Thanks for the comments on yesterday’s blog. It was good to learn that the Rat Class for 2014 at VMI will visit the battlefield at New Market State Historical Park  this weekend for the annual orientation to the 1864 battle in which the cadets at VMI so prominently figured.

I understand that the freshmen ratsl march the 80 miles from Lexington.just as did those brave young men of long ago who fought for what they believed in. The First Classmen carry VMI shields that are later presented to each Rat on the battlefield. They will stand at attention in the Bushong House paddock and take their Oath of Cadetship.

Then they will move on to the 1818 Bushong house to  receive a lecture on the impact of the war on civilians like Jacob and Sarah Bushong who survived the battle by seeking shelter in their cellar.

At the split rail fence overlooking the “Field of Lost Shoes” members of the VMI Civil War Round Table will explain the moment when the cadets were called into the front of the Confederate battle line and charged the Federal position.

There will be a picnic with families attending and afterwards the first public parade of the new VMI class will take place in Downtown New Market during the afternoon. At least all this…weather permitting.

A comment was made that an excellent book on the subject is Valley Thunder, The Battle of New Market and the Opening of the Shenandoah Campaign May 1864 by Charlie Knight. Jack Davis wrote the foreword.