Lew Wallace Study opens season with ‘The Flower of Gallantry’

Exhibit features Montgomery Guards & the Eleventh Indiana Volunteers 1856-1861


The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum is pleased to announce our 2024 exhibit, “The Flower of Gallantry: The Montgomery Guards & the Eleventh Indiana Volunteers 1856-1861” examining how Lew Wallace’s local militia company became a famed Civil War regiment. The exhibit will open at 10 a.m. March 5, in the Carriage House Interpretive Center at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum.

The mid-1850s was a time of personal and political self-discovery for Lew Wallace. He was sure of one thing, that a war between the states was near. Motivated by his unwavering pursuit of honor and a desire to preserve the Union, Wallace decided to ready himself for the impending conflict by founding a local military militia known as the Montgomery Guards. The Guards’ thorough dedication to drilling, rooted in an innovative French aesthetic, laid the groundwork for the legacy they left behind following the war.

The exhibit explores how Lew Wallace and the Montgomery Guards evolved into the Eleventh Indiana Volunteers at the start of the war. Examples include the inspiration and adoption of the French Zouave infantry style, Wallace’s appointment as Indiana’s Adjutant General and commander of the Eleventh Indiana, the oath to “Remember Buena Vista” taken in front of the Indiana Statehouse, and the national exposure of the regiment following the gallant romp on Romney, Virginia. As a part of the Eleventh Indiana, many of the former Montgomery Guards became officers in the war with commissions ranging from Second Lieutenant to Major General.

“The Flower of Gallantry” will run through early December 2024 and may be viewed free of charge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The General Lew Wallace Study is also open for guided tours. The Museum suggests visitors schedule guided tours ahead of time, but walk-ins will be accommodated as well. Tours last approximately one hour and are $7 for adults and $3 for students.

For more information about the exhibit, visit online at www.ben-hur.com/programs/annual-exhibit/ or contact Thomas Meeks at 765-362-5769 or tmeeks@ben-hur.com.