Several stories of late in this space have told up events moving closer and closer to the actual awarding of the Medal of Honor to this 22 year old war hero. He was killed at the very front of the Union line and whilst receiving the brunt of Major General George Pickett's charge back in July of 1863. Many Canadians fought and died in this battle, and those of the days previous.
!3,000 Confederates marched...and then charged the North's line of some 150 canons, supporting infantry and artillery. Most would be killed, wounded, taken prisoner or scattered by the time the rest reached within a few hundred feet of the Union lines. Young Lt Alonzo Cushing was in charge of 6 small cannons, but by the time the brave Confederates still on their feet got to within about 100 feet, Alonzo's 6 guns had been reduced to just one with him and a few men doing their utmost to keep it firing. While the Union eventually repulsed the attackers, Alonzo was shot right through his mouth and the bullet passed out the back of his head. He lay dying for a few minutes but was then gone.
While had had shown much bravery in previous battles, and received several brevet promotions, it appears he was not ever recommended, or successfully, for the Medal of Honor. The very day of his death, he lay dying of the ground and received his final brevet to Lieutenant Colonel... but little seems to be available to indicate back in CW days that he was ever recommended for the MOH.
Many years later... in the 1980's the cause was taken up and carried forth decade after decade. This continued until a few weeks back when the President agreed to make the award. Then came the unsuccessful searches for relatives to receive it, and then finally the army came forth to indicate it will accept on behalf of the family.
But there are still further developments. Several distant cousins have been located and the latest news tells that on November the 6th the President will meet with these folks and plenty of other dignitaries in the Roosevelt Room at the Whitehouse to conduct a ceremony and finally... after 151 years, will present the Medal of Honor to the cousins.
Finally after so many years, Alonzo becomes the 1,522nd MOH recipient for bravery during the Civil War. (If of course you do not include the 900 plus that were illegaly rescinded in about 1917, and of which much has been said in this space in the past.)
Now onto another matter... four other American heroes... well perhaps British... or even Canadian...
And it also is taking place on November 6th.
Recent blogs have brought you bits and pices of the story regarding the British Government's paving stone project of last year. After local comunities complained that often the local hero was buried elsewere, government came up with a solution.
A plan was hatched, a contest held and a "Paving Sone" design chosen that could be mounted locally to honour the hero. But the plans were lacking as they did not consider those in other than British regiments, nor those buried outside of England. Others complained that all Victoria Cross recipients should be honoured, and not limiting this to just bthose from WW1.
After the dust settled and all this sorted out, they found that VC recipients also came from 11 other countries. Then a plan was developed to make a plaque listing all from each country and sending it off to these countries to have it mounted and properly unveiled with lots of appropriate pomp and ceremony. One of these is now in the US and another is probably already also in Canada.
Days ago it was revealed that the US plaque, to be unveiled at Arlington National Cemetery was to take place on 6 November. And days ago the release came out to say that the Princess Royal, Anne and her husband, a serving Admiral, will be in DC on several items of business and will be unveiling the plaque at Arlington.
My last blog showed images of these two plaques. The US one lists the Unknown Soldier of WW1 first. This monument was unveiled in November of 1921. The year previous the US had presented a Medal of Honor to the Unknown Soldier of Britain. At the 1921 ceremony at Arlington, dignitaries attended from around the world. A British Admiral arrived to present the Victoria Cross to the soldier. Numerous other countries did the same with their own highest of bravery awards.
Canada's Prime Minister Robert Borden also attended and took along two aides... John Young and George Richardson. Both were Victoria Cross recipeints. Young's VC was earned on the very day that George Mullin and Bellenden Hutcheson earned their VC's. These men are two of the four names on the very plaque being unveiled by the Royal family on the 6th. And at age 89 at the time, George Richardson was the oldest living VC recipient of the day.
It should be noted that the four named men being honoured all came to Canada during WW1 to enlist with the CF forces as the US had yet to join the war effort. Each then went of to war with Canadian troops, as did thousands of other US men and women, and the four, whilst so serving, earned their VC's.
While it has not yet been released, it is anticipated that while in Canada after leaving the US, the Princess Royal will be in Ottawa for Remembrance services and may well be revealing the Canadian VC plaque for England as well. With some 70 names on it, it is the largest of all the 11 made by Britain.
Till next Sunday...