4th Vermont Infantry
Biographies/Obituaries

Henry T. Cushman

Bennington Banner of May 11,1922.

HENRY T. CUSHMAN
OF NO. BENNINGTON
DIED EARLY TODAY

Prominent Manufacturer Victim of Heart Disease
ENTERED WAR UNDER AGE
Probably Youngest Quartermaster with Federal Army During Civil War

Hon. Henry T. Cushman, president of the H.T. Cushman Manufacturing company of North Bennington, died at his home at that village shortly after midnight this morning. Mr. Cushman had been critically ill since Saturday night with little hope of recovery. It had been known for some time that he was afflicted with a chronic disease in a mild form but his health recently had been excellent, considering his age. He was in Albany Saturday on business and retired as usual that evening. During the night he experienced an attack of angina pectoris and medical specialists who were called in consultations gave but small hope of his recovery and the end was not unexpected by the family and friends.

Harry Theodore Cushman was born on Bennington at the present home of Judge E. C. Bennett on Main street May 16, 1841, the youngest son of John and Sophronia (Hurd) Cushman. He was educated in the local schools and when only a boy was left by the death of his father in charge of a clothing store located in the building at present occupied by Harry Willoughby on Main street.

Although under the age limit he managed after considerable persistence in entering the service as a quartermaster in the federal army during the civil war and his efficiency was attested by the fact that in the absence of the brigade quartermaster he was at times appointed to fill that position. He also saw considerable service in the field as a staff officer. Record of his service is preserved in a letter written by Brigade commander Gen. L. A. Grant: "He was not only an excellent quartermaster, but he was a brave and gallant soldier. I shall never forget, when the terrible battle of the Wilderness left the old brigade with but one staff officer, how Lieutenant Cushman and two other quartermasters volunteered to serve during the emergency. It was a gallant act of itself, and Lieutenant Cushman not only volunteered, but he performed conspicuous service all through the battle that immediately followed the Wilderness including the bloody Angle."

An incident in the military career of Lieutenant Cushman that was not generally known is the fact that on one occasion he crossed swords with Col. john Singleton Mosby, leader of the band of guerrillas that harassed the army of the Potomac almost during the entire period of the war. At the time Lieut. Cushman was in charge of a small detail of less than thirty mounted men sent outside the lines on a night reconnoitering expedition. The federals encountered a small party of Confederate cavalry and in the brief skirmish that followed the two leaders came together.

Some years after the close of the war Lieutenant Cushman was introduced to Colonel Mosby and a comparison of experiences and dates easily established the fact that they had had a previous meeting under more strenuous circumstances. The second meeting resulted in a correspondence that continued for years and it was one of the Vermonter's regrets that the guerrilla leader never found it convenient to accept the continually open invitation to visit North Bennington.

Immediately after the close of the war Mr. Cushman took up manufacturing business in Bennington. In 1867 he moved to North Bennington where for a time he handled stationery novelties of which he owned patents. Later he took up the manufacture of furniture in which he was engaged at the time of his death. Few men in this or any community have been longer identified with its industrial life.

Mr. Cushman, in his long business career met with some misfortune, some reverses such as fire that destroyed a factory and stock and encountered periods of depression but through all there was the persistent progress toward the success realized in his later years. Notwithstanding the constant demand upon his time and energy he maintained an active interest in the public affairs of the state and his home town and in the social life of the two villages. His connection with the Congregational church at North Bennington was more than usually close and was expressed not only by attendance and support but by carrying out of those multitudinous details necessitated in the success of any religious organization. For a number of years he was president of the village of North Bennington and the head of the school committee.

Mr. Cushman represented Bennington county in the state senate of 1910. In 1877,when the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Bennington was observed, he was made adjutant general of the veteran's reunion and was active in locating the encampment and preparing for the entertainment of the veterans and other soldiers. He has been a member of the Grand Army of the Republic for many years, of the military order of the Loyal Loyal Legion, Sons of the American Revolution, the Bennington club and other organizations.

At the time of his death he was president of the board of trustees of the Vermont Soldiers' Home, was president of the Bennington Battle Monument and Historical society and a member of Putnam Memorial hospital.

October 4, 1867, Mr. Cushman married Eliza, daughter of Henry David Hall, who survives. They observed their golden wedding anniversary at their home in 1917. He also leaves five children: Arthur H., John H., William C.H. Cushman, Caroline C. Wellington and Frederick B. Cushman.

Mr. Cushman possessed a striking personality. Of more than usual height, with a soldierly figure that still retained its youthful lines, all very white hair that almost curled and a countenance expressing both strength and genial humor his presence would have been remarked in any gathering however distinguished.

An honorable Christian gentleman, a citizen in all that the word can mean, a loved and respected friend, his passing is a loss to the community and the state.

The funeral will be held from the house at North Bennington at 3:30 o'clock Saturday afternoon, daylight saving. Rev. William R. Hamlin, pastor of the North Bennington Congregational church will officiate.

Image and obituary Contributed by Tom Boudreau

Check this soldier's record

Return to previous page