upon Fort Wagner. Upon that occasion the heroism of Sergeant
Carney stood out in splendid relief.
Praise from an enemy is praise indeed, and this is what Gen-
eral Taliaferro, the Confederate commander of Fort Wagner,
wrote concerning the valor exhibited by the Union troops:
"The columns were seen in the fading twilight to aproach;
line after line was formed and then came the rush. * * *
The assaulting columns were met by the withering volleys of
McKethan's direct and Gaillard's cross-fire, and by the direct
discharge of the shell guns, supplemented by the frightful en-
filading discharges of the lighter guns upon the right and left.
"It was terrible, but with unsurpassed gallantry the Federal
soldiers breasted the storm and rushed onward to the glacis.
"The intrepid assailants fell by hundreds, but they pushed on,
reeling under the fearful blasts that almost blew them to pieces,
up to the Confederate bayonets."
Charge of the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment
General Taliaferro says: "One of the assaulting regiments
was composed of negroes (the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts), and
to it was assigned the honor of leading the white columns to the
charge. It was a dearly purchased compliment. Their Colonel
(Shaw) was killed upon the parapet and the regiment almost
annihilated, although the Confederates in the darkness could not
tell the color of their assailants."
Over the ramparts these colored heroes leaped, followed by
their white companions in death and glory, into the midst of
their foes, grappling with them, bayoneting the cannoneers and
pressing the enemy to the rear. The fort appears to be taken,
the victory won; but, alas! large reinforcements under the Con-
federate General Hagood, sent by Beauregard, have just arrived
and the struggle becomes more terrific-hand-to-hand and foot-
The fresh Confederate troops move along on the traverses
and bomb-proofs, and deliver a concentrated fire into the masses
of white and colored soldiers, who, with retreat cut off, still
fight on and hold out until the carnage reduces them to a little
band of scorched and bleeding men.
The battle was lost, not for want of valor, but because of the