THE NEED FOR A TOUGHER KIND OF HEROISM

At the crest of Boston's Beacon Hill, a bronze monument portrays Colonel Robert Gould Shaw leading the black soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in their assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, in July 1863--a battle that cost the young aristocrat and nearly a hundred of his troops their lives. When the Union army asked for his body, a Confederate officer replied, "We have buried him with his niggers." Shaw's sacrifice--memorialized by the poet James Russell Lowell as a "death for noble ends"--has become an emblem of the lofty idealism that inspired New England's 19th century abolitionists and their 20th...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!