A sword which belonged to the commanding officer of the first all-black Civil War regiment to see action is now on display after its discovery in a Boston attic more than 150 years after his death in battle near Charleston harbor.
Col. Robert Gould Shaw was a white officer who commanded the black freedmen of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in 1862 and 1863. He was killed in the unit’s unsuccessful charge at Battery Wagner on Morris Island on July 18, 1863. Shaw was portrayed by Matthew Broderick in the 1989 film “Glory.”
The sword was stripped from his body following the battle, but was eventually recovered by a Confederate officer after the war and returned to Shaw’s parents. However, Massachusetts Historical Society Vice President for Collections Brenda Lawson said the sword was lost to history after that. It was not until some of the descendants of Shaw’s sister went through the attic of her granddaughter following her death and found the historic artifact. [Read more…]