We spent a few days in Lexington on our ride south during the last few days of September...
Lexington, VirginiaBack to this post after refreshing my memory with notes and photographs: Lexington, Virginia was settled in 1777. It is home to Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute, the latter being raided, shelled and burned during the Civil War.
The George C. Marshall Foundation is here as are at least seventeen locations in this quaint little town on the National Register of Historic Places.
Virginia Military Institute (VMI)Before its formation as an institution of higher education, VMI’s site was occupied by an arsenal of some twenty young and undisciplined soldiers.
In late 1839 however, those young Virginians were mustered into the service. On a cold snowy November day, the first cadet sentry relieved the old arsenal guard. Cadets continue to perform guard duty and serve the State as a military corps, just as the first Corps of Cadets did.
|Welcome to Virginia Military Institute|
Thomas Jonathan Jackson was born January 21, 1824. He lost his father and sister to typhoid fever and became an unwanted stepson to his mother's second husband. A few years later, his mother's health failed and just before she died, young Thomas was put into the custody of his birth father's parents. In 1842, at age 18, Jackson was accepted at West Point. Because of his inadequate early education, he had difficulty with the entrance examinations and began his studies at the bottom of his class. Thomas worked hard to absorb lessons. Displaying a dogged determination that would ultimately characterize his life, Jackson became one of the hardest working cadets in the academy. Jackson would ultimately graduate 17th out of 59 in the Class of 1846.
In 1851 Thomas Jonathan Jackson accepted a newly created teaching position at the Virginia Military Institute where he was Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Instructor of Artillery. He was stern and religious and not a popular teacher. Jackson was often referred to as "Tom Fool" by the VMI students. Parts of Jackson's curriculum are still taught at VMI today as they are regarded as timeless military essentials.
The only home Jackson ever owned is in Lexington. He bought it in 1859. It is now a museum and has a nice side and back yard garden area.
|Built in 1801 this was the Lexington, Virginia home of Stonewall Jackson|
|The Presbyterian Church where Thomas Jackson worshipped while in Lexington.|
On May 15, 1863, Stonewall Jackson's body was escorted by the Corps of Cadets to his final resting place in Lexington.
|Just before the battle at Chancellorsville, Jackson surveyed the field.|
Seeing VMI all around, said, “The Institute will be heard from today.”
The "Lee" Part of Washington and Lee University
After the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee declined several job offers to serve as Washington College president. Lee believed that in this job he could make a contribution to the reconciliation of the nation. Lee's wife was a direct decedent of George Washington too. Lee welcomed the challenge of leading a college endowed by and named after the first president.
|Washington College Presidents home.|
|Robert E. Lee Memorial Church |
He attended church services here when he was in Lexington.
General Lee and much of his family—including his wife, his seven children, and his father, the Revolutionary War hero "Light Horse Harry" Lee—are buried in the Lee Chapel here.
|At the doorway to Lee Chapel.|
TravellerRobert E. Lee's beloved horse is buried outside Lee Chapel. The horse's life story and death are quite interesting.
|Traveller's current resting place.|
|This garage was once Traveller's stable. |
The doors always remain open so Traveller's spirit may roam freely.