The town of Lexington is the seat of Rockbridge County in the. During the (1861–1865), it was home to Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) and the . Although not of great strategic importance, the town nevertheless smoldered in the atmosphere of war long before many other Virginian communities felt the conflict. In November 1859, a detachment of its resident corps of cadets from the Virginia Military Institute was deployed to Charles Town (in what is now ) to provide security at the execution of the infamous for his raid on . Unionist sentiments prevailed, however, until U.S. president Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops, when many of Lexington’s male citizens enlisted in service of the Confederate States of America. Events such as the burial of Confederate general and Union general David Hunter’s fiery raid brought the quiet mountain town momentary attention from the wider world, but the demands of the Civil War also siphoned its resources on a daily basis.