How do you single out history’s
heroes? How do you ensure that one
soldier’s story doesn’t fade into the mist of memory but receives the
recognition it deserves? Cody Turnbaugh was
determined to find out.
History/Public Administration Major at Saint Francis University, developed an
interest in History after reading a book on the Battle of Gettysburg. Several trips to the Civil War battlefield
cemented his passion for the subject.
Cody became particularly
interested in the life and legacy of Alonzo H. Cushing, a young artillery
officer in the Union army. During the
last day of the battle, the Confederate army attempted to break through the
Union’s defenses. The wounded Cushing refused to leave his post. He fired his
cannons into the charging enemy, holding them off until he died on the
battlefield. Cushing’s heroic action however, disappeared from history. Cody
became convinced that historians needed to acknowledge Alonzo H. Cushing for
helping turn the tide of the battle, and the war.
December 2016, Cody received a grant from the School of Arts and Letters. He
used the grant to fund a research trip to the National Archives in Washington
D.C. to examine documents regarding Cushing and his bravery in battle. Some of
the primary sources he reviewed included letters between generals on the behalf
of Cushing’s actions, and others from the Commission Branch, which issued
citations to soldiers for their actions in combat. Encouraged by these
discoveries, Cody is now looking to continue his work on Alonzo H. Cushing and
dig deeper into this remarkable story. He is currently developing his research
into a scholarly article.
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