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[195] Fort Wagner. Here, then, came the opportunity he had waited for, when his men ‘should fight alongside of white soldiers,’ and ‘show to somebody besides their officers what stuff they were made of,’ and he accepted it without hesitation. One who was at General Strong's Headquarters at the time writes:—

Beaufort, S. C., July 22.
General Strong received a letter from Colonel Shaw, in which the desire was expressed for the transfer of the Fifty-fourth to General Strong's brigade. So when the troops were brought away from James Island, General Strong took this regiment under his command. It left James Island on Thursday, July 16, at nine P. M., and marched to Cole's Island, which they reached at four o'clock on Friday morning, marching all night, most of the way in single file, over swampy, muddy ground. There they remained all day, with hard-tack and coffee for their fare; and of this only what was left in their haversacks, not a regular ration. From eleven o'clock of Friday evening until four o'clock of Saturday morning they were being put on the transport General Hunter, in a boat which took about fifty at a time. There they breakfasted on the same fare, and had no other food before entering into the assault on Fort Wagner in the evening. The General Hunter left Cole's Island for Folly Island at six A. M., and the troops landed at Pawnee Landing about half past 9, A. M., and thence marched to the point opposite Morris Island, reaching there about two o'clock in the afternoon. They were transported in a steamer across the inlet, and reached General Strong's Headquarters about six o'clock, where they halted. I saw them there, and they looked worn and weary. They had been without tents during the pelting rains of the two previous nights. General Strong had been impressed with the high character of the regiment and its officers, and he wished to assign them the post where the most severe work was to be done and the highest honor was to be won. I had been his guest for some days, and know how he regarded them. The march across Folly and Morris Island was over a very sandy road, and was very wearisome. When they had come within six hundred yards of Fort Wagner, they formed in line of battle, the Colonel heading the first and the Major the second battalion.

At this point the regiment, together with the next supporting regiment, the Sixth Connecticut, Ninth Maine, and others, remained half an hour. Then, at half past 7, the order for the charge was given. The regiment advanced at quick time, changing to doublequick


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