Friday is field trip day, so in spite of a brooding sky, we packed up and headed southwest into the Shenandoah Valley where many battles were fought during the War of Northern Aggression. As some call it.
Today, we made our way to New Market, where there is a well-presented museum which chronicles the major events and people of the Civil War and a nicely preserved and maintained battlefield.
The Battle of New Market is notable because it was the first engagement in which the cadets of the Virginia Military Institute fought in the ranks.
And fight they did.
Ten died, out of the two hundred fifty who participated in the Confederate victory of May 15, 1864.
The field is placid now. Wide open, with views of Massanutten Mountain and the New Market Gap to the north and east, the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge mountains to the south and west.
Today, VMI administers and operates the battlefield and accompanying Museum of the Civil War.
Thankfully, they were able to preserve the property in spite of the advent of Interstate I-81, which bisects the property, rendering the eastern side of the battlefield accessible only by pedestrian walkway under the freeway.
Ignore the hum and rush of Twenty-First Century conveyances, and you are quickly transported to the mid-Nineteen Century on this well-maintained field of battle. See details of the museum and battle at http://www.vmi.edu/newmarket .