Robert Gould Shaw’s sword, thought lost to history, found in attic
Descendants of Col. Robert Gould Shaw, killed leading the 54th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War, recently stumbled across his sword.
Last week the Massachusetts Historical Society announced they had acquired a collection of Shaw’s papers, photographs, and relics, to include his engraved Wilkinson sword, which he was carrying when he was killed.
“To have located ‘the holy grail of Civil War swords’ is a remarkable discovery,” said MHS President Dennis Fiori in a statement. “Through an amazing research effort, our curator and staff were able to put together a detailed timeline to authenticate the sword.”
The sword, a Wilkinson given to him by his uncle when the 25-year-old was promoted to full colonel of volunteers just weeks before the grim frontal attack that claimed his life, was found in an attic by descendants of his sister.
Gould’s actions, and the 54th, would be retold in 1989’s Glory.