Annual Exhibit

Annual Exhibit The Flower of Gallantry: The Montgomery Guards & the 11th Indiana Volunteers 1856-1861 opens in March 2024.

For Lew Wallace, the mid-1850s was a time of personal and political self-discovery. With the growing certainty of conflict between the states looming, Wallace grappled with the daunting prospect of war against his fellow countrymen. Motivated by the pursuit of honor and glory, and a deep-seated desire to preserve the Union, Wallace took the initiative in preparing for the coming war. He founded a local military militia known as the Montgomery Guards, a group characterized by their dedication to drilling, rooted in an innovative French aesthetic. The commitment laid the foundation for the enduring legacy they left in the aftermath of the war.

The 2024 exhibit explores the transformative journey of Lew Wallace and the Montgomery Guards as they evolved into the Eleventh Indiana Volunteers at the onset of the conflict. Key elements include the inspiration and adoption of the French Zouave infantry style, Wallace’s significant appointments as Indiana’s Adjutant General and commander of the Eleventh Indiana regiment, the solemn oath “Remember Buena Vista” sworn in front of the Indiana Statehouse, and the national recognition garnered by the regiment following the gallant romp on Romney, Virginia. Within the ranks of the Eleventh Indiana Volunteers, numerous members of the Montgomery Guards ascended to officer roles, with commission ranging from Second Lieutenant to Major General.

The Flower of Gallantry will run through early December 2024. The exhibit may be viewed free of charge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.