Thomas Humphrey Cushing

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Thomas Humphrey Cushing
Thomas Humphrey Cushing.jpg
Born December 1755
Pembroke, Massachusetts
Died October 19, 1822(1822-10-19)
New London, Connecticut
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1776–1784, 1791–1815
Rank Brigadier General
Commands held Adjutant General of the U.S. Army
Inspector General of the U.S. Army
Battles/wars American Revolutionary War
War of 1812

Thomas Humphrey Cushing (November, 1755 – October 19, 1822) was an officer in the Continental Army, and later the United States Army, and finally became a collector of customs for the port of New London, Connecticut.

Revolutionary War service[edit]

Cushing began his military career as a sergeant in the 6th Continental Regiment in January 1776. He was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the 1st Massachusetts Regiment in January 1777 and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in January 1778. He was taken prisoner in May 1781 and was later exchanged. He was breveted to the rank of captain in September 1783. In 1783 Cushing became an original member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

Following the British evacuation of New York City in November 1783, the bulk of the Continental Army was discharged. Cushing was retained in Jackson's Continental Regiment, commanded by Brevet Brigadier General Henry Jackson, and was one of the last officers to be discharged from the Continental Army when the regiment was disbanded on June 20, 1784.

In 1783, Cushing became an Original Member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

Later military career[edit]

On March 4, 1791 Cushing was commissioned a captain in the 2nd Infantry Regiment. On March 3, 1793 he was commissioned as a major in the 1st Sublegion (later re-designated as the 1st Infantry Regiment).

From February 27, 1797 to May 22, 1798 he served as Adjutant and Inspector General of the Army. (From 1792 to 1821 the offices of Adjutant General and Inspector General were combined.) In 1799, he commissioned artist James Peale to create a miniature portrait of himself. On June 15, 1800 he was re-appointed as Adjutant and Inspector General and held the office until April 2, 1807. From 1800 to 1807 he resided in Washington, D.C. .[1]

Cushing was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 2nd Infantry on April 1, 1802. He was promoted to colonel of the same regiment on September 7, 1805.[2]

In early 1811, on the order of Brigadier General Wade Hampton I, Cushing was arrested and court martialed on charges of disobedience to orders and misuse of government funds. The court martial first met on April 26, 1811 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and was presided over by Colonel Alexander Smyth. It lasted over a year and Cushing was eventually, on May 5, 1812, acquitted on most of the charges and specifications and received no sentence other than an official reprimand.[3]

War of 1812[edit]

Cushing was promoted to the rank of brigadier general on July 2, 1812. During the War of 1812, he served as Adjutant General of the Army from July 6, 1812 to March 12, 1813. He was then assigned as commander of Military District Number 2 (consisting of the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island) with his headquarters at New London, Connecticut. He was in command of forces defending Stonington, Connecticut when it was attacked by a squadron of British warships in August 1814.

After the war's end, he retired from the Army on June 15, 1815.

Later life[edit]

In January 1816 Cushing was appointed collector of customs for the port of New London, Connecticut, succeeding Jedediah Huntington.

In 1817, Cushing fought a duel with Virginia congressman William J. Lewis and was saved when the bullet struck his watch. The two resolved their differences, and Lewis, stepping up to the general, said: “I congratulate you, general, on having a watch that will keep time from eternity.”

Cushing died in New London in 1822. He was originally buried in the Second Burial Ground in New London but his remains were later relocated to the Cedar Grove Cemetery in the same city.

Dates of rank[edit]

  • Sergeant, 6th Continental Infantry - 1 January 1776
  • 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Massachusetts Infantry - 1 January 1777
  • 1st Lieutenant, 1st Massachusetts Infantry - 12 January 1778
  • Brevet Captain - 30 September 1783
  • 1st Lieutenant, Jackson's Continental Regiment - November 1783
  • Discharged - 20 June 1784
  • Captain, 2nd Infantry - 4 March 1791
  • Captain, 2nd Sub-Legion - 4 September 1792
  • Major, 1st Sub-Legion - 3 March 1793
  • Major, 1st Infantry - 1 November 1796
  • Lieutenant Colonel, 2nd Infantry - 1 April 1802
  • Colonel, 2nd Infantry - 7 September 1805
  • Brigadier General, United States Army - 2 July 1812
  • Retired - 15 June 1815

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]



  1. ^ Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1789-1903. Volume 1. Francis B. Heitman. pp. 37-38.
  2. ^ Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1789-1903. Volume 1. Francis B. Heitman. p. 348.
  3. ^ Trial of Col. Thomas H. Cushing before a General Court Martial. Philadelphia. Moses Thomas. 1812.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Edward Butler (acting)
Adjutant General of the U. S. Army
February 27, 1797 – July 19, 1798 (acting)
Succeeded by
William North
Preceded by
William North
Adjutant General of the U. S. Army
June 15, 1800 – April 2, 1807
Succeeded by
Abimael Y. Nicoll (acting)
Preceded by
Alexander Macomb (acting)
Adjutant General of the U. S. Army
July 6, 1812 – March 12, 1813
Succeeded by
Zebulon Pike
Preceded by
Edward Butler (acting)
Inspector General of the U.S. Army
February 27, 1797 – July 18, 1798 (acting)
Succeeded by
Alexander Hamilton
Preceded by
Alexander Hamilton
Inspector General of the U.S. Army
June 15, 1800 – April 2, 1807 (acting)
Succeeded by
Abimael Y. Nicoll (acting)