“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lexington, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Virginia Military Institute

The Nation’s First State-Sponsored Military College

Virginia Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, August 20, 2012
1. Virginia Military Institute Marker
Virginia Military Institute was founded in 1839, becoming the nation’s first state-sponsored military college. Consistently ranked among America’s best undergraduate colleges, VMI educates the citizen-soldier by offering a rigorous academic program set within a military framework and governed by an unparalleled honor code. All cadets participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps, choosing Army, Marine Corps, Navy, or Air Force. Over half of the graduating class accepts a commission.

Initially, VMI took up residence in the state arsenal located on this site. In 1850, prominent architect Alexander Jackson Davis introduced the Gothic Revival architectural style to the Post and thereby created the distinctive look of the Institute seen today.

Major Thomas J. Jackson, later known as “Stonewall” Jackson, arrived in 1851 to teach Natural Philosophy. During the Civil War, the VMI Corps of Cadets was called up for service more than 15 times. At the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864, the cadets were credited with achieving victory. In June 1864, VMI sustained significant damage when Union forces entered Lexington.

Virginia Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, August 20, 2012
2. Virginia Military Institute Marker
The VMI barracks can be seen behind the marker.
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VMI alumni include General of the Army George C. Marshall, Class of 1901: World War II Army Chief of Staff, architect of the Marshall Plan and Nobel Peace Prize winner; Admiral Richard Bryd, Class of 1908: received the Medal of Honor for his explorations of the North and South poles; and Jonathan M. Daniels, Class of 1961: murdered Civil Rights activist of the 1960s, declared a Lesser Saint of the Episcopal Church for his sacrifice.

The Corps of Cadets numbers approximately 1,600 men and women from around the country and from several foreign nations.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationMilitary. In addition, it is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients series list. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1862.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 37° 47.365′ N, 79° 26.334′ W. Marker was in Lexington, Virginia. Marker was on Letcher Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Marker was located on the grounds of the Virginia Military Academy, at the southwest corner of the parade ground. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Lexington VA 24450, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Sigma Nu Fraternity (within shouting distance of this marker); The Cabell House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct
Marker at VMI image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, August 20, 2012
3. Marker at VMI
line); Virginia Military Institute: A National Historic Landmark (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Virginia Military Institute (about 400 feet away); Cincinnatus Citizen-Soldier (about 500 feet away); Hotchkiss House (about 500 feet away); Virginia Mourning Her Dead (about 800 feet away); P. Wesley Foster, Jr. (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
More about this marker. The left side of the marker contains a map of VMI with legend indicating the location of the marker. The right side features pictures of VMI from ca. 1857 and ca. 1950.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has been replaced with the linked marker which has slightly different content.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 27, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 482 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 27, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.

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Mar. 20, 2023