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New Market in Shenandoah County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Bloody Cedars

“Which was done with alacrity and spirit.”

 

1864 Valley Campaign

 
The Bloody Cedars Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
1. The Bloody Cedars Marker
Inscription. As the Battle of New Market unfolded on May 15, 1864, Confederate troops under Gen. John C. Breckinridge heavily assaulted the left flank of Union Gen. Franz Sigel's army. Sigel counterattacked with Gen. Julius Stahel's cavalry, which charged down the Valley Turnpike (present-day U.S. Route 11). The Confederates repulsed the attack, and Stahel's men fell back in disorder, leaving the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment to anchor the Union left flank on the field in front of you.

Sigel then ordered his infantry to launch another attack. The 1st West Virginia Infantry (posted to the right of the 54th Pennsylvania) was the first to advance. "I ordered the 54th also to charge," wrote its commander, Col. Jacob Campbell, "which was done with alacrity and spirit." Under heavy fire, the West Virginians retreated unexpectedly. The men of the 54th Pennsylvania, now alone, came over the crest of this cedar-covered hill and were shocked by the number of Confederates waiting in a ravine to the south.

The heavy Confederate infantry fire cut deeply into the ranks of the unsupported Union troops. Campbell had no choice but to retreat to save his command, and his men made two defensive stands among the grove of cedar trees here as they retreated. Of the regiment's 566 soldiers, 32 were killed, 100 wounded, and 42 captured, totaling a loss
Battle Map in the Lower Center of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
2. Battle Map in the Lower Center of Marker
of more than 30 percent of the unit. The 54th suffered the second-highest regimental loss at the Battle of New Market. They christened this part of the battlefield "The Bloody Cedars."

(Sidebar):
"Where we did our part to preserve the Union."
In October 1905, surviving 54th Pennsylvania Infantry veterans gathered here to dedicate this monument to their regiment's valor - the only statue in Virginia memorializing Pennsylvania's Civil War Soldiers. After the ceremony, the veterans returned home with cedar seedlings from Jacob Bushong's field. Some of those trees still survive at the cemetery in Johnstown, Pa., where many of the regiment's veterans are buried.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 39.926′ N, 78° 39.713′ W. Marker is in New Market, Virginia, in Shenandoah County. Marker can be reached from Old Valley Pike (U.S. 11), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Located along the tour trail in New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. Marker is in this post office area: New Market VA 22844, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 54th Pennsylvania Monument (here,
Monument and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
3. Monument and Marker
next to this marker); Battle of New Market (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of New Market (approx. 0.2 miles away); Heroism in Defeat (approx. mile away); a different marker also named The Battle of New Market (approx. mile away); This Rustic Pile (approx. 0.3 miles away); “Good-bye, Lieutenant, I am killed.” (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Bushong Farm (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Market.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left is a portrait of Sgt. William Eppinger, Co. C, 54th Pennsylvania Infantry. In the upper center is a photo of 1st Platoon, Co. C, 54th Pennsylvania Infantry. In the sidebar are photos of a 54th Pennsylvania Infantry reunion ribbon, from the monument dedication on Oct. 25, 1905 and Jacob E. Bushong and friend at the 54th Pennsylvania monument, ca. 1910.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
View of the Memorial from the Road image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
4. View of the Memorial from the Road
The Ravine image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
5. The Ravine
The Valley Pike runs to the left of this view.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 22, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,324 times since then and 103 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 22, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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