Today’s Document from the National Archives

Document for July 18th:
Casualty List of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment from the Assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, 07/18/1863


Casualty List of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment from the Assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, 07/18/1863; Muster Rolls of Volunteer Organizations During the Civil War, Mexican War, Creek War, Cherokee Removal, and Other Wars, 1836 - 1866; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917; Record Group 94; National Archives.

The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was one of the most celebrated regiments of black soldiers that fought in the Civil War. Known simply as "the 54th," this regiment became famous after the heroic, but ill-fated, assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina in July, 1863. Leading the direct assault under heavy fire, the 54th suffered enormous casualties before being forced to withdraw.

The courage and sacrifice of the 54th helped to dispel doubt within the Union Army about the fighting ability of black soldiers and earned this regiment undying battlefield glory. Shown here is one of the 54th’s casualty lists with the names of 116 enlisted men who died at Fort Wagner. Of the 600 men that charged Fort Wagner, 272 were killed, wounded, or captured.

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