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Virginia Military Institute (U.S.)

Lexington, Virginia

Last modified: 2020-05-23 by rick wyatt
Keywords: lexington | virginia military institute | university | virginia | united states |
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[Virginia Military Institute flag] image by Randy Young, 10 September 2016

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Description of the flag

Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is a state-supported higher education school based on a military curriculum located in the city of Lexington, Virginia. Founded in 1839, VMI has provided higher education and an entry into the US armed forces for cadets. Among the Institute's more notable alumni are US Navy Rear Admiral Richard Byrd, who led expeditions to both the North and South Poles; US Army Lieutenant General Edward Almond, commander of the US Army X Corps during the Korean War; General of the Army George Marshall, Chief of Staff of the US Army during the Second World War; Frank McCarthy, producer of the Academy Award-winning movie "Patton;" and no less than four recipients of the Medal of Honor. However, VMI's most famous personality was actually one of its professors Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson who taught artillery courses at VMI and served as General Winfield Scott's commander of artillery during the Mexican War before becoming Robert E. Lee's right-hand man in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War. Today, VMI grants degrees in 14 disciplines to its 1,600 students, which have included female cadets following a 1996 US Supreme Court ruling. and

The flag of the Virginia Military Institute is based on the colors carried by the VMI Corps of Cadets during their service as an independent unit in the Confederate Army. The VMI Corps of Cadets was committed to combat in 14 separate engagements between 1862 and 1865, and they are authorized to bear a battle streamer for each of those engagements; the Institute, however, has chosen to display only the streamer for the 15 May 1864 Battle of New Market, Virginia, where a charge by the Corps of Cadets was instrumental in forcing the larger Union army out of the Shenandoah Valley. The streamer is dark blue over grey, bearing the words "NEW MARKET 1864" in gold lettering.

The colors of the VMI Corps of Cadets are two-sided. On the obverse, they feature a rather complicated circular seal on a white field. The seal has at its center the stars and stripes of the coat of arms from the Great Seal of the United States with a cannon to either side. The shield and cannons sit upon a green field with mountains and sky in the background. A bald eagle is perched atop the shield, wings spread and head facing the fly, with a bust of George Washington above the eagle. Below the seal is a blue ribbon bearing in gold capital letters the motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM." The reverse side of the flag shows the Virginia state seal in the Civil War-era manner on a white field with a similar blue ribbon beneath, bearing gold lettering of the school's name "VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE." The flag typically has a gold fringe on all sides but the hoist.

Photographs of the flag can be seen online at (where it is the flag farthest to the right); (where it is being used in practice for passing the colors to the incoming commandant); (where it is being carried by VMI Cadets as part of a re-enactment of the Battle of New Market); and  (halfway down the page, as part of a color guard commemorating the Battle of New Market, and then further down as part of the re-enactment of the battle).

Randy Young, 10 September 2016

Reverse of the flag

[Virginia Military Institute flag] image by Randy Young, 10 September 2016


[Seal of Virginia Military University] image located by Paul Bassinson, 6 December 2017

Logo flag

[Logo flag] image located by Paul Bassinson, 30 April 2020