Texas Military Institute, Austin

By: Nancy Young

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: August 1, 1995

The Texas Military Institute, Austin, was organized in Bastrop by R. P. T. Allen and was operating as the Bastrop Military Institute by 1858. Before the Civil War the institution saw increased attendance and functioned in both preparatory and collegiate capacities. Studies included mathematics, geography, the natural sciences, Latin, and Greek, as well as surveying and civil engineering. By 1861 Bastrop Military Institute consisted of a faculty of four professors and three assistants. Students paid $230 for a term of forty weeks. During the Civil War attendance reduced drastically. The original campus contained only the barracks and the recitation halls and was insufficient to handle the school's planned expansion into the main institution of general and applied science in Texas. The school officially reopened in September 1867 but with very low attendance. During the winter of 1869–70 leaders of the institute decided to move the school to Austin. That city had recently raised a building fund of $10,000 in gold. A thirty-two-acre campus was purchased in March 1870, and on June 10, 1870, the new Texas Military Institute, Austin, opened. By 1872 the physical plant was worth $50,000, with a cadet barrack large enough to accommodate 400 students. The institute modeled its disciplinary operations after the United States Military Academy at West Point, but it included instruction in literary subjects as well as the sciences. The military department existed only to provide exercise, not to train professional soldiers. All cadets were required to live in the barracks. In 1873 there were 150 students at the school. Tuition, board, and miscellaneous fees averaged $375 an academic year. The college, nonsectarian but religious in nature, operated successfully until 1879, when John Garland James, the president, and faculty were all employed by Texas A&M.

Bastrop Historical Society, In the Shadow of the Lost Pines: A History of Bastrop County and Its People (Bastrop, Texas: Bastrop Advertiser, 1955). Bill Moore, Bastrop County, 1691–1900 (Wichita Falls: Nortex Press, 1977). Texas Military Institute, Annual Catalogue (1857–1858). Texas Military Institute, Annual Register (1873–1874). Texas Military Institute, Annual Register of Officers and Cadets (1872–1873).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Nancy Young, “Texas Military Institute, Austin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-military-institute-austin.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995