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Cushing of Gettysburg

Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander

Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Cushing of Gettysburg
    Book Description:

    " Kent Brown's stunning account of the career of Lt. Alonzo Hereford Cushing offers valuable insights into the nature of the Civil War and the men who fought it. Brown's vivid descriptions of the heat and exhaustion of forced marches, of the fury of battle, have seldom been matched in Civil War literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4605-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Prologue: “In the Midst of Life We Are in Death”
    (pp. 1-6)

    The date on the duty roster read July 12, 1863. Across the Plain at the United States Military Academy at West Point the lovely elm and chestnut trees stood motionless. Dull gray clouds covered the sky, and occasional thunder gave promise of a summer cloudburst.¹

    The news of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s defeat at Gettysburg and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s victory at fortress Vicksburg had captured the attention of all the cadets. Victory would prove elusive, however, for Lee would slip across the Potomac River on July 13 and 14, and then would begin another phase of the ghastly struggle...

  6. 1 “His Mother Is Poor but Highly Committed”
    (pp. 7-29)

    Deep snow blanketed the stark southern Wisconsin countryside, outlining the hardwood trees and burdening the boughs of the towering evergreens. A bitter cold wind was blowing against the crude log house as Mary Barker Smith Cushing went into labor. Her sister Cordelia Pearmain, herself eight months pregnant, was at Mary’s bedside to comfort her. Then, on a cold, dark January 19, 1841, Mary gave birth to a fourth son. Mary and her husband, Milton Buckingham Cushing, agreed to name the child Alonzo Hereford Cushing in honor of Milton’s brother and sister-in-law, Alonzo and Margaret Hereford Cushing of Gallipolis, Ohio, whose...

  7. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  8. 2 “I Am Boning Eveiything”
    (pp. 30-53)

    Finally the day came for Lon and William to leave Fredonia. They had visited everyone they knew, bidding good-bye to all. Cousin George White drove the two boys in his carriage, along with Mary and Mary Isabel, the three miles to the New York & Erie Railroad depot at Dunkirk.¹ As the train chugged and hissed into the depot, Lon and Will bade farewell to their dear mother and sister. The boys were well on their way to restoring to the Cushing family that great sense of accomplishment it had known in earlier generations. The old pioneer, Zattu, certainly would...

  9. 3 “I Fancy I Did Some of the Prettiest Firing”
    (pp. 54-74)

    Alonzo Hereford Cushing, a newly commissioned first lieutenant, with other members of his West Point class, arrived at the outskirts of Washington on a scheduled Baltimore & Ohio Railroad passenger train on July 3, 1861. Just over five feet, nine inches tall, Lon weighed about 170 pounds and was fairly robust. As a cadet he had regularly worked out lifting weights in the academy gymnasium in order that he might “develop [his] physical powers.” In Lon’s words, he had become “a sizeable lad.” He proudly wore his new blue frock coat with red shoulder straps, blue trousers, and slouch hat,...

  10. 4 “It Was the Grandest Sight”
    (pp. 75-99)

    For Lon, 1862 began with a visit to Milton’s quarters in Washington on New Year’s Day. The new year was to prove eventful from the outset. Lon had been noticed by the commander of his division and on January 21 was assigned to duty as the ordnance officer on the staff of General Sumner. Although Lon wanted to remain in the artillery service, the appointment to staff duty relieved him of the awkward situation created by the assignment of Lt. Evan Thomas as commander of Batteries A and C. He probably accepted his new assignment with some relief.¹

    From the...

  11. 5 “My God! We Must Get Out of This!”
    (pp. 100-130)

    While McClellan’s Army of the Potomac was locked in its struggle for existence on the Peninsula, Maj. Gen. John Pope had been building a sizable force, the Army of Virginia, outside of Washington. One corps in Pope’s new command consisted of nearly all German regiments, many of which had seen action in the Shenandoah Valley. They were now commanded by Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel, a German revolutionary who had been born in Sinsheim in the Grand Duchy of Baden. “I fights mit Sigel” became a rallying cry for those German immigrant soldiers in his corps, many of whom idolized him....

  12. 6 “The Army Is Extremely Disgusted”
    (pp. 131-156)

    The rising sun on September 18 found Batteries A and C, 4th United States Artillery, and the tattered Second Corps occupying much of the ground over which they had so desperately fought the day before. Brig. Gen. Andrew Humphreys’s Fifth Corps division arrived on the field near the Second Corps around midmorning. Thousands of dead, dying, and terribly wounded men lay strewn across the shot-torn cornfields, woodlots, and pasturelands ahead. All through the day litter-bearers worked in the bloody fields removing the wounded, while burial teams hastily buried the dead who lay within a safe distance. Much of Miller’s cornfield,...

  13. 7 “The Elements Are at War with the Army”
    (pp. 157-186)

    The Second Corps, its ranks bloodied and horribly thinned, was finally called back from its advanced positions in front of Marye’s Heights late on the night of December 13. Lon was in the saddle until the wee hours of December 14, directing the cold and weary soldiers back to positions in the streets of Fredericksburg and along the desolate riverbank. General Sykes’s Fifth Corps division formed the front lines out near the brick house, just below the frowning heights.¹

    After having been moved into park near the Lacy house, the batteries of Rufus King and Charles Owen had been ordered...

  14. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  15. 8 “Forward into Battery!”
    (pp. 187-221)

    At Guinea Station, Virginia, tragedy struck Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia in the wake of the spectacular victory at Chancellorsville. There, on May 10, the wounded Stonewall Jackson died. For days thereafter Union army telegraphers were busy tapping out the news.¹

    With the loss of Jackson, Lee reorganized his army into three powerful corps. Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, recalled from Suffolk, was given the command of the First Corps, Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell the Second Corps, and Lt. Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill the Third Corps. Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart resumed command of a cavalry corps of six...

  16. 9 “By Hand to the Front!”
    (pp. 222-257)

    All through the night Lon and his men heard the sounds of gunfire: occasional artillery salvos, intermittent shots from skirmishers, and sudden bursts of musketry where the opposing armies’ positions were separated only by a small pasture, creek, fenceline, or trench. Infantrymen from the 69th and 71st Pennsylvania roamed through the bloody fields ahead, scouring muskets and cartridges from the fallen Confederates. They believed they would need them for the next day’s fighting. Within the Union lines the body of Lt. Charles E. Hazlett was buried in the garden of Jacob Weikert behind Little Round Top, and the remains of...

  17. Epilogue: “Faithful until Death”
    (pp. 258-263)

    The Army of the Potomac indeed tasted victory on July 3, 1863. East of Gettysburg, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate horsemen had been fought to a standstill by Union cavalry. One brigade particularly distinguished itself during the spirited engagement. The Michigan cavalry brigade—the 1st, 5th, 6th, and 7th Michigan and Battery M, 2d United States Artillery—was commanded by none other than Lon’s classmate, Fannie Custer, who, since June 29, 1863, had been wearing the shoulder straps of a brigadier general of volunteers.¹

    Along Cemetery Ridge, General Meade and his son and aide-de-camp rode up to the center of the...

  18. Appendix: Roster, Battery A, Fourth United States Artillery, with Gettysburg Casualties
    (pp. 264-267)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 268-302)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 303-313)
  21. Index
    (pp. 314-330)