Three MC scholars died serving in Civil War
With a diploma in hand, many fresh young academics have heeded the call to military service. Among them are three young men, each of whom graduated at the top of their respective Marietta College classes only to perish shortly thereafter while fighting in the Civil War.
Two of these young men, Lt. Timothy L. Condit and Lt. George B. Turner, were mortally wounded during battle and are now buried in Marietta’s Mound Cemetery.
The third, Capt. Theodore E. Greenwood, fell ill and died during his service. He is now buried in Newport Cemetery.
Condit, valedictorian of the class of 1860, served as a sort of personal bodyguard during the Civil War, according to Scott Britton, the director of The Castle and a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
“He was a soldier working with the 1st Ohio Cavalry, Company L, and they were assigned as the personal bodyguards for General George Thomas,” said Britton.
Condit was shot by a pistol at extremely close range on the last day of 1862 at the Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
The battle was a particularly bloody one, said local historian Jim O’Donnell.
“There were 26 Ohio officers killed at this battle and 20 others were mortally wounded,” he said.
Thomas survived the battle and went on to achieve fame at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863.
“Thomas became known as the Rock of Chickamauga for saving the Union Army,” said Britton.
Condit was well respected by his fellow classmates, who played a hand in placing his monument in Mound Cemetery and having it inscribed.
His obituary in The Marietta Register is also attributed to his peers, who lamented that it seemed only yesterday Condit had spoken to them at Commencement.
“The last to speak to us, he was the first to leave us!” they decried.
Turner, who graduated in 1862 with the class’ highest honor, was also fatally shot in a famous battle.
In the book “Marietta College in the War of Succession, 1861-1865,” Col. Douglas Putnam Jr. writes of Turner’s role in the Battle of Mission Ridge.
“Turner lived to reach the summit unharmed, the commanding officer of the Regiment had been wounded,” wrote Putnam.
Turner assumed command of the shattered line and rallied the Union soldiers to fight off a new wave of enemies only to be fatally shot behind the ear Nov. 25, 1863.
The earliest valedictorian to lose his life while serving the Union cause was Greenwood, who graduated before the war began in 1859.
But according to a history of Greenwood provided by Professor D. E. Beach in “Marietta College in the War of Succession, 1861-1865,” Greenwood had decided he would serve in the war before it had even began.
“Any observant man can see that we are on the eve of a terrible war between the North and the South, and the man of military knowledge will be the man of power, who can help his country in her hour of need,” he told a friend.
However, once assigned to service in Mississippi, Greenwood’s health quickly deteriorated.
“(He) concealed his condition as much as possible from his General, and in the battle of Iuka, September 19, (1862), he was placed in a position of much danger and responsibility,” wrote Beach.
After a second day of battle, Greenwood was completely weakened by diseases. Unable to move, he died a week later.