An enduring and iconic feature in the Shenandoah

Posted on August 16, 2016 by


For almost 177 years, the Virginia Military Institute has been an iconic part of the history of the Shenandoah Valley.

Today, I happened upon the following clip from the August 13, 1859 edition of the Richmond Dispatch:

Having set the context with this clip… the more things change, the more… well, you know. 

While the number of new “Rats” matriculating annually has grown considerably over the years, I’m struck at how there seems to be yet another aspect of the Institute that stays the same… the following being a photo from this week, showing cadre preparing (comparable to that seen in 1859, when the cadets were then “in camp, and daily drilling and perfecting themselves in military practice”) for the next incoming class (2017+3), which shows up four days from today:

I’ll admit some bias, here.

While I’m not among the alumni, for as long as I can remember I’ve held the Institute and its graduates in the highest regard, and… I’ll have a new “Rat” of my own in the incoming class (yes, a proud Shenandoah Valley father). As such, frequent visits, I’m sure, will prompt VMI-related posts, likely focused on the antebellum era and years immediately after the Civil War.

Otherwise, for those who follow the blog, it’s been quiet around here for three months. While posting for me is typically sparse over the summer months, this has been the longest dry spell… ever. That said, it has been an extremely demanding summer which has kept me away from the keyboard a great deal. I plan on remedying that soon. For those so inclined… stay tuned.


*The image of VMI, at the top of this page, is from cover of the “Virginia Military Institute March”, by C. M. Stephani. The lithograph was by A. Hoen & Co., Baltimore, Md., and dates to 1857. Greater detail can be seen on this page from Getty Images.