No two things on earth are equal or have an equal chance. Not a leaf, not a tree. There’s many a man worse than me, and some better, but I don’t think race or country matters a damn. What matters, Colonel, is justice. Which is why I’m here. I’ll be treated as I deserve. Not as my father deserved.
There were many heroes in Gettysburg, and every man there gave everything they had to try and win the day. Even so, some sacrifices made truly stand out, and one of the most notable men to come out of this battle has to be a 22 year old Lieutenant named Alonzo Cushing. Posted right between “the Angle” and the “Copse of Trees”, Cushing’s battery of 6 guns would bear the brunt of Pickett’s Charge, costing him 4 guns, most of his men, and his very life.
It was during the artillery bombardment, preceding the infantry assault, that Cushing would first be struck by shell fragment that passed straight through his shoulder. Despite that fact, he remained at his post, issuing orders and joining the ranks of his men when many of them fell victims to the shells as well.
A few minutes later, another shell would rip through his abdomen and groin, forcing him to literally hold his intestines in place with his hand. In severe agony, Cushing continued to work the guns, issuing orders until he was in too much pain to yell. Rather than leave, however, he remained working on the gun crew, whispering orders to his second in command. Pushing the two cannons left closer to the stone wall, Cushing’s tattered battery would come face to face with Armistead’s brigade.
In one last show of strength, as the Confederates made their way towards the wall, Cushing managed to shout “I will give them one more shot!“ before being shot in the head and killed instantly.
He is buried at West Point, where is tombstone reads "Faithful unto Death”.
Also, I knew Alonzo was manning the guns WITH his men, despite shrapnel lodged in his shoulder and his guts literally spilling out of his body. I knew he made himself part of the gun crew, and eventually had to whisper orders to his second in command because he was in too much pain to even speak.
What I didn’t know was that he worked the vent, without a thumb guard, causing him to burn his thumb down to the bone. Holy mother of god, this poor kid must have been in agony, and he still kept fighting…