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Alonzo Cushing to receive Medal of Honor

The White House has announced that a Union Army officer killed at the Battle of Gettysburg will receive the Medal of Honor next month in a White House ceremony. 

The decision to honor 1st. Lt. Alonzo Cushing, originally of Wisconsin, brings a successful end to a campaign by Cushing's descendants and Civil War buffs that began in the late 1980s with a series of letters to then-Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire. 

Congress granted a special exemption last December for Cushing to receive the award posthumously since recommendations normally have to be made within two years of the act of heroism and the medal awarded within three years.

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Alonzo Cushing - Medal of Honor

He Was Killed At The Battle of Gettysburg And May Now Be Close To Receiving The Medal Of Honor in 2014! - 
Holding His Intestines With One Hand, Cushing Refused To Leave His Cannons And His Men

  • (As of March 2014, the nomination awaits review by the Defense Department before being approved by President Barack Obama)

Margaret Zerwekh thought Alonzo Cushing deserved the Medal of Honor. So she wrote a letter to her congressman to correct what she thought was an injustice. That was more than three decades ago. Zerwekh is now 93, and Cushing appears to be on the verge of receiving the nation’s highest honor for valor. Tucked deep in the defense bill passed is a provision to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Cushing, an artillery officer from Delafield killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. Zerwekh can’t remember when she wrote her first letter on behalf of Cushing to then-Sen. William Proxmire, but it was sometime in the 1980s.

Among the many men who died in the nation’s bloodiest battle was Cushing, a first lieutenant in charge of an artillery battery of six cannons and 110 men. On July 3, 1863, the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Cushing and his soldiers in Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, were stationed near a small grove of trees in a spot known as “the Angle” because of a nearby stone fence.

The Angle bore the brunt of the tragic and misguided gamble known as Pickett’s Charge. Before Confederate soldiers were sent to their deaths in the charge, Confederate artillery launched a ferocious bombardment that decimated Cushing’s unit. When it stopped, Cushing had only two working cannons and a few soldiers still standing. In the cannonade, a shell fragment pierced Cushing’s shoulder and shrapnel tore through his abdomen and groin. Holding his intestines with one hand, Cushing refused to leave his cannons and his men.

Battery A moved the two remaining guns to a stone wall and blasted away at the charging Confederates. A few seconds after he yelled “I will give them one more shot,” Cushing was struck in the mouth by a bullet that killed him instantly.

He was 22.

Cushing’s body was returned to his family in Delafield, and they buried him at West Point beneath a tombstone inscribed “Faithful until death.”

Read more from Journal Sentinel:  WIKI

From The Civil War Parlor in Tumblr

Medal of Honor approved for Civil War veteran


Alonzo Hersford Cushing was an artillery officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He died at the Battle of Gettysburg while defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge, for which he earned the Medal of Honor 147 years after his death.

More than 150 years after he gave his life at Gettysburg leading the effort to repel Pickett’s Charge, 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing is finally on track to get the Medal of Honor after Congress last month approved waiving the time limit for the nation’s top military honor.

The waiver was one of a half-dozen included in the massive defense policy bill — legislation that also began to tweak the Medal of Honor system, standardizing the amount of time a nomination may be considered and removing a cap that, in recent years, had said nobody could win the medal more than once.

In the case of Cushing, Congress‘ approval puts him over a major hurdle. Now he must clear a review by the Defense Department, which has expressed support, and then one by President Obama.

“Having members of both parties in both Houses coming together to recognize Lt. Cushing’s valor is amazing,” said Dave Krueger, one of those who has picked up the banner to fight for Cushing. “It has not, nor should it be, an easy process. The story of Lt. Cushing is so compelling that our legislators have cleared the way for the president to award him this nation’s highest military honor.”

It’s unclear why Cushing wasn’t awarded the medal in the 1800s.
Those above and below him in rank both earned it, including Gen. Alexander S. Webb, who led the overall defense against Pickett’s Charge and gave permission for Cushing to advance, and Cushing’s own trusted Sgt. Frederick Fuger, who held up the wounded Cushing so he could see the battlefield and served as the lieutenant’s megaphone, calling out the orders Cushing could only whisper because of his two injuries.

Cushing died on the Pennsylvania battlefield of a third injury.

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