The 54th Massachusetts Regiment

When the idea was launched to form an all Black regiment following the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, the goal was to organize the men for tasks requiring manual labor. However, following a fight with confederate troops known as the Battle of Grimball’s Landing, the Fighting 54th demonstrated they were well trained and prepared for battle. During the assault on Battery Wagner, a Confederate stronghold on Morris Island, South Carolina, Sergeant William H. Carney was severely wounded, but managed to grab hold of the national colors and hoist it as he lead the charge on the well fortified battery. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for valor, making him the first African-American to receive the honor

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