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5 Fun Facts About December 29 In Virginia History

---Learn Every Day: VA Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history va To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1845, the Virginia State Capitol was destroyed by a fire that started in the building's central chimney. The blaze consumed most of the building, including the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate Chambers.

2. On December 29, 1862, Union General William W. Averell led a raid on the Confederate army's salt works in Wytheville, Virginia. The Union soldiers destroyed the salt works and captured several hundred Confederate soldiers, horses, and supplies.

3. In 1923, a massive snowstorm hit Virginia on December 29, dumping up to four feet of snow in some areas. The storm caused widespread damage and disruptions to transportation, communication, and power lines.

4. In 1963, Virginia-born astronaut Thomas P. Stafford became the first American to orbit the Earth with another astronaut on board. Stafford piloted the Gemini 6 spacecraft with astronaut Wally Schirra aboard as part of the Gemini program.

5. On December 29, 1993, the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) admitted its first female cadet, Shannon Faulkner. Faulkner's admission to the all-male military college was controversial and led to a legal battle that ultimately resulted in the school's admission of women.
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