Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Saturday, 27th—It is cloudy and still raining some. I received a pass and with six other boys of our company went to the city to spend the day. We went through some of the public buildings, the capital, patent office and the treasury building; they are fine buildings, all being built of marble. We viewed the White House from the street, and went through the Smithsonian Park, which is very beautiful indeed.

The city is full of soldiers viewing the sights. But there is one thing which seems to cast a gloom over the city, and that is, that our beloved President Lincoln is not in the White House, that he was not here to greet us when we passed down Pennsylvania avenue, and that he had to be taken off by the hand of an assassin just when the war was over.

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27th. Still raining. Folks concluded to go to Richmond today. Went to camp on 8:30 train. Nettleton went down. Regiment ordered to Missouri. Too late for Richmond. Great feeling among the boys. Disappointed. Q. M. rations.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

Camp Harker, May 27.—This morning when I first wakened I looked up; and on the upper part of the tent, right over the bed, were ever so many centipedes. I spoke to William. We were quite alarmed and got up and out of that tent about as quickly as we could. They were different lengths, showing they had several families. We did not get any of them on us. The men took the tent down and killed all they could find. They said there were numbers of them, but we escaped being bitten.

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Chattanooga, Saturday, May 27. It is cool enough to appreciate the fire in our “wee” stove until breakfast. Then it grew hot, while we drilled two hours in the morning. Camp thoroughly policed, I delegated to cook our mustard greens for dinner. Had a fine mess, at least it appeared to be well relished. Heard from sister Jane in her new capacity. She appears to like it well. She writes an interesting letter and will make her mark in the world if she lives.

Captain Hood is busily at work on his final returns. I understand that he will come out all right. Lieutenant Sweet our young and grave commander now is gathering up much of the useless ordnance and quartermaster stores lying around, preparatory to turning them over.

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Headquarters 56th Mass. Vols.,
Near Alexandria, Va., May 25.

Dear Hannah, — We had our big review day before yesterday, and everything passed off splendidly. We started from camp on Monday morning at 6 o’clock, and marched over Long Bridge to Washington. I met William George, Uncle William and Mr. Andrews in W. and again in the evening, when they came to my camp. We marched beyond the Capitol about a mile, and bivouacked there for the night. Saw Harry Townsend here. In the morning we started about ten o’clock and marched by the Capitol and up Pennsylvania Avenue. The scene when marching up to the Capitol was splendid. It really seemed as if the statue of the Goddess of Liberty were alive and looking down on us with triumph and pleasure. The Avenue was crowded with ladies and gentlemen, and with the long column of troops looked splendidly. Where the reviewing officer was stationed there were thousands of people, and it almost bewildered me to see so many faces gazing on the show. We marched down to Long Bridge, where I left my regiment, and came back to see the rest of the troops. Our corps looked better than any other as far as I could see, and every one that I met told me the same thing. The 56th were in first-rate trim, and I flatter myself looked as well as any of the regiments about there. I came back to camp late in the evening, and found William George and Mr. Andrews bunked in in Colonel Jarves’s and my tents. They went off yesterday morning, and had quite a pleasant time I imagine.

I expect to have a dinner this afternoon for several of my class, and for any visitors that may come along. I expect the governor may be here.

Bill Perkins has been camped near here, but has now moved across the river.

May 26.

Had a dinner party last night. John Hayden, Charlie Whittier, Lawrie Motley, Walter Thornton, Charlie Horton and Charlie Amory were present. We had a jolly time, and enjoyed ourselves very much indeed.

I am appointed on a board to examine officers below the rank of colonel, who desire to remain in the service. From what General Griffin, our division commander, told me, I imagine that I shall have very little trouble in remaining in the service myself, if I desire to do so.

We are having a heavy rain-storm to-day. . . .

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Friday, 26th—It is raining again today, and the roads between our camp and the city are almost impassable. We are poorly fixed here for washing and cleaning our clothing. The long march from Goldsboro, North Carolina, has been pretty hard on our clothes. We have not received any pay since November, 1864, and some of the boys are getting pretty short of change.

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26th. Talked of going to camp today, but too rainy. Got a carriage and we six rode over to Arlington Heights, the forts, Arlington House and Freedmen’s School. Wrote to Mother. Had a good time. Went to theatre.

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May 26th. At one o’clock this morning the guard was called out to stop a negro dance, some trouble having broken out, caused by outsiders. The guard must act as police, keep things quiet. At 9 A. M. relieved and returned to camp.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

Camp Harker, May 26.—Camp is being moved, with the exception of headquarters, which will be moved when we go to Nashville.

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Letter from Mrs. Lyon to Isaac Lyon.

Camp Harker, May 24, 1865.—We had a hard thunder storm last night. A heavy storm seems very near when you are in a tent. I would jump at the peals, they sounded so near.

William and I were sitting on a puncheon on the grass, and as George went into the tent he called our attention to a swift on the trunk I had been sitting on a few minutes before. They captured it and I have it in a bottle for you.

We had a call from Father Tracey and Mr. O’Riley. I like Father Tracey very much. He has been with this army corps considerably.

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