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Virginia Military Institute~VIP LIST

Virginia Military Institute~VIP LIST - Stories


George Catlett Marshall

    George Catlett Marshall (Class of 1901).

    Biographical Summary:

    A distinguished soldier and statesman, Marshall was born December 3, 1880 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. After graduating from VMI in 1901-- having served as First Captain, the highest ranking cadet-- he entered the U. S. Army. His military career culminated in his appointment as Army Chief of Staff in 1939. He served in this vital position throughout World War II, and Winston Churchill referred to him as "the organizer of the Allied victory." Although he retired from the Army in 1945, General Marshall continued to serve his country as special envoy to China, Secretary of State, President of the American Red Cross, and Secretary of Defense. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for his significant leadership role in the post-World War II European Recovery Program, commonly known as the Marshall Plan. Marshall died at Walter Reed Army Hospital on October 16, 1959, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
    The photograph on this page shows Marshall as a VMI cadet, 1900-1901.


    United States Army General. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for the Marshall Plan, which he humbly preferred to refer to as the European Recovery Program, a program he created as secretary of state after World War II. Marshall also was chief of staff during World War II, secretaries of state and defense under Harry S. Truman, and president of the American Red Cross. Many consider him to have been the most effective combination of war and peace, honesty and integrity since George Washington. A distant relative of Chief Justice John Marshall, General Marshall was born in Uniontown, Pa. He attended the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. He served under General John "Black Jack" Pershing during World War I. In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him chief of staff. So selfless was Marshall in his ambition that when FDR was considering who would lead the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, the general refused to lobby for the position though knowing, like everyone else in the top brass, he deserved it. FDR, however, explained to Marshall that he "couldn't sleep at night" knowing the chief of staff would be out of Washington, so he selected the more ambitious Dwight D. Eisenhower. After the war ended, Marshall retired, but was called back by new President Harry S. Truman to mediate the emerging tension between Mao Zedong and Chiang-Kai-Shek over China's future. After that hopeless endeavor, Marshall was named secretary of state, where he installed the Marshall Plan. He then became president of the American Red Cross. His last post was secretary of defense, which he held during the Korean War. Marshall retired to his beloved Dodona Manor in Leesburg, Va. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery
    Arlington County
    Virginia, USA
    Plot: Section 7, Grave 8198, map grid V 24, within sight of the Tomb of the Unknowns.

    (bio by: LincolnFan)

    The Patton Family at the Virginia Military Institute

      This page highlights the Patton family's connection with VMI--Gen. George S. Patton of World War II fame and his ancestors who attended VMI, including his father, grandfather, and great uncles.

      The First Generation Four of seven Patton brothers attended VMI during the mid-19th century, including George S. Patton (VMI Class of 1852), General Patton's grandfather. They were the sons of John Mercer Patton and Margaret French Williams.

      John Mercer Patton
      Born May 9, 1826 at Culpeper, Virginia; graduate, VMI Class of 1846, standing 8th out of 14; lawyer and judge; Colonel, 21st Virginia Infantry Regiment, CSA; married (first) Sally Lindsay Taylor in 1858, (second), Lucy A. Crump; he died at Ashland, Virginia, October 9, 1898.

      Birth:   Aug. 10, 1797
      Fredericksburg city
      Virginia, USA Death:   Oct. 29, 1858
      Richmond city
      Virginia, USA  
      United States Representative from Virginia, 1830-1838; Governor of Virginia, 1841; great-grandfather of George Smith Patton, Jr. BURIED Shockoe Hill Cemetery
      Richmond city
      Virginia, USA

      George Smith Patton
      Born June 26, 1833, Fredericksburg, VA; graduate, VMI Class of 1852, standing 2nd in a class of 24; after graduation studied law and practiced in Charleston (WVA); married Susan Thornton Glassell; during the Civil War, was commander of the 22nd Virginia Infantry Regiment; killed at the Battle of Winchester in September 1864. Grandfather of Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. (VMI Class of 1907).

      Waller Tazewell Patton
      Born July 15, 1835, Fredericksburg, VA.; graduate, VMI Class of 1855, standing 2nd in a Class of 16; after graduation practiced law in Culpeper, VA; Colonel, 7th Virginia Infantry Regiment, CSA; mortally wounded at Gettysburg and died in the College Hosptial at Gettysburg on July 21, 1863.

      William McFarland Patton
      Born August 22, 1845, Richmond, Virginia; graduate VMI Class of 1865; while a cadet took part in the Battle of New Market as a cadet sergeant in Company B of the Corps of Cadets; after war was a Civil Engineer and Professor of Engineering at VMI and Virginia Tech (VPI); married (Jan. 7, 1875) Annie Gertrude Jordan (1852-1921), daughter of Samuel F. Jordan and Elizabeth Leibert of Rockbridge, Co., Virginia; he died on May 26, 1905.


        The second generation

        George S. Patton

        Born Charleston (now West Virginia), September 30, 1856, the son of George S. Patton and Susan Thornton Glassell; graduate, VMI Class of 1877; after graduation taught at VMI for one year; studied law and became a prominent attorney in Los Angeles, where he was also active in politics; married Ruth Wilson, 1884; children: George S.(b. 1885) and Anne (b. 1887); died June 1927, Los Angeles, CA.

        Politician. He served as Democratic Candidate for United States Representatives from California for the 6th District in 1894, and Democratic Candiadate for United States Senator from California in 1916. He was the son-in-law of Benjamin D. Wilson and father of World War II General George S. Patton Jr.

        BURIED: San Gabriel Cemetery
        San Gabriel
        Los Angeles County
        California, USA


          The Third Generation

          General George S. Patton (1885-1945)

          The third Patton to bear the name George Smith; attended VMI for one year (1903-1904) as a member of the Class of 1907; appointed to the United States Military Academy in the spring of 1904 and entered West Point in June. While at VMI he studied Algebra, English, History, Drawing and Latin; he was left tackle on the "scrub" football team a group which scrimmaged several times a week against the varsity team; a classmate described him as "quiet, straight as a string, courteous, well-mannered, more serious minded than lightsome in conversation."

          United States World War II Army General. He was born at Lake Vineyard Ranch what is now San Marino, California. In 1904, he entered West Point following in the military fashion of the Patton family. After graduation, he was assigned to the Cavalry as an aid to "Black Jack Pershing", who at that time was persueing the Mexican bandit General Pancho Villa. June 17, 1918 saw him in France with an appointment to the Tank Corps. World War II brought an assignment to North Africa as head of the II Corp, where he received his third star from General Eisenhower. On to Sicily, the Seventh Army enjoyed an unopposed landing and Patton assumed command of this unit. In January 1944, he was summoned to London and given command of the US Third Army which was still being activated. In July 1944, George Patton arrived in France one month after the D-Day landing. His command still not fully activated, he was forced to wait to engage in combat for the arrival of the bulk of his troops. Once the 3rd Army was fully operational, its exploits throughout Europe became legendary. General Patton's journey into history began in Mannheim, Germany on December 9, 1945, when the sedan in which he was riding ran headlong into an army truck. He was taken to the army hospital outside of Heidelberg, and although his injuries appeared to be minor, he passed away on December 21. He lay in state at the Villa Reiner, one of the stately homes in Heidelberg. Funeral services were conducted at Christ Church, afterward his body was placed aboard a special funeral train for the trip to Luxembourg for burial at the Military Cemetery in nearby Hamm, where 3,000 American soldiers lie, many having served under General Patton in the 3rd Army. He was buried on December 24th following a funeral service at the Luxembourg Cathedral. In spite of the pouring rain, thousands lined the streets from the central railroad along the tracks to the cemetery. Representatives of nine countries and the highest ranking officers of the American troops stationed in Europe followed the coffin. Present were delegations from Luxembourg, France, Belgium, England, Italy, The Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. France and Belgium provided the honor guard. While the gun carriage with the coffin was on its way from the railroad station to the cemetery, a French battery fired a seventeen-round volley of salute. After a brief religious service George Patton Jr. was lowered into the grave. (bio by: Anonymous)

          BURIED: San Gabriel Cemetery *
          San Gabriel
          Los Angeles County
          California, USA

          Patton Family Letter

          Patton Family Letter
          January 22, 1904.
          Original manuscript is a typescript letter, signed.

          Office of Geo. S. Patton
          Lake Vineyard
          San Gabriel, Cal., January 22, 1904
          General Scott Shipp

          Supt. V.M.I., Lexington, Va.
          My dear General:

          I explained to you when I saw you that I confidently anticipated that my son would receive the Senatorial Appointment from California, to West Point, to take effect next June, and that I hoped he would be able to enter upon his certificate from V.M.I., which you stated was possible if his standing should prove to justify it. From the reports which I have received, I gather that his standing is sufficiently good to warrant me in feeling quite confident that he can pass into West Point next spring with your certificate.

          In the meantime a complication has arisen the result of which is, that the Senator has felt himself obliged, instead of making an outright appointment, to call for an informal competitive examination of several applicants for his appointment, and has set February 15, in Los Angeles, as the date for this examination. From all the circumstances in the matter, and from some knowledge of the other applicants, I feel myself justified in believing that my son stands certainly the best chance of passing the required test which besides is only advisory to the Senator's judgment in the matter, he stating explicitly that he always considered not only the result of a mere mental test, but other qualifications of dignity, bearing, and antecedence indicating the probability of a successful applicant being a useful officer in the army. Under all these circumstances, I have written to my son, advising him to come home and stand the examination. He will apply to you for a furlough of thirty days, beginning about February 1st. This will enable him to arrive at home a few days before the examination and to recover from the fatigue of the trip, as well as to refresh himself upon the primary subjects in which he may be possibly examined. He will return to the V.M.I. immediately after the examination, and in case he is successful in the same and receives the appointment, will expect to go from there in due course to enter the academy in June.

          I am enclosing a New York Draft to the order of the Treasurer of VMI for $290.00 of which $165.00 is to be applied in payment of the bill rendered with the last report of my son, and the other $125.00 to be handed by you to him when his furlough is granted, with which to purchase his ticket and pay his traveling expenses home.

          If appointed to West Point, I shall regret, in many ways, that he is not able to continue the full course at Lexington, but as he has definitely decided upon an army career, I feel that he should not be denied the benefit which is conferred by graduation from West Point if it is possible for him to secure this advantage.

          I am assuming somewhat in the foregoing that there will be no difficulty in his receiving a proper certificate from you, which will enable him to enter without presenting himself for the entrance examination on May 1st. If for any reason I am mistaken in this assumption, you will of course, notify me so that I may guide myself accordingly and have him make some preparation for the necessary entrance examination in May.

          I am writing my son fully on even date, and he will doubtless call upon you, and I would be greatly obliged for such advice as you may be able to give him in the premises.
          I am
          Yours very sincerely,
          Geo. S. Patton


          It seems highly probable that for some years to come the number of appointments to the army from Civil life will be much fewer than for some years past. And this is one of the reasons I feel that my son should not miss the present opportunity.

          As I am anxious to get this off today and it is past banking hours, I am sending a personal local check instead of a N.Y. draft (the bank being closed for the day). I have added one dollar to the amt. making it $291 to cover exchange.

          Waller Tazewell Patton~Cadet drawing exercise

            Born July 15, 1835, Fredericksburg, VA.; graduate, VMI Class of 1855, standing 2nd in a Class of 16; after graduation practiced law in Culpeper, VA; Colonel, 7th Virginia Infantry Regiment, CSA; mortally wounded at Gettysburg and died in the College Hosptial at Gettysburg on July 21, 1863.


              during the Civil War, was commander of the 22nd Virginia Infantry Regiment; killed at the Battle of Winchester in September 1864.

              Col. John Bowie Strange (Class of 1842)

              • VIRGINIA

              John Bowie Strange

              Residence was not listed;
              Enlisted on 5/2/1861 as a Lieut Colonel.
              On 5/2/1861 he was commissioned into Field & Staff VA 19th Infantry
              He was Killed on 9/14/1862 at Boonsboro, MD
              He was listed as:
              Absent, sick 12/2/1861 Culpeper Court House, VA
              Returned 2/28/1862 (place not stated)
              Promotions: Lt Col 4/29/1862 (Reelected)
              Born 1823, Fluvanna Co., VA;
              Parents- Gideon Alloway Strange & Harriet J. Magruder
              Marriage- M. Agnes Gaines

              The "First Sentinel"

              John Bowie Strange was born in 1823 in Fluvanna County, Virginia, the son of Gideon Alloway Strange and Harriet J. Magruder. When the new Virginia Military Institute opened its doors to cadets on November 11, 1839 he was one of the small group who enrolled that first day. He had the additional distinction of serving as the first cadet sentinel assigned to guard duty, replacing the militia that had previously been charged with guarding the stores held in the Lexington Arsenal.  A classmate later described the scene: "When...the youthful band of raw and undisciplined cadets marched to the Insititute hill to relieve Captain David E. Moore, who had up to that time guarded the arsenal and other public property there, it fell to the lot of young Strange to be the first to go on post as a sentinel. I doubt if he had ever seen a soldier or held a musket in his callow hands before. The business was as new to his comrades as to himself , and of course he was the object of the careful observation of all." The tradition of guard duty continues to this day.

              Following his graduation on July 4, 1842, Strange pursued a career in education, serving as a teacher, as Principal of Norfolk (VA) Academy, and as Superintendent of the Albemarle (VA) Military Academy. He married Agnes Gaines in the early 1850's and the couple had four children: Agnes, Henry (VMI Class of 1873), Willoughby, and James (died in infancy). During the Civil War, Strange served as Colonel of the 19th Virginia Infantry Regiment. He was killed at the Battle of South Mountain (Maryland) on September 14, 1862 and is buried at Maplewood Cemetery
              Charlottesville city
              Virginia, USA