Born in Brookville, Indiana on April 10, 1827, Lewis “Lew” Wallace would go on to not only lead his country into battle, but also emerge victorious on the literary front.
The son of lawyer and Indiana governor, David Wallace, Lew followed in his father’s footsteps and passed the bar in 1849. He was elected to the Indiana senate in 1856 and moved to Crawfordsville, a town he would call home for the rest of his life.
With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1860, Lew was appointed Adjutant General of Indiana, but requested a field commission. He led troops in the battle of Shiloh, and later in defense of Cincinnati and Washington. After the war, he was appointment to the military commission that tried the conspirators following Lincoln’s Assassination.
Wallace is little remembered today for his political and military triumphs, but rather for his literary masterwork, Ben-Hur. Written in 1880, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, has never been out of print, and has been adapted for film three times.