The bulk of Lyman Gardner's collection consists of a series of letters to his parents in Ohio, including two letters to his brother and sister. The collection also contains a few brief articles announcing births, deaths, and marriages in the Gardner family. A ledger of his personal accounts and of his lumber business can be found in this collection as well.
Gardner's letters center around food, clothing, and money. He does not possess much understanding of why he is participating in the war. He views his service as a dutiful obligation, though he neither explains why he is dedicated to the Union, nor what he believes the Union cause to be. Gardner's letters reveal a strong religious background.
Gardner's letters serve as an account for his action in the Atlanta Campaign, and his regiment's assignments in Chattanooga, Tenn., Huntsville, Ala., Nashville, Tenn., New Orleans, La., and Irwin, Tex. He goes into some detail of his skirmishes, but the majority of his letters are filled with requests for supplies and money. Overall, Gardner seems to enjoy his involvement in the army and does not express a particularly strong desire to return from it.