When the Union Color Sergeant carrying the Regimental flag into battle against Confederates at Fort Wagner, S.C., was wounded, a former slave-turned-soldier rushed to keep the Stars-and-Stripes flying, which was an important signal to his fellow troops to follow.
But let’s let one of Kill Cliff’s favorite websites, Badass of the Week, tell this incredible story for us:
Sergeant William Harvey Carney of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, is the first Black American to earn a Medal of Honor for heroism in battle—a feat he accomplished by "defiantly charging his Regimental colors through a hail of enemy artillery and rifle fire, rallying his army in a fierce assault against an impenetrable Confederate stronghold, and then not only surviving a half-a-dozen gunshot wounds to basically every part of his body, but enduring all that damage without once allowing his flag to touch the ground."
Spoiler: Carney braved all manner of hell to plunge the flag into the wall of the enemy fort. But it wasn’t over yet!
You really should read the rest of the story about William Harvey Carney at Badass of the Week.