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Tri Cities Civil War Round Table welcomes Robertson tonight

D. Wayne Strong • Apr 9, 2018 at 4:18 PM


One of the country's most distinguished Civil War historians, James I. "Bud" Robertson Jr., will present "The Turning Point of the Civil War" during the April 9 meeting of the Tri Cities Civil War Round Table (TCCWRT).

The free program, which begins at 7 p.m., Monday, in Room 219 of the Toy F. Reid Eastman Employee Center in Kingsport, is open to the public. It will very likely be Robertson's last appearance before the TCCWRT, as he is limiting future travels.

Robertson, a Danville, Virginia native, is the author or editor of more than 25 books on the Civil War. He served as Executive Director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission in the 1960s and worked with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in commemorating the war's 100th anniversary. He then taught 44 years at Virginia Tech, where his upper division course on the Civil War era attracted 300 or more students per semester and made it the largest class of its kind in the nation. At his retirement in 2011, the university named him Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History.

The recipient of every major award given in Civil War history and lecturer of national acclaim, Robertson is probably more in demand as a speaker than anyone else in the field of Civil War studies.

His massive biography of General "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.

Robertson is a charter member (by Senate appointment) of Virginia's Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and is actively engaged in the state's sesquicentennial observances. His popular book, "The Untold Civil War," was published by the National Geographic Society in October 2011; his latest "The Diary of a Southern Refugee" released by Kentucky Press in December 2013. Robertson is also the father of the Old Dominion's newly-adopted traditional state song, "Our Great Virginia," which the governor signed into law in 2015.

During his visit to Kingsport, Robertson will be speaking on "The Turning Point of the Civil War." Since the struggle ended, historians have argued over the Confederacy's high-water-mark: when the South came closest to winning. A good case can be made for several incidents: Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Vicksburg to name a few. Robertson will share his thoughts on when defeat really became visible for the Southern States during the presentation.

Prior to the program, members and guests who reserve a spot will meet at 5 p.m. at The Chop House in Kingsport for dinner with the special guest. Anyone interested in dinner reservations should contact Wayne Strong at (423) 323-2306 or email him at [email protected]

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