ALONZO CUSHING AND A WELL DESERVED MEDAL OF HONOR
Alonzo Cushing was born on January 19, 1841 in Delafield Wisconsin and was raised in Fredonia New York. Cushing was one of four brothers who would eventually serve in Union forces. Alonzo would graduate from West Point in June of 1861. Just two months after the beginning of the Civil War. His younger brother Lt. William Cushing would serve in the Union Navy. Howard Cushing would be killed in 1871 fighting the Apache's. Alonzo must have been pretty sharp because he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and First Lieutenant on the same day. He was brevetted a Major after the battle of Chancellorsville. A brevet rank was a rank that was usually given for bravery in battle or meritorious service but once the war was over you reverted back to your actual rank. For example Cushing was only paid as a major if he actually performed the duties of a major. Once the war was over he would revert back to his actual rank of First Lieutenant.
At Gettysburg Cushing commanded Battery A, 4th US Artillery. On the third day at Gettysburg, during Pickett's Charge, Cushing was hit by a shell fragment that tore right through his shoulder. A second shell fragment, hit him in the abdomen and groin, exposing his intestines. Any soldier that was hit in the abdomen knew that it was a fatal wound during the Civil War. Doctors did not have the expertise to repair these wounds and there were no antibiotics. A higher ranking officer ordered " Cushing, go to the rear". Because of the limited number of men in the battery, due to casualties, Cushing refused to leave. Holding his intestines with one hand he continued to give orders to his men. He was so horribly wounded that he could not be heard above the roar of battle. His 1st Sergeant held him up while relaying Cushing's orders to the men. Then at the height of the assault a bullet crashed through Cushing's mouth and exited through the back of his skull, killing him instantly. He was twenty two years old.
Efforts to award Cushing the Medal of Honor were begun by certain citizens of Wisconsin in the late 1980's. In 2002 Russ Feingold nominated him for the award. On May 20, 2010 it was announced that Cushing would be awarded the Medal of Honor. Finally on November 6, 2014, one hundred and fifty one years after the battle, Barack Hussein Obama presented the medal posthumously to Alonzo Cushing. The ceremony was attended by two dozen relatives of the Cushing family. Alonzo had no direct descendants. Cushing was buried in the West Point cemetery right next to General John Buford. He was the Cavalry commander that helped to insure a Union victory by holding off the Confederate Army until the high ground could be secured on the first day at Gettysburg.
|ALONZO"S WEST POINT PICTURE|
|CUSHING IS CENTER BACK ROW|
|CEMETERY RIDGE DURING PICKETT"S CHARGE|
|CUSHING'S COUSIN BEING PRESENTED HIS MEDAL OF HONOR|