Virginia Center for Civil War Studies


Paul Quigley is Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and the James I. Robertson, Jr. Associate Professor of Civil War History in the History Department at Virginia Tech. Originally from Manchester, England, he holds degrees from Lancaster University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Quigley is the author of Shifting Grounds: Nationalism and the American South, 1848-65, which won the British Association for American Studies Book Prize, the Jefferson Davis Award from the Museum of the Confederacy, and the Albert Lee Sturm Award from the Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. His work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Southern History and Journal of the Civil War Era, as well as the Roanoke Times, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Washington Post, and the New York Times Disunion section. In 2018 he published an edited volume entitled The Civil War and the Transformation of American Citizenship, and another essay collection, Reconciliation after Civil Wars: Global Perspectives, coedited with his colleague James E. Hawdon. His study of Preston Brooks, the South Carolina Congressman who achieved notoriety by caning Senator Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate in 1856, is under contract with Oxford University Press. Quigley also leads the NEH-funded project “Experiencing Civil War History Through Augmented Reality: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Environment at Pamplin Historical Park.”

He serves on the editorial board of the journal Civil War History, and has previously served on the historians advisory board of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond and the advisory board of the Society of Civil War Historians.

You may reach Quigley at


Molly Mersmann

Dr. Molly C. Mersmann is the 2022-2024 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. A Cincinnati, Ohio native, she received her degrees from Hanover College and Purdue University.

Dr. Mersmann specializes in 18th and 19th century United States history, with a particular emphasis on environmental history, women’s history, and African American history during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Eras. Her dissertation, “‘Bricks Crushed to Earth Shall Rise Again’: Rebuilding the South in the Wake of the American Civil War, 1861-1875,” explores how Black and white, men and women in ex-Confederate states physically recreated or created their landscape after four long years of war. She is currently working on her book manuscript. A past fellow at UVA’s Nau Center and the Virginia Museum of History and
Culture, Dr. Mersmann has spoken at numerous engagements, including Purdue University’s History on Tap Lecture Series, Hanover College’s Cornelius and Anna Cook O’Brien Lecture Series, and various Civil War Roundtables. She is also a member of several organizations including the Southern Historical Association and the Society of Civil War Historians where she previously held the position of Chair for the Society of Civil War History Graduate Council.

Please contact Dr. Mersmann at


Miranda Christy is a graduate assistant at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and an MA student in Virginia Tech’s history program. Christy is from Athens County, Ohio. She earned a B.A. at Ohio University, where she majored in History and Classics. Her M.A. thesis examines African American political activism and community building in Southeast Ohio in the nineteen century. Upon graduation, she hopes to work in an archive or public history field.

William C. Davis, former Executive Director

William C. “Jack” Davis


William C. “Jack” Davis is the former Executive Director of the Center. A native of Independence, Missouri, he was educated in Northern California, spent 20 years in editorial management in the magazine and book publishing industry, then left the industry in 1990 to spend the next decade working as a writer and consultant.

Davis is author or editor of more than 50 books and numerous documentary screenplays in the fields of Civil War and southern history. He has also served as consultant for numerous television productions, including the Arts & Entertainment Network/History Channel series “Civil War Journal.  He is a three-time winner of the Jefferson Davis Award given for book-length works on Confederate history. Among his most recent books is Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee–The War they Fought, the Peace they Forged.



James I. Robertson, Jr.

James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr.

James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., 1930-2019, was Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Center. The Danville, Va., native served as executive director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission and played a leading role in Virginia’s Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.

Robertson was the author or editor of more than 40 books. His biography of Gen. Thomas Jonathan Jackson, Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend, won eight national awards and was used as the foundation for the portrayal of Jackson in the Ted Turner/Warner Bros. film, Gods and Generals, released in 2003. He regularly appeared in Civil War programs on the Arts & Entertainment Network, the History Channel, C-Span, and public television, and he recorded a weekly Civil War program that aired on 11 public radio stations. He was also a lecturer of national acclaim and one of the most popular teachers in the history of Virginia Tech, attracting some 300 students each semester to his Civil War course.


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