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Amos Jay Cummings (May 15, 1838 – May 2, 1902) was a United States Representative from New York and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.

Amos J. Cummings
Amos Jay Cummings.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
In office
November 5, 1895 – May 2, 1902
Preceded byDaniel Sickles
Succeeded byEdward Swann
Constituency10th district
In office
November 5, 1889 – November 21, 1894
Preceded bySamuel S. Cox
Succeeded byWilliam Sulzer
Constituency9th district (1889–93)
11th district (1893–94)
In office
March 4, 1887 – March 3, 1889
Preceded byNicholas Muller
Succeeded byFrank T. Fitzgerald
Constituency6th district
Chair of the House Committee on Naval Affairs
In office
Personal details
Born(1838-05-15)May 15, 1838
Conklin, New York
DiedMay 2, 1902(1902-05-02) (aged 63)
Baltimore, Maryland
Political partyDemocratic
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army Union Army
Years of service1862–1863
RankArmy-USA-OR-09c.svg Sergeant major
Unit26th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade, VI Corps
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War
AwardsMedal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor



Born in Conklin, New York, Cummings attended the common schools before being apprenticed to the printing trade at age twelve.[1]

Cummings claimed he was with William Walker in his last invasion of Nicaragua in October 1858, but this is disputed by Cummings' biographer.[2]

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. He published a series of popular travel accounts of Florida and the American West for The New York Sun.[3][2]

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.

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 26th New Jersey Infantry. Place and date: At Salem Heights, Va., 4 May 1863. Entered service at: Irvington, N.J. Born: 15 May 1838, Conklin, N.Y. Date of issue. 28 March 1894.


Rendered great assistance in the heat of the action in rescuing a part of the field batteries from an extremely dangerous and exposed position.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Alexander K. McClure, ed. (1902). Famous American Statesmen & Orators. VI. New York: F. F. Lovell Publishing Company. p. 106.
  2. ^ a b Cummings, Amos (2008). Milanich, Jerald (ed.). A Remarkable Curiosity: Dispatches from a New York City Journalist's 1873 Railroad Trip Across the American West. Boulder: University Press of Colorado. pp. 12–14. ISBN 9780870819261.
  3. ^ Milanich, Jerald (Winter 2002). "Frolicking Bears, Wet Vultures, and Other Mysteries: Amos Jay Cummings's 1873 Description of Mounds in East-Central Florida". The Florida Historical Quarterly. 80 (3): 360–374. JSTOR 30149243.
  4. ^ "Civil War Medal of Honor recipients (A-L)". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. June 6, 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2007.


External linksEdit