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Marion in Smyth County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Engagement at Marion

A Small Town Survives

 
 
Engagement at Marion Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
1. Engagement at Marion Marker
On the lower left are portraits of William C. Sexton, Katherine Killinger, and Susan Allen.
Inscription. 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
Map and Photo on Upper Right image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
2. Map and Photo on Upper Right
The map depicts the actions described on the marker, noting the location of the covered bridge and Allen house. The inset photo shows Record books saved by Katherine Killinger during Stoneman's Raid, located at the Smyth Co. Historical Museum.
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.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 36° 50.942′ N, 81° 29.331′ W. Marker is in Marion, Virginia, in Smyth County. Marker is on North Main Street (U.S. 11), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Marion VA 24354, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battle of Marion (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sherwood Anderson (approx. 0.3 miles away); Royal Oak Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.6 miles away); Site of Colonial Home (approx. 0.8 miles away); Col. Arthur Campbell (approx. 0.8 miles away); Col. William Elisha Peters (approx. 1.7 miles away); State Fish Hatchery (approx. 1.9 miles away); Confederate Memorial (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Marion.
 
Also see . . .  Battle of Marion
Engagement at Marion Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
3. Engagement at Marion Marker
. Article providing background and details about the battle. (Submitted on September 22, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Modern Bridge over the Holston River image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
4. Modern Bridge over the Holston River
The covered bridge crossed the river to the east (right) of the modern bridge.
Susan Allen image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, June 4, 2011
5. Susan Allen
William C. Sexton image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, June 4, 2011
6. William C. Sexton
Katherine Killinger image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, June 4, 2011
7. Katherine Killinger
Engagement at Marion Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, June 4, 2011
8. Engagement at Marion Marker
Record books saved by Katherine Killinger during Stoneman's Raid, located at the Smyth Co. Historical Museum.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 22, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 883 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 22, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on June 23, 2011, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama.
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