Top 10 Civil War Blogs

by Brett Schulte on May 2, 2009 · 55 comments

Update: I’ve added another Top 10 Civil War Blogs list, this time focusing on blogs which just missed the cut for the initial list below.

Since I’ve been on a Top 10 kick here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog recently, I thought it might be fun to do a Top 10 Civil War Blogs list to highlight the best Civil War blogs out there.  As long time readers here know, I keep a list of ALL Civil War Blogs in my Civil War blogroll in the right sidebar.  I also plan to link to the blogs in this Top 10 Civil War blogs list and share the link juice with these very deserving candidates.  In that vein, I encourage ALL Civil War bloggers to do their own Top 10 Civil War Blog lists and share the wealth.  This is a very friendly community for the most part.  So, in looking over every Civil War blog in the blogroll, here are, in my humble opinion, the ten best Civil War blogs out there.

cppbanner Top 10 Civil War Blogs

Top 10 Civil War Blogs

1. Civil War Books and Authors: Drew Wagenhoffer’s site focuses almost exclusively on book reviews.  Luckily for all of us, he is far and away the best book reviewer in the Civil War blogosphere.  I have learned of more new, old, and in between books at Drew’s site than anywhere else

2. Bull Runnings: Harry Smeltzer’s Bull Runnings is an effort to digitize a battle, and one which all others who hope to do the same should study carefully before beginning their own.

3. My year of living Rangerously: Mannie Gentile’s use of video and pictures  makes his efforts to relay the life of an Antietam Park Ranger and miniature wargamer somewhat unique in the Civil War blogosphere.

4. Civil War Bookshelf: The granddaddy of Civil War blogs, Dimitri Rotov’s Civil War Bookshelf was in operation before many of us knew what a blog was!  Dimitri regularly challenges the work of “Centennial” historians and asks readers to read their Civil War books carefully and with a healthy dose of skepticism.

5. Rantings of a Civil War Historian: Eric Wittenberg started blogging several years back around the same time I did.  Eric is one of the most respected non-Academic authors in the Civil War community, and he publishes books on battles and campaigns which I (and most of the public) find very interesting.

6. Civil Warriors: The trio of Mark Grimsley, Brooks Simpson, and Ethan Rafuse form the academic version to TOCWOC’s group of amateurs.  Group blogs are a great idea because they give you different perspectives.  Brooks is a U.S. Grant expert, Ethan knows a TON about George McClellan, and Mark has written one of the most important Civil War books to come out in quite some time.

7. Elektratig: Although Elektratig’s blog is more about the antebellum years, reading his blog gives one a great idea of what happened in the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.

8. The 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry/ Civil War Musings: John Hoptak, a Park Ranger at Antietam, provides numerous insights into the 48th Pennsylvania, the battle of Antietam, and much more at his excellent Civil War blog.

9. A Publisher’s Perspective: Even in these poor economic times, Civil War book publisher Ted Savas gets it.  Read his blog for some interesting looks into the sometimes difficult and always interesting world of Civil War publishing.

10. Draw the Sword…: Jenny Goellnitz currently covers monuments at the Gettysburg battlefield.  She also runs the web’s premier site on Confederate General A.P. Hill.

UPDATE: I completely forgot to add Rene Tyree’s excellent Wig-Wags blog as well.  It definitely deserves a spot in any Civil War Top 10 list.  I’m not going to bump anyone from this list but I will encourage TOCWOC’s readers to visit Rene daily.  You’ll learn a lot!

UPDATE 2: Elektratig was kind enough to add additions to my Civil War Top 10, and included TOCWOC in his own list.  Thanks Elektratig!  Your views are always appreciated here.  I will also include other Civil War Top 10 lists in this space if others want to join in on the fun with their own picks.

So there you have it.  This is my list of Top 10 Civil War blogs currently in business, and the ones I go back to again and again for insightful, entertaining reading.  In compiling this list I tried to make sure this was a well rounded group of blogs rather than one tailored to subjects of limited interest to most students of the Civil War.

So, how did I do?  What are your favorites?

Check out the entire list of Civil War blogs I currently know of here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.

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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.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Drew W. May 2, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Brett. I was sorry to see Woodworth’s unannounced exit from Civil Warriors (I’m surprised the others never mentioned his dropping blogging duties, but it seems at least a year or two since his last post). I always liked his contributions there.

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admin May 2, 2009 at 2:32 pm

You’re welcome Drew. I would say yours is by far my most visited Civil War blog. I only vaguely recalled Woodworth being at Civil Warriors before your comment brought that recollection back a bit.

Brett

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elektratig May 3, 2009 at 8:18 am

Brett,

What can I say, other than “thanks.” I posted my thoughts on a few additions you-know-where.

e

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Craig May 4, 2009 at 8:45 am

Brett,

That’s a well rounded list. Personally, I hate rating anything without some quantifiable attribute.

For a “topic” blog, as is the case here with the Civil War topic, I’d say measure the quality of the blog by way of proportion of on topic posts. Clearly if the author has a tight shot group (posts on topic), the information is more useful, and has good context.

Another attribute is frequency. There are many good quality blogs out there, but as posting frequency is low, these are better seen as good quality web sites. (Not trying to make anyone upset, but simply saying there’s a difference in the way the reader will interact with such a blog.)

Lastly, I’d say tone of writing. A blog is a… well “LOG” and should indeed offer some insight as to how the writer is shaping and focusing their view of the topic. Perhaps some sense that the writer is conveying what they “found” or stories they wish to relate.

That said, I agree that the ten you mention are good blogs, and ones folks interested in the Civil War should at least consider for daily reads. I’d also suggest Scott Mingus’ Cannonball, Nick Kurtz’s Battlefield Wanderings, and of course Rene Tyree’s Wig Wags.

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admin May 4, 2009 at 9:22 am

Craig,

Thanks for the comments. Your point that there are a lot of good Civil War blogs is the one thing which made me hesitate to do just a top 10. In addition to the 11 blogs I mentioned in my list, I read quite a few others daily (or as often as they post). All of the blogs you mentioned, plus your own, for instance, fall into that category for me. It’d be nice if those reading this list added their own either here or on their own blogs. I would be interested to know who is reading who the most.

Brett

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John Hoptak May 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

Brett
Thanks for that; you helped make my day by including my blog in your list.

John

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admin May 4, 2009 at 10:03 am

John,

You’re welcome! Keep up the good work! :-)

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Mannie Gentile May 4, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Brett,

Being included in your list (as well as Kevin’s) rousted me out of a funk, for which I’m grateful.

Thanks for including me in such quality company. I really do appreciate your kind words.

Best wishes,

Mannie

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admin May 4, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Mannie,

You’re welcome. As I told the others, keep up the good work, both at your Civil War Blog and your Miniatures Blog.

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Rene Tyree May 4, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Brett and others who have kindly mentioned Wig Wags Blog – much appreciated.

You all make for fine company in this community of common interest.

To the discussion on “topic” blogs, I would add that one thing I’ve learned in my studies is that so much of military, American, and European history informs our consideration of the Civil War. Clearly this is one of the reasons I enjoy elektratig’s blog so much. As he suggested to me last term when I took a course on Antebellum America, it is truly a fascinating time as prelude and crescendo to war. And likewise the Civil War informed the conflicts/history that followed. So I appreciate all those who contribute thoughts whether directly or peripherally related to the war. It’s all good.

Rene

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admin May 5, 2009 at 11:43 am

Rene,

You’re welcome, and great point that many who study the Civil War tend to look at it in a vacuum, never considering what was happening in Europe and elsewhere.

Brett

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Mr. Dana R. MacBean August 29, 2012 at 11:45 am

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m new at this and still in the process of completing the work required for our (Martin Graham, co-author) book on the James E. Taylor Sketchbook but for you who enjoy ‘before and after’ picture books, please keep me mind. I work at the Parris Island Museum, Beaufort, S.C. but often I find myself in the Shenandoah Valley retracing the steps and photographing sites from the Taylor Sketchbook.

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Bummer October 26, 2012 at 8:16 am

Brett,
Being new to the blogging community, I want you to know that TOCWOC was among the top sites that inspired me to create my home at Civil War Bummer.
Your articles never cease to focus my memory on personal life experiences, books or other sites that I have explored. TOCWOC is a daily stop for me and galvanizes my mindset for the day.
Thanks,
Bummer

Reply

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