Robert Gould Shaw (October 10, 1837 – July 18, 1863) was the colonel in command of the all-black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a Massachusetts regiment in the U.S. Army, which entered the American Civil War in 1863. Shaw was killed when the 54th and two other regiments attempted to take Fort Wagner in South Carolina in 1863.
Robert Shaw was a Massachusetts aristocrat and United States Army officer during the War of Secession. His service cost him a hand. Shaw had been a liberal and an outspoken enemy of slavery before and during the war, but his family lost everything as a consequence of the country's defeat. Like many of his generation, after the war's end he held the black race responsible for the war and his country's humiliation. He spent the rest of his long life in Boston, taking out his frustrations on every black he met.