Author Topic: My visit to New Market battlefield (Virginia)  (Read 208 times)

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Offline twitter3

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My visit to New Market battlefield (Virginia)
« on: January 31, 2020, 07:01:44 AM »
Here are some pictures of my recent visit to the New Market battlefield in Virginia. The battle took place on May 15, 1864.

The first picture is a wide shot of a portion of the battlefield with the Massanutten Mountain in the background.

The second picture is a closer view of the last picture showing the Bushong farm in the background. This was the field the Confederates marched over AFTER covering over a mile previously under Union artillery fire. Roughly 2 or 3 football fields past the farm house is the Union line.  The white posts mark a spot where a VMI cadet fell in battle.

The third picture is a close up on the farm house from the direction of the cadets approach. Notice the white marker at the near corner of the fence. The Union troops were about 200 yards to your left in this picture. During the battle the Bushong family took refuge in the house and after the battle the house and out buildings served as a makeshift hospital for the wounded on both sides.

The fourth picture is the view from inside the orchard (north side of the farm house) looking at the Union line (on the crest of the hill in the distance). You will see the fence in the near distance. Eventually the cadets were ordered to the fence to plug a hole in the Confederate center.

The fifth picture is a closer look at the fence where the cadets massed while under direct Union fire. Again you can see the crest of the hill where the Union far right flank was located. There is a steep cliff and a river just past the tree line in the distance (looking west).

The sixth picture is taken at the edge of the fence where the cadets were located looking up at the Union line (artillery piece can be seen the distance to the right of the tree). Notice the two white markers in this picture. Distance from the fence to the artillery piece is roughly 1.5 football fields. The cadets (along with other elements of the Confederate battle line) charged over this open ground to reach the crest of the hill and the main Union line of defense.

Offline twitter3

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Re: My visit to New Market battlefield (Virginia)
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2020, 07:19:36 AM »
The first picture here is a view of the distance yet to be covered by the cadets once they crested the hill as seen in the picture just above this picture. Cresting the hill was only a little over half way to the Union line.

The second picture is a view from the Union line looking at the farm house, fence, and the cadets charging them.

The third picture is a view from the far right of the Union line now focusing on the field where the cadets charged. Notice the farm/fence in the distance and see the people in the picture for scale of the distance the cadets covered to reach the Union lines. Notice the slope of the land in front of the people and remember how far the cadets still had to go once they crested the hill. It had rained yesterday so you will notice a small dark spot in the field by the people and you can imagine how that area looked all muddy - hence the name "field of lost shoes".

The fourth picture: I have now moved to the far Union left (north and outside of the town of New Market with the Valley Pike on the left). Distance from the cadets' charge is about 3/4 of a mile to the right of the picture. The Union right/center was being charged and forced to retreat so Siegel ordered the left to charge to try and stabilize the situation. Two Union regiments attacked the Confederate right. The 1st WV on the right of the 54th PA moved out from this location (a small valley behind me). This picture shows the terrain the 54th PA had to march over. The 1st WV unexpectedly fell back exposing the 54th PA regiment to three Confederate regiments with no protection on either flank.

The fifth picture: As the 54th PA advanced over the ground in the above picture, the Confederates had massed in the tree line (the Union could not see them as they were massing in the valley I mentioned above). The Confederates where then ordered to move into this defile in the center of the picture and await further orders. Again the 54th PA is alone on the field and as they crested this hill they looked down at 3 Confederate regiments staring at them. Two Confederate regiments moved around the 54th's right flank (right of this picture) while another Confederate regiment poured in fire from their front left flank.

The last picture: the 54th advanced to this spot on the field. I am looking back at the first hill the 54th crested on their advance from their staging area. At this point they are alone on the field as the 1st WV regiment which was on their right (away from the pike) had withdrew without informing the 54th. You can see the monument to the 54th PA in the distance. As the 54th PA advanced to this location they did not know what awaited them in the defile directly behind me (see picture above). They sustained very heavy casualties and were forced from the field to join the fleeing Union troops for about 3 miles north.

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: My visit to New Market battlefield (Virginia)
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2020, 07:31:20 AM »
Thanks for sharing. Its been a long time, but I went there when I was a VMI Rat.  O0
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Offline twitter3

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Re: My visit to New Market battlefield (Virginia)
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2020, 12:07:15 PM »
Thanks for sharing. Its been a long time, but I went there when I was a VMI Rat.  O0

You would have provided my brother and I as an excellent field guide!

Side question - Do the cadets march from Lexington to New Market for the reenactment each year or no? I thought I heard that as my old HR director at a university I used to teach at graduated from VMI in the 60's.

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: My visit to New Market battlefield (Virginia)
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2020, 12:13:00 PM »
Thanks for sharing. Its been a long time, but I went there when I was a VMI Rat.  O0

Side question - Do the cadets march from Lexington to New Market for the reenactment each year or no? I thought I heard that as my old HR director at a university I used to teach at graduated from VMI in the 60's.

Yup. All 87 miles.
Grogheads Uber Alles
Semper Grog
"No beast is more alpha than JH." Gusington, 10/23/18


Offline Sir Slash

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Re: My visit to New Market battlefield (Virginia)
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2020, 12:39:39 PM »
Excellent pics twitter.  O0
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline twitter3

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Re: My visit to New Market battlefield (Virginia)
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2020, 07:13:30 AM »
Thanks for sharing. Its been a long time, but I went there when I was a VMI Rat.  O0

Side question - Do the cadets march from Lexington to New Market for the reenactment each year or no? I thought I heard that as my old HR director at a university I used to teach at graduated from VMI in the 60's.

Yup. All 87 miles.

Two days worth of marching or three? If I read it correctly the 1864 cadets made the march in two days. Either way that is a hike for sure and makes one understand the term 'Foot Calvary'.

Offline twitter3

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Re: My visit to New Market battlefield (Virginia)
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2020, 07:13:54 AM »
Excellent pics twitter.  O0

Thank you!