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The New International Encyclopædia/Virginia Military Institute

< The New International Encyclopædia

VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE. A State institution at Lexington, Va., established in 1839, when the General Assembly, in place of the company of soldiers hitherto stationed at the western arsenal at Lexington, authorized the creation of a company of cadets, who, in addition to the duties of an armed guard, should pursue a course of scientific and military studies. In 1860 the cadets marched for Richmond and were employed in drilling the recruits at Camp Lee. The school was reopened in 1862 on the demand of the Confederate military authorities, but was burned by order of General David Hunter in 1864. After the close of the war the buildings were restored and the course of instruction was enlarged and extended. The courses are partly prescribed and partly elective. A cadet who attains the prescribed proficiency in one of the elective courses, in addition to the degree of graduate, may receive the degree of bachelor of science. Nearly the whole body of graduates prior to 1860 were officers in the Confederate Army. Since 1898 about 170 alumni of the institute have been officers in the United States armies. Stonewall Jackson was professor of physics and artillery instruction from 1851 to 1861. The institute in 1903 had 275 cadets, 20 instructors, and a library of 12,000 volumes. Its grounds and buildings were valued at $500,000. It has no endowment, being supported by the State.