I am a person who has always looked for connections, points of historical geometry between ideas or events, personal or academic, in my study of history, theology, art, or English, primarily, because I thoroughly enjoy the cross-pollinating interplay when I do discover interesting points of connection, and that has occurred quite often in my years as a teacher. As it happens, the newspaper article below on Q.T.V. becoming installed as the Omega Mu chapter of Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Maine in 1899, led to several personal and historical connections of interest for me. It was interesting to read that the National President of Phi Gamma Delta, at the time of Q.T.V’s induction, was General Lew Wallace, and I wondered if he was the same General Lew Wallace who commanded the Union army at the Battle of Monocacy Junction in Frederick, Maryland, 1864, and I found out that it was he. By coincidence, I live very close to that battlefield in Frederick, and I walk my dogs across the various battlefield sites on a weekly basis, and I consider how this short battle between General Wallace’s Union troops against Jubal Early’s Confederate division on July 8th - 9th, 1864 saved Washington D.C. from being captured. Although a Union loss on paper, in reality it was unqualified victory for the country.
General Lee ordered General Early to march up the Shenandoah Valley into Maryland and march south and capture Washington, D.C. The Union forces were caught off-guard, but after receiving some verifiable information that Early was closing in from the west and was going to cross the Potomac River at Shepherdstown into Maryland, General Lew Wallace headed west from Baltimore with his troops and arrived in Frederick in time to meet Early’s 15,000 troops. Although outnumbered 3 to 1, Wallace’s troops fought resiliently until they were forced to retreat eastward. However, the battle slowed Early’s advance toward the capital just enough for Grant to send troops back to Washington from Petersburg to defend it from being captured by the Confederate forces. Although Wallace was defeated at the Battle of Monocacy Junction, the short battle has been called the “Battle that Saved Washington”. After the war, Lew Wallace became the National President of Phi Gamma Delta, and he also wrote the book, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ. He was a proud Fiji.
“Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and to find.”