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Martha Ann Dickey Wallace
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Birth: Feb. 25, 1833
Bourbon County
Kentucky, USA
Death: Apr. 17, 1889
LaSalle County
Illinois, USA

Martha Ann Dickey Wallace Exert from "The loyal people of the North-west, a record of prominent persons, places and events, during eight years of unparalleled American history" by Stella S Coats MRS. GENERAL WALLACE. The sad romance of William Wallace, of Scotland, and his beloved Marion, seems almost repeated in the history of Mrs. Ann Dickey Wallace and her gallant, chivalrous, devoted husband. Associated as they were from early youth, reciprocal affection had grown with their growth, and sympathy of tastes and mutual regard had made their lives entirely one. She is a native of Bourbon County, Ky., and the eldest daughter of Hon. T. Lyle Dickey. At the age of twelve, then a charming girl, and a favorite in a large community, she became acquainted with William H. L. Wallace, a student in her father's law office, at Ottawa, Illinois. The acquaintance of the child and man steadily and healthily ripened into love. The Mexican war came; Judge Dickey raised and commanded company I, in the 1st Regiment of Illinois volunteers, and young Wallace accompanied him. After honorable distinction in the service, Judge Dickey, on account of failing health, resigned, and came home. Wallace became adjutant. Through the varied triumphs and trials of the entire campaign, the admiration and interest of the little girl never failed. In 1851, then but seventeen years old, she became a dignified wife, when the laurels of the young soldier were still fresh upon his brow. Wallace was indeed one of "nature's noblemen ;" and a union such as this proved to be, seemed all that was necessary to complete and crown their happiness. The esteem in which he was universally held was scarcely excelled by that of his great devotion to the companion of his life. In one of their journeys East, Mrs. Wallace was on the crowded "gang-plank" of a steamer at New York, when the board slipped from its rest and in a moment she, with thirty others, was helpless in the waters, ten feet below the deck, with a fast receding tide. Wallace cast himself into the flood and after a long and desperate struggle with the waves, saved her life at the imminent peril of his own. This added new fibers to a love already strong as death." At the very outbreak of the War of 1861 (Civil War), Mr. Wallace felt it his duty to offer his services to our country, and his heroic wife gave her consent. They were then living at "The Oaks," their beautiful suburban home, overlooking the pretty town of Ottawa; and Wallace was engaged in a large and lucrative law practice. No absence from this sweet seclusion could make it dearer, no military renown could enrich the laurels that already wreathed their young lives; but the time for individual sacrifice had come, and bravely they stepped forth to duty. She says: "The cruel, cruel separation (self-imposed), the anxious waiting for daily letters, the triumph of victory, the dread of danger, the prayers for peace, and a return that happy return which never came, but in hoping for which the heart would never tire, are such as words may not express, but such as your own heart can tell you all." As they parted, Wallace offered his night-key to his wife, she should hold it, talismanic of his return. "Keep it. Will, you may come at any time," was the playful rejoinder, but it concealed not the falling tears; and a few moments later the wife was alone. "Oh! would not desert rocks and streams be heaven's paradise to me, when blessed with the presence of my husband! Ah! Let me go!" 'Twas the language of many a weeping wife whose tears were carefully hidden, lest they alone should unman the soldier's heart. Wallace was the gallant and admired Colonel of the 11th Illinois Infantry. He commanded at the Villa Ridge and Bird's Point, and for his valuable services there received special commendations from Generals McClellan and Grant. Upon the organization of the renowned army that marched up the Tennessee on a path of unbroken victory, he was placed in command of the brigade which formed the extreme left of Gen. McClernand's corps. After the brilliant action at Fort Henry, he marched on to Donelson. In the great battle which has made the name of Donelson forever memorable in the annals of war, he was conspicuous by his coolness in the wildest turmoil and strife, by the skill with which he maneuvered his command, and by heroic courage. His conduct was appreciated by the government, and rewarded with the star of a Brigadier General. His troops moved to Pittsburgh Landing, where by Major General Grant's personal direction, he was assigned command of General C. P. Smith's division in the battle of Shiloh. That division, with General Hurlburt's, stood between the army and ruin. Four successive times it met and rolled back the rebel horde. At a most critical moment Wallace's tall form, ever at the front where the fire was hottest, was seen to reel, and, an instant later, to drop from the saddle. He was shot through the head. But we leave him to trace the history of his gentle, heroic wife. Save a few flying visits at certain posts during the interval of battles, Mrs. Wallace saw nothing of her husband from the time of their separation at home until Mrs. Wallace having written to the General for leave to visit him in camp, and before it was time for a reply remarked very decidedly to her good sister, (early one morning,) " I am going to start today for the camp, to see Will." The sister desired her to wait one day longer, when a letter might come. "That is the very reason why I will go to-day. I fear I may get a letter telling me not to come and I feel that I must go." She had never before thought of going to the camp without an invitation from her husband; but at this time she said, "I feel that I must go." They detained her by persuasion during the day; but that night a night of storm and darkness she set out for Cairo. Here she found general orders forbidding all save soldiers from going up the Tennessee river. She found a messenger, bearing a flag from the ladies of Ottawa to the Eleventh (General Wallace's old regiment), to replace one that had been sent home in shreds and tatters from the field of Donelson. The messenger, giving up hope of getting to the field at that time, was about to return. Mrs. Wallace asked him to allow her to bear the flag to the old Eleventh regiment. This was readily granted. She repaired to the headquarters of the commandant of the post General Strong and, flag in hand, stated her case, and pleaded it so touchingly, that General Strong, waiving his hand to silence her, said, with moistened eye and faltering voice, "Madam, you shall go if it costs me my commission ;" and she did go. Before day on the morning of that memorable Sunday, April 6th, 1862, the steamer reached Pittsburg Landing. At daylight a messenger left the boat to tell General Wallace that his wife was at the landing. Before that messenger reached the camp not more than half a mile distant the booming cannon and crashing of musketry were resounding from the front. The messenger was received by the General, as he was rapidly leading his division to meet the advancing foe; and long before that messenger returned to the steamer, ambulances crowded with wounded and dying soldiers were pouring in from the field. The steamer was soon a well-filled hospital, and while the soldiers fought the enemy, the soldier's wife addressed her care to the mangled and bleeding heroes before her many of whom had been her companions in health on the way to the front. She was soon acquainted with the oppressive truths of the situation. During the long day of that dread and terrible battle where great trees were shivered around her and her boat was for hours a target for rebel artillery she knew that in the thickest of the fight, though in different parts of the field, were her husband and three of his brothers, her father and two of her own brothers. While she sympathized with those suffering on the boat, and with tender and unremitting care relieved their sufferings, her heart was filled with sad forebodings, for, with all her fortitude, it seemed almost too much to expect that the whole seven could come safely through that scene of strife and slaughter. Her husband, commanding Smith's division, held the centre, where she knew the fighting was most furious. Her faith, with the determined hope of her anxious heart, gained new strength for the emergency, and consoled by silent and earnest prayer, she believed that "Will" would come safely through it all. The wounded now poured into the boat until it could receive no more, and Mrs. Wallace, like an angel of peace amid the desolation of war, continued her gentle ministrations. The day wore on; Buel's advance was coming up, and the battle might be saved; but for hours no tidings bad been received of husband, father or brothers. From this moment a letter written by Mrs. Wallace, at the time, to a relative, and placed in my possession, shall in its own artless style tell the sad story: The lower deck of our boat and that of others were used to ferry the reinforcements over. Over and back, over and back, we moved. I was earnestly watching these scenes, more hopeful than most around me. Elder Button came up the steps, with a worn, depressed look, for he had been partially disabled by a spent ball while caring for the wounded on the field. I felt sorry for him, knowing he had looked on so many loved faces that day for the last time and that he was suffering somewhat from his own injuries. Looking still more depressed, he came near me and a little behind me, and said, "This is an awful battle!" I replied, "Yes, but these fresh men will yet win the day." He said, "You have a great many relations on that field today you cannot hope to see them all come in safe." I answered, "They all came safely through Donelson, and today my husband is in command of a division and is comparatively safe. He repeated from behind my shoulder, "It is an awful battle.'' My heart was touched by his depressed tones; but I thought his exhausting day's work had caused them. I turned to console him, and raising my eyes to the face of Hartly, who sat in front of me, and whose countenance reflected horror as he gazed full in the face of Elder Button, the dread truth fell upon my heart like a thunderbolt like the cold hand of steel. Words needed not to tell it; 'twas before me! I was stunned chilled almost paralyzed! Suffering came, hours afterwards. Very soon, brother Cyrus came to me self-charged with the hard duty of telling me my life had been darkened. He was spared the task; his work was already done. He gave me some of the details. Will's division was falling back under orders and in order, he leading them. They had been outflanked by the enemy, and at the time were under a heavy crossfire of rebel musketry. Cyrus had just directed Will's attention to some move of the enemy and he raised in his stirrups, apparently to see better; but a shot had reached him, and the next moment he fell upon his face to the ground. He was in full view of his whole division at the time, and from that moment confusion reigned. Their hopes of success had gone. Cyrus and an orderly (one who loved Will) carried him whom they supposed dead over a quarter of a mile. They had been passed by their own line and the enemy was madly upon them. To remain was to court death, and with no hope of finally saving their precious charge, they laid him tenderly beside some ammunition to shield him from the trampling feet, and tearfully left him narrowly escaping with their own lives. My husband was dead and the enemy had possession of the grounds where he lay. 'Twas all they could tell, and it was enough! In a few moments Cyrus left me to go to Colonel Ransom of the 11th, who lay wounded on the steamer nearby, and he was by mistake carried down to Savannah. So I was quite alone that fearful night. God gave me strength, and I spent much of the night in bathing the fevered brows and limbs of the sufferers around me. Action was a relief to me and some slight help to aid men who were suffering in the cause for which "Will" had given his life. On Monday morning, about 10 o'clock, as I was sitting beside a wounded man just brought in, Cyrus came to me with the word that Will had been brought in (after the rebels were put to flight) and oh, joy he was breathing! I flew to the adjoining boat where he was. There, on a narrow mattress on the floor in the middle of the cabin, he lay mortally wounded. His face was flushed, but he was breathing naturally, so like himself, save that fearful wound in his temple. A ball had passed through his head in a manner that made it marvelous that he could still live. But the greatest joy was yet to come Will recognized my voice at once and clasped my hand. I was thrilled, and exclaimed, "He knows me he knows me!" Others said that could not be, but Will's lips moved and with difficulty uttered "Yes." Words fail to tell how sweet it was! I believed my husband dead, and he is alive and knows me! Father! I thank thee! I could appreciate the feelings of Mary and Martha at the tomb of Lazarus. The boat was now taken to Savannah, and we were permitted to place him in a large, airy room at post-headquarters. Brothers, Cyrus Wallace, Martin Wallace, Hitt Wallace and several of Will's staff were there, and all was done that ready hands and loving hearts could do. He seemed so happy and satisfied to have me near him, but lay in calm self-control even in death conscious that his moments of life were continued only by this rest. But hope with us grew brighter until after the periodical delirium, caused by excessive inflammation, passed away, and his pulse began to fail; we knew then, his moments with us were few. Pa had obtained leave of absence from his command to be with me a short time; but he quickly had to return to pursue the now fleeing enemy. My darling knew that he was going, and pressed my hand long and fondly to his heart. Then he waved me away and said, "We meet in heaven." They were the last words upon those loved lips, and he faded away gently, and peacefully, and hopefully. My father snatched a moment to come to my side, as he was breathing his last. I had now lost him in very deed, but the blow was not so heavy as when I first heard he was killed on the battlefield. Those last days with him had been so cherished, so unexpected I raised my heart in grateful thanks for this, and also that the dearest friends of both were near him at his death. God had led me there, so that I should not meet the great sorrow alone. He had permitted me to soothe the last hours of my husband, and had given him appreciative knowledge of the act. After he could no longer see me, he would pass his fingers over every hand he touched to assure himself by the ring that he held mine. In his restlessness he would drop the hand for a moment, but the next instant would reach for it, and search for the ring. If he took the right hand and found no ring, he would pass quickly on to the left hand, and touch the ring as evidence of my presence. No thought had the smitten one, that any portion of this letter, written in the desolation of bereavement, would ever be in print; but does it not reveal the noblest traits of the true woman? And such has Mrs. Wallace ever proved herself. Quiet, affectionate, and unobtrusive, she has found time for many a silent benefaction, many a deed of kindness to those who serve their God by serving their country. 'Tis no wonder that she felt a deep interest in the success of our national struggle. It had more than the lifeblood of her noble husband. She says, "My husband, father and five brothers were all in the army under fire on that terrible day at Shiloh. There were five of the Wallace brothers, two of my own brothers, and my father, in the army at the same time." Her husband fell in battle at Shiloh; her eldest brother, Cyrus, on General Ransom's staff, fell in General Bank's disastrous battle at Red River. Matthew Wallace of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, was drowned while embarking for Fort Henry, February, 1862. Captain John Wallace died in Texas, of yellow fever, soon after he was mustered out of the old Fourth Cavalry, which was merged into the Twelfth Cavalry, and was the last roll regiment mustered out. Judge T. L. Dickey, Mrs. Wallace's father, was an influential and well-known citizen, who filled positions of eminent trust and responsibility, and filled them ably, besides volunteering his own services for the field. Such are costly ransoms for a nation's honor. Mrs. Wallace still lives at "The Oaks," ever exerting a positive influence for good, and sacredly attending to the duties of the day, which, in her own sweet words, she "does not go far to find." She is a devout Christian, and has a peculiar gift for winning and retaining the regard of all who know her well. She is justly beloved by a large circle of friends, who frequently make, in some delicate way, public demonstration of their esteem. For instance, the citizens of Ottawa presented her with a life-size portrait of her husband an oil painting, by Antrobus. Its reception gave her untold pleasure, and was repaid by her warmest thanks and the assurance that such memoirs would be cherished by her through life. "The Oaks," like the deserted Halls of Ellershe, still lament their noble chief, and "You may come any time," are fit words of waiting for the hero whom a nation mourns.
Family links: 
  Theophilus Lyle Dickey (1811 - 1885)
  Juliet Evans Dickey (1813 - 1855)
  William Hervey Lamme Wallace (1821 - 1862)
  Isabel Caswell Wallace (1857 - 1933)*
  Martha Ann Dickey Wallace (1833 - 1889)
  Cyrus E Dickey (1835 - 1864)*
  Mary Jane Dickey (1837 - 1842)*
  John Jay Dickey (1839 - 1902)*
  Charles Henry Dickey (1841 - 1902)*
  Virginia Belle Dickey Wallace (1845 - 1932)*
  Kitty Emma Dickey (1848 - 1853)*
*Calculated relationship
Wallace-Dickey Cemetery
LaSalle County
Illinois, USA
Created by: BJ
Record added: Feb 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 85063017
Martha Ann <i>Dickey</i> Wallace
Added by: BJ
Martha Ann <i>Dickey</i> Wallace
Added by: BJ
Martha Ann <i>Dickey</i> Wallace
Added by: BJ
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 Added: Nov. 10, 2015

- Ryan D. Curtis
 Added: Apr. 10, 2014

 Added: Apr. 16, 2012

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