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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

April 27.—We came through the tunnel near Tullahoma. It is 2,226 feet in length and it takes five minutes to go through it, and it is as dark as a dungeon.

We are encamped in a very pleasant spot about seven miles from Nashville, in a grove on a hill, cool and shady. We shall go into Nashville next week and see our acquaintances. There is a rumor that the Fourth Corps is to be sent to Texas, but nothing definite.

When we got off the cars, a sick man was also taken off who had congestive fever the doctor said. He was lying on the ground and I went to him and asked him if I could make him a cup of tea. He said no, but that he would like to have his face washed. So I got a dish and some water and a cloth and washed his face and hands. He had a high fever and I wet his head. He was very grateful. I then made a cup of tea and some toast, but he did not eat much. [Two days after that he died of small pox. I was a little alarmed after I heard of that.]

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

 

April 26.—We stayed on the track all night within seven miles of Stevenson. There was a train off the track ahead of us. There have been so many wrecks on this road that you can not go a mile without seeing where there has been one, so I am told. The guerillas fired at a train in front of us and at one behind us. I think we were fortunate to escape as we did, there were so many dangers, both seen and unseen.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

 

April 25.—We got to Chattanooga, had another view of those beautiful mountains, went over this bad road at a tremendous rate, but safely. William got me to playing whist before we got to the Whiteside bridge so that I would not notice it, but I found it out. I had dreaded it. When we first went over it our attention was drawn to it. Standing in the door of the car we could see the engine and a letter S formed by the train between us and the engine. I have never been over such a crooked road, and it made me feel nervous.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

 

April 24, 1865.—Last night while we were waiting for the cars there came up as hard a thunder storm as I almost ever heard, and so many of us were driven into the depot that the men went into empty cars. The train did not come until after midnight, and as it was then raining so hard and was so muddy, the question was raised as to how I was to get to the cars, but Jerry said that he could “tote” me, which he did. It was nearly night when we got to Knoxville. We were delayed by trains ahead of us being off the track.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

Bull’s Gap, Sunday, April 23, 1865.—We have sent all the things to the cars. Stayed all day under a borrowed fly to a tent. Captain King invited us to take tea with him. He lives in a part of the depot. We will take the cars here for Knoxville.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

April 22, 1865.—We started at five o’clock in the morning so as to get the cool of the day. Had a hard march. Got to Bull’s Gap in advance of the other troops.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

 

April 21, 1865.—We started at five o’clock this morning and marched three miles beyond Greenville. It was so warm that many of the boys threw away their blankets, and some threw away their overcoats, they were so burdensome. They say if the war is over they will not need them again. We came to a beautiful spring and the men filled their canteens. I saw one man drop out of the ranks and go and lie in the corner of the fence, and I asked the orderly to tell the surgeon that there was a man left. He came back to see him and found him dead. He had drunk too much cold water, and being so very heated it had stopped the heart’s action. There were several ill from the same cause.

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