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In this book, William C. Davis narrates one of the most memorable and crucial of the engagements fought for control of the strategically vital Shenandoah Valley — a battle that centered on the farming community of New Market. There, Confederate forces under the command of General John C. Breckinridge defeated the numerically superior army commanded by the Union's hapless General Franz Sigel. Outnumbered by a margin of four to one at the beginning of the conflict, Breckinridge was desperate for additional men. He sent out a call for assistance to the Virginia Military Institute, and the school responded by sending 258 members of its Corps of Cadets into battle — some of them as young as fifteen years old. In the action that followed, 57 of them would be killed or wounded.
In vivid detail, The Battle of New Market tells of Breckinridge's audacious domination of the battlefield and of Sigel's tragic ineptitude; of the opposing troops, both seasoned and untried; of the fate of prisoners and of the wounded; and, perhaps most memorably, of the gallantry of the cadets who marched from the classrooms of VMI directly into the heat of battle.
Posted September 29, 2008
This is one of historian William C. Davis's earlier efforts, but also one of his best. His research has great depth. The is much detail in the preliminaries as the commanders Siegel and Breckenridge gather their forces,including for the Confederates the Corps of Cadets of the Virginia Military Institute. Davis's treatment of the battle itself is presented very well as the reader visualizes the movements of troops. The closing chapter is outstanding as Davis tells the 'rest of the story' especially regarding the impact on VMI. Recommended for any student of the war between the states in Virginia. After reading this book you should consider reading The End of an Era by one of the cadet participants who was wounded early in the battle.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.