Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Boston in Suffolk County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment

 
 
Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Marker image. Click for full size.
By David M. Dwiggins, March 12, 2007
1. Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Marker
Inscription. [On the front of the monument, part of the relief itself]:
Omnia Relinqvit / Servare Rempvblicam

[Underneath the relief]:
Robert Gould Shaw
Colonel of the Fifty Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry
born in Boston 10 October MDCCCXXXVII
Killed while leading the assault on Fort Wagner
South Carolina 18 July MDCCCLXIII

[Underneath this is a verse from James Russel Lowell's poem "Memoriae Positum"]:
Right in the van, on the red rampart's slippery swell,
With heart that beat a charge he fell
Foeward as fits a man;
but the high soul burns on to light men's feet
where death for noble ends makes dying sweet

[On the back of the frame of the tablet. The inscription was composed by Charles W. Eliot, then president of Harvard University]:
To the Fifty Fourth of Massachusetts Regiment Infantry

The White Officers taking life and honor in their hands cast in their lot with the men of a despised race unproved in war and risked death as inciters of a servile insurrection if taken prisoners - besides encountering all the common perils of camp march and battle.

The black rank and file volunteered when disaster clouded the Union cause - served without pay for eighteen months till given that of white
Text under the Relief image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 14, 2009
2. Text under the Relief
troops - faced threatened enslavement if captured - were brave in action - patient under heavy and dangerous labors - and cheerful amid hardships and privations.

Together they gave to the nation and the world undying proof that Americans of African descent possess the pride, courage and devotion of the patriot soldier. One hundred and eighty thousand such Americans enlisted under the Union flag in MDCCCLXIII - MDCCCLXV

[Underneath on the back; in 1897 were inscribed the names of the other five officers killed in battle. Of these, only Russel and Simpkins died at Fort Wagner]:
Cabot Jackson Russel, Captain • William Harris Simpkins, Captain • Edward Lewis Stevens, 1st Lieutenant • David Reid, 1st Lieutenant • Frederick Hedge Webster, 2nd Lieutenant

[Under these names is an extract from the address given by Governor Andrew on the departure of the regiment]:
I know not my commander where in all human history to any given thousand men in arms there has been committed a work at once so proud, so precious, so full of hope and glory as the work committed to you.

[Under Governor Andrew's address, are inscribed 62 names of those soldiers from the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment who died during the assault on Fort Wagner. They were added in 1982. Above these names is inscribed]:
The Memory of the Just is Blessed

Back of the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Marker image. Click for full size.
By David M. Dwiggins, March 12, 2007
3. Back of the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Marker
[On the marble at one end of the terrace, words of Mrs. Robert C. Waterston]:
O fair haired northern hero with thy guard of dusky hue up from the field of battle rise to the last review.

[On the marble at the other end of the terrace the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson]:
Stainless soldier on the walls knowing this and knows no more whoever fights whoever falls justice conquers evermore.
 
Erected 1897.
 
Location. 42° 21.455′ N, 71° 3.8′ W. Marker is in Boston, Massachusetts, in Suffolk County. Marker is at the intersection of Beacon Street and Park Street, on the right when traveling east on Beacon Street. Click for map. Marker is at the north corner of Boston Common, directly across Beacon Street from the Massachusetts State House. Marker is in this post office area: Boston MA 02108, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Monument (a few steps from this marker); The Sculptor (a few steps from this marker); Arrival of the Frigate Arbella (within shouting distance of this marker); Mary Dyer (within shouting distance of this marker); John Hancock Residence (about
Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, 1992
4. Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Marker
Memorial seen from across Beacon Street.
300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Huguenots, Women, and Tories (about 300 feet away); Colonial Craftsmen (about 300 feet away); Seventeenth Century Burials (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Boston.
 
More about this marker. A nearby marker describes the monument and its restoration in the early 1980s. It states:

The Shaw-54th Regiment Memorial honors Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and members of the 54th Massachusetts regiment who died in the assault on Fort Wagner, July 18, 1863. The 54th was the first regiment of Black volunteers from the North to fight in the Civil War. On the back of the monument are inscribed the names of the members of the 54th who died with Colonel Shaw in the cause of freedom and union. The monument was erected through private donations and given to the city of Boston in 1897. It became part of Boston African-American National Historic Site in 1980.
Funds contributed from across the United States made possible its restoration in 1982-1984.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Other monuments placed to honor the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Infantry.
Back of memorial, Massachusetts State House in rear of picture. image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, 1991
5. Back of memorial, Massachusetts State House in rear of picture.

 
Also see . . .
1. Boston African American National Historic Site. Background information re: Boston's Black community, the abolition movement, the Shaw Memorial, etc. (Submitted on December 23, 2007, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.) 

2. National Gallery of Art. Saint-Gaudens' sculpture and its restoration. (Submitted on December 23, 2007, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.) 

3. Robert Gould Shaw’s Gruesome Task. Part of the New York Times’ Disunion series, Ronald Coddington’s article (August 12, 2012) traces death’s impacts from the Battle of Cedar Mountain. (Submitted on August 13, 2012.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Omnia Relinqvit / Servare Rempvblicam
is a motto reflecting the ethic of selfless service. From latin it means, "He relinquished everything to save the Republic."
    — Submitted April 2, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.

 
Additional keywords. U.S. Colored Troops; USCT; Auguste Saint-Gaudens
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansHeroesLandmarksMilitaryWar, US Civil
 
Robert Gould Shaw in the memorial's relief image. Click for full size.
By David M. Dwiggins, March 12, 2007
6. Robert Gould Shaw in the memorial's relief
Black soldiers in the memorial's relief. image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, 1992
7. Black soldiers in the memorial's relief.
Black Soldiers in the memorial's relief image. Click for full size.
By David M. Dwiggins, March 12, 2007
8. Black Soldiers in the memorial's relief
The Monument image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller
9. The Monument
This nearby marker describes the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment and the early 1980s restoration effort. Please see the "More about this marker" section above for more information.
Saint-Gaudens' art image. Click for full size.
10. Saint-Gaudens' art
Copy of memorial sculpture in National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Company B, 54th MVI re-enactors pose at memorial image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, circa 1992
11. Company B, 54th MVI re-enactors pose at memorial
"The Sculptor" - panel dedicated to Auguste Saint Gaudens image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, July 5, 2009
12. "The Sculptor" - panel dedicated to Auguste Saint Gaudens
Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, July 5, 2009
13. Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 8,229 times since then and 63 times this year. Last updated on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   4. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   5. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   6. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   7. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   8. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   9, 10, 11. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   12, 13. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement