Lexington, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Cadet Battery
These smooth-bore six-pounder cannon were received at V.M.I. early in June, 1848, and were especially cast lighter than standard, at Watervleit Arsenal. Each bears the seal of Virginia. They were used in war by the Richmond Howitzers, the Rockbridge Artillery and other units and served at First Manassas, Ball's Bluff, the Peninsula, Williamsburg, Savage's Station and Malvern Hill. At Falling Waters (Hainesville) they fired on July 2, 1861, the first hostile cannon-shot in the Valley. Superseded by heavier guns, they were retired and were later taken to Richmond, where they were captured when Richmond fell. They were returned in 1874 to V.M.I., where they were again used until official retirement ceremonies were held May 10, 1913, although they served for a short time in training men during World War I. These guns were used by Major Thomas J. Jackson, who came to V.M.I. on August 13, 1851, as professor of natural and experimental philosophy and instructor in artillery (and was listed among the professors until his death) in training hundreds of cadets, many former V.M.I. cadets were at Chancellorsville where Jackson, then
In 1848 the foundry of Cyrus Alger in Boston, Massachusetts, cast the specially designed VMI Cadet Battery. Each tube of the training guns weighs 562 pouns, three hundred pounds less than the standard six-pounder cannon of the time. The Adjutant General of Virginia requested that the carriages be painted red with black metal parts so that whenever the cadets were on parade, the public would instantly identify the cannon as the VMI Cadet Battery. The cadets too special pride in their unique guns.
Major Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson instructed artillery tactics with the red guns for ten years prior to the Civil War. The battery originally consisted of two 12-pounder howitzers and four 6-pound tubes, but one howitzer was lost during the war. The guns were issued to the Rockbridge Artillery and other units at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 and saw action at Falling Water, First Manassas, Savage Station and Malvern Hill.
VMI Cadet Battery was made possible by
the generous support of
Mr. Jeff Shaara.
Location. 37° 47.436′ N, 79° 26.166′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Virginia. Marker is on Touch for map. Located on the parade grounds of the Virginia Military Institute. The two plaques set on opposite sides of the "gun line" in front of the "Stonewall" Jackson memorial. Marker is in this post office area: Lexington VA 24450, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Little Sorrel (here, next to this marker); Stonewall Jackson (here, next to this marker); Barracks The Virginia Military Institute (within shouting distance of this marker); Virginia Military Institute Historic District (within shouting distance of this marker); George C. Marshall (within shouting distance of this marker); Korean War (within shouting distance of this marker); George Catlett Marshall (within shouting distance of this marker); Jackson’s Classroom (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
Also see . . .
1. Stonewall Jackson at VMI. Article detailing Jackson's time as a professor at VMI and his use of the gun. (Submitted on May 31, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Red Artillery Carriages Return To VMI. Article from Artilleryman Magazine. (Submitted on May 31, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. The Four Apostles. Details about the guns. (Submitted on May 31, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • War, US Civil • War, World I •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 31, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,099 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 31, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3. submitted on December 23, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 4, 5. submitted on August 23, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on May 31, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 11. submitted on November 29, 2011, by Don Hogan of Milton, Georgia. 12. submitted on January 28, 2013, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.