New Market, Va., Sept. 25, 1864
The Battle of New Market, which took place on September 25, 1864, was a significant engagement during the American Civil War. It was part of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, in which Union forces attempted to capture the valley and cut off Confederate supply lines.
The Confederate army, commanded by General John C. Breckinridge, was composed mainly of cadets from the Virginia Military Institute, as well as regular soldiers. The Union army, under the command of Major General Franz Sigel, consisted of around 6,000 soldiers.
Sigel’s plan was to capture the town of New Market and then continue south into the Shenandoah Valley. The Union forces advanced towards New Market, but they were met by Confederate artillery fire, which forced them to withdraw. Sigel then decided to send in his cavalry to try and flank the Confederate line, but they were repulsed.
The Confederate cadets, who had been positioned on the right flank of the line, were ordered to charge the Union position. Despite their lack of experience, they were able to break through the Union line and capture a battery of artillery. The cadets then charged again and were able to turn the Union left flank.
The Union forces were forced to retreat, and the Confederate army was able to maintain its hold on the Shenandoah Valley. The victory at New Market was a boost to Confederate morale and was celebrated throughout the South.
The battle was significant because it demonstrated the effectiveness of Confederate guerrilla tactics and their ability to win despite being outnumbered. It also highlighted the importance of the Virginia Military Institute, as many of the cadets who fought in the battle went on to have distinguished military careers.
The battle also had a lasting impact on the Virginia Military Institute. The cadets who fought in the battle became known as the “New Market Corps,” and they were celebrated as heroes. Today, the battle is commemorated with a ceremony held annually at the Virginia Military Institute.
In conclusion, the Battle of New Market was a significant engagement during the American Civil War. The Confederate victory demonstrated the effectiveness of guerrilla tactics and the importance of the Virginia Military Institute. The battle had a lasting impact on the Confederate army and the state of Virginia, and it is still celebrated today as a symbol of Southern pride and resilience.