7 of the 54th Massachusetts' 10 companies of enlisted men now have profiles on WikiTree! Still plenty of research ahead of us.
Some highlights from the men of Company F:
First Lieutenant Swails was the first man of African-American descent to receive a commissioned office in the United States military. Prior to this, the highest rank attainable to men of color was Sergeant Major. Stephen began his service as a Sergeant in Company F. He would go on to be a Mayor in South Carolina, and serve in the State Senate. He was forced to resign from politics eventually due to threats on his life motivated by racial bigotry.
First Lieutenant Frank M. Welch was among the earliest soldiers of African-American descent to attain a commissioned office in the United States military. He, too, started his military career with Company F.
First Sergeant Alexander Freeman Hemenway was the grandson of American Revolutionary War soldier Jeffrey Hemenway and Hepsibah "Hepsey" (Crosman) Hemenway of the Nipmuc people.
You may recognize Charles; he was one of abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Anna (Murray) Douglass' sons. He began his military career in Company F of the 54th. There is a gorgeous photo of Charles' sister Rosetta who married Private Nathaniel Sprague who also served with the 54th.