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.

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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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

 

April 20, 1865.—We have had orders to march back to Greenville. It has rained so much and been so unpleasant that I dread to return the way we came. We were in hopes to go back by way of Richmond. We started at 12 o’clock. It is very warm, roads almost impassable. Bade Jonesboro good-bye.

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Colonel Lyon’s Letters.

 

April 17, 1865.—I suppose there is little or no doubt of my election. I was never so surprised in my life, for I never had the least expectation of being elected. I shall come home as early as I can honorably and properly do so, certainly by September and probably before, to make the necessary arrangements and preparations for my new duties. You must not feel too hard towards those of my best friends who opposed me. They had an undoubted right to do so.

We have just heard the shocking tidings of President Lincoln’s assassination. This is an awful thing for the country. It makes my heart bleed.

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Jonesboro, Tues., April 17.—We have just heard the joyful tidings that William is elected Judge. The first we knew of it was a shout from the regiment that made the welkin ring. We thought they had got a mail and that they had news of some great victory; so William and I started out to see what the noise was about. As soon as they saw us they shouted, “Hurrah for Judge Lyon”. The mail had come and brought papers announcing the fact of his election. We could hardly believe it, it was so unexpected. We had a curiosity to see how many hundred votes he would be beaten by, but had no thought of election. It is two weeks today since the election, and we have only just heard of it. I never saw William so nonplussed. I am so happy I can hardly contain myself, for now William can leave the service honorably and come home. They think now that we will not go farther East, since Lee’s surrender.

The 4th Army Corps, we now hear, was sent here to go through to Richmond and reinforce the troops already there. The deserters are daily coming in. This morning sixty of Vaughn’s command came here and gave themselves up. The war is over, but poor President Lincoln could not live to see the end. His assassination is awful!

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

Camp Harker, June 10.—We had quite an excitement last night. I awoke with the feeling that there was some one in the tent, and I raised up and saw a man on his hands and knees looking up at me. I screamed, “William, there is a man in the tent.” I awoke all the inmates of all the tents around us with the scream. The man was looking for William’s trousers, I suppose, and found garments he did not expect to see. He got out very quickly. William jumped up and tried to catch him. He felt under his pillow for his pistol the first thing, but I had objected to his having it when I was there, so he did not find it. He shouted, “Stop that thief,” and immediately there were a number of men out of their tents, but they did not know what they were called out for. The man had to run between the tents to get away, and he went like the wind and escaped. Yesterday the Paymaster was here and paid off some of the troops, but he did not pay the 13th. The thief had been through all the tents but one and had taken all he could find, but he did not get anything from us.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

Jonesboro, April 8.—Find the people very pleasant, although they are rebels. We shall board with them until Minerva comes.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

Jonesboro, April 7.—The General sent his ambulance for me to ride in this morning. I am very glad, I shall be much more comfortable. He apologized for not doing it before. He said he thought I had been provided for more comfortably, and that he would see that I was supplied with all the comforts he could command.

We came through very comfortably, and have found a good, large house to live in. We have the parlor, and a large room with a good bed, where we can rest very well.

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Colonel Lyon.

 

Written at Greenville.

We made a long march and reached here, 75 miles above Knoxville, last evening. We have orders to move on to Jonesboro, 35 miles further. Adelia travels in an ambulance, and we are well and happy.

The 13th did not vote. I know that I am beaten and I did not care to swell my vote with that of my own regiment. They would all have voted for me. I have never expected for a moment to be elected. I suppose I am defeated by at least 5,000. I know that some of my best friends were committed to Judge Noggle long before I was nominated, and could not do otherwise than support him.

Everybody is in good spirits over the news from Richmond.

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Mrs. Lyon’s Diary.

Greenville, April 6, 1865.—There seems to be no rest for us. Yesterday we were indulging in the hope of staying here for some time and had quite a settled feeling. If I had not been tired I would have unpacked my trunks, but I was fortunate in not doing so. We are again ordered to march to Jonesboro, 35 miles farther. I shall have to go behind the mules again.

We started. The mules ran down the hill as usual, and when we were three miles out we broke an axle. I then rode in an ambulance for ten miles, seated with the driver. Stayed here all night. Some of the boys march right along with us over these mountains to keep the ambulance from turning over, the road is so steep and sidling. I had much rather march than to ride in this way, but they will not allow me to for fear I will get sick; and then we have to ford so many rivers, when I have to be in the carriage. I sometimes think we never can get up and down the bank; but I find it much better sitting with the driver. Since we have been on this march some of the men run on ahead of the regiment, when we are to stop over night, and gather hay or straw, or get pine boughs for me to sleep on. They do not seem to think that I am in the way at all. They have shown me so much kindness in preparing something for me to sleep on, I shall never forget it.

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