Virginia Military Institute in the Civil War

Keith Gibson

Col. Keith Gibson speaking before a packed house at the Charlottesville Senior Center.

Regular listeners of our podcasts might know Rick Britton. He’s a historian and cartographer and a frequent guest on WINA’s Charlottesville Right Now with Coy Barefoot. Rick also organizes a Civil War lecture and day-trip series in conjunction with the Charlottesville Senior Center.

On Wednesday, August 18th, Col. Keith Gibson, V.M.I.’s Director of Museum Operations, delivered a presentation on the Virginia Military Institute in the Civil War. Founded in 1839 in Lexington, Virginia, V.M.I. supplied the fledgling Confederacy with a large number of military leaders. Almost 2,000 V.M.I. grads eventually served in the Southern army. During the war the cadet corps drilled volunteer infantry regiments as they arrived to defend Virginia, and played a significant battlefield role at the May 15th, 1864, Confederate victory at New Market. When a gaping hole appeared in the Confederate front line, the youngsters were ordered in. The price? Ten dead and forty-seven wounded.

On Wednesday, August 25th, Rick Britton will lead a bus tour to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley town of Lexington. The tour will see the Stonewall Jackson House (the only home the general ever owned), and Jackson’s final resting place nearby. Following lunch the tour will visit Lee Chapel (Robert E. Lee’s final resting place), and the fabulous V.M.I. Museum (where Colonel Gibson promises us a behind-the-scenes tour). Bus tour departs from the Charlottesville Senior Center at 9:00 am. There is a fee for the tour. Call 974-6538 for more information.

This is the fouth in a six part series for 2010.