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Come join us for an unforgettable evening (Tuesday, May 9) with the redoubtable Civil War historian and luminary, Dr. James I. (Bud) Robertson, as he addresses…    

      ~The Four-Legged Soldiers in the Civil War~

It is easy when studying Civil War history to forget that an army existed, and functioned, solely because of horses and mules.  They were not merely the property and province of officers and cavalrymen. Every wagon, every ambulance, every artillery piece was immobile and, for all intents and purposes, useless in the absence of horsepower. While the human cost of the war was horrendous, far more of the silent servants died than did humans.  Yet one scarcely gives their sacrifices a passing thought.

What they did–and gave–will be the first half of Bud Robertson’s talk.  He will then “switch horses” and focus on regimental mascots, who were so invaluable in boosting troop morale, providing companionship, and promoting love to soldiers on both sides in the chilling atmosphere of war.

James I. “Bud” Robertson

James I. Robertson Jr., one of the country’s most distinguished Civil War historians, 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. “Stonewall” Jackson won eight national awards and was used as the basis for the characterization of Jackson in the Ted Turner/Warner Bros. mega-movie, “Gods and Generals”, a film for which Dr. Robertson served as chief historical consultant. For the sesquicentennial, The National Geographic Society published in 2011 his book The Untold Civil War based on stories and vignettes from his popular and long-running weekly series on National Public Radio. His latest book, After the Civil War: The Heroes, Villains, Soldiers, and Civilians Who Changed America was published in October of 2015.

Dr. Robertson 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 Danville, Virginia native holds a Ph.D. degree from Emory University and honorary doctorates from Randolph-Macon College and Shenandoah University. A man of many talents, he is the lyricist of the Old Dominion’s newly adopted traditional state song, “Our Great Virginia” which the governor recently signed into law.

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