New Market: Virginia Military Institute

Original barracks at Virginia Military Institute

The Corps of Cadets from Virginia Military Institute took an important role in the Battle of New Market. In fact, this battle is the only time in U.S. History that a college student body fought together as a unit and they helped secured the outcome for General Breckinridge and the Confederates.

Through the decades after the battle, they helped to collect and write about the fight, ensuring their place in history and memory. To understand what the cadets did on May 15, 1864, it’s important to understand a little about the Institute’s history and the cadets of the 1860’s. In today’s video, you’ll find scenes filmed on location at Virginia Military Institute in 2018 and a discussion of this background history.

Don’t say youngsters can’t make history! The average age of the Cadets at New Market was 17, but they had training, enthusiasm, courage, and comradeship that would bring to the battlefield and forge their legacy and place in the past while creating a honorable tradition for their school.

Virginia Military Institute

Video Highlights

  • VMI’s Founding
  • VMI’s Superintendent and Commandant in 1864
  • Cadets in 1864 – their studies and feelings
  • VMI’s role in the Civil War
  • “Call Out The Cadets” – the marching orders arrive on May 10, 1864

Thanks for watching!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

2 comments

  1. I am borrowing a quote from Stonewall Jackson: “The Institute will be heard from today” thanks to Sarah Kay Bierle. Your book “Call out the Cadets” (what a great title, by the way and cover) highlights the VMI participation in the battle of New Market in 1864. Thank you for covering everything about the battle through your book, blog and videos. They are all fantastic!

    • You are too kind, Larry. It is the Institute’s history and stories; I’m just one lucky girl who gets to share about this historic school and its impact during the Civil War and other eras of the past. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with staff at VMI and New Market Battlefield.

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