Sunday morning we got ready for to go to meeting, and the officers came and said that we must not go to meeting without breeches, and it was so hot that I could not bear to wear them, and I did not go meeting in the forenoon. I went to see a crazy man and there was a man that he knew him, and he got mad, and I think I never saw such a sight in my life. He was chained and he would spring at us and hallo at us. There was one stout man that said that he never saw a man that he was afraid of before. In the afternoon I went to meeting.Presumably Lyman and his friends wanted to attend meeting only in their shirts. Those garments would have been long enough for modesty—as long as there were no wind gusts. Shirts were usually people’s first and only layer of underwear.
Incidentally, Lyman writes about washing his clothes more than any other Continental soldier that I remember. Not that he does it a lot, but it matters to him more than his fellow soldiers. Or maybe, at age twenty-one, he was expecting to share his diary with his mother when he got home.