Pvt Richard N.
Battery C, 1st Kentucky Light Artillery
Richard Nathaniel Lyons was born in DeKalb County Alabama in 1845, the son of William and Mary Price Lyons, formerly of Knox County, Tennessee. His ancestors had had lived in Maryland, and in Augusta County, Virginia before coming to Tennessee and he had kin in the Revolution.
He left home in 1859 and resided for some time with his uncle Pocious. He was conscripted forcibly into the 11th Alabama Cavalry and after a couple of months crossed over the lines to the Union forces at Winchester Tennessee. He was processed as a prisoner of war at Louisville, took the oath of allegiance, and then in September 7, 1863 enlisted at Louisville in Battery C of the Kentucky Light Artillery, USA.
The Battery had been captured on July 3, 1863 in Lebanon by Morgan's Raiders, and was reorganized in Louisville on September 10, 1863. The Battery served in Louisville through October, thence to Southwest Kentucky through March 1864, thence to Paris Kentucky March 1, thence to Mt. Sterling until May, thence to the mouth of the Beaver Creek on the Big Sandy on May 3 where it conducted operations against Morgan from May 31-June 30. This included engagements at Mt Sterling on June 9, and Cynthiana on June 12. The unit then performed duties in Eastern Kentucky until December 10-29 when it took part in Stoneman's Raid into Southwest Virginia including engagements at Marion between December 17-18 and Saltsville December 20-21. In February 1864 the Battery reported to Little Rock, Ark. and took part in that battle and performed post duty there until July. Lyons was transferred to Veteran Battery C on February 16, 1864 for a three-year enlistment. There being no record to the contrary, it is assumed that he participated in all combat actions of the Battery, to include the Battle of Little Rock in March of 1864 where the unit took several casualties -- including three killed in action.
Oral history passed from father to son includes stories of the firing of the cannon being so intense as to cause blood to come from the ears of the cannoneers. Another story relates to attempts to fire two cannon simultaneously with a chain between the two cannon balls to strafe the line of the enemy. One story told by "Preacher Lyons" of Nicholasville, a nephew of Richard N. Lyons, was that Richard and his brother, William, had been conscripted into the confederate forces at gunpoint. At some time they had escaped their confederate unit and had evaded capture by traveling through the gaps into Kentucky. William was so young that they made him a drummer.
Richard moved to Proctor, Kentucky, where the Kentucky River forms and started farming. He married Laura Daniels, the daughter of Colonel John Daniels of Proctor, who had served as a regimental surgeon during the war. The Lyons and Daniels were members of Saint Paul's Mission Church that met in the old McGuire river-house. In 1870, the county seat moved to Beattyville, just across the River. The Lyons moved to Beattyville, and Richard became a carpenter and stone mason and built a home in 1887 that stood until it burned in December 2012. He was the stonemason for the Saint Thomas Church which is on the National Registry, and was a charter and lifelong member of the Church.
Updated 8:39 PM 10/23/2005
Updated 8:39 PM 10/23/2005