LT: November 13, 1864 Theodore Lyman

   

0 comments

in Lyman Theodore

November 13, 1864

We had a Lieutenant-Colonel C——- , a Britisher, up for a visit; he is commander of the forces in that tropical climate of New Brunswick. In aspect Colonel C——- was not striking; he had done injustice to what good looks he had by a singularly shapeless suit of city clothing, which I judge must have been purchased ready made from a village tailor in New Brunswick. He had a sort of soft cloth hat, an overcoat of a grey-rhubarb tint and trousers which once might have had a pure color, but seemed to have become doubtful by hanging in the sun outside a shop. I don’t think the gallant Lieutenant-Colonel was much interested in matters military. Perhaps he had read out, perhaps he had no natural taste that way, or perhaps he felt cold and uncomfortable. At any rate he looked bored, and his only military remark did not indicate deep reflection. “This,” said I, “is what we call a corduroy road.” “Oh! ah! Indeed; yes, well, it’s very well now, you know, but what will you do when it comes wet weather?” I was too much overcome at this putting the cart before the horse, to inform him that the corduroy was built for no other purpose than for wet weather. After this I confined myself to considerations of the state of health of the Hon. Mr. Yorke (he who came back with us from Liverpool).  He is under the command of the Colonel, it would appear, and afforded an innocent topic of conversation.  Since then two other English officers have been entrusted to the fatherly care of Rosencrantz, and diligently shown round.  When they got near the end, they said: “Now we are much pleased to find you are a foreigner, because we can frankly ask you, what you consider the general feeling towards the English in this country.” To which Rosie (who don’t like to miss a chance) replied: “Vell, I can tell you that, so far as I have observed, some Americans do just care nothing about you, and many others do say, that, when this war is over, they will immediately kick you very soon out from Canada!” When the horrified Bulls asked: “Aw, aw, aw; but why, why?” Rosie replied in the following highly explanatory style: “Because they say you have made for the Rebs very many bullets.”

FrederickRosencrantzMeadesADC

General [John] Gibbon dined with us and was largely impressed by our having oysters on the shell, which he pitched into with the fervor of a Baltimorean long separated from his favorites.  Gibbon is by birth a Pennsylvanian, but lived, since boyhood, in North Carolina.  When the Rebellion broke out, two of his brothers went into the Rebel service, but he remained loyal.  One of his sisters was in the South but could not escape, and it was only the other day that they allowed her to come on board the flag-of-truce boat and come down the river to our lines, where her brother met her and took her North.  He had sent word to his younger brother to meet him on the same occasion, but the young gentleman sent word, “It would not be agreeable”; which shows they are pretty bitter, some of them.  Gibbon has an Inspector named Summerhayes, who is of the 20th Massachusetts, and who has got so used to being shot at, that he seems not to be able to do without it, and so gallops along the picket line to rouse the foe to pop at him.  Which reminds me of what Grant said (either by accident or on purpose).  He had come out, with a great crowd of civilians, to ride round the lines.  Someone proposed to go out and visit the pickets.  “No,” said Grant, innocently, “no; if I take a crowd of civilians, the enemy may fire and some of the soldiers might get hurt!”1,2

***

***

Source/Notes:

  1. SOPO 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.
  2. Agassiz, George R. Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865; Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox. Boston: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1922, pp. 267-269

***



What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: