So while some folks commemorate Juneteenth, I take this moment to note a much less important date - the 3 year anniversary of My Civil War Obsession on blogger. I had posted one entry on www.cincinnati.com before a friend informed me of blogger.com and blogspot.com, so I looked at those sites and chose blogger.
I do sometimes wonder what would have happened had I know of wordpress.com at the time, but I do like blogger and the choices it offers. Anyone that has followed this blog has seen a couple of format changes over time as blogger offers new gadgets and I play around with them. I'm not sure I will be doing that much more now though - I really like the current look and format of the site and think it is easy to read and navigate. Of course, I will gladly take any feedback or suggestions, but one of the good things about having this blog is that I get to make the final decisions.
Here is a link to my first entry here. It is nothing spectacular but articulated my thoughts on this blog at the time pretty well. Much of what I said then still rings true. I do think my trips to Perryville in 2010, 2011 & 2012 have started giving me a better understanding of some of the military issue of the war and why I should study that aspect of the war more often. Would I have taken those drives to the site of Kentucky's largest Civil War battle if I was not blogging about the war? I really don't know.
I frequently wonder what I have learned by blogging. I know by starting this blog I became much more aware of the blogosphere and have started seeing some basic concepts that I may not have thought of before. "Civil War Memory' as is often used on the web instead of historiography, is something I had never thought about before but sites like Kevin Levin's well-known blog of that name have given me pause to think about not just the war, but how "we" study or remember it. In fact, this idea is the only reason I have even the smallest inclination to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I think it sound ridiculous, but should I try to see it and question what it says about modern day perceptions of Lincoln or his reputation? (And without Kevin's recommendation, I may never have read Anne Marshall's Creating A Confederate Kentucky, which may well be my favorite book about this era.)
Another seemingly obvious concept that I pay more attention to now is that "Southern" and "Confederate" are not one and the same. I'd like to think I understood that before, but I'm not sure I ever thought about it before seeing bloggers like Robert Moore and Andy Hall, among others, focus on it in many discussions.
I read many blogs now, probably too many as I often cannot keep up with all the new entries, so I while I named a few names above, I know I am forgetting others who have added to my knowledge or understanding of the era.
I must admit I find blogging to be quite enjoyable. Digging through the Covington Journal to find stories, factoids, opinions and other tidbits, usually local, but often on national issues, has been a great addition. I regret that after August 1862 the paper's copies are not available until the 1868 editions, so my source will then dry up, but hopefully access to some old Cincinnati Enquirer editions will help me find more stories. Seeing the steady anti-abolition (and anti-abolitionists) stories from this newspaper in a Union state has been fascinating. I've also seen it print stories using "our" or "us" to describe Federal forces or the Federal government. Instead of just hearing about the "mixed sentiments" in the region, it helps me to see examples of it in this weekly newspaper. I am fairly certain I would not have found this source or read it so often if I was not blogging.
I also like the opportunity to write. I know many of my entries are transcribing articles, but I try to offer at least some analysis, and my book reviews give me chances to practice critical thinking.
I know this post was kind of a stream-of-consciousness type of rambling, but that's okay. Perhaps I need to try this style a bit more often, especially on actual war subjects. Maybe that will help me develop some more original thinking to share.
Who knows where this blog will go in the future? I don't really know. I'll keep trying to find interesting stories, ideas, concepts and other stuff to describe and hopefully will continue to find new lessons in the blogosphere. Perhaps I will find ways to use and discuss such ideas in my entries. Maybe I will find other sources of cool material as well. At least I have this forum to write and read and learn and study and think and consider and hope and wish. Thanks to the folks at blogger for providing such a fine platform and a big thank you to all the readers and followers who support this blog.
Happy 3rd birthday, My Civil War Obsession!