Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

New Market

The Battle of New Market

A wayside marker for the Battle of New Market is just north of New Market, Virginia. It was erected by the Virginia Civil War Trails and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.


How to get there

The marker is on the west side of the George R. Collins Parkway about 0.6 mile north of Old Cross Road
and 0.4 mile south of the New Market Battlefield State
Historical Park. (38.655316° N, 78.672342° W; see map)


Text from the marker


The Battle of New Market


May 15, 1864


In the spring of 1864, Union Gen. Franz Sigel marched his 10,000-man army south through the Shenandoah Valley as part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s strategy to attack the Confederacy on several fronts simultaneously. To counter this threat, Gen. John C. Breckinridge led 4,000 Confederate troops to New Market, located on the only road over Massanutten Mountain, which divides the Valley and channels troop movements. In desperate need of soldiers, Breckinridge summoned the Corps of Cadets from Virginia Military Institute. The boys marched north from Lexington to join him.


On the evening of May 14, advance elements of Sigel’s army reached New Market, encountering Confederate Gen. John D. Imboden’s cavalry. The next morning, Breckinridge brought his full force to Shirley’s Hill, two miles south of here. When the Federals pulled back, Breckinridge ordered a general advance, with the cadets in reserved.


Sigel occupied a hill north of town on Jacob Bushong’s farm, where for several hours fighting swirled around the house and across an orchard and wheat field muddied by torrential thunderstorms. Casualties in the Confederate center created a hole that Breckinridge reluctantly filled with the cadets. After his forces repulsed two final infantry and cavalry charges, Breckinridge ordered an attack along his entire front. The Federals retreated in good order as the cadets overran an exposed battery, capturing one cannon and many prisoners.


Union losses totaled 841 killed, wounded, and missing, while the Confederates suffered 531 casualties, including 10 VMI Cadets killed and more than 40 wounded. With Sigel’s army no longer an immediate threat, Breckinridge took most of his troops east to join the defense of Richmond.

Historical marker for the Action of Rutherford's Farm northeast of Winchester, Virginia.
(above and below) Historical marker the Battle of New Market, Virginia

Historical marker for the Action of Rutherford's Farm northeast of Winchester, Virginia.

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