Bones Discovered Of The 55th Massachusetts All Black Unit- Buried With Full Honors- Historic Marker Erected Remembering Their Sacrifice

The bronze busts of two African American Civil War soldiers sit at Robert Bohrn’s home after he discovered them in a cemetery while looking for artifacts with a metal detector at Folly Beach, S.C.

The Massachusetts 55th was the second all-African-American unit.

They camped at Folly in 1863 during the Siege of Charleston. (The better-known first African-American unit, the Massachusetts 54th), made an assault on Confederates at Morris Island’s Battery Wagoner and was immortalized in the feature film “Glory.”

On July 15, 2011 there was an Unveiling Ceremony for a South Carolina Historical Marker on Folly Beach, S.C. The monument was erected for Robert Bohrn’s discovery of 19 African American soldiers remains that were found on Folly Beach in May of 1987. The private funds raised to have the marker made, were contributed by Civil War Relic Hunters from all across the Country. The Marker is located in the Folly River Park, on Folly Beach, S.C. 

The bones found ranged from fragments to full-length, well-preserved skeletons. The absence of any evidence of body wounds indicate the troops had died from diseases that were prevalent at the time in military encampments.

The remains were buried with full military honors at Beauford National Cemetery on Memorial Day in 1989. Morgan Freeman and other cast members of “Glory,” a 1989 film based on the (54th) Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and its battle at St. James Island in South Carolina, attended the service.

Bohrn raised roughly $1,900 for a national historic marker honoring the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Folly River Park.


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