time chosen for the attack, the almost superhuman obstacles in
the way (which, however, were surmounted), and chiefly be-
cause of the arrival of reinforcements for the Confederates after
the works had been entered and the flag of the Union unfurled
Sergeant Carney, Color Bearer
General Strong had fallen; also Colonels Putnam, Chatfield
and Shaw, and other heroic leaders. Back through the darkness,
made gloomy as a startless midnight by the loss of two thousand
comrades, the remnants of those columns, a little while before so
strong and confident, retreated to their starting place.
Their retreat was one of honor. They had performed deeds
not equalled by any in the charge of the Louisiana Tigers, or
Pickett's Division, in the battle of Gettysburg.
Sergeant W. H. Carney, of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts,
was a sample of the colored heroes of that desperate contest.
He was with the advance of the storming column, and pressing
forward to the front rank, carrying the regimental colors, he
took a place near Colonel Shaw, who was leading his men over
the ditch. As they ascended the wall of the fort under the ter-
rible fire, the full ranks of the Fifty-fourth melted away almost
instantly, but the survivors, undismayed, rushed on. He received
a severe wound in the thigh, but fell only upon his knee. He
planted the flag upon the parapet, lay down upon the outer slope,
so that he might get as much shelter as possible, and there re-
mained for over half an hour, until the Second Brigade came
up. He kept the colors flying until the conflict was ended. When
the forces retired he followed, creeping on one knee, holding up
the flag. It was thus that Sergeant Carney came from the field,
having held the emblem of liberty over the walls of Fort Wagner
during the entire conflict, and having received two very severe
wounds, one in the thigh and one in the head. Still he refused
to give up his sacred trust until he found an officer of his regi-
Colonel Shaw "Buried with His Niggers"
When he entered the field hospital, where his wounded com-
rades were being brought in, they cheered him and the colors.