Camelot, Harsh, Littlefield, Reardon, Paired Sales Analysis, Wills, and Henry Adams

11 12 2006

The title of this post is a mouthful, and makes sense to no one but me.  And I’m not really sure it makes sense to me yet, either.  All of the above have something to do with one of the first posts I wanted to make on this blog, and also with why I have yet to make it.  Basically I want to lay out what motivates me in my study of history in general and the American Civil War in particular, and what I see as problems with the approaches taken by some historians, authors, and students in analyzing actions taken and decisions made.  Keep in mind that I am not a trained historian: my undergraduate and post-graduate degrees are in business, and I earn my living as a real estate appraiser and teacher.  So this “philosophy”, as it were, is mine and mine alone.

wills.jpgBut I’m having a real problem putting these thoughts together in a way that will be accurate and meaningful.  And every couple of days something happens or I read or hear something that I think would be appropriate for inclusion.  Everything in the title of this post has caused me to pause, the most recent distraction being Garry Wills’ Henry Adams and the Making of America.  In this book, Wills reveals how the uncritical acceptance of prior historians’ evaluations and characterizations of Adams’ multi-volume history of early 19th Century America has resulted in a widespread misunderstanding and misrepresentation of that work.  I’ve only read about 100 pages (I’m a very slow reader), but so far I have to say this is one fine book, very well researched, written, and argued.

So the long and the short of it is that I have yet to finish the post in question, but I’m previewing it here to spur myself on.  I’m still influenced by traditional print in that I feel my post should be fully formed and self contained, and I think this wastes some of what makes this medium unique and valuable.  Bear with me.

Good News

8 12 2006

I heard today from the editor of America’s Civil War magazine that the March issue has gone to press and will include my short article on Civil War blogs.  The article is based in large part on email “interviews” with four familiar bloggers and two well known academic historians.  I’m pretty happy.


6 12 2006

I had a great time in Charleston.  It’s always fun to get together with my brothers (3), and sisters (2), and in-laws, nieces, nephews, and now great nephew and great niece (I am way too young to be a great anything, but facts is facts).  I had a little time on Saturday to stop in and see the Confederate Museum run by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. 


The museum is situated on the upper floor of the southernmost of the market buildings (no, these buildings were never slave markets), at the intersection of Market and Meeting Streets.  It was closed after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and only recently reopened.  They have some very cool stuff in there, including Barnard Bee’s sword and a slightly larger than life size full portrait statue of Governor Wade Hampton that really freaked out my son.  I asked the staff for some contact info to get some images for my future website, and was told that they “don’t do that”.  While I have seen photos in at least one magazine and one website credited to the museum, I didn’t want to make a federal case.  It could be they just weren’t happy with my John Brown Ale T-Shirt.  And no, I didn’t see any other Free State Brewing Co. apparel in the Holy City.

On Monday I spent a little time exploring the churchyard of the James Island Presbyterian Church at the corner of Folly and Ft. Johnson Roads.  I’m always on the lookout for the resting places of Civil War veterans.  I found a significant number of Bees, though the General is buried in the northern end of the city at Magnolia Cemetery – time would not permit a visit there (though born in Charleston, Bee is buried in St. Paul’s Episcopal Churchyard in Pendleton, SC).  The coolest find was the first marker I saw, that of Samuel “Goat” Smalls. 


Smalls was the inspiration for the novel “Porgy” and the opera “Porgy and Bess”.  I learned on a carriage ride later that day that DuBose Heyward, the author of the book and Gershwin’s collaborator on the opera, is interred in St. Philip’s Church cemetery in town.

With over 350 years of history spanning pirates, patriots, and rebels there is plenty to see in Charleston.  And it is very hard to find a bad meal there.  Put it on your list.  There are many threads between Bull Run and Charleston, and I’ll talk about some of them in the future.



Back from Secessia

5 12 2006

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in awhile.  I spent the four day weekend in Charleston, SC – a surprise birthday party for my brother who lives on James Island.  There really wasn’t much time for Civil War sightseeing, but I did manage to squeeze some in.  I’ll post a few thoughts later today.


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