USCT soldier wins Congressional Medal of Honor

Q: What was the name of the USCT who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in the engagement of Fort Wagner?

A: He was Sergeant William Carney, 54th Massachusetts.

Carney received this honor due to "most distinguished gallantry in action" at Fort Wagner, July 18, 1863. He was shot in the thigh, but managed to crawl uphill on his knees, "bearing the Union flag and urging his troops to follow."

To learn more about this man, his service, and the battle of Fort Wagner, we recommend these materials:

Blue-eyed child of fortune : the Civil War letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (BDC, HHI)

Gate of Hell: Campaign for Charleston Harbor, 1863 by (our own) Dr. Stephen R. Wise (BDC, BEA, BLU, HHI)

Hold the Flag High by Catherine Clinton (Children's at BLU)

Swamp angels : a biographical study of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment : true facts about the black defenders of the Civil War
by Robert Ewell Greene (BDC, HH Lowcountry Room)

The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry by Jacqueline Shearer (VHS at BEA; DVD at HHI)

The assault on Fort Wagner : Black soldiers make a stand in South Carolina battle by Wendy Vierow (Children's at BEA, LOB)

The true story of Glory continues [VHS] by Ray Herbeck, Jr. (BEA)

The National Archives has more information about Black Soldiers in the Civil War.

About the Author

Grace Cordial has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Beaufort District Collection at the Beaufort County Library since 1999.  The Beaufort District Collection exists to acquire, preserve, maintain and make accessible a research collection of permanent value which records the history, culture, and environment of our part of the South Carolina lowcountry.  Besides the research room, Cordial manages the “Virtual BDC:” the BDC web pages, the Online Obituary Index, two digital collections, a new BDC.BCL Facebook page, and the Connections blog.  
 
Among her duties is to coordinate or present programs about local history, Gullah culture, and our coastal environment, including occasional instructional sessions about how to perform historical and/or genealogical research.