Sergeant Major Lewis Douglass, 54th Massachusetts Infantry, American Civil War

Price: $48.00


W. Britain

Lewis Henry Douglass (October 9, 1840 – September 19, 1908) was the oldest son of Frederick Douglass and his first wife Anna Murray Douglass. He was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Douglass was well educated and as a boy apprenticed, in Rochester, New York, as a typesetter for his father's newspapers The North Star and Douglass' Weekly.

He joined the Union Army on March 25, 1863, only two months after the Emancipation Proclamation allowed African Americans to see combat in the Union Army. He fought for one of the first official African American units in the United States during the Civil War, the famed 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Shortly after joining the army, Douglass attained the rank of Sergeant Major, the highest rank a black man could reach. He took part in the Battle of Grimball's Landing (second James Island battle), the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, and the Battle of Olustee. At the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, half of his regiment was killed, but this battle turned the public's attention toward the sacrifices made by African Americans in the war.