American Civil War and Col. Shaw

Topics: American Civil War, Union Army, 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Pages: 2 (721 words) Published: March 26, 2014

The 54th Massachusetts, the first African American regiment in the Civil War, set standards for other similar regiments to come. This did not meet elation, however. The white soldiers at this time did not like the idea. They thought these men were uncivilized, uneducated boys with a gun who did not know the basics of combat. Although the 54th Massachusetts met resentment and disbelief at the beginning of their operations, the attitudes of the white men changed, and changed drastically. The 54th Massachusetts would give them a new sense of inspiration. It would also plant a seed of motivation in the hearts of other African Americans living in the North to take part in the war.

When the 55th Massachusetts was established by Fredrick Douglas and Governor John Andrew, even Colonel Robert Shaw was shocked. In the movie Glory, he excuses himself from the presence of Douglas and Andrew and walks outside to think. His friend Cabot Forbes does not think it is a good idea at first. When Col. Shaw tells Forbes he is going to lead the regiment, Forbes is inspired to assist him. When the white Union enlisted men first see the black Union soldiers, they are hateful. They are yelling things at them and calling them all sorts of names. The white Union soldiers at this time did not see the full potential of the black regiments. They had no idea they would make any impact on the war at all. The 54th Massachusetts was laughed at. Some white officers thought these were the best conditions any of the black soldiers had ever seen. Later on in the movie, as the regiment was being used for labor, some white soldiers are passing by. One white soldier starts talking badly about the 54th, and Trip, a soldier in the 54th, says the white soldiers should just go let them fight instead. The white soldier and Trip start to fight but it is broken up. This shows that the white Union soldiers did not have faith in the black troops at this time of the war.

As the 54th...
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