CUSHING, WILLIAM BARKER American naval officer, was born in Delafield, Wis., on Nov. 4, 1842. His father's early death forced him and his two brothers, who later displayed great gallantry in the army, to assist their mother. He was for a time a congressional page, but in 1857 received an ap pointment to the naval academy, from which he was obliged to resign in 1861 as the result of a prank played on one of his pro fessors. The outbreak of the Civil War gave him, however, an opportunity to redeem himself, of which the self-styled "ex-mid shipman, ex-master's mate, hare-brained scapegrace" took the fullest advantage. Coolness, daring, exceptional resourcefulness and a good fortune which caused the more superstitious of the sailors to believe him invulnerable made him the hero of a series of most spectacular feats. Foremost among them was the destruc tion of the Confederate ironclad "Albemarle" in the Roanoke river on Oct. 27, 1864. This vessel, which had done much damage to the Federal naval forces, was at anchor when Lieutenant Cushing in a steam launch succeeded in eluding the Confederate look-out and in exploding against her a spar-torpedo with such success that she sank. Cushing's own launch was destroyed and the crew compelled to take to the water, only he and one other man escaping capture or death. For this achievement he was thanked by Congress and made lieutenant-commander. He was promoted commander at the exceptionally early age of 3o. He died at Washington, D.C., of brain fever on Dec. 17, 1874.
See a sketch by C. F. Stewart, which contains autobiographical material, in U.S. Naval Instit., Proceedings, vol. xxxviii., pp. (1912) ; T. W. Haight, Three Wisconsin Cushings (1910) .