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5 Fun Facts About January 17 In Virginia History

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

1. In 1781, the Battle of Cowpens took place in South Carolina during the American Revolutionary War. Many Virginia soldiers fought in this battle, including the Virginia militia leader, Daniel Morgan.

2. On January 17, 1819, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to his friend William Short in which he described his plans for the construction of the University of Virginia, which he founded in Charlottesville. The university was designed to provide a secular education to Virginia students and was the first in the United States to offer elective courses.

3. In 1863, the Battle of Blue's Gap took place in West Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate troops under the command of General William Loring attacked Union forces led by Brigadier General Benjamin Franklin Kelley. Several Virginia units fought in this battle.

4. On January 17, 1901, Virginia native and inventor Oliver Evans died in New York City. Evans is known for his pioneering work in the development of the high-pressure steam engine, which played a significant role in the industrialization of America.

5. In 1950, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts opened its doors for the first time in Richmond. The museum's collection includes works by many renowned artists, including Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, and Edward Hopper.
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