The Greenpoint Monitor Museum "Road Show"
PS 196 Ten Eyck School
June 1, 2006

Welcome from the Fourth Grade.


The 54th Massachusetts

The 54th Massachusetts was organized in March, 1863 by Robert Gould Shaw. He was a twenty-six year old white officer. His family was an important Boston abolitionist family. Abolitionist means his family was against slavery. Shaw was appointed colonel of the
54th Massachusetts by Massachusetts governor John A. Andrew.

The 54th Massachusetts was one of the first black units organized in the northern states. The regiment was composed mostly of free blacks from the north, especially Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Among its recruits were Lewis and Charles Douglass,
who were sons of the famous ex-slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass.
Frederick Douglass believed that the black soldiers could help end the Civil War, save the Union and end slavery. He said "This is no time to fight only with your white hand, and allow your black hand to remain tied. Men fight with two hands." Most northern men and women of African descent believed they could end racial prejudice and prove to all that they
could contribute to the nation in times of crisis, in a time of war.

The 54th Massachusetts became famous on July 18, 1863, when it led an assault on the Confederate positions in the South at Battery Wagner. In this attack, the 54th was placed in the lead. Shaw, the young white Colonel, led the charge next to the flag. While the Confederates fired at the charging 54th Massachuetts, the black soldiers kept charging even though many of the regiment were being killed or wounded. There were too many Confederate soldiers. Although they were outnumbered, the black troops continued to courageously charge. Shaw, the regiment's young colonel, died shouting,
"Forward, Fifty-fourth!" (As shown in the drawing above.) Also see the new Monitor ships in the drawing. They are in the harbor below Colonel Shaw.

Next to Colonel Shaw was Sgt. William H. Carney, a black soldier in Company C. He risked his life in an action for which he received the Medal of Honor. His citation reads in part: "When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded."

That heroic charge and Colonel Shaw's death made the regiment a household name throughout the north. Everyone was talking about it. Respect for the black troops was won and more blacks joined the Union army all helping to save the Union and hoping to end slavery.

Shaw's father requested that his son's body lie with his fallen black troops and not be returned home. He believed "that a soldier's most approppriate burial place is on the field where he has fallen".

Today, more than 100 years after the Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts remains the most famous black regiment of the Civil War. This can be seen through the recent popular movie "Glory", which tells the story of the regiment before and during the attack on Battery Wagner.

Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, Col. of the 54th Massachusetts

Sgt. William H. Carney, 54th Massachusetts, Medal of Honor Winner

Click on the pictures below to make them larger.

This is a copy of a plaque located at the site where the USS Monitor  was built in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. George went to JHS 126 the John Ericsson School.  This was his shirt. George went to PS 110 the Monitor School. This was his shirt. John Ericsson invented a steam fire engine.  This fire engine has a boiler.  Water is boiled in the boiler.  The hot water makes the steam that runs the fire engine. (115kb)
This is the USS Monitor.  It is made of metal.  It has a steam engine and propeller which makes it move.  It has two cannons in a turret.  The turret turns around letting the USS Monitor shoot in any direction.  The USS Monitor was made in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. (98kb) This is the CSS Virginia.  It was once a Union Sailing ship called the USS Merrimac.  The Confederates cut off her sails and covered her with iron. The Confederates renamed her the CSS Virginia.   She was destroying the Union Navy of wooden ships until she fought against the USS Monitor.  The USS Monitor helped save the Union.  (97kb) The USS Monitor sank in a storm.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Navy scooba divers brought up the USS Monitor's turret, engine, propeller, lantern and other historic items. (82kb) This was once the top of a Civil War flagpole.  It belonged to Ellsworth's Fire Zouaves. It was in many battles. (81kb)
Janice is wearing a Hawkins' Zouave Vivandiere uniform.  A Vivandiere helped the wounded soldiers. She would carry drink for the soldiers in her keg.  She would carry a pistol for protection.   (92kb) Old Abe was a Union mascot.  Old Abe was in 37 battles.  After the war Old Abe went to parades with the Veterans of the Civil War.  They would collect money for Civil War orphans whose fathers were killed during the war. (121kb) PS 196 has many recruits.  (85kb) This recruit is wearing a red Hawkins' Zouave fez.  A fez is a Zouave cap. (62kb)
ps196y0506m.jpg (85kb) A Confederate in a grey uniform is found among the recruits. (91kb) This recruit is wearing a musician's uniform.  (78kb) There are two sailors in the class. (90kb)
Arthur starts the training. (82kb) This is a cartridge box.   (90kb) What a fine new Recruit. (82kb) Marching is an important drill.  Everyone is doing great.
Recruits are doing a fine job. (69kb) ps196y0506v.jpg (81kb) Arthur introduces two Civil War soldiers to the class. (75kb) Arthur sings when Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.  Hoorah.  Hoorah.  (87kb)
ps196y0506y.jpg (89kb) Holding the top of a Civil War flag.  A part of American History.(84kb) ps196y0506za.jpg (68kb) One more recruit is ready. (49kb)
ps196y0506zc.jpg (77kb) ps196y0506zd.jpg (109kb) The Confederate CSS Virginia (left).  The Union USS Monitor (right). (86kb) ps196y0506zf.jpg (93kb)
ps196y0506zg.jpg (73kb)      


P.S. 110 - Learn About the USS Monitor
P.S. 161M - Learn About General Ulysses S. Grant
St. Stanislaus Kostka School - Learn About Gen. Wladimir Krzyzanowski (a Polish immigrant)
John Ericsson Junior High School - Learn About John Ericsson (a Swedish immigrant)
P.S. 34 - Learn About the Discovery of the USS Monitor
St. Cecilia School - Learn about Civil War Mascots
P.S. 31 - Learn about the Vivandiere, French Mary (a French immigrant)
St. Anthony of Padua School - Learn about Zouaves
P.S. 84 - Learn about Johnny Clem, children in the Civil War
P.S. 196 - Learn about the 54th Massachusetts & the Black soldiers of the Civil War
St. Anthony of Padua School - Civil War Music

The Museum is not-for-profit with 501(c)(3) status.
FUNDING FOR THE 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007 "Road Shows" WAS PROVIDED BY THE
Through a $50,000 Grant obtained by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez


P.O. Box 220378
Brooklyn, New York 11222-0378

Janice Lauletta-Weinmann, President, Webmaster
George J. Weinmann, Webmaster

Copyright © 2002-2006 Janice & George J. Weinmann
All Rights Reserved.