Glory (1989) Script

One! One!

One, two, one!

One! One!

One, two, one!

Dear Mother:

I hope you are keeping well and not worrying too much about me.

You mustn't think that any of us are going to be killed...

...for they are collecting such a force here that an attack would be insane.

The Massachusetts men passed through here this morning.

How grand it is to meet the men from all the states, east and west...

...down here ready to fight for their country... the old fellows did in the Revolution.

But this time we must make it a whole country...

...for all who live here, so that all can speak.

Before this war began...

...many of my regiment had never seen a Negro.

Now the roads are choked with the dispossessed.

We fight for men and women whose poetry is not yet written...

...but which will presently be as enviable and as renowned as any.

Last night we heard of yet another defeat.

But we are not disheartened.

I am honored to be part of such a splendid company.

They have made me captain, of which I am enormously proud.

You would think it strange to see me giving orders to a hundred men...

...most of whom are older than I am.

Thank you for sending my volume of Emerson.

His words come home to me like truth.

'A deep man, ' he says, 'believes that the evil eye can wither...

...that the heart's blessing can heal...

...and that love can overcome all odds.'

My dearest love to Father.

Your son, Robert.

Company, forward!

Charge! Fire!


Ready, men?


Aim! Aim!

Fire! Fire!

Stand. Fire!

Steady, boys!

Forward! Fire!


Forward, men! Forward!

For God's sake, come on!


Robert, come on! We must fall back!

No! Forbes!



You all right there, captain?

Please! Not my leg!

Where's the chloroform? Stop!


No! Wait!

No! Hold on!

So it's the neck, right, captain?

Well, the surgeons are all busy, but I'll fix you up.

All right, I'll just--

Let me know if I hurt you. Stop!

Oh, this is nothing.

Heard the latest? What's that?

Well, I heard it from a friend who's a dispatch rider...

...who got it from a friend who's one of Stanton's clerks in the War Office.

He says Lincoln is gonna issue an emancipation proclamation.

Gonna free the slaves.


Maybe not in the border states or something...

...but he's gonna free some of them, anyway.

My God. Yeah.

Would've done it sooner, only he was waiting on a big victory...

...which is, I guess, what this is.

Oh, my God!

Please don't cut anymore, please!


This might hurt you, captain. I'm sorry.

Thank you.


Robert. -Thomas.

Captain Shaw. I was so proud when I heard.

Well, they had no choice. All the other officers are dead.

And Forbes? Impossible, as always.

He's around here somewhere.

How about you?

Working for your father, helping him with the resettlement...

...for the Freedmen's Relief Association.

There's a shortage of housing.

Robert! Are you all right?

Yes. I'm sorry.

Robert! Darling, there's someone who wishes to meet you.

General Hunter rounded up a bunch of slaves from the fields...

...called them "contraband" and put them in camps like cattle.

Then the War Department decided to issue them pikes rather than guns.

Of course they deserted. So would I.


Governor, you know my son Robert.

Yes, good to see you again, Robert. Governor Andrew.

Robert, have you met Frederick Douglass?

Mr. Douglass.

I understand you were at Antietam.


A great and a terrible day.

Well, I could use your help, Robert.

The governor is proposing to raise a regiment of Negro soldiers.

No, no. It was not just my idea. Mr. Douglass and some of us--

We will offer pride and dignity... those who have known only degradation.

Colored soldiers, Robert. Just think of it.


I've submitted your name to be commissioned colonel...

...of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry.

Thank you, governor. That's-- It's a wonderful idea.

Excuse me.

Well done, Shaw. Well done, captain.

Splendid job, young man. Bravo, Robert.

What's the matter, chester? Too much punch?

I mean, I know how much you'd like to make colonel...

...but a colored regiment?

You know how popular that would be?

Handing out guns to a thousand coloreds?

Hey, Robert.

What's wrong?

I'm gonna do it.

You're not serious.


I want you to come with me. Me?

And you?

Can you picture me in charge of a regiment?

Picture me in charge of anything?

I would be honored to have you.

Well, then you're an idiot.

Rob, is it true? There's to be a colored regiment?

So it seems.

Then I am your first volunteer.

Present arms!

How do we look, colonel? We gonna whup the Seoesh?

Boss, when do we get the blue suit?

Yeah, the blue suit. Yeah.

Ready to whip them Rebs. Ready, colonel!

When are we gonna get to fight? Yeah!

Are we really gonna get to fight this time?


Morning. Morning.

Good morning, gentlemen.

I am Colonel Robert Gould Shaw.

I am your commanding officer.

It is a great pleasure to see you all here today.

It is my hope that the same courage...

...spirit and honor, which has brought us together...

...will one day restore this Union.

May God bless us all!


Form companies?

We will commence with forming companies.

Company officers, take charge.

You recruits will report to your respective officers... the letter of your company in alphabetical order...

...which is in the top left-hand corner of your muster sheet.

Good book, brother? Yes, it is, actually.

Name's Searles. Thomas Searles.

Jupiter Sharts, sir. What it about, that book?

It's a collection of essays actually.

Fourier, Emerson, all the transcendentalists.

It got pictures? No.

Teach me? Yes, I'd be happy to.

Will you look at what's walking in here! Look at them.

I'd rather have a hog than a nigger. At least you could eat the hog!

Getting dark mighty early around here.

Come on! Show us a little dance, will you, boys?

Sergeant of the guard, post your sentry.

Yes, sir!

Right there!


Right file, right. March!

Wait, no. See, that's my space, nigger.

I sleep better close-up on that door.

If you don't mind, I'd prefer a space with more sufficient reading light.

Oh, I like it when niggers talk good as white folk.

I'd be happy to teach you. It would be my pleasure.

Hey, look here, snowflake, I ain't got nothing to learn from no house nigger.

I am a free man, as was my father before me.

Oh, you free, nigger? Yes.

Good. Why don't you move your free black ass before I bust it up?

Hey, hold up, buck. Nobody said nothing to you, pap.

It's all right.

I'll be fine over here.

Excuse me.

Wonder when they gonna give us the blue suit.

Ain't give no blue suit to no black soldiers. Blue suits for the whites.

Well, we soldiers now.

Where you from, field hand? South Carolina.

South Carolina? Well, you ought to know better than that, boy.

Hey, would you quit that? Say, boy, quit that drumming.

Hey, hey, hey-

What's your name, boy?

I said what's your name, boy?

Can't you see that he's mute? He what?

He's mute.

You mean this child can't talk?

Hey, come over here, hon.

Dummies and field hands. Ain't that a bitch?

What about you there, buck? Whereabouts are you from?

I'm from around Tennessee.

Ran away when I 12 years old, I ain't never looked back.

Wh--? What you doing since then?

I've run for president.

I didn't win though.


Come on, give us some food, man.

Major? Forbes?

That's you.

Thomas. Hello.

How are you? You know Charlie Morse.

Charlie. Thomas Searles.

Hello. Cabot.

So how was your meal?

The rémoulade was a trifle tart...

...but the soufflé for dessert more than made up for it.

And your comrades?

Charming. Extraordinary conversationalists, every one.

Major Forbes.

A word, please.

Oh, excuse me, Thomas.

Yes, Robert?

I won't permit that kind of fraternization.

-It's only Thomas. He's an enlisted man.

You're right, of course.

I've sent for help.

These men need a proper teacher.

For God's sakes, men, you march like a bunch of crippled old goats!

Jesus Christ, we're gonna be here day and night until we get this right.

One, one!

Company, halt!


You are ugly Mexican, African fucking whores!

We're gonna work on this day and night, gentlemen.

Forward at the half step. March!

One. You half-wit black bastard.

Is it true they cut your balls off at birth?

I'm gonna work on you, you bastard, until I get you broken.

Company, halt!

For God's sake, do you not know your right from your left?

No, no, no, sir.

How many here do not know right from left?

Jesus, have pity.

This is your front!

This is your rear! This is your right! And this--

Now you're learning, boyo.

Company, forward, march!

One, one, one.

"Two! 'one!

"Two! 'one!

"Two! 'one!

"Two! 'one!

"Two! 'one!

"Two! 'one!

You bloody Hindus, get it right!

Stop. Start it again. In each rank. Count!

Left. Left, right, left.

Right, on my word, march.

Left-- Get your goddamn hand out of your pocket, soldier!

Left. Left, right, left.

Oh, look at this. Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Are you a gentleman? Are you a member of congress, or something?

Or are you the bloody prince of Africa?

Don't look at me! Look straight ahead! Look straight ahead!

I'll eat your ass up, boyo.

You know, the Irish are not noted for their fondness for the coloreds.

What about the uniforms?

Still no word.

The rifles?

Left. Left, right left. See to it.

You're a big buck. You're tough, aren't you?

You've got a lot to learn. You haven't had a master like me.

Dear, Mother.

The men learn very quickly.

Faster than white troops, it seems to me.

They are almost grave and sedate under instruction...

...and they restrain themselves.

But the moment they are dismissed from drill...

...every tongue is relaxed and every ivory tooth is visible.

And you would not know from the sound of it that this is an Army camp.

They must have had to learn this from long hours of meaningless...

...and inhuman work.

To set their minds free so quickly... gives them great energy.

And there is no doubt that we will leave this state... fine a regiment as any that has marched.

As ever, your son, Robert.

They've done it.

Assemble the men.



In accordance with President Lincoln's wishes... men are advised...

...that the Confederate Congress has issued a proclamation.

It reads:

"Any Negro taken in arms...

...against the Confederacy...

...will immediately be returned to a state of slavery.

Any Negro taken in Federal uniform...

...will be summarily put to death.

Any white officer taken in command of Negro troops...

...shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection...

...and shall likewise be put to death."

Full discharges will be granted in the morning... all those who apply.

Dismissed. Dismissed.

If you're not here in the morning...

...I understand.

Still want that blue suit, nigger?

Good morning, major. Sir. Formed and ready, sir.

How many are left?



Glory hallelujah.

One. One, two, one.

One, one. One, two, one.

Company, halt!

You're not dismissed, boyo! Get up!

You'll fall out when I say and not before. Do you understand?

I said, get up!

Sergeant major.

Sir. At ease, sergeant.

I have no doubt that you are a fair man, Mulcahy.

I wonder if you are treating these men too hard.

You disagree?

You may speak freely. The boy's your friend, is he?

We grew up together, yes.

Let him grow up some more.

I see. Will that be all, sir?



Order. Order.

Fifty-seven caliber Enfield rifle musket. Best in the world here, boy.



Think you can handle that, boy?

Shit, I can knock something down with this.



Beautiful. Hawkins.


Jefferson. Yes, sir.



There's a rumor going around...

...that we're to be used only for manual labor.

I can't believe the kind of things we hear.

It's not true, is it? I mean, about not being allowed to fight.

The men are all living for that day. I know I am.

Fletch. Don't bother about him.

He's just ignorant. Excuse me.

For God's sake, come on!

Good shot, man.

Do that again. Here, give him your weapon. Give him that.

Do that again.

One dime, he can't do it. Dime? Dime on each of you.

I want money. That's a bet.

Go on, boy. Go ahead. Go ahead, Sharts.

That's a dime on each of you! Double or nothing!

Attention, company!

Attention, company!

As you were.

Front and center.

You're a good shot, private.

Thank you, sir. Squirrel hunting.

You ever killed a man? No, sir.

But you're handy with a gun. Yes, sir.





Discharge your weapon.

Discharge your weapon.

Do it!

Now do it again. Only this time, I want it done quickly.

A good man can fire three aimed shots in a minute.

Major Forbes, give me your Colt revolver.

What? Your gun.

Give it to me.



Quickly. Faster!

Faster! Load.


Do it! Do it!

Do it!

Do it!

Teach them properly, major.

Yes, sir.

Attention, company!




Good morning, major. You're up early.

I wanna talk to you.


If you wouldn't mind getting down from your horse.


Why do you treat the men this way, Robert?

How should I treat them?

Like men?

And what about Thomas? Why are you so hard on him?

He's not a very good soldier. I'm getting these men ready for battle.

Robert, they're already as good as the Seventh ever was.

They march well. They're disciplined. No thanks to you.

I beg your pardon? You heard me.

Who do you think you are, acting the high-up colonel?

You seem to forget, I know you...

...and so does Thomas.


If you don't believe in what we're doing here...

-...maybe you shouldn't be part of it. Part of what?

Left, right, left, right, little finger along the seams of your trousers?

Marching is probably all they'll ever get to do, Robert.

It is my job... get these men ready.

And I will.

They have risked their lives to be here.

They have given up their freedom.

I owe them as much as they've given.

I owe them my freedom... life, if necessary.

Maybe so do you, Cabot.

I think you do.

Develop! Guard!

Thrust! Develop!

Guard! Thrust!

Develop! Guard!

You're not at dancing school, son. Take his head off.

Thrust! Develop!


Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what have we here?

Bonnie Prince Charlie and his little toy bayonet.

You're not reading your books now. Go on, go on, get over there.

Now stab me. What?

Stab me.

Come on, stab, not tickle. Hit me.

Come on!

You prissy little schoolgirl.

You're the worst soldier in this whole company. Now hit me!

No shame, son. Get up.

I said, get up.

Nigger forgot to duck. That's all.

Sergeant, deal with that man.

Let me tell you a wee secret, son.

The only thing you're to learn to do is to keep your mouth shut.

Save it, son. Save it.

Carry on, Sergeant Mulcahy.

First rank to the rear. Back to work. Robert. Robert.

I'd like to speak to you for a moment in private, if I may.

Enlisted men wishing to speak to their commanding officer...

...must first get permission.

You understand, private?

Yes, sir.

Guard! Thrust!

Develop! Recover!

Thrust! Develop! Recover!

Thrust! Develop! Recover!

En garde! Thrust! Develop! Recover!

You better put some oomph into that, boyo!

Oh, my, my, my-

Some things never change.

I guess the whole world hate the nigger.

Boy, if you don't quit that drumming in here...

Honey, why don't you take your drum on outside and practice?

That Colonel Shaw, he a hard man.

Yeah, swell. Just a nigger-beating swell.

But he in the same boat with us.

Secesh come, take him, kill him too.

Not him.

He a swell.

He just a boy.

Yeah. He a weak white boy.

Beating on a nigger make him feel strong.

Ain't that right, snowflake?

You know, he ain't never been to no West Point...

...and the only reason he in charge... because his mommy and daddy fixed it.

Ain't that so?

You thought he was different, didn't you?

What you think now?

You just thought you was so smart, didn't you, nigger?

Yeah, you in real school now though, ain't you?

What you gonna do? Cry?

Yeah, he sure enough learning now, ain't he?

Sergeant, post your sentries. Yes, sir.

Attention, company.

Forward, march.

Right face.

Oh, shit.

Young man say there's a farm ain't but two or three miles from here.

Said the lady over there give him biscuits and gravy.

She said, if he bring his friends, she feed them too.

Don't even think about it. What you say, buck?

Biscuits and gravy sound good to me. Maybe get myself some real shoes.

I'm telling you, boy. They find out, they liable to shoot you.

Nigger, is you an old man or is you an old woman? I forget.

All right.

Collard greens.

Corn bread.

Come on, dream.

I'm waiting on you.

Throw it over here.

Dear, Mother.

News today of the defeat at Fredericksburg.

If things continue to go badly, I wonder if I might not end my days... an outlaw leader of a band of fugitive slaves.

Try as I may, I don't know these men.

Their music, their camaraderie...

...which is different from ours.

I am placed in a position where, if I were a man of real strength...

...I might do a great deal.

But I am afraid I shall show that I am not of much account.

I don't want to stand in their way because of my own weakness.

I miss Christmas on the Shaw Island...

...and the smell of the sea.


It's Thomas.

I just wanted to say...

I wanted to say...

Merry Christmas, Robert.

Merry Christmas, Thomas.

You're Shaw, aren't you?

Merry Christmas.

Kendric, division Quartermaster.

This sorry piece of work is Haggis.

He writes vouchers.

Pleasure. Pleasure.

How's it going down there? Oh, very well. Thank you.

That's all right. Brass are all up to division, planning the next disaster.

You're among friends.

How much longer do you figure they last?

I hear they're deserting, 10 at a time.

Oh, you're misinformed.

We haven't had a single incident. See?

I figure the nigs never had it so good.

Three square a day, a roof over their heads.

And they gotta know that nobody's gonna let them fight. Am I right?

Yes, of course.

Listen, if there's anything you need.

A bottle for the cold nights? Yes, actually, I put in a requisition...

...for some shoes two weeks ago...

...and I haven't heard anything.

Well, provisionally speaking...

...we're extremely limited as to footwear.

I'm afraid that kind of item has to be reserved...

...for those units whose fighting readiness...

...supersede yours.

You understand, I'm sure.

Yes, I understand.

Excuse me. Oh, stop by tomorrow.

I have got my hands on the most delicious local jam.

Myrtle berry, isn't it? Blueberry.

Oh, right, right.

Nice meeting you, Shaw.


Excuse me, sir. What is it?

We've caught a deserter.

Oh, lordy, this is bad.

They ain't gonna shoot him, is they?


It'll be all right.

Won't it?

Re-form your ranks!

Re-form your ranks! Re-form your ranks!

Fall in. Quiet in the ranks.

Quiet in the ranks!

Right. Untie his hands and take off his coat.

The prisoner is in position, sir.

What is this?

The prisoner is to be flogged before the entire regiment.

Robert, not with a whip. Not on them.

Excuse us, Sergeant Mulcahy. At your pleasure, colonel.

Never question my authority in front of others.

Well, I is sorry, massa. You be the boss man now and all us chilluns...

-...must learn to obey. Major Forbes, stand at attention.

Sergeant Mulcahy.

You may commence.



Mr. Rawlins.

This morning I--

It would be a great help if I could talk to you...

...about the men from time to time.

That's all.

Shoes, sir.

The men need shoes, colonel.

Yes, I know. I've been after the quartermaster for some time now.

No, sir. Now.

The boy was off trying to find hisself some shoes, colonel.

He wants to fight...

...same as the rest of us.

More, even.

All of the men, like this?

Yes. Most of them.

Good afternoon, colonel.

You change your mind about that bottle I was talking about?

I want 600 pair of shoes and 1200 pair of socks...

...and anything else you've been holding out on us.

Piece of rat filth.

I'd love to help you, colonel, but we just don't have any.

Not for niggers, you don't.

Not for anybody. I see. Pity.

I'll just have a look around, see that you haven't misplaced them.



Son of a bitch!

Damn it, you can't-- Can't I?

I'm a colonel, nasty little cuss.

You really think you can keep 700 Union soldiers...

...without proper shoes because you think it's funny?

Where would that power come from? All right, all right. Calm down.

Look, have a drink.

Hey, you barefoot men, come on out here!

Got something for you.

Shoes! Shoes!

Have a pair.

Here's a pair there. One pair of shoes here.

Here's another pair. One pair per customer.

Steward, is there anything you need?

No, sir. Keep me informed.

Yes, sir. I will.

Shoulder arms!


From the War Department.

Can anything be done?

They've got families. I know.

We'll protest this through channels later on.

Attention, battalion. Yes, sir.

Attention, battalion!

You men enlisted in this regiment...

...on the understanding...

...that you would be paid the regular Army wage...

...of$13 a month.

This morning I have been notified...

...that since you are a colored regiment... will be paid $10 a month.

That ain't fair. They said 13.

Regiment, fall out by company to receive pay.

Where you going, boy? To get paid.

Ten dollar, a lot of money.

Hey, pop, you fitting to lay down for this too?

Fall in! Fall in!

Hey. Hey, come on. Where's your pride, now?

Make your mark right here.

I can write my name. Then do it.

They give them $13, only gonna give us but ten? You gonna go for that?

I mean, a colored soldier stop a bullet just as good as a white one!

And for less money too!

Yeah. Yeah, Uncle Abe got hisself a real bargain here!

Hey, what you say, boy? That's right, slaves!

Step right up, make your mark. Get your slave wages.

All you good colored boys, go ahead and sign up.

That's right. Tear it up, tear it up.

Tear it up! Tear it up!

Get back in line! Tear it up, tear it up!

Tear it up, tear it up!

Tear it up! Tear it up!

Tear it up, tear it up, tear it up!

Tear it up, tear it up, tear it up, tear--

If you men will take no pay...

...then none of us will.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Let's hear it for the colonel!


Attention, battalion!



Eyes right!

Eyes front!



Mainly, I forgot how hot it was down here.

Welcome home, boy.

Don't worry about it, buck. Take a good look.

It's all a memory now that the North man come.

Now that we come.

Colonel Shaw?

Edward Pierce, special assignment from Harper's Weekly.

Harper's Weekly? Serving an entire nation.

Million readers want to know what happens...

...when the men of the 54th see action.

A million and one.

Well, you'll want to see this.

Attention, company!

Rawlins, front and center. Sir!

Mr. Rawlins, this regiment was formed with the promise...

...that only white officers would be commissioned to lead it.

Nothing was mentioned, however, about nonoommissioned officers.

Therefore, in recognition of initiative taken not only for yourself...

...but on behalf of the entire regiment... are hereby awarded the rank of sergeant major.


Thank you, sir. Hip, hip, hooray!

Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!


I ain't sure I'm wanting this, colonel.

I know exactly how you feel.

Mama, they're coming home! They're coming home!

That's right, hons. Ain't no dream.

We run away slaves, but we come back fighting men.

Go tell your folks how kingdom come in the year of jubilee!

Left. Up tight up there.


Who are these ragamuffin? Contrabands, right out of the fields.

Hey. Hey, old man, where from? Massachusetts.

Oona march better than we. Oona march like the buckra soldier.

I beg your pardon? He says we march like white soldiers.

Even talk like the buckra soldier.

Where you from? Oh, round about here.

We were slaves in the field when the Yankee man come. Say we soldiers.

How you like the Army, contraband?

Oh, we love it. We thank the Lord every day for the good vittles...

...and these beautiful clothes. Tell true.

This year, every day like Christmas.

Like what? Like Christmas.


They've been working for weeks in anticipation of your arrival.

We're all very excited to have you here, Shaw.

Thank you, sir. Lincoln's idea.

Hired a group of New Englanders... teach our colored how to read and write.

Just your sort of people, I should think.

The regiment should enjoy their stay here.

Yes, I'm sure we'll have a fine time, but that's not why we're here.

Well, can't promise you much action. Just having the coloreds around...

...seems to have scared the bejesus out of the Rebs.

Colonel Shaw? Excuse me.

I'd like you to meet some of our instructors.

Dr. Thorpe of Salem.

-It's my pleasure, Colonel Shaw. Pleasure.

Dr. Rogers of Philadelphia.

I know and admire your parents. You do, sir? Why, thank you, sir.

Shaw, meet Colonel Montgomery.

He's your brigade commander.

Colonel. Honored, sir.

Colonel Montgomery's a real jayhawker from Kansas.

Contraband regiment is his brainchild.

You didn't think yours were the only coloreds around, did you, colonel?

I did, actually. Well, I'm sure they'll do just fine.

Have they seen any mischief?

No, sir.

I'm hiking a company over to the Georgia coast in the morning.

We'll be foraging for supplies. I could use a hand.

That is, if you think your men are up to it.

They are indeed, sir.

Good. Very good.

A pleasure. Good night.

Beg to report, colonel, sir.

The troop is fed and bedded down for the night, sir.

Very good, corporal. Pass the word along to A company...

...we'll be going into action in the morning.

Very good, sir.

Your men march handsomely, colonel. My compliments.

Thank you, sir.

I am surprised at how well you handle them.

See, I am from Kentucky originally and we owned a few ourselves... it comes naturally to me.

You are from Boston, are you not? Yes.

It is impossible to imagine Boston with slaves.

Company, halt!

Halt. Shoulder arms!

Town's clean, sir. Ain't no Rebs here, just some women.

Well, all right. You hear that, boys?

Let's clear her out!

What are you doing? Liberating this town... the name of the Republic. The musket, colonel?

Never shoot it. Shoot now?

Yeah, I don't see why not. Go ahead.

Shoot the lady, boys!

Don't shoot! We ain't Secesh here. That man is a civilian.

That man is Secesh, and Secesh is all the same, son.

Look around you. You really think anybody's gonna put these boys...

...into some real combat?

Do you?

They're little children. Little monkey children.

You just gotta know how to control them.

Please, let go! Oh, God!

You see what I mean? Children.

Animal! Leave her alone! Hey, boy.

Take your hands off the white lady.

That would not have been necessary if that Secesh woman hadn't started it.

They'll never learn.

You see, Secesh has got to be swept away by the hand of God... the Jews of old.

And now I'll have to burn this town.

Nigger soldiers! Nigger soldiers!

Tell your men to set torches and prepare to fire the buildings.

I will not.

That is an order.

You will do it or you will be brought up on charges for disobeying.

It is an immoral order, and by articles of war I am not bound to obey it.

Well, you can just explain that at your court-marital...

...after your men are placed under my command.

First squad, second platoon.

Fall out to set torches. Prepare to fire the town.

First squad, second platoon! Fall out!

Right face!

Forward march!

Change the colors, sergeant major.

Change the colors.

What you looking at, biscuit eaters?

You think you better than me? You think you my judge?

You ain't nothing.

Dear Father, I need your help.

Despite my many requests, it has become clear...

...that we are to be used only for manual labor.

Morale is low.

The men's good humor darkened by idleness and despair.

Why keep drilling if they are never given the opportunity... prove themselves?


I have written to Governor Andrew as well as to...

...the general staff in Washington.

But I feel that only a letter directly from you to Lincoln himself...

...can have the desired effect.

I can think of no other course.

I am sure you both pray, as I do...

...that all this has not been in vain.

Look like we going the wrong way.

Hey. Hey, come on, now. Buck up, boys.

Hey, buck up, now. Come on.

See, someday they're gonna let the 54th get into it, see?

And all your troubles would be over, huh?

Come on now, cheer up. Hey.

What did you say, boy?

"Boy"? Let me tell you--

Shut up, Trip-- Would you get up off me, snowflake?

See, let me explain something to you.

See, the way I figure, I figure this war would be over a whole lot sooner...

...if you boys just turn right on around and head on back down that way...

...and let us head where the real fighting is.

Them men dying up that road.

And it wouldn't be nothing but Rebs dying, if they let the 54th in it.

Listen-- Hold it!

As you were, Trip. As you were!

You men move on.

Stripes on a nigger.

That's like tits on a bull.

You're looking at a higher rank, corporal.

Now, you'll obey and you'll like it.

Make me. I'll make you.

What the hell is going on here? Attention!


You! Yes, you. What's your name? I'm putting you up on charges.

Oh, there ain't no cause for that, sir. What's that, sergeant?

Well, I mean, it's just a soldiers' fight, sir.

All right, you men move along. Front step! Forward! March!

Move it!

You men get back to work. Back to work! Let's go!

We'll see you again. Go dig a latrine.

Go strum a banjo, boy.

Come on.

I've got the guard. Let me use your looking glass.

Thank you.

Yeah, button up that collar.

Suck in that gut.

Tuck in them big, black lips.

Lighten your skin. Shrink up that nose.

I don't have to listen to this.

Where you going, boy?

Let me by. Let you by?

Let you by?

Let me tell you something, boy.

You can march like the white man. You can talk like him.

You can learn his songs. You can even wear his suits.

But you ain't never gonna be nothing to him...

...but an ugly-ass chimp in a blue suit.

Oh, you don't like that, do you? No.

Well, what we gonna do about it?

Want to fight me, boy?

What you gonna do about it?

You want to fight me, don't you?

Don't you?

Come on, nig. All right! All right!

Hey, get your hands off me, gravedigger.

Does the whole world gotta stomp in your face?

Nigger, get your hands off me. Ain't no niggers around here.

So the white man give you a couple of stripes... thing you know, you ordering everybody around like you the massa.

Nigger, you ain't nothing but the white man's dog.

And what are you?

So full of hate you just wanna go and fight everybody...

...because you've been whipped and chased by hounds.

That might not be living, but it sure ain't dying.

And dying's what these white boys been doing for going on three years.

Dying by the thousands. Dying for you, fool.

I know, because I dug the graves.

And all the time I'm digging, I'm asking myself:

"When? When, O Lord, is it gonna be our time?"

Well, time's coming when we're gonna have to ante up.

Ante up and kick in like men. Like men!

You watch who you call a nigger.

If there are any niggers around here, it's you.

Smart-mouth, stupid-ass, swamp-running nigger.

If you ain't careful, that's all you ever gonna be.

You men go on back to business.


Sit down.

Well, colonel, what can I do for you?

You can give me and my regiment a transfer to combat command.

Couldn't do it, colonel.

You're much too valuable to my operations here.

May I sit?

Thank you. Major.

I've written a letter to my father...

...asking him to press Governor Andrew...

...and President Lincoln.

But I don't have to wait for all that, do I?

Colonel Montgomery, would you bring that ashtray over here?

But valuable to your operations here, do you say?

Your foraging, your depredations?

Yes, I've become quite a student of your operations in this region.

Thirty-four mansions, I think it was, pillaged and burned...

...under Colonel Montgomery's expedition of the Combahee.

Four thousand bales of cotton smuggled through the lines...

...with payment to parties unknown...

...excep'i by YOU-

False quartermaster requisitions.

Major Forbes here has seen the copies.

Yes, indeed.

Along with confiscated valuables shipped north as personal baggage.

Shall I go on?

Can you?

I can report you to the War Department.

Oh, yes. I can do that.

Let you take your regiment out to fight.

That's what you want, isn't it?

Show what they can do.

When? You are bright-eyed, aren't you?


Just as soon as I can write the orders.



All right, company, in a line. Double-quick!

All right, men, form a firing line. Over here.

Form a firing line right here.

Front rank, kneel!

Steady, boys!

Firing by battalion!

Aim! Aim!



Cease-fire! Recover!

Here they come!

Reload! Reload! Load!

Load it! Load it! Quickly, men!

Ready! Ready!

Aim! Aim!

Get ready. Get ready.


Reload! Reload!


Fire at Will! Fire at Will!

Pour it in!


Look out, boy! Look out!


They're turning tail!

Run, you Rebs!

Another victory!

Deploy skirmishers, captain.

Re-form your ranks! Re-form your ranks!

Fall in, on the double.

Form up! Form up!

Let's do it. Skirmish lines.

Fall in! On the double!

Form company! Thomas.

How do, colonel?

Hurts, doesn't it?

Well, I'm extremely jealous.

You'll be back in Boston before me...

...sitting by the fire, reading Hawthorne...

...cup of decent coffee.

I'm not going back.

Thomas, listen to me. You're shot. You have to go back.

Robert, promise me...

...that you won't send me back.

Promise me.

All right.

All right.

Colonel Shaw!

What is all this? You haven't heard?

Lee was turned back in Pennsylvania at Gettysburg.

Now Grant's taken Vicksburg and all on the Fourth of July.

My God. Yeah.

I know. it looks like it'll all be over by Christmas.

So how did they do? Splendid. Just splendid.

Any casualties? Forty-two.

Oh, give me the details. I'll wire it in.

I don't think we got a prayer of making the paper.

I'll talk to you later in your tent.

As you were.

Trip, isn't it? Yes, sir.

You fought very well yesterday, Trip.

Sergeant Rawlins has recommended that you receive a commendation.

Yes, sir.

Yes, and I think you should bear the regimental colors.


It's considered quite an honor.

Why not?

Well, I'm...

Wanting to say something, sir, but I...

Go ahead.

All right. See...

...I ain't fighting this war...

...for you, sir.

I see.

I mean, what's the point?

Ain't nobody gonna win. It's gonna go on and on.

It can't go on forever. But ain't nobody gonna win.

Somebody's gonna win.


I mean, you, you get to go on back to Boston, big house and all that.

What about us?

What do we get'?

Well, you won't get anything if we lose.

What do you wanna do?

I don't know, sir.

It stinks, I suppose.


It stinks bad.

And we all covered up in it too. I mean, ain't nobody clean.

Be nice to get clean though.

How do we do that?

We ante up and kick in, sir.

But I still don't wanna carry your flag.

No one will ever take Charleston...

...without first silencing the forts which protect its harbor.

And the first one that must be taken is that: Fort Wagner.

Wagner mounts a 10-inch Columbiad...

...three smoothbore 32-pounders...

...a 42-pound carronade...

...a 10-inch coast mortar...

...and four 12-pound howitzers... a garrison of about a thousand men.

As many of you gentlemen may be aware...

...for the last four days, our Navy has weakened Wagner...

...with a constant barrage.

Headquarters has determined a time for our attack.

We will proceed with a direct frontal assault...

...tomorrow at dusk.

The problem, gentlemen, is the approach.

The ocean and the marsh leave only a narrow strip of sand.

A natural defile through which we can only send one regiment at a time.

Our best hope is that that leading regiment can keep the Rebs occupied...

...long enough for reinforcements to exploit the breach.

Needless to say...

...casualties in the leading regiment may be extreme.

General Strong.

The 54th Massachusetts...

...requests the honor of leading the attack on Fort Wagner.

It's Colonel Shaw, isn't it?

Yes, sir.

You and your men haven't slept for two days.

That's right, sir.

You think they have the strength to lead this charge?

There's more to fighting than rest, sir.

There's character.

There's strength of heart.

You should have seen us in action two days ago.

We were a sight to see.

We'll be ready, sir.

When do you want us?

Tomorrow, we go into battle. All right.

So, Lordy, let me fight with the rifle in one hand...

...and the Good Book in the other.

Amen, brother. Amen.

That if I should die at the muzzle of the rifle...

...die on water or on land...

...I may know that you, blessed Jesus Almighty, are with me.

With Jesus. With us. That's right.

And I have no fear. Amen.

Amen. Amen.


...we stand before you this evening... say thank you. Thank the Lord.

We thank you, Father...

...for your grace and your many blessings.

Yes, sir.

Now, I run off...

...and left all my young'uns and my kinfolk in bondage.

So I'm standing here this evening, Heavenly Father... ask your blessings on all of us.

So that if tomorrow is our great getting-up morning...

...if tomorrow we have to meet the Judgment Day...

...oh, Heavenly Father, we want you to let our folks know...

...that we died facing the enemy.

We want them to know that we went down standing up--

Yes, Lord!

--Among those that are fighting against our oppression.

We want them to know, Heavenly Father...

...that we died for freedom.

We ask these blessings in Jesus' name. Amen.

Amen. Amen.

Amen. Amen.

Trip. Come on.

No, I-- You better get your butt up there, boy.

Just say what you think. Just say what you feel. Go on now.

Come on. Preach it, brother.

Go on, let it out.

I ain't much about no praying now.

Well, you always say your piece.

I ain't never had no family and...

Killed off my mama. Well...

This feels funny.

Come on. -It's all right.

Come on now. You're doing fine.

Well, I just--

You know, y'all's-- Y'all's--

Y'all's the onliest family I got.

Well, that's all right.


...I love the 54th.

All right.

Ain't much matter what happens tomorrow...

...because we men, ain't we?

Yes, sir. Amen.

We men, ain't we? Yes, sir.

Shit. All right, man.

Attention, company! Attention, company!

Attention, company!

Attention, company!

Battalion, halt!

We ready, colonel.

Left. Left. Left, right.

Left. Left. Left, right.

Left. Left. Left, right.

Left. Left. Left, right.

Give them hell, 54th! Give them hell, 54th!

Ready, fire! Ready, fire!

Ought to be quite a show, Pierce. Best seat in the house.

I wonder if you might do something for me.

I have some letters here.

Personal things.

Certainly, colonel.

Also, if I should fall...

...remember what you see here.

Ready! Ready!

Fire! Fire!

Fire! Reload!

Reload! Fire!

You men are relieved.

Report to the rear as stretcher bearers.

Do it now! Right face!

Forward, march!

You go on, honey. We be by directly.






If this man should fall...

...who will lift the flag and carry on?

I will.

Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

I'll see you in the fort, Thomas.

Fix! Fix!


Shoulder! Shoulder!


'Charge! 'Charge!


At the quickstep! At the quickstep!



Double-quick time!


Steady, boys!


Come on!



Keep your ranks!

Take cover in the dunes!

Take cover!

Company commanders, we'll wait here and advance under cover of darkness.

Men, get down over there! Get down!

Company commanders, order your men to wait here!

Get down!

Get down!

Sergeant Rawlins! Sir!

Pass the word along!

Forward on my command!

Forward on my command!

Ready on the colors, men!

Forward on my command!


'Charge! 'Charge!

Forward, men! Forward!


I've been hit!

Forward! Forward, men!

Come on, men, forward!

Come on, you men! Come on! Don't stop! Get up there!


Come on!

Come on, 54th!


Come on!


My eye!



Form a firing line right here! No!

Get out of here!


Let's go! Move! Move!

Come on! Come on!