Formal ceremonies honoring the cadets who fought in the Battle of New Market have taken place on the VMI post every year since 1878. The ceremony was first held at the New Market monument, Virginia Mourning Her Dead, in its current location in front of Nichols Hall in 1912.
In that year, five of the cadets who died as a result of the battle were reburied beneath the monument. A sixth was reburied there in 1960.
The ceremony remembers not only the New Market cadets, but all alumni who have died serving our nation. It begins with the Corps of Cadets marching out of barracks to the Parade Ground and forming up with its two battalions centered on the monument.
Next, in the historic roll call, cadet company commanders call out the names of the 10 cadets who died as a result of the battle. In response, an appointed cadet gives the traditional reply, “Died on the field of honor.”
A wreath is then placed at the base of Virginia Mourning Her Dead, followed by the reading of the New Market Prayer by the Institute chaplain and seven cadets firing three rifle volleys in salute. Trumpeters sound “Taps,” and the Regimental Band plays “Amazing Grace.”
The Corps then passes in review toward the south end of the Parade Ground and then down Letcher Avenue to barracks, giving an “eyes-right” salute to the commandant as they pass the monument.
During the ceremony, the New Market Medal may be presented to an individual who has displayed the qualities of duty, honor, devotion, and leadership exemplified by the New Market cadets. The award, established in 1962 by the VMI Board of Visitors, has been presented 14 times since its inception.