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Meade’s Army

The Private Notebooks of Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman

Civil War Era, Civil War in the North

Foreword by John Y. Simon

Description

A first-person account of the last campaigns of the Civil War

“Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman is already well-known to students and scholars of the Civil War for his extensive letters first published in 1922. As a member of General George Meade’s staff from September 1863 until the end of the war, Lyman provided colorful commentary on the inner workings of the Army of the Potomac. Now, with the discovery and publication of Lyman’s “private notebooks,” readers will find even more of his illuminating observations. Historian David W. Lowe has salvaged these largely forgotten notebooks, carefully edited them, and made them easily accessible. Wonderfully rich in military detail, Meade’s Army offers a wealth of information from one of the war’s most perceptive chroniclers.”
— Lesley J. Gordon, Series Editor, Civil War in the North

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.

Author

David W. Lowe is a historian for the National Park Service. He has published articles in North and South Magazine and Civil War Battlefield Guide and is the author of Civil War Sites in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia (National Park Service, 1992), Bentonville Battlefield Resources (National Park Service, 2001), and Civil War in Loudoun Valley (National (National Park Service, 2004).

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