The Civil War Network, Program 1: August 27, 2008

by Brett Schulte on August 30, 2008 · 1 comment

The Civil War Network’s debut podcast is now available.  I plan to do brief summaries of the interviews Francis Rose conducts just as I have been doing for Gerry Prokopowicz’s Civil War Talk Radio.  Regular TOCWOC readers will be familiar with the format.  If you enjoy this podcast, I encourage readers to use Social Networking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg to spread the word.  Feel free to Stumble or Digg this post, for example, and more importantly do the same for the URL I linked to above.  This will help to get the word out about what I think is a fantastic new addition to the Civil War blogosphere.

Air Date: 082708

Subject: Three Civil War Exhibits in One Museum!

Guest: Jenine Culligan, Huntington West Virginia Museum of Art

Brett’s Summary: The Huntington, West Virginia Museum of Art has three Civil War exhibits on display at one time:

  1. Civil War Photographs from the David L. Hack Collection
  2. Civil War Redux: Pinhole Photographs by Willie Anne Wright
  3. A Selection of Civil War Items from the Rosanna A. Blake Confederate Collection, Marshall University

Culligan is particularly fond of a photo of Lincoln just prior to delivering the Gettysburg Address in 1863 from the Hack Collection.  Ms. Culligan talks about how selections were made for some of the exhibits, and how much say she had in these selections.  Many people whose family members have items in the collection have contacted the Huntington Museum of Art about those items.

Subject: Digitizing a Civil War Battle

Guest: Harry Smeltzer, Bull Runnings

Brett’s Summary: Franics and fellow Civil War blogger Harry Smeltzer discuss Harry’s efforts to “digitize” the First Battle of Bull Run by creating a “one stop source for primary source material” on the battle.  Harry is placing the reports from the Official Records online slowly on his blog, creating permanent orders of battle for the two sides, personal correspondence and newspaper accounts.  Harry links to other portions of the site quite frequently in order to cross reference the material.  Harry goes into the details of how he gets this material into a format he can use online.  Harry admits he could have picked any battle out there, but he decided on First Bull Run because it “gets dismissed out of hand as a battle between two armed mobs.”  He doesn’t see things that way.  Smeltzer first started Bull Runnings is late 2006.  He decided on WordPress blogging software as a cheap and easy way to get his large compilation of data online, but he believes a database would be the ideal way to go when digitizing a battle.  Francis asks Harry a question I often wondered about: “Will you ever be done?”  I was also interested in Harry’s blogging habits and the amount of time he spends on blogging each week.  Check out the program to see what he says!  Harry also gave a shout-out to Brian Downey’s behind Antietam on the Web.

Subject: Civil War Trails: Fighting for the Rails

Guest: Dr. Carroll Van West

Brett’s Summary: Dr. Carroll Van West discusses a new Civil War tour in Southeast Tennessee.  Dr. Van West wrote the Civil War Trails, Fighting for the Rails brochure.  The tour covers the well-known sites such as Chattanooga, but it also covers some of the more obscure Civil War sites in this geographically diverse region.  An interesting topic concerned the need to leave out some sites due to space concerns and the methods used in this process.  Readers can see how to request the brochure over at The Civil War Network blog entry for this first program.

Subject: Building a Civil War Book Collection

Guest: Paul Taylor, With Sword and Pen

Brett’s Summary: Another fellow blogger, Paul Taylor at With Sword and Pen, discusses how to build a Civil War book collection.  Paul enjoys collecting first editions of Civil War books, which are typically the only books which do not depreciate over time.  Paul buys first editions “because he can’t afford not to” due to the aforementioned depreciation.  He goes into an interesting discussion on how to find out if your book is a first edition.  I typically try to buy first editions myself, though cost concerns sometimes come into play.  At the very least, I try to buy hardback books.  Paperback is only an option if the book came in nothing else.  Paul goes on to discuss some of the “rookie mistakes” he made when he first started collecting.  In listening to this section, I noticed Paul uses quite a few of the same sources I do to purchase used books.  If you are looking to begin collecting Civil War books, this is a great introduction.  Paul discusses several of his books to end the discussion, including a regimental history and a book on the battle of Chantilly or Ox Hill, which I previously reviewed.

Subject: On the Battlefield

Guest: James McPherson

Brett’s Summary: Francis goes one on one with Pulitzer Prize winner James McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom, widely regarded as the best one volume history of the Civil War currently available.  McPherson covers his battlefield tours in this portion of the podcast.  He mainly does tours at Gettysburg, Antietam, and the four major battles in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area.  The author says many tourists struggle with the picture of the battlefield in their mind versus the actual topography when they reach the site.  McPherson sees a wide range of tourists in terms of their general knowledge of the Civil War.  Interestingly, Dr. McPherson was also a guest on the premiere episode of Civil War Talk Radio back in September 2004.

Conclusion: I greatly enjoyed Francis Rose’s debut episode of The Civil War Network.  This site promises to produce entertaining and educational Civil War podcasts for a long, long time.  It’s good to see some friendly competition for Gerry P’s Civil War Talk Radio as well.  The format is a bit different with multiple shorter interviews rather than one long 50 minute episode, but it works.  Francis promises another episode in about two weeks.   I know I’ll be sure to continue tuning in to The Civil War Network.  Make sure you do too.  You won’t be sorry!

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Check out summaries of other Civil War podcasts.


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Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

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