Virginia Tech Magazine
Virginia Tech

James I. Robertson Jr.: Mr. Civil War
Go to "James I. Robertson Jr.: Mr. Civil War" in the winter 2010-11 issue of Virginia Tech Magazine
I read the whole article on [James I.] Robertson Jr. with a tear in my eye. I took his Civil War course in the winter quarter of 1969. At that time there was a tradition that graduating seniors could be excused from final exams in the spring quarter. Since I was finishing in the winter, I asked Robertson if I could be excused from the final exam. He was gracious as always and posted my grade as a "B," which is one of the most cherished of my grades at Tech.

Years later I asked a common acquaintance who was close to Robertson to verify my grandfather's war record, which I had not been able to do. As a boy I was told that my grandfather—my father's father and my namesake—had fought for the Confederacy and had been a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware.

After some research of his vast computerized records, Robertson advised me that he had no record of my grandfather having served for the Confederacy. I was disappointed, and for many years I believed Robertson had to be wrong. That was until recently, when I noted on a 1910 U. S. Census form that my grandfather reported he was not a Confederate veteran. Robertson was indeed correct, and my "B" grade in 1969 probably reflected my wish to believe something that was not true.

George Latham '69 | Rockville, Va.

I took [Robertson's] Civil War classes 25 years ago, and I still remember them among my favorite classes at Tech. He is a brilliant scholar.

Barbara Reed '88 | Centreville, Va.
via Facebook

A great article honoring a great professor! [Robertson's] Civil War class was the best outside my major and was worth the wait to get in.

Louis Watts '71 | Richmond, Va.
via Facebook

[Robertson] truly is a giant among men. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Civil War musical program on campus. He was just as captivating then as he had been when I was 20.

I laughed when I read the article. When he published the book on Stonewall Jackson, I went to a book-signing and had him autograph my new purchase. When I got home and began reading, I realized the contents of my copy had been placed in the cover backwards/upside-down. However, I would not return it because Robertson had signed it. I just turned it upside down and looked like an idiot as I read.

He made it worthwhile to trek over six inches of wind-rippled ice on the Drillfield. Great man, great article.

Margee Floyd McCord '80 | Rhoadsville, Va.
via Facebook

I love watching the History Channel and saying, "That was my professor!" Everyone around me always gapes when I say that. Congratulations on a well-earned retirement.

Becky Ring '95 | Purcellville, Va.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: In an editor's note in the winter 2010-11 edition, the affiliation agreement between the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and Virginia Tech was described as providing VCOM students access to Tech facilities and student services. VCOM has had a special relationship with Virginia Tech since the osteopathic college's inception. The agreement also includes provisions for VCOM faculty to work jointly with Tech faculty on research and have access to Tech labs, among other programs of mutual interest. All VCOM research dollars are part of the Virginia Tech research total.

CORRECTION: In the Births and Adoptions section of Class Notes in the summer 2010 edition, the last name of Natalie Saunders DeShazo '03 was incorrect.


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