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
After President Lincoln’s order to recruit black soldiers, James W. Grace opened the recuiting office and visited local black churches to encourage enlistment. Born in Maine, Grace was a sailmaker and merchant before the war.
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.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln series list.
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. This marker is located next to the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry plaza. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Bedford MA 02740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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); Bourne Warehouse (within shouting distance of this marker); New Bedford Historic District (within shouting distance of this marker); Abijah Hathaway House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Mariner's Home (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map 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.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 25, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. This page has been viewed 583 times since then and 24 times this year. Last updated on June 3, 2015, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 25, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.