Lt. Howard B. Cushing (USA)

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Howard Bass Cushing

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Delafield, Waukesha, Wisconsin, United States
Death: Died in Bear Springs, Pima, Arizona, United States
Cause of death: He was killed while on a scout in southern Arizona during the "Cochise War."
Place of Burial: San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Milton B. Cushing and Mary B. Cushing (Smith)
Brother of Paymaster Milton B. Cushing, Jr.; Walter Cushing; Lt. Col. Alonzo H. Cushing (USA); Commander William B. Cushing (USN); Mary Rachel Cushing and 1 other
Half brother of Benjamin Tupper Cushing; Edward Anselm Cushing; Rowena Sophia Cushing and Abigail Elizabeth Cushing

Occupation: Indian Fighter; 1st Lieut. to TX & AZ for Indian Problems (1869-1871)
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Lt. Howard B. Cushing (USA)

Howard B. Cushing, or Howard Birmingham Cushing was born in Wisconsin, and served in the United States Army from 1861 to 1871, until he was killed during “Cushing’s Pursuit” in southeastern Arizona. Howard Cushing was five foot, seven inches tall and described as “spare, sinewy, and active as a cat” with “keen gray or bluish green eyes.” His physical stature and reputation as an Indian fighter made him renowned throughout the young American southwest immediately following the end of the Civil War.[1]

Contents

1 Military Service and Family 2 Cushing’s Pursuit 3 References 3.1 Citations 3.2 Literature cited

Military Service and Family

Because of his conquests and accomplishments, including the events that led to his death in 1871, Cushing was called “The Custer of Arizona.” [2] In addition, Cushing's brother, Alonzo was in fact a classmate of George Armstrong Custer at the West Point Military Academy. [3] Cushing served in the Union Artillery throughout the Civil War, first volunteering as a Private in the 1st Illinois Light Artillery and later earning a Federal Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the 4th U.S. Artillery upon his brother's death. [4]

Cushing belonged to a family which won deserved renown throughout the Civil War. One brother, William Barker Cushing, was known for his defeat of a Confederate ironclad, the CSS Albemarle; another, Alonzo, died at his post of duty on the battlefield of Gettysburg in the Union Army; Throughout Howard Cushing’s career he was known for trying to measure up to his brothers’ successes. It was said that his family felt that he had been unluckily placed, and had thus been engaged in only half a dozen battles.[5]

By the end of 1867, Cushing was promoted to First Lieutenant in Troop F of the 3rd Cavalry, serving in first western Texas and then southern Arizona.[6] It has been said that he and his Troop had killed more savages of the Apache tribe than any other officer or troop of the US Army.[7]

Cushing’s Pursuit

In May 1871, LT Howard Cushing was charged with pursuing Chiricahua Apache elements under Chief Cochise, the predecessor of Geronimo, who had recently broken a winter truce in the Tucson area. Cushing and twenty-two troopers pursued these Apache elements south towards the Mexican border, which was often used a sanctuary when pursued by US forces.[8]

On May 5, 1871, LT Cushing came into contact with an Apache element approximately fifteen miles northwest of today’s Fort Huachuca in an area known as Bear Spring in the Whetstone Mountains. This element was not led by Chief Cochise, but reportedly by his brother who was known for stating his desire to kill LT Cushing. LT Cushing and his lead element were immediately ambushed, resulting in the death of LT Cushing and several of his troopers. The battle was described as fierce, and reduced to hand to hand combat. LT Cushing’s non-commissioned officer, Sergeant John Mott, managed to rescue the wounded and lead a successful retreat with the remainder of the troopers.[9] Within 48hrs three US Cavalry Troops were dispatched from Fort Crittenden to pursue the Apaches, and found LT Cushing’s body with his fellow fallen troopers, who were all stripped of their clothing and left by the Apaches.[10]

General Orders 11 was released by the Headquarters Department of Arizona on June 2, 1871 announcing his death “while gallantly leading his command in an attack against the band of Indians.” LT Cushing was buried at Fort Lowell, northwest of Tucson.[11]

Cushing Street and the Cushing Street Bar, both located in downtown Tucson,AZ are named in his honor.

References

Citations

^ (John G. Bourke, On the Border with Crook) ^ (James M. Barney, The Custer of Arizona) ^ (Kenneth A. Randall, Only the Echoes - The Life of Howard Bass Cushing) ^ (Kenneth A. Randall, Only the Echoes - The Life of Howard Bass Cushing) ^ (Ralph J. Roske, Lincoln’s Commando) ^ (Ralph J. Roske, Lincoln’s Commando) ^ (James M. Barney, The Custer of Arizona) ^ John G. Bourke, On the Border with Crook ^ NY Times, Circumstances Attending the Death of Lieut. Cushing ^ John G. Bourke, On the Border with Crook ^ James M. Barney, The Custer of Arizona

Literature cited

Ralph J. Roske, W. B. Cushing, Charles Van Doren - Lincoln's Commando: The Biography of Commander William B. Cushing, U. S. Navy (revised and expanded from the original 1957 first edition), Naval Institute Press, 1995, ISBN 1-55750-737-6

David Leighton, "Street Smarts: Three downtown Tucson streets named for men killed by Apaches," Arizona Daily Star, April 9, 2013

James M. Barney - The Custer of Arizona

Ray Brandes - Guide to the Historical Landmarks of Tucson, published in Arizoniana; the Journal of Arizona History, Volume 3, Number 2, Summer 1962; Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society, Tucson

John Gregory Bourke - On the Border with Crook (first published 1891), reprinted Rio Grande Press, Chicago, 1962

Official Report of the Fight between the United States Troops and the Apaches - Circumstances Attending the Death of Lieut. Cushing, The New York Times, published July 5, 1871

Fort Huachuca Cavalry Museum

Source: Downloaded April 21, 2013, from Wikipedia, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_B._Cushing

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Lt. Howard B. Cushing (USA)'s Timeline

1838
August 22, 1838
Delafield, Waukesha, Wisconsin, United States
1871
May 5, 1871
Age 32
Bear Springs, Pima, Arizona, United States
????
San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA