James I. Robertson, Jr. (In Memoriam)
One of the most distinguished names in Civil War history, Dr. Robertson was executive director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission and worked with Presidents Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson in marking the war’s 100th anniversary. His Civil War era course at Virginia Tech attracted 300 students per semester, the largest of its kind in the nation.
The Danville, Virginia, native was the author or editor of more than 20 books, including such award-winning studies as Civil War! America Becomes One Nation, General A.P. Hill, and Soldiers Blue and Gray. His massive biography of Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson won eight national awards and was used as the base for the Ted Turner/Warner Bros. mega-movie, “Gods and Generals.” Dr. Robertson was chief historical consultant for the film.
The recipient of every major award given in the Civil War field, and a lecturer of national acclaim, Dr. Robertson was perhaps more in demand as a speaker before Civil War groups than anyone else in the field.
He earned his PhD from Emory University and honorary doctorates from Randolph-Macon College and Shenandoah University. He also served as an Alumni Distinguished Professor, one of only a handful of such honorees among Virginia Tech’s 2,200 faculty. He is also previously served as executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, created by the university in 1999.
Robertson was a charter member (by Senate appointment) of Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
- Civil War History
- B.A., Randolph-Macon College, 1955
- M.A., Emory University, 1956
- Ph.D., Emory University, 1959
- Litt.D., Randolph Macon College, 1980
- Three commendations from the Virginia General Assembly
- Harry S. Truman Award, Kansas City Civil War Round Table
- Virginia Dabney Award - highest recognition given by the Museum of the Confederacy
- Bell Irvin Wily Award, New York Civil War Round Table
- Virginia Press Associatio 2004 Virginian of the Year
- Richard B. Harwell Award, Atlanta Civil War Round Table
- Nevins-Freeman Award, Chicago Civil War Round Table
- First recipient of Best Non-Fiction Book Award, 1997, by the Library of Virginia
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Award, Boston Civil War Round Table
- Outstanding Professor Award, Virginia Council for Higher Education
- Award for Distinguised Achievement, Kappa Alpha Order
- The Stonewall Brigade (1963)
- General A.P. Hill (1987)
- Soldiers, Blue and Gray (1988)
- Civil War! America Becomes One Nation (1992)
- Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend (1997)
Select Media Mentions
General ItemA master’s student experiences the Civil War Weekend at Virginia Tech
The Roanoke Times, 04/22/2018
General ItemCouncil to explore how Virginia Tech ‘might recognize and acknowledge’ its history
The Roanoke Times, November 22, 2017
General ItemIs it time to tear down monuments to the Confederacy?
CBS News, 09/10/2017