Shaw, Robert Gould, 1837-1863

Alternative names
Birth 1837-10-10
Death 1863-07-18

Biographical notes:

Shaw, of Massachusetts, was colonel of the first black regiment to serve with the Union Army during the Civil War. He and over half his regiment were killed in battle at Fort Wagner, South Carolina on July 18, 1863.

From the description of Letters to his family and other papers, 1852-1947 (inclusive) 1855-1863 (bulk). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122468819

From the guide to the Robert Gould Shaw letters to his family and other papers, 1852-1947 (inclusive) 1855-1863 (bulk)., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Robert Gould Shaw, the son of Francis George Shaw, merchant, lawyer, abolitionist, social reformer, and philanthropist, and Sarah Blake Shaw, spent his early years at Brooke Farm in Massachusetts, a utopian commune. When Brooke Farm failed, the family lived on the East Coast and in Europe. Robert attended schools in Switzerland, then Harvard. He worked briefly in New York but found his calling in the military first in the 7th New York Regiment where he served for 30 days until it was disbanded, then as a second lieutenant in the 2nd Massachusetts. When Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew decided to form a black volunteer unit, Francis, Robert's father, personally delivered to his son the request to join. Robert was reluctant, being happy in his own unit, but finally agreed. He drilled the men at Fort Meigs, Boston. Gradually he got to know his men as individuals, and they grew to respect each other. He was killed at Fort Wagner, South Carolina, on July 18, 1863.

From the description of Letter to Francis G. Shaw, 1863 February 24. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 61113324


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Family records


  • Soldiers


  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)