Cadet Battery

Virginia Military Institute Museums & Archives
Written By Virginia Military Institute Museums & Archives

Visit the museums of the Virginia Military Institute, the oldest state-supported military college in the United States: The VMI Museum, Virginia Museum of the Civil War, Stonewall Jackson House, Marshall Museum and Library, Adams Center for Military History, and VMI Archives.

The VMI Cadet Battery consists of four mid-Nineteenth Century cannons once used to train the Corps of Cadets. Built for the institute in 1848, the cannons are scaled down versions of the field artillery from the era. Weighing in at over 550 pounds each, the Cadet Battery was commanded by Major Thomas J. Jackson, later known as “Stonewall.” Jackson was a professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and the Instructor of Artillery at VMI from 1851 until the start of the Civil War in 1861.

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The guns were used by several units during the war, including the Rockbridge Artillery under the command of William Pendleton. It was Pendleton, an Episcopal minister, who named the four cannons Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. After the Civil War the federal government disarmed the institute and the guns were removed. The Cadet Battery was restored in 1875. The tubes are original but the carriages they sit on have been replaced several times. The cannons sit in front of the Stonewall Jackson statue on the Parade Ground at the institute.

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