Casualty List of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment from the Assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, 07/18/1863
The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was one of the most celebrated regiments of black soldiers that fought in the Civil War. Known simply as “the 54th,” this regiment became famous after the heroic, but ill-fated, assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina in July, 1863 (dramatized in the film Glory). Leading the direct assault under heavy fire, the 54th suffered enormous casualties before being forced to withdraw.
The courage and sacrifice of the 54th helped to dispel doubt within the Union Army about the fighting ability of black soldiers and earned this regiment undying battlefield glory. Shown here is one of the 54th’s casualty lists with the names of 116 enlisted men who died at Fort Wagner. Of the 600 men that charged Fort Wagner, 272 were killed, wounded, or captured.
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.