Col. Robert Gould Shaw, sans sword, cuts deep

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What happened to Col. Robert Gould Shaw’s sword? The mystery of the war hero’s missing blade “sticks like a fishbone in the city’s throat,” to steal a line from Robert Lowell’s poem about the monument to Shaw and the black soldiers of the storied 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment that he led.

“I hope they replace it soon,” said Lt. Benny White, a re-enactor with the 54th Regiment, who added that it has gone missing several times before, but seeing the scar on the statue where the sword should be is no less painful.

“They steal it all the time,” said 1st Sgt. Gerard Grimes, another re-enactor, who said it happens so often that the city made a rubber sword to replace it. “It’s a tradition. Every time a Boston sports team wins, the sword goes missing.”

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