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Massachusetts 54th the Historic Black Regiment Immortalized in the Movie GLORY Enlistment of a White Soldier
May 28, 1864-Dated Civil War Period, Partially-Printed Document, where Stephen Warren Morehouse Enlists In The 54th Infantry, at "Head Quarters U.S. Forces Lighthouse Inlet," at Folly Island, South Carolina, Choice Very Fine.
An Enlistment and Bounty Agent Payment Certificate, detailing Stephen Warren Morehouse joining Company E, of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, measuring 7.75" x 9.75" on 2 pages, and is in wonderful, clean overall condition. This original Document is accompanied by a docket page, dated August 11, 1864, serving as proof for receiving his payment of the $50.00 Enlistment Bounty. There are confirmation signatures across the front written in blue, red and brown ink, approving the document. Morehouse was paid the sum of fifty dollars at the time of his enlistment, and this document clearly outlines every step of the recruitment procedure. The upper portion of the document states:

"No. 363. Fort Green May 28th, 1864. I hereby Certify on honor, That Private Stephen W. Morehouse of Mealone N.Y. has been enlisted into Company E, 54th Regiment Mass. Vols., and duly mustered into the service of the United States."

This historic document is signed Colonel E.N. Hallowell and Lieutenant Colonel H. Worthy Hooper of the 54th Regiment, Massachusetts. Edward N. Hallowell took over as the Colonel of the 54th regiment after the death of Col. Robert Gould Shaw--who died in July 1863 during the ill-fated attack on Fort Wagner in South Carolina. Hallowell, in contrast to the fallen Shaw, treated his soldiers badly. One Virginia captain, George Washington Nelson, recalled later that when Hallowell was dissatisfied with his soldiers, "He would rise at them, knock and beat them over the head with his sabre, or draw his pistol and shoot at them." It is this commanding officer who has approved and signed the enlistment of Private Stephen W. Morehouse into the 54th Regiment. One interesting judgment that can be made is that Morehouse was white, because he was paid $50, when men were generally paid $25, black or white. This was also before Congress passed the equal pay law for African American soldiers later that year. Therefore, it is clear that he was one of the first white soldiers enlisted in this all-Black regiment. A remarkable, unique and truly historic document that has significant promise towards the future "mixing" of the races into the American military. (2 items).
The Civil War history of the famous 54th Massachusetts Black Infantry is one of much heroism and advancement for African Americans. It was because of the valiant fighting history of this infantry unit that men such as Stephen Morehouse joined the Union army.

During the Civil War, racial stereotypes and institutional discrimination against Blacks in the military restricted African Americans from the service. By the fall of 1862, however, the lack of Union enlistments and the high number of confederate victories forced Lincoln to reconsider his racist policy of excluding Black enlistees. As a result, the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer infantry was founded, becoming the first all-Black Union regiment raised in the north. Colonel Shaw hesitantly accepted the leadership position, and began preparing his troops for the Battle at Fort Wagner.

Strategically, a successful attack on Fort Wagner would allow Union forces to seize control of Charleston Harbor, as well as taking Battery Gregg, a Confederate soldier overlooking Fort Sumter. Thus, seizure of Fort Wagner was valuable because it enabled the Union to shell Sumter and close the harbor to confederate blockade runners, thereby paving the way for further Union attacks on Charleston. On July 18, 1863, the 54th regiment attacked Fort Wagner while struggling through darkness, four-foot deep water, and marshland. As the smoke cleared, the Confederate Army had taken control, but the 54th Regiment fought on.

Colonel Shaw and most of his regiment were badly wounded and killed while attempting to charge the hill, which the Union failed to control. This battle marked a major step forward for proving the gallantry of African American soldiers, as their obvious bravery forever changed the public perception of Black soldiers in the military. As a result of the 54th Regiment, over 180,000 Black men enlisted under the Union Flag between 1863 and 1865.
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Item #80306Price: $3,650.00Add to Cart
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