54th Infantry, 55th Infantry, 5th Cavalry Memorial at Former Camp Meigs Site - Boston, MA
Posted by: NorStar
N 42° 14.096 W 071° 07.936
19T E 324057 N 4678062
Quick Description: This marker for the 54th Infantry, 55th Infantry, and the 5th Cavalry is located in a rectangular green that was the parade grounds to Camp Meigs, the training grounds for these troops during the Civil War.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 2/1/2013 4:12:56 PM
Waymark Code: WMG9D3
In the Readville section of Boston is a rectangular parcel of land that has a stone monument on the western side for three 'colored' troops that were trained at this location for the Civil War.
The common is bounded by Stanbro St, Parkson St, Clifford St, and Hyde Park Avenue. The monument is near a tennis court and a basketball court. The marker is surrounded by cobblestones. Across the walkway is a cobblestone lined area that gently rises to a platform where a stone carved cannon is set. Across a small green is a flagpole.
The monument has the following on the face toward the cannon:
Massachusetts Volunteer Militia
[Image of Civil War Medal]
Dedicated to the African-American Troops who trained here and distinguished themselves in the Civil War - and to those who continue the fight for equal rights and equal justice."
On the back is the following:
"Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters 'US,; let him get an eagle on his button and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth or under the earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship in the United States.
Boston Black Graduate
The 54th Infantry is the same troop that was featured in the movie, 'Glory,' (1989). At some point in the film, the film notes the location of the training grounds, Camp Meigs, Readville, which, at the time, was a village of Dedham, Massachusetts, later absorbed into the City of Boston. According to the Wikipedia entry for the film, the 54th Volunteer Militia was "the first formal unit of the US Army to be made up entirely of African American men."
They faced challenges as they were trained. First, they were given far less pay than their white counterparts. They also had to fight to get uniforms. When Col. Shaw learned that they were not intended to see fighting, Shaw demanded it, and the troops were eventually assigned combat duty at Fort Wagner in South Carolina where Col. Shaw and many of his men died unsuccessfully trying to take the fort.
Massachusetts Historical Commission: