Saturday, July 24, 2010

54th Massachusetts at Battery Wagner

On Friday July 16th re-enactors gathered to honor the heroic charge on Battery Wagner by the African American regiment the 54th Massachusetts. The 54th participated in a skirmish on July 16, 1863 designated the Battle of Sol Legare. The site of the skirmish is identified by a marker.
Two days later, the 54th was one of several Union regiments that attacked Battery Wagner on Morris Island.

To learn more about the battle, please see Fort Wagner and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. The story of 54th was popularized in the movie Glory. See an excerpt from the movie at American Rhetoric.

Sleeping in Slave Quarters

Joe McGill, a program officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has been speending nights sleeping in slave cabins in South Carolina to attract attention to preserve these structures. He plans to spend Saturday night (July 24th) at the cabins at Hobcaw Baroney.

McGill said he was doing this for the slaves "to give them a voice for what they endured." He has slept five nights in various slave quarters which has helped "him connect with his ancestors."

McGill is also a re-enactor with the 54th Massachusetts.

For those readers who wish to experience slave life there are several bed and breakfasts that offer the opportunity to sleep in former slave quarters. You might also want to read Family Life in the Slave Quarters: Survivial Strategies by Mariee Jenkins Schwartz.