CWDG’s Year-End Round Up!

With the close of 2011, we see on the Civil War Daily Gazette, the close of 1861. On the blog, as in life, I tend not to focus on arbitrary things like the end of the year. In the Civil War, New Year’s Day was just another day for the soldiers, and just another White House levee for the politicians. In modern life, I’ll be watching the Steelers beat the Browns and hoping Cincinnati can beat the Ravens.1

Over 71,000 visits from the US in 2011! Thanks to Texas, California, Illinois and New York! (Stern looks towards Wyoming and South Dakota...)

But still, it’s a lovely time to look back on the last year. A year that saw the CWDG move from 150ish hits per day to an average nearing 500. It would be nice to carry on this trend (at this point, we’re closing in on 150,000 hits). In 2011, over 32,000 people visited the blog, with nearly 60% being “return visitors.” In the past year, over 10,000 people have visited CWDG 100 or more times.2

I cannot get over how unexpected this is. I started the blog with the intention of learning about the Civil War day by day. I figured that a few friends or family would pick it up and read it, but had no idea that it would attract so much attention. All of this came without a dime spent on advertising.

Also, thanks to the Amazon Wish List and the PayPal donation button, the expenses of running the blog haven’t driven me out of business. In truth, web hosting is ridiculously cheap, and it’s barely even considered an expense. But with research comes books and books, even used ones, are pricey. Many readers have perused the Amazon Wish List and purchased books to help out. Some have even donated, allowing me to do the same.

The Christmas season has been a great benediction with tons of books arriving from mostly anonymous readers. Again, I’m humbled by this. I never dreamed that people would actually care enough to do this. Thank you.

Books from the last quarter of 2011! Thank you, everybody!

And for the coming year, I hope to continue on. Being so far ahead, I’m currently writing about the slow march to Corinth, the slow march up the Peninsula and a few odds/ends here and there.3 I’m already overloaded and loving it. I look forward each day to the several hours I sit pouring over books and online (primary) sources, digging in, and discovering everything I was never taught in school.4

2012 will hopefully bring even more readers. I know that I need to pick up the slack when it comes to social networking. I have a presence on both Facebook and Twitter, but do nothing much, aside from link the posts, on either. I am wretchedly horrible at self promotion.

So what would you, the readers, like to see on CWDG? What changes would you make if you had your druthers? Are the posts too long? Too short? Do I use too many secondary resources? Too many photos? Do I ramble too much? Should there be more pictures of cupcakes? Do you find that I’m politically slanted against the North? Against the South?56

I’d love some feedback over the next year to help me bring the CWDG up to the standards of other, respected Civil War blogs.

So in closing, thank you for making 2011, the first year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, one deal of a great year.

  1. It could happen, right? []
  2. Stats from Google Analytics. []
  3. I just finished up the May 10 Battle of Plum Run Bend. []
  4. I was never taught anything about the Civil War in school. I was supposed to have it in 8th and 10th grade, but the 8th grade teacher stopped in the 1850s, and the 10th grade teacher (also the football coach, because “anyone can teach history, right?”) picked up with reconstruction. []
  5. I’ve been accused of both, which is kind of hilarious. []
  6. Do I have too many footnotes? []
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17 thoughts on “CWDG’s Year-End Round Up!

  1. As a much less successful blogger, but a faithful reader of CWDG, I would like to thank everyone out there who loves history, and who supports all the things going on for the Sesqui. Some ideas started out looking good, but have fallen by the wayside (Mason-Dixon Report, for one). Other things have built slowly to get better and better (Emerging Civil War), and many were there all along (Bull Runnings). I have only listed a few–there are so many.

    Our real job will be after the 150th is over. How can we keep the battlefields, sites, and sources supported until the 175th? How can we keep the Civil War–history in general!–in people’s consciousness, helping us understand today as well as the past. Will the educational system step back from test scores and let us teach? Let students learn? I sincerely hope so.

    And finally–more sarcasm, puns, and general silliness! This was what kept the guys in the tents going! I can only sob at statistics for so long–then I just have to find some levity. I appreciate yours a lot, Eric. Happy New Year!

    1. Oh I wish I could make it a bit funnier. I try to amp up the chuckles as much as I can, and when the image captions start to filter into the mix, some hilarity will naturally ensue.

      I think we’re definitely on the right track with preservation. Even Wal-Mart backed down. Not that we should rest upon our laurels, of course. If needed, I’m a huge supporter of most any action to save battlefields and other random historical places.

  2. I hope you you’re not offended to learn that this is also unexpected to some of your readers including at least one who has been here from the beginning. It’s not that I didn’t think you were capable of the top-notch non-stop reporting coming from CWDG. That’s something that I had no way of knowing one way or the other. I believe my expectations were for a picture or two and few headlines each day. I suspect my expectations were low because that’s probably what I would do if I had even enough gumption to begin a similar undertaking.

    I enjoy history but I’m no historian. I knew something of the big picture of the Civil War and could even produce a few unconnected stories if the need arose. But I’ve never studied it in any detail and this blog is letting me do that in a very entertaining way that doesn’t even require much effort. I know I’ll remember all too little of what you’re providing but, even with serious leakage, my knowledge is really benefiting. I’ve probably already forgotten more than I knew before CWDG came along.

    I know that, as Meg Thompson noted, other project have faltered. If nothing else, that indicates just how tough a job a blog such as this can be. But one of the big attractions of CWDG is that it doesn’t look like work at all. I’m a fan of live music and my opinion of a performer is seriously affected by how much fun performing appears to be. I’m coming to the realization that blogging is kind of like that. I enjoy reading blogs that appear to be fun for the blogger just as I enjoy watching a band or solo artist who is enjoying themselves. I’m well aware of the time and effort involved in producing CWDG but you, Eric, truly seem to be having fun and that makes the whole thing just that much better.

    1. Thank you so much!

      Oh not offended at all. I’m also shocked that it’s gotten this big. When I first started, the posts were 400ish words. Now they average around 1200. I gab (though I think 1200ish is my limit).

      Fun? Oh my yes. The three hours after I come home from work to research and write are usually the highlight of my day. It is a LOT like performing live. When you’re getting ready for a show, sometimes you get gittery or sometimes you just plain don’t want to go on. But as soon as you’re up on stage (or in my case, in a basement crammed with 100 or so hardcore punk kids), there’s no place you’d rather be.

    1. Ack! I’m caught! While I was never goth, I do have a healthy collection of the Cure and Smiths records. That’s probably as gothy as I get, though.

  3. All I can tell you is that I enjoy your posts…I assume you are following the “Disunion” series on the New York Times…it is insightfull as well.


  4. I read this ever day. To me, seeing the sources quoted is my favorite feature. I also like the use of maps–the more the better. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks! I try to use as many maps as I can, and if I miss a day, usually an area map can be easily found in the past several days of the blog. Of course, while I try to be as accurate as possible, I’m not always as accurate as I’d like to be.

  5. Greetings Eric! 🙂

    Thank you for your dedication during the past year and I look forward to you entries during the next four.

    What first got my attention was that you referred to the War as “The War Between the States”, which is how I refer to it. I enjoy your blog because you are covering all areas of the war. I grew up in Missouri and therefore like the fact that you give information concerning that state.

    To me the blog enteries are a decent length for a daily posting. I have seen no bias to either North or South; only factual information. Using secondary rescoures are fine as they add to the primary information. The use of photos and graphics are good as they enhance the text and give further information. I am wondering if you could identify the photos and graphics though. Sometimes it is obvious, from the text, but not always. It is my belief that footnotes should be used for citing resources and personal comments should be interjected into the respective text. As many footnotes should be used as are required to cite the various sources.

    Overall I prefer your blog and enjoy it very much. THANK YOU!


    1. Thank you so much for the kind words and the constructive criticism. As for the photos, starting soon(ish), captions will accompany every photo (basically). As for footnotes containing personal comments, I’m split on the idea. While I usually only use them for citing references, it sometimes breaks up my study/work time if I interject a bit of glib here and there. Traditional? Nope, but sometimes I just have to get all crazy like. 🙂

      As for referring to the Civil War as the War Between the States, I’m not sure where I stand on that. True, the states *did* fight a war, but they fought it under the umbrellas of two nations (or technically one nation and one attempt at a nation). At the time of the war, neither nation really respected so-called “states rights,” so I’m not sure if “War Between the States,” is accurate. In fact, I don’t believe it was called that during the war itself. Then, it was called a “Civil War,” even by Jefferson Davis.

      “War Between the States,” is, of course, a far cry better than “War of Norther Aggression.” The Official Records officially refer to it as “The War of the Rebellion.” But whatever you call it, I’m glad you’re reading and commenting with ideas. Thank you!


      1. Well you are most certainally entitled to “…get all crazy like.” 🙂

        Now I am going to go read today’s post.

  6. I’ve always like “The Late Unpleasantness.” Back in the day, the guy who started Civil War Times–well, it used to be called Civil War Times Illustrated. Or CWTI–which his wife kept calling “cutie.” He’d roll his eyes at that, and told us he wanted to call it “The Late Unpleasantness Illustrated.” Bill Davis maybe??

    1. “The Late Unpleasantness” is great. It smacks of rich Southerners robbed of their fortunes (by a trifling little thing called freedom) and trying to act all dignified about it. Cute! 🙂

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