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William C. Davis Historian
William C. Davis
Davis at the 2015 Gaithersburg Book Festival.
William Charles Davis
1946 (age 73–74)
Master of Arts in History (1969)
Sonoma State University
Studies of the American Civil War
The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy (1996)
In 1996, Davis authored the book The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy, a critical examination of mythical claims made by neo-Confederates and Lost Cause members regarding the Confederacy and the American Civil War. Davis states that "it is impossible to point to any other local issue but slavery and say that Southerners would have seceded and fought over it." However, Davis contrasted the motivations of the Confederate leadership with that of the motivations for individual men for fighting in the Confederate army, writing that "The widespread northern myth that the Confederates went to the battlefield to perpetuate slavery is just that, a myth. Their letters and diaries, in the tens of thousands, reveal again and again that they fought and died because their Southern homeland was invaded and their natural instinct was to protect home and hearth."
In 2000, Davis became a professor at Virginia Tech, where he serves as director of programs for the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. He retired from this position in 2013.
Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol (1974)
Duel Between the First Ironclads: The Famous Civil War Battle at Sea Between the Union Ironclad Monitor and the Confederacy's Virginia, the Redesigned and Rebuilt U.S.S. Merrimack (1975; 2nd ed. 1994)
The Battle of New Market (1975, 2nd ed. 1993)
Battle at Bull Run: A History of the First Major Campaign of the Civil War (1977, 2nd ed. 1995)
The Orphan Brigade: The Kentucky Confederates Who Couldn't Go Home (1980; 2nd ed. 1993)