Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

The Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment is a bronze relief sculpture, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, located at 24 Beacon Street, in Boston Common.

The sculpture depicts the 54th Regiment marching down Beacon Street on May 28, 1863. The monument was unveiled on May 31, 1897.

The inscription reads: (On face of relief)

Translation from Latin to English: "He left behind everything to save the Republic."

On the pedestal under the relief, lines from James Russell Lowell's poem "Memoriae Positum": "Right in the van of the red rampart's slippery / swell with heart that beat a charge he fell / forward as fits a man: but the high soul burns / on to light men's feet where death for noble / ends makes dying sweet." (Continued below)

Photo 35b, July 2012

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial


Carved on back of monument, 1894 text by Charles W. Norton:
"The White Officers taking life and honor in their hands cast in their lot with men of a despised race unproven in war and risked death as inciters of servile insurrection if taken prisoners besides encountering all the common perils of camp march and battle. The Black rank and file volunteered when disaster clouded the Union Cause. Served without pay for eighteen months till given that of white troops. Faced threatened enslavement if captured. Were brave in action. Patient under heavy and dangerous labors. And cheerful amid hardships and privations. Together they gave to the Nation and the World undying proof that Americans of African descent possess the pride, courage and devotion of the patriot soldier. One hundred and eighty thousand such Americans enlisted under the Union Flag in MDCCCLXIII-MDCCCLXV."

A plaster cast, which exhibited at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, is at the National Gallery of Art, on loan by the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, New Hampshire.

Photo 34b, July 2012

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, inscription below.

Photo 36b, July 2012

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, reverse side (towards the common)

Photo 45b, July 2012

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

Photo shaw, 2001

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