By Edward Feather
On Saturday, July 15th at 10:30 am a ceremony was held at Monument Square in Concord to honor and remember George Washington Dugan for his service to his country and for all he did to protect everyone’s freedom. The memorial was beautifully done with celebratory speeches, history, singing, a moment of silence, a march from the square to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, full honors with honor guard, nine-gun salute with civil war rifles, Taps, America the Beautiful. It was a very moving experience.
Below is some history. Hopefully I have the information here all correct.
George Washington Dugan was a member of the famed 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first black regiment in the Civil War.
Answering a recruitment ad posted in the Boston Journal roughly two years into the war that asked for “good men of African descent” to join the newly formed 54th Massachusetts, Dugan joined and went to war, assigned to Company A of the 54th serving under Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Dugan was offered to be paid well, but then the pay was reduced and African-American soldiers were paid much lower than their white counterparts.
Dugan has been identified as “the only native colored man who went to the Civil War from Concord (MA)”, George Dugan, son of Thomas and Jennie Dugan with farmland near Old Marlboro Road.
At Fort Wagner, South Carolina, the 54th engaged in fighting on July 18th 1863. Listed on the unit’s official report from battle, Dugan was among Shaw’s 281 men who formed on the beach to storm the fort. Many were lost that day. George Dugan was among the missing along with 51 other black soldiers. None of the missing retuned home. There was no evidence of desertion.
A monument was erected in Monument Square to remember the soldiers from Concord who fought in the Civil War. Dugan was not included. This memorial service and addition of a memorial in Dugan’s name was long overdue.