ROANOKE, Va.—Dr. James "Bud" Robertson has a new book coming out.
The historian and recently retired Virginia Tech professor has recounted some of the lesser-known stories from the Civil War.
He will be signing his new book this evening from 4-8 p.m. at Ram's Head Bookstore in Roanoke.
The book, "Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of War," recounts some of the lesser-known stories from a very familiar period of American history.
In it, there are more than 130 individual stories, including the account of the stain glass window in the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Roanoke.
Dr. Robertson shares the stories in his own words:
"In the 1850s, Major Thomas Jackson, the future Stonewall Jackson, taught at Virginia Military Institute and he established a Sunday school for Black slaves and freed men and many of them were quite moved by the sincerity and depth of his faith.
"Two of those slaves married and had a son they named Lylburn and he graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary, but throughout his life he had been touched hearing his mother and father talk about the great Major Jackson, the faithful Major Jackson and so when he became pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and there came time to create an altar window, Pastor Downing drew the figure that is the altar window in the church.
"It's a mountain scene, there's an army encampment in the valley, a river flowing through it and Reverend Downing used the first phrases of Jackson's dying statement, 'Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees.' He said it was dedicated to the memory of General Stonewall Jackson.
"There is nothing like this in the world where the Civil War is concerned. Here in an all-black, inter-city congregation where they worship the Lord, they do so with sunlight shining through the window.
"It's dedicated to a great Christian gentleman who just happened to be a Confederate general."
An interesting note to the story is the fact that the original Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church was destroyed by fire in the late 1950s. The stained glass window was saved and placed in the rebuilt church in 1961 where it stands today on Patton Avenue in Roanoke.