Peter Vogelsang served as a Lieutenant in Co. H of the famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
In the Civil War, at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863, former Trinity member Peter Vogelsang, the oldest member of the all-black 54th led by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, is wounded in a heroic but doomed charge on the Fort, but survives; he becomes one of the first black commissioned officers in the American army. Vogelsang was also a founding member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, New Haven; he was one of 46 black founding members who left Trinity when the vestry voted to restrict black members to a handful of pews in the back of the church. As clerk of the newly formed St. Luke’s he worked with Rector Croswell to found the new all black church in New Haven
Vogelsang came from a family of activists. His father was a founding member of both the African Society for Mutual Relief and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. He married into another prominent black family when he wed Theodocia DeGrasse, the daughter of George and Maria DeGrasse. During the Civil War, Peter served in the famous Massachusetts 54th Regiment under Colonel Shaw.