Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing
The monument to Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing is south of Gettysburg at The Angle, north of the Copse of Trees. (39.813156° N, 77.235748° W; map)
From the monument:
Erected in honor of
Lt. A.H. Cushing
And his 4th U.S. Battery A.
Col. R. Penn Smith
and his Regiment
71st PA. Vol's.
Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing was 22 years old when he commanded Battery A of the 4th United States Artillery at the Battle of Gettysburg. Born in Wisconsin in 1841, he moved with his family to New York and attended West Point, graduating with the class of 1861.
Three of his brothers also served in the U.S. Army or Navy during the war. One would die fighting Apaches in 1871 and a second, William, would die after the war from complications of injuries received on a daring raid on the Confederate ironclad Albemarle.
Cushing's battery was at the focal point of the Pickett's Charge on July 3rd. The intense bombardment preceding the attack left Cushing and many of his men wounded by shell fragments and only two guns still servicable.
Rather than withdraw the remnants of the shattered battery, he obtained permission from General Webb to move his remaining pieces up to the stone wall, where he and the handful of survivors of the battery fired canister into the advancing Virginians of Pickett's Division.
Cushing was wounded three times during the asssault. The second wound, a shell fragment which tore open his stomach and groin, was probably fatal. He was told to go to the rear but refused, and First Sergeant Frederick Fuger held him up and passed on his commands, which he could barely voice. His third wound was a bullet into his mouth and out the back of his head, which killed him instantly.
The legend that Cushing fired the last double-shotted gun seconds before being struck in the mouth with his fatal wound is a small exaggeration. Sergeant Fuger, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg, fired the shot after laying the dying Cushing on the ground.
Cushing received a posthumous brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel and was buried at West Point. He lies next to John Buford and Benjamin "Grimes" Davis.
It has been announced that Cushing will finally be awarded the Medal of Honor after a decades-long campaign. The medal will be awarded in a ceremony on September 15, 2014.