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PERSONAL AND INCIDENTAL.
Brigadier-general W. H. L. Wallace—Major-general Benjamin F. Prentiss— General Braymen—General Stuart—Major-general S. A. Hurlbut—Liettt.Colonel Ellis—Colonel Raith—Major Goddard—Major Eaton—Major Page— Notices Op Wounded Officers In Official Reports—The Batteries—The Scout Carson—Our Wounded—Illinois And The Battle Of Shiloh! t
NOT without the price of costly blood comes the redemption of a nation. It must be the blood of the best, the bravest. And thus has it been in our struggle. The defenders of the Constitution have been as the sons of kings, and freely has been shed their royal gore. The altar of sacrifice has been crimsoned from the veins of the first-born in honor and dignity. Such blood was shed at Shiloh.
William Henry Lamb Wallace was born at Urbana, Ohio, on the 8th of July, 1821. In 1833 his father came to Illinois, and made his residence in Lasalle County, on the south side of the beautiful Illinois river, about four miles southeast of what is now the city of Lasalle. In 1839 another removal placed the family at Mt. Morris, Ogle County, where could be enjoyed the benefits of the young Rock River Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church, an institution, the students of which have enriched more than one hotly contested field with their blood.
In this Seminary young Wallace remained until he had completed its course of study. In December, 1844, after some preliminary legal study, he went with Samuel M. H. Hitt, Esq., a member of the General Assembly, to Springfield, with the purpose of entering, as a student, the law-office of Logan & Lincoln—Abraham Lincoln. On the way they fell mto company with Hon. T. Lyle Dickey, subsequently judge, and later Colonel, and arriving at the capital the party took rooms together. Judge Dickey says, "Young .Wallace assisted me in preparing my cases in Supreme Court and after a few weeks concluded to come to Ottawa and study law in my office, and accordingly did not apply to Logan & Lincoln. In March, 1845, he came and was admitted to the bar soon after."
But war was to delay his professional labors. In 1846 the Mexican war was upon us. The brave and eloquent Hardin was raising the 1st regiment Illinois volunteers, and Judge Dickey recruited and commanded Co. I. His student and prospective son-in-law enlisted as a private, and was made orderly sergeant, and was so mustered June 22, 1846. A few weeks later he was promoted 2d Lieutenant, "and," says the letter of Judge Dickey, "in that capacity he was on duty in his company on the voyage down the Mississippi, across the Gulf to Matagorda Bay, and on the march of 200 miles made in August, over the plains of Texas to San Antonio de Bexar." There Captain Dickey was compelled, by ill health, to resign his command, and 1st Lieut. Ben. M. Prentiss, adlutant of the regiment, succeeded him, and "Wallace became adjutant. He fought by the side of his gallant Colonel, and in the thunders of Buena Vista, was near him when he was struck down. Could he dream that a similar fate was to be his own?
With the expiration of his year's enlistment he returned to Ottawa and resumed the profession of law as partner of Hon. John C. Champlin. In 1850, as Deputy IT. S. Marshal, he took the census of Lasalle County, discharging his duties promptly and accurately. February 18, 1851, he married Miss Martha Ann Dickey, eldest daughter of Judge Dickey.
In 1852 Mr. Wallace was elected State Attorney for the ninth judicial district, an office he held until the fall of 1856. The duties of such a position are delicate and exacting. There must be firmness; there should not be cruelty. Mr. Wallace met its conflicting and perplexing duties in such manner as to merit approval. He was obliged to measure strength with the ablest talent of the Illinois bar, and his professional brethren saw in him a rising man. From 1852 he was associated in business with his father-in-law, and when the war came the firm was Judge T. Lyle Dickey, Mr. Wallace, and Cyrus E. Dickey. The two junior partners at once vol
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ttnteered. Wallace did all he could—and with his popularity it was much—to aid the government and arouse the people to the magnitude of the struggle.
In May, 1861, he was chosen Colonel of the 11th three-months' volunteers, rendezvoused at Springfield. He was sent to Villa Ridge, twelve miles north of Cairo, to hold the railroad and watch the river. While here his camp was visited by Major-General Geo. B. McClellan, and that officer pronounced it the best regulated camp, and the regiment the best drilled volunteer regiment, he had seen.
In June (the 20th) he was ordered to Bird's Point and placed in command of the post. The duties at this post were complicated and often dangerous, and tested both his legal and military skill. Here he attracted the notice of General Grant, who read in him the essentials of the commander. About the last of January, 1862, he marched his regiment to Fort Jefferson.
The first of February he was placed in command of a brigade in McClernand's division and marched to Fort Henry. On the 12th his brigade, forming the extreme left of Gen. McClernand's division, marched on Fort Donelson and took part in the severe fighting of the 13th, 14th and 15th. In the account given elsewhere it was shown how well his command bore itself and how it was covered with imperishable honor. In the terrible conflict of Saturday forenoon it was the last to yield to the concentrated attack of the rebel army on the Union right. Wallace proved himself worthy to command such troops as made up his brigade. Their decimated rolls told how sorely they suffered—their comrades tell how nobly they fought. There was no wonder when the rumor came that Col. Wallace was promoted to Brigadier-General of Volunteers for gallant conduct on the field at Fort Donelson.
From Fort Donelson to Pittsburg Landing the troops were moved under the temporary command of Gen. C. P. Smith, and Wallace's brigade went into camp as part of McClernand's division. Here he received the confirmation of his promotion.
General Grant was again at the head of the army of the Tennessee, which he found in six divisions, the first of which was assigned to General C. F. Smith, This brave and able officer was sick, and the command of his division was devolved upon General Wallace, by Major-General Grant's personal direction.
The division was in the heat of battle, and much depended upon the coolness and intrepidity of its chief. He was all they asked. He shunned no danger and neglected no proper caution. From ten to nearly five o'clock that division held its ground. Four times, in massed strength, the foe was beaten back. Wallace's division stood, with Hurlbut's, for a time between the army and ruin. But, without supports, that isolated advance must be abandoned, and a retreat became inevitable. At that critical juncture the brave commander was shot through the head, and fell from his horse insensible, and, as was supposed, dead. His brother-in-law, Lieut. Cyrus E. Dickey, assisted by three orderlies, attempted to carry him from the ground, but, pressed by the pursuing foe, and two of the orderlies being wounded, they sadly laid him down upon the field. The next day the Federal forces regained that ground and he was found, not dead, barely living; the enemy had covered him with a blanket and placed his head upon another folded as a pillow. But his watch and purse were gone. He was removed to Savannah, where he lingered until Thursday, April 10th, when he died. His devoted wife reached Savannah the morning of the battle, and watched him with all of woman's unrecorded tenderness until the spirit had fled.
The remains were conveyed to Ottawa and buried. An immense concourse followed him to the grave, where he was buried with masonic rites. The "acacia sprigs" thrown upon his coffin-lid, not only symboledt immortality, but told the undying love in which his memory should be held. Of the military, only his aids, Captain Hotchkiss and Lieut. Dickey, were present, but in the cortege was his own flag, that of the 11th, bullet-torn and rent from the fields of Donelson and Shiloh!
General Wallace was tall and erect, dignified, almost to reserve. As a commander he more than met the highest anticipations of his friends and admirers.
On the 23d of April, the Bar of Illinois, through Judge Purple, presented the following resolutions:
"Resolved, That the recent death of our esteemed friend and brother, the late W. H. L. Wallace, from wounds received while gallantly leading a division at the ACTION OF THE ILLINOIS BAK. 265
battle of Pittsburg Landing, the Bar of Illinois, in common with the people of the whole State, deplore the loss of a soldier, who, as well in his life as by the manner of his death on the field, has sealed by his blood this new testimony to the ineradicable devotion which the people of Illinois are manifesting in heroic deeds and patriotic sacrifices to that form of free government on this continent which domestic traitors are so wickedly attempting to overthrow.
"Resolved, That while, as citizens, the State may regret the loss of the experienced chief who could successfully inspire by his personal daring and valor the troops committed to his charge, and by his example and bravery command success in that desperate charge or assault of battle, and while to the grateful history of his country is now committed that fame which to remote ages will hereafter rank his name with the other heroic defenders of the Republic, yet the Bar of Illinois have a sadder tribute to now render his memory, by an expression of the profound grief which they feel at this parting and loss of a friend and brother.
"Resolved, That they knew in the late W. H. L. Wallace one who, while possess* ing all the virtues which adorn a private life of exemplary excellence; in his professional character he was also a man without a blemish. Of a persevering industry, a very high order of legal attainments, and the very highest order of intellectual capacity—he seemed above all to shine in the very spirit of intellectual, moral and professional rectitude. This was "the daily beauty of his life,'' which never ceased to distinguish him in that career of professional triumph which had placed him already in the very front rank of eminent professional men, in all his intercourse with his brethren of this Bar and the State. As brethren, therefore, of the profession which he honored in his life, as well as by his glorious death, we may well pause, as we now do, in the midst of our professional and other avocations, to drop a tear upon the tomb, and inscribe this brief tablet by recalling a few of the many virtues of his life.
"Resolved, That we tender our deepest sympathies to the widow and family of our departed brother; in their bereavement we are impressed with the conviction that all mere words are inadequate to express that deep sense pf affliction which the loss of such a husband must have caused to the bereaved and stricken one. We humbly commend her to the guardianship and care of Him, from whom alone at such a time, can come the only solace for hearts so afflicted. He only can "temper the wind to the shorn lamb."
"Resolved, That Hon. Norman H. Purple, the Chairman of this meeting, be appointed to present a copy of these resolutions to the Supreme Court of this State, at its present session, and request that they may be entered on record among the proceedings of said Court.
li Resolved, That the Secretary of this meeting furnish a copy of the proceedings of the meeting, and they be presented to the family of deceased."
Judge Purple presented the resolutions accompanied with an