Matthew Marvin


Winona 1851-1861 
        Dakota Era
        Pioneer Era
        Eve of  War

Road to Gettysburg
        Company K

July 1, 1863
       Company K

July 2, 1863
        The Historians
        Company K

July 3, 1863
        Company K

July 4, 1863
        Company K



             Jane Ely
             Charles Ely



NYC & Brooklyn
        Company K

1ST Minnesota & 20th Maine

Acknowledgements & Credits

St. Patrick's Day,
March 17, 1863

Company K Roster

User's Guide

Mattthew Marvin was probably the most popular and influential man in Company K.  He received a number of letters from men in the company which indicate that during the war he was a natural leader and a source of strength for them.  He seemed to have a close relationship to Captain Periam and a number of his fellow enlisted men, including Alfred Carpenter, Charles North and William Kinyon. After the war, he served as an unofficial veteran's bureau corresponding with former members of the First Regiment on memorials for the regiment and on pension matters.  Historians are indebted to him because he kept a daily diary of his observations.  In fact, he kept two diaries. One, in small leather-bound diaries in a series of three volumes (shown on the home page of this site) and the other, a loose leaf diary kept on loose sheets of paper.  The latter often corresponds to the bound diary, but it usually includes more information.

Matthew Marvin was born in Madison County, New York in 1838.  His family moved to St. Charles, Illinois.  Marvin came to Winona in 1859 and worked as a clerk at J. J. Randall & Company, a leather goods store.  Marvin enlisted in Company K in April, 1861, he was 22 years of age.  He was wounded at Harrison's Landing and was disabled for three months.  He was promoted Corporal and later Sergeant.  At Gettysburg he suffered a severe wound to his foot, which healed slowly- he had to use crutches for over a year.  During his convalescence Marvin visited his family in St. Charles. He rose to the rank of First Sergeant.

After mustering out of the Army in April 1864, Marvin returned to St. Charles.  In 1867 he married Angie A. Towle.  Marvin and his wife returned to Winona in 1871 where he established a harness trade. He and his wife had one child, Mabel W. born May 31, 1876. In 1873 Marvin was appointed superintendent of Woodlawn Cemetery- a position he held until his death in 1903. In 1960 the new Army Reserve center was named the Matthew Marvin Army Reserve Center in his honor.



Matthew Marvin's Bound Diary


Thursday June 25, 1863

This morning about 6 o'clock the rebell cavalry attacked our pickets & skirmishing
ontinued for about an hour We fell in under arms expecting a skirmish at any moment
We stacked arms & packed up ready move at the [m…]. rumor says we shall go back to
Leesburg Started on the march & about 9 o'clock the rebs opened on us from a hill
Wounding one man in the 15th Mass & a piece of shell wounded the horse that Col Colvil
le was riding he had to sleeves & very soon [most] skedaddle Rumor says they….
captured 2 of the rebs [cannon]
21 miles [Snn Springs]…

Friday June 26, 1863

The drums is sounding Reville waked me up I found my stockings [soked full] & cloths
wet through we had barely time to make coffee and …when the orders came pack up
pull in & march We thought ourselves heavy infantry we took the Leesburg Road but
soon cut around on by roads camped on the ……Ed Ferry at 12 o'clock …..went through
& …. To our knees Packed up at dark & went down to the river layed in the mud til 11
o'clock crossed in to Maryland at 8 o'clock There was 66 pontoon boats 16 …. Bridges
Layed down about 7 o'clock Am about as mad as tired Stand march is the worst of all
Weather Leanery & Ratin
Marche 15 miles Ed Ferry

Wednesday, July 1, 1863

Packed up and started about
8 0'clock Am went back through
Union town turned to the Right
Passed through Taneytown & at
Dark we formed a line of Battle
One mile south of Gettiesburg
We got little or no sleep at all
Rumor say we took 1500 prisoners
Their was several men Sun….
On the road through L….. &
….of the time Gen Gibbon
in command of the Corp & Gen
Harrow the division Col H….
… Col Colville [relieved from arrest]……………
& comd Regt. Weather L…

Rain very warm

Marched 14 miles

Inside Bound Diary Cover

Gettyiesburg Pa

July 2nd 1863

Should any person find
This on the body of a soldier
On the field of battle or by the
Roadside They will confer a
Lasting favor on the parents of
Its owner by sending the book
& pocket perce & silver finger
ring on the left hand. Taking
their pay for trouble out of
the Greebacks herein inclosed


To Seth Marvin Esq

St. charles
Kane Co

[Written in pencil inside the front cover
of Matthew Marvin's diary for 1863.]



Thursday July 2, 1863

We aroused from our Slu
Mbers this Am at daybreak getting
Coffee partly made & had to fall in &
march to the Right The ball opened
about the time we started Gen orders
This Am say this is to be the Battle of
the war and every man must stand…
…. Or be shot Rumor says we have


No 22 commences


Friday, July 3, 1863

My wound pained me very
much last night & today
About noon the Rebs began
To shell near our hospital
Caused some skedadadling to the
Rear. The ambulance came &
Took nearly all . . . thes to the rear
Out of danger . . . . . .
We get beef soup & Htack
Their was mostly . . .
. . . . today a continual
line going up and back all the
day out of 31 men in the co that went
in 21 wer killed & wounded The Capt is
wounded through the head
Weather pleasent

Saturday, July 4, 1863

Our men are driving the Rebs
It is a gloomy 4th here in the
Woods among so many Wounded
With the surgeons amputating arms
& limbs This morning we were
short of Bandages & Rations
but got some near nite. Out of
24 Field & Line Officers that
went in 16 were killed or wounded

 Sunday, July 5, 1863.

Their has been a continual
Line of ambulances bringing
In wounded Rebs We have
to lay here all day in the [rain]
with cloths & Blankets soaking
wet There is a horrible . . .
rising from so many wounded
There is no citizens offer a
Word of consolation But charge $2
per Bushell for corn $1 per loaf of
bred 2cts per quart of Milk
We had no dish to get grub in
& they charged our Nurse 50 cts
for an old bucket No Wines or
Liquors or Luperies My wound
Was easy this Mg It swelled &
Ached hard Weather heavy rain

Monday, July 6, 1863

We got some of our boys to
Move us back on the hill
We have now got a fly over
Us the grub is the same
Wrote to Ann & Mr. Durr
Weather clearing?
Last nite rain


Matthew Marvin's Loose Leaf Diary


No 21 Diary 1863

……………….Tuesday June 30th 1863…………….
We was mustered today for May
& June for Pay Was on inspections
Finished the payrolls &mad Monthly reports
For a writing desk we used knapsacks &
For chairs we sit on the ground & leaned
Back against the fence & layed two
Rails on the fence to keep off the rain
Orders came to March but was counter
Manded before we got packed up Drew
Two days rations There is some fun in
Soldiering in a country like this
Whare the citizens are at least half
Humane The country's thickly settled is
Well watered & plenty of Timber
Wrote to Jini Ann & JJ. Weather Rain


Wednesday July 1st 1863

Packed up and started about 8 0'clock
Passed through Union town turned to
The right & passed through Taney Town &
about 4 o'clock we began to see teams
Teamsters soldiers & Stragglers mostly of the
eleventh Corps they set all sorts of
rumors afloat in the columne
of Batteries taken & lost of whole brigades
lost & captures & that they had seen
over sixty dead Cavalrymen all their
rumors of hard fought battles went into
one ear and out of the other the 2nd Corp
has soldiered to long to believe all
they herd from the halfmoon. At dark
we formed our line of battle about 4
miles south of Gettysburg Three times
we got permission to have fires & twice
they were put out four times we made
coffee & three times we threw it away
packed up & fell in at last the order
came to build brest works that we should
stay all night we wer not allowed to ….
a raid & their was no wood so we pulled
splinters & bark off of the rails I had just
got to slep when the Picket detail came
& headquarters guard Hospital Guard &….
Of ours we all laughfed when that came Oh yes
Marched 18 miles Weather L….y & Rain

Thursday July 2nd 1863

We were aroused from our slumbers
at daybreak & told to hurry & make coffe
Which we got half done & orders to fall
in we went to the right about 4 miles
whare their was a new line forming Our
Division was the last reserve we stacked
arms with orders to remain near the stacks
Our position was opposite? the left center
their was a smart skirmish in the morning
the pickets kept up a brisk fireing until
about noon Their was a great deal of
artillery fireing which a good shair huged/
us rather close Our line was formed in the
shape of a horse shoe with the toe to the
anamy Their was some of the rebell shell
that passed clear over our line into their own
in the opposite side about 4 oclock The
ball opened in earnest & such a racket
is seldom herd in any battle it was huge
in the extreme at 6 oclock the battle had
went hard with boath sodes & I think that if
either had the worst of it was ours Our division
was called in under a sharp artillery
fire after deploying we layed down whare
the rebs shelled us rite smart Their collums
were advancing splendidly they a good line
with not any perceptiable confusion at
last the … time & we went in out
… charge the two armies were not 500
Yds apart we had not fired a musket & the
Rebs wer fireing rappedley I dropped to the
ground with a wound somewhar I picked
myself up as quick as possible when I saw blood
on my shoe the heel of which was tore out
I thought it a slight one & run to ketch
up thinking that no rebel line could stand
a charge of my Regt & if the Bayonet must
be used I wanted a chance in as it was free? …
for all I had just ketched up again when I
fell a second time to Faint to get up I dran
nk some Water & put some on my head and rists
then I tried to to walk to the rear was to weak
for that so after resting again I tried the
hands & knees I got in the rear of our batteries
when I divested myself of Gun & equipments
& knapsack When Charley North gave
me a helping hand to the Hospital
behind a big rock he was slightly wounded at
about 10 o'clock the ambulance came & took us to the
rear I have got about all the pain I can stand
Weather Am [Leavery] Pm pleasant

No 22 Diary 1863

Friday July 3rd 1863

My wound has pained me badly
last nite and today About noon to
day the rebs massed their artillery on our
Left center and opened a great many
of their shot & shell came over our to
hospital where the ground was literally
covered with wounded it caused some
skedaddling among those that could walk
& some hallowing & groaning among those
that could not walk I thought that if
the rebs had a shell for me that it could
not kill me any younger & that they
cant do it but once. For about an hour
they shell came pretty thick & those that could
crawl up near the tree whare I was A salled?
that came and struck whare a man had just
got up not more than ten ft from me
That made me think that I had just as
leave be a thousand miles from here as
not another shell went through the
top of the apple tree over us I was laying
by the side of my capt who was
wounded in the head the ball entering at
the nose came out back of the left ear
in taking care of him I got pretty well
covered with blood as he bled a good eal
he wanted to go back to the front so I had
to hold him most of the time I had
got over benig faint & could crawl on my
hands & knees the Ambulances soon
came and took us about 2 miles to the
rear whar they had established the hospital
in a hollow near a creek the trees made
a good shade for us & the old mad
the beds with sticks and stones for pillows
we were all rite at last For supper we got
one hardtack & part of a cup of Beef soup
which was better than a knock on the head
The Co No 31 on going into the fite
& when it came out there 10 left
21 killed & wounded The regt had 314
& had 224 killed & wounded Taking all of
the Field Officers Weather pleasant

^^^^^^^^^^July 3d^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Recd orders to cross into Va Strike
our tents at 6 oclock & moved to the
Navy Yard & embarked on two steam
Boats for Alexandra took up our camp
on the Sacred Soil one mile back of
the city on the right of the 5th Mass


Saturday July 4th 1863

During the nite the rebs began to fall back & at daybreak our men advanced &
ave kept driving them Out of 24 Field & Line Officers 16 wer killed & wounded This is
a gloomy fourth for us. Bandages played out & one of the Dr went out to the farmers &
asked for old sheets shirts & pillow slips They told him they had plenty to sell but none
to give away whereupon he went to the beds & pulled of the sheets & slips and told them
to … hell out or he would take the best he could find The killed of the company wer
Randolph Wright, Leslie P. Gore Israel Durr Jacob Geisreiter, Augustus H. Smith David
Taylor Peter Vosz Henry C. Winters. The Regt is now in command of Capt. Harry A.
Coates who was a second Lt when we came out & is now [senior]Capt
Weather Rain

July 4th

The Fourth of July was gloomy one to us as luxuries wer scarce and money
scarcer fell in while they wer fireing the salute & fell in for dress parade We arrested 4
[recish] Who wer prawling around the camp they took the oath of alegicence & we let
them go to do some more------