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    Description

    Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, Commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Epaulettes and Storage Case Acquired Directly From the Shaw Family. Robert Gould Shaw was promoted to Colonel on April 17, 1863 and three months later he was killed leading the first African-American regiment of the Civil War at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. Given so little time at this rank, these epaulettes remain beautifully preserved and show but scant signs of wear. They are standard officers' dress epaulettes with a silver-wire Colonel's eagle sewn to each. The underside of each is stamped in small black letters "R. G. Shaw / 54th Mass. Vols." They are housed in the original japanned, fitted storage box with a tan satin liner. They are accompanied by a typed letter dated May 15, 1962 signed by Colonel Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr. (Robert Gould Shaw's nephew) which reads in part: "The epaulets contained in this tin case belonged to my uncle, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw...According to my father, Colonel Pen Hallowell [Lt. Colonel Norwood Penrose Hallowell, second in command of the 54th] brought the epaulets back to RGS' father, Francis George Shaw. Having only two surviving daughters and no other sons, FGS passed them down to my father, Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., who in turn passed them down to me upon his death." These epaulettes would be worthy of display in any of our nation's great historical museums or the centerpiece of an advanced collection. Excellent condition.

    Shaw was immortalized in the major motion picture Glory!, where he was played by Mathew Broderick. In one of the film's most affecting scenes Shaw's body was dumped by derisive Confederates into a common grave with his black troops. Normally an enemy officer killed in action was accorded honors, and that act was intended to demonstrate contempt. However, as the adjacent letter indicates, Shaw's family took this as a badge of honor, and it has been regarded as such by generations since.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    10th Sunday
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