FitftyFourth Massachusetts

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The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts was organized in early 1863 by Robert Gould Shaw, twenty-six year old member of a prominent Boston abolitionist family. Shaw had earlier served in the Seventh New York National Guard and the Second Massachusetts Infantry, and was appointed colonel of the Fifty-fourth in February 1863 by Massachusetts governor John A. Andrew. As one of the first black units organized in the northern states, the Fifty-fourth was the object of great interest and curiosity, and …

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…dead and wounded. We captured, for the rest, in South Carolina, on our return to Georgetown, fifteen locomotives, and one hundred and forty cars loaded with ammunition, small arms and stores. We destroyed them all. We captured five hundred contrabands, five hundred prisoners, destroyed a vast deal of property, and captured about eighty head of horses. We are now encamped at Georgetown, and I hope we will soon be home with our friends and relatives."