Despite being attacked by the first African American regiment, the Confederates defended 54th Regiment Massachusetts.
On July 10, 1863, Gilmore’s Federal troops landed on the southern end of Morris Island and speedily pushed back the Confederate forces on that part of the island. But the Union’s fast attack failed to capture all of Morris Island.
Hoping to capture the rest of the island the next morning, the North attacked. This attack on Fort Wagner was taken back with heavy losses.
Despite the heavy losses, the Union prepared for a new and better attack on Fort Wagner. This new plan included a close range land and sea attack on the fort, followed by a land attack.
But we were prepared at Fort Wagner, prepared with 14 heavy guns, mortars and cannons, plus a fortress designed to withstand rifled artillery fire.
…show more content…
Despite being majorly outnumbered, the 54th attacked with courage. Under heavy fire, the 54th continued suffering large losses.The men that were left, reached and scaled the earthen walls of Fort Wagner. In bloody hand-to-hand combat, the 54th regiment kept on pushing onward. Confederate gunfire caused nearly 300 casualties in the 54th alone, including Colonel Shaw. Colonel Shaw was fatally wounded. Seeing him down, Sergeant William H. Carney risked his life to take the flag and lead the troops to a low protective wall, on upon which he planted the colors. Carney took two bullets but survived.
The Confederate’s defended the fort, but the 54th became famous for the courage and sacrifice of their

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