Brig. Gen. William Henry Wallace

Born:  Saturday, March 24, 1827 Laurens District South CarolinaDied:  Thursday, March 21, 1901 Union South CarolinaAge:  73Buried:  Forest Lawn Cemetery Union South Carolina

Pre War: Planter, newspaper publisher, lawyer, politician.War Service: 1861 Pvt. in 18th South Carolina, Lt. Col., Second Manassas, August 1862 Col., South Mountain, Sharpsburg, service in South Carolina, Petersburg, Crater, September 1864 Brig. Gen., commanded Wallace’s Bde/Johnson’s Divn, Appomattox.Post War: Lawyer, planter, politician, judge.Born in Laurens District, South Carolina, William Henry Wallace was educated at South Carolina College. Upon graduation he studied law. After admission to the South Carolina bar, he opened a practice, but he also became interested in politics and became involved in a brief career as a journalist. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, Wallace served in the South Carolina legislature, where in 1860 he strongly supported the call for a secession convention.

When war commenced in April 1861, Wallace enlisted as a private in the 18th South Carolina Infantry. His education quickly gained him the appointment as the regiment’s adjutant and a promotion to lieutenant colonel. Wallace and the 18th were sent to Virginia in the summer of 1861 and the following spring distinguished themselves in the Peninsula campaign, during which Wallace served as the regiment’s lieutenant colonel.

On 5 August 1862, Wallace led his men on a reconnaissance toward Malvern Hill to dislodge the Union forces that had moved out of their position at Harrison’s Landing to reoccupy that position. He fought a sharp skirmish there that perhaps had some influence on the Federals’ ultimate decision to withdraw back to Harrison’s Landing. During the last week of the month, Wallace and his men skirmished with Federal troops along the Rappahannock River before moving forward to participate in the Confederate victory at Second Bull Run. After the battle of Second Bull Run, Wallace was promoted to colonel and commander of the regiment then serving in Nathan “Shanks” Evans’s Tramp Brigade.” Shortly afterward, Wallace commanded the 18th at South Mountain and Antietam.

The 18th and the “Tramp Brigade” were sent to South Carolina shortly after the Maryland campaign to aid in the defense of Charleston. Wallace and his men served in the defenses of the city and on James Island through the late spring of 1863, when the brigade was sent to Mississippi to serve under Joseph E. Johnston. In June 1863 the brigade was in the division of John C. Breckinridge at Jackson, Mississippi, and then after the fall of Vicksburg was placed under William Hardee in the Department of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana.

At the end of the summer, Wallace and the 18th were sent back to South Carolina, where they remained through the spring of 1864. At the end of the spring, Wallace and his men became a parr of the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia under P. G. T. Beauregard. By the end of June, he and the 18th were part of the defenses of Petersburg. He fought in defense of the Confederate position that became the focus of the Union offensive known as the Crater, suffering heavy losses to the regiment.

For the remainder of the summer, Wallace and the 18th served in Bushrod Johnson’s division. In September, Johnson recommended that Wallace be promoted to brigadier general and that he be given command of the brigade of Stephen Elliott, Jr. Elliott had been wounded at the Crater, and since no one expected him to recover from his wounds (he eventually succumbed to them, but not until 1866), Johnson needed a permanent replacement. Johnson’s recommendation was acted on, and at the end of the month, Wallace was promoted and accepted his new brigade command (which included the 18th South Carolina).

For the remainder of the year, Wallace and his brigade held the Confederate position at the Crater, skirmishing frequently with Union forces probing for weaknesses. The following spring he moved out of the defenses 0:’ Petersburg with the remainder of the army and led his brigade in the fighting retreat that followed. He fought at Five Forks on 1 April and then skirmished with Federal forces at Amelia Court House on 3 April. He and his men skirmished with Union troops all the way to Appomattox Court House, where Wallace temporarily assumed command of the division just before the surrender.

After his parole, Wallace made his way home to South Carolina. For a time he lived quietly on his plantation, where he worked to rebuild his property and to reestablish his legal practice. Once his political disabilities were removed, he reentered South Carolina politics and returned to the South Carolina legislature in 1872. In 1877 he began service as a state circuit judge, retiring in 1893. He died in retirement in Union, South Carolina.My Source:  Encyclopedia of the American Civil War – David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler