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William Wallace

By Mac Wyckoff           
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William Wallace, the son of Andrew and Sallie (Patrick) Wallace, was born in November 16, 1824 in Columbia, South Carolina. He attended Columbia Male Academy and graduated from South Carolina College in 1844. Two years later, like his superior officers Kennedy and Kershaw in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment, he passed the bar.

In 1848 he married Victoria C. McLemore. He was one of the wealthiest members of the regiment. In 1860 as a lawyer and plantation owner he was worth $115,000 - a lot of money at the time. His varied pre-war career well prepared him for command. Besides legal work and running a plantation, he had served three terms in the state legislature and as a general in the state militia. His leadership as an army officer was described as depending "not so much upon tactics or discipline, but more upon the cool, stern courage that was in himself."

He was commissioned as the commander of Company C of the 2nd South Carolina on April 8, 1861. At 1st Manassas he was one of five captains in the regiment (half of them) to be wounded. Luckily it was a minor cheek injury. He fought at Williamsburg, Savage Station,Malvern Hill, Maryland Heights, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville before being promoted to major on June 6, 1863. At Gettysburg he received a severe wound in the arm. He was furloughed two weeks later for 60 days. He rejoined his unit on September 22, 1863, two days after the Battle of Chickamauga. He fought in the East Tennessee Campaign and was promoted to lieutenant colonel to rank from May 6, 1864. He commanded the regiment in all the battles of the bloody Overland Campaign from Wilderness to Cold Harbor and in the operations around Petersburg that the unit was engaged in. He was wounded in the right foot in a skirmish in the Shenandoah Valley. After a 30 day furlough, he returned to command in the Carolina Campaign against General Sherman fighting at Averasboro and Bentonville. He received his furlough at Greensboro on May 2, 1865.

After the war, Wallace returned to Columbia where he lived at the corner of Elmwood at Bull streets. At a state convention in September of 1865, he introduced a resolution that passed that a group of South Carolinians go to Washington to ask for the release of Jefferson Davis from prison in help in "establishing the peace and harmony of the Union." He served in both houses of the state legislature before retiring from active politics in 1885.

After the death of his first wife, he married a widow, Mrs. Fannie C. Mobley (Means). From 1891-1894 he worked on correcting the indexes of records for the Secretary of State’s office. In that year he was appointed postmaster of his hometown. William Wallace suffered a stroke and died "as if falling asleep" on the evening of November 12, 1902. He is buried in the 1st Presbyterian Church graveyard in Columbia. He was eulogized as "one of the bravest men who ever wore the gray and upheld the cause of the southland."

None of his war time writings are known to exist. However, his article in The Southern Historical Society Papers is an important source of information on operations of his regiment in the last year of the war. ===================================================================

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