The George W. Lyon Papers consist of a diary written by Lyon while serving as Union officer based at New Orleans on the staff of General E. R. S. Canby (Commanding General of the Military Division of West Mississippi), January 1, 1865 to September 6, 1865.
Lyon participated in and described the Mobile campaign (March 17 - April 12, 1865) commanded by General Canby. He later served as dispatch officer carrying the news of General Kirby Smith's surrender to General Pope at St. Louis, the latter receiving it "as somewhat unpleasant news, Canby having succeeded in that which he (Pope) had failed."
The diary primarily chronicles the day-by-day activities of Lyon as an officer in the Union Occupation Force at New Orleans. Frequent entries show the daily routine to consist of military activities or office work, an evening at the billiards parlor, and frequently the night socializing with the young ladies of New Orleans.
Common grievances including trouble acclimatizing to the extremely hot weather, the high prices of services ($51.00 dental bill), the size of the salary ($151.00), and the return of his letters of resignation.