Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Man Of Others

Union Army Officer James Burton Pond was awarded the Medal of Honor on March 30th 1898 for his actions at the Battle of Baxter Springs.

James Burton Pond was born June 11th 1838 in Cuba, Allegany, New York. He moved with his family to Illinois in 1844 and then Wisconsin in 1847. Pond was an abolitionist, and reportedly a station master on the Underground Railroad. He learned the print trade working at several Fond du Lac County newspapers. He worked as a publisher, running “The Journal” in Markesan, Wisconsin 1860-61.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Pond enlisted in the 3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry as a lieutenant. He fought Confederate William Quantrill and his Raiders at the Battle of Baxter Springs October 6th 1863. It was for his action during this battle that Pond was awarded the Medal of Honor. At the end of the war Pond had reached the rank of Major.

Following the war Pond began a career as a manager. His first client was Ann Eliza Young the 52nd wife of Brigham Young, who Pond set up on a national speaking tour. He bought the Lyceum Theatre Lecture Bureau, and moved his office to New York City. Among the people Pond managed were Mark Twain, PT Barnum, Frederick Douglass and Winston Churchill. He wrote a book about his work called “Eccentricities of Genius” in 1900. Pond died from complications of an amputation June 21st 1903. He is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York.

Pond’s Medal of Honor award read, “For extraordinary heroism on 6 October 1863, while serving with Company C, 3d Wisconsin Cavalry, in action at Baxter Springs, Kansas. While in command of two companies of Cavalry, First Lieutenant Pond was surprised and attacked by several times his own number of guerrillas, but gallantly rallied his men, and after a severe struggle drove the enemy outside the fortifications. First Lieutenant Pond then went outside the works and, alone and unaided, fired a howitzer three times, throwing the enemy into confusion and causing him to retire.”

No comments: