Letter written by Private Luke C. Lyman of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 18th US Infantry, to his family. The letter was written from the headquarters of the 2nd Brigade near Atlanta, GA. Lyman writes that the previous day was difficult, as they had a heavy fight at Utoy Creek, GA. However, the regiment “won laurels” by driving back the Confederate troops. The Confederates attempted to take back their works after dark, but were again driven off by troops under the command of General George H. Thomas. Lyman remarks on the casualties suffered by the 18th US Infantry as well as the 15th Regulars, which he blames on General Absalom Baird. Lyman pities the troops on the skirmish line that night, for if the weather turns foul they will have no shelter. He closes by writing that he has been ordered to the division headquarters.
Head. Quarters 2d
Brigade 1st Division 14th A.C.
7 Miles South West of Atlanta
Georgia Aug 8th 1864
Dear Parents & Sisters
We have been on the move and fighting for a longe time so we have not had time nor a chance to write an answer to your last letter which Phill recieved some time ago, and has it with him out at the front yesterday if it was Sunday, was a hard day for our 2d Brigade we had a heavy fight and the 18th wone lorals [laurels], charged the Johneys rite to their works making them run like whiped dogs, taking about five hundred prisoners killing and wounding a slew of them. The rebs were so chigrined at our success that they waited until dark and then tried to take back their works by a charge our boy[s] waited until they came very close and saved their charges, then they poured volley after colley into them which sent them howling back to mourn their loss and repent their audacious effrontery in attempting to charge any of General Thomas’es men knowing that they are all olde soldiers and know how to handle the Johney [???]. The loss in the 18th is about seventy or eighty men, mostly slight wounds though 15th Regulars lost still heavier on account of an Enfilading fire
the rebs had on them General Beard [Baird] not advancing as he should have done.
I pitty the boys who are on the skirmish line this afternoon and tonight their hard ships are hard ships tonight, for they will be obliged to lay in their pits if it does rain and there is no shelter for them to shield them from the merciless pelting rain and they have to have a cup to dip the water out of their rifle pits so they can stay in them, for to show yourself out of them is a little dangerous piece of bisness. I am glad I have got a place where I can stand and look on and see just
as well. I am ordered to go out to Division Head Quarters, so I will have to close in haste, if it does rain but I have a mule to ride. I had to get up three times in the night and go round. Phill is well and has but three weeks minus three days to stay.
my love to all direct to
L C Lyman
2nd Brig 1st Div
Luke Chandler Lyman was born October 29, 1832, the son of Frederick Lyman and Hannah Chandler. He worked as a shoemaker in Clermont County, OH and married Mary Ann Garster on May 27, 1860. He is described as being 5’10”, fair skinned, with brown hair and blue eyes. He enlisted in Columbus, OH on October 30, 1861 at the age of 29 and served as a private with Company A of the 18th US Infantry. He was discharged on October, 30, 1864 at Lookout Mountain, TN when his service term expired. He returned to Ohio and had three sons with Mary. In 1882 he filed as an invalid to receive his pension. He died April 24, 1922 and is buried in Rivercliff Cemetery, Morrow County, OH.
Philip S. Lyman was born in May 1841, the son of Frederick Lyman and Hannah Chandler. He enlisted August 26, 1861 in Delaware, OH along with Oliver S. Lyman (24) at the age of 20. He worked as a farmer, and is described as having light hair, a dark complexion, and blue eyes. While Oliver died October 27, 1864 at Andersonville, GA, Philip survived and was discharged August 26, 1864 at the expiration of his service term outside of Atlanta, GA at the rank of sergeant. After the war, Philip moved to Chicago, IL and married Emeline Lyman and had three sons. He worked as a carpenter and died on November 23, 1910. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery, River Grove, IL.
Another letter from Luke to his brother Philip, can be found in the collection of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.