CWi Guide to Civil War Blogs

Civil War Interactive Blog AwardThe Internet is filled with excellent writers, historians and others documenting their thoughts to share with us. So when we decided that we were going to open a section featuring what we felt were the best of them, we knew we had a massive task ahead of us. We're often asked what makes a blog good enough to make us feel it belongs here.

   The first thing you have to remember is it's subjective, as all lists of this type are. How it usually works is like this: we get an e-mail saying "I made/have a blog about X and would like it added to your list" We look at it and if it's brand new it goes into a special file for 2 months. We do this so we know you're serious enough to keep at it at least that long. Once we see a blog is established numerous things are looked at, among them uniqueness, writing ability, frequency of posts and ability to maintain the blog format-wise. There's others, but those are the main things.

   What will get you removed? Number one reason is infrequency of posts. We all have lives and other things to do, but start posting once a month and you'll probably be removed. The other is the fact that this is a Civil War blog list. Everyone has other interests - sports, politics, religion, food - whatever. And there's nothing wrong with sneaking an off-topic post in now and then. But if it gets to point where 50% or more of your posts are non-Civil War related, then you'll probably be gone.

   So that's it. Any blog on the list is welcome to post the award at the top left of this box. Thanks to all for your hard work!

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48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry/ Civil War Musings 48th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry
John Hoptak, a full time ranger for the National Park Service at Antietam National Battlefield, writes and photographs on events at that park. As the blog name here indicates he has a special interest in the 48th PA V.V.I. and so there are posts on other battles or actions or persons related to that regiment. 

Abraham Lincoln Blog The Abraham Lincoln Blog
Geoff Elliott writes, as you might guess, about the 16th President. His well-written posts range from clips of news stories to insightful explorations of how Lincoln --both the real one and the one we know from our "civic mythology--impacts politics and other fields of society today.

Battlefield Wanderings Battlefield Wanderings
Nick Kurtz is a self-described "Civil War nut" who doesn't just wander battlefields but photographs them. Well. He has an exceptional eye through the lens and an added ability to shoot modern-day battlefield landscapes in such away as to convey where monuments are in relation to each other.

Blog Divided Civil War Blog Blog Divided
This attractive site is a project of Dickinson College (Pennsylvania), devoted to a somewhat wider span of time than is usual for "Civil War" blogs. They call it the "House Divided Period" and are open to discussion of any events between around 1840 and 1880. The intent of the operators is to generate teaching aids for educators of any level. Comments are open and readers are not required to register or login to post. Comment moderation is apparently invoked only if misbehavior arises. Looks to be a valuable asset for history teachers, who often feel somewhat isolated at their individual schools.

Bull Runnings Bull Runnings
Harry Smeltzer uses Bull Run (or Manassas if you prefer) as a home base from which to venture forth with posts on everything from excerpts from the Official Record to baseball to Civil War horror movies. The white-type-on-black-background is somewhat aggravating but the writing makes it worth slogging through.

Cenantua's Civil War Blog Cenantua's Blog
"Centantua" aka Robert Moore, has been putting out this blog for much the same time as he has been working on a Master of Science in Technical & Scientific Communication degree from James Mason University. Topics range widely, but a running theme, no doubt relating to the parallel educational process, is the application of technology to history, both in teaching it academically and in the wider e-society outside the classroom. Technical jargon of the communications-major sort creeps in from time to time, but overall a nice read. Comments are easily posted without any impediments to the reader beyond including a nym and email address, a practice we commend.

Chickamauga Blog
Anybody who's been around the block a time or two in Civil War circles knows Dave Powell. This site was set up to let Dave talk, opine and generally promote interest in a battlefield that certainly deserves it. Much of the discussion at the time we visited centered around a visit his study group was making to the field and related areas like McLemore's Cove. But in between these brief discussions of battlefield (visit) logistics--and some longer and fascinating discussions of wartime matters. Sparked by everything from a rerun of Antiques Roadshow to a question on a wargamer chat board, Dave looks at topics as varied as how regiments get separated from their brigades in battle to stories of individual soldiers. Highly recommended.  

CWBA Civil War Books & Authors
Andrew Wagenhoffer has one of very few blogs which must be regarded as "go-to sites" prior to buying Civil War books.  We can do no better than to quote his own site description: "...with a special emphasis on the lesser known and underappreciated American Civil War books, authors, and publishers."

This one is hard to categorize, being pretty much what its name describes. Run by one Jim Miller, of whom we know little other than that he is from Murfreesboro TN, the blog has over time accumulated an impressive number of posts. Entirely from primary sources as far as we have seen, from well known ones like Dyer's "Compedium" to the more obscure  A History Of The First Regiment Iowa Cavalry Veteran Volunteers   by Charles Lothrop, who contributes an update on the postwar life of "Billy, the late Dr. Chas. H. Lothrop's old war horse." The articles, biographies, newspaper reports and other entries are usually compact, quick reads that leave lingering images and potential questions to muse upon.  

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