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Lew Wallace
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    (April 10, 1827-February 15, 1905)
    Born in Brookeville, Indiana
    Union general during the US Civil War
    Governor of New Mexico Territory (1878-81)
    US Minister to the Ottoman Empire (1881-85)
    Wrote the novel 'Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ' (1880)
    At the Battle of Shiloh, he took the wrong road after being ordered to support General William T. Sherman, with the result that he missed the first day of fighting, having spent it marching to and fro (April 6, 1862).
    As governor of New Mexico, he allegedly offered Billy the Kid a pardon to testify against other participants in the Lincoln County War, then reneged on the deal.
    His offer to raise and lead a division of volunteers for the Spanish-American War was turned down by the government (1898).
    He then tried to enlist in the Army as a private, but was rejected because of his age.
    The New York Times claimed, ''Ben Hur' appealed to the unsophisticated and unliterary. People who read much else of worth rarely read 'Ben Hur.'' (1905)
    He said the orders he received at Shiloh never specified which road he was supposed to take.
    Although General Ulysses S. Grant said that his orders did tell Wallace which road to take, he conceded that since he had given the order verbally to an aide, he could not be sure if the orders were transmitted to Wallace accurately.
    At the Battle of Monocacy (July 9, 1864), he delayed Jubal Early's advance on Washington, DC, long enough for reinforcements to reach the city.
    He was married to Susan Elston for 52 years.
    'Ben Hur' surpassed 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' by Harriet Beecher Stowe to become the best-selling American novel of the 19th century.
    'Ben Hur' was so popular in both the North and South that one scholar claimed it 'helped to reunite the nation in the years following Reconstruction.'
    'Ben Hur' was the first novel to be blessed by the Pope.

Credit: C. Fishel

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