CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- James Longstreet was one of the top generals on the Confederate side during the Civil War. After the war, he showed surprising sympathy for the interests of Black people. 

University of Virginia professor Elizabeth Varon's new book, "Longstreet: The Confederate General Who Defied the South," takes a look at his complex legacy.

Longstreet made important contributions to many Confederate victories, including the Seven Days Battles, the Second Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Chickamauga, although he was greatly criticized for his actions at the Battle of Gettysburg.

After the war, his reputation suffered in the South, most notably after he led Black troops into battle against white supremacists who were attempting to overthrow the government of the state of Louisiana.

Varon has written several books on the Civil War, including "Appomattox: Victory, Defeat and Freedom at the End of the Civil War" and "Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War." She is married to William Hitchcock, also a history professor at UVA.