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Author: Subject: Civil War Soldier Gets Medal of Honor147 Years Later

Zen Peach





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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 01:11 AM
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http://news.discovery.com/history/civil-war-hero-medal.html

Thanks to the efforts of modern-day supporters, Alonzo Cushing will be honored 147 years after he stood his ground at Gettysburg.

Wed May 19, 2010

Seven score and seven years ago, a wounded Wisconsin soldier stood his ground on the Gettysburg battlefield and made a valiant stand before he was felled by a Confederate bullet.

Now, thanks to the dogged efforts of modern-day supporters, 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing shall not have died in vain, nor shall his memory have perished from the earth.

Descendants and some Civil War history buffs have been pushing the U.S. Army to award the soldier the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration. They'll soon get their wish.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh has approved their request, leaving a few formal steps before the award becomes official this summer. Cushing will become one of 3,447 recipients of the medal, and the second from the Civil War honored in the last 10 years.

It's an honor that's 147 years overdue, said Margaret Zerwekh. The 90-year-old woman lives on the land in Delafield where Cushing was born, and jokes she's been adopted by the Cushing family for her efforts to see Alonzo recognized.

"I was jumping up and down when I heard it was approved," said Zerwekh, who walks with two canes. "I was terribly excited."

Cushing died on July 3, 1863, the last day of the three-day battle of Gettysburg. He was 22.

The West Point graduate and his men of the Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery were defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge, a major Confederate thrust that could have turned the tide in the war.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was planning an invasion of the North; both sides knew how important this engagement was.

Cushing commanded about 110 men and six cannons. His small force along with reinforcements stood their ground under artillery bombardment as nearly 13,000 Confederate infantrymen waited to advance.

"Clap your hands as fast as you can -- that's as fast as the shells are coming in," said Scott Hartwig, a historian with the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. "They were under terrific fire."

The bombardment lasted two hours. Cushing was wounded in the shoulder and groin, and his battery was left with two guns and no long-range ammunition. His stricken battery should have been withdrawn and replaced with reserve forces, Hartwig said, but Cushing shouted that he would take his guns to the front lines.

"What that means is, 'While I've got a man left to fight, I'll fight,'" Hartwig said. Within minutes, he was killed by a Confederate bullet to the head.

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

The soldier's bravery so inspired one Civil War history buff that he took up Cushing's cause by launching a Facebook page titled "Give Alonzo Cushing the Medal of Honor." Phil Shapiro, a 27-year-old Air Force captain, said such heroism displayed in one of the nation's most pivotal battles deserved recognition, even at this late date.

"We need to honor those people who got our country to where it is," said Shapiro, of Cabot, Ark.

Zerwekh first started campaigning for Cushing in 1987 by writing to Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire. Proxmire entered comments into the Congressional Record, she said, and she assumed that was as far as it would go. But current Sen. Russ Feingold later pitched in and helped Zerwekh and others petition the Army.

After a lengthy review of historical records, the Army agreed earlier this year to recommend the medal.

More than 1,500 soldiers from the Civil War have received the Medal of Honor, according to the Defense Department. The last honoree for Civil War service was Cpl. Andrew Jackson Smith of Clinton, Ill., who received the medal in 2001.

The Cushing name is prominent in the southeastern Wisconsin town of Delafield. A monument to Cushing and two of his brothers -- Naval Cmdr. William Cushing and Army 1st Lt. Howard Cushing -- stands at Cushing Memorial Park, where the town holds most of its Memorial Day celebrations.


 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 09:52 AM
Interesting the writer of the article thinks this man would have died in vain had he not received this medal 147 years after he died.

My great great grandfather was wounded at Gettysburg, wound up in a Union hospital, and eventually paroled back to the South. He didn't get jack sh*t, though the United States government did pay his widow a pension long after he died. She was a full-blooded Cherokee.

 

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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 12:05 PM
I'm not diminishing anything this young man did in service to his country but I wonder had he been a Confederate who had defended his position in such a manner if he'd have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

 

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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 12:07 PM
This award is to appease his family. Does absolutely nothing for him.

 

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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 12:19 PM
I just re-read the last paragraph of the article.....good point.

 

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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 12:40 PM
Which makes my point that history is written by the victors and that there is a rich history to be learned from the vanquished. Without both sides, the story is iincompletle.

 

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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 01:39 PM
First of all, my relatives fought for the Union so I don't have a dog in the Confederate cause. And I'm not saying history shouldn't be written by the victors.....my point is and continues to be that all aspects of a conflict....any conflict...should be studied without prejudice. Japan had a perfectly logical reason for bombing Pearl Harbor. I don't necessarily see it their way, but it's vital information in understanding the entire event. I'm not arguing with who has or hasn't written history but I do and will continue to maintaine that until all points of view are studied, there is only partial understanding of the events.

 

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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 10:34 PM
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quote:
Which makes my point that history is written by the victors and that there is a rich history to be learned from the vanquished. Without both sides, the story is iincompletle.


Nobody has disputed the truism that history is written by the winners. Nor is there any lack of scholarly work on the history of the Confederacy and its cause. Both sides of the story have been studied and debated and recorded for posterity by people with and without sympathy for the Confederacy. The story is absolutely complete - its role in American history is secure. You just don't like the way the story is told. Or the way the war ended. Either way, it's out of your hands.

Anyway, my only point was that it would be a disgrace for a Confederate soldier to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. The "rich history of the vanquished" (I love how you use that term without fail - I prefer secessionists) includes their own medals of honor - namely, the Southern Cross of Honor - which, interestingly, is actually illegal to wear in public in Virginia, punishable by fine. So, yes, history is written by the winners, but that's just exactly how it should be.


How could a confederate, fighting against the United States government win the medal of honor? It doesn't even make sense. The medal is issued by the United States of America. Which leads me to another point. In the past the Medal was given to heroes who survived. It now seems to be only given posthumously. Will we ever see another living medal winner or do you have to make the supreme sacrifice to qualify?

 

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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 10:37 PM
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First of all, my relatives fought for the Union so I don't have a dog in the Confederate cause. And I'm not saying history shouldn't be written by the victors.....my point is and continues to be that all aspects of a conflict....any conflict...should be studied without prejudice. Japan had a perfectly logical reason for bombing Pearl Harbor. I don't necessarily see it their way, but it's vital information in understanding the entire event. I'm not arguing with who has or hasn't written history but I do and will continue to maintaine that until all points of view are studied, there is only partial understanding of the events.


No one ever said and no history book has ever written that the Japanese were radical berzerkers who attacked us for no reason. Of course they had their own logic and reason for doing it. And men and woman have spent the last 70 years studying those reasons. Historians want to understand why things happened believe it or not and that means studying all sources not just the ones we agree with.

 

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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 10:49 PM
So, from the above statement, I gather we're in agreement that the knowing the reasons why the South chose to leave the union and why soldiers who didn't own slaves fought would be vital to understanding all aspects of the war?

 

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  posted on 5/22/2010 at 11:31 PM
Question....if the North only fought the war to free the slaves.....why did they treat the free blacks so badly?

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_were_free_blacks_treated_after_the_US_Civil_W ar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Race_Riot_of_1919

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Detroit_riot

http://www.etymonline.com/cw/york.htm

http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1979/2/79.02.04.x.html


 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 12:29 AM
The civil war was not just fought over slavery but there were many reasons. Certainly, confederate soldiers should have an award for bravery as they fought and died for their "country," but that country was not the United States and therefore the US Congress should not be giving them a medal. If the US had lost their bid for independence, England certainly would not be giving medals to George Washington. This is really no different. US medals should only be given to US soldiers. Confederate soldiers were not US soldiers and should not be treated as such. I don't falt them for fighting and I respect their bravery but the should not be given US Congressional medals no more than George Washington should be knighted.
 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 12:39 AM
While I was doing some research, I came across this link that compares the constitution of the Confederacy with the Constitution of the United States. I found it totally interesting, especially to see how in line with some of what's going on today it was. Not at all what I expected.


http://www.filibustercartoons.com/CSA.htm

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 12:46 AM
The United States government paid my great great grandmother a pension for my great great grandfather's service in the Confederate Army.

The United States Veterans Administration sent me a tombstone to place on my great grandfather's grave, with 18th Ga Infantry carved into the stone. That was a Confederate unit.

I don't think a medal from them as well would be out of the question.

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 08:15 PM
quote:
The United States government paid my great great grandmother a pension for my great great grandfather's service in the Confederate Army.

The United States Veterans Administration sent me a tombstone to place on my great grandfather's grave, with 18th Ga Infantry carved into the stone. That was a Confederate unit.

I don't think a medal from them as well would be out of the question.




I've got a copy of the pension papers for one of my Dad's aunt for the widows' pension from the US gov't, for her husband who was in Co G, 60th Ga Regiment. Also, he, and my great-grandfather, have received the same marker from the VA that all veterans get.

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 08:20 PM
Did anyone check out the Confederate Constitution?

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 08:36 PM
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quote:
Which makes my point that history is written by the victors and that there is a rich history to be learned from the vanquished. Without both sides, the story is iincompletle.


Nobody has disputed the truism that history is written by the winners. Nor is there any lack of scholarly work on the history of the Confederacy and its cause. Both sides of the story have been studied and debated and recorded for posterity by people with and without sympathy for the Confederacy. The story is absolutely complete - its role in American history is secure. You just don't like the way the story is told. Or the way the war ended. Either way, it's out of your hands.

Anyway, my only point was that it would be a disgrace for a Confederate soldier to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. The "rich history of the vanquished" (I love how you use that term without fail - I prefer secessionists) includes their own medals of honor - namely, the Southern Cross of Honor - which, interestingly, is actually illegal to wear in public in Virginia, punishable by fine. So, yes, history is written by the winners, but that's just exactly how it should be.


My God, you quoted her and still didn't get what she said right, and then re-arranged the quote to mock her. How much of a geo-snob are you?

Actually Ann, the War of 1861-1865 is very much documented, in US Government publications, from BOTH sides.

There is a series of books called: "Official Records: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation Of The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies"
There is also a set concerning the Union and Confederate Navies.

They consist of 159 volumes, each volume is from 960 to 1,300 pages, a little over 170,000 pages of correspondence, actual orders and battle plans, legal proceedings (you should read some of the courtmartials in the Union armies), Presidential notes, medical reports, reports from civilians and soldiers, after action reports, even notes sent between Union and Confederate commanders.

Marc, would you like a copy of the set? I'm sure reading a lot of the official communiques and reports about how the Union soldiers treated black southerners would be an eye opener for you.

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 08:36 PM
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Did anyone check out the Confederate Constitution?


I've got copies of it.

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 08:55 PM
Hi Jerry, I have no doubt the event has been studied, written about and dissected ad naseum, however, as you know, down here it's still very present in the lives of some people and I'm of the belief that the impact that war had. and still has today. has great bearing on current events. To say it was only about slavery is inaccurate. To understand how the reasons for the war are perceived by people in the South today is still very relevant and important. It might be over for people in the North, but it's not for a lot of folks in the South.

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 09:12 PM
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Hi Jerry, I have no doubt the event has been studied, written about and dissected ad naseum, however, as you know, down here it's still very present in the lives of some people and I'm of the belief that the impact that war had. and still has today. has great bearing on current events. To say it was only about slavery is inaccurate. To understand how the reasons for the war are perceived by people in the South today is still very relevant and important. It might be over for people in the North, but it's not for a lot of folks in the South.


So very true. People have been indoctrinated by TV, movies, and books about the war being fought to free the slaves when it wasn't. I've said it several times before, and I'll say it again. Secession was about slavery, the war was begun by Union for economic purposes.
New York City had lost so much shipping business that the Mayor even proposed that NYC secede and join the Confederacy. The Federal Gov't had lost over 40% of it's revenue due to shipping using southern ports instead of northern ones. Then again, if anyone wants the real scoop, they can read the Official Records, it does give a really accurate view of what happened.

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 09:41 PM
quote:
quote:
Hi Jerry, I have no doubt the event has been studied, written about and dissected ad naseum, however, as you know, down here it's still very present in the lives of some people and I'm of the belief that the impact that war had. and still has today. has great bearing on current events. To say it was only about slavery is inaccurate. To understand how the reasons for the war are perceived by people in the South today is still very relevant and important. It might be over for people in the North, but it's not for a lot of folks in the South.


So very true. People have been indoctrinated by TV, movies, and books about the war being fought to free the slaves when it wasn't. I've said it several times before, and I'll say it again. Secession was about slavery, the war was begun by Union for economic purposes.
New York City had lost so much shipping business that the Mayor even proposed that NYC secede and join the Confederacy. The Federal Gov't had lost over 40% of it's revenue due to shipping using southern ports instead of northern ones. Then again, if anyone wants the real scoop, they can read the Official Records, it does give a really accurate view of what happened.


You sound like one of those "The War Of Northern Aggression" types. I used to work with a guy who referred to the Civil War as that He acted like the war ended last year. Cracked me up.

Then there was the family friend that wanted to show us the buildings "the Yankees burned down" while we were visiting the University of Alabama. I reminded him there's a good bet one of my ancestors had a hand in burning them down. He didn't want to talk about it much afterwards. (I also had ancestors that fought for the Confederacy; I even have a newspaper article my grandmother gave me about some who were spies.)

Spin it and debate it all you want but the real issue was slavery. As for economic reasons, the rich southerners didn't want their cash cow cotton interrupted by having to pay it's labor force.

The real interesting part of the war was it was the first one fought in the industrial age. It helped usher in a whole new way to wage warfare on a mass scale using the power of industry and economy. The scale of killing was also unprecedented.

I've always felt if people in other countries want to really understand the United States and Americans, they should watch Burns's The Civil War.

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 10:04 PM
Then there was the family friend that wanted to show us the buildings "the Yankees burned down" while we were visiting the University of Alabama

'The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.' William Faulkner

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 10:05 PM
quote:
So, from the above statement, I gather we're in agreement that the knowing the reasons why the South chose to leave the union and why soldiers who didn't own slaves fought would be vital to understanding all aspects of the war?


Never said otherwise.

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 10:05 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
Which makes my point that history is written by the victors and that there is a rich history to be learned from the vanquished. Without both sides, the story is iincompletle.


Nobody has disputed the truism that history is written by the winners. Nor is there any lack of scholarly work on the history of the Confederacy and its cause. Both sides of the story have been studied and debated and recorded for posterity by people with and without sympathy for the Confederacy. The story is absolutely complete - its role in American history is secure. You just don't like the way the story is told. Or the way the war ended. Either way, it's out of your hands.

Anyway, my only point was that it would be a disgrace for a Confederate soldier to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. The "rich history of the vanquished" (I love how you use that term without fail - I prefer secessionists) includes their own medals of honor - namely, the Southern Cross of Honor - which, interestingly, is actually illegal to wear in public in Virginia, punishable by fine. So, yes, history is written by the winners, but that's just exactly how it should be.


It's hogwash to think that Confederate Soldiers should NOT be recognized by the US Gov't for their efforts in the War of Northern Aggression. They were fighting for reasons that were important to them. There is honor in that and they should be remembered for that.
I'll do just that this Wed. when I'm in Rose Hill and I overlook the Confederate's Hill.

I


You cannot be serious. I guess we should honor the Japanese that fought us for reasons that were important to them huh?

 

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  posted on 5/23/2010 at 10:06 PM
quote:
Question....if the North only fought the war to free the slaves.....why did they treat the free blacks so badly?

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_were_free_blacks_treated_after_the_US_Civil_W ar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Race_Riot_of_1919

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Detroit_riot

http://www.etymonline.com/cw/york.htm

http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1979/2/79.02.04.x.html





NO ONE ever said the North fought the war to free the slaves. What is your point?

 

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