On February 15, 1863, Captain Robert Gould Shaw arrived in Boston to assume command of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry. Memorialized in the film Glory, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry consisted of free black men recruited mostly from the North.
The son of a prominent abolitionist, Shaw joined the 7th New York Infantry Regiment in April of 1861. He later fought with the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry at the pivotal battle of Antietam.
Approached by his father to lead an all-black regiment, Shaw was initially skeptical, but he eventually warmed to his troops and was impressed by their courage and dedication. Shaw was killed leading the ill-fated invasion of Ft. Wagner, South Carolina, on July 18, 1863. Because he was in the command of black troops, he was refused a proper burial.