July 18, 2020
Today was a relatively quiet news day as the nation mourned the loss of Representative John Lewis, so you can ignore this post at will without feeling like you’re going to miss out.
But for those of you who don’t mind a little hist
The Battle of Fort Wagner left 30 men of the 54th dead on the field — including Colonel Shaw — and hurt 24 more so badly they would later die from their wounds. Fifteen were captured; 52 were missing and presumed dead. Another 149 were wounded. Confederates hoped to dishonor Colonel Shaw when they buried him in a mass grave with his men; instead, the family found it fitting.
In 2017, I had the chance to spend an evening in the house where the wounded soldiers of the 54th were taken after the battle.
It is a humbling thing to stand on that street that still looks so much like it did in 1863, and to realize that the men, carried hot and exhausted and bleeding and scared into that house a century and a half before were just people like you and me, who did what they felt they had to in front of Fort Wagner, and then endured the boat ride back to Beaufort, and got carried up these steps, and then lay on their cots in the small, crowded rooms of this house, and hoped that what they had done was worth the horrific cost.
I am not one for ghosts, but I swear you could feel the blood in the floors.