Nine Years Blogging

6 11 2015


WordPress sent me a notification informing me that the day before yesterday marked the end of the ninth year of Bull Runnings. A lot has changed over that stretch, but I think the main (and yes, not-too-sexy) focus of recording primary source material or resources on the First Battle of Bull Run has been constant. So I don’t post as often – this is a hobby, after all. There’s no angling for bigger and better things. The resources section keeps growing, and there’s no end in sight (for instance, I still haven’t posted the Miles COW stuff). Social media play a much bigger role in operations (the site now has over 850 followers on both Twitter and Facebook, though many follow on both, I suspect). Other than primary sources, author interviews and book previews are pretty strong, if not quite regular, features that bring folks back. And of course the fun stuff – whoda thunk a picture of Larry David and his daughter would attract so much traffic?

Visitation is a shadow of 2011-2013 numbers. My son’s sports blog (Smeltzer on Sports) regularly out-draws me. But that’s OK. No plans to go anywhere – just keep plugging away. And yes, I still intend to do the Longacre review. Thanks to all of you who visit, regardless of frequency. As always, contributions from you are encouraged and welcomed.

Keep your eyes peeled for the new edition of John Hennessy’s An End to Innocence, due out in December. I bet it will be all the rage in year ten, First Bull Run-wise.

Dixon Miles Court of Inquiry News

26 11 2014

Friend Jim Rosebrock, host of the blog South from the North Woods, on a recent trip to the National Archives was kind enough to photograph the contents of the file containing the documents associated with the Dixon Miles First Bull Run Court of Inquiry for First Bull Run. Late in the day on July 21, 1861, Colonel Israel B. Richardson leveled a charge of drunkenness at Miles, to whose division Richardson’s brigade had been temporarily attached. This charge resulted in Irvin McDowell removing Miles from command, and at Miles’s request the Court of Inquiry was later convened.

I now have over 150 images of handwritten documents to transcribe, the bulk of which are of witness testimony. As far as I know, this file has never appeared in print or digital format, so we’re breaking new ground here. Long ago I posted the summary of the court’s finding here, and this is the index page I’ll be using for all the documents. Below is a taste of what I have to work with – thankfully the penmanship is not generally this poor (click for a larger image.)


Eight Years Blogging

3 11 2014

Well, what can I say? It’s been eight years. This blog has lasted roughly twice as long as the Civil War, and like it has taken on a different character as time passed by. I don’t post as much chatty stuff here as I used to. To keep up with that you can always follow Bull Runnings on Facebook. And yes, it’s been a little slow around here lately, but plans are to continue posting primary material as time allows – there’s still plenty of it out there. Book previews will continue as my supply of books to preview continues. I have some tweaks I’m considering to the preview process, like matching up new releases with older titles. More author interviews as the mood strikes me. I have a couple of original content posts that I just haven’t been able to get to, and I do plan to get to them. But I will not post just because I think I should.

Once I crack open Edward Longacre’s new book on First Bull Run, I think I may provide a kind of running commentary. I don’t know if that will be daily, weekly, or what. Let’s just see how it plays out.

Thanks to all of you who have stuck around. Welcome to those of you who may be new. I’m still having a good time and will keep at it until that changes.

Seven Years Blogging

4 11 2013

I missed the actual anniversary a couple days ago. So, I’m taking this opportunity to make my first ever post via mobile device (umm, phone.)

As I’ve said before, Bull Runnings has provided and continues to provide me with opportunities the like I never imagined: writing jobs, speaking gigs, and interactions with beaucoup interesting and generous folks.

Readership has levelled off since the heady days of 2011, in part due to my decision to move some types of posts over to social media, but also I think as part of a drop off in more casual interest in the Civil War in general. But that’s OK with me.

I thank all of you for your interest and participation now, then, and in the future. Good stuff still to come!

Another Letter Via a Reader

10 08 2012

This weekend I will (hopefully) post an 1888 letter written by the colonel of a prominent Bull Run regiment – in some ways, the most prominent Bull Run regiment – concerning the battle. The letter is in private hands, a transcription of which has been provided by a descendant of the recipient. I also expect to receive a digital copy of the letter itself to be attached to the transcription, but won’t (in this case) wait for that. It’s risky to post such an item without some tangible proof of the authenticity, but due to the prominence of the letter writer I think I’ll make an exception. I can always pull the post later, but I have no reason to doubt this one.

As always, thank you dear readers for your contributions. I know I have one or two others that I have yet to post, but only because I haven’t quite figured out how to use them.  I encourage all readers in possession of relevant material to submit it for inclusion in the Bull Run Resources section.

Up Next…

18 05 2012

OK, I think the next thing I’ll be working on for the Resources section is Official Correspondence. This will be from The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 2 (Serial No. 2). I just have to figure out how I’m going to set those pages up so they’re easy to find and use. I guess it would be best to set up pages by individual names, with an index for TO and FROM with dates. Any suggestions?

More From Fredericksburg

3 12 2011

I’ve received another batch of newspaper clippings from John Hennessy. With this post I started on the last bunch he sent – that is, the bunch before this new bunch. So you’ll be seeing more stuff along these lines in the days ahead. Thanks again John for passing these along. And if any of you have letters or diaries or memoirs or newspaper accounts in your files, feel free to email them to me and eventually – hopefully – I’ll get them posted. Just remember, I need good details on the source. Transcriptions are fine (and save me a lot of work), but best if accompanied by an image of the original document, and information on where any unpublished material resides.


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