Alonzo Cushing

Alonzo Cushing

Dennis Clemente says:

I've just finished "Cushing of Gettysburg" by Kent Masterson Brown about Alonzo Cushing of Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery. I scanned both the books and artillery sections of the home page but didn't see any comments or reviews--did I miss some? I found the book to be a little tough to startbecause the family history chapters are sort of like the 'begat' sections of the Bible, but by the third chapter I found it hard to put down! It's very well written and edited and the story is compelling if tragic. Of course, I'm not equipped to critique the scholarship which is why I checked the home page. Brown uses primary sources mostly so, absent comments from fellow GDG'ers, I'll consider this the definitive work on Cushing. I certainly can't imagine wanting to know more!

Dennis Lawrence says:


_Cushing Of Gettysburg_is a book that I greatly enjoyed. I especially like the context in which it places Cushing and his actions - with those of his West Point companions Hazlett, Rorty, Woodruff, & O'Rorke at Gettysburg.

"General (Winfield) Scott, massive in size, stood erect at the grave. Alonzo Cushing's grandfather, a volunteer in the Chautauqua County Militia, had followed Scott in 1812... The old general...knew Alonzo's prominent uncles and cousins from Ohio and Massachusetts well. Scott's career had spanned many years and it profoundly affected three generations of Cushings. General Scott would die in three years and his final resting place would be about twenty paces from Cushing's grave site in the West Point Cemetery.... The corps of cadets lined up in columns, and on command, fired three crisp volleys that resounded up and down the Hudson Valley. The last earthly remains of Lt. and Brvt. Captain Alonzo Hereford Cushing was lowered into the grave. The ceremony was over. Nearby, Milton Cushing, Alonzo's older brother wept. The air was still. As the smoke cleared the Cadet Corps reassembled in a column of platoons and marched back to the summer encampment on the Plain. In death, the heroic Alonzo Cushing, a lad born of solid New England Puritan stock, was united with fellow West Point comrades and kindred spirits: Lt. George Augustus 'Little Dad' Woodruff; Lt. Justin E. Dimmick; brilliant Col. Patrick Henry 'Paddy;' O'Rorke;..Brig. Gen. Edmund ;'Ned' Kirby and Lt. Charles E. Hazlett."

I never thought much about Woodruff until after I read this; now I visit the marker each time in Ziegler's Cyclorama/ Woods and think of his dying commands to Eagan to move the battery to the left - "I order you to the left. Do your duty and leave me."

(BTW - I think the map included in the book showing Eagan behind the Angle firing into the crowd is incorrect; I think the position on Bryan Lane shown in Rollins' _Pickett's Charge_ is where Eagan moved. Friendly fire at the Angle - It had to be tremendous in those closing moments.

I too thought the book would get more discussion. I remember reading the intro where Brown discusses how he found the Cushing letters and being awed - like Eric - at the find. I think the letters are what make this such a revealing book - "I think we shall have to shoot a few of these rascals to teach them what honorable warfare is," Cushing wrote home about his Union troopers.

The book also firmly puts to rest the story of Cushing dying as he fires one last shot, but the description of a man literally holding himself together with one hand as he rallied his men is as heroic as any myth. - "The first man who leaves his post, I'll blow his brains out."

Brown also believes that Cushing - who travelled to the field on July 1 with Hancock - was instrumental in placing the Union troops. Brown offers that Cushing's posthumous promotion Lt. Colnel was for service on July 1, not July 3.

Excellent narrative writing style makes this an easy as well as informative read. From: lawrence (Dennis Lawrence)


From: Susan & Eric Wittenberg
By the by, Cushing is buried right next to John Buford. In fact, if you read Brown's book, there are references in there to the fact that visitors to Buford's grave trampled Alonzo Cushing's to the great distress of his mother. Also, Benjamin F. "Grimes" Davis is buried on the other side of Buford in the West Point Cemetery. Pretty good company, if you ask me....