At various times in his remarkable life, Lew Wallace of Indiana was a lawyer, a state senator, vice president of the court-martial that tried the conspirators behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, governor of the New Mexico Territory during the days of outlaw Billy the Kid, best-selling author, and a diplomat who represented the United States in Turkey.
Ray E. Boomhower, the author of the Wallace biography The Sword & the Pen: A Life of Lew Wallace, will examine Wallace’s turbulent career as a Civil War officer in his talk “‘Remember Buena Vista! Lew Wallace in the Civil War.” Boomhower will track Wallace as he advances from colonel of the Eleventh Indiana to promotion to major general and subsequent downfall following the Battle of Shiloh. He will also talk about Wallace’s defense of Cincinnati from Confederate attack and the resurrection of his military career as commander of the Middle Department and role in saving Washington, D.C., from Confederate attack at the Battle of Monocacy.
Wallace dreamed always of glory and lived a life full of adventures, triumphs, and tragedies. Through it all, he believed in himself and was never afraid to accept new challenges. He remains one of the most colorful and important figures in the Hoosier State’s history.
Boomhower is interim senior director of the Indiana Historical Society Press, where he also is editor of the IHS’s popular history magazine Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. In addition to his Wallace biography, Boomhower has written books on such notable Hoosiers as Gus Grissom, Ernie Pyle, May Wright Sewall, and John Bartlow Martin.