New Bedford in Bristol County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
Civil War’s First Black Regiment
—New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park —
If captured, these recruits faced the prospect of execution or slavery. Yet by the end of the war more than 185,000 African Americans had volunteered for the Union Army and Navy.
When the 54th marched through the streets of this town, the citizens and soldiers lined the walks, to get a look at the first black regiment from the North.... We leave tonight for, the Lord knows where, but we shall try to uphold the honor of the Old Bay State wherever we go. Corporal James Henry Gooding, Beaufort, South Carolina, June 8, 1863.
Lower left - below each photo
Henry A. Monroe, a musician in Company C at age 14, was one of the youngest men to enlist. After his honorable discharge from the 54th, he taught in freedmen’s schools in Maryland and later became a minister.
The Baptist minister William Jackson (1818-1900) was a recruiter and acted as post chaplain to the 54th Regiment. Later appointed chaplain of the 55th Regiment, Jackson was the first chaplain of color in the Union Army.
After President Lincoln’s order
lower right – newspaper article
Your Country calls!
One Hundred Colored Men Wanted.
To be a’tached to
Gov. Andrew’s New Regiment,
THE MASSACHUSETTS FIFTY-FOURTH.
The pay and rations to be the same as
Those of any other Massachusetts Regiment.
The families of the Colored men enlisted to re-
ceive the same as that furnished white men in other
Head-Quarters for enlisting at the first building
west of the Post Office. William Street.
N.B. – Colored men from any other town, city, or
State, wishing to enlist, will receive the same as
Though they were from this city.
Feb 12 J. W. GRACE, Recruiting Officer
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 41° 38.126′ N, 70° 55.481′ W. Marker is in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in Bristol County. Marker is at the intersection of William Street and Acushnet Avenue, on the right when traveling east on William Street. Click for map. This
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Heroes of Fort Wagner (here, next to this marker); U.S. Custom House-Customary Duty (within shouting distance of this marker); Signs of the Time (within shouting distance of this marker); The Andrew Robeson House (within shouting distance of this marker); New Bedford Historic District (within shouting distance of this marker); The Mariner's Home (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Seamen’s Bethel (about 300 feet away); Preserving Whaling's Legacy (about 300 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in New Bedford.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. (Submitted on September 25, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
2. Fort Wagner and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. (Submitted on September 25, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
Categories. • African Americans • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. This page has been viewed 384 times since then and 99 times this year. Last updated on , by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.