New Market Battlefield State Historical Park is a historic American Civil War battlefield and national historic district located near New Market, VA, in Shenandoah County. The park is also the site of the Virginia Museum of the Civil War, which is operated by the Virginia Military Institute.
Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant designed a "grand strategy" to press the Confederacy into submission. His goal was to ensure the Confederacy couldn't take advantage of the strategically important and agriculturally rich Shenandoah Valley. While he engaged Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia in the eastern portion of the state, he ordered Major General Franz Sigel's army of some 10,000 troops to secure the valley and threaten Lee's left flank.
Information from the Museum, which is operated by VMI, noted that "never before or since has an
American college student body participated in pitched battle."
This was one the last significant Confederate victories, although other battles, including Cedar Creek would take place throughout the summer and autumn. By the following spring, however, the Civil War was over.
In the middle of the battlefield stands the Bushong House, used by both sides as a hospital during the battle. It now demonstrates both how homes near battlefields often were turned into ad hoc hospitals as well as how a middle-class farmer lived during the mid-1800s.
Know before you go: Touring this national battlefield makes a good pairing with Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Site, which I posted last week.
Getting there: 8895 George Collins Pkwy, New Market, VA 22844
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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