Alonzo Hereford Cushing was born on Jan. 19, 1841, in Delafield, Wisconsin, and was raised in Fredonia, New York. Cushing was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1857. Upon graduation in June 1861, he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
Cushing participated in most of the campaigns and battles of the Army of the Potomac, to include Bull Run (Virginia), Antietam (Maryland), Fredericksburg (Virginia), Chancellorsville (Virginia), and Gettysburg (Pennsylvania). Cushing also trained volunteer troops in Washington, D.C., served as an ordnance officer on the staff of Gen. Edwin V. Sumner, and as a topographical engineer. During the Chancellorsville Campaign, Cushing was promoted to command Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, in the Army of the Potomac's II Corps.
Cushing was killed in action on July 3, 1863, at the age of 22. Although he received a posthumous brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel for his service at the Battle of Gettysburg, on July 1, 1863, no award was awarded to Cushing for his efforts during that critical day of battle. He was buried with full honors at his alma mater, West Point, beneath a headstone inscribed, "Faithful unto death."