Editor’s Note: Please welcome Dan O’Connell, one of a number of new amateur Civil War bloggers here at TOCWOC. Dan and the rest of the group are here to bring some fresh new perspectives to TOCWOC, a blog I founded back in late 2006. My goal is to bring you the reader fresh content from a variety of perspectives five days a week. I look forward to what Dan and the others will bring to the table.
As someone who did not see a computer until I was 32 years old I readily admit that I am not exactly sure I know what blogging is. What I do know is that, at Brett’s suggestion, I should give it a try. If it allows me to plunge into my favorite hobby, Civil War research, then I am willing to make an effort. Fortunately, I do not come to the party totally unprepared. For those not familiar with my real name I am a long time poster from the old History Channel Civil War Forum (sfcdan) and current contributor to the Civil War Talk forum (1sgdan). My activities there have led to a string of multi-part series on military operations during the war. The feeling that all service is equal in value has caused me to focus on some of the lesser known aspects of the war. My personal interest lies in engineer operations. My current piece on that subject runs about 75 pages and a cut down version has been accepted for publication by www.essentialcivilwarcurriculum.com/ as a critical component of the war effort. In that regard I suppose I could be called a champion of the obscure. Nevertheless, I hope my entries will be interesting and informative.
I have considerable military background on which to base my opinions of these affairs. I have only recently retired after 30 years of service (as an engineer of course) in the US Army and Army Reserve. As usual in military service this included extensive travel throughout the United States and the world. Like everyone else involved in the military in the last ten years I have my share of deployment time. I served 30 months supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait and Iraq. These experiences give me some insight on the conduct of military operations but by no means make me an all knowing expert. I expect that my analysis will be questioned by some and would not have it any other way. As the old saying goes “if everyone thinks the same then only one is doing the thinking.”
My Civil War travels have taken me to Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam, Spotsylvania and Manassas. While in Mississippi I also retraced the steps of Grant’s approach to Champion Hill. I have read and continue to read extensively on the battles and campaigns. I have little interest in the politics of the time and rarely address these in any of my writings. My primary concern is military operations and why they succeeded or failed. I always attempt to view these operations from both perspectives and point out these successes or failures regardless of which side they belonged to. I hope you will learn as much from reading them as I have from preparing them.