Location Information

History:

New Market Battlefield Military Museum Map

Located at exit 264 from Interstate 81, the New Market Battlefield Military Museum is 1/4 mile from that exit, on the small road (Rte 305), George R. Collins Parkway that parallels the interstate highway.

The museum building is flanked by granite and marble markers that forever mark the position of  troops who fought during the Battle of New Market.

Consulting original maps from that time allowed these markers to be accurately placed and to be inscribed with relevant information.

Where the Museum rests on the battlefield is right between the Union line and the Confederate line. If it were May the1 4th or 15th, 1864 bullets might be whizzing over our heads.

The Union general was Franz Siegel, Confederate generals were John C. Breckenridge (former Vice-president of the United States) and Gabriel C. Wharton.

Gen. Franz Siegel, shortly after the defeat of this battle, was removed from the field to desk duty for the rest of the war. He resigned from the Union Army in May 1865.

Gen. Gabriel Wharton became a legislator in the Virginia General Assembly after the war and returned to his pre-war career as a civil & mining engineer. Wharton was assistant Secretary of State under President Rutherford B. Hayes.  He was also instrumental in building the railroad in Southwest Virginia in New River Valley. Wharton died in the spring of 1906 at Radford, Virginia,

Gen. John Cabell Breckenridge was transferred to the Trans-Allegheny Department (Southwest Virginia), where he won his most significant victory at the Battle of New Market. After participating in Jubal Early’s 1864 campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley, he was charged with defending Confederate supplies in Tennessee and Virginia. In February 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Breckenridge Secretary of War. Concluding that the war was hopeless, he urged Davis to arrange a national surrender.

After the fall of the Confederate capital at Richmond, Breckenridge ensured the preservation of Confederate military and governmental records. He then fled to Cuba, Great Britain, and finally, to Canada. In exile, he toured Europe from August 1866 to June 1868.  When President Andrew Johnson extended amnesty to all former Confederates in late 1868, Breckenridge returned to Kentucky, but resisted all encouragement to resume his political career. Issues from war injuries sapped his health, and after two operations, he died on May 17, 1875.

General:

New-Market-Battlefield-Military-Museum-Front-ViewThe New Market Battlefield Museum is situated on high ground within the Core Area of the New Market Battlefield Cluster Group as designated by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF). The site is gently-sloped, is improved by a stunning Greek Revival style building with 90 parking spaces.  The property is positioned a few hundred yards from the access ramps of I-81’s Exit 264. From the portico of the structure, there is a magnificent view of the Massanutten Gap. Looking South is the hill down which Confederate forces advanced on May 15th, 1864, while the view to the North includes the summit where the Federal Batteries were massed during the final assault.

The structure was built to resemble the Custis-Lee Mansion (Arlington House located in the Arlington National Cemetery). Robert E. Lee’s wife Mary Custis Lee inherited the home from the Custis family.

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