LT: October 2, 1864 Theodore Lyman

   

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in Lyman Theodore

Editor’s Note: Theodore Lyman was General George G. Meade’s aide-de-camp from the fall of 1863 through Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.  An intelligent and outspoken individual, Lyman’s letters to his wife provide great insight into the happenings at Meade’s headquarters.  These letters, taken from the now public domain book Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865; Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox and written by Lyman to his wife, appear here at the Siege of Petersburg Online exactly 150 years to the day after they are written.  Since this site is concerned solely with the Siege of Petersburg, the letters start on June 12, 1864 and end on April 3, 1865.  See the bottom of this and every other letter for a list of all the letters which have appeared to date.

October 2, 1864

. . . The Washington boat was much in the style of the other — rather worse and more crowded, people and freight similar. There were more Christian Commissioners, who were joined by those who had come with me. The funniest people you ever saw! Their great and overshadowing anxiety was dinner; that was the thing. Accordingly they had deputed the youngest — a divinity student, and supposed to be a terribly sharp fellow — to lie in wait at sundry times and secure tickets for the meal. “I have arranged it all with the steward; we shall sit together,” said this foxy one. Long before the hour, they all went down and stood against the door, like the queue at a French theatre. One of them came up, a little after, wiping his mouth; and asked me with surprising suddenness, if I “was on the side of the Lord.” They were mostly Methodists, and of course very pious. One of the soldiers on the lower deck, suddenly cried out: “Oh, H !” upon which a Christian Commissioner said: “Mr. Smith, did you think to bring a bundle of the tracts on swearing?” I told him I hoped he had brought a good many, and of several kinds, as there was a wide field in the army. All of which reminds me of an anecdote. A group of these gentlemen, going on foot and with their carpet-bags towards the front, were addressed by a veteran with “Hullo! got any lemons to sell?” “No, my friend, we belong to the army of the Lord.” Veteran, with deep scorn: “Oh, ye—es; stragglers! stragglers!” I respect these Christian Commissioners, though they are somewhat silly often. Some of them had come all the way from Wisconsin. I arrived in camp somewhat after dark and was tenderly welcomed by all, from the General down. Barstow and Humphreys were highly pleased with their gifts. To-day a curious thing occurred. While I was away, looking for a place for the new camp, General Meade rode out with the Staff. There came a conical shell, which shaved a patch of hair off the tail of General Humphrey’s horse, scraped the leg of General Meade’s boot, passed between General Ricketts and Griffin who were standing within a foot of each other, and buried itself in the ground, covering several officers with sand and dirt. Four Generals just escaping by a turn of the head, so to speak! I got this shell and shall send it home as a great curiosity.1

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