augusta free press news

Historian to highlight Historical Society banquet

Edited by Chris Graham

Civil War historian Dr. James “Bud” Robertson will highlight the Augusta County Historical Society’s 14th annual Spring Banquet with a presentation on “Bringing Light from the Darkness: Virginia Marks the Civil War Sesquicentennial.”

The event at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton is co-sponsored by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Association and Community Bank.

“Modern America began on the mountain that is the Civil War and which looms over our nation like no other event. Its meaning is timeless; its beauty spots and warts are lessons always to be remembered,” said Robertson in explaining the importance of remembering and learning from the Civil War.

There is, perhaps, no person better than Civil War scholar and Virginia Tech professor Dr. Robertson to help commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. Dr. Robertson worked with U.S. Presidents Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson as Executive Director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission. Fifty years later he is a charter member of Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

In the 50 years between his work with the two Civil War focused commissions, he has only grown in his knowledge and understanding of the war and its aftermath. And, in his quest to pass on that knowledge, he has become one of the most popular professors on the Virginia Tech campus. He currently holds an endowed professorship from Virginia Tech, as the Alumni Distinguished Professor in History. His Civil War course attracts 300 students per semester, the largest of its kind in the nation.

Robertson, who was born and reared in Danville, Va., earned his bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon College, and received his master’s and Ph.D. from Emory University. Dr. Robertson has authored or edited more than 20 Civil War related books including biographies of Generals Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and A.P. Hill as well as Soldiers, Blue and Gray, which will be available for sale (and autographing) at the banquet.

“History is the greatest teacher any country can have. One thing history assuredly teaches us is that any nation which forgets its past has no future. Therefore, we look back to learn, to ponder, to honor, and to remember the sometimes inspiring, sometimes painful steps our forebears took to get us where we are,” he said in laying the groundwork for his banquet program topic.

The Spring Banquet will once again be held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center. The evening’s activities begin at 6 p.m. with a social hour and silent auction. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. and is followed by the presentation of the annual history awards and Dr. Robertson’s program. This year’s auction will include an array of special theme gift baskets, Civil War items, weekend trips, tickets to plays and attractions, jewelry, books – and so much more.

Tickets are $50/person and include the dinner and program. Patron seating is $150 and includes two reserved tickets and program recognition. The Silent Auction will take place from 6-7 p.m. prior to dinner and the program. Seating is limited and reservations must be made by April 22.

For tickets or additional information, call the ACHS office at 540.248.4151 or e-mail: Tickets can also be purchased on the ACHS website: or in the Smith Center Museum Store.