David O. Gray

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Military History

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Robert Young


Major General Lew Wallace was one of the rising stars of the Federal officer corps prior to the battle of Shiloh in 1862, having played a critical role in the victory at Fort Donelson. His career as an active commander was severely limited following the battle of Shiloh when some felt he failed to arrive at the field of battle when expected. This study argues that the reasons given for his being placed on the shelf (accepted by most prominent historians) are in error. An examination of the timeline of day one of Shiloh with a particular focus on Wallace’s division is critical to understanding what happened. The execution of the march is examined in some detail along with placing its impact in context. Explaining how the accepted narrative developed and assessing its accuracy is the final portion of the study. An injustice was done to a Federal officer of quality, and thereafter the Union was denied his services during a critical period of the war. This cannot be undone. However the memory of Lew Wallace can now be more properly understood and valued.



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