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Collection Title: Hylan B. Lyon Papers

Series Number: MS 69-03                                                        

Processed and Cataloged by: Dieter C. Ullrich

Date Listed: January 6, 2010

Date Span: 1857-1916

Size of Collection: 0.25 linear feet.

Number of Boxes: 1 legal half sized document case.

Type of Material: Correspondence, transcripts and ephemera.

Condition of Material: Overall condition is bad to fair. Foxing and fading is prevalent with most documents. A few have water damaged.

Arrangement: Chronological arrangement.

Biographical / Historical Information: Hylan Benton Lyon was born on February 22, 1836, the son of Matthew Lyon and Elizabeth M. Martin on the family farm in Caldwell County (later Lyon County), Kentucky. He attended Masonic University and Cumberland College prior to being admitted to United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduating in 1856 he was assigned to Fort Myer, Florida as a second lieutenant of artillery. In 1858, Lyon was transferred to Fort Yuma, California and a year later sent to the Washington Territory where he participated in Colonel George Wright’s campaign to put down Native American insurrections. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Lyon resigned his commission in the United States Army on April 30, 1861 and pledged his services to the Confederacy. He assisted in the organization of the 3rd Kentucky Infantry (later the 1st Kentucky Artillery or Cobb’s Battery) later that spring. In early February of 1862 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 8th Kentucky Infantry. On February 16, he and his regiment surrendered to Union forces at Fort Donelson. Lyon was imprisoned at various prisoner-of-war facilities, including those at Fort Warren, Massachusetts. He was exchange in September of 1862 and later participated in the battle at Big Black River during the Vicksburg campaign. In November of 1863, Lyon was assigned to General Joseph Wheeler’s command where he led cavalry scouting missions. By spring of 1864, he was with General Nathan Bedford Forrest and on June 10 engaged a Union force under General Samuel L. Sturgis at Brices Cross Roads. He was promoted to brigadier general four days after the battle and was directed to command the department of Western Kentucky on September 26. In December of 1864 he launched a raid into the Cumberland Valley of Tennessee and Kentucky. For several weeks Lyon disrupted supply lines and torched Union controlled buildings, including seven courthouses in Kentucky. During the final days of the war, he refused to surrender and eventually sought refuge in Mexico. Lyon returned to his family farm in Eddyville, Kentucky in 1866. He briefly served as a state representative in his home state from 1899 to 1901. He died at his Eddyville farm on April 25, 1907.

Scope and Content: Collection consists of correspondence written and received by Hylan B. Lyon from 1857 to 1916. The majority of the letters are from Lyon to family members from various military facilities and camps prior to and during the American Civil War. The correspondence of interest include several letters from Fort Warren, Massachusetts from March to July of 1862 (when Lyon’s was a prisoner-of-war), Vicksburg, Mississippi in September of 1862, Gun Town, Mississippi following the Battle of Brices Cross Roads, and a photocopied letter from Mexico in 1866 describing his experiences during the concluding months of the war. The collection also includes correspondence from Florence Wilson and Robert L. Wilson, a brief history of Eddyville and biographical information.

Subject Headings / Descriptors:
Lyon, Hylan B., 1836-1907.
Kentucky – History – Civil War, 1861-1865 – Personal narratives.
United States – History – Civil War, 1861-1865 – Personal narratives, Confederate.
United States – History – Civil War, 1861-1865 – Prisoners and prisons.
Lyon County (Ky.) – History.
Fort Warren (Boston, Mass)
Eddyville (Ky.) – History.

Additional Sources:

Lyons, Hylan B. “Memoirs of Hylan B. Lyon, Brigadier General, C.S.A.” Edited by Edward M. Coffman. Tennessee Historical Quarterly 18 (March 1959): 35-53.

Roberson, B. L. “The Courthouse Burnin’est General.” Tennessee Historical Quarterly 23 (December 1964): 372-378.

Wills, Brian Steel. “Brig. Gen. Hylan Benton Lyon.” Edited by Allardice, Bruce S. and Lawrence Lee Hewitt. Kentuckians in Gray. Lexington, KY: Univ. of Kentucky Press, 2008.

Davis, William C., ed. The Confederate General. 6 vols. Harrisburg, PA: National Historical Society, 1991.

Memorial Record of Western Kentucky. 2 vols. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1904.

 

Collection Inventory - MS69-03

Box 1 / File 1
 1857 April 27
 San Diego, California
 From Hylan B. Lyon to Cousin [Laura]
 Letter of his travels and recent events

 1857 December 8
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Laura to Cousin Hy[lan B. Lyon]
 Return letter of news and goings on at home

Box 1 / File 2
 1858 May 11
 Paducah, Kentucky
 From John [?] to Cousin Laura
 
 1858 June [22]
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Laura to Cousin

Box 1 / File 3
 1860 February 19
 Cantonment Jordan, Washington Territory [Montana]
 From Hylan B. Lyon to Cousin

 1860 March 9
 Fort Owen, Washington Territory [Montana]
 From Hylan B. Lyon to Laura

 1860 April 5
 Cantonment Jordan, Washington Territory [Montana]
 From Hylan B. Lyon

Box 1 / File 4
 1861 December 22
 Bowling Green, Kentucky
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

Box 1 / File 5
 1862 January 7
 Bowling Green, Kentucky
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

 1862 January 23
 Bowling Green, Kentucky
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife
 
 1862 January 24
 Russellville, Kentucky
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

Box 1 / File 6
 1862 March 9
 Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to Jim

 1862 March 14
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to Cousin John

 1862 March 15
 Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

 1862 March 19
 Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to Mr. R.R. O’Hara
 
 1862 March 30
 Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

Box 1 / File 7
 1862 April 8
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to Mr. O’Hara

 1862 April 13
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife
 
 1862 April 18
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

 1862
 [Richmond?]
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

Box 1 / File 8
 1862 May 1
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

 1862 May 29
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From [Hylan B. Lyon] to his Wife

Box 1 / File 9
 1862 June 4
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

 1862 June 11
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

 1862 June 29
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

Box 1 / File 10
 1862 July 24
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

 1862 July 27
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife
 
 1862 July 30
 Fort Warren, Massachusetts
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

Box 1 / File 11
 1862 September 11
 On board [Steamie] Champion (Factual)
 Near Vicksburgh, Mississippi
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

Box 1 / File 12
 1864 June 6
 Tupelo, Mississippi
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

 1864 June 16
 Guntown, Mississippi
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife

 1864 June 26
 Tupelo, Mississippi
 From Hylan B. Lyon to his Wife
 
Box 1 / File 13
 1864 August 17
 Richland, Georgia
 From Ms. Manard to [Henry]

Box 1 / File 14
 1864 July 28
 [Eddyville, Kentucky]
 From Laura to Husband

Box 1 / File 15
 1865 March
 [Unknown Location]
 From Grace to Floy
 
 1865 April 19
 Locust Grove [Kentucky]
 From Mollie Winchester to Henry

Box 1 / File 16
 Photocopy
 1866 January 13
 Mexico
 From Hylan B. Lyon to Florence O’Hara Wilson
 
Box 1 / File 17
 1871 July 10
 Louisville, Kentucky
 From [Unknown] to [Unknown]

 1871 September 14
 Kentucky Penitentiary, Frankfort, Kentucky
 From [Unknown] to Grace [O’Hara]

 1871 December 2
 Louisville, Kentucky
 From [Unknown] to [Unknown]
 
Box 1 / File 18
 1872 January 8
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Florence to her Husband

 1872 January 18
 House of Representatives, Frankfort, Kentucky
 From H.A. Wilson to his Wife

 1872 January 21
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Florence to her Husband

 1872 February 8
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Florence to her Husband

 1872 February 23
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Florence to her Husband
 
 1872 February 28
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Florence Wilson to her Husband

 1872 May 6
 Cape Girardeau, Illinois
 From Robert L. Wilson to [Fine]

 1872 March 13
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Florence Wilson to her Husband

 1873 March 9
 Frankfort, Kentucky
 From Florence Wilson to [Ana]

Box 1 / File 19 
 1881 September 24
 K. M. D.
 From Hylan B. Lyon to Mary

 1883 November 9
 Document with assorted notes

Box 1 / File 20
 1890 October 3
 Clarksville, Tennessee
 Unknown sender to Unknown recipient

 1892 October 11
 Evansville, Indiana
 From Will Ferguson to Cousin Mary

 1892 August 23
 Evansville, Indiana
 From Will Ferguson to Miss Mary Wilson

 1895 May 13
 Unknown Location
 From [T.N. Wilson] to [Unknown]
 
 1896 January 9
 Little Rock, Arkansas
 From T.N. Wilson to Fine

 1901 September
 Hopkinsville, Kentucky
 From Marguerite to Mary

 1916 December 8
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From [Unknown] to H.W. Eubanks

Box 1 / File 21
 August 22
 Louisville, Kentucky
 From Laura to Cousin
 
 No Date
 No Location
 From Ruth W. Lyon to Mary

 April 5
 Unknown Location
 From [Billi] to Mary

 October 17
 Little Rock, Arkansas
 From J. Rudy Smith to Will

 January 12
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Florence to her Husband
 
 January 16
 Eddyville, Kentucky
 From Florence Wilson to her Husband

 Unknown Date
 Unknown Location
 From [Unknown] to Hylan

 1901 [Jan] 27
 [Louisville], Kentucky
 From [Mary] to [Unknown]

Box 1 / File 22
 Various Documents of Varying Dates

Box 1 / File 23
 Document of the History of Eddyville

Box 1 / File 24
 “My Wife and Child” by Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

 

 

   
 
   
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