Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Cadets in Richmond
Information about the activities of the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets in Richmond, VA during the Civil War.
The Cadet Corps of the Virginia Military Institute was marched to Richmond in April 1861 under the command of Major (later Lt. Gen.) Thomas J. Jackson. Upon arrival a portion was quartered at "Camp Lee" and served as drillmasters for incoming Confederate soldiers. Another portion was posted at the Richmond College (later the Louisiana Hospital) and served as instructors in artillery.
Jackson was promoted to Colonel and ordered to Harper's Ferry, at which time Col. William Gilham (Commandant of the Cadet Corps) exercised control over the cadets. Gilham had written a drill manual for use of Virginia troops, and the cadets trained recruits using his drill methods.
Later in the war, after the cadets had fought at the Battle of New Market, their barracks in Lexington were destroyed in a raid by Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley. At this time, the cadets made their way to Richmond where they were given barracks at the Richmond Alms house (General Hospital #1). This building (which still stands) is the only other building ever to serve as VMI's barracks.
They served as active duty troops up till the evacuation of Richmond, when they were some of the last Confederate units to evacuate the city. Upon the evacuation, the corps was disbanded, and returned to their barracks at Lexington the next year.