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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
"‘Boys, the old flag never touched the ground!"
On this day in American history, May 23, 1900, Sergeant William H. Carney of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry's C Company was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, for his bravery on July 18, 1863 at Fort Wagner.
Seargeant Carney was the first Black American to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, which is our nation’s highest military honor.
Formed in early 1863, the 54th Massachusetts was a prototype for Black American regiments in the Union army and on July 16, 1863, the 54th saw its first action at St. James Island, South Carolina, three days before leading the assault on Fort Wagner for which it volunteered.
Fort Wagner, part of the Confederate defense of Charleston Harbor was a highly fortified post on Morris Island. You can read the historic accounting the Fort Wagner assault here.
Pursuant to an article I located at Military.com,
As also reported by Military.com, in December 1908, all the flags in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were lowered to half-mast in tribute to Sgt. Carney, who had died on Dec. 8, 1908.
Never before had such an honor been bestowed upon an ordinary citizen and Black American.
Suggested reading: SERGEANT CARNEY'S FLAG.
All posts cross-posted on PUMABydesign001's Blog