Shiloh National Military Park

Wallace Monument

Wallace Monument (41K)

Image: Wallace Monument. This is the monument to Brigadier General William H. L. Wallace. Wallace was the commander of the Second Division of Major General Ulysses S. Grant's Union Army of the Tennessee. Wallace was the ranking officer in charge of the Hornets' Nest position. The monument is located north of the Hornets' Nest line. Wallace was shot near this location.

The 41 year-old Brig. Gen. W. H. L. Wallace (not to be confused with Brig. Gen. Lew Wallace, the author of Ben Hur, who was also a division commander and also present at the battle) had been a brigade commander for only a few weeks when he was given command of C. F. Smith's division on April 3, 1862. This division was located near Pittsburg Landing. on April 6, his division was eating breakfast when they heard the sounds of fighting. Wallace formed a battle line at 8 a.m. and then about an hour later moved first one brigade and then his remaining two brigades toward the fighting. By chance they formed on a strong defensive position. Two of his brigades, those of Colonel Thomas W. Sweeney and Col. James M. Tuttle, held a line on the edge of Duncan Field. To their left (east) were the remnants of Brig. Gen. Benjamin M. Prentiss holding the center of the line along the sunken road. Left of Prentiss was the division of Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut, holding the Peach Orchard sector. On the left of Hurlbut was Wallace's final brigade, that of Brig. Gen. John McArthur.

The Confederates delayed their pursuit of Prentiss, allowing the Hornets' Nest position, with about 11,000 men and 38 cannons, to form. The fight to take the Hornets' Nest was brutal, with the Confederates bludgeoning themselves on the salient five times over six hours. The Confederates — with superior numbers — pushed back McArthur's brigade and bent the left of the Union line back on itself in a U shape. Meanwhile, Confederate brigades worked their way around the flank of Sweeney's brigade after the line of Union troops in the vicinity of Water Oaks Pond collapsed. As this happened, Confederate Brig. Gen. Daniel Ruggles was amassing over 60 cannons to bombard the Hornets' Nest.

Wallace believed Lew Wallace's division was moving up to support him on the left and the divisions of Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman and Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand were on his right. By the time he learned that Sherman and McClernand had retreated about a half a mile the Hornets' Nest had become a trap. Sweeney's brigade fell apart. Wallace realized the Hornets' Nest was untenable and he ordered his men to retreat. By this time Tuttle's brigade was already streaming for the rear.

Union troops streamed through the closing top of the U shape. The brigade of Confederate Brig. Gen. Patton Anderson came over the crest of a ravine and saw a knot of retreating Federals. Wallace was one of them. His brother-in-law and aide, Lieutenant Cyrus E. Dickey, spotted the Confederates and pointed them out to Wallace. Wallace rose in his saddle to get a better look. A musket ball hit him in the left eye. Dickey believed Wallace was dead. Orderlies tried to carry his body away, but the musket fire was so hot that they placed him near some ammunition boxes and ran off.

At 11 a.m. on April 7, Dickey, with Sherman's help, found Wallace's body. To his surprise Wallace was still alive! Wallace was withdrawn to Pittsburg Landing. Wallace's wife, and Dickey's sister, Ann was on board the steamer Minnehaha, which was near Pittsburg Landing. She rushed to be with her husband. Wallace's wound was awful, but he was conscious and recognized her. He was evacuated to Cherry Mansion, Grant's headquarters at Savannah, Tennessee. Ann stayed by Wallace's side. Eventually infection and fever struck him. He weakened and fell into unconsciousness. Wallace awoke on April 10 as his strength slid away from him. His last words were to his wife. He waved her away and said, "We meet in heaven." He died soon after, conscious to the last.

Although more than 2,000 men were captured in the Hornets' Nest, the position delayed the Confederates. The Rebel assault petered out as night fell. That evening men of Major General Don Buell's Army of the Ohio crossed the Tennessee River and reinforced Grant. The next day the Union went on the attack and pushed the Confederates from the field.

This picture was captured on Kodak Gold 200 film in May, 2002. They were taken with a Nikon F-601 autofocus SLR, using a Nikkor 24mm - 50mm f2.8 wide angle zoom lens.