[On the front of the monument, part of the relief itself]:Robert Gould Shaw
Omnia Relinqvit / Servare Rempvblicam
[Underneath the relief]:
Colonel of the Fifty Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry
born in Boston 10 October MDCCCXXXVII
Killed while leading the assault on Fort Wagner
South Carolina 18 July MDCCCLXIII
[Underneath this is a verse from James Russel Lowell's poem "Memoriae Positum"]:
Right in the van, on the red rampart's slippery swell,
With heart that beat a charge he fell
Foeward as fits a man;
but the high soul burns on to light men's feet
where death for noble ends makes dying sweet
[On the back of the frame of the tablet. The inscription was composed by Charles W. Eliot, then president of Harvard University]:
To the Fifty Fourth of Massachusetts Regiment Infantry
The White Officers taking life and honor in their hands cast in their lot with the men of a despised race unproved in war and risked death as inciters of a servile insurrection if taken prisoners - besides encountering all the common perils of camp march and battle.
The black rank and file volunteered when disaster clouded the Union cause - served without pay for eighteen months till given that of white troops - faced threatened enslavement if captured - were brave in action - patient under heavy and dangerous labors - and cheerful amid hardships and privations.
Together they gave to the nation and the world undying proof that Americans of African descent possess the pride, courage and devotion of the patriot soldier. One hundred and eighty thousand such Americans enlisted under the Union flag in MDCCCLXIII - MDCCCLXV
[Underneath on the back; in 1897 were inscribed the names of the other five officers killed in battle. Of these, only Russel and Simpkins died at Fort Wagner]:
Cabot Jackson Russel, Captain · William Harris Simpkins, Captain · Edward Lewis Stevens, 1st Lieutenant · David Reid, 1st Lieutenant · Frederick Hedge Webster, 2nd Lieutenant
[Under these names is an extract from the address given by Governor Andrew on the departure of the regiment]:
I know not my commander where in all human history to any given thousand men in arms there has been committed a work at once so proud, so precious, so full of hope and glory as the work committed to you.
[Under Governor Andrew's address, are inscribed 62 names of those soldiers from the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment who died during the assault on Fort Wagner. They were added in 1982. Above these names is inscribed]:
The Memory of the Just is Blessed
[On the marble at one end of the terrace, words of Mrs. Robert C. Waterston]:
O fair haired northern hero with thy guard of dusky hue up from the field of battle rise to the last review.
[On the marble at the other end of the terrace the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson]:
Stainless soldier on the walls knowing this and knows no more whoever fights whoever falls justice conquers evermore.