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.

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New Market: The Confederate General, Plan, & Units

John C. Breckinridge, pre-war political days. (LOC)

So…who was the Confederate commander facing Union General Franz Sigel at the Battle of New Market? What units did this Southerner pull together to defend the valley and what was the Confederate plan and situation by spring 1864?

In today’s video you’ll “meet” John C. Breckinridge – a Kentucky politician turned skillful commander. He was another in a line of Confederate generals defending the vital Shenandoah Valley, but he had fewer resources than his predecessors. His pulled together army included infantry, cavalry, and artillery from Virginia and Tennessee, along with a few unique units like Woodson’s Missourians and Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets.

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1864: “May Be Relied Upon For Active Duty”

May 2, 1864 HQ, VMI
Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge
Comd. Dept. of Western Va. Dublin Depot

I have the honor to enclose herewith a letter from General R.E. Lee, Commanding Army of N. Virginia, addressed to the Adjutant General of Virginia–also–a copy of instructions from the Governor of Virginia communicated by the Adjutant General defining my duty as Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute.

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