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Sidney Marlin letter
Manuscript #0070

Civil War Manuscripts top level 

Sidney Marlin was a Union soldier serving with a Pennsylvania Regiment in the Valley of Virginia when he wrote this letter to his wife. It was addressed to "Mrs. Sallie A. Marlin, Willet, Indiana Co., PA.". Marlin gives his impression of Lexington and VMI and describes the destruction of Institute buildings.


Marlin's spelling has been retained 

Lexington, Va. June 14/64

Dear Wife-

I send you a few lines to let you know that I am in good health. I wrote a letter to you when I was at Staunton giving you an account of the Battle at Peadmont. We left S for this place the 10th. L. {Lexington} is 36 miles from S. I got your letter of the 30th and 2 papers while on the march. We got here about 12 on the 11th. The enemy made a slight resistance but we soon drove them away. They burnt the bridge across the river and left. We had a few men killed and wounded.

This is a nice place. There is about 6 thousand inhabitants and the buildings are good. There was a military school here but we have burnt all the buildings. It was a pitty to do it but I suppose it could not be helpt. There would be no use in my attempting to give you any description of the buildings and their grandure. The Academy itself is 4 storys high, 250 feet in front and wings extending back from both sides 200 feet. There was 6 public librarys with more than ten thousand volumes of all kinds. There was about 50 splended shandeliers and any amount of fancy ornaments. There was a large statue of Washington in front with 6 fancy brass cannon, a present from the french Emperor and there was a gas house for lighting this alone and there was ten other buildings connected with it. And the ornamented shrubery and flowers and the gravel walks cant be beat. This all stood on the suburbs of the town on about 6 acres of ground but we burnt it all down, beside 3 mills and the dwelling and other buildings belonging to Gov. Letcher. He had left the town before we came in and had ishued a proclamation for the people to harris (harrass) us all they could. I believe that is the reason his buildings were burnt.

This place was the residence of the famous Stonewall Jackson. I saw [his] grave today. The army will move in the morning toward Lynchburg 34 miles from here. If the rebs can raise a force sufficient we will have a fight there or before we get there for that is one of their principal railroad points. But they must have a pretty strong force to beat us for we have 30 thousand men and Gen. Hunter is a good commander. If we move tomorrow we will pass the natural Bridge and that is a sight I should like to see.

All the boys from our part of the country are well. I have not time to write much to you at this time for I want to send this back to Martinsburg with the ambulance train that are taking some wounded back. We have no regular mail and you need not be surprised if you do not hear from me often but you write often and tell me all the news,

Your { } husband
Sidney Marlin