The Governor summoned several of us to Albany yesterday; when we finally got to see him, he told us to take the rest of the day off. So what did I do with a free afternoon in Albany? What almost anyone in his right mind would do–I visited a cemetery. Specifically, the lush, large Albany Rural Cemetery, which is really quite the spread. There I visited the grave of Landsman Robert King, one of Cushing’s Raiders, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
Almost nothing is known of King. We know he volunteered for the mission, and since Cushing had a wide choice of volunteers, we must he must have stood out–either by reputation or by physical presence. I believe Cushing intended not to blow up the Albemarle, but to capture it. To do so, he would need battlers and brawlers. I therefore King must have been big, and quick with his fists.
It’s not clear whether any of Cushing’s men did any fighting on the raid. They were probably armed with pistols and cutlasses, weapons geared to close combat. Did they have muskets? Not known. Would they have fired them? It’s hard to know what targets at any given moment they might have seen.
After the explosion, Cushing and three of his men made a run for it. Two men died; perhaps they were wounded during the attack. Cushing made it back to the fleet that night; a week later, the fourth man showed up.
All the rest, King included, were captured. For four month they suffered in poor conditions; several became sick. The raiders were released in March 1865. King went back to Albany, and died just days later, leaving little in a short life besides participation in Cushing’s great adventure.