Today, the 11th November, in 1839 the Virginia Military Institute was founded in Lexington, VA. Francis Smith was the first Superintendent.
VMI is known as the West Point of the South. Unlike West Point, graduates are not obliged to join the armed forces upon graduation.
In 1851 T.J. Jackson became a professor of Arithmetic and an Artillery instructor. Fifteen of its graduates became Confederate Generals and many more Regimental Colonels. Rodes and Mahone are probably the two most famous Civil War graduates(both Major Generals). In 1864 the cadets were called upon to fight at the battle of New Market(Southern Victory). VMI was later damaged by Union forces.
George Marshall of WW2 fame, later a 5 Star General, was a graduate.