He was the son of John Wallace (1793-1872) and grew up with his brothers, A. Wellington Wallace and Charles H. Wallace, Howson Wallace in Fredericksburg.
Wallace was an attorney before the Civil War and served in Company C, 30th Va during the Civil War During the last eight months of the war Captain Wallace was Acting Judge Advocate General of General Longstreet’s First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.
At the end of the war Captain Wallace resumed his practice in partnership with Elliott M. Braxton. He was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney of both Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County and was repeatedly re-elected until he resigned the offices in 1881 and 1882, respectively. Four years later, in 1886, he retired from the active practice of law and spent much time travelling in Europe.
At the death of this brother Charles in 1893, Captain Wallace was elected President of The National Bank of Fredericksburg. He resigned this position in 1900 but remained active in the affairs of the Bank until his death seven years later at the age of 73. He never married.
He was not active in the affairs of the church by serving on the Vestry but attended – Pew #66 was owned by him. He did become a trustee of St. George’s in 1902.
A man of wealth, prestige and generosity, Captain Wallace donated land at the site of the monument to Mary Washington. However, Wallace is noted for what he gave in his will written only a month before he died.
Wallace’s estate was valued at an estimated $186,000, a significant estate . In addition to specific bequests to relatives and friends, he gave $1,000 to the Female Charity School and designated $1,500 for a memorial window to his parents in St. George’s Church.
Wallace also bequeathed $15,000 to the City of Fredericksburg for the establishment of a city library to be known as the “Wallace Library.” The will specified that not more then $5,000 be expended for the purchase of a lot and the erection of a suitable building and that the remainder of the legacy be used for the purchase of books. The gift was contingent upon the city’s commitment to properly maintain the library as a permanent institution. The building across from the church is still standing and since the library moved to a larger facility in the former Lafayette School on Caroline Street it has housed the offices of the School Board of the City of Fredericksburg.
“It was the character and sound judgment of Captain Wallace that gave him the respect and confidence of our people,” according to a newspaper account at the time of this death. “Simple and unostentatious in his bearing and manners, cordial and charitable, kind and generous, not from policy but from nobleness of heart, he held the esteem of his fellow citizens and the love of those who knew him best and of those who were the beneficiaries of his kindness,” the article continued.