The Private Notebooks of Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman
David Lowe John Y. Simon
The Kent State University Press
Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman served as Gen. George Gordon Meade’s aide-de-camp from September 1863 until the end of the Civil War. Lyman was a Harvard-trained natural scientist who was exceptionally disciplined in recording the events, the players, and his surroundings during his wartime duty. His private notebooks document his keen observations. Published here for the first time, Meade’s Army: The Private Notebooks of Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman contains anecdotes, concise vignettes of officers, and lively descriptions of military campaigns as witnessed by this key figure in the Northern war effort.
Lyman may well be the finest chronicler of the day-to-day experiences of a staff officer in the Civil War, and his notebook entries have an immediacy, coming as close to real-time reporting as possible. As combat raged, Lyman penciled notations into his dispatch books, including exact times when Meade issued orders and when units deployed. He later transformed his notes into a coherent, historically accurate narrative, filling the account with personal and military details that few others were in a position to observe and including his sketches and hand-drawn maps showing the positions of the army after every significant movement.
With Meade’s Army, editor David W. Lowe has completed a task that should have been undertaken long ago: a proper and scholarly editing of Lyman’s journals. The publication of this significant resource will give historians and students of the Civil War a clearer understanding of the last great campaigns of the Army of the Potomac and of the men who led it.