Ray E. Boomhower on Lew Wallace
Ray E. Boomhower presented a program on Lew Wallace, the talk wonderfully illustrated with screen visuals. He is the author of The Sword & The Pen: A Life of Lew Wallace. (Not only that, but do a search for him and see the amazing‐‐& fascinating—wide array of subject matter he has written at book length about!) He has not been a one‐dimensional author, which wide expanse of interest highly recommends his writing about any of his subjects. When asked why he choose to study Lew Wallace, he said he was fascinated by the wide experience of his subject—such as his authorship of Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
Everyone took something interesting away from his talk. One item he emphasized and I think rightly, was the beating Lew Wallace subjected his command to at the battle of Monocay River on July 9 1864… which fight delayed the surprise advance of Confederate General Jubal A. Early on Washington, D.C., just enough to save the capital. (My daughter‐in‐law’s “recruit” ancestor recalled the battle as he saw it as “a corn field on fire.”) Added to the glory rays around his action there is the fact, as presented by Mr. Boomhower, that it was Wallace who noticed the threat and took his own initiative to counter it.
This ranks him as one of the best of the “political generals” (non career/West Point).
Broomhower brought out the irony of Wallace’s greatest strategic victory having been achieved by his greatest tactical defeat. (There is a lot of philosophy somewhere in that, but since we are not a philosophy club, I will leave off.) Suffice it to say that Wallace made General Early… Late.
Another theme in his talk was the controversy of his role at Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing). To learn more of the author’s take on that, read his book. You might also read Wallace’s 2‐volume autobiography, which is highly regarded as a model in biographical literature.
It was noted that the Lew Wallace Study & Museum at Crawfordsville is well worth the time to visit. I remember it years ago as full of memorabilia, especially from the 1959 Charlton Heston film version of Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Wallace forever changed the general opinion of fiction from bad to good with that book and subsequent stage & film productions of it.
As a bonus, Mr. Broomhower gave us each an “Indiana Experience Admission Ticket” for the Indiana Historical Society. http://www.indianhistory.org 317 232 1882. Thank you, sir, for that.
Alexander Lawrie At The Fort Wayne Museum of Art
We had a guided tour of the Lawrie oils prior to the regular meeting, conducted by Brian
Williamson, who has a particular interest in military artifacts. The collection is owned by our State of Indiana. There is a lot more to the story…
Bar & Grill at O’Reilley’s
We had table talk between the art museum visit and evening meeting. The great thing about that is the opportunity to talk with other members and learn more history and more about each other.
Nothing like sharing enthusiasm for a common interest.
Next Meeting: 6:30 pm (new starting time) September 12 2016 “The Founding Fathers”