Colorizing Cushing

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Lt. Alonzo Cushing, West Point Military Academy, Class of 1861.

In 1863, Alonzo Cushing would find himself within the eye of the largest engagement of the American Civil War: Gettysburg.

Twice-wounded while desperately attempting to return fire, Cushing defiantly ordered more guns to the front, with an orderly-sergeant propping him up on his last remaining piece. “That’s excellent!” he told his men, “Keep that range.” Seconds later, he was struck in the head by a bullet, dying, as his battery fired their last rounds against the advancing enemy.

For his actions that day, his descendants were presented the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Obama in 2014, 151-years later.

Read more here: http://www.civilwar.org/…/alonzo-h-cu…/Alonzo-H-Cushing.html

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I had fun researching appropriate colors (17!) for that sharp West Point uniform too. The most challenging bit was the rare M1840 cadet sword which apparently had a silver hilt and brown leather scabbard. Upon closer inspection, I also determined that Cushing’s had two decorative knots: one of brown leather, the other of gold-gilt.

My decision on the hair and eyes was from a Wall Street Journal article by Prof. Allen Guelzo, who describes Cushing as, “blue-eyed, with reddish-brown hair and a bit on the small size.”

Remembering Jerry Lesber

To my knowledge, all of our family members who served in the military returned home safely. But tomorrow I will recall my grandfather’s favorite cousin, Jerry Lesber.

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Jerry probably sat for this portrait upon his return home in 1945-46. (Courtesy of Author)

A week after his birthday, the newly turned 20-year old New Yorker enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He reported for duty in 1942 and the following year he made Seaman 2nd Class. He served on board the USS SC-1304, a wooden submarine chaser that, like him, had been built and commissioned for service in the Atlantic in 1943. They hunted German U-boats over the next two years and he too later returned home safely.

He is shown wearing the American Campaign Medal ribbon bar and rank of 2nd class Radioman Technician, which apparently means that he worked on the ship’s radio and communication equipment.

It was only eight years later that he died of a sudden heart attack. My grandfather said that Jerry had always suffered from a weak heart condition. He was 29-years old.