Battery A, 4th US Artillery was originally created by an Act of Congress on March 2, 1821. Before the Civil War, Battery A, 4th US Artillery participated in the following:
“Nullification” crisis in Charleston, SC, 1832
Creek Indian War in Alabama, 1833
Seminole War in Florida, 1835-1836
US – Mexican War, 1846-1848
Seminole Indian uprising, 1856
In 1857, Batteries A and I of the 4th US Artillery were sent to Fort Laramie and by 1861, Batteries A and C of the 4th US Artillery were assigned to Fort Crittenden in Utah territory to protect settlers from Indians. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Battery A was assigned to return to Washington D.C. to help defend the Capitol. It would take a few months before the battery would arrive.
During the outbreak of war, Alonzo Cushing graduated from West Point Military Academy with other cadets such as George Custer, Patrick O’Rourke, and Edmund Kirby. Some of the notable cadets who left the Academy to enlist with the Confederacy were Thomas Rosser, John Pelham, and Fitzhugh Lee. There were to be no graduation exercises for the Class of 61′. The Cadets were simply relieved of duty at West Point and assigned to posts. On June 24th, 1861, Alonzo Cushing was given the rank of a Second lieutenant and First lieutenant in the 4th United States Artillery.
Nearly all of the 82 enlisted men who accompanied Battery’s A and C to Washington D.C. had served with the two units in Utah. From September, 1861 through the winter of 1862 Battery A brought men into the ranks from volunteers from the following; 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, 53rd and 81st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 52nd, 57th, 61st, 63rd, 66th, 69th, 88th New York Volunteer Infantries as well as men from the 14th New York Independent Battery. In all, 51 infantry men were added to the roll of Battery A.
Alonzo Cushing participated in the Battle of First Bull Run while temporarily assigned to Lt. Oliver D. Greene’s Battery G, 2nd US Artillery. However, Cushing was back with Battery A and C for the Battle of Antietam. During the of 1862, Battery’s A and C were split apart and 39 more men were brought from the 4th Ohio Infantry bringing the total roll of Battery A to 147 men to man the Battery’s 6 – 3inch ordinance rifles.
After the death of Lt. Alonzo Cushing, Battery A would go on to participate in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. It is at Gettysburg where Battery A, 4th US Artillery would be recorded into the history books. On the 3rd day of battle, General Robert E. Lee would order General Pickett to lead an assault against the center of the Union lines. 15,000 Confederates would march over a mile of open field towards the Union lines while Union artillery was blasting holes in their ranks. The Confederates did succeed in reaching the Union lines, right at the point where Battery A was positioned. Lt. Alonzo Cushing gave his life while manning his gun when it was being overrun. The confederates would advance no further as Union reserves began pouring fire into the already depleted ranks. The Battle of Gettysburg was over.
Battery A, 4th US Artillery participated in most campaigns and battles involving the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War.
Engagements and Campaigns of Cushings Battery.
|Assigned to Defenses of Washington, D.C.||March, 1862|
|Siege of Yorktown||April 5-May 4, 1862|
|Battle of Seven Pines, Fair Oaks||May 31-June 1, 1862|
|Seven days before Richmond||June 25-July 1, 1862|
|Peach Orchard and Savage Station||June 29, 1862|
|White Oak Swamp and Glendale||June 30, 1862|
|Malvern Hill||July 1, 1862|
|Harrison’s Landing||until August 16, 1862|
|Movement to Alexandria and Centreville||August 16-28, 1862|
|Cover Pope’s retreat||August 28-September 2, 1862|
|Maryland Campaign||September 6-22, 1862|
|Battle of Antietam, MD||September 16-17, 1862|
|At Harper’s Ferry||September 22-October 30, 1862|
|Movement to Falmouth, VA||October 30-November 19, 1862|
|Battle of Fredericksburg||December 12-15, 1862|
|At Falmouth, VA||until April, 1863|
|Chancellorsville Campaign||April 27-May 6, 1863|
|Battle of Chancellorsville||May 1-5, 1863|
|Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign||June 11-July 16, 1863|
|Battle of Gettysburg, PA||July 1-3, 1863|
|Made a Horse Battery 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac||July 15, 1863|
|Advance to the Rapidan||September 13-17, 1863|
|Culpeper Court House||September 13, 1863|
|Bristoe Campaign||October 9-22, 1863|
|White Sulphur Springs||October 12, 1863|
|Bristoe Station||October 14, 1863|
|St. Stephen’s Church||October 14, 1863|
|Advance to line of the Rappahannock||November 7-8, 1863|
|Mine Run Campaign||November 26-December 2, 1863|
|Parker’s Store||November 29, 1863|
|Wilderness||May 5-7, 1864|
|Sheridan’s Raid to the James River||May 9-24, 1864|
|North Anna River||May 9, 1864|
|Ground Squirrel Church and Yellow Tavern||May 11, 1864|
|Brook Church, Fortifications of Richmond||May 12, 1864|
|On line of the Pamunkey||May 26-28, 1864|
|Totopotomoy||May 28-31, 1864|
|Cold Harbor||May 31-June 1, 1864|
|Dismounted and sent to Washington, D.C||June 4, 1864|
|Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D.C||until August, 1865|