A native of Warren County, Iowa, Cyrus F. Boyd served a year and a half as an orderly sergeant with the Fifteenth Iowa Infantry before becoming first lieutenant in Company B of the Thirty-Fourth Iowa Infantry. His diary - expanded in 1896 from a pocket diary he carried on his campaigns from Indiala, Iowa, to Lake Providence, Louisiana - offers a full account of soldiering in the Union army. Before his promotion, Boyd was an intermediary between privates and company officers, a position that offered him unique opportunities to observe the attitudes and activities of both the unit leaders and their men. The outspoken Boyd frankly expresses his opinions of his comrades and his commanders, candidly depicts camp life, and intricately details the gory events on the battlefield. Although t always pleasant reading, The Civil War Diary of Cyrus F. Boyd is a vibrant, honest chronicle of one man's experiences in the bloody conflict.
Mildred Throne was associate editor of the State Historical Society of Iowa.