Senator Todd Young Honors General Lew Wallace’s Heroic Actions During Civil War Anniversary

Written from press release

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) paid tribute today to Hoosier General Lew Wallace, commemorating his role in saving Washington, D.C. during the Battle of Monocacy, which took place exactly 160 years ago on July 9, 1864, according to a press release from Young’s office.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Young recounted how General Wallace, facing a Confederate force, gathered a few thousand Union soldiers to defend the Monocacy River in Maryland. Despite being outnumbered by Confederate troops en route to invade the nation’s capital, Wallace’s forces managed to delay the rebels long enough to prevent their attack on Washington.

“Wallace is best known for his literary work, Ben Hur, but his actions at the Battle of Monocacy are equally significant,” Young stated. “His steadfast defense serves as a timeless reminder that rising to our duty, no matter the odds, can alter the course of history: ‘I did as I promised. Held the bridge to the last.’”

During his remarks, Young highlighted the broader context of the Civil War at that time. The North was weary from three years of conflict, and President Abraham Lincoln’s future, as well as the war’s continuation, hung in the balance. The successful delay at Monocacy provided crucial time for Union reinforcements to fortify Washington, ultimately preventing its capture by Confederate forces.

General Wallace, a native of Crawfordsville, Indiana, had experienced a tumultuous military career, facing demotion after the Battle of Shiloh. Despite these setbacks, President Lincoln recognized Wallace’s potential and appointed him to command the Eighth Army Corps. Wallace’s strategic decision to defend the Monocacy Junction, even without direct orders, exemplified his commitment to duty and the Union cause.

The senator recounted Wallace’s night before the battle, reflecting on the consequences if he failed. He envisioned a devastated Washington, the Union capital in flames, and President Lincoln forced to flee. Determined to prevent this, Wallace and his troops fiercely resisted the Confederate advance, incurring significant casualties but achieving their objective.

The battle’s outcome ensured that when Confederate General Jubal Early’s troops reached Washington on July 11, Union forces were ready to defend the city. This delay was pivotal, preserving the capital and maintaining Northern morale, according to Senator Young.

Senator Young emphasized the lasting significance of Wallace’s actions. The Union’s success at Monocacy contributed to Lincoln’s re-election, the passage of the 13th Amendment, and the eventual end of the Civil War. Wallace’s legacy, both as a military leader and an author, continues to inspire.

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