The American Civil War was a conflict between the Union and the Confederacy. The North was fighting to abolish slavery and the South was fighting for their independence. During the war, roughly three million people fought for their cause. The majority of these three million soldiers are sung heroes. However, there are still those heros who people are unaware of. One rarely hears about these unsung heroes who were of tremendous assistance to the cause. These heroes are the southern slaves who became soldiers and joined the Union Army. Although many do not know of their role, the black soldiers played a very significant part in the American Civil war.
There were many different black regiments that took part in the fight for freedom. Some examples of such regiments were the 54th Massachusetts, the Black Brigade of Cincinnatti, and the First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers. In addition to these, there were also countless others. Hundreds of thousands of black men wanted the chance to fight for their freedom. The 54th Massachusetts was organized in March of 1863 at Camp Meigs, Readville, Massachusetts by Robert Gould Shaw. This was one of the first all black regiments formed. Free blacks from the north, particularly Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, made up this regiment. The main sacrifice made was life. Soon after being formed, the 54th engaged in battle at Battery Wagner. There was over 250 men killed. Included was the founder Colonel Shaw, who died on the crest of the enemy parapet shouting, "Forward, Fifty-fourth!"2 Several other members of the 54th either risked or lost their lives. One such person was Sgt.!.
William H. Carney. He received the Medal of Honor for risking his life in action. His actions were described as follows: "When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded.