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Obama to award Medal of Honor to Civil War officer

First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing held his ground July 3, 1863 in the Battle of Gettysburg.

Wisconsin Historical Society

First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing held his ground July 3, 1863 in the Battle of Gettysburg.

WASHINGTON — A century and a half after his valiant death at the Battle of Gettysburg, a Union Army officer is being awarded the nation's highest military decoration.

The White House announced Tuesday that President Barack Obama approved the Medal of Honor for 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, who was killed standing his ground against Pickett's Charge during the pivotal three-day Battle of Gettysburg.

Congress granted an exemption in December for Cushing to receive the award posthumously since recommendations normally have to be made within two years of the act of heroism and the medal awarded within three years.

Cushing, 22, commanded about 110 men on July 3, 1863, defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge, a major Confederate thrust that could have turned the tide in the war.

Obama also will award the medal in a ceremony on Sept. 15 to two Vietnam War soldiers who also received the congressional exemption — Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and Army Spc. Donald P. Sloat.

Obama to award Medal of Honor to Civil War officer 08/26/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 11:03pm]

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