Near Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Cushing's Union Battery
July 3, 1863 - Third Day
Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, U.S.A.
4th U.S. Artillery, Battery A
Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, commanded by Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, held this key position on the afternoon of July 3. The cannon and associated limbers and caissons in front of you mark the general location of Cushing's Battery.
At 1:00 p.m., as a prelude to Pickett's Charge, about 130 Confederate cannon along Seminary Ridge, 3/4 mile to your left, opened a 1-1/2-hour artillery duel with Union cannon here on Cemetery Ridge. It was the heaviest cannonade the continent had seen. Confederate shells took a toll on Cushing's battery, exploding ammunition chests, knocking wheels off cannon, and killing many horses.
By the time enemy infantry reached the stone wall to your left, only one of Cushing's six guns remained in service. Wounded in the shoulder and groin, and held upright by a fellow officer, Cushing fired his last round of canister into the onrushing Confederates, then fell dead when a bullet entered his mouth. Moments later, Confederate Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead led his
Solid iron. Used at longer ranges against massed troops, fortifications, and other batteries. Also to fell timber on enemy soldiers in the woods.
Iron shell filled with musket balls sealed in rosin or molten sulphur. Powder charge in core ignited by fuse. Designed to explode before impact. Also called "shrapnel."
Cast-iron shell filled with black powder. Time fuse ignited by cannon's discharge. Shell exploded into fragments that could kill or maim.
Tin can filled with iron balls packed in sawdust. Used at close range - 400 yards or less - against infantry. Double or triple canister could be used in a crisis.
Erected by Gettysburg National Military Park.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Location. 39° 48.774′ N, 77° 14.134′ W. Marker is near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is on Hancock Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Located near the "Copse of Trees" on Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg National Military Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The High Water Mark (here, next to this marker); Pickett's Charge (here, next to this marker); Battlefield Landmarks - South and West (a few steps from this marker); 72nd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers (a few steps from this marker); First Pennsylvania Cavalry (a few steps from this marker); Major General Alexander Webb (a few steps from this marker); Second Brigade (a few steps from this marker); Artillery Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gettysburg.
More about this marker. In the upper center is a photograph showing A Federal gun crew drilling with a 20-pounder Parrott rifle. Cushing's battery used lighter 3-inch ordnance rifles.
In the lower center is a portrait of Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing who graduated from West Point in 1861, a classmate of George Armstrong Custer. At age 22, he died beside his cannon here. According to Cpl. Thomas Moon who served under him, he "looked more like a school girl than a warrior; but he was the best fighting man I ever saw."
At the bottom center is a silhouette display of an artillery section showing the gun and crew, six-horse team, limber with ammunition chest, another six-horse team pulling a limber with ammunition chest, and finally a caisson with two ammunition cases and a spare wheel. To the rear of each gun stood two teams of horses hitched to limbers. The first team pulled the gun. The second team pulled a caisson with additional ammunition.
Drawings of the projectiles illustrate the sidebar on the right.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,768 times since then and 25 times this year. Last updated on February 23, 2009, by Sherri Watts of Lexington, Kentucky. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3. submitted on February 13, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 4. submitted on February 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 5. submitted on September 6, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 6. submitted on April 6, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.