St. Matthew's Lutheran Church


From the 54th Pennsylvania Monument, drive south on US 11 1.5 miles to the parking lot of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. In .4 mile you will come to two motels. These motels mark the final Confederate artillery positions. Breckinridge deployed his guns on the ridge east of the Pike that extends northeast toward Smith's Creek. Ten guns under the command of Maj. William McLaughlin, including the two-gun cadet section, brought heavy fire on the Federal line and were instrumental in stopping the Union cavalry charge. Continue .3 mile to a point opposite the closed Battlefield Gift Shop. A modern natural wood house is west of US 11. This marks the point about where Captain von Kleiser's New York gunners first set up to support Colonel Moor's forward line. The position also marks the eastern side of the intermediate line occupied by the 18th Connecticut and 123d Ohio after they pulled north from the River Road. One of von Kleiser's guns was disabled here, its wheel knocked off by Confederate fire, and had to be abandoned. Continue .1 mile to the Shenandoah Retirement Home. This was the home of Capt. W. H. Rice who raised the Shenandoah Page Battery, which he commanded until losing a leg at Cross Keys in June 1862. The house was built by his father, Dr. John Rice, in 1834. The building also was used as a headquarters by General Shields during the 1862 campaign. A barn stood until 1926 north of the house where the white townhouses are now. It was one of the main hospitals after the battle. Continue .3 mile to St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, turn west, .1 mile into the church parking lot, and stop. The Federal dead from the battle were buried hastily in a field along US 11 between the church and Rice's House, because the local citizens did not want them in consecrated ground. They were later reinterred more substantially by Federals in June, then removed to Staunton after the war.

Snow's Maryland Battery set up in the cemetery area late on 14 May. Early on 15 May, Captain Snow sent a section forward to about where the fast food restaurant is located east of the Interstate 66 Interchange. This position was so dominated by Breckinridge's artillery on Shirley's Hill that the Federal gunners pulled back to their positions by the church. The 34th Massachusetts was in line to the east of this location on the other side of US 11 until it began its odyssey. Later, Major McLaughlin's guns moved up to a position in the vicinity of the present school a bit farther east. West of the parking lot a small lane may be seen heading towards the interstate. This is the last vestige of River Road, another trace of which can be found west of the interstate. The 1st West Virginia set up along this road from about the west side of the parking lot to a point midway to the interstate. The 123d Ohio extended the line to just past the interstate. Ewing's West Virginia Battery set up on the high ground. It was later joined, early on 15 May, by the 18th Connecticut, which formed line westward from the 123d Ohio. The Federals were completely driven from this entire line by 1230 on 15 May.

Map, New Market Battlefield, St. Matthew's Lutheran Church


An obelisk in the middle of the cemetery marks the Confederate burial ground. Also, at the entrance to the church area, by US 11, is a post containing a conical bolt fired by a Federal battery. Allegedly, Breckinridge and his staff clustered on US 11 were the targets of this shot. No harm was done other than scattering the group with splinters. The house on the opposite side of the lane was built in 1790 and was the home of Confederate veteran George M. Neese, author of the memoir Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery.

Drive from here to the Shenandoah Valley Tourist Association Building west of Interchange 67.

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page created 17 December 1999

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