Found It!


Today I returned to Gettysburg. My main goal was to attend the two-hour ranger talk/walk about Alonzo Cushing, the commander of the 4th U.S. Artillery. Cushing was killed during the fighting on July 3 and has recently been in the news because he’s been approved to receive the Medal of Honor, just over 151 years later.

While I was there, though, I decided to try once more to find the Henry V. Fuller monument. This time I succeeded. Last time I had been looking on the wrong side of the trolley bed that leads from Brooke Avenue to the Wheatfield. It took a couple of passes, but the second time I spied what appeared to be evidence that someone had walked through the grass at the side of the trail and into the undergrowth. I decided to follow these faint traces and, sure enough, they led me to this little monument. It was invisible from the trail and I never would have found if someone else hadn’t gone there first.

The Alonzo Cushing ranger walk was pretty interesting. Led by Karlton Smith, it began at the parking lot opposite the National Cemetery. About 80 people showed up, a pretty good turnout for a September Sunday, I thought. It was good timing, too, with the Cushing medal scheduled to be presented at a White House ceremony on Monday. (Smith told us, though, that it appeared the Cushing presentation might be delayed, probably because no one is sure who will receive it, Cushing having died with no direct descendents.) The weather was beautiful, a cool, late-summer afternoon that made it clear fall is on the way.


The monument to Alonzo Cushing near the Angle.

The monument to Alonzo Cushing near the Angle.

All told, an excellent way to spend a gorgeous September afternoon. Once again I was struck by the discontinuity of enjoying myself so much at a place that had seen so much violence and suffering. Without the battle and all the monuments erected to commemorate the fighting, this would be just another patch of land. It’s pretty enough, but if the two Civil War armies had met just a few miles south in Maryland, thousands of people wouldn’t be coming here to walk around and hang out. An accident of history elevated these simple acres into something more.

Living in Central Pennsylvania has its good and bad points, but one of the good ones is that it’s an easy drive to Gettysburg.



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