Announcing Beyond the Crater: A New Petersburg Campaign Web Site

by Brett Schulte on September 22, 2009 · 4 comments

Ever since Harry Smeltzer started his Bull Runnings blog/site focusing on the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), I’ve wanted to do something similar for the Petersburg Campaign.  I’m happy to say I’ve finally started on that project.  The new web site is called Beyond the Crater: The Civil War Petersburg Campaign Online.  The site went “live” back in early August of 2009, but I wanted to fill out some content first prior to announcing it to everyone.

I want to be very clear to everyone that this project is MASSIVE in scope.  The Petersburg Campaign lasted almost 10 months, involved hundreds of thousands of men, and saw 80,000+ casualties.  The Official Records for the campaign fills 3 volumes (in three parts each) for a total of nine books.  Other portions of the campaign are contained in other volumes of the Official Records as well.  This is a site I plan to be slowly working on for a long, long time to come.  I plan to properly annotate all information on the site, in effect making it a portal for further research.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the content you’ll find freely available at Beyond the Crater:

I recently signed a deal with News in History, a web site which allows users to view old newspaper articles.  This will allow me to reproduce newspaper articles specifically pertaining to the Petersburg Campaign.  Details on this are not solidified yet so I won’t elaborate until the pieces fall into place.

Another addition I hope to include is diary entries and letters from common soldiers.  I am not sure yet if I want to include links to these on the individual unit pages, if I want to specifically have a diary/letter section of the site, or if I want to do both.  This area is still very much on the drawing board.

In conclusion, I’m VERY excited about Beyond the Crater.  Slowly but surely, I hope to make it the number one source for information on the Petersburg Campaign on the web.  If you enjoy the writing at TOCWOC, please spread the word about Beyond the Crater to those you know who are interested in the Civil War.  Like TOCWOC, I plan for the site to have multiple contributors over time.  If you are interested in participating in some way, please use the Contact form at Beyond the Crater and let me know!

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