July 3, 1863 - Third Day
"No, I stay right here and fight it out, or die in the attempt."
Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, U.S.A.
4th U.S. Artillery, Battery A
Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, commanded by Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, held this key position on the afternoon of July 3. The cannon and associated limbers and caissons in front of you mark the general location of Cushing's Battery.
At 1:00 p.m., as a prelude to Pickett's Charge, about 130 Confederate cannon along Seminary Ridge, 3/4 mile to your left, opened a 1-1/2-hour artillery duel with Union cannon here on Cemetery Ridge. It was the heaviest cannonade the continent had seen. Confederate shells took a toll on Cushing's battery, exploding ammunition chests, knocking wheels off cannon, and killing many horses.
By the time enemy infantry reached the stone wall to your left, only one
of Cushing's six guns remained in service. Wounded in the shoulder and groin, and held upright by a fellow officer, Cushing fired his last round of canister into the onrushing Confederates, then fell dead when a bullet entered his mouth. Moments later, Confederate Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead led his men over the wall and overran the battery.
Solid iron. Used at longer ranges against massed troops, fortifications, and other batteries. Also to fell timber on enemy soldiers in the woods.
Iron shell filled with musket balls sealed in rosin or molten sulphur. Powder charge in core ignited by fuse. Designed to explode before impact. Also called "shrapnel."
Cast-iron shell filled with black powder. Time fuse ignited by cannon's discharge. Shell exploded into fragments that could kill or maim.
Tin can filled with iron balls packed in sawdust. Used at close range - 400 yards or less - against infantry. Double or triple canister could be used in a crisis.