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.





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.





‘Lil Help Here!

9 12 2011

Jonathan Soffe, who maintains a fine Order of Battle website on First Bull Run, is looking for some information – particularly service records – on the following units to complete his work on Camp Pickens:

  • 5th Regiment militia (Culpeper County)
  • 155th Regiment militia (Greene County)
  • 44th Regiment militia (Fauquier County)
  • 85th Regiment militia (Fauquier County)
  • 60th Regiment militia (Fairfax County)
  • 82nd Regiment militia (Madison County)
  • 36th Regiment militia (Prince William County)

Respond in the comments section to this post if you can help Jonathan out.





Back

21 08 2011

I tell ya – I go away for a week and this place goes to hell! Hits counter tells me Bull Runnings has been a ghost town in my absence.

Well, I’m back and hope to get to regular postings very soon. In the mean time, John Hennessy has this very interesting post that brings into some question the Benson-Rice story I wrote about here.

Also see part 3 of Gettysburg Daily’s coverage of the Bull Run sesqui events (links to the first two parts are also provided therein).

And Craig swain has this Bull Run post over at To the Sound of the Guns.

And check out this series of illustrated maps and paintings of Bull Run by commenter Brian Kammerer – remeniscent of the American Heritage Golden Book of the Civil War (hat tip to John Hennessy).





Bull Run Sesqui on the Web

25 07 2011

Over the past week or so I’ve been sharing on Facebook and retweeting on Twitter various articles, images, and videos relating to the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) that have swamped the web as the 150th anniversary of the battle approached and was commemorated. There were a bunch of them. Here are links to a few of the more significant items (I’ll add to this any that pop up afterwards, too). There are some worthy of posting to the resources section, and as I check them out and get any necessary permissions I will do so. Get comfortable, this will take a while. If I missed anything big, let me know!

Update 8/3/2011: I noticed I had fouled up a few of these links. I think they’re fixed now, so check them out again if you couldn’t get through.

Good Battle Stuff

Miscellaneous

Opinion

Sesqui Events

Videos





And Yet Another

20 07 2011

And here’s another piece on a letter to a newspaper from a Bull Run participant, this time from John Ellis of the 71st New York and on Scott Patchan’s blog. I’ll get this one from the 8/20/61 San Francisco Bulletin transcribed ASAP.

I intend to include all the letters and newspaper accounts coming to light now in the resources section of Bull Runnings, but in order to do so I must have as much information as possible. Ellis is a good example of enough information. Full metadata, or as far as I’m concerned an image of the source document, is best. If it’s published, I need to have all the information that would be included in a footnote. Snippets of letters without dates or citation info, which is what many bloggers post, won’t be included here.








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