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
Battlefields and Bibliophiles
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
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.
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.
Civil War With Technology
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.
|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
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.
|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.
|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.