Annie Kneeland Haggerty the Widow of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw
Colonel Shaw who was portrayed in the movie “Glory” met Annie at a pre Civil War opera party given by Shaw’s sister Susanna and were married on May 2, 1863.
She became a widow at the age of 28 when Col. Shaw was killed at Ft. Wagner. Annie’s story has for the most part been lost. The letters she wrote to Robert Shaw were burned by him at her request. After her husband’s death she lived abroad, she later returned to the US and was an invalid, her ailment is unknown, she never remarried.
The Last Time She Saw Him..
At 9 am, 1,007 black soldiers and 37 white officers of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment began a parade march through the streets of Boston in full dress uniform. Twenty-five-year-old Colonel Robert Gould Shaw rode at the head of the column. Twenty thousand people turned out to see the regiment off. Along the parade route were such dignitaries as Governor John A. Andrew, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and Frederick Douglass whose sons Charles and Lewis Douglass were members of the 54th. Robert Gould Shaw’s family, including his mother, two of his four sisters and his wife, stood on the second floor balcony of the Sturgis home located at 44 Beacon Street.
When Colonel Shaw arrived at their location, he looked up and raised his sword to his lips. His seventeen-year-old sister Ellen, recalling how she felt about her brother Rob at that very moment, later wrote, “his face was as the face of an angel and I felt perfectly sure he would never come back.”
“The very flower of grace and chivalry, he seemed to me beautiful and awful, as an angel of God come down to lead the host of freedom to victory.”
- Poet John Greenleaf Whittier’s description of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw leading the 54th Massachusetts Regiment down Beacon Street and off to war.