Lexington, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Virginia Military Institute
The Nation’s First State-Sponsored Military College
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.
The Corps of Cadets numbers approximately 1,600 men and women from around the country and from several foreign nations.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Education • Military.
Location. 37° 47.365′ N, 79° 26.334′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Virginia. Marker is on Letcher Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Marker is located on the grounds of the Virginia Military Academy, at the southwest corner of the parade ground. Touch for map. Marker is 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 marker. Sigma Nu Fraternity (within shouting distance of this marker); The Cabell House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 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); General Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr. (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Robinson (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.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 27, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 428 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 27, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.