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Welcome to Montgomery County Indiana in the Civil War. During the four year struggle Montgomery County would send 2,971 of her sons to the Union Army. The county seat of Crawfordsville was home to U.S. Senator Henry S. Lane and five Union Army Generals - Lew Wallace, Edward Canby, Mahlon D. Manson, William H. Morgan and John P. Hawkins. Students of the conflict are aware of three popular organizations that Montgomery County raised companies for, Lew Wallace's 11th Indiana Zouaves, 72nd Indiana (Mounted) Infantry of Wilder's Lightning Brigade and Eli Lilly's 18th Indiana Battery. Other organizations that had one or more companies from Montgomery County were the 10th, 15th, 40th, 63rd, 86th, 120th, 135th Infantry Regiments and the 9th Indiana Battery. Several other Indiana military units contained heavy pockets of men from the county, including the 21st (1st Heavy Artillery),26th, 27th, 31st, 33rd, 35th, 38th, 43rd, 60th, 79th, 85th,115th,and 123rd Inf.Regt's. This site is meant to honor the deeds of the 2,971 Montgomery County soldiers who suffered four years of conflict and hardships.

Friday, January 8, 2010

General Lew Wallace

History of Montgomery County, Indiana. Indianapolis: AW Bowen, 1913 (Indianapolis: AW Bowen, 1913) p. 561

Gen. Lew Wallace - There could be no more comprehensive history of a state than that which deals with the life-work of those who by their own endeavors and accomplishments have helped to give that state an eminent position among its sister commonwealths. It is a far cry from the humble rank held by Indiana in the field of literature in the days of "The Hoosier Schoolmaster" to the present proud position held by the Hoosier state as the literary center of America. Her masters of literature have included names which have become familiar in every town and hamlet of this country, and are not unknown in foreign countries. Edward Eggleston, David Biddle, Charles Major, Sarah Miller, Booth Tarkington, Meredith Nicholson, George Ade, James Whitcomb Riley and Lew Wallace comprise a galaxy of writers whose productions, in prose and verse, have reflected the highest honors on their state. Of these, none has contributed as much of a permanent character and acknowledged value as Gen. Lew Wallace, to the record of whose notable career the following lines are devoted. American history offers few examples of public men who have become really eminent in so many distinct fields of endeavor as General Wallace. Lawyer, soldier, tactician, diplomat and author - in each of these spheres of effort he exhibited qualities of the highest order and his deeds were those of definite accomplishment. He was a conqueror with both sword and pen, his achievements as a soldier, eminent as they were, being of no higher order than his attainment in literature. Not only his beloved Indiana, but the whole nation, reveres his name, which has been, by universal consent, placed high in the temple of fame.
Lew Wallace was the second in the order of birth of the four sons born to Governor David and Esther French ( TEST ) Wallace, his birth having occurred at Brookville, Franklin County, Indiana, on April 10, 1827. His paternal grandfather, Andrew Wallace, was from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, from which place he moved his family to Cincinnati, Ohio, and thence to Brookville, Indiana, where he kept a hotel and became a man of influence.David Wallace, father of the subject, went from this state as a cadet to West Point Military Academy, where in due time he was graduated and entered the regular army, where he served three years. He then studied law and, upon being admitted to the bar, began the active practice of that profession at Brookville, Indiana. He was well grounded in the principles of law and was a brilliant attorney. He was recognized as a man of unusual ability and was called into public life, serving successively as a member of the Legislature, twice as Lieutenant Governor, as Governor in 1837, and as a member of Congress from 1841 to 1845, two terms. After his retirement from Congress he served as judge of the court of common pleas with eminent ability. His death occurred in 1859, at the age of sixty years. Governor Wallace was twice married, his first wife, whose maiden name was Esther French Test, being a sister of the late Judge Charles Test and the daughter of Hon. John Test, a pioneer of Indiana and congressional representative from his state. Lew Wallace was a child of this marriage, being but six years old when his mother died. Two years later the father married Zeralda G. Sanders, of Millersburg, Kentucky. [added note: Zarelda's sister Jemima Sanders was 2nd wife to Richard Jordan Gatling, the inventor of the Gatling gun, steam powered tractor, and several tools for agriculture] To her wise counsel, loving care and strong will can be attributed much of her son's success in after life. She became his model of a loving, tender, helpful mother. Upon his first visit to her, after the publication of the book "Ben-Hur", he said, "Mother, what do you think of my book?" "Oh, it is a grand book, my son" said Mrs. Wallace. "Where did you get that beautiful character of the mother of Ben-Hur?" He answered, "Why, my dear mother, I thought of you every line while wrote it."Lew Wallace's maternal grandfather, John Test, was a native of Salem, New Jersey. He was a man of great ability, a Hicksite Quaker, and he and another Hicksite Quaker, Butler, were pioneers of Brookville, Indiana, in 1805. He was regarded as the best lawyer and scholar in the state, and he was foremost in progress in every line. He brought the first carding machinery to Franklin County and was instrumental in introducing other improvements for the benefit of the community. He was admitted to practice in 1811, and was the first congressman from Indiana. Scarcely a vestige remains of the old Test mansion, the home of a family which furnished as much good brain and ability to the making of the early history of Indiana as any other family of the state. John Test was the grandson of John Test, who came over in the good ship "Welcome" with William Penn, and whom Penn regarded as the bravest and best man in his colony, having him appointed high sheriff. Thus it is seen that from ancestral lines Lew Wallace inherited qualities of the highest order.Lew Wallace was largely self-educated, though he attended the common schools and became a student at Wabash College, but did not graduate. In his youth he began the study of law in his father's office, but the Mexican war disturbed his plans for a legal career and he left Covington as the second lieutenant of an Indiana company. He was promoted to first lieutenant and served through the war with great credit. At the conclusion of hostilities he returned home, resumed his studies and in due time was admitted to the bar. He entered upon the active practice of his profession in Covington, but in 1852 he removed to Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, where he maintained his home during the remainder of his life. He was elected a member of the state Senate, and served four years there to the entire satisfaction of his constituents, but he did not take kindly to a political life and had no further ambitions in that direction.At the breaking out of the great Southern rebellion Mr. Wallace was appointed adjutant general of the state of Indiana and entered actively upon the discharge of his duties, which at that time were unusually responsible. But to one of his active temperament and ardent patriotism such an office was not suited, and he determined to enter the active military service. He was commissioned colonel of the Eleventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which command he served in West Virginia, participating in the capture of Romney and the ejection of the enemy from Harper's Ferry. On September 3, 1861, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general, commanded a division at Fort Donelson, and on March 21, 1862, he became a major-general. He was in command of a division at Shiloh and participated conspicuously in the events of that fated field. In 1863 General Wallace assisted in the defense of Cincinnati and saved that city from capture by the Confederate raider, Gen. Kirby Smith. Later he commanded the middle division of the Eight Army Corps, with headquarters at Baltimore, Maryland. With five thousand eight hundred men, he marched to the banks of the Monocacy and there offered battle to the overwhelming forces of Gen. Jubal A. Early, who, with twenty-eight thousand men, was marching triumphantly upon the national capital. On the afternoon of July 9th, near the railroad bridge that spans the Monocacy river near Frederic, Maryland, was fought one of the bloodiest engagements of the war, in proportion to the number of combatants. General Wallace was entrenched behind stone fences that stretched along the heights near the bridge and at right angles with the river. McCausland's cavalry, which led the vanguard of Early's army, crossed the stream and made a vigorous assault upon Wallace's lines, but, after a very spirited and bloody engagement, they were forced to retreat, taking up and holding a position in the rear. Soon thereafter a long line of infantry, famous as the "Stonewall Brigade", formerly made immortal by Jackson, now consolidated with other seasoned veterans into a division commanded by Gen. John C. Breckenridge, advanced on Wallace's main position and carried it. Though defeated, Wallace and his gallant troops had accomplished the important duty of delaying Early until reinforcements could reach Washington, thus saving the national capital.General Wallace was second member of the court that tried the assassins of President Lincoln, and was president of the court-martial that tried Henry Wirz, commander of the notorious Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia. At the close of the Civil war he was mustered out of the service with every official mark of honor. Later he represented the secret service branch of the United States, with the rank of brigadier-general, in the Mexican army. From 1878 to 1881 General Wallace served as territorial governor of New Mexico and from the latter date until 1885 he served as United States minister to Turkey. Upon returning home, he retired to Crawfordsville and engaged in literary work up to the time of his death, which occurred on February 15, 1905.Of all the honors achieved by General Wallace, his greatest fame will rest on the productions of his pen, the most enduring of which is the book "Ben-Hur, a tale of the Christ," which has been translated into every civilized tongue and has had the greatest circulation of any book in the English language, save "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and Macaulay's "History of England," having been read on the banks of the Mississippi, as well as on the banks of the Thames and Nile, and doubtless will be read by all peoples of all lands to the end of time. The spiritual power of "Ben-Hur" goes unchallenged, and it is significant that many have been won to the Christian life by the reading of "Ben-Hur." It was accepted into the homes of the luxurious, indifferent and self-satisfied; men following the paths of pleasure and immersed in business; women, wearied with social successes, read the book and wept over it, and, as insensibly and certainly as the author, yielded to the story of the Christ.General Wallace's first literary production, "The Fair God," appeared in 1873; "Ben-Hur" in 1880; "Life of General Benjamin Harrison" in 1888; "Boyhood Christ" in 1889; "Prince of India" in 1893; "The Wooing of Malkatoon" and, later, his "Autobiography," in two volumes. Few people can understand the great amount of study, research and careful analysis ofhistorical facts required for the production of these great historical novels. The late Bishop Newman, LL.D., of the Methodist Episcopal Church, paid Mr. Wallace a great compliment when he said the General, in his wonderful description of the crucifixion of our Saviour {sic}, gave the impression that he must have been an eye-witness. In writing his "The Fair God," he was obliged to learn the Spanish and Mexican languages, and his "Prince of India" as by far the most difficult of all.In 1852 General Wallace was united in marriage with Susan Arnold ELSTON, a native of Crawfordsville, a writer of marked ability and a gentlewoman in the highest sense of the word. Though his busy life brought General Wallace in close touch with many great and prominent men, he enjoyed most the quiet of his home life, where, with his wife of his youth, who was so much to him in his labors and ambitions, he passed his declining years. Her death occurred on October 1, 1907, more than two years after the passing of her distinguished husband. One child was born to them, Henry Lane Wallace, now a resident of Indianapolis. General Wallace was an appreciative member of McPherson Post No. 7, Grand Army of the Republic, at Crawfordsville.

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