Private Trip
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Private Trip

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About Him

Living… as a runaway slave. He escaped north from Tennessee at the age of 12 and joined the 54th regiment in 1862.

Profession… volunteer in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Trip is the most intense of the soldiers, rebellious yet hungry for victory at any cost. Trip is particularly hard on the other soldiers, chastising them for putting up with bad treatment. He resents their second-class treatment, leading a boycott until they receive equal pay.

Interests... advocating on behalf of his fellow soldiers. Trip went AWOL and was caught and flogged in front of the troops. This exposed his scars as a former slave, and revealed that he had only left to find suitable shoes. His superior officer, Shaw, realized that his soldiers were being denied supplies, though shoes and socks were plentiful. Trip also tried to incite the men to tear up their pay, prompting Shaw to do the same. In some ways, Trip is Shaw’s guide, leading him to fight inequality, while Shaw leads Trip in battle.

Relationship Status... single. Romantic love is unimportant to Trip, given what’s on the line for him.

Challenge… victory. The 54th suffers more and more casualties as the war progresses, and while the other soldiers are stunned, Trip pushes them onward. He lifts the flag and rallies the others, all the while being shot at. His challenge is not to survive, but to be unwavering in his beliefs. He may be killed, but he will never bend.

Personality… strong-willed. While loyal and dedicated to the cause, Trip is fighting the war for his own reasons. When Shaw offered to let Trip carry the flag as a reward for fighting well, Trip refused, saying that he was not fighting the war for Shaw. Trip said the war would go on and on, alluding to the fact that the war represented much more than North vs. South and would continue far after those matters were decided.

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