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Scott Shipp

scott shipp, scott shipp hall vmi
American Civil War

  • Romney Expedition
  • Battle of McDowell
  • Battle of New Market
Other work President of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College
Superintendent of Virginia Military Institute

Scott Shipp also spelled Ship, born Charles Robert Scott Ship August 2, 1839 – December 4, 1917 was an American military figure, Confederate States Army officer, educator and educational administrator born in Warrenton, Virginia He was the second superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, briefly the president of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College Virginia Tech and led the VMI Cadets at the Battle of New Market during the American Civil War


  • 1 Personal life and education
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Civil War
  • 4 Later life
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 References
  • 7 Further reading
  • 8 External links

Personal life and education

Shipp was born in 1839 to Captain John Ship and Lucy Blackwell Scott, the third wife of John Ship Scott attended Mrs Franklin's School, the Warren Green Academy, and Warrenton High School Shipp's father died in 1849, and his mother moved the family to Boone County, Missouri in 1852 where he entered Westminster College in Fulton From 1855 to 1856, Shipp was employed on the North Missouri Railroad as an assistant engineer and rodman

In 1856, Shipp returned to Fauquier County, Virginia and entered VMI at the encouragement of Robert E Rodes who he worked with on the North Missouri Railroad, and his stepfather, Dr Henry M Clarkson Shipp entered VMI on August 14, 1856 He graduated 4th in his class of 29 on July 4, 1859 with the rank of first lieutenant of Company B He accompanied the cadets to Charles Town, Virginia, for the execution of John Brown in December 1859

He married Anne "Nannie" Alexander Morson, a longtime friend, on August 19, 1869 and they had three children: Elizabeth Scott, Lucy Scott, and Arthur Morson Shipp He changed the spelling of his name to Shipp sometime around 1883 Shipp's wife died in 1884 They are buried at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia

Shipp was a close friend and colleague of George Washington Custis Lee, son of Robert E Lee The two were both professors at VMI before Lee left to serve as President of Washington and Lee College after his father's death Shipp studied law at Washington College before the Civil War and earned his degree and was admitted to the bar in 1866, though he never practiced


Shipp served VMI as a faculty member from 1859 to 1889, succeeding Stonewall Jackson as Commandant of Cadets in 1861 and teaching Latin, Mathematics, Military History and Strategy, and Military Tactics While still serving as Commandant of Cadets he was appointed chair of the Department of Latin in 1876

Shipp was elected president and appointed professor of mental and moral philosophy at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, and served from August 12- August 25, 1880, resigning because of a dispute over the organizational authority of the faculty for the college

Shipp was awarded the Doctor of Letters in 1883 and Doctor of Laws in 1890 by Washington & Lee University

In 1890, he became the second Superintendent of VMI, taking over from the retiring Francis H Smith and serving with the rank of brigadier general from January 1, 1890 to June 30, 1907 During his tenure as superintendent, enrollment at VMI increased by 60 percent, many construction projects were undertaken and the Institute's debts were fully paid

He was a member of the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy in 1890 and President of the Board of Visitor's for the United States Naval Academy in 1894

Civil War

After Virginia seceded, Shipp and the cadets were under the command of Commandant Jackson and were sent to Richmond for instruction Shipp was detached to Rockbridge County, Virginia to recruit a company of soldiers After a few days, he was called to Camp Lee to serve as assistant adjutant general with the active rank of captain in the Provisional Army of Virginia He was appointed a major with the 21st Virginia Infantry in June, 1861 He was with the cadets, serving under William W Loring during Jackson's Romney Expedition in the winter of 1861

Shipp was detailed to VMI on January 20, 1862 where he served as Commandant of Cadets from 1862–64 and gained the rank of Lt Colonel Unofficial sources say he served as a Private in the 4th Virginia Cavalry during the summer of 1863 while on leave from VMI In November 1863, Shipp attempted to resign from VMI because he felt guilty for having taken one alcoholic drink, but he was discouraged from doing so

He was well liked and respected by his cadets because of his strait-laced, solemn, yet amiable disposition His cadets called him "Old Billy" as in billy goat for the goatee he wore The cadets were at the Battle of McDowell but did not take part in actual combat

Shipp commanded the VMI Cadet Battalion at the Battle of New Market under the command of Maj Gen John C Breckinridge on May 15, 1864 against Union Maj Gen Franz Sigel's forces Just as the cadets moved past the Bushong Farmhouse and into the Bushong Orchard, Shipp was struck in the shoulder and face by a spent artillery shell, briefly knocking him unconscious, his cadets fearing him mortally wounded Shipp said in his report of the battle that the enemy fire was so fierce when he led the cadets into battle at the Bushong Orchard that "it seemed impossible that any living creature could escape"

One cadet commenting on Shipp's serious demeanor and physical presence said he was "a large man with close-trimmed black hair and beard, a solemn bearing and a deep voice Although he was then but twenty-four years of age, I thought he was forty"

After New Market, Union Gen David Hunter took command of the Valley Campaign from Franz Sigel and burned VMI Shipp was then sent to Lynchburg, Virginia to aid Maj Gen Jubal A Early in defense of that city, then to Richmond with the VMI Cadets where they served in the defensive trenches around the capital until the Corps disbanded in 1865

Later life

Shipp retired from VMI in 1907 with the title of Superintendent Emeritus and remained in Lexington with his daughter Lucy Scott Huger and her family His other daughter, Elizabeth Scott Tucker, died in a fire in 1901 Shipp devoted his retirement to spending time with his family and travelled to Europe Shipp died at his home in Lexington, Virginia and is buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington


  1. ^ Payne, p 85
  2. ^ Couper 2005, p 182
  3. ^ a b c d e Couper 2005, p 182
  4. ^ Couper 1939 vol1, p 14
  5. ^ Couper 2005, p 184
  6. ^ Couper, p 184
  7. ^ Yates, pp 50-51
  8. ^ Couper 2005, p 183
  9. ^ Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, p 137
  10. ^ a b Davis, p 53
  11. ^ a b c Davis, p 53
  12. ^ Menagh, p C-2
  13. ^ Menagh, p C-2
  14. ^ Couper, pp 183-84
  15. ^ Couper 2005, 184


  • Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Annual Report, 2003, Carnegie Foundation, 2003
  • Couper, William 100 Years at VMI, Garrett and Massie, Incorporated, 1939
  • Couper, William The Corps Forward: Biographical Sketches of the Cadets Who Fought in the Battle of New Market, Mariner Publications, 2005
  • Davis, William C The Battle of New Market, Doubleday and Company, 1975
  • Menagh, Fred "Confederate Column: Faced 'Withering Fire' as VMI Cadets' Leader," The Lynchburg News, April 16, 1961, p C-2
  • Payne, Brooke The Paynes of Virginia, W Byrd Press, 1937
  • Yates, Bernice-Marie The Perfect Gentleman: the Life and Letters of George Washington Custis Lee, Xulon Press, 2003

Further reading

  • Wise, Jennings C The Military History of the Virginia Military Institute from 1839 to 1865 Lynchburg, VA: JP Bell Company, Inc, 1915
  • Wise, Jennings C Personal Memoir of the Life and Service of Scott Shipp Lexington, VA: np, 1915

External links

  • List of VMI Superintendents with photo
  • VMI Historical Roster: Scott Shipp with photo
  • Ship's report from the Battle of New Market
  • Presidents of Virginia Tech: Scott Shipp with photo
  • Photo of Shipp's grave
  • "Scott Shipp" Find a Grave Retrieved 2008-07-05 

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