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Monday, May 29, 2006

Drive the Hunter's Raid Civil War Trail

Click the map of the 'Hunter's Raid Civil War Trail' for a larger view.

On May 11, 1864, 257 Virginia Military Institute cadets marched 84 miles to New Market, VA to take part in the Battle of New Market. Their valiant efforts cost a dear price as 10 cadets lost their lives and another 45 were wounded. The corps, however, was instrumental in turning the battle to defeat Union General David Hunter’s regiment. In retaliation, General Hunter brought forces 18,000 strong into Lexington, home of VMI. The Institute was considered a legitimate military target, as it was both an arsenal and a military training school. On June 12, Hunter ordered VMI burned.

On May 26, 1864, Union Gen. David Hunter marched south from Cedar Creek near Winchester to drive out Confederate forces, lay waste to the Shenandoah Valley, and destroy the railroads at Lynchburg. His raid was part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's strategy to attack Confederates simultaneously throughout Virginia. After defeating Gen. William E. “Grumble” Jones at Piedmont on June 5, Hunter marched to Lexington, burned Virginia Military Institute, and headed to Lynchburg. There, on June 17–18, Gen. Jubal A. Early repulsed Hunter and pursued him to West Virginia. Early then turned north in July to threaten Washington.

Now you can drive at your leisure and visit all of the historic places that, "The Hunter’s Raid Civil War Trail" will take you.

The Hunter’s Raid Civil War Trail is a scenic driving tour of Union General David Hunter’s 1864 raid through the Shenandoah Valley. Detailed trail markers may be found along the way.

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