FANTASTIC IMAGE OF A SURGEON & LATER LIEUTENANT COLONELWHO WAS LATER KILLED IN ACTION – DR. JONAS W. LYMAN

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Item Code: 1054-913

Image is a three-quarter seated view of Dr. Jonas W. Lyman of the 57th & 203rd Pennsylvania Infantry regiments

The Dr. sits with his legs crossed and his slouch hat resting on his knee. He wears a long dark commercial sack coat with horizontal pocket on the left chest. Just above and to one side of the pocket is what looks like an ID shield with a ribbon attached. Instead of shoulder straps the Dr. wears only the oak leaves of a major or lieutenant colonel on each shoulder. He also wears light trousers. The Dr.’s slouch hat is complete with hat cord and “US” within a wreath on the front of the crown. Visible on the side of the hat is a large 1ST Division, 3RD Corps badge.

Image has excellent clarity and contrast. Paper is good but the mount has a small chip out of the right edge and some light edge dirt.

Reverse has no photographer’s imprint. There is a light period pencil ID that reads “JO. W. LYMAN; M.D. 1ST DIVISION 3RD CORPS.” There is a modern pencil ID as well as a note that the image is from the album of Dr. Mary Walker. ID is confirmed by identical online image.

Jonas Wellman Lyman was born in New York State on March 6, 1830. He was living in Clinton County, Pennsylvania when he was appointed surgeon of the 57th Pennsylvania.

The 57th was assigned to the 3rd Corps of the Army of the Potomac. While Lyman was with them they saw action at Fir Oaks, Malvern Hill, 2nd Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor and the beginning of the Petersburg Campaign..

On September 16, 1864 the Dr. laid aside his medical kit to accept a commission as Lieutenant Colonel of the 203rd Pennsylvania Infantry. This regiment served with the 2nd Division of the 24th Corps.

In early 1865 the 203rd was assigned to General Terry for his assault on Fort Fisher at Wilmington, North Carolina. Samuel Bates history of the regiment tells of their part in the action as follows:

“On the 2d of January, General Terry was sent with the same forces and an additional brigade of the Twenty-fourth Corps, to renew the attempt at the reduction of the fort. Ames' Division was selected to lead the assault. The three brigades composing his division were led respectively by Curtis, Pennypacker, and Bell. At a prearranged signal, the fleet, which had been delivering a heavy fire upon the fort, changed its direction, so as to leave the ground free for the movements of the army, and Curtis dashed forward and carried a portion of the parapet. Pennypacker followed, overlapping Curtis' right, and drove the enemy from the palisading.

In this charge the Two Hundred and Third moved under a storm of bullets and grape-shot, which rent its ranks with fearful effect. After reaching the palisades, an opening was found in front, which led to the fort, protected by two guns. Upon these the regiment was led at a run, and with a wild shout, and though suffering from a direct and decimating fire, the guns were taken.

Without pausing, it was led on, and hand to hand, fighting with desperate valor, the first traverse was carried. The smaller openings were thus relieved, through which the men poured like a torrent. A footing was gained, though at a heavy cost. Colonel Pennypacker had fallen, and was reported mortally hurt, but there was no cessation in the fight. Traverse after traverse, seventeen in all, still remained to be overcome. Colonel Moore, with the flag in one hand, and his sword in the other, led gallantly on until three of the traverses were carried, and the fourth was being charged, when he fell dead, still grasping the flag staff, the banner riddled with bullets and more than half shot away.

The enemy here made a desperate effort to re-gain his lost ground, but by equal valor was he met, and Lieutenant Colonel Lyman, the only field officer left, leading on his trusty men, and moving among them and encouraging by his example, succeeded in repulsing every charge. " The fifth traverse," says an eye witness, "had been taken. The fight was on the sixth mound. At the base of the mound Colonel Lyman met a rebel Major. Their swords crossed and flashed. I saw the contest, and saw the Colonel's sword fly from his hand. I hastened to reach him and give him aid, but stumbled and fell. When I recovered my feet, and caught sight of them again, the Major was in the act of rising from the ground, and the Colonel was drawing his revolver, with which he shot his antagonist dead. He recovered his sword coolly, called to the men and led a charge on the seventh traverse, but fell before it was taken, shot through the heart."

Lieutenant Colonel Jonas W. Lyman is buried in Jersey Shore Cemetery in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.  [ad]

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