Monday, April 19, 2010

Boys will be boys

Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman served as Army of the Potomac Commander George Meade's aide-de-camp from September 1863 until the close of the war. His letters are fascinating; his diary is better. I highly recommend "Meade's Army: The Private Notebooks of Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman.

Lyman holds nothing back. He described George Custer as "a crazy circus rider", and Judson Kilpatrick as "spare, nervous and jerky." By the way he wrote, he never intended to have his diary published.

On April 19, he attended a review of Brig. Gen Francis C. Barlow's Division. Afterward, he stopped at the Headquarters of Brig. Gen. Gershom Mott. While waiting at Mott's Headquarters, he commented on the mind-set of former soldiers of the Third Army Corps. "They are a dirty lot...of the stamp that keep indecent photographs in their baggage. Some of these nowadays from France, are of an extraordinary depth of foulness."

I have to wonder how Lyman knew of these photos. Were they uncovered during an inspection? Or maybe the soldiers got the expected reaction when they showed Lyman their prize images....Boys will be boys.

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