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Acclaimed Civil War historian James I. ‘Bud’ Robertson to make final appearance at TCCWRT on Monday

From staff reports • Updated Apr 6, 2018 at 11:45 PM

KINGSPORT — Virginia Tech’s acclaimed history professor Dr. James I. “Bud” Robertson will be speaking Monday at the Tri-Cities Civil War Round Table meeting in the Eastman Employee Center.

Robertson’s topic will be “The Turning Point of the Civil War.”

“Since the struggle ended, historians have argued over when the Confederacy had its 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 but a few,” said Dr. Robertson. “I will share my thoughts on when defeat really became visible for the Southern states.”

One of the most distinguished names in Civil War history, Robertson served as executive director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission in the 1960s and worked with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in commemorating the war’s 100th anniversary.

Robertson 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 Danville, Virginia, native is the author or editor of more than 25 books, including biographies of Gens. Robert E. Lee and A. P. Hill, several works on the common soldiers and three studies written for young readers.

His massive biography of Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson won eight national awards and was used as the basis 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 Civil War history and a lecturer of national acclaim, Robertson is probably more in demand as a speaker than anyone else in the Civil War field.

But next week’s appearance will be his last at the TCCWRT.

“At the demands of two physician-friends, I am canceling all future travel invitations.  The Tri-Cities and Knoxville appearances will be my final fly-to journey. After 50-plus years of such round table trips, it is time for the old horse to go out into the pasture and rest,” Robertson said.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. in Room 219 of the Eastman Employee Center, 400 S. Wilcox Drive. The program is free to the general public.

Future TCCWRT program schedule:

May 7 — Aaron Astor, professor, historian, author, “East Tennessee Reconstruction,” Renaissance Center, Room 310

July 16 — Fun Fest “A Civil War Evening,” First Person Enactment of Grant (Curt Fields) and Lee (Thomas Jessee), Renaissance Center Theatre

Sept 10 — Frank O’Reilly, NPS historian, author, “The Battle of Spotsylvania: Two Fights at the Mule Shoe Salient,” Eastman Employee Center, Room 219

Oct 8 — John Marszalek, “The Winning Combination: Grant & Sherman,” Eastman Employee Center, Room 219

Nov 12 — Ed Bearss, Chief Historian Emeritus NPS, “Farthest Forward: Pickett and Pettigrew at Gettysburg,” Eastman Employee Center, Room 219

Jan 14, 2019 — Jim Ogden, Chief Historian NPS, TBD, Eastman Employee Center, Room 219

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