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White House Schedules Civil War Hero’s Posthumous Medal of Honor

Civil War soldier Alonzo H. Cushing

A Union Army soldier who helped hold the line during the crucial Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 will be posthumously presented the Medal of Honor on Nov. 6, the White House announced on Monday.

First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, commander of Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac, manned the only remaining serviceable field piece in his battery as Confederate forces attacked in an assault that has come to be known as Picket's Charge.

Cushing was wounded in the abdomen and right shoulder but refused to be evacuated to the rear. Instead, he directed the operation of the one artillery piece still working, standing his ground until he was killed by rebel troops as they closed to within 100 yards of his position, according to witness accounts.

But his actions on July 3, 1863, in the vicinity of Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, made possible for the Union Army to repel the assault.

Cushing, 22, was at a key point called "the angle" at the stone wall facing the brunt of the charge under Confederate Maj. Gen. George Pickett. The spot has come to be known as the "high water mark of the Confederacy."

Cushing's cousins, Frederic Stevens Sater and Frederic Cushing Stevens III, and their families will attend the White House ceremony. The awarding of the medal to Cushing comes after a lobbying campaign by supporters dating back to the 1980s.

The ceremony, to be held in the Roosevelt Room instead of the East Room - where the presentations are customarily made - was originally supposed to be Sept. 15, when President Obama presented Medals of Honor to Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins and, posthumously, to Army Spec. 4 Donald P. Sloat for their conspicuous gallantry in Vietnam.

-- Bryant Jordan can be reached at bryant.jordan@military.com

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Medal of Honor