Saturday, December 17, 2016

China Snatches Underwater Drone from Military Sealift Command Ship ‘Bowditch’ in South China Sea

Navy file photo of the Military Sealift Command's  T-AGS 60 Class Oceanographic Survey Ship, USNS Bowditch. U.S. Navy PhotoBy Phil Stewart WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (Reuters) – A Chinese warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in the South China Sea, triggering a formal diplomatic protest and a demand for its return, U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday. The drone was taken on Dec. 15, the first seizure of […]

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Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard helps remember USS Oklahoma

Former USS Maryland (BB-46) crew member and Pearl Harbor survivor Electrician's Mate Floyd Welch and his daughter Laurie Broglio share memories with Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas McMillian and Petty Officer 2nd Class Kristian Cheeks.  U.S. Navy photos by Justice Vanatta

Former USS Maryland (BB-46) crew member and Pearl Harbor survivor Electrician’s Mate Floyd Welch and his daughter Laurie Broglio share memories with Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas McMillian and Petty Officer 2nd Class Kristian Cheeks. U.S. Navy photos by Justice Vanatta

Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility Public Affairs

The legacies of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) and the battleship USS Oklahoma became linked on Dec. 7, 1941, as shipyard workers were among the first responders to come to the aid of the stricken ship shortly after the onset of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Civilian shipyard workers organized by Julio DeCastro were credited with rescuing 32 Oklahoma crew members from the capsized battleship. In the months following, the shipyard restored the ship to a normal position in one of the most challenging salvage operations in Navy history.

Seventy-five years later, Sailors assigned to PHNSY & IMF stood by eight framed photographs recounting the history of Oklahoma from the day of the attack until the ship entered dry dock at the ship in 1944. These photos were selected by PHNSY & IMF and the National Park Service to represent the ship at the time of the attack, but also the difficult task of salvaging the capsized battleship.

Seaman Rachel Johnson listens as former USS Maryland (BB-37) crew member and Pearl Harbor survivor Peter Nichols shares memories.

Seaman Rachel Johnson listens as former USS Maryland (BB-37) crew member and Pearl Harbor survivor Peter Nichols shares memories.

Oklahoma was struck by at least five torpedoes in the opening moments of the attack, capsizing within 15 minutes. Given the extent of the damage inflicted on the nearly 30-year-old ship, the Navy never seriously considered returning Oklahoma to duty. There was, however, considerable material that could be salvaged and reused on other ships. Following the more pressing requirement to repair lesser damaged ship, the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, predecessor to PHNSY & IMF, turned its efforts towards righting Oklahoma.

A complex system of 21 electric winches, hauling blocks and pulleys were constructed near the water’s edge on Ford Island adjacent to Oklahoma. Using 42 miles of one-inch wire, the winches exerted a combined strength of 345,000 tons of pulling force. Cables ran from the winches, through the blocks, out over a row of 40-foot A-frame towers built on Oklahoma’s hull, and finally to pads welded to the ship.

The ship was refloated on Nov. 3, 1943 and on Dec. 28, it entered the Navy Yard’s recently completed Dry Dock Number Two for additional repairs. Oklahoma was decommissioned Sept. 1, 1944 and the ship’s hull was sold for scrap a year later. On May 10, 1947, Oklahoma’s final voyage began, under tow, heading for the West Coast. The ship sank in a storm the following week.

“The shipyard’s contributions in World War II may have begun on Dec. 7, 1941, but they continued throughout the war,” said Command Master Chief Roger Schneider, command master chief for PHNSY & IMF.

“These photos help to tell part of that story, and also help our Sailors to understand that what they do in the shipyard today is directly linked to the heroes of 75 years ago.”

PHNSY & IMF is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command and a one-stop regional maintenance center for the Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii with a combined civilian and military workforce of more than 5,000. Strategically located in the mid-Pacific, the Navy’s largest ship repair facility between the West Coast and Asia is about a week of steam time closer to potential regional contingencies in East Asia than sites on the West Coast.

Reporters Committee and historians win bid to unseal grand jury transcripts from historic 1942 leak investigation

Transcripts of witness testimony from a historic 1942 grand jury investigation of the Chicago Tribune are now public, following a lengthy court battle to unseal them. 

The testimony was part of an investigation that arose out of a Tribune article that ran at the height of World War II.  The June 1942 report by Tribune correspondent Stanley Johnston about the famed battle of Midway noted that the U.S. Navy knew the Japanese would attack by sea – revealing the highly classified information that the U.S. had cracked the Japanese code. The subsequent grand jury investigation of Johnston and the Tribune marks the only time in U.S. history that the government has attempted to prosecute a major newspaper for violating the Espionage Act for publishing leaked classified information.  The grand jury ultimately refused to issue an indictment.

In late 2014, attorneys for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, arguing on behalf of historian Elliot Carlson and a coalition of organizations, successfully petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for release of the transcripts, which are currently stored at the National Archives.  In June, 2015, in an opinion by Chief Judge Ruben Castillo, the district court ordered release of the Tribune transcripts, concluding that disclosure “will not only result in a more complete public record of this historic event, but will ‘in the long run build confidence in our government by affirming that it is open, in all respects, to scrutiny by the people.’”  The government appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

In September, in a majority opinion by Chief Judge Diane Wood, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s unsealing order, rejecting the government’s argument that the district court lacked any authority to order that the transcripts be made public.  The appellate court held that district courts have “long-standing inherent supervisory authority” that “includes the power to unseal grand jury materials in circumstances not addressed by Rule 6(e)(3)(E)” of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.  Describing the story behind the case as “a thrilling one, involving espionage, World War II, and legal wrangling,” the Court of Appeals further concluded that the district court had not abused its discretion in ordering that the 1942 Tribune grand jury transcripts be released.  The Court of Appeals also rejected the argument that Mr. Carlson and the other petitioners lacked standing to seek access to the grand jury transcripts, holding that the fact that Mr. Carlson “is a member of the public is sufficient for him to assert his ‘general right to inspect and copy ... judicial records[,]’” which include grand jury records.

“We are thrilled that the grand jury transcripts from this important, singular event in American history will now be open to the public,” said Reporters Committee Litigation Director Katie Townsend, “Reporters Committee attorneys are proud to have represented Mr. Carlson and a coalition of leading historical organizations in this case, and to have obtained a result that we believe greatly benefits journalists, historians, and the public at large.”  

The successful unsealing effort of Mr. Carlson and the Reporters Committee was joined by the American Historical Association, the National Security Archive, Naval Historical Foundation, Naval Institute Press, Organization of American Historians, and Society for Military History.

For more information, contact Reporters Committee Litigation Director Katie Townsend,, 202-795-9303.

About the Reporters Committee

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was founded by leading journalists and media lawyers in 1970 when the nation’s news media faced an unprecedented wave of government subpoenas forcing reporters to name confidential sources. Today it provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. Funded by corporate, foundation and individual contributions, the Reporters Committee serves the nation’s leading news organizations; thousands of reporters, editors, and media lawyers; and many more who use our online and mobile resources. For more information, go to, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.

Remembering naval history, honoring the crew of USS Tulip


Naval Air Station Patuxent River personnel conducted a memorial service at the USS Tulip Monument in St. Inigoes, Maryland, Nov. 4, to remember the Sailors lost when Tulip, a Civil War Union gunboat, exploded due to a faulty boiler on Nov. 11, 1864 off of what is now Webster Outlying Field on its way to Washington, D.C. for repairs.

Most of the 69-member crew perished that day. Eight unidentifiable bodies washed ashore near what is now Webster Outlying Field and are buried there, marking the nation’s smallest federal cemetery.

Capt. Jason Hammond, NAS Patuxent River executive officer, spoke to those in attendance, including a group of Jackson family members, descendants of the Tulip’s pilot, 35-year-old James R. Jackson, who also died in the tragedy.

The Descendants
Wallace Jackson and several family members have been attending the ceremony for the past 10 years, ever since Pax River started conducting the annual remembrance.

“As many as 10 or 12 of us usually make the trip,” Jackson said. “There used to be more, but some are getting older and it’s hard for them now.”

The Explosion
Assigned to the Potomac Flotilla, Tulip’s mission was to support Union communications, tow, transport and land Soliders, and maintain the Union blockade of Confederate ports.

With a faulty starboard boiler, the vessel had been ordered to return to Washington for repairs; however, not wanting to be a slow, easy target for enemy cannons during their voyage up the river, Capt. William H. Smith ignored warnings about the boiler and ordered Tulip to proceed full steam ahead. The resulting explosion was heard for miles, and Tulip sank quickly near Piney Point.

Jackson, who through the years has acquired numerous documents related to the incident, shared a copy of the official accident report. The following are selected portions of that report, as told by different survivors:

- “About sixteen minutes past six o’clock, I was on the forepart of the vessel, heard some noise and excitement in the engine room, started aft and saw volumes of steam come up the engine and fire room hatchways, and heard engineer Gordon cry out, “Haul your fires.” At that moment, senior engineer Parks rushed down the engine room and engineer Gordon cried out, “For God’s sake somebody raise the safety-valve.” Seeing there was danger, I walked aft; when I came abreast of the cabin companion way, the explosion occurred, and the after part of the vessel went down in about two minutes.”
- “Her boilers exploded with a terrific crash, rending the upper portion of the vessel to atoms, scalding the officers and crew and hurling them in all directions. Several of those who escaped without serious injury ran immediately to lower the gig, but before they could get it down, the wreck of the Tulip sank, carrying down with it most of those onboard.”
- “Capt. Smith, the pilot, Master’s Mate Hammond and the Quartermaster were on the bridge over the boilers, and must’ve been blown to atoms. The only trace left of Capt. Smith was his hat.”
Just 10 men were rescued, with two of them dying shortly afterward. The only human remains ever found were eight badly burned, unidentifiable bodies that washed ashore and are buried near St. Inigoes Creek, where the secluded USS Tulip Monument now stands, marking the smallest federal cemetery in the nation.

The Ship’s Pilot
Jackson’s great grandfather, James R. Jackson, was 35 years old when he died, leaving behind a wife and three small children in Middlesex County, Virginia, where he owned a 30-acre farm and possibly sympathized with the Confederacy.

“James worked as a ship’s pilot and it’s my understanding, through family lore, that he really didn’t have much choice when the Union came and told him he was going to work for them,” Jackson said. “The markers in the rivers had been torn up and they needed people with knowledge of where the shoals were to safely take up gun boats.”

James Jackson remained a civilian pilot for most of the war, but finally enlisted in the Union Navy on March 29, 1864.

“He qualified for a Navy pension, but it took years to get it,” Jackson noted. “In fact, the family didn’t even apply until 1877 for his kids and widow, who then died in 1879.”

Part of the problem was that Matthews County, where the Jackson’s were married and where their children were born, had sent its records to Richmond, Virginia, where they were destroyed by fire during the Civil War.

“Family and neighbors had to provide affidavits swearing they attended their wedding, witnessed the births recorded in the family bible, and knew the children,” Jackson said. “Some even recalled how they bounced them on their knee while visiting the house.”

Finally, on June 24, 1896, the pension was issued — $15 per month plus the additional sum of $2 per month for each of Jackson’s three children, until reaching the age of 16 years. The pension, which was retroactive, commenced Nov. 12, 1864 and ended Dec. 9, 1877.

Tulip’s Wreckage and Artifacts
Tulip’s wreck was discovered by sport divers in 1966 and was subject to looting for years until the Maryland Historical Trust’s Maryland Maritime Archaeology Program and the U.S. Navy got involved in the 1990s. After a state and federal investigation, over 1,500 illegally collected artifacts were turned over to Naval History and Heritage Command for conservation, study, curation and display.

“One year, we got to hold some of the artifacts [at the Tulip ceremony] and one of those items was an octant,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t standard Navy issue, it was fancy with silver inlay. It was my great grandfather’s personal property. We know because of where it was recovered on the ship; the pilot had his own cabin.”

Jackson plans to keep coming to the memorial ceremony for as long as Pax River continues to hold it.

“It’s another way to be patriotic; to appreciate what the veterans have done,” he said. “And it doesn’t just remember [my ancestor], it remembers all of them.”

Witnesses to History

(The following was written by Barbara Orbach Natanson, head of the reference section in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, and featured in the November/December 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.)

The Library’s documentary photograph collections provide a rich, visual record of the past century.

Since the advent of photography in the 19th century, people have recognized the power of images to communicate. In each generation, photographers have provided visual testimony of noteworthy and everyday events. Viewed as a whole, the Library’s documentary and photojournalism collections offer a visual timeline covering more than a century.

Bodies of Confederate artillerymen lay near the Dunker Church after the Battle of Antietam, 1862. Alexander Gardner.

Bodies of Confederate artillerymen lay near the Dunker Church after the Battle of Antietam, 1862. Alexander Gardner.


Some of the earliest large-scale documentary projects were records of war. Roger Fenton’s Crimean War photographs represent one of the earliest such efforts. During the spring of 1855, Fenton produced 360 photographs of the allied armies and British military camps.

With the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, photographer Mathew Brady planned to document the conflict between the Union and the Confederacy on a grand scale. Brady supervised a corps of traveling photographers and bought photos from private photographers fresh from the battlefield. Brady shocked America by displaying Alexander Gardner’s and James Gibson’s graphic photographs of the bloody Antietam battlefield. The New York Times said Brady “[brought] home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war.”


The post-Civil War period saw expanding use of the camera to document territories and peoples. In 1867, Alexander Gardner photographed the western frontier as a field photographer for the Union Pacific Railroad. His stereographic images bring scenery and people to life when viewed in 3-D through a stereograph viewer.

The U.S. government sponsored photographic surveys as part of several 19th-century exploratory expeditions led by Clarence King and George M. Wheeler. Stereographic photographs by Timothy O’Sullivan, William Bell and Andrew J. Russell allowed the public to see parts of the continent that few had witnessed first-hand.

Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii shot this view of Russia’s Belaya River in color, 1910. Prokudin-Gorskii Collection.

Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii shot this view of Russia’s Belaya River in color, 1910. Prokudin-Gorskii Collection.

The drive to survey vast territories photographically was an international one. Using emerging technological advances in color photography, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) documented expanses of the Russian Empire between 1909 and 1915. The Library has digitized his 1,902 triple-frame glass negatives, making color images of landscapes, architecture and people from that era accessible to modern viewers.

Lewis Hine (1874-1940) used his camera to document the need for social reform. Working for the National Child Labor Committeein the early-20th century, Hine’s photographs and detailed captions eloquently conveyed the plight of child workers.

Under the auspices of a succession of government agencies (Resettlement Administration; Farm Security Administration; Office of War Information), Roy Stryker headed perhaps the best-known documentary effort of the 20th century. Beginning in 1935, Stryker’s photo unit employed at various times photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Jack Delano, Marion Post Wolcott, Gordon Parks, John Vachon and Carl Mydans, first documenting Depression-era rural dislocation and the lives of sharecroppers in the South, as well as conditions in the mid-western and western states. They went on to capture developments throughout the U.S. as the country mobilized for World War II. The project yielded more than 170,000 negatives that document many aspects of American life.

Contemporary photographers such as Carol M. Highsmith and Camilo Vergara continue to document the nation’s changing landscape. Highsmith has described her sense of urgency in documenting aspects of American life that are disappearing, such as barns, lighthouses, motor courts and eclectic roadside art. Vergara began photographing America’s in the 1970s with a focus on continuity and change. He explains, “My work asks basic questions: what was this place in the past, who uses it now and what are its current prospects?”

Members of the picket line during the garment workers strike in New York City, 1910, Bain News Service, George Grantham Bain Collection.

Members of the picket line during the garment workers strike in
New York City, 1910, Bain News Service, George Grantham Bain Collection.


Aided by the development of halftone technology at the end of the 19th century, newspapers and magazines could reproduce photographs more easily and cheaply.

George Grantham Bain, known as the “father of news photography,” recognized the hunger for pictorial news in the first decade of the 20th century. Bain employed photographers to capture newsworthy photos that he distributed to subscribing publications and, in turn collected photographs from them. The Bain Collection, comprising more than 40,000 glass negatives and corresponding prints, taken primarily in the 1910s and 1920s, richly document sports events, theater, celebrities, crime, strikes, disasters, public celebrations and political activities, including the woman suffrage campaign.

Soon joining Bain were two news photo businesses that took advantage of their proximity to the nation’s capital. The studio of George W. Harris & Martha Ewing specialized in portrait and news photography in Washington, D.C. More than 40,000 photographs show many aspects of the nation’s political and social life over the course of the first half of the 20th century. The National Photo Company subscription service, operated by Herbert French, generated more than 35,000 photographs starting around 1909 and continuing into the early 1930s.

Arnold Schwarzenegger participates in the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 1991. Maureen Keating, CQ Roll Call Photograph Collection.

Arnold Schwarzenegger participates in the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 1991. Maureen Keating, CQ Roll Call Photograph Collection.

Pictorial publishing expanded in popular magazines like Look. The Library of Congress acquired Look’s photographic archives when the magazine ceased publication in 1971. The black-and-white and color images— many unpublished—invite exploration of the personalities and pastimes of the 1950s and 1960s.

Similarly, the archives amassed by the New York World-Telegram & the Sun Newspaper and the U.S. News & World Report organizations, together comprising more than 2.2 million images, include many more photographs than the publications used. They document major world crises as well as passing fancies of the 20th century.

In recent years, the Library has acquired the photograph collections of Roll Call and Congressional Quarterly, two publications that cover activities on Capitol Hill. Comprising more than 300,000 black-and-white and color photographs, the images were taken between 1988 and 2000.

Through the Library’s commitment to preservation and access, these photographs, and all others in its custody, will continue to move and inform generations to come.

All photos from the Prints and Photographs Division

Friday, December 16, 2016

Lew Wallace: After the Civil War

Lew Wallace: After the Civil War

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

An earlier post briefly discussed former Confederate general James Longstreet’s post-Civil War career in the Federal government. Among the positions he held was that of minister to Turkey (1880-81). His successor in that position also was a Civil War veteran – former Union Major General Lew Wallace. Wallace served as minister to Turkey from 1881 to 1885.

During the Civil War, Wallace led troops in western Virginia, helping to secure what became West Virginia for the Union. Serving under the command of U.S. Grant, his division helped capture Fort Donelson, Tennessee, in February 1862. At the battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, in April 1862, Wallace and his troops lost their way to the battlefield on the first day of fighting, thus incurring the ongoing ire of U.S. Grant, commander of the Union forces at that battle. Leaving Grant’s command, Wallace subsequently held other posts. Perhaps most notably, in July 1864, he led Union forces against those under the command of Confederate general Jubal Early at the battle of the Monocacy River outside Frederick, Maryland. Despite losing the battle, Wallace’s troops successfully delayed Early’s advance toward Washington during the third invasion of the North by troops under the direction of Robert E. Lee, allowing reinforcements from the Union forces outside Richmond and Petersburg to man the fortifications around the capital city. Wallace also served on the military commission established to prosecute the Lincoln assassination conspirators and headed the military court that tried the commandant of the Confederate prisoner of war camp at Andersonville, Henry Wirz.

After the war, Wallace resigned his commission and went to Mexico to assist the Mexican army. After returning to the United States in 1867, he made unsuccessful runs for Congress in 1868 and 1870.

While his quest for a diplomatic or consular posting did not culminate until 1881, the extant records indicate that Wallace began maneuvering for such an appointment in 1872. In June of that year he sent the following letter to President Ulysses Grant:

Letter 1: Lew Wallace to President Grant

Washington City, June 13, 1872

His Excellency,                                                                                                                                             President Grant                                                                                                                                                  Dear Sir:

I have submitted propositions to gentlemen in Philadelphia based upon the consulate at Santarem that I may have time to consider acceptance of the appointment.  I take the liberty of suggesting that the Sec. of State be notified (if he has not already been) of the tender of the place.  The precaution may prevent a troublesome slip.

Very truly, your friend,       /s/Lew. Wallace


Nothing came of this approach and in November, Wallace sent the President two letters.

Letter 2: Lew Wallace to President Grant


Crawfordsville, Ind., Nov. 16, 1872                                                                                                                    His Excellency                                                                                                                                             President U.S. Grant

Dear Sir:

   You will be kind enough, doubtless [to] recall the explanation I made to you of the passage by Congress of the Act establishing a consulate at the city of Santarem, on the south bank of the river Amazon; also, my explanation of the application for the appointment of Chas. M. Travis, Esq., as consul at Para.  I stated that certain gentlemen of St. Louis had it in mind to inaugurate an American commercial and navigation enterprise in that region; that the two consulates were considered important to the project; and that, if the enterprise could be begun on a scale to justify me in accepting it, I would, after the election, formally apply for the appointment to Santarem.

   We have diligently inquired for data to serve as a basis for an estimate of the capital required for the business; but without success.  As a consequence, the gentlemen interested decline to engage themselves to put boats upon the river; and, in the absence of sufficient knowledge of the condition of trade in that part of the world, they are certainly justified in doing so.  They offer to assist me if I will descend the river and collect information; but, as they will not obligate themselves to any action, and as the expedition would consume seven or eight months, I do not think I can afford to give that time upon such an uncertainty.

    I have, therefore, concluded to change the application to that of Minister to Bolivia.  A residence in that country, about to be opened to direct trade by a railroad around the falls of the Madeira river, will give me ample opportunity to post myself and the American public upon what is to day really a sealed book — I mean commercial affairs in the Amazon valley.

    Of course, I understand fully the difference between the duties and proprieties incident to a mission and a consular appointment.  It is only necessary to add in this connection that, if you should give me the appointment to Bolivia, I should have in mind my own credit and the interests of my country.

    As to Mr. Markbreit, the present incumbent, his predecessor, Mr. Caldwell, of Cincinnati, informed me that the republicans of Ohio four years ago, presented his name for the place to satisfy Mr. Hansaureck, whom you may know as editor and proprietor of a German newspaper published in Cincinnati — the same who, in the recent contest, modestly demanded of the National Rep., Com. $30,000 for his influence and paper, and failing to get it, turned over to the enemy, and deluged you with abuse.  As it is, I do not think Mr. Markbreit could complain if I make application for his place or you choose to grant it.

    This I write in private explanation.  Elsewhere I send you a formal application, and accompany it with letters recommendatory from Gov. Morton, Senator Pratt and Gen. Coburn.  I have also written to Governors Jewell and Hawley, of Connecticut, and Mr. Bartlett Brent, Chair. of the Rep. Cent. Com. of that state, requesting them to furnish me with letters, and forward them to Gen. Porter for submittal to you.  The letters, sent herewith, from Gen. Hawley will explain why I count on their recommendation.

Very respectfully, yr. friend & svt,

/s/Lew. Wallace

Letter 3: Lew Wallace to President Grant

Crawfordsville, Ind., Nov. 16, 1872                                                                                                                    His Excellency                                                                                                                                              President U.S. Grant                                                                                                                                           Dear Sir:

   I respectfully apply to be appointed minister from the United States to the Republic of Bolivia, South America.  Herewith please find letters recommendatory from Senators Morton and Pratt, and Gen. Jno. Coburn, of my State.  Others of like purport could be readily obtained; these, however, allude to services rendered in the late canvass, and, I think, sufficiently indicate that the appointment would be agreeable to the republicans of Indiana.

Very respectfully,                                                                                                                                                  Your friend & servant,                                                                                                                                  /s/Lew. Wallace


Wallace did not receive an appointment from President Grant, despite the recommendation of the Republican leaders of Indiana. Perhaps the disagreements during the Civil War continued to color Grant’s opinion of Wallace.

Wallace worked actively on behalf of Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican candidate for President in 1876. Shortly after Hayes’s inauguration, Wallace met with the new President to discuss an appointment and followed up with the following letter.

Letter 4: Lew Wallace to President Hayes

Washington, March 9, 1877                                                                                                                                 His Excellency, President Hayes                                                                                                                    Dear Sir:

   I avail myself of the request you made me this morning.

   It is hardly necessary to give reasons for a preference of the Italian mission over all others of the second class.

   The Brazilian embassy would be my next preference.  Our manufactured products ought to command the markets of that country; and it is my opinion that a generous transmission of comparative details, reaching everybody through the State Department, would go far to achieve the object by inducing enterprise.

   The Spanish mission is very attractive — only I am afraid of the possible complication to which we are momentarily liable in that quarter.

   Mexico would be my last choice; at the sametime [sic] my knowledge of the country and people might make me more serviceable there than elsewhere.

   It is for you to say.

Very truly, your friend, /s/Lew. Wallace  


In June, Wallace wrote the following letter to President Hayes.

Letter 5: Lew Wallace to President Hayes

Crawfordsville, Ind., June 1877                                                                                                                           His Excellency, President Hayes                                                                                                                      Dear Sir:

    A few days after your inauguration, you were kind enough to request me to leave with you a written statement of my preferences among the foreign missions, saying you might not have it in power to give me my first choice.  Thinking to escape imputation of abuse of your favor, I gave the following as preferences in their order– Italy, Brazil, Spain, and Mexico– all of the second class.

    After delivering you the paper, I refrained scrupulously from troubling you with calls, or letters, or recommendations.  In particular, I have declined the offers of influential friends to wait on you in my behalf.  I did not even have communications with Mr. Evarts upon the subject.  The reason you will readily see.

    In the next place, I came home, and disengaged myself from business.

    The newspapers have had you dispose of all the missions stated.  While I do not, of course, believe all the newspapers say, still I begin to think that possibly any expression of preferences may have been overlooked or forgotten by you, or that you may have come to think me indifferent about the matter.  In either of these events, there can be no impropriety, I am sure, in setting myself right; and for that purpose I presume to send you this note.

Very respectfully,                                                                                                                                                  Your friend,                                                                                                                                                     /s/Lew. Wallace

Wallace did not receive a posting to any of the places mentioned in his letter, despite the support of Republicans of Indiana. Rather, President Hayes appointed him to the post of governor of the New Mexico Territory. Wallace served in that position from 1878 to 1881.

While serving as territorial governor, in continuance of his search for an overseas post, Wallace sent the following letter to Secretary of State William Evarts.

Letter 6: Lew Wallace to Secretary of State William Evarts

Executive Office, Santa Fe, N.M.                                                                                                           November 18, 1878                                                                                                                                  Honorable W. M. Evarts                                                                                                                                     Sect. of State                                                                                                                                         Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                                               Dear Sir:

   I take the liberty of sending you a copy of the Democratic organ of New Mexico, containing some markings, which will show the progress made in suppressing the insurrectionary troubles in Lincoln County.

   That task would seem to have been my special mission here; and as it is accomplished, do you not think me entitled to promotion?  As the field in which your hand has to appear is a very wide one, with much to be done in it, I would be particularly happy if you would entrust me with some fitting part of the work.

   The speech you were going to make in New York, and did make, has not yet come to hand.

Very respectfully, your friend,                                                                                                                    /s/Lew. Wallace


Only in 1881, did President Hayes appoint Wallace as U.S. Minister to the Ottoman Empire. He served in that position until 1885, and by all accounts did a reputable job as a diplomat.

Wallace also was a writer. His most famous book is Ben Hur: A Story of the Christ, published in 1880. It was the best-selling novel of the nineteenth century and has never been out of print.  Wallace died in 1905.

Source: The first three letters come from the Lew Wallace file in the Letters of Application and Recommendation During the Administration of Grant, 1869-1877 and the second three letters come from the Lew Wallace file in the Letters of Application and Recommendation During the Administrations of Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, and Chester Arthur, 1877-1885, both part of Entry A1-760, Record Group 59: General Records of the Department of State, National Archives.

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