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Historian Focuses on Three Months in Robert E. Lee's Life

Civil War historian James I. Robertson Jr. addressed what he called “three forgotten months” in Robert E. Lee’s life during his lecture, “Lee and the Mobilization of Virginia Forces 1861,” at the annual Remembering Robert E. Lee program in Lee Chapel on Oct. 10, 2011.

The event commemorated the 141st anniversary of Lee’s death on Oct. 12, 1870.

“So much has been written about Robert E. Lee that I decided to take three forgotten months in his life that were critical to him and the Confederacy and the commonwealth of Virginia,” Robertson said. “They were the three months in which he cast his lot against the country that his forebears had created.”


Robertson is the author or editor of more than 20 books, including Civil War!; America Becomes One Nation; General A.P. Hill; Soldiers Blue and Gray; and The Untold Civil War, to be published in October by the National Geographic Society. Robertson has received every major award given in the field of Civil War history.

He was executive producer of the PBS documentary “Virginia in the Civil War,” and his biography of Stonewall Jackson was the foundation for the movie “Gods and Generals.”

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Robertson is retired from Virginia Tech after 44 years of teaching and was named the Alumni Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus. He taught the largest Civil War history class in American higher education, with an average of 300 students per semester.