Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

New Market

Died On the Field of Honor

A wayside marker about the Virginia Military Academy cadets at the Battle of New Market is outside the entrance to the Virginia Museum of the Civil War at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in New Market, Virginia.

 

How to get there

The Virginia Museum of the Civil War is in the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. From exit 178 of Interestate 81 briefly take Old Cross Road west and immediately turn north on the George R. Collins Parkway and follow it 1.1 miles to the mueseum. (38.661673° N, 78.670883° W; see map.

 

Text from the marker

 

Died on the Field of Honor

Gravestones of VMI Cadets

 

Of the 257 cadets from Virginia Military Institute who fought in the Battle of New Market, ten were either killed outright or later died of their wounds. Their legacy of service and sacrifice has inspired each successive generation of cadets. Since 1866, a commemorative ceremony has been held at VMI each year on May 15, the anniversary of the battle. The Corps of Cadets assembles on the parade ground, and the names of the ten New Market cadets are called. With each name, a cadet in the ranks responds, "Died on the Field of Honor, Sir."

 

The tradition of the roll of honor dates from the French army of Napoleon I, who felt his troops would be inspired by the act of commemorating their fallen comrades. For VMI, the tradition reinforces the ties between cadets of today and their predecessors who fought at New Market.

 

Once this Roll of Honor is reported to the Commandant, a wreath is laid at each of the cadets' grave markers, which lie beneath a statue entitled Virginia Mourning Her Dead. The statue was created by Moses Exekiel, a world-renowned sculptor who fought in the battle as a private in Company C.

 

In 2005, the gravestones of the six cadets interred at VMI were replaced, and memorial stones for the additional four cadets added. The original six tombstones were transferred to the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park and installed here in 2006.


Wayside marker 'Died on the Field of Honor at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in New Market, Virginia
(above) Wayside marker 'Died on the Field of Honor at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in New Market, Virginia

 






About the Author • ©2007-2014 Steve Hawks