The Ottawa Avenue Cemetery Association is presenting a weekend of events honoring the life and death of General WHL Wallace (July 8, 1821 – April 10, 1862), in which the net proceeds go to the restoration and maintenance of the Dickey Cemetery; the resting place of Gen Wallace.
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William Hervey Lamme Wallace planned to study law with Abraham Lincoln in Springfield. Instead he joined Theophilus Lyle Dickey’s practice in Ottawa, Illinois. Dickey was a friend and colleague of Lincoln’s and each spoke highly of WHL Wallace. In 1851 Wallace married Dickey’s daughter, Martha Ann. Wallace became licensed in law in 1846 and that same year he helped form the 11st Illinois Voluntary Infantry. He rose to the rank second lieutenant and adjutant and participated in the Mexican-American War. After which he became district attorney in 1853.
At the start of the Civil War, Wallace helped start the 1st Illinois, Infantry Regiment, which was assembled in Springfield. He was then elected the unit’s colonel. He rose up the ranks and commanded a brigade at the Battle of Fort Donelson in 1862.
For his service at Fort Donelson Colonel Wallace was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers.
At the Battle of Shiloh, Wallace, as a division commander, managed to withstand six hours of assaults, located in the famous Hornet’s Nest. When his division was finally surrounded, he ordered a withdrawal and many escaped, but he was mortally wounded and only later found barely alive on the battlefield by his troops.
He was carried from the field and his wife joined him afterwards. She tended to him, until he died three days later in her arms. His last words were “We meet in heaven.” He is buried in in Ottawa, Illinois at his home. His war horse, Prince, is buried next to the General.