Robert Gould Shaw would have been 25 years old at the time of death or 177 years old today. Shaw was educated in private schools in New York and Switzerland and then by tutors in Italy and Hannover, Germany. In 1864, sculptor Edmonia Lewis created a bust of Shaw. Robert Gould Shaw was born on October 10, 1837 and died on July 18, 1863. Discover life events, stories and photos about Robert Gould Shaw (1815–1853) of Gouldsboro,, Maine. \" Oration by William James at the exercises in the Boston Music Hall, May 31, 1897, upon the unveiling of the Shaw Monument. Some drawings and plaster mock-ups also exist. scholarship and civic-mindedness inculcated into all the children. [5] In a letter to the regimental surgeon, Lincoln Stone, Frank Shaw wrote: "We would not have his body removed from where it lies surrounded by his brave and devoted soldiers....We can imagine no holier place than that in which he lies, among his brave and devoted followers, nor wish for him better company. Robert Gould Shaw (October 10, 1837 – July 18, 1863) was an American military officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. In his teens, Shaw spent some years studying and traveling in Switzerland, Italy, Hanover, Norway and Sweden. Robert Gould Shaw, via Wikimedia Commons The story that appears in quite a few secondary works is that Confederate Brig. "[4] Although the gesture was intended as an insult, it came to be seen as an honor by Shaw's friends and family that he was buried with his soldiers. He was a Unitarian who moved with his family to a large estate in West Roxbury, adjacent to Brook Farm when he was five. They decided to marry before the unit left Boston despite their parents' misgivings. Shaw was a rebellious youth who often tested the patience of his parents and teachers. Few Hollywood movies have had more of an influence on how we remember the Civil War and, specifically, the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, along with its young colonel, Robert Gould Shaw. the family moved to Staten Island, New York, settling among a community of literati and abolitionists, while Shaw attended the lower division of St. John's College (comparable to a modern high school). . The story of the 54th Massachusetts and Shaw is recounted in the motion picture Glory (1989). Ultimately, however, Shaw changed his mind and accepted the command, perhaps to please his mother. He saw action in the Battles of Cedar Creek and Antietam and was wounded twice. Robert Gould Shaw (October 10, 1837 – July 18, 1863) was an American officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Following a period of hedonistic self-indulgence, he returned to the United States. Omissions? Later[when?] On Aug. 11, 1862, Robert Gould Shaw arrived in the Virginia town of Culpeper on a grim errand: the young lieutenant was there to accompany the remains of five fellow officers on the first leg of a final journey home to Boston. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. At 7:45 p.m., the attack commenced. She died in 1907 and is buried at the cemetery of Church-on-the Hill in Lenox. Jeff Wallenfeldt, manager of Geography and History, has worked as an editor at Encyclopaedia Britannica since 1992. He was the only son of a wealthy mercantile family who possessed radical abolitionist views. The Shaws had the benefit of a large inheritance left by Shaw's merchant grandfather and namesake Robert Gould Shaw (1775–1853), and Efforts were made to recover Shaw's body (which had been stripped and robbed prior to burial), but his father publicly proclaimed that he was proud to know that his son was interred with his troops, befitting his role as a soldier and a crusader for emancipation. Detail of a monument to the 54th Massachusetts Regiment by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in Boston Common, Boston, Massachusetts. Moreover, although he had wrestled intellectually with the issue of slavery and opposed the Southern slave system, Shaw never shared his parents’ fervent moral indignation with slavery. [8][citation needed], Shaw is well known for the over 200 letters he wrote to his family and friends during the Civil War. Shaw's letters clearly state that he was dubious about a free black unit succeeding, but the dedication of his men deeply impressed him, and he grew to respect them as fine soldiers. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Shaw was initially ordered by Colonel James Montgomery to perform the burning but he refused. [citation needed], Shaw was promoted to major on March 31, 1863, and to colonel on April 17. Shaw was born in Boston to abolitionists Francis George and Sarah Blake (Sturgis) Shaw, well-known Unitarian philanthropists and intellectuals.The Shaws had the benefit of a large inheritance left by Shaw's merchant grandfather and namesake Robert Gould Shaw (1775–1853), andShaw himself would have been a member by primogeniture of the Society of the Cincinnati had he survived his father.Shaw had four sisters—Anna, Josephine, Susannah and Ellen)[citation needed];—scholarship and civic-mindednes… By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The custom-made sword of Col. Robert Gould Shaw, leader of the all-black regiment depicted in the film "Glory," was stolen the night he died. Corrections? Shaw was born into a wealthy Boston family and attended Harvard University before enlisting in the U.S. Army early in the Civil War. He mounted a parapet and urged his men forward, but was shot through the heart and died almost instantly. There on horseback among them, in his very habit as he lived, sits the blue-eyed child of fortune, upon whose happy youth every divinity had smiled . Ironically, the original Scottish founders of Darien had signed the first Petition against the Introduction of Slavery in the colony of Georgia. On July 18, 1863, along with two brigades of white troops, the 54th assaulted Confederate Battery Wagner. Although having previously rebelled against authority, Shaw seemed to find himself in the army, rising to the rank of captain. Promoted to colonel, Shaw oversaw the recruitment and training of the 54th, then led it into combat. Robert Gould Shaw, (born October 10, 1837, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.—died July 18, 1863, Fort Wagner, near Charleston, South Carolina), Union army officer who commanded a prominent regiment of African American troops during the American Civil War. At first he declined the offer, but after careful thought, he accepted the position. From famous battles to infamous generals, test your knowledge of the American Civil War in this quiz. Shaw was born in Boston to abolitionists Francis George and Sarah Blake (Sturgis) Shaw, well-known Unitarian philanthropists and intellectuals. His family … Initially Shaw turned down the offer (which had been personally delivered by his father), partly because of loyalty to the 2nd Regiment. After the 54th had been commanded to torch a defenseless Georgia port town, an action to which Shaw had objected, the regiment distinguished itself in responding to a Confederate surprise attack at James Island, South Carolina, on July 16, 1863. When Colonel Shaw fell in the assault on Fort Wagner, the Confederate soldiers purposefully buried him with his African American soldiers as an insult. He was famous for writing letters to his family during the American Civil War. The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Stanford White, was built in his memory on Beacon and Park streets in Boston in 1897. According to the Colors Sergeant of the 54th, he was shot and killed while trying to lead the unit forward and fell on the outside of the fort. Robert Gould Shaw’s sword, whereabouts unknown since his death at the Assault on Fort Wagner, is among Civil War items recently donated to the MHS. Glory is still one of my favorite movies, but like all Hollywood productions, there are places where it falls short in explaining the history or providing the proper historical context. On October 27, 1897, RGS II married Nancy Witcher Langhorne (1879—1964) in New York City. The History Press, 2008. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw is the main protagonist of the film Glory. Approaching along the ocean, the 54th assailed the fort’s embankment and after fierce fighting temporarily held it before being forced to retreat. Shaw's father, upon hearing of this deed, stated however that he was proud that happened to his son and Robert would have wanted it that way. Robert Gould Shaw would have been 25 years old at the time of death or 177 years old today. He is the principal subject of the 1989 film Glory. [1], This article is about the American Civil War Colonel. He was the Colonel of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Shaws troops and other Union regiments penetrated the walls at two points but did not have sufficient numbers to take the fort. They had one son: He had four sisters, namely, Anna, Josephine, Sussana, and Ellen. Genealogy for Robert Gould Shaw (1815 - 1853) family tree on Geni, with over 200 million profiles of ancestors and living relatives. After nearly three years of failing to distinguish himself as a student at Harvard University, Shaw worked at an uncle’s mercantile firm in New York City. From 1856 until 1859 he attended Harvard University, joining the Porcellian Club, but withdrew before graduating. Although Robert Gould Shaw was only 25 years old when he died, leading the 54th Massachusetts Infantry in a futile assault on Fort Wagner, he has become an object of interest in the past dozen years, especially since the release of the movie "Glory," which gave a … Digital facsimiles of this collection are publicly available. Explore Robert Gould Shaw's biography, personal life, family and cause of death. [citation needed], Memorial to Shaw and the 54th Regiment at the National Gallery of Art, Entry for Shaw in Harvard University's Memorial Hall, "There they march, warm-blooded champions of a better day for man. In 1861 Shaw enlisted as a private in a New York regiment and later was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 2nd Regiment of the Massachusetts infantry. They are currently located in the Houghton Library at Harvard University. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Fractured by ideology and economy, this war sought to unify a divided nation. His parents, Francis George and Sarah Blake Shaw were philanthropists and quite wealthy. ISBN 978-1-59629-406-6 pp.71-76, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2014, Articles incorporating a citation from the New International Encyclopedia, Articles incorporating a citation from the New International Encyclopedia with an unnamed parameter, Articles incorporating text from Wikipedia, Union military personnel killed in the American Civil War, People of Massachusetts in the American Civil War, Burials at Beaufort National Cemetery (South Carolina), 2nd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Petition against the Introduction of Slavery, http://www.archive.org/stream/exercisesatdedic00bosto#page/n7/mode/2up, "Written in Glory:Letters from the Soldiers and Officers of the 54th Massachusetts", http://manybooks.net/pages/lodgeh18641864/109.html, http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/tsearch?artistid=2262, http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=102494, http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/13112/, Seeking the One Great Remedy: Francis George Shaw and Nineteenth-century Reform, Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry history, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw: 54th Massachusetts Regiment (video), NHD Robert Gould Shaw – National History Day (video), https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Robert_Gould_Shaw?oldid=5295344, Pages using duplicate arguments in template calls. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. But after a few days he reconsidered and accepted the position. She lived with her family in New York, Lenox and abroad, a revered figure and in later years an invalid. The book, Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune, includes most of his letters and a brief biography of Shaw. Robert Gould Shaw, (born October 10, 1837, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.—died July 18, 1863, Fort Wagner, near Charleston, South Carolina), Union army officer who commanded a prominent regiment of African American troops during the American Civil War. Robert Gould Shaw was just 25 years old when he was killed leading a regiment of black soldiers into battle during the American Civil War. The Library of America (2013). After Shaw was shot to death while storming Fort Wagner with this sword in his hand, it was stripped from his body along with his other possessions and all his clothing, except for his underwear. 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