A milestone and new scholarship on the war

I thought I would take the opportunity of the blog’s 300th post to share with you the interesting contents in the latest issue of the journal Civil War History (not related to this site). The field of environmental history has been an emerging one over the forty years and the Civil War is not outside this field. The fine staff at the journal have put together a review essay and two articles dealing with environmental history of the war, specifically considering an overview of the literature on the field and the war, the nature of the war in the Trans-Mississippi, and preservation at Gettysburg.

I received the issue of the journal in the mail today and I look forward to reading it in detail in the coming weeks, but my brief examination of the article “The Nature of Preservation: The Rise of Authenticity at Gettysburg” by Brian Black shows it to be good both from an environmental history perspective, but also public history, as it touches on the changing landscape of the battlefield in the years after the battle, including the controversy over the battlefield tower that was demolished several years ago. Now with the new interpretive center and further reconstruction of the natural landscape in recent years, this article is quite timely.

I encourage interested readers to consider subscribing to this journal as well as the Journal of the Civil War Era. Civil War History has a long history and track record, being in its fifty-eighth volume, while The Journal of the Civil War Era is the new flagship publication of the Society of Civil War Historians, and has proven to be good in its first few years. Journals are worthwhile, as they contain articles on a variety of topics, which can be more accessible to some than large monographs. Plus, they are great resources for learning about new books in the field through their book reviews.

Welcome to our newest writer

It is my pleasure to welcome Zack Biro, a Masters student at Lehigh University, as a writer for this blog. As we close in on our 300th post, it will be interesting to see who will write it, but I look forward to Zack’s postings and hope you will welcome his contributions as well.

A record shattered on visitors

While visiting my folks in Illinois, I have been quiet on posting, though I do have some pictures, but that’s for another post. First, thanks to my good friend Dr. William Young on his first post on this blog. Beyond that wonderful item, I learned that I shattered the record for the busiest day by over 700 hits. Apparently, Father’s Day was the day to visit the site and specifically my post on the Medal of Honor during the war. Thank you readers for that wonderful surprise and fluke. I am still at a loss as to how it happened, but am not complaining. I will get a post up in the next day or so recounting some of the reenacting adventures I had this last month. On another note, please remember that this is the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which warrants a link to this cool song.

We’re five years old today!

Fifth BirthdayToday marks this blog’s fifth birthday. My little blog is just growing up so fast, as it seems like yesterday it was only a couple posts and an idea (couldn’t resist relating it to someone turning five). It also marks my 250th post as well. While I have not reached some of the goals I set out from last year, I am happy that I have been able to keep this site up with being busy with Ph.D. studies. I have covered some of the events related to the sesquicentennial of the war over the last year, as well as some of the excitement of reenacting (we have a great season lined up this summer). I have tackled a couple tough subjects, which have sparked some great discussion. We currently have over 150,000 hits and I hope to make 200,000 by year’s end. I am looking to get a couple new writers posting to the blog to keep the content a bit more regular, but with summer upon us, I hope to also get posting more often as well. Now having a laptop with a webcam, I hope to do a few video posts as well, so look forward to those. I want to thank you all for your readership and support.

Dealing with comments on controversial topics

Today, I had to do something I have not done before on this blog, send a real comment to trash. Now, I have had my share of spam comments that get through, usually full of links, but I usually am welcoming of comments, as they are opportunities to discuss and debate, but this comment to my recent update on the Texas license plate controversy was too abrasive to be posted, as the email address included “Nsdap”, which is the abbreviation for the full name of the Nazi party. This sent up a red flag for me. The comment was also borderline white supremacist in its tone, so I had no choice, but to trash it, as such a comment would have only led to trouble.

Please remember when commenting to not use foul language, or racial slurs, as they are not welcome here. Also, hard-core neo-Confederate posts that add nothing to the discussion and only serve to inflame will either be edited or deleted. I do this because I want this civility on this site that anyone, young or old, can view. I do not do this lightly, as I want to be balanced, but some things do go beyond common decency and need to be dealt with. Those of you who have posted good comments over the years, thank you and please continue to do so. Those who have yet to comment, please consider it, but watch what you say, as we can disagree, but be respectful as well. Thanks for your understanding on this.

Thank you everyone!

Wow, what a last couple days this site has had. I managed to publish four posts yesterday and the buzz caused us to break the record for the busiest day on this site, which was set on April 12, the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter. Yesterday, this site recorded 379 hits, which was awesome, even considering that my attempt to live blog was disrupted by stormy weather. To my surprise and delight, we have so far tied yesterday’s mark of 379 and there is still a bit of time to break the mark. I want to extend a deep thank you to all of you who support this site and visit both the site and follow it on Twitter and Facebook. I will do my best to keep you coming back with new content.

New group on Facebook for the blog

With the many changes that have gone on in Facebook, I created a new group for the blog, where you can go to discuss and the like and interact with other readers of this blog.

Join our Facebook group.

I will also place this in the sidebar as well.

This blog is four years old today

I can’t believe that this blog is four years old already and what a four years it has been. We recently broke the record for our best day, which happened to be the 15oth anniversary of the start of the war. We are on our way to 125,000 hits and I fully expect to hit 150,000 by year’s end. We have been averaging around 100 hits or more a day for several weeks and are embarking on covering the anniversaries of major events of the war as they relate to the sesquicentennial. I will soon begin a project involving podcasting for the blog and will also cover my adventures in reenacting and living history this summer, especially my trip to Wilson’s Creek for the anniversary of the battle.

Today, I will celebrate with my family, as my cousin graduates from UND with his Bachelor’s degree (congratulations Chad!). Tomorrow, I head to Fort Abercrombie to participate in Museum Day with the Fort Abercrombie Garrison reenacting unit, while my colleague Stuart will be at Nashua, Iowa again this year. I am looking forward to the shorter trip and the chance to reenact as a Union soldier.

As always, thank you very much for your readership and wonderful support. Have a great weekend, and, Happy 4th Birthday Civil War History!

A quick poll

I wanted to put out a couple quick polls to see how you are accessing the site and what I can do to expand the visibility of the blog. Please vote on them and, if needed, comment if more detail is needed.

Where this blog is linked

Adding to the helpful post that the folks at WordPress created to let me share with you all how this blog did this last year, I decided to check out how folks are getting to this site and I am a bit humbled. The Civil War Preservation Trust lists this site as one of their featured blogs, describing it as “a must read for those interested in the subject.” Thank you CWPT, as you placed me with some good company, including Eric Wittenberg, Kevin Levin, and the gang at Civil Warriors. In addition, The Washington Post links this site under their blog A House Divided, which covers the 150th anniversary of the war. Written by Linda Wheeler among others, who lists this site as one of her favorites, this group blog covers a variety of subjects so far.

Overall, while I am linked at some great places and other blogs, I was quite surprised to delve deeper into the referrals of this site. I look forward to continuing the work in 2011, and hope that I will perhaps make enough of an impression on Eric Wittenberg that he will add me to his blogroll (hint). Thanks again everyone for making 2010 a great year for the blog.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 35 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 205 posts. There were 25 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 48mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was February 11th with 308 views. The most popular post that day was Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were bestcollegesonline.com, civilwarinteractive.com, edu.aceswebworld.com, historywebsites.com, and civilwar.org.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for abraham lincoln, civil war history, lincoln, civil war medals, and musket.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln! February 2009
1 comment

2

Considering the rifled musket March 2009
11 comments

3

The Medal of Honor in the Civil War March 2008
1 comment

4

Geography and the Civil War November 2007

5

Some interesting Civil War reenacting videos on YouTube September 2007
1 comment

Some thoughts on ending a blog

Don’t worry folks, I am not closing this site down, and I do want to apologize for the lack of content and posting these last few weeks. Needless to say, this semester has been busier than I imagined, which has left me less time than in the past to post. However, with the sesquicentennial of the war underway (Lincoln’s inauguration on November 6), I believe the posts will pick up.

I will say that teaching has been quite interesting and a learning experience for me. We are just getting to Reconstruction and I have to say that covering the Civil War was my favorite part, as while we had to gloss over it for time, I was able to, I hope, come alive for my students.

I want to take a few moments to consider other bloggers’ decisions to shift focus or close down their blogs (possibly). Bill Caraher, a professor in my department, maintains a blog dealing with archaeology in the Mediterranean world, which focuses around his work in Cyprus. Recently, he posted that he was considering shutting down his blog and posed the interesting question of how long a blog can go before it serves its purpose. Needless to say, this raised a couple of questions for me and the blogs I run. However, I feel obliged to you all, the faithful readers, to keep this site going.

Another blogger, well-known Civil War scholar Brooks Simpson is leaving the friendly confines of Civil Warriors to focus on other projects, including a blog of his own down the road. While I understand his motivations, I will say that I will miss reading his insights there, but know that the rest of the team will continue to produce quality postings.

With that said, I want to let you all know that I am not planning to shutter this site anytime soon, but am giving some thought to starting a new project, which I will keep you appraised of. I hope to start posting more often when home for Christmas, as I have some reading to catch up on.

Two milestones in one day

What a day! I posted earlier today on a new online database of Civil War primary sources. This morning, the blog was less than one hundred hits away from 100,000 hits. I just checked two minutes ago and saw that we crossed the 100,000 hit mark. Further, this post marks two hundred posts for the blog in a little over three years. I want to thank everyone for their support and help over this time. Now, the next goal is to reach 200,000 hits before next September, which can be done if we reach 300 hits per day. I know we can do it.

Update on Grierson Days

About three years ago, I posted my visit to Grierson Days, which is held each June in Jacksonville, IL. Jacksonville is where I attended college before journeying to North Dakota to begin graduate school, so I stop there every so often when I come home to visit the folks. Well, after that post, Mr. Ron Gray, who coordinated the event, commented on the post, which resulted in a second post on the subject due to the passage of time. My main issue in the first post was the announcing during the battle reenactment, which amplified the weaponry used and, according to my father, historically inaccurate. I conceded that I wrote the first post in the heat of the moment, but was looking forward to see how they did this year when I went up on June 19.

Well, I was pleased, as there was no announcing during the battle. Rather, one of the reenactors announced before the battle, briefly explaining the three main branches of the army that would be seen that day. Though simpler than three years ago, I will say it was better than having the weapons amplified through a public address system. I also took many photos that I will upload later this week. Having been to my first reenacting event in May, I came to this event with a greater appreciation for what the guys participating go through (especially since a line of strong storms went through the area around midnight and did a bit of damage to some of their tents). Overall, I commend the Grierson Society for their work and improving the event. Had it not been so hot that weekend and had their not been (as I heard) competing events, I believe the event would have had even better attendance and participation.

On a side note to my readers, I want to apologize for the lack of content lately. I am sure this is evidenced by a drop in stats. I thank you for your support and want to let you know that I expect some new content in the coming months, as I will be finishing several book reviews for publication and freelance to this site. In addition, I also put my name into consideration to write a sesquicentennial history of one of the campaigns of the US Army in the war for the US Army Center of Military History, so wish me luck and I will keep you updated on that.

Happy 3rd Birthday to Civil War History!

Well, today marks the 3rd anniversary of the founding of this blog. Much has happened since May of 2007. I have changed themes a few times, created and joined a few web rings, gotten a few folks to help write with me, started a Twitter feed, and the blog is closing in on 100,000 hits. As we enter our fourth year, I hope to get a few more folks writing, see about getting a domain, and will begin covering the happenings of the Northern Plains Civil War Round Table, a project of a colleague and myself. I want to thank everyone for your support and encouragement and look forward to continuing blogging with you.

Happy 3rd