Amherst's "Sacred Dead Tablets" in storage
So as Civil War battles go the losses at Fort Wagner (under 1700 total with 90% of them Union attackers) were relatively minor; like the damage done to the Empire of Japan’s capital city of Tokyo by Doolittle’s B-25 bombers only four months after Pearl Harbor.
But they both made history because of a far greater symbolic meaning. And as such should always be remembered.
The ill-fated attack on Fort Wagner led by the 54'th Massachusetts Volunteers dispelled the notion that black soldiers couldn’t (or wouldn’t) fight. And the daring air raid on Tokyo sent a message to Japan early on: you messed with wrong country.
Amherst Town Meeting will take up the issue of restoring the Civil War tablets and placing them back in Amherst Town Hall where they were proudly displayed back in the early 1900’s. Two members of the Community Preservation Committee issued a minority report suggesting the total cost to clean all six and display two tablets at $65,000 is $20,000 too high.
Hmmm…Amherst spent almost $300,000 to preserve the Kimball House in North Amherst (now dwarfed by the aircraft carrier sized house behind it) but we can’t spend one-quarter of that to restore and display these donated tablets to honor locals who served--especially those who gave their "last measure of devotion"?
West Springfield City Hall
The Kimball House in North Amherst