Eyes on the Prize

3 10 2008

Toshiro Mifune as the Bandit Tajomaru

Sometimes the temptation to regale my reader with the brilliance of my opinion is difficult to resist.  But lately I’ve been trying to keep in mind that this site is more than a web log – in fact, the blog feature is secondary.  First and foremost, I want this to be a source for primary material related to the First Battle of Bull Run.  The WordPress blog platform just happens to be an easy (and cheap) alternative to a traditional web page.  That’s why you’ll notice that, while my posting pace has picked up considerably, I haven’t been putting up much original content.  Not to fear if you’re into that stuff, I’ll get back to it; at least I’ll be writing original articles as much as usual.  But please take time to read the reports and what have you (I’m almost done with the reports, but there’s lots of other good stuff coming); it’s cool to watch the story unfold through the eyes of the participants, in a Rashomon kind of way.

No disrespect to way-cool dudes Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, but was there ever a cooler cat than the one pictured above? (Did you know: Newman played the Mifune role in the American version of Rashomon, The Outrage.)

New Sidebar Widget

9 09 2008

I’ve added a new item to my sidebar (those things that appear there in the column on the right are called “widgets”, so now that word actually means something outside of econ class fantasyland) – NOW READING.  This will give you some idea of my glacial reading pace.

Blogroll Update

17 08 2008

I’ve added a few links to my blogroll in the right hand column, so I should point out my criteria for linking.  Basically, I look for good writing on the American Civil War.  Whether or not I agree with a blogger’s opinion has nothing to do with my selection process.  If it’s well researched, well reasoned, and well written, I think it’s worth your time and recommend that you visit.  My one rule concerns the discussion of modern politics.  Whether or not I agree with the blogger’s modern political viewpoints is, again, immaterial.  If a blog to which I link regularly posts on modern politics, I’ll remove it from the blogroll.  The removal of the link is in no way a judgement.  I believe I have a responsibility to you readers to only direct you to blogs in which I think you’ll be interested, based on your interest in Bull Runnings – where discussion of present-day politics (and present-day religion) is strictly verboten.

With the approaching presidential election, some of the blogger’s to whom I link may be tempted to “enter the fray” with their opinions.  I read all these blogs pretty regularly via a feed reader.  They’ll be removed from the blogroll as political posts become, in my estimate, frequent – with no fanfare.

New Theme

7 08 2008

This new design is called Freshy, and replaces Chaotic Soul which I used for 21 months. What do you think?  Better?  Worse?  Let me know.

Oh yeah…if you have to ask what this picture has to do with a theme, I’m not sure you’ve led a full life!

Radio Star (Sort Of)

5 08 2008

This afternoon I was interviewed by a fella who is starting up a Civil War variety hour Internet radio show.  It will differ from what Gerry Prokopowicz does with Civil War Talk Radio in that it will feature multiple segments with different guests on different topics, and it won’t be live.  I’ll let you know more as I learn more, but as it stands now my segment will “air”, so to speak, along with one featuring someone who has been called the rock star of Civil War historians.  I guess I’m the counter-balance.

Also, I’m writing this post using the WordPress editor instead of my usual Word editor.  I usually use Word because I can manipulate the font size, but it brings lots of code into the mix which can sometimes screw up other aspects of my posts.  Let me know what you think of the size of this print (keeping in mind you can make it bigger by increasing the text size on your browser: see here).  I’m really just tired of WordPress constantly telling me that any problem I have is because I’m using Word, and that all I need to do is buy the CSS upgrade.  While the upgrade is inexpensive, I would of course have to learn how to use CSS.  Even if you’re not a regular reader, please tell me what you think of this font size.  I need lots of responses to make a decision.


14 07 2008


…for the lack of posts over the past eleven days.  I got swamped with work and also went on a family vacation to Lake Erie, where I had no web access.  I have lots of stuff to write about, mostly First Bull Run related.  As things calm down, I’ll post more regularly.  Thanks to all you folks who have been tuning in anyway, even if it’s just to find a picture of Buddy Holly or an N. C. Wyeth illustration.

Reader Contributions

3 07 2008


Thanks to reader Terry Johnston, former editor of North & South magazine.  Terry sent me some great contemporary articles from the Scottish American Journal on the 79th NY (Cameron Highlanders) and their experiences at Bull Run.  If any of you are inclined to pass along any similar info you may have gathered up on your regiments or people of interest, I’m runnin’ a post and wide open.

Two New Links

26 06 2008

I’ve added two new links in the column to the right.  The Friends of Manassas National Battlefield Park has been around since 1996 and is active in preservation and interpretation of the battlefield.  I’ve also linked to their audio tour conducted by NPS Historian Emeritus Ed Bearss.

Lee’s Real Plan Update

24 04 2008

Gettysburg NMP Ranger Scott Hartwig had this to say about my post from Tuesday and the comments that followed:

I’ll have to let my seminar essay present my argument.  This will be available next year when we publish the seminar proceedings.  I know there are several theories out there but I am quite certain that the July 3 assault struck the Union line exactly where Lee intended it to.

Until next year, then: unless anyone who attended Scott’s presentation wants to weigh in.

I’ll be posting a few ORs next.  Then I’ll have more on the fascinating family ties of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick; some developments concerning the history of the 30 pounder Parrott rifle that opened the First Battle of Bull Run; and hopefully a bit on Cadet John Rodgers Meigs.  The interview with Jake Pierro is on hold.  He’s a little under the weather; I wish him a speedy recovery and hope you will do the same.  Look for a little something about a new book on the Army of Northern Virginia, and also an update on the continuing saga of the naming of the Black Horse Troop (here and here).

Medals of Honor Page

20 04 2008

I have a new page up on the right, Medals of Honor.  Right now it lists the names and units of the 13 soldiers awarded the medal for their actions at First Bull Run and Blackburn’s Ford.  Eventually I’ll post entries detailing those actions and will link to them on this new page.


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