What’s the objective?

Posted on August 27, 2013 by


For the (over) five years in which I’ve been blogging, I’ve focused mostly on the American Civil War. As the title of the blog suggests, however, I have room to roam whenever I get the whim. I don’t like to keep myself too “hemmed-in”. The title has given me enough flexibility that I feel comfortable moving in just about any direction in which I wish.

I also find that I’m horrible in sticking to a preview of what blog posts are to come, and find I work better as a freelance in the extreme… writing about a subject only when the mood strikes me, at a particular time. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve started and have left unpublished… simply because I no longer felt like I wanted to write about a particular topic, or continue with a particular “take” on a topic.

Still, I know that, writing in this way, I can lose readers. It’s not that I’m keeping count (anymore), it’s just that I hate to lose readers… it’s just that simple. Likewise, when I take another path, off what might appear to be my main path, I gain readers. This, too, can be a bad thing because… they enter as readers/followers based on one or two posts that strike their interests… and, in some cases (I suspect) no longer follow because I’ve strayed from something that they found of interest. Who knows… it might be that some actually like that.

I’ll get more to the point of where this is going…

Folks blog for different reasons… and I’m no different. Still, the central theme here is “history”, and it usually centers around the Shenandoah Valley and lower Cumberland Valley, and generally, in the time frame that we understand as the Civil War era. I understand the history of that time, in this place, based on years of study and analysis, and I like to share my perspectives on these things.

But blogging isn’t simply about sharing an understanding of how things were. I also see it as sharing the journey on what is sometimes a “path of discovery”. As I mentioned in my blog post the other day

My interests, when they began, were war-centric… the battles, the leaders. That expanded over time to the individual regiments… and eventually to the company level. In that not all wanted to participate in that (both outside the ranks and even inside), looking back, now it seems as if it was only a matter of time before my interests would turn to the civilians, and that, among them, there were differences in sentiment and opinion.

It seems that has now moved to another phase… the origins of those sentiments and opinions. Where did the thinking originate, how did it evolve, and why did different Southerners end-up in so many different pools of thought?

What might seem as a sudden shift isn’t so sudden. I’ve been milling through prewar (from as early as the 1820s through the 1850s) and postwar (the immediate years after, and through 1870) newspapers for several months. Also during this time, I’ve encountered opinions of folks who paint Southerners and Southern history in a way which is, frankly… disturbing. Make no mistake about it, slavery was an ugly, and often blemishing (negatively impacting the progress of Southerners as a people), but (as I indicated in that same post to which I referenced above) there is more to that time and people than just this.

As such, for those who follow this blog, don’t be surprised to see more pieces focused on the culture of this part of the South (the Shenandoah Valley and lower Cumberland Valley) in the early to mid-19th century. It’s a path being taken for different reasons, but all in the interest of better understanding this place in the years that led to the years of the Civil War. Not only is this being done to address the mindset of those (on both extremes of the pendulum swing) who would like to broadbrush the history of this area with misperceptions (at least, as they appear to me), it’s also a personal path of discovery, to better help me see and understand what the history was of this place, at that time.

I’ll make no predictions on how often readers will begin to see this posts, or for how long… but… they are coming. We’ll see where this goes…

As ever, thanks for following.