The heavens cried copious tears Thursday as VMI Cadets and leaders observed the 150th anniversary of the Civil War engagement at New Market.
‘Every year since 1866, the VMI Corps of Cadets and VMI alumni around the world have paused on May 15 to recognize the extraordinary moment of courage and sacrifice by the VMI Corps of Cadets at the Battle of New Market,” said J.H.B. Peay III, General (USA) retired, 14th Superintendent of Virginia Military Institute.
One of those ceremonies took place in the cemetery at New Dublin Presbyterian Church, Dublin, in the pouring rain, Thursday about 7 p.m.
Jim Kelly, Class of 1971, Class Agent, and Will Hale, Class of 2003, placed three flags, the U.S., Virginia and VMI flags, and a floral display at the grave of Marcus Daniel Langhorne, a VMI Cadet (Class of 1867) and participant in the Battle of New Market.
Hale read a statement Superintendent Peay gave to the alumni gatherings around the world at the grave sites of the New Market Cadet veterans.
Langhorne was born in 1847 in Roanoke County and died Sept. 26, 1900. After his military service, he was a farmer and in the real estate business
Union troops headed north through the Shenandoah Valley, and outnumbered Confederate forces were in the heat of battle on May 15, 1864, when the young men of VMI marched from Lexington to New Market.
He had a brother, Jackie Kent Langhorne who was a member of the VMI Class of 1866.
Of the 257 Cadets, the youngest 15 and the oldest 25, 10 were killed or died later from wounds. Forty-five were wounded.
Peay also said that over the past 150 years, alumni of every generation have been called to serve and sacrifice not unlike the New Market Corps.
“The names of over 500 alumni have been added to the roster of those who ‘Died on the Field of Honor,’” he said.
First-year cadets, called “rats,” carry on the tradition of the march each year to New Market to get a closer look at the VMI historic battlefield story.
To conclude Thursday’s ceremony at Dublin, Kelly read a prayer from the VMI chaplain.