July 18 - 1863 - The Second Battle of Fort Wagner
Attacking Fort Wagner, a small, earthen-built fortification in Charleston Harbor, was a foolish idea that required a frontal assault which could be seen as almost a suicide mission. That task was given to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, one of the first regiments made up entirely of African-Americans. While they did not pull out a military miracle, the 54th Massachusetts showed valor and courage at such a level that they changed the opinions of black troops among the broader public, white officers, and politicians. Along with the Emancipation Proclamation, this galvanized the meaning of the Civil War as a War against Slavery.