McDonnell made the announcement Friday at Norfolk State University at a conference on race, slavery and the Civil War, The Washington Post reported. He said he made a mistake "of haste, not of heart" when he failed to mention slavery in this year's proclamation and called it an "unacceptable omission."
Next year's proclamation will describe the part played by all Virginians, including those who fought for the Union, he said.
"One hundred and fifty years is long enough for Virginia to fight the Civil War," he said.
In 1997, Gov. George Allen angered many with a proclamation that described the Civil War as a four-year fight for southern freedom. His fellow Republican, James Gilmore, emphasized slavery and a month of "Remembrance of the Sacrifices and Honor of All Virginians Who Served in the Civil War."
The two Democrats who followed in the governor's office, Mark Warner and Timothy Kaine, issued no proclamations at all for the month.