14 Years Blogging

3 11 2020
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Mmmmm….Scotch….

Another year has passed. The first four months, pretty awesome. The last eight, pretty weird. Here’s hoping we can get back to that first four months of awesome. I’m about up to here with weird.

The weirdness has had some good effect here – more posts this year than perhaps ever. Lots of private (more accurately, personal) correspondence, and lots more to come. Now in the middle of official correspondence – look for a flurry of activity ahead, as I’ve made it to July 20, 1861.

Readership has been steady – about 3,500 page views/month – with a nice boost coming from the assigned use of the resources section in a college history class (of course, that came ONE DAY before the assignment was due – some things never change).

Gave a couple of in-person presentations, cancelled one due to imposed restrictions, did one Facebook Live roundtable talk, and have cancelled one and scheduled one talk already for 2021.

Have a few book ideas, including essay and letter collections, but they’re nothing more than ideas. But thanks for asking. Over. And over.

As always, thank you all for reading. Continue to do so, early and often. You guys are the best.





Coming Up!

4 10 2020

Just a couple of housekeeping things.

On Thursday, Oct. 15, I’ll be speaking about McDowell’s Plan to the Rufus Barringer Civil War Roundtable in Pinehurst, NC. This will be my fourth trip to this fine group. The state has limited attendance to 25 and members get first dibs, so if you’re thinking of stopping by check with them first. We’ll be turning this into a mini vacation with my NC in-laws.

Having some time on my hands the other day, I flipped through S1, V2 of the ORs and marked all the correspondence associated with First Bull Run. I think I’ll start posting those soon (I label them “Official Correspondence” to differentiate from personal letters, which for some reason I first labeled “Private Correspondence,” even though much of it was intended for publication in newspapers – I should probably fix that, but have to figure out a simple and efficient way).

Still plenty of newspapers to look at, and I have one letter from a private in the 18th VA that was subsequently purchased by the NPS. I received a copy before they purchased it, and was in the process of transcribing, but they’ll be sending me a transcription from the much clearer original soon. Good stuff in it. Thanks to readers Tim Smith of Joliet, Il., and Patrick Schroeder of Lynchburg, Va.

Two interviews of authors of new books in the works, so be on the lookout for them.





2019 Review and 2020 Preview

1 01 2020

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Guides and attendees, “In the Footsteps of the 69th New York State Militia” May 2019

Well, here it is, 2020. The first or last year of the decade, depending on your math skills or your commitment to computers as our overlords. 2019 was good – even great – in some regards for Bull Runnings, but at the same time it fell short of both standards and expectations. On the plus side, I was able to spread the good word of Bull Runnings via talks in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia, and coordinated and co-led two tours at Manassas Battlefield and its environs. On the minus side, I fell far short of what I hoped to accomplish with the resources section of this site, and with completing my review of Longacre’s Early Morning of War, and with a couple of other projects I had in mind. As a predictable result, viewership is down. I won’t bore you with the details, but I have no one but myself and my priorities to blame.

I hope to do better in 2020. My primary focus will be on the resources, the meat and potatoes of this site, if you will. There are still plenty of newspaper letters to transcribe, and lots of other stuff like correspondence from the ORs, the Miles court of inquiry documents and photographs of participants. And of course anything you folks send along. I also plan to do more author interviews, and maybe a few interviews with folks who don’t have something to flog. I won’t be doing so many book previews, however. Some publishers don’t like them, wanting full reviews instead. But I won’t write a “review” of a book that I have not read cover-to-cover, and I’m a slow reader. I also plan to finish the Early Morning of War reviews. Plans are in the works for a tour or two at the battlefield (one an expansion on a previous tour, and one in the footsteps of a Confederate regiment). And I have two speaking engagements, one in Virginia in March and one in South Carolina in May. And I hope to put up more original content as well, the “frew-its” of my own research.

So, bear with me and check back here every single day. Also follow Bull Runnings on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (whatever that is).





13 Years Blogging

19 11 2019

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Never had it, just like the picture. But if you have, let me know how it is.

So the occasion of the 13th anniversary of my first post on Bull Runnings passed and I forgot about it. Sorry – but so did everyone else! Anyway, it’s been great, despite the fact that I have been so busy lately the blog – most regrettably the Resources section – has suffered. Don’t worry, I have plenty of stuff to put up. First up will be a rarely seen image of a famous member of the 69th New York State Militia. Also have many more letters, recaps of speaking engagements I never posted, yadda yadda yadda.

Thanks to all I’ve met (physically and virtually) during this adventure. This past year saw one of Bull Runnings’ most successful tours, and I have more ideas for new tours (and maybe even a repeat or two), so stay tuned. And thanks as always to the wonderful and generous guides. It’s an honor to lug folks across the field with you.





John Banks Podcast

26 08 2019

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Last night I had the pleasure of being interviewed on friend John Banks’s podcast. Take a listen here – hope I don’t sound like too much of an idiot!





Twelve Years Blogging

11 12 2018

I’m a month behind on this, but it’s been twelve years. Yay me. Here’s a gift idea:

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Eleven Years Blogging

3 11 2017

Wow. Eleven years.

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Ten Years Blogging

3 11 2016

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WordPress informed me yesterday that it was the tenth anniversary of my first ever blog post here at Bull Runnings. That’s a long time, which has seen a lot of changes in my life, but thankfully not too many changes to this blog. For the first year or so, I employed a theme that was white print on a black background. But after that, I adopted the theme you still see today. I think people appreciate a little continuity that way, and don’t want to have to figure their way around the site every time they visit. Either that, or I’m just lazy.

Readership has leveled off after the heady days of 2010-2013. But the mission stays the same: primarily, Bull Runnings serves as a repository for primary documents on the First Battle of Bull Run. Everything else is gravy. Over the years, I’ve developed my own ideas about what was meant to happen on July 21, 1861, and hope to share that in more detail with many of you here in the days ahead (I’ve gone over it in detail in a couple of presentations I’ve given, but just have to lay it out on paper, or screen). Book previews and author interviews should continue, too, along with other original content. But the Resources are the meat and potatoes, and what gets used by more and more researchers, as evidenced by the bibliographies in their published works. I’m happy about that.

This past year saw the first ever Bull Runnings tour of the Manassas Battlefield, with guest guide John Hennessy. It was a big success (in my opinion) with over 60 participants braving the weather to tromp the ground for a full day. I plan to build on that in 2017, with free tours in both the Spring and Fall. In the Spring, look for a double tour on artillery during the battle and on photography of the field later, with special guest guides. In the Fall – well, let’s save that for now.

Anyway, thank you all for your continued readership and support.





New Resource Pages – Soldier Images

16 10 2016

This is something I should have been doing all along. You’ll find a new resource page for soldier images. I haven’t decided if I should include multiple images or just pick one. Anyway, this should fill up some time. You’ll be able to find these in alphabetical order by clicking on the Soldier Images page links in the right hand column and on the Bull Run Resources page accessed via the tab in the header, or in the Orders of Battle next to the individuals name when the letter I shows as a link in the parenthesis.

So, if you have any photos of participants you’d like to share here, send them on to me at the email address in the right hand column. Share great-great-grandpa’s mug for posterity!





Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

16 06 2016

Once again I must apologize for the inactivity. A graduating high school senior eats up a lot of time, even if he seems to glide through it mostly on the couch. I promise to get back on it after his graduation party, if his college matriculation doesn’t get in the way. I gotta get him a shower caddy. That should be it, right?

Some things to look for here:

  • A couple of new book previews.
  • An interview or two.
  • More news on a possible upcoming tour of the battlefield.
  • The next installment of my notes to Longacre’s Bull Run study.
  • And, most important, more resources. I have a lot of them. A whole lot. And I’m hoping for more.

So, stay tuned. Check back here every day. Without fail. No matter what.