Ten Years Blogging

3 11 2016

10421125_10202476145087177_3588991745658030557_n

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.





Nine Years Blogging

6 11 2015

keep-calm-and-have-a-happy-9th-birthday-1

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.)

IMG_1245





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!