More than 150 years after his death, President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to a Union soldier who took a stand on Cemetery Ridge during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.
First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing died at age 22 during the battle. He’d been in the Army for two years at that point, and is buried at West Point.
On Nov. 6, cousins of the fallen soldier, Frederic Stevens Sater and Frederic Cushing Stevens III, will come to the White House for the medal ceremony.
Cushing was serving as commanding officer of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, Artillery Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac during combat operations on July 3, 1863.
“During Longstreet’s Assault, also known as Pickett’s Charge, First Lieutenant Cushing’s battery took a severe pounding by Confederate artillery. As the Confederate Forces advanced, he manned the only remaining, and serviceable, field piece in his battery,” the White House said. “During the advance, he was wounded in the abdomen as well as in the right shoulder.”
“Refusing to evacuate to the rear despite his severe wounds, he directed the operation of his lone field piece continuing to fire. With the Confederate Forces within 100 yards of his position, Cushing was shot and killed during this heroic stand. His actions made it possible for the Union Army to successfully repulse the assault.”
Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) authored legislation to finally honor Wisconsin-born Cushing. At the end of August, Obama said he would act on it.
“Even after more than 150 years, it’s never too late to do the right thing for our war heroes,” Kind said then. “Lt. Cushing richly deserves his Medal of Honor.”
Sensenbrenner said the award “culminates more than two decades of bipartisan work and is long overdue.”
“Lt. Cushing was a courageous leader who at just 22 years of age, gave his life to protect our sovereign nation at the Battle of Gettysburg,” Sensenbrenner said. “His exceptional bravery and determination on the battlefield should serve as an inspiration to us all.”