Robert Gould Shaw was a son of wealthy Boston abolitionists. At 23 he enlisted to fight in the war between the states. The movie opens by Robert reading one of many letters he writes home. He is captain of 100 Union soldiers most of whom are older than himself. He speaks of the spirit of his men and how they are enthusiastic about fighting for their country just like the men in The Revolutionary war only this
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in front of the fort and wait until nightfall. Finally the moment has arrived to fulfill their mission. Shaw courageously leads his men up the treacherous hillside where he is shot in front of his men. With renewed determination at the sight of their fallen leader the 54th fight to their deaths. Trip and Shaw are buried together symbolizing the bond that was created between them as they fought for the equality of all men.