The Greenpoint Monitor Museum "Road Show"

PS 196 Ten Eyck School
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

January 26, 2007


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.

Plaque from site where USS Monitor was built in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  Donation from Consolidated Freightways. (96kb) George's t-shirt from John Ericsson School JHS 126. (95kb) George's t-shirt from PS110 - The Monitor School. (99kb) John Ericsson invented a steam powered fire engine in England.  His fire engine ran the water hose.  It needed horses to pull it.  This steam fire engine did not need horses to run - just steam. (91kb)
ps196y0607e.jpg (74kb) This was a US Navy ship.  Wind power was used to make it move.  It was made of wood. (74kb) John Ericsson invented the USS Monitor which was made of iron and used steam power.  It was built in Greennpoint.  It had two guns in its turret which turned and allowed the USS Monitor to shoot in all directions. (75kb) See how heavy one bolt of the USS Monitor would be. (100kb)
ps196y0607i.jpg (77kb) Compare the USS Monitor to the CSS Virginia.  The CSS Virginia used to be the wooden US Navy ship the USS Merrimac.  The Confederates took off her sails and covered her with iron. (79kb) The USS Monitor sunk in a storm.  In 1973 she was discovered.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been salvaging parts of the USS Monitor.  This t-shirt was worn when the US Navy divers recovered the USS Monitor's Steam Engine. (65kb) Can you find this on your handout.  Yes, it is the orginal top of a flagpole that was in many battles during the Civil War. (117kb)
Which is the Union and which is the Confederate mascot?  The Union mascot is with the American flag and her soldiers are wearing dark blue uniforms.   Her name is Sallie.  Stonewall is the Confederate mascot. (83kb) ps196y0607n.jpg (108kb) Old Abe the eagle was in 37 battles.  After the war he was taken to parades by the Union veterans who were collecting money for the many orphan children whose fathers died during the Civil War. (95kb) Johnny Clem was only 9 years old when he joined the Civil War. (115kb)
ps196y0607q.jpg (91kb) A crew member of the USS Monitor. (103kb) We have a Confederate in the class. (92kb) ps196y0607t.jpg (113kb)
A Zouave fez. (102kb) ps196y0607v.jpg (109kb) ps196y0607w.jpg (103kb) A musician's coat. (98kb)
ps196y0607y.jpg (96kb) ps196y0607z.jpg (105kb) ps196y0607za.jpg (55kb) ps196y0607zb.jpg (72kb)
Arthur's great grandfather from the Civil War. (95kb) A marching tune from the Civil  War. (100kb) Singing about the Girls at Home.  The soldiers missed their families while they were away at war. (80kb) ps196y0607zf.jpg (89kb)
ps196y0607zg.jpg (95kb) ps196y0607zh.jpg (86kb) Yes this was the top of a flagpole during the Civil War. (147kb) ps196y0607zj.jpg (83kb)
ps196y0607zk.jpg (99kb)      

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 © 2002-2007 Janice & George J. Weinmann
All Rights Reserved.