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Chamberlain George A. Custer David G. Farragut Ulysses S. McClellan James B. McPherson George G.

Life & letters of General W. H. L. Wallace

Meade John F. Reynolds John Sedgwick Philip H. Sheridan William T. Sherman Edwin M. Stanton George H. Johnston Robert E. Lee James Longstreet John S. Mosby George E. Stuart Richard Taylor. Browse through each Section of General Order No. War 0. The Death of General W. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. War Major General John A. Recent Comments Mark says:. I have not seen any references as to the name of One of the earliest fan letters Wallace received came from Paul Hamilton Hayne, a respected poet and editor and a Confederate veteran.

Wallace was thrilled to learn that a former rebel had enjoyed his novel. For Wallace as for many Americans, the profit motive had extinguished any lingering sectional enmity. But Ben-Hur was among the first American novels to make Jesus a full-fledged character in its story. Wallace was in some ways cautious in his treatment of Jesus: His speaking part is small, and the dialog is taken verbatim from the King James Bible. But in other ways Wallace was daring.

Life Letters of General W. H. L. Wallace - Scholar's Choice Edition

Wallace was equally attentive to the geography, topography, and even flora and fauna of ancient Judea. Rarely in American fiction has the camel been described so extravagantly. He spent long hours researching the setting of his story, travelling to libraries in Washington, D. He made the figure of Christ, and the times in which he lived, come alive for readers at a moment when faith was under assault, by the speeches of Robert Ingersoll, the writings of Charles Darwin, and the lingering trauma of the Civil War.

The novel had a strong effect on its readers, young and old. But Wallace was reluctant. He worried that audiences would not permit a depiction of Christ on stage. In , a passion play in San Francisco had landed its star in jail, still wearing his halo. The agreement between the parties stipulated that no actor would play the role of Jesus. He would instead be represented by a 25,candlepower light. The play was a runaway hit, a fixture of Broadway and the regional theater for the next 20 years.

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And like the novel, it soon overcame any clerical objections. I am sure the author will receive the blessing of the Master of the Harvest for the countess souls his labor has garnered. Regional theaters were so eager to host the show that they conducted renovations in order to accommodate the elaborate production. In the season alone it played in Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Columbus, St.

If the novel had introduced many Americans to fiction-reading, the play introduced even more to the theater. The chariot race was performed using real horses, which galloped on hidden treadmills—a not-unprecedented trick, but a breathtaking one nonetheless. Miller notes that for many Americans, seeing Ben-Hur became an annual rite, akin to Christmastime pilgrimages to The Nutcracker today.

Life & Letters Of General W. H. L. Wallace

Wallace was awestruck when he first saw the Ben-Hur stage sets. Wallace, however, remained convinced that his legacy had been written not under the Ben-Hur beech but on the road to Shiloh Church. In , Century Magazine commissioned a series of firsthand accounts of Civil War battles.

With his literary star on the rise, Wallace was asked to contribute one of the first, on Fort Donelson. Whatever satisfaction Wallace took in keeping such august company was soon replaced by apprehension, however, when he learned that Grant, deeply in debt and suffering from cancer, had also agreed to write for the Century series after years of refusing to revisit the war. His subject would be Shiloh. Wallace wrote Grant imploring him to use the article as an occasion to absolve him of wrongdoing.

The letter left no argument for his blamelessness unexplored. In wistful detail, he painted a counterfactual history of April 6 in which he bravely charged the Confederate lines from the rear.

It reads like a page out of one of his novels:. I would have taken the bluff on which Sherman had been camped in the morning and without opposition affected my deployment. The first of the rebels struck would have been the horde plundering the sutlers and drinking in the streets of the camp.

Not trusting that his letter would have its desired effect, Wallace also visited Grant to plead with him in person. His talent for horning in on history did not fail him.

He arrived on the same day that Twain was paying a call to the former president, bearing an offer to publish his memoirs and to pay his friend a handsome 70 percent royalty. Only one of the great authors got his wish that day. It was worse than perhaps even Wallace had dared to fear.

Shortly after the article was published, however, Grant had a change of heart. The widow of a general who had been killed in action at Shiloh had come across a letter from Wallace to her husband, dated April 5, It was the letter Wallace had sent to the commander of the neighboring division at Shiloh, announcing his plans to use the shunpike should trouble arise.

It convinced Grant of what Wallace had long argued. It was the vindication Wallace had longed for since But even this failed to satisfy him. The exoneration appeared as a footnote, one that Wallace worried would be ignored by most readers. Will the world ever acquit me of them? He offered to raise a brigade, or even a division, of volunteer troops from the black population of the Midwest and lead them into battle himself.

Life & Letters of General W. H. L. Wallace, Book by Isabel Wallace (Paperback) |

As the Morsbergers document in their biography, Wallace used all of his political capital in an attempt to win a commission, sending a wave of friends in Washington to petition the McKinley administration on his behalf. The Civil War was fading further into memory, and its events took on a rose-colored hue.

When McKinley failed to commission him a general, he visited his local recruiting office and attempted to enlist as a private. The recruiter, citing his age, turned him away. Wallace died of stomach cancer on Feb. In the days following his death, nearly every newspaper in the country carried an obituary, many of them as lead stories that jumped to full-page spreads.

Some of these career sketches revisited the scandal of Shiloh, but the success of Ben-Hur was the dominant theme of most. Wallace is buried in his hometown of Crawfordsville, in a cemetery near Indiana Route Over his grave stands a gaudy marker of which he surely would have approved—an obelisk draped in a granite rendering of Old Glory.

Q&A with Under Secretary McCarthy and Vice Chief of Staff McConville

Wallace professed that writing the novel led him to his own belief in Christ, though he never joined a church. Few men in American history have made more of their time in this life, or been so concerned with the legacy they were leaving behind. It would surely please Wallace to know that he achieved a kind of immortality in this world. Though his name is not well remembered today, his novel has never disappeared from the American landscape.

Earlier this month, scholars convened at Rutgers for a daylong conference on the book, covering everything from its theology to its geology. This Easter weekend, the Ovation channel will air the American premiere of an excellent Canadian miniseries adaptation of Ben-Hur , starring, among others, Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey. MGM, meanwhile, has just bought a script for a new feature film version.

All of these productions owe something to Lew Wallace. Wallace, in turn, surely owed some part of his literary success to his military failure. Unable to live up to his romantic ideal of the gallant soldier, he was left to imagine such a soldier in his fiction. Wallace returned to Shiloh several times after the war, surveying the land for new evidence to support his version of events.

It had been a sapling then; it was now full-grown. Cane or scepter? A symbol of frailty or power? It could be either. Shiloh had laid Wallace low—and set him on his roundabout road to glory. Click here to see artifacts from the life of Lew Wallace, including the original manuscript of Ben-Hur and a letter from Billy the Kid. Click here for endnotes. Lew Wallace, circa You can also listen to John Swansburg read this piece using the player below:. Billy the Kid, circa Courtesy of Indiana Historical Society, M