b. 15/05/1838 Conklin, New York. d. 02/05/1902 Baltimore, Maryland.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 04/05/1863 Salem Heights, Virginia.
Born in Conklin, New York, Cummings attended the common schools before being apprenticed to the printing trade at age twelve. He was with William Walker in his last invasion of Nicaragua in October 1858.
During the Civil War, Cummings enlisted in the Army at Irvington, New Jersey in September 1862 and served as a Sergeant Major in the 26th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He earned the Medal of Honor on May 4, 1863 at Salem Heights, Virginia. His official citation reads: “Rendered great assistance in the heat of the action in rescuing a part of the field batteries from an extremely dangerous and exposed position.” His medal was not awarded until several decades later, on March 28, 1894. He was mustered out in June 1863.
After his military service, Cummings filled editorial positions for the New York Tribune under Horace Greeley. He later worked for The New York Sun and the New York Express.
Cummings was elected as a Democrat to the 50th Congress (March 4, 1887-March 3, 1889). He declined renomination in 1888, but was subsequently elected to the 51st Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Samuel S. Cox. He was reelected to the 52nd and 53rd Congresses and served from November 5, 1889, to November 21, 1894, when he resigned. He served as chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs during the 53rd Congress.
Cummings was elected to the 54th Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Representative-elect Andrew J. Campbell. He was reelected to the 55th, 56th, and 57th Congresses and served from November 5, 1895, until his death in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 2, 1902. He was interred in Clinton Cemetery in Irvington, New Jersey.
Rendered great assistance in the heat of the action in rescuing a part of the field batteries from an extremely dangerous and exposed position.
BURIAL LOCATION: CLINTON CEMETERY, IRVINGTON, NEW JERSEY.
SECTION 1, LOT 33, GRAVE 9
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.