The 159th Commemoration of the Battle of New Market will take place on May 20-21, 2023. The Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park will remember the Battle of New Market that raged across Jacob Bushong’s farm and the soldiers that struggled there.
In the spring of 1864, Union Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel prepared to lead a new invasion force into the Valley, operating on the far-right flank of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign. General John C. Breckinridge scrambled to organize the Confederate defense.
When the opposing brigades clashed near the small crossroads town of New Market on May 15, I864, new legends of courage were born. Local civilians witnessed the combat unfold in their streets, churchyards, and fields and aided the fallen.
The young cadets from the Virginia Military Institute rushed into the battle when ordered–an opportunity for an hour of glory and tragedy. A Union soldier saved the national colors and a comrade, later receiving a Medal of Honor.
The battle of New Market, though a smaller conflict in the grand scheme of that blood-soaked spring, came at a crucial moment in the Union’s offensive movements that spring and also became the last major Confederate victory in the Shenandoah Valley.
New Market shined for its accounts of youth in battle, immigrant generals, and a desperate, muddy fight. Youth and veterans, generals and privates, farmers and teachers-all were called into the conflict or its aftermath of the battle, an event that changed a community, a military institute, and the very fate of the Shenandoah Valley.
The commemoration weekend will feature two special guests presenting specialized programs. The American Civil War Original Long Arms Collector’s group offers the opportunity to get hands-on with period Civil War weapons. Additionally, the Society of Civil War Surgeons will offer multiple medical demonstrations all weekend.
A schedule of events is posted on the Virginia Museum of the Civil War’s website and social media pages. Daily rates are $10.00 for adults (ages 13+); $6.00 for youth (ages 5-12). Call 866-515-1864 or e-mail [email protected] for more information.