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Lexington Arsenal and Virginia Militia Records

Identifier: MS-0244

The collection consists of two series. The first series contains miscellaneous records (1702; 1793-1814; 17 items) relating to the Virginia Militia, including regimental returns for various militia units. This material pre-dates the establishment of the state arsenal at Lexington, Virginia, but the documents were found among the Lexington arsenal records also contained in this collection. Two of the documents date from the British colonial period (1702).

The second series (1819-1839) contains 30 items concerning the operation of the state arsenal at Lexington, Virginia. Included are payrolls and other financial records, guard returns and muster rolls, and two enlistment documents.


  • 1702; 1793-1839

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions

Use Restrictions

Manuscript collections in the VMI Archives are made available for educational and research use. The VMI Archives should be cited as the source. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright holders. Materials from our collections may not be redistributed, published or reproduced without permission from the VMI Archives. Contact the VMI Archives for additional information.


47 items

Biographical / Historical

In 1816 the Virginia legislature provided for the establishment of three arsenals to care for the state's accumulation of munitions. One of the three was constructed in Lexington, Virginia, on the site of what is now the Virginia Military Institute. The arsenal opened in 1818 under the command of Captain James Paxton, and the guard stationed there was responsible for approximately 30,000 stand of arms. Although the size of the detachment stationed at the Lexington Arsenal varied somewhat from year to year, it generally consisted of the captain, a sergeant, one or two corporals, ten to thirteen privates, and a few employees among whom were musicians. This arrangement was maintained until 1839, when the Virginia Military Institute opened on the site of the arsenal and the arsenal guard was replaced by the new VMI cadets.

Physical Location

Manuscripts Stacks


Five additional items were added to this collection in July 2015 (1796-1815), some concerning Bedford Militia commanded by Col. Thomas Leftwich.
A Guide to the Lexington Arsenal and Virginia Militia Records, 1702; 1793-1839
Diane B. Jacob, 1982
© 2002 Virginia Military Institute Archives
Language of description
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450