One year ago this week (November 8, 2005 to be exact) I started Civil War Memory with the following post:
Thanks for stopping by. I have been quite impressed with the Civil War
blogs hosted by Dimitri Rotov and Eric Wittenberg. I hope this site
will compliment and/or add to the growing e-dialogue on the Civil War.
While I am not a professional historian (in other words, I do not hold
a Ph.D), I have published Civil War related articles in both academic
and popular publications. I am interested primarily in Civil War memory
or the evolution of our perceptions surrounding fundamental themes of
the war, including slavery and emancipation. Such issues continue to
challenge our assumptions of what the war was about; this can be seen
in the debates over the National Park Service’s decision to revise its
battlefield interpretations and the public display of the Confederate
I am also a high school history teacher who teaches a class on the
Civil War. My site will also be used to raise issues related to the
teaching of the Civil War in the classroom.
Civil War Memory has remained fairly consistent in terms of this initial proposal. The site now includes 534 posts, 449 comments (since transitioning to Typepad back in April) and somewhere around 37,000 hits. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience in the blogosphere over the past year. The first post was only a sketch of what I hoped to accomplish; in large part the goal of the site has evolved in unexpected ways since last November. A number of writing and speaking opportunities have come my way and scores of people are now familiar with my research on memory and the Crater as well as my activities in the classroom. The most pleasant surprise has been the broad range of people that this site continues to attract. There seems to be something for the professionally trained historian as well as for the Civil War enthusiast. It has been a real joy to be able to communicate with some of the most talented Civil War historians currently working in the field.
I still have my concerns. Sometimes I worry that I post too often and this often leads to entries that are poorly written. I am reminded of Caleb McDaniel’s site which includes some of the best history blogging out there. He didn’t post often, but when he did it demanded a critical eye and a good deal of thought. This is something that I will no doubt continue to struggle with, but I have to admit to enjoying the pace of a regularly updated blog. I hope to include more guest posts in the coming year. I’ve thought about inviting a few people to join me here on a regular basis, but I like having control and I don’t want to risk losing the narrow focus of the blog which many readers no doubt value.
In the end, I truly hope that this blog has given you something to think about. Thanks for stopping by.