Although Shaw supported the idea of blacks in the military,
his connection with African Americans had been more theoretical
than actual, and he seems, at first, to have been surprised by
the impressive soldiering abilities of his enlistees. The men's
accounts reveal that respect and understanding grew steadily between this
very demanding commander and his troops during their weeks of training.
Shaw died at age 26 with his troops on the parapet of Fort
Wagner, South Carolina, on July 18, 1863.
Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, May 1863, photograph, Boston Athenaeum