What is a “Civil War Blog”?

18 07 2012

I ask that without implying that there is, or even should be, a definition. The beauty of a blog is still that it can be whatever the blogger wants it to be. I’ve tried to be pretty clear of my own intentions, which you can read over in the right hand column of this page.

I read most of my favorite blogs using Google Reader. There are dozens I consider to be “Civil War blogs”, even without ever having firmed up what that means in my own head. What classifies a blog as “Civil War” to you? One that shares research concerning the military, political, or social aspects of the war (there are a few out there, though not as many as one might think)? One that discusses how the war, or rather the era and its elements, are remembered today or at various times? One that offers opinions on what other bloggers or writers or commentators are saying? One that simply promotes the blogger’s print works? One that draws tenuous comparisons between the Civil War Era and our own to prove out the blogger’s own current political positions, or to discredit those of others? One that at least attempts to use some of the unique capabilities of digital history techniques, such as hyperlinks, metadata, video? All of these? None? Are any of them more important to you than others?

On a related note, what compels you to read a “Civil War” blog, or deters you from doing so (you can include Bull Runnings in either case)?

You may recall that a while back a few of “us” tried to categorize at least one type of blog, the “information compilation blog” or “battle blog.” You can read about that here and here.

 

UPDATE: A related question is “Who are Civil War Bloggers?”. Robert is discussing that very thing now over at Cenantua’s Blog.





Updates

15 07 2012

Once again real life has infringed upon my hobby, and I haven’t been able to come up with any posts lately. If you’re not already doing so, please be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, as I frequently put stuff up on those outlets (look in the right hand margin of this page and make the appropriate clicks to follow.)

I’ve been notified that my regular reviews in brief column (it’s been known by several names over the years) in Weider History Group’s America’s Civil War magazine has run its course. These things happen, in fact have happened before, and will continue to happen in the magazine business as formats change. I’m thankful for the opportunities editor Dana Shoaf has provided. On a happier note, I have been asked to write reviews on single titles, and my first one will appear in the issue of Civil War Times that will be in process in August.

I also mentioned earlier that I’ll be speaking to the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable in 2014. I’ve been putting together a few notes for that presentation and am really pleased with how things are going. We’ll be covering a lot of assumptions that are generally accepted as fact concerning the campaign that may not be quite accurate. OK, make that flat out wrong. It should be fun, and if your group is interested you can contact me at my email address to the right or send me a message on the Book Me, Danno! page.





Letter to CWT on Gary Gallagher on CW Bloggers

24 05 2012

The August 2012 issue of Civil War Times magazine includes a letter from yours truly commenting on Prof. Gary Gallagher’s Blue & Gray column in the preceding issue. The letter was pretty much a recap of thoughts I wrote about here. I really don’t think Gallagher’s “criticisms” were harsh on blogs and bloggers, any more than they would be if applied, as they can and should, to books and authors. However, I did find G’s implication (though it may simply have been my inference) that somehow the blogosphere can, in light of his criticism, be safely ignored by “serious” historians to be wrong-headed. As happens often in magazines, my letter was edited to fit the space available, so I present the original version below:

As a Civil War blogger, I read with interest Gary Gallagher’s “Blue & Gray” column in the June 2012 issue of Civil War Times. I found it to be a  molehill with lofty aspirations, if you will. Dr. G. sums up his position: “Overall, my limited engagement with the Civil War blogging world has left me alternately informed, puzzled and, on occasion, genuinely amused. I suspect these are common reactions to the mass of valuable information and unfiltered opinion that crowd the multitude of blogs out there.” In other words, the content of the blogs taken as a whole is uneven. As both a consumer and reviewer of Civil War books, I can say the same thing about the print world, including university presses. There’s a lot of crap out there. Unlike print media, with most blogs the comments feature helps to  keep the blogger honest, correct errors of fact, and facilitate an organic research process that can be wonderful to behold. Consumers have a responsibility to separate the wheat from the chaff in any case. Anyone researching the American Civil War – or any topic, for that matter – can only ignore what is published in “non-traditional” formats at their peril. Just because they didn’t read it doesn’t change the fact that it has been written. Adaptation is the key to survival.





Good News

11 04 2012

The good folks at the University of Virginia’s Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library have granted their permission for Bull Runnings to post First Bull Run related material from their collections which have been transcribed and presented on their blog, 150 Years Ago Today. Look for that in the days ahead.





Oh Boy….

21 03 2012

Today I received the June 2012 issue of Civil War Times magazine. At the top of the cover: Why Gary Gallagher Doesn’t Trust Civil War Bloggers. So that’s where I went straight away – Gallagher’s Blue & Gray column. It turns out the teaser on the cover misrepresents the content of Gallagher’s piece. Sure, he takes nameless bloggers to task for transgressions ranging from saying not-so-nice-things about Gallagher to spending too much time debating “non-issues” like black Confederates (note I’ve included that tag on this post, as I can always use the hits). But the overall tenor of the piece is that the content of blogs is uneven. Gallagher ends with this:

Overall, my limited engagement with the Civil War blogging world has left me alternately informed, puzzled and, on occasion, genuinely amused. I suspect these are common reactions to the mass of valuable information and unfiltered opinion that crowd the multitude of blogs out there.

That sounds a lot like my own thoughts regarding books on the Civil War. In fact, I think you can replace the words “Civil War blogging” in the first sentence and “blogs” in the last and insert just about anything in their place and you’d have an assessment of equal applicability.

Read Kevin Levin’s thoughts here. He has a dog in the fight, so to speak.





First Bull Run Orders of Battle

23 02 2012

Just a reminder: the Orders of Battle (OOB) in the Resources section of this site are maps to most of the primary data on this site. If you’re looking for info on a particular unit, find them on the OOB, and if there is anything on the site for them you’ll find the links. There are some mistakes in my OOBs that I haven’t got around to fixing yet – spelling, first names and such for the most part. I plan to have pages for each command at some point, with a deeper roster of officers to company level, unit histories, etc. But my friend across the pond Jonathan Soffe has a great resource at Firstbullrun.com. Be sure to check it out and verify info you may find here. If you discover we are at odds, let me know.





Quiner Scrapbooks Online

12 12 2011

Thanks to several friends who have informed me that the Wisconsin Historical Society has digitized the Quiner Scrapbooks. These scrapbooks include newspaper clippings for various Wisconsin units. Of particular interest to Bull Runnings are those associated with the Second Wisconsin. This link will take you to the collection regarding the 2nd, starting on Volume I with the Bull Run stuff. I’ll be transcribing them here along with all the other newspaper items I have. Unfortunately, unless there is an index somewhere, the newspapers themselves are not identified, so I’ll just be referencing the Quiner scrapbook volume and page and providing a link to the images, for now.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 899 other followers