May 15: A Day Like No Other

“Virginia Mourning Her Dead”
(Photo from 2018)

It’s New Market Day. The anniversary of the Battle of New Market when Confederate troops under General John C. Breckinridge drove Federal soldiers commanded by General Franz Sigel off the high ground around New Market and into retreat back down the Virginian Shenandoah Valley. It’s the anniversary of when 257 cadets from Virginia Military Institute filled a gap in the Confederate battle line and helped turn the conflict in favor of a southern victory and moment of “youthful glory.”

But this May 15 is unlike other New Market Days. The classes at Virginia Military Institute will not parade in front of the Virginia Memorial and graves of the cadets who died in 1864. No crowd will gather for a tour at New Market battlefield (though Lt. Col. Marshall did host a Facebook LIVE to mark the occasion). I am not hosting a tour or a booksigning. I’m sitting in my apartment about two and a half hours from New Market, wearing a “Field of Lost Shoes” T-Shirt, and working from home for my job.

Continue reading

New Market: Let’s Just Chat… (Conclusion)

We’re wrapping up the New Market Video Series for 2019, and today I’m answering some questions about my research, book tour, and ongoing interest in the history. No lectures today, just some honest, candid musings and thoughts.

I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts about New Market. Don’t make this an awkward one-sided conversation! Leave a comment, question, or something relevant that’s on your mind.

Continue reading

New Market: Preservation

This preservation group is leading efforts to save more areas of New Market battlefield.

When we see a historic battlefield preserved for research and education, there is always a story. In today’s video, we take a closer look at the battlefield preservation at New Market, how it has secured key portions of the land, and how the efforts continue to secure and interpret new portions of the old battlefield.

Ever wonder why the Virginia Museum of the Civil War sits on George Collins Memorial Parkway? Hint: Mr. Collins spearheaded some of the first official preservation efforts! Learn about his work and more in our new video…

Continue reading

New Market: Battle’s Afterstory

When the fighting ended on May 15, 1864, and the Union army retreated from New Market, who took care of the injured? Civilians took a major role in the immediate aftermath situation and also in the memory of the battle in later decades.

This week’s video focuses on some stories about three civilian women, New Market’s memory of the battle, and how the battle’s veterans later re-fought it on paper, creating an impressive primary source record.

Continue reading

New Market: The Union Retreat

Capt. Henry DuPont, Union artillery officer

If a possible is impossible to hold, a retreat will happen. With attacks coming from the right, left, and center, the Union line along Bushong Hill headed for collapse. This new video explores how and why that happened, along with highlighting the history of James Madison Burns and Henry DuPont who exhibited exceptional courage during the retreat.

With the action on May 15, 1864, coming to a close, we’re also heading for the close of this video series. But fear not – we have at least two more weeks (watch for the next install next Wednesday) and so we’ll be unveiling plans for a new video series with a history focus.

Continue reading

New Market: “Send In The Boys”

Finally. It’s time to discuss the Virginia Military Institute Cadets’ role in the Battle of New Market – how they rushed to The Fence, filled the gap in the line, and then…

Hey, why am I telling you here! Watch the video…

In addition to talking about the historic happenings, this video includes footage filmed on New Market battlefield, including a walk to The Cannon. Then we’ll reflect on what the Cadets at New Market means and how it is still inspirational 155 years later.

Send In The Boys

Video Highlights

  • What the VMI Cadets did when they received orders on May 15, 1864
  • Fight at the fence
  • The Cadets’ Charge
  • Footage from New Market Battlefield State Historical Park
  • Discussion about what the Charge means

Thanks for watching!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah