Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial (Boston, MA)


Dublin Core


Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial (Boston, MA)


Subject (Topic)
Men--United States Colored Troops
Northeastern United States
Public art
Public sculpture
Subject (Object Type)
Commemorative sculpture


The work commemorates members of the 54th Volunteer Infantry, the first documented African American regiment to be formed during the Civil War. Colonel Shaw, the regiment’s leader, is shown on horseback with three rows of infantrymen marching behind him. This scene depicts the 54th Regiment marching down Beacon Street in Boston on May 28, 1863, as they left Boston to head for the battles that wages in the South.


Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 1848-1907


National Park Service


Unveiled: May 31, 1897


Private donations


National Parks Service






Visual Arts-Sculpture


Northwestern edge of Boston Commons, across Beacon Street from the State House, Boston, MA 02133, United States

Has Format

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

Has Part

Inscription on the relief:

"Omnia Relinqvit

Servare Rempvblicam [He left behind everything to save the Republic]

Inscription on the pedestal (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.

A Charles W. Eliot quote on the back of the monument: 

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"


132 in. x 168 in. (335.28 cm x 426.72cm.)



Bibliographic Citation

"Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment." National Park Service. Accessed January 22, 2019:

Rights Holder

Renée Ater

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format


Physical Dimensions

132 in. x 168 in. (335.28 cm x 426.72cm.)



Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 1848-1907, “Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial (Boston, MA),” Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past, accessed October 28, 2020,


Item Relations

This item has no relations.