46°

Lake Country Weather

  • Log-in Edit profile
  • Register Logout

Advertisement

Delafield's Cushing to receive Medal of Honor, 151 years after his death

Aug. 26, 2014

 A Union Army officer who made his last stand at the Battle of Gettysburg is to be honored with the nation's highest military decoration 151 years after his death, the result of a decades-long push by his descendants and Civil War buffs.

 

The White House announced Wednesday that President Barack Obama approved the Medal of Honor for 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, who was killed by a Confederate bullet to the head on the last of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg.

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.

The White House also announced that Obama will award the medal in a ceremony Sept. 15 to two Vietnam War soldiers who also received the congressional exemption: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and Army Spc. Donald P. Sloat.

Cushing, a West Point graduate from Delafield, was killed July 3, 1863, at age 22. He commanded about 110 men and six cannons, defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge, a major Confederate thrust that could have turned the tide in the war.

Cushing's small force stood their ground under artillery bombardment as nearly 13,000 Confederate infantrymen waited to advance. Cushing was wounded in the shoulder and groin, and his battery was left with two guns and no long-range ammunition.

Historians say his stricken battery should have been withdrawn and replaced with reserve forces, but Cushing insisted on ordering his guns to the front lines.

Within minutes he was shot dead.

Confederate soldiers advanced into the Union fire but finally retreated with massive casualties. The South never recovered from the defeat.

Several soldiers who fought alongside Cushing received Medals of Honor. It's not clear why Cushing never got one, but his descendants and admirers took up his cause in the late 1980s.

Wisconsin lawmakers passed an amendment to a defense spending bill to award Cushing in 2010, but then-Sen. James Webb (D-Virginia), stripped it from the bill because he said it was impossible to go back 150 years to determine who should receive the award. Webb predicted it could open an endless series of claims and argued at the time, "The better wisdom would be for Congress to leave history alone."

-- The Associated Press

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Community Watch

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Homestead Animal Farm: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends, W320 N9127 Highway 83, Hartland. Corn maze, hayrides, barnyard animals, pumpkins and other fall items. $6 maze, $2 hayrides, $2 animals, $9 all three. (262) 966-3840.

Mike Chaloupka Memorial Craft Fair: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 27, Cornerstone Church, N6 W31449 Alberta Drive, Delafield. Handcrafted home and holiday decor items, unique gifts, silent auction, bake sale.

Comedy Show: 9-10:30 p.m. Sept. 27, Club Indigo, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale MIle Road, Oconomowoc. Features national acts. $7 advance, $10 at the door. (262) 369-3999, www.olympiaresort.com.

"The Wonderbread Years" starring John McGivern: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27, Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St., Oconomowoc. A comical salute to the baby boomer generation. (262) 560-2130, www.theoac.net.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

All weekend happenings.