|Historical articles and information pertaining to
Cushing's Battery and the Civil War
Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Fuger’s “brief” Military History of nearly
44 years of service in the 4th Regiment of Artillery, U.S. Army.
I am credibly informed that I am one of the descendants of the Fuger Family residing in Augsburg Bavaria; my father’s name was August William
Frederick Fuger, born in Augsburg about the year 1810. He was married to my mother Rosa Caroline Schuler in the year 1835. My father died in
the year 1836 and on the 18th of June 1836, I was born in the town of Goppingen, State of Wurtemburg, Germany. At an early age I was sent to
the public schools, attended for two years Real Schule High School, and about the age of 17 years I determined to seek fame and fortune in the
land of the free and the home of the brave.
I landed in New York City in the month of April 1853. Coming across the Atlantic Ocean in a full rigged three masted sailing vessel (I don’t
remember the name however). Lacking the influential friends and handicapped by an imperfect knowledge of the English language my progress
was not such as I anticipated, so in year of 1856 August 21st, I enlisted in the 4th Artillery and was assigned to Battery “A”. The 4th Artillery was
stationed at Fort Independence, Boston Harbor and commanded by Captain Frank Clark. From there in the month of September 1856, the
whole regiment was sent to Florida serving under General Herney in the campaign against the Florida Seminole Indians.
In September 1857 my regiment was ordered to Kansas where, owing to the agitation of the slavery question, serious troubles were feared.
In May 1858, the Mormons of Utah began to show signs of hostility and General Albert Sidney Johnston, a distinguished officer (later killed on
the Confederate side at the Battle of Shiloh), was placed in command of an expedition which marched across the plains to Salt Lake and
restored quiet there, only three batteries of my regiment participated in this, namely Batteries A, B and C. At this time only a few miles of railway
west of the Mississippi had been constructed. All travel was by stage, wagons called “prairie schooners”, and push carts with two wheels, first
used by Mormon immigrants.
In the summer of 1860 part of my battery operated against hostile Indians in Nevada. After a severe battle with them at a place called Egan
Station, Nevada, used as a Pony Express Station, I was placed in command of that station with eight effective soldiers, also six men badly
wounded with arrows and five Pony Express riders, who had taken refuge there while engaged in the Overland Mail Service to California.
Lieutenant Stephan A. Weed, commanding Light Battery “B”, 4th Artillery mounted as cavalry, placed me in command of that and he and his
mounted men pursued the Indians, who by the way had attacked an emigrant train and taken five or six white women from it. It was Lieutenant
Weed’s urgent determination to recapture them.
The second day after this small detachment was left under my command, in the block houses I was attacked by at least 150 Indians. We were at
once kept busy repelling their attacks, firing through post hold constantly day and night for eleven days. At the end of that time my small
command was exhausted. As a matter of fact we could fire ninety shots with reloading and had plenty of guns and ammunition, also had plenty to
eat, some of the wounded men did the loading of our guns. Fortunately we were then relieved by Lieutenant Weed commanding Battery “B”, who
was learning that we were besieged, mounted his troops as cavalry and hastened to the scene.
In July 1861, after five years of hard continuous service of my term of enlistment expired. I was about twenty-five years of age, had acquired a
good knowledge of the English language, of the country and it’s people from Florida to California.
I was about to enter business, being offered a fine position with good salary to start with; but at this time Fort Sumter had been fired upon; the
North as well as the South was wild with excitement, and prevailing patriotic fever seized me, dominating all questions of private interest. I had
imbibed a love for military life, and having been in the Artillery service so long, determined to re-enlist in that branch, taking chances of
promotion. So far I had only served as a Private, Corporal and Sergeant. The Utah expedition under command of Colonel Phillip H.J. Cook,
about 1500 strong left Camp Floyd, Utah (situated about 40 miles from Salt Lake City) in the later part of July marched across the plains, arriving
at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in October 1861. From there we proceeded by railway to Washington City, D.C., where we were organized into a
light battery. I served in the Army of the Potomac, from December 1861 to surrender of General Lee’s army at Appomatox Court House, April 9th
1865, fours years of continual services and severe campaigning.
During the Civil War, I was present at 63 battles and minor engagements being slightly wounded twice, once in the head at the Battle of White
Oak Swamps, June 30th 1862 and once in the left arm at the Battle of Antietam, Maryland, September 17th 1862.
I served my entire time from August 1856, when I enlisted to June 18th 1900 when I retired for age in the 4th Artillery, U.S. Army nearly 44 years.
At the Battle of Gettysburg (now classed among the few decisive battles of the world) Battery “A” 4th Artillery under command of Lieutenant A.H.
Cushing took a most conspicuous part; I was 1st Sergeant of the Battery; which bore the brunt of Pickett’s charge, a deperate movement that
stands almost unrivaled in Military History.
The Battery was in a position situated on the left part of Cemetery Hill since called the “Bloody Angle”. I quote here an account of Pickett’s
charge on Battery “A” 4th Artillery and Lieutenant A.H. Cushing’s heroic death, my Battery Commander.
From 11a.m. to 1p.m. July 3rd, 1863, there was a perfect lull in the firing, each party apparently waiting to see what the other was about to do,
and at what point an attack was to be made.
About 1:00p.m. two cannons shots from the right of Washington Artillery (Confederate) suddenly broke a silence which had prevailed over the
battlefield for nearly two hours. The solitary smoke from these two shots had scarcely disappeared, when the whole confederate line, in one
blasé of fire, opened with about 150 guns. The Union Artillery replied with about 100 guns occupying a from of over a mile.
Of this bombardment, or “Artillery Duel”, I will only say it was the most terrific cannonade I ever witnessed, in fact, the most terrible the New World
has ever seen and the most prolonged. The very earth shook beneath our feet, while the hills and woods seemed to real like drunken men.
For and hour and a half this terrific firing continued, during which time the shrieking shells, the fragments of rock shattered from the stone what
in our front, the noise of bursting shell and shrapnel, the firm neighing of the wounded and dying artillery horses formed a spectacle terrible
grand and sublime.
About 2:30pm, the order cease firing, was given, followed by a similar course on the part of the enemy. The artillery duel had ended and all our
ammunition except the canister had been expended. General Webb, of Hancock’s Corps, at this time came up to where Lieutenant Cushing was
standing, and said, “Cushing it is my opinion that the Confederate Infantry will now advance”. Cushing replied, “I had then better bring my guns
right to the stone wall and bring all my canister along side each piece”. General Webb replied, “All right, do so”.
The command was then given, and the six guns were brought by hand to the stone wall, leaving room enough for number 1 and number 2 to
work. All the canister was piled up in the rear of each number 2. In doing this, we were obliged to take a close interval say, about 10 yards (the
usual interval being about 14 yards). This was caused by some obstruction to our left. On our right was a stone wall at right angles with the
other; this same position is now known as the “Bloody Angle”.
The Confederate Infantry, they saw about 16,000 strong, now began their advance. They were the best troops in Lee’s army, namely Pickett’s
Division, consisting of three brigades, Garnett’s, Kemper’s and Armistead’s in the center supported on the leaf by General Heth’s Division and
on the right by General Anderson’s.
Kemper was on the right, Garnett in the center and Armistead on the left, marching in close order with measured steps, as if on parade. They
moved toward us solidly and deliberately, and when they were within 400 yards, Battery “A” began firing at them with single charges of canister,
mowing down gaps in their lines which appeard to me the front of a company, this they filled up and still came on.
About this time Lieutenant Cushing was wounded in the right shoulder and a few seconds after in the abdomen, a terribly severe and painful
wound. He called out, “Fuger, stand by me, and impart my orders to the Battery”, but he soon became faint and suffered frightfully. I wanted to
have him taken to the rear, but he refused , declaring he would stay right here and fight it out, or die in the attempt. When the enemy were with
200 yards double and treble charges were fired, opening immense gaps in their lines. Lieutenant Milne, a volunteer officer and belonging to the
1st Rhode Island Regiment attached to our Battery July 1st 1863 and commanding the right half of our Battery was killed about this time. When
the enemy had approached within 150 yards, Lieutenant Cushing was shot in the mouth and was instantly killed. I was standing on his right and
a little in advance of him, when I saw him fall forward, I caught him in my arms, and ordered several men to carry his body to the rear.
This placed me in command of the Battery, and I shouted to the men to obey my orders. We continued to fire double and treble charges of our
canister, but owing to the dense smoke, could not see very far to the front. At this moment to my utter amazement, I saw General Armistead leap
over the stone wall with a number of his troops, landing right in the middle of our Battery. I shouted to my devoted cannoneers and drivers, who
had no longer any horses, to stand their ground, which they heroically did, fighting hand to hand with hand spikes, pistols, sabers, ramrods and
with help of Webb’s Pennsylvania Brigade and that gallant Brigade of Vermonters commanded by that gallant General Stannard coming up our
left flank; Pickett’s charge collapsed. No one of the daring party who came over the stone wall ever returned, they were either killed, wounded or
taken prisoners. Armistead fell mortally wounded but a few yard from where Cushing his young and gallant adversary, gave up his life.
In this desperate charge, scores of the enemy’s officers went down. Armistead and Garnett were killed, and Kemper was severely wounded. Of
the whole number of field officers of this splendid division that advanced so fervently across the field, Picket and one Lieutenant Colonel alone
returned. I am creditably informed they brought back of this division barely 1000 men. They had done all that mortal men could do, and could do
no more. Since Cushing, my Battery commander graduated from the United State Military Academy in 1861 and was assigned the 4th Artillery in
that year, only about 21 years old, but was a most able soldier, a man of excellent judgment and great decision of character devoted to his
profession, he was most faithful in the discharge of every duty, accurate and thorough in its performance; posed of mental and physical vigor,
joined to the kindest of hearts, he commanded the love and respect of all who knew him. His superiors placed implicit confidence in him, as well
they might. His fearlessness and resolution displayed in numerous actions were unsurpassed and his noble death at Gettysburg should present
an example for emulation to patriotic defenders of the country through all time to come. Lieutenant Cushing challenged the admiration of all who
saw him at the Battle of Gettysburg.
The loss in Battery “A” was very great. Out of 90 horses we lost 83 killed; not a sound wheel was left, 9 ammunition chests blew up; 2 officers
killed, one officer wounded July 2nd, 1863 Lieutenant Samuel Canby 4th Artillery, 7 enlisted men killed, 38 wounded, more than 63 percent. On
the 4th of July I turned the Battery over to the Ordinance Department (Major Flagler) so great was the loss in officers, men and horses that it
became necessary to consolidate Battery “A” 4th Artillery with Battery “I” 1st U.S. Artillery.
In this battle all the officers, three in number were killed or wounded, and when the Confederates charged I was in command of it, and for my
work there I was recommended by General Hancock, General A.S. Webb as well as Colonel Hazzard, Chief of Artillery, 2nd Corps for a
commission in the regular army. General Hancock says “I desire to bring particularly to the Major General Commanding the case of Sergeant
Fuger, 1st Sergeant of Battery “A” 4th Artilery. During the action of the 3rd his conduct was such as to entitle him to promotion, and his
character is such as to make this a proper method of rewarding his services”, in this connection I refer to the report of General Webb. General
Webb says “I recommend for promotion Sergeant Frederick Fuger. This Battery was nobly served”. Colonel Hazzard says, “special mention is
made of 1st Sergeant Frederick Fuger of Battery “A” 4th Artillery for his bravery during the Battle especially exhibited when all his officers had
fallen and he in the heat of the fire was obliged to assume command of the Battery. His most earnestly recommended for promotion, having
proved himself a brave soldier and a modest but competent officer”.
Received a Congressional Medal of Honor July 31st 1897 –viz- At Gettysburg, Pa July 3rd 1863, this officer then a 1st Sergeant with field Battery
“A” 4th Artillery succeeded to the command of the Battery, all its officers having been killed or wounded, and five of its guns disabled in Pickett’s
assault. With the most distinguished gallantry he fought the remaining gun.
Frederick Fuger served as a Private, Corporal and Sergeant until 1861. Served as Sergeant and 1st Sergeant until October 1863. Appointed
2nd Lieutenant 4th Artillery October 31st 1863. Brevet 1st Lieutenant U.S. Army for gallant and meritorious services in the Battle of Dinwiddie
Courthouse, Virginia, March 31, 1865. Promoted to 1st Lieutenant 4th Artillery on December 1865. Promoted to Captain 4th Artillery, March
1887. Promoted to Major 4th Artillery February 13, 1899. Retired for age being 64 years old in June of 1900. By an Act of Congress passed in
April 1904 Frederick Fuger was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army being a Civil War Veteran.
|2nd Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing,
West Point class of '61
1st Sgt. Frederick Fuger
|Battery "A", 4th U.S.
Artillery late in the war.
|Officers of 4th u.S.
Alonzo H. Cushing
Faithful Unto Death - The Story of Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing and Battery A, 4th U.S. Light Artillery
There were 51,000 casualties at the Battle of Gettysburg from the three days of fighting. When it was completed, it was called a Union Victory
and the turning point of the great struggle of between the United States and the Confederate States of America. This is a story about one man
who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and the Union.
Alonzo H. Cushing's parents were people of great determination who had progressively moved west looking for opportunity. They eventually
found their way to Wisconsin and stayed there long enough to start a family before returning east. Alonzo himself was born in a log cabin in what
is now Delafield, Wisconsin, a small marker remains today to mark that spot. A larger memorial marks the achievements of not only himself but of
his two brothers who also served during the Civil War. Alonzo Cushing was educated in Fedonia, New York, but his most notable achievement
was his acceptance as a cadet to West Point as a member of the Class of 1861. The Class of 1861 in itself was full of young men who would
eventually go their separate ways after the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, the students and even the faculty of West Point would
face each other on the battlefield.
When the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter in April of 1861, many thought would a short war for Southern independence. At the outbreak of the
war, the 4th U.S. Artillery, Battery A was stationed in Indian Country out west and it would take several months before it reached Washington D.
C. However, there was a shortage of artillerymen and army officers in general at the beginning of the war, so Battery A had to be combined with
Battery C. While the Union Army grew in numbers around the Capitol, Lt. Alonzo Cushing arrived in the city and met up with the men he would
lead. They were a mix of regular army but to meet their manpower needs they recruited soldiers from various infantry regiments and this
included immigrants from Germany and Ireland. He would share command of the battery with Lt. Rufus King Jr. something, which almost made
him leave the Battery. The Battery's original armaments consisted of four 10-pound Parrot rifles, which had been designed by West Point
graduate Robert P. Parrott in 1860, but in 1862 they were replaced with six light, twelve-pound brass Napoleons. In the Fall of 1862 Battery A
was outfitted with more modern ordinance, the 3-inch ordinance rifle..
Their first taste of war would come at the Battle of Bull Run. While they were not in the heavy fighting, the battery and its young lieutenant
showed great resourcefulness and courage. Lieutenant Cushing would prove to be a great asset to Army Corps of Lt. General Sumner during
the early years of the conflict. In addition to his duties to the Battery, he also served on the General's staff during the early years of the war and
almost left the battery to join the topographical division.
The Battery and Lt. Cushing would see more action at Fredericksburg and Antietam before reaching their date with destiny at small little town in
southeastern Pennsylvania. Battery A was finally separated from Battery C and brought up to full strength in October, 1862 and had received
what was considered the most up to date artillery. The 3-inch ordinance rifle was developed from a new process of cannon making and it would
soon become one of the best artillery pieces used during the Civil War. The barrel was created using a new process, which produced a lighter
gun barrel that was more accurate and had better range than the brass cannons of the day. It had a range close to 2 miles and could fire a
variety of projectiles ranging from solid shot, exploding shell and canister.
There are several versions of how and why the battle started at Gettysburg, but what is not in doubt was that soldiers under the command of
Confederate General Henry Heth and Union Calvary under General Buford began the fight on July 1, 1861. The first day of fighting would result
in the defeated Union Army retreat through Gettysburg and rally on Cemetery Ridge and Culp's Hill. At the time, Cushing's Battery was south of
the town and would soon find themselves moving towards Gettysburg with the rest of 2nd Corps. The Army of the Potomac's commanding
general, George Meade had decided to stay and fight General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg.
July 2nd, Cushing's Battery was in action on Cemetery Ridge near General Meade’s Headquarters supporting the troops of the Army of the
Potomac's 2nd Corps. The battery had several members wounded while defending the ridge. The action would not compare to what they would
face the next day at the Angle. The Angle was the location on Cemetery Ridge where two stonewalls met nearby a small grove of trees. Lt.
Alonzo Cushing and the men of the 4th U.S. Artillery would play a role in what was to be called “Pickett’s Charge”.
The Class of 1861 of West Point had their ring designed by fellow classmates, one of which was George Armstrong Custer. The motto inscribed
on the ring was “Per Angusta ad Augusta” which translated to: “Through trials to triumph. “(Farley, West Point in the Early Sixties, 19). On July
3rd Lt. Cushing would face his final trial, the day began as many others had for Alonzo Cushing during this war, in front the dead, dying and
wounded of the previous day. Letters from home seemed to indicate that Cushing was disturbed by what he had seen over the past two years
but he was committed to his country and to fulfilling his duty as an officer.
The past two days had seen the Confederates launch ferocious attacks, but the Union Army had yet to be driven from the field. General Robert
E. Lee made the decision that they would attack the center of the Union line with the fresh troops of General George Pickett. The attack would
start with artillery bombardment using 150 cannons; their mission was to silence the artillery batteries on Cemetery Ridge. In the resulting artillery
exchange, several members of the battery were wounded or killed. Cushing himself was wounded. The wound was serious enough that he could
have left the Battery and gone to the hospital, but he stayed to lead his men. As the Confederates ceased fire, the men of Pickett’s division along
with those of Trimble, Pettigrew and Anderson made the assault with the focal point being a small grove of trees near the Angle. Cushing and his
men continued to fire at the oncoming Confederates until they exhausted their ammunition. Cushing was in severe pain from his wounds, still
giving orders, when he was struck in the head and killed. The Battery continued to fight on, but was overrun briefly by the Confederates who had
reached their high water mark. The next day when the roll was called, only four non commissioned officers and about one hundred privates were
present. Cushing’s body was buried in the cemetery at the United States Military Academy at West Point; he was only 23 years old.
Today there are at least three living history groups portraying Cushing’s Battery including the organization in Wisconsin, which has been in
existence since 1991. (This is the date of incorporation). To capture the importance of his sacrifice you have to look to the words of his First
Sergeant, Fredrick Fuger, “Lieutenant Cushing, my commander, was a most able soldier, a man of excellent judgment, and great decision of
character; devoted to his profession, he was most faithful in the discharge of every duty, accurate and thorough in its performance; possessed of
mental and physical vigor, joined to the kindest of hearts, he commanded the love and respect of all who knew him. His superiors placed implicit
confidence in him, as well they might. His fearlessness and resolution, displayed in numerous actions, were unsurpassed and his noble death at
Gettysburg should present an example for emulation to patriotic defenders of the country through all time to come.” (Fuger, “Cushing’s Battery at
Gettysburg,” Page 409.)
Section was attached and saw action at the Cedar Mountain in the Northern Virginia
Campaign during the summer of 1862.
Report of Captain Joseph M. Knap
Battery E Pennsylvania
On Friday, 8th instant, I was ordered by General Crawford, commanding at Culpeper, to move at 4 P.M. in advance of his brigade with four guns.
We took a position on an eminence to the left of the Orange road, some 400 yards beyond Cedar Run, and remained there all night, nothing
occurring until 12 m. on Saturday, the 9th instant.
At the time above mentioned the enemy opened upon our advance cavalry with two batteries, one of which (1 1/4 miles to the front and left of our
position) I was ordered to reply to. A few shots from my battery, together with two or three from a section of Roemer’s Second New York, under
my command soon silenced the enemy’s guns, causing them to change their position.
At 1:30 P.M. General Geary’s brigade arrived and took position on my left, Lieutenant Geary’s section of artillery being posted on the right of the
brigade. A section of Captain Best’s battery, Lieutenant Cushing, was assigned to me, and took position on the left of Lieutenant Howard’s
Second New York Battery. At 2.30 P.M. the enemy opened with two batteries, about a mile distant upon our position, and in less than twenty
minutes four additional batteries were unmasked, all apparently concentrating their fire on our artillery.
The enemy’s line of batteries extended in a crescent shape for about 2 1/2 miles on elevated ground, and at a distance from our batteries
varying from 1,500 to 2,500 yards. A continual fire from both sides was kept up, the enemy occasionally changing the position of their batteries,
until 5.30 P.M. when our infantry moved forward on their right, charging upon and silencing the two batteries on the enemy’s left, which had
produced the most effect on our artillery. We were then ordered to devote our attention to the enemy’s right flank, and fire on their infantry
whenever it was practicable.
The enemy’s artillery ceased firing about dusk when I was ordered by Capt. C.L. Best, chief of artillery, to fall back and take another position, my
ammunition, with the exception of canister, having been expended. I took position about 1 mile to the rear of my first, and remained there all night
. Owing to the nature of the ground I was unable to shift my position materially during the entire engagement I was forced to leave two caissons
on the field empty and disabled, one of which has been recovered. My loss in men was 1 killed and 7 wounded, and in horses 14 killed and
disabled. One gun was disabled late in the action by a cannon shot, but it was brought off the field. No ammunition fell into the enemy’s hands.
In conclusion, it gives me great pleasure to testify to the gallant conduct and bearing of my men and those of Lieutenant Howard’s and Cushing’s
sections, temporarily under my command, and to the bravery and skill displayed by Lieutenants Geary, McGill, Cushing, and Howard, and acting
The amount of shell expended by my battery (six 10 pounder Parrotts) was 980.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Joe. M. Knap, Capt., Commanding. Pa. Bat., attached to First Brig.,
Second Div. Col. Charles Candy,
Commanding. First Brig., Second Div., Second Army Corps
Submitted by James Benware