Black History: The 54th Regiment Was The First Group Of All-Black Soldiers To Enlist For The Civil War

Black History: The 54th Regiment Was The First Group Of All-Black Soldiers To Enlist For The Civil War

Comprised of freedmen, slaves who escaped their chains, and other civilians who volunteered to fight in the Civil War, the soldier came from all over the country.

The legendary tales of the civil war are many. But its the untold ones that are the most inspirational. Such is the tale of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first Nothern black group of volunteers that enlisted to fight in the Civil War. Word of the 54th Regiment's courageous fight power increased the popularity of the military amongst the Black community, leading to an increase of recruited soldiers.



 

Comprised of freedmen, slaves who escaped their chains, and other civilians who volunteered to fight in the Civil War, the soldier came from all over the country. Though they were not permitted to serve as officers, Black people were enlisted as sergeants and corporals which provided a crucial link to the enlisted soldiers and their officers. 



 

The Regiment sailed south to Beaufort and moved on to James Island, where they fought bravely and earned a high-ranking status in combat. The 54th Regiment of Massachusetts went on to fight valiantly at Fort Wagner. The battle is considered to be the group's most famed and costly battle, which cost the 54th Regiment at least 74 enlisted men and three officers. It was widely celebrated as a heroic defeat within the Union. 



 

 



 

Though they gave their everything during their struggle with the Civil War, the 54th Regiment did not recognize the Black soldiers who gave their lives for the cause. They were paid a lower wage than what they were promised, earning only $10 a month, instead of $13. The soldiers were also expected to purchase their own uniforms. Seeing this injustice as an unfair practice, the 54th Regiment men gave up their salary for 18 months and continued to fight in the war. After several appeals to the Secretary of War, the Attorney General, as well as the President himself, the all-Black Regiment was granted their full salary by Congress. 



 

 



 

The story of the 54th Regiment stands tall and strong through the test of time. They continue to be an example of the many struggles of Black people in America through its colorful history. 

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