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

Reminiscences of the Civil War, William and Adelia Lyon

Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

June 13.—I am starting for home. General Beatty kindly takes me to Nashville in his ambulance. Adjutant Scott goes North with me.

{ 0 comments }

Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

 

Camp Harker, June 1, 1865.—We have moved camp. I found it all done when I came back from town. We take long rides every day. I enjoy it very much now, the mare is so kind and gentle.

{ 0 comments }

Colonel Lyon’s Letters.

Camp Harker, May 29, 1865.—I expect to get a leave of absence, which I have applied for; and in that case we shall go home about the middle of June. I do not like to resign, because I think we shall be mustered out during the summer and I wish very much to stay in the service to the end of the war. My leave will be for twenty days if I get one. The surrender of Kirby Smith practically ends the war, and saves us probably from being sent to Texas.

{ 0 comments }

Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

 

Camp Harker, May 28.—A large party of us took a trip today to the Hermitage, General Jackson’s home. We had two ambulance loads, and nearly all our officers went on horseback, as a body-guard. We went through the garden to the tomb where General Jackson and his wife are buried. At the head of the tomb is a beautiful large magnolia tree in bloom, which filled the whole yard with perfume. There was a great variety of flowers in bloom and Lieut. Knilans bought me a beautiful bouquet of roses. Hickory canes cut on the plantation were also for sale, and I bought two for the two fathers.

We took our lunch, expecting to picnic, but the old servants offered us the use of the dining hall, a large, beautiful room, which they said was seldom opened. There was a very nice mahogany extension table, made in the old fashion, and they brought us the old family china, and gave us all the buttermilk we could drink. (Buttermilk is a great luxury with the Southern people.) We saw the old family carriage, made entirely from the old ship Constitution; but the gray-headed negroes were the greatest novelty about the plantation. Old Aunt Betty said she cooked for General Jackson forty years. They have numbers of visitors. We had a very pleasant day.

{ 0 comments }

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.

{ 0 comments }

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.

{ 0 comments }

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.

{ 0 comments }

Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

Camp Harker, May 20, 1865.—They have named the camp “Camp Harker,” after some General I believe. There is still no change in our condition. We are to move camp soon. William and I have been to see the place, about half a mile from here, and we shall have more room.

{ 0 comments }

Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

 

May 11, 1865.—Cold and stormy. We got so cold that we tied up the tent and went to bed to keep warm. It is raining so hard we have had to take a lunch in the tent. We could not build a fire to cook anything, nor set the table out of doors. It cleared off towards night, so we had a fire built before the tent and it made it quite comfortable, and we had a good supper. I often find that our goodies in the trunk come handy.

{ 0 comments }

Colonel Lyon’s Letters.

May 9, 1865.—Yesterday was quite a gala day here. The Fourth Army Corps, mustering 20,000 muskets, was reviewed by Major-General Thomas. The day was very fine and everything passed off nicely. Our women never saw anything of the kind before, and of course were delighted. Adelia brought a side-saddle from home and I have a nice, gentle little mare which she proposes to ride about the country. We are pleasantly situated in a beautiful grove on Mill creek, about four miles south of town, and are enjoying unadulterated camp life. When we were gone a few days ago the boys built an arbor over our tent and made us a rude bedstead. We eat from a rough table set under a tree, and have no floor in our tent.

We are all watching with great interest the final disposition to be made of the army, with strong hopes that we shall be sent home before many weeks elapse. Certainly there is no more active service for us in this war. The Government has failed to pay the troops as it should. There is eight months’ pay due this corps. Adelia will stay as long as the prospect is good for our being soon discharged.

_

Letter from Mrs. Lyon’.

Tuesday, May 9, 1865.—We attended the review. It was the most gorgeous sight I ever saw. The bugler makes more music in the calls than I ever heard before. He passed in review alone and played all the bugle calls. We had an ambulance at our disposal, and we went around to see the sights. I saw much more of Nashville than I did when we were living there.

I must tell you how our bedstead is made. The posts are four posts driven into the ground, and the end and side pieces are nailed onto them. Some small trees were split and laid on them, the flat side up, and over that is a straw bed. The quilts are in a bad plight. William has gone to bed so often with his spurs on that they are pretty well used up. I frequently got my arms through the holes, but I have had them washed clean and have mended them the best I could, and get along with them the best I can. The blue spread covers it all and looks nice. We can’t get any more here. I forgot to tell you about the headboard of our bedstead. There are three boards four inches wide driven into the ground lengthwise. This keeps the pillows in place.

{ 0 comments }