Never been one to be fond of the “Hi, how are you doing?” blogs or the “Today I went to the store” type entries. As a consultant pushing all sorts of collaborative solutions out to customers, I stress the rule that content should have a purpose beyond just the words on the page. Otherwise it is less than information and far less than knowledge. Good information should aid in the achievement of some awareness.
What’s this blog’s purpose and intent? Well simply, to aid the organization and presentation of my research, notations, and observations regarding the study of American history, in particular the Civil War. This study currently manifests itself in two directions – cataloging of historical markers and site visits to Civil War battlefields.
For the former, which I call “marker hunting,” I post my trophies on the Historical Marker Database site. I’ve contributed there since last summer (2007), and now have over 800 3000 entries posted. Most of course are Civil War related. My most recent set cataloged the Trevilian Station Battlefield. I find it rewarding to locate these markers, and see how the fabric of history lays across the geography to tell the story. Later, as the weather warms, I hope to complete the catalog of Virginia State markers pertaining to the 2nd Manassas Campaign and later the Virginia and Maryland markers related to the Gettysburg Campaign.
For the later, my battlefield walks often beget more walks over the same sites searching out the intricate details of the flow of battle. Years ago, when living in Georgia, I spent the better part of a summer fighting sand gnats and mosquitoes in order to see for myself the routes of march and important points of the closing stages of Sherman’s March to the Sea – in particular around Fort McAlister. Unfortunately those were the days before digital. Otherwise I’d have more than memo pads full of diagrams and strip maps. Now days, I’m apt to return from a battlefield such as 3rd Winchester with 400 or more photos.
My leanings in the study of the Civil War are first to the artillery and then cavalry. I was a scout early on in the Army, and the affinity remains. However, over the years I’ve become somewhat of a cannon aficionado. These relics (and reproductions) are often the only man made objects on the field that are “as it was” in the war. An artillery display at a National Park is often the key from which to extrapolate today’s reality into yesterday, in my opinion. We can always discuss the effectiveness or the in-effectiveness of artillery on the Civil War battlefield, but regardless one must admit the artillery batteries became the focal points of many engagements. So I study the red-legs and their equipment.
In closing and summary, I hope this blog will serve a useful purpose not only for myself, but for others criss-crossing the same grounds.