Engagement at Marion

Engagement at Marion (HMO3T)

Location: Marion, VA 24354 Smyth County
Country: United States of America

N 36° 50.942', W 81° 29.331'

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A Small Town Survives

Throughout 1864, Federal raids against the Confederate infrastructure in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia attempted to destroy iron and lead mines, salt works and railroads. The Virginia & Tennessee Railroad, the Confederate lifeline to the Deep South, and the salt and lead mines at Saltville and Austinville were prized Union targets. Small towns like Marion, located along the raiders' route, often paid a price.

The engagement at Marion was fought on December 17 & 18, 1864. For two days east of town, fewer than 1,000 Confederates under the command of Gen. John C. Breckenridge (former Vice President of the United States) held off 4,200 cavalrymen under U.S. Gen. George Stoneman. The hardest fighting occurred near the covered bridge which stood to your right near the Allen home. With ammunition supplies depleted and under the cover of darkness, the Confederates left the battlefield and crossed the mountains toward Rye Valley by the only route not blocked by Union troops.

Fearing the Union soldiers would burn the courthouse when they entered the town, Clerk of Court William C. Sexton attempted to save the county's records by moving them to a safe location. He was thwarted by an encounter with Union cavalrymen who set his wagon on fire. Twenty-four year old resident Katherine Killinger retrieved the records and hid them in nearby bushes until they could be safely returned to the courthouse. The soldiers also repeatedly set fire to the covered bridge. Each time, nine year old Susan Allen put out the fire with water from the river below. The stone abutments from the bridge are still visible.
HM NumberHMO3T
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 5:41pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 456418 N 4078236
Decimal Degrees36.84903333, -81.48885000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 50.942', W 81° 29.331'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 50' 56.52" N, 81° 29' 19.86" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)276
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1621-1631 Lee Highway, Marion VA 24354, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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