Boston in Suffolk County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment
Omnia Relinqvit / Servare Rempvblicam
[Underneath the relief]:
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
The black rank and file volunteered when disaster clouded the Union cause - served without pay for eighteen months till given that of white 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
The Memory of the Just is Blessed Henry Albert Thomas R. Ampey Thomas Bowman William Brady Abraham Brown James H. Buchanan Henry F. Burghardt Elisha Burkett Jason Champin Andrew Clark Lewis Clark Henry Craig Albert Evans William S. Everson Samuel Ford Richard M. Foster Charles S. Gamrell Lewis C. Green John Hall William Henry Harrison II Edward Hines Benjamin Hogan Charles M. Holloway George Jackson James P. Johnson John H. Johnson Daniel A. Kelley Henry King Cyrus Krunkleton Augustus Lewis Thomas Lloyd William Lloyd Lewis J. Locard Francis Lowe Robert McJohnson John Miller James H. Mills William H. Morris Charles E. Nelson Stephen Newton Harrison Pierce Cornelius Price Thomas Peter Riggs David R. Roper Anthony Schenck Thomas Sheldon William J. Smith Samuel Sufshay John Tanner William Thomas Charles Van Allen George Vanderpool Cornelius Watson Edward Williams Franklin Willis Joseph D. Wilson William Wilson John W. Winslow Inscribed MCMLXXXII
[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
[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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Heroes • Landmarks • Military • War, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 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. Marker is at the north corner of Boston Common, directly across Beacon Street from the Massachusetts State House. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boston MA 02108, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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); Beacon Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); General Joseph Hooker (within shouting distance of this marker); Arrival of the Frigate Arbella (within shouting distance of this marker); Mary Dyer (within shouting Chester Harding House (within shouting distance of this marker); John Hancock Residence (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map 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.
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. Robert Gould Shaws Gruesome Task. Part of the New York Times Disunion series, Ronald Coddingtons article (August 12, 2012) traces deaths impacts from the Battle of Cedar Mountain. (Submitted on August 13, 2012.)
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.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 23, 2007, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 8,843 times since then and 6 times this year. Last updated on June 23, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos: 1. submitted on April 4, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 2. submitted on May 23, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 3. submitted on April 4, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 4. submitted on December 23, 2007, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 5. submitted on December 30, 2007, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 6. submitted on April 4, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 7. submitted on December 23, 2007, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 8. submitted on April 4, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 9. submitted on December 23, 2007, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 10. submitted on July 8, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.