Wallace, William H. L.

Born: 1821-07-08 Urbana, Ohio

Died: 1862-04-10 Tennessee

Flourished: Ottawa, Illinois

Wallace moved with his family from his native state to Illinois in 1834. The family settled in LaSalle County. In 1840, Wallace and his family moved to Mount Morris, Illinois, where he received his education at Rock River Seminary. In 1844, Wallace moved to Springfield, Illinois, with the intention of studying law with Stephen T. Logan and Abraham Lincoln but, after encountering Theophilus L. Dickey on the stagecoach ride, decided to join Dickey's law practice in Ottawa. Wallace earned admission to the bar in 1846. When the Mexican War broke out, Wallace enlisted as a private in the 1st Illinois Infantry. In September 1846, he rose to the rank of second lieutenant and adjutant of the regiment, seeing action at the Battle of Buena Vista and other minor engagements. After the war, Wallace settled into his law practice in Ottawa, and in 1851, he married Martha Ann Dickey, Theophilus Dickey's eldest daughter. From 1852 to 1856, Wallace served as district attorney. Ardent Whigs, Wallace and Dickey were reluctant to join the Republican Party, but both supported Lincoln when he ran for U.S. Senate in 1854. After Lincoln's defeat, Dickey joined the Democratic Party, but Wallace embraced the Republican Party, giving Lincoln his support when he later came to Ottawa to debate Stephen A. Douglass in 1858. When the Civil War broke out, Wallace volunteered for duty as a private in the 11th Illinois Infantry. The regiment elected him colonel, and his unit joined Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee. Wallace commanded a brigade at the battles of Fort Henry and Donelson, receiving promotion to brigadier general for his effort at Fort Donelson. During the expedition to Savannah, Tennessee, Wallace took command of his division in the absence of Major General Charles F. Smith. During the Battle of Shiloh, Wallace was mortally wounded, dying four days later.

Gravestone, Wallace-Dickey Cemetery, Ottawa, IL; Isaac H. Elliott, Record of the Services of Illinois Soldiers in the Black Hawk War, 1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-8 (Springfield, IL: H. W. Rokker, 1882), 194, 205; Isabel Wallace, Life and Letters of General W. H. L. Wallace (Chicago: R. R. Donnelley & Sons, 1909).