The story of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment was memorialized in the move "Glory." Their fate at the Battle of Fort Wagner -- on July 17, 1863 -- also plays a pivotal role in my novel,The Road to Frogmore.
Today marks the 150th anniversary of that battle, and will be followed by a week of historical activities. Here's the schedule if you happen to be in South Carolina:
Today (Wednesday July 17th) at 4pm on the Palmer Campus of Trident Technical College (66 Columbus Street) there is a Living History program entitled The Sesquicentennial Program: Remembering the Battle of Fort Battery Wagner that includes a walking tour of the Hampstead Neighborhood, the Philip Simmons historic home and workshop, the Urban League, and the Cigar Factory Building. The program is free and open to the public. It is followed at 8pm by a dinner at Gullah Cuisine - 1717 N Hwy 17 Mount Pleasant, that includes a round-table discussion with members of the Massachusetts 54 (members from South Carolina, Washington, DC. Pennsylvania, etc.) Call Gullah Cuisine at (843) 881-9076 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and reservations.
Tomorrow (Thursday July 18th) between 10 am and 6pm at Fort Moultrie reenactors representing the 54th Massachusetts, the 48th New York, and the 7 South Carolina Battalion will conduct living history programs, including musket firings and heavy artillery drills. A Civil War medicine tent will be available. Children ages 4-12 can participate in a special Junior Ranger program with a focus on the United States Colored Troops (USCT) as well as special military enlistment and musket drills.
Scheduled History Talks
Susie King Taylor,
African Americans & the Civil War,
Prof. Donald West
1:00pm 54th Camp Scene with Ernest Parks
2:00pm The Campaign for Morris Island, Dr. Russell Horres
Beginning at 6:30 pm the 246th Army National Guard Band will present an outdoor concert of Civil War music. At 7:45, to mark the hour the 1863 Assault on Battery Wagner began 150 years ago, reenactors representing the 54th Mass, the 48th New York and the 7 SC Battalion will fire muskets and 294 luminaries will be lit in the field in front of Fort Moultrie, overlooking Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter and Morris Island, representing those Union and Confederate soldiers who died on Morris Island during the July 18 battle. This program will feature South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell as the keynote speaker.
For more information: Please contact the NPS at Fort Moultrie at 843-883-3123 or visit their website. Fort Moultrie is located at 1214 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482..
Living History programs will continue throughout the day at Fort Moultrie on Friday, July 19th followed in the evening at 7pm by a special screening on Marion Square in downtown Charleston of the movie Glory. The screening is free and open to the public, but the movie is R rated and you will need to bring your own chairs and/or blankets. No alcohol is allowed. For further information call the City of Charleston's Office of Cultural Affairs at 843-724-7305
Saturday, July 20th sees a symposium organized by the Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust entitled "Toward 'A New Birth of Freedom': Sesquicentennial Reflections on Charleston, the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, and the Battle for Morris Island." The symposium runs from 9am to 12:30 pm at the Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church Street, Charleston, and features visiting and local historians Joseph T Glatthaar (UNC), Thavolia Glymph (Duke), Robert Rosen, Stephen R. Wise (USC-Beaufort), and the College of Charleston's own Bernard Powers.
Rare Civil War images and documents from the collection of the South Carolina Historical Society will be displayed at the Dock Street Theatre throughout the morning.
On Sunday, July 21st please feel free to join the 54th Massachusetts for a worship service at Emanuel AME Church (where the 54th Massachusetts Regiment worshiped), 110 Calhoun St., at 9:30am.
Beginning with a Prelude at 6pm at White Point Garden at The Battery, Murray Blvd. Charleston, the City of Charleston will hold a Dedication and Wreath-Laying Ceremony, starting at 7pm, followed by a concert. The event includes Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., reenactors representing both Confederate and Union camps, with music provided by the 8th Regiment Band of Rome, Georgia and the Mt. Zion AME Spiritual Ensemble, directed by Alphonso Brown. Additional participants include Rev. John Paul Brown of Mt. Zion AME Church, vocalist Janet Scott, saxophonist Lonnie Hamilton, III, members of the Washington Light Infantry as well as the 10th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, Co. K and 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Co. I. Admission is free. For more information, call the City of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Management at (843) 724-3729 or visit www.charleston-sc.gov.
For fuller details of these various events, please visits the various sponsoring organizations' web-sites, including http://www.nps.gov/fosu/parknews/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=530790; http://www.fortsumtertrust.org/programs/upcoming-events.html; http://www.massachusetts54charlestonsc.com/Events.html; http://www.charlestonarts.org/wp-content/uploads/All-Sesquicentennial-Events-Flyer.pdf