54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment Flag – Two-Ply Polyester
History of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry and Flag
The 54th Massachusetts Regiment consisted of about 1100 men and was only the second colored infantry regiment to be organized in the northern states during the Civil War following the Emancipation Proclamation. The 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment was the first. The 54th is best known for its heroic actions and bravery in leading the Union assault on Fort Wagner on Morris Island on July 10th, 1863. Although the attack failed and the fort remained in Confederate hands, it was the first time black troops fought alongside white troops and the men of the 54th demonstrated that they could fight just as bravely as their white counterparts. William Harvey Carney who was a sergeant in the 54th was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1900 because of the bravery he demonstrated during the battle of Fort Wagner, becoming the first black US service member to receive the award. After the color bearer carrying the national flag was shot down, Carney retrieved it and planted the flagstaff on the parapet of the fort as the attack advanced and kept it safe as the Union forces were forced to retreat. Sergeant Carney managed to do all of this despite being badly wounded in the process. The 54th Massachusetts suffered 42% casualties on that day at Fort Wagner but gained wide respect by inspiring poems and songs as well as drawing the attention of many journalists.
As was the tradition with Massachusetts regiments, the 54th carried as their battle flags, a “National Stars, and Stripes” and a white flag with the Massachusetts coat of arms inscribed with their unit designation on the bright red banner just below the coat of arms. “54th Regt Massachusetts Vols”. The battle flags were presented along with other materials such as warm clothing at Fort Meigs in Readville Massachusetts where they were trained. The 54th was deployed on May 28th, 1863 amid much fanfare to Beaufort SC where they were greeted by local abolitionists and joined by the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers which was a regiment of Freedmen from South Carolina. It was shortly thereafter the 54th saw their first combat on James Island during the Battle of Grimball’s Landing on July 16th. They also participated in the battles of Olustee, Honey Hill, and Boykin’s Mill. The 54th Massachusetts returned to Boston in September of 1865 where they were mustered out of service. By the end of the war, approximately 186.000 black men served in the United States Army between 1863 and 1865.
This is a reproduction of the regimental flag that was carried into battle by the men of the 54th Massachusetts. The actual dimensions and materials used are not exactly the same as the original flag. 2-ply polyester is the most durable option for those who fly their flag 24/7. This flag features beautifully printed artwork and lettering with rich, vibrant colors. All of the artwork is visible on both sides of the flag, although the color is substantially lighter on the reverse side, and the lettering reads correctly from one side only.
- Heavy duty construction
- Printed artwork that captures every detail
- Heavy canvas header with brass grommets
- Flag size: 3′ x 5′