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The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Thirty-Ninth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12th, 1908.
Brigadier General George Enoch Pond, United States Army, retired, was born at Brooklyn, Connecticut, July 5th, 1847, and died suddenly of apoplexy at Winston-Salem, North Carolina, November 20, 1907, aged 60 years, 4 months and 15 days. His father was Rev. Enoch Pond, a Congregationalist minister. Of his immediate family only a son, Captain George Bahnsonº Pond, United States Army, and a brother, Commander Charles Fremont Pond, United States Navy, survive him.
When a mere lad General Pond enlisted as a private in Company "K," Twenty-first Connecticut Infantry, December 9th, 1863. In the following year, at the battle of Drury's Bluff, this boy soldier was wounded in the leg; but he continued to serve in the volunteer army until the close of the Civil War, when he was honorably discharged, June 7th, 1865. Three years later, July 1st, 1868, he reported as a cadet at the United p141 States Military Academy, and notwithstanding a severe injury received in the riding hall, which necessitated his absence during a month or six weeks from his studies and, indeed, from the post of West Point, he graduated easily with his class, June 14th, 1872, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant of the Eighth United States Cavalry, in which regiment he served with great credit upon the plains and received his first promotion, January 15th, 1881.
During his graduating furlough he had left his northern home to visit a former class and room-mate, in a small southern town, where he met his future wife. They were married October 10th, 1876, and a son and a daughter were the fruit of their happy union. He learned to love his wife's quiet home as he did his own, and there, where he himself was beloved by everybody, he was to die among her people, having been preceded to the grave by his faithful helpmate, to whom he was devotedly attached, by less than two months.
The old wound in his leg never ceased to trouble General Pond, and when, after more than eleven years' service in the line, he applied for a position in the staff, he was appointed Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, October 23, 1883. He served with distinction in every grade, from private to Colonel, principally in the Quartermaster's Department, where his reputation as an able, energetic and scrupulously honest administrator was deservedly very high. While on duty as a Captain in the office of the Quartermaster General, he was engaged in preparing standard plans for the various buildings of our military garrisons, which admirable work merited and received the hearty commendation, both of his immediate superiors and of the Inspector General of the Army. Thereafter, for many years, his duties were principally the superintendence of such constructions, in which he disbursed millions of dollars; and the large and important post of Fort Riley, Kansas, among others, will long remain a monument to his ability, foresight, industry and integrity. He was promoted to p142 a Majority, February 11th, 1897, and was Chief Quartermaster, at different times, of several military departments and, during the Hispano-American War, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of Volunteers, of the Fourth Army Corps, commanded by Major General Coppinger, and as Colonel of Volunteers, of the Seventh Army Corps, commanded by Major General Fitzhugh Lee. Subsequently he was Chief Quartermaster at our headquarters in Havana, Cuba, until honorably discharged from the volunteer service, May 12, 1899. In the regular service he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Deputy Quartermaster General, October 26th, 1901, and to Colonel and Assistant Quartermaster General, January 20th, 1904, in which capacity he was assigned to duty in the office of his chief, in the War Department at Washington. On February 16, 1907, at his own request and after more than forty years service, he was retired with the rank of Brigadier General by virtue of meritorious service rendered during the Civil War. So much for his varied and interesting military record.
At an early age General Pond joined the Episcopal church, of which he remained, throughout his life, a devout and steadfast communicant. He was likewise a member of the Loyal Legion and of other military orders, as well as a Royal Arch Mason, and he derived great pleasure from the exercise of the peculiar rites of the Masonic fraternity. Yet he was neither an ascetic nor a mystic. On the contrary, his religion was of the cheerful, frank and hopeful kind, but at the same time unostentatious and unobtrusive. As a cadet and young officer he was never known to utter an obscene or profane word. He simply thought no evil. Indeed, he was the most guileless and lovable of men, but he did not lack firmness or stability on this account. As gentle as a woman, he was nevertheless a manly man. When the occasion demanded, he could be stern and immovable. He performed his duty under all circumstances. This was the keynote to his character. In every situation of life he could be depended upon; yet when a Corporal p143 and a Sergeant in the corps of cadets it pained him inexpressibly to report his friends for any dereliction of duty. This fact consoled him when, perhaps because of the rarity of his reports, he was not promoted to the usually coveted grade of cadet officer. He, himself, was very soldierly, however, and of handsome and attractive presence. "Time will not wither nor age stale the kindly — aye, the loving thoughts of his classmates and many friends." George Pond will live in their memory — as a true Soldier of the Cross, indeed, but no less a gallant soldier of his country; as an efficient and painstaking officer; a loyal and generous friend; a faithful and devoted husband; an indulgent and affectionate father; no man's foe; a gentle but knightly man; in a word, one of nature's noblemen!
The death of his daughter, a beautiful and accomplished girl just entering young womanhood, and the sudden taking away of his beloved wife, were terrible and cruel blows which he bore, however, with Christian fortitude; but to the writer of this brief memoir he wrote that he had no desire to live — that he longed to join his dear departed ones. In his case, this was no morbid fancy. He was neither old nor ill and his friends had every reason to hope for the long and peaceful retirement to which his distinguished services had entitled him. Alas! Too often
"The good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust,
Burn to the socket."
H. R. L.
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|George Enoch Pond
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