On May 15, 1864, the Union Army marched up the Shenandoah Valley along the Valley Pike - present day Rt. 11 - toward Lynchburg to destroy the railroad and canal network there. They were confronted at New Market by the Confederate infantry and cavalry joined by the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets. The brave VMI Cadets - some as young as 15 years old - marched for two days from Lexington to New Market, and as they advanced under fire toward the Union line lost their shoes in the mud at Bushong Farm. To this day that section of the battlefield is known as the 'Field of Lost Shoes.' The Bushong family hid in the cellar and read passages from The Bible for comfort while the battle raged over their farm.

new market battlefield bushong farm field of lost shoes

The 'Field of Lost Shoes' lies along the hiking trail at New Market Battlefield. The brave VMI Cadets suffered a one in four casualty rate as they defended against the Massachusetts, West Virginia and Pennsylvania regiments at the Bushong Farm.

new market battlefield bushong farm artillery trees

The hiking trail at New Market Battlefield features an artillery display overlooking the 'Field of Lost Shoes.' The trail is one mile round trip, and this kid-friendly and pet-friendly park provides a picnic area and even 'Mutt Mitt' clean up bags.

The bloody battle at New Market forced the Union's withdrawal from the field, and the Bushong home served as a field hospital for both sides after the battle. In retaliation for the loss, Union Gen. Hunter attacked and burned VMI a few weeks after the battle. Nevertheless, the brave VMI Corps of Cadets were called up for service more than 15 times during the Civil War and were credited with achieving the Confederacy's last victory in The Valley at New Market.

Visiting the New Market Battlefield

Your best bet to visit the New Market Battlefield is to begin at the Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. Here there is a staffed visitor center with a film, exhibits, artifacts, art gallery, museum shop and picnic area. The Museum features an extraordinary stained glass window depicting the battle of New Market, and the museum theater screens the Emmy-award winning film Field of Lost Shoes about the brave VMI Cadets who fought at New Market.

virginia museum of the civil war battlefield walking trail

The Virginia Museum of the Civil War is located at New Market Battlefield.

new market bushong farm trail tree barn hay

The New Market Battlefield Trail leads from the Virginia Museum of the Civil War to the historic Bushong Farm that withstood the fierce fighting of the Battle of New Market. The Bushongs cultivated wheat, oats and livestock, working alongside the three African-American slaves that lived on the property.

A self-guided 1-mile walking tour of the battlefield with interpretive signs begins at the museum. The trail follows a mowed grass track that is a little hilly in places. The first part of the trail takes you through major areas of the final Confederate attacks on the Union line at Bushong Farm and the Field of Lost Shoes. The second trail takes you through the 'Bloody Cedars' section of the battlefield to the Pennsylvania Monument where the 54th Pennsylvania made a brave stand against overwhelming Confederate numbers. The tour includes the original Bushong family home, which is open to the public while undergoing restoration, as well as original and recreated farm buildings.

new market battlefield pennsylvania monument sky trees

The Pennsylvania Monument honors the brave stand of the 54th Pennsylvania in a cedar grove near the Bushong Farm known as 'Bloody Cedars.'

new market battlefield bushong farm wheelwright shop

The Bushong Farm features restored and recreated dependencies, including a wheelwright shop.

new market battlefield bushong farm hen house

The Bushong Farm hen house.

new market battlefield bushong farm ice house

The Bushong Farm ice house.

Pictured at the very top: The ca. 1825 vernacular Federal style Bushong family home still stands on the battlefield. The home is open to the public and is furnished with period antiques including some that belonged to the Bushong family.

Historical Photo

cadets at new market historial phhoto

Cadets at New Market, H.C. Edwards, 1903 (Public Domain)

Visit Virginia Military Institute, Civil War Trust and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation for battle details and information about the preservation of this battlefield.