CWi Guide to Civil War Blogs

 

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Visitors to the Park With Two Names That Is Really Four Battlefields--aks Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park--often find themselves going from one wayside marker to the next and being puzzled at a certain lack of sequence, only to find out that the "next" sign is about an event from a different battle entirely. It is in a way reassuring to find out that the staff and managment of the park feels exactly the same way sometimes. This blog, which we are reminded severely is a completely private project, unofficial in the extreme, and " All opinions expressed are those of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NPS or its management. " is nevertheless run by park historian John Hennessy, who wrote most of the articles we saw on our visit. It's a chance for a "public historian" to remember the "historian" part of his job title after a day that probably consisted mostly of repeating the same presentation for the thousandth time to a new group of park visitors. There is exciting stuff going on at this park these days and this is a rare chance to peek in the keyhole.

 

of Battlefields and Bibliophiles Of Battlefields and Bibliophiles
David Woodbury is a well known name to long time participants in Civil War activities on the Internet. Besides noting and writing on a wide range of topics--often book related but by no means always--he frequently reprints material including interviews from the  Civil War Forum from years, nay decades, gone by

 

Past in the Present Past in the Present
"Mlynchhistory" is the blogger here, a former worker at museums and historic sites who has taken up teaching at the college level in preparation for extending his US History masters degree into a PhD. With an upbringing in east Tennessee, he expresses a particular interest in the history of that region, with focus on the Revolutionary as well as Civil War eras. A mix of "public history" along with the academic sort, and the academic field itself, holds the interest. The site is attractive, easy to read and nicely organized. An extensive blogroll is provided which covers most of the Civil War blogs we know of, as well as some more general historic topics. Comments post easily without administrative annoyances, other than comment moderation.

 

My Year of Living Rangerously My Year of Living Rangerously
Mannie Gentile had a respectable career as a museum educator, which he threw over to become a park ranger at Antietam. He's still only on part time seasonal status, so in winter we hear of his adventures as a substitute teacher at RhinoVirus Elementary in nearby Sharpsburg. Adept at photography, video work, drawing and cartooning, war helmet collecting, woodworking and no doubt other skills as yet unmentioned, we suspect he may be the happiest man on the face of the earth.

 

South From the North Woods
Author Jim Rosebrock is a retired career Army veteran who now volunteers at Antietam National Battlefield Park, where his principle occupation appears to be leading rather strenuous hikes across various parts of the field for interested visitors. We know this because much of the blog consists of announcements of the hike schedules, with details on meeting places and areas to be covered. This, while very nicely done, would probably not merit inclusion in the CWi Blogroll if that was all there was to it. However, scroll down to the entry for March 6 2011 and you will see one of the items that causes it to be listed here. Mr. Rosebrock's visit to the National Archives is both a useful primer for anyone who aspires to do the same, as well as a tutorial on how to do primary research in archves. Oh, and it's a dramatic story of one man's wartime service, and his possible link to the author. Very good piece.  

 

Strike the Tent
This is primarily a news aggregator site, with full-text press releases from Civil War and related historical sites, and news stories. You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to find that the operator is a fellow named Andy Etman, located in an unspecified part of south-central Pennsylvania. Andy notes that he works at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and indeed the very first post visible on the page at present is on a railroad topic. We hope that some original writing on this establishment might find its way into the site at some point. Archives indicate the site has been around since 2006, which speaks well for it in a day when blogs come and go in periods measured in nanoseconds.   

 

Teaching the Civil War With Technology Teaching the Civil War With Technology
Jim Beeghley runs what he describes as " Curriculum integration strategies and ideas for incorporating technology into the teaching of the American Civil War." The object is to both point out online sources of Civil War information to classroom teachers, and bring them up to speed on how to use them without begging for aid from their more web-savvy students.

 

This Mighty Scourge
Mike Noirot runs a blog which is slightly out of the ordinary--it actually focuses on the Civil War! Itself! As in, discussions of battles, regiments, companies, down to the level of individual soldiers. A companion blog to another site he runs, this is one of the newer blogs on our list, evidently starting in January 2009. Also featured are book reviews and interviews with the authors. This is based on a WordPress template and requires registering with WP in order to comment. A walk-through of the procedure is given in the right sidebar under the link "How To Post" in the heading "Pages."

 

To the Sound of the Guns To the Sound of the Guns
Craig Swain runs a site so good we wish the expression "absolutely unique" weren't so ungrammatical. Historical plaques are celebrated when installed, then often forgotten. Craig (and helpers) are devoted to keeping them remembered and usable by all of us everywhere here at our computers. This is an extension of his "HMdb.com" project, apparently "Historical Markers Database", so includes items besides the Civil War. It's all history, it's all good.

 

TOCWOC TOCWOC
Brett Schulte is the primary operator of this site, whose name is not really an ancient Indian word but in fact stands for "The Order of Civil War Obsessively Compulsed." Originally set up as a group blog they have had a variety of posters come and go. Fred Ray has the most historically oriented posts, Brett covers books and games by and large, and occasional poster Jim Lamason has a concentration on New Jersey and its role in the war.

 

Written In Glory
The movie "Glory" was, regrettably, the first that many people ever heard of the fact that the Civil War was anything other than two big mobs of white guys shooting at each other, which was pretty much all you saw in Civil War movies before 1989 (or, even more regrettably, since.) The first of the black regiments was the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, whose story was told in the movie and is being told at this new blog. It is being told in real time segments 147 years after the fact, with the post of Feb. 10 2010 discussing events which took place on Feb. 10 1863. At this point the blog is featuring letters, of which Col. Shaw was a prolific writer, discussing his initial hesitation to take Gov. Andrews offer and his eventual acceptance of it. This blog will be a tremendous asset to teachers, particularly of African-American, 19th century or military history in general. The format lends a sense of immediacy as events roll out in "real time."

Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market
This is a refreshingly straightforward blog to promote a book. "Shameless self-promotion" has an honored tradition in the blogosphere and this is an attractive example of how to do it properly. Charles Knight wrote a book, he'd like you to read it, and you can't very well do that unless you know it exists, right? Beyond listing things like appearances and booksignings, the blog has a nice list of New Market related links, both historic and modern-day, as well as the author's thoughts on other books, people and events. Updates are not as frequent as we usually like to see, but but then we don't want to encourage fluff either. As Lincoln is said to have said, if this is the sort of thing you like, you will like this very much.

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