Department of History

James I. Robertson, Jr. 

Alumni Distinguished Professor in History

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

History Department



Personal Background:

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.  Today his Civil War Era course at Virginia Tech, which attracts 300 students per semester, is the largest of its kind in the nation.

The Danville, Va., native is the author or editor of more than 20 books that include 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”. 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 is probably more in demand as a speaker before Civil War groups than anyone else in the field.

He holds the Ph.D. degree from Emory University and honorary doctorates from Randolph-Macon College and Shenandoah University. He is presently an Alumni Distinguished Professor, one of  ten such honorees among Virginia Tech’s 2,200 faculty. He is also Executive Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, created by the University in 1999.

Robertson is also a charter member (by Senate appointment) of Virginia’s  Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

Educational Background:

B.A., Randolph-Macon College, 1955
M.A., Emory University, 1956
Ph.D., Emory University, 1959
Litt.D., Randolph Macon College, 1980

Programs Open to the Public:

  • Annual  “Campaigning with Lee” Symposium
    Held the third week in June at different locales . For further information contact Sara Guerry,, at Continuing & Professional Education, (540) 231-7831

  • Annual “Civil War Weekend” Held the second weekend in March on the Virginia Tech campus. For further information, contact Kellie T. Wells,, Alumni Relations, (540) 231-3960

  • CD of 36 broadcast done for public radio. For further information, contact the University Bookstore, ( 540) 231-5991
  • Three-hour documentary, “Virginia in the Civil War”, designed for teachers and students. Available in September, 2009


Virginia Center for Civil War Studies

Press Release: Blacksburg, March 12, 1999. Building on the reputation of nationally renowned Civil War historian James I. Robertson, Jr. and a massive collection of Civil War books, Virginia Tech announced that it has initiated a $3-million fund drive to establish the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies (continued on VCCWS website).More information can be found on the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies homepage