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New Market collection

Identifier: MS-0002
The New Market Collection consists primarily of reminiscences of the Battle of New Market Virginia (May 15, 1864) written by participants and other witnesses between 1894-1915. Written in response to specific inquiries and questionnaires, these memoirs were collected by various groups and individuals, including the VMI Alumni Association, author/historian Edward R. Turner, Henry A. Wise (VMI Class of 1862 and battle veteran) and Benjamin A. Colonna (VMI Class of 1864 and battle veteran). In addition to VMI cadet participants, information was received from veterans of other Confederate units, from Union soldiers, and from a small number number of eyewitnesses who were citizens of the town of New Market at the time of the battle. Some of the responses are very detailed, while others contain little information other than the fact of participation. The accounts collected by Benjamin Colonna reflect his particular interest in troop movements and positions, and in mapping the battlefield.

In addition to the memoirs, the collection includes Colonna's map of the battlefield and materials relating to the creation of the map; 4 documents (1864) relating to the 34th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, one of the Union Army units at the battle; and miscellaneous printed material


  • 1893-1915


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Manuscript collections in the VMI Archives are made available for educational and research use. The VMI Archives should be cited as the source. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright holders. Materials from our collections may not be redistributed, published or reproduced without permission from the VMI Archives. Contact the VMI Archives for additional information.


1.5 cubic feet (3 document boxes and oversized materials)

Biographical / Historical

The Civil War Battle of New Market, Virginia took place on May 15, 1864. The Virginia Military Corps of Cadets participated as a unit in this engagement, and ten cadets were killed or died later as a result of their wounds. The battle was fought in response to Union General Franz Sigel's march up the Shenandoah Valley from Winchester towards Staunton. The Confederate force then in the Valley, commanded by Gen. John Imboden, was reinforced at Staunton by troops commanded by Gen. John C. Breckinridge, and by the Virginia Military Institute cadets commanded by Major Scott Shipp. The Confederate troops marched north where the battle took place on the afternoon of May 15. About 4 p.m., Sigel ordered a retreat and fell back to Strasburg.

The individuals largely responsible for compiling the New Market collection next hit had strong ties to VMI and to the battle. Henry A. Wise, the son of John Cropper Wise and Anne Finney, was born in Accomac County, Virginia in May 1842. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and served in the Confederate Army until captured and paroled in 1862. During the period of his parole, he returned to VMI as a faculty member and tactical officer. Wise was in command of Cadet Company A at the Battle of New Market and took command of the Cadet Battalion after Scott Shipp was wounded. After the war, Wise resumed his career as an educator in the Tidewater area and in Baltimore, Maryland. He died at Norfolk, Virginia on July 11, 1918.

Benjamin Azariah Colonna, the son of John Wilkins Colonna and Margaret Jones, was born in Accomac County, Virginia in October 1843. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1864 and while at VMI took part in the Battle of New Market as Cadet Captain of Company D. Following the war, Colonna worked as a surveyor and civil engineer. He maintained a lifelong interest in the battle and was responsible for the accurate mapping of the New Market battlefield. He died in 1924 in Washington, DC.

Physical Location

Manuscripts Stacks; and Oversized case 1

Separated Materials

Oversized items removed. Located in oversized case- manuscripts
A Guide to the New Market Collection, 1893-1915
VMI Archives Staff
2002 Virginia Military Institute Archives

Revision Statements

  • 2015: reviewed

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450