Shaw, Robert Gould


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Shaw, Robert Gould,

1837–63, Union hero in the American Civil War, b. Boston. An ardent white abolitionist, he was colonel of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first body of black troops raised in a free state. He was killed leading the regiment in the attack on Fort Wagner, Charleston, S.C. A sculptured figure of him by Augustus Saint-GaudensSaint-Gaudens, Augustus
, 1848–1907, American sculptor, b. Dublin, Ireland. His family immigrated to New York when he was an infant. An apprentice in cameo cutting at 13, he gained mastery over low-relief sculpture.
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 is on Boston Common.

Bibliography

See study by P. Burchard (1970).

Shaw, Robert Gould

(1837–63) soldier; born in Boston, Mass. The son of abolitionists, he enlisted in the Union army early in the Civil War. In April 1863 he assumed command—initially with some reluctance—of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, the first northern black regiment to see combat. He was killed in July leading a charge on Fort Wagner, South Carolina. He and the events leading to this fateful charge were portrayed in the film Glory (1990). Shaw and his regiment are memorialized in a low-relief sculpture by Saint-Gaudens (1884–97) in the Boston Common.