Today, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to 1st Lt. Alonzo Hereford Cushing for his actions defending Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863 and helping to defeat the Army of Northern Virginia’s assault on that day. Cushing, then a 22-year-old artillery battery commander, refused to leave the field of battle after being grievously wounded, and was killed at his guns.
Here’s the video of that ceremony:
The Civil War Trust has a short video about Cushing, including his blood-stained belt which is held at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, here.
For an in-depth look at Cushing’s actions that day and their historical context, here’s Gettysburg National Military Park’s Ranger Karlton Smith conducting a special battle walk on the ground Cushing defended and where he died:
This has received copious coverage in the press. The Washington Post story is here, the New York Times story is here. NPR’s coverage is here. The Washington Times focused on some of the challenges faced in making the presentation, including the fact that his two brothers were equally deserving, here.
Prof. Allen Guelzo has an excellent article on Cushing and the Medal of Honor in the Wall Street Journal here.
Other than Cushing himself, the person most responsible for this event is Margaret Zerwekh, who lived in Cushing’s old home in Delafield, Wisconsin, and began researching the previous occupants of the house. She began pushing for a Medal of Honor for Cushing back in the 1980s, and today was able to be there when it happened. There’s a story in the Washington Post about her here.
Congratulations, Lt. Cushing, and thank you for your sacrifice.