case, ran the car off the track, detached the horses, and left the colored man to occupy the car all by himself. The colored man still firmly maintains his position in the car, having spent the whole of the night there.

The conductor looks upon the part he enacted in the affair as a splendid piece of strategy.

The matter creates quite a sensation in the neighborhood where the car is standing, and crowds of sympathizers flock around the colored man.

(New York Times, May 18, 1865, p. 5)

A meeting of the Union League of Philadelphia was held in Sansom Street Hall on Thursday, June 21, 1866, to protest and denounce the forcible ejection of several black women from Philadelphia’s street cars. At this meeting, Catto presented the following resolutions:

ResolvedThat we earnestly and unitedly protest against the proscription which excludes us from the city cars, as an outrage against the enlightened civilization of the age.

ResolvedThat we cannot discover any reason based upon good sense or common justice for the continuance of a practice which has long ceased to disgrace democratic New York, Washington, St. LouisHarrisburg and other cities, whose pledges of fidelity to the principles of freedom and civil liberty have not been so frequent as have been those of our own city.

ResolvedThat, with feelings of sorrow rather than pride, we remind our white fellow-citizens of the glaring inconsistency and palpable injustice of forcing delicate women and innocent children, by the ruthless hands of ungentlemanly and unprincipled conductors and drivers, to places on the front platform, subjecting to storm and rain, cold and heat, relatives of twelve thousand colored soldiers, whose services these very citizens gladly accepted when the nation was in her hour of trouble, and they seriously entreated, under the chances of IMPARTIAL DRAFTS, to fill the depleted ranks of the Union army.

ResolvedThat while men and women of a Christian community can sit unmoved and in silence, and see women barbarously thrown from the cars, — and while our courts of justice fail to grant us redress for acts committed in violation of the chartered privileges of these railroad companies, — we shall never rest at ease, but will agitate and work, by our means and by our influence, in court and out of court, asking aid of the press, calling upon Christians to vindicate their Christianity, and the members of the law to assert the principles of the profession by granting us justice and right, until these invidious and unjust usages shall have ceased.

ResolvedThat we do solemnly pledge ourselves to assist by our means any suit brought against the perpetrators of outrages such as those, the occurrence of which has convened this meeting; and we respectfully call upon our liberal-minded and friendly white fellow-citizens to cease to remain silent witnesses of the grievance of which we complain, and to demonstrate the sincerity of their professions by an interference in our behalf. (Brown 1866)

Later enlisting the help of US Senators Thaddeus Stevens and William D. Kelley, Catto was instrumental in the passage of a Pennsylvania bill that prohibited segregation on transit systems in the state. Publicity about a conductor’s being fined who refused to admit Catto’s fiancée to a Philadelphia streetcar helped establish the new law in practice.[1]

Catto’s crusade for equal rights was capped in March 1869, when Pennsylvania voted to ratify the 15th Amendment, which prohibited discrimination against citizens in registration and voting based on race, color or prior condition; effectively, it provided suffrage to black men. (No women then had the vote.) It was fully ratified in 1870.

His Murder On A Philadelphia Street

On Election Day, October 10, 1871, Catto was teaching in Philadelphia. Fights broke out in the city between black and white voters, as the elections were high in tension and parties reflected racial opposition. Black voters, who were mostly Republican, faced intimidation and violence from white voters, especially ethnic Irish, who were partisans of the city's Democratic machine. Irish immigrants had entered the city in great numbers during and after the Great Famine of the 1840s; they competed with free blacks for jobs and housing. City police were called on to quell the violence. Instead, often ethnic Irish themselves, they exacerbated the problems, using their power to prevent black citizens from voting. A Lieutenant Haggerty was later arrested for having encouraged police under his command to keep African Americans from voting.[1]

On his way to vote, Catto was intermittently harassed by whites. Police reports indicate that he had purchased a revolver for protection. At the intersection of Ninth and South streets, Catto was accosted by Frank Kelly, an ethnic Irish man, who shot him three times. Catto died of his wounds. The city inquest was not able to determine if Catto had pulled his own gun. Kelly was not convicted of assault or murder.[1]

Catto’s military funeral at Lebanon Cemetery in Passyunk, Philadelphia was well-attended. The murder of Catto, an important leader, and violence throughout the election, coupled with the resurgence of the anti-Reconstruction Democratic Party in the city, marked the beginning of a decline in black militancy in 19th-century Philadelphia.[1] Later, after the cemetery was closed down, Catto’s remains were reinterred at Eden Cemetery, in Collingdale, Pennsylvania.

Octavius Catto’s life matters, so much. More people need to know his story.

Source: Wikipedia