Founded in 1839, Virginia Military Institute is the nation’s first and oldest state-supported military college. Built largely according to designs drawn in the early 1850s by the renowned Alexander Jackson Davis, the entire post is designated a National Historic District and the cadet barracks a National Historic Landmark. On May 15, 1864, VMI cadets engaged Union forces in the Battle of New Market, the only time in American history that an entire college student body has fought in battle as a single unit. A large mural depicting this event can be seen in Jackson Memorial Hall, which also houses the VMI Museum with artifacts reflecting the Institute’s history. Mrs. William H. Cocke, founder of the Blue Ridge Garden Club and the first ever recipient of the Massie Medal for Distinguished Achievement, designed and presented the Memorial Garden, below the nearby parapet, to VMI. Located at the opposite end of the Parade Ground from the barracks is Moody Alumni Hall. Adjacent is the George C. Marshall Museum and Research Library honoring VMI’s most illustrious citizen-soldier.