Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy 2013

General Franz Sigel Statue in Forrest Park in St. Louis. This statue was
dedicated in 1906 and was funded by the Sigel Monument Association to
honor German American patriots in the Civil War.
Happy New Year everyone!

The past week has been a busy one for me - a wonderful Christmas Eve spent with my family, followed by a a Christmas Day flight to St. Louis, where my fiancee and I spent a week with her family. I was kept very busy during my holiday travels and celebrations, but I also had time to fit in some Civil War related activities - which included some reading, a second viewing of Lincoln, and some visits to Civil War monuments in St. Louis, such as the Franz Sigel statue in Forrest Park.

As I look ahead to 2013 I also look forward to my first full calendar year of blogging. I started Battlefield Backstories back in May as an outlet for my personal interests in the Civil War, and as an effort to encourage my own original research. Most of all, I started it because I thought it would be fun, and I was correct. I find that I learn new and surprising things each time that I begin researching posts - and frequently those discoveries lead me down other avenues of inquiry. I also find myself thinking much more about various interpretations and the historiography of the war. Finally, maintaining my own blog has encouraged me to follow many other Civil War blogs much more closely, and I feel more connected to the field of Civil War history as a result.

When I began to blog I chose a fairly narrow focus - stories related to the Gettysburg Battlefield - but I also warned readers that I reserved the right to stray to other Civil War topics when I so desired. I selected my Gettysburg focus for one reason: I know Gettysburg far better than most other Civil War topics, and I have explored the ground there more extensively than any other field.

That being said, in my first 50+ posts I have found myself frequently turning to other topics, military and otherwise. I suspect this will continue in 2013.

In the next few days I will have a book review coming - Bruce Levine's Confederate Emancipation. I also will explore the history behind a Confederate Monument I stumbled across while in St. Louis.

I spent some of my vacation working my way through a DVD set of 48 lectures (24 hours!) on Civil War History by Gary Gallagher that I received as a Christmas Gift. The set is part of "The Great Courses" series and was put out by The Teaching Company in 2000. Much of the content is overview, but each lecture has a fairly thorough summary of the historiography of its topic, and Gallagher offers some interesting analysis and poses intriguing discussion questions in the course guidebook. As I work my way through each lecture I hope to respond to some of the more interesting discussion questions here on the blog.

I hope you all had wonderful holidays, and I hope to keep you interested in the Backstories Blog in 2013!

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