Begin your tour at the 54th Pennsylvania Monument on US 11. This is located 1.5 miles north of the center of New Market. It may be reached from exit 67 off Interstate 81 by going .4 mile east to New Market on CR 260 and 1.5 miles north on US 11. The monument is on the west side of the road. Park and walk to the monument.
The monument marks the eastern limit of the final infantry line established by General Sigel about noon on 15 May. The Pennsylvania troops trotted into the location about 1420, less than 40 minutes before the decisive Confederate charge. They first occupied the low ground north of the monument, then charged south approximately 200 yards toward the tree line before being forced back. A few minutes before their charge, the Federal cavalry had attempted to advance. However, as it galloped across a small stone bridge to the east of the Pennsylvanians (70 yards northeast of the monument) it came under devastating artillery fire compounded by rifle fire from both sides of the Pike as it progressed. It was repulsed with considerable loss in a matter of minutes.
This position is about half a mile west northwest of the position occupied by McClanahan's gun section set up by General Imboden east of Smith's Creek. Fire from those pieces caused the Federal cavalry originally located to the southwest to pull back to the ground north of the monument and east of the Pike. From there, it later launched its ill-fated charge.
Boyd's cavalry was decimated about .9 mile east of here on 13 May after emerging from New Market Gap. Captain James H. Stevensen of the New York Lincoln Cavalry described the fight.
The colonel thought [they were friendly] and ordered us to advance. In a short time we saw a section of artillery and some cavalry moving rapidly toward the base of the mountain, at a point some distance south of where we must strike the valley. . . . Colonel Boyd . . . seemed a little staggered, but concluded to proceed, observing that they must be Sigel's troops. On reaching the base of the mountains, we found some pickets at a little bridge on Smith's creek, but they were dressed in our uniform, and Colonel Boyd thought they were some of Sigel's men who had not been informed of our approach.
They retired on our advancing towards them without attempting to fire. I sent a few men to push them, and they set off at full speed for New Market. We then held a little "pow-wow," and it was determined to cross the bridge, pass down the stream and try to gain the turnpike in rear of the column of troops which we had seen marching toward New Market. Then, if they were the enemy, we could show them our heels and bid them defiance. We crossed the bridge, and were just in the act of crossing the stream, which makes a bend across the little valley, when the bluff above us, on the New Market side, became alive with horsemen. The next instant we heard the well-known "rebel yell," accompanied with a shower of bullets and shouts of "Now we've got the d - d Yankees! give 'em h - ll!"
The firing was so hot from the bluff, and a shell bursting over us at that moment, the men under Boyd gave way, notwithstanding his example of courage and coolness.