New Years Eve gives us a chance to look back over the past twelve months and evaluate how we spent our time. 1862 was a rather horrific year. With Fort Donalson, Shiloh, the Peninsula, Seven Days, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Stones River, the war had turned from a fairly naive affair to a brutality seldom witnessed in human history.
Covering that year 150 years later in the Civil War Daily Gazette blog, was a humbling learning experience. My naivety when starting this project was completely washed away. As the war turned more serious, so did I. So much so that I actually had to change the way that I wrote the daily posts as they were taking upwards of three to four hours to complete. Now, at the end of 2012, I’ve become more streamlined, efficient and, hopefully, accurate and interesting.
Statistically speaking, 2012 was quite a bit better than 2011 (which was, in itself, pretty great).
We had a total of 230,000 hits with well over 57,500 unique visitors. Last year, we had around 134,000 hits from 32,000 visitors.
Of the visitors, 57% return to check out the CWDG again. Many of those check in more than twice a week.
Last year, we averaged 357 hits per day. This year it jumped to 571 per day. 91.5% of those hits come from the US. That’s not incredibly surprising since this is a US history blog. What is kind of surprising to me is that most of the hits come from California. Texas, New York, Virginia, Illinois and Pennsylvania also contribute highly. But Wyoming, dear sweet Wyoming, comes in dead last. Such a shame as it’s one of my favorite states. But since only about four people live there, it’s understandable.
Our busiest day of the year was September 18th (the day after Antietam) with 1,404 hits. The most popular post was “Antietam – The Most Terrible Battle of the Age.”
That also makes sense. Though there was much more to the war than the battles, it’s the battles that are “celebrated,” with reenactments, tours, and day trips. It’s hard to focus on days when “nothing” happens. But over the course of writing this, I’ve come to find those “nothing” days far more interesting than a bunch of guys killing each other in some field that’s now a parking lot in Virginia.
This year, I’ve written over 392,000 words (for a comparison, War & Peace has 460,000). Last year, I wrote 293,000 (so that’s over 700,000 published words all total, with another 120,000 yet to be published).
In addition to the visits, many of you donated both money and books, and a bunch of you bought the no-longer-needed books during the book sale (some are still available – check out the Facebook photos page). Thank you. Thank you so very much! Without all the support, it would have been much more difficult to keep going.
Almost as important as the readers is the new host! 2012 was a year of technical difficulties thanks to our old web host. We were even down for three days. Now, the blog is more reliable and faster!
So as this year winds down and I pick up my wine flute filled with sparkling apple cider and watch the Seattle Space Needle ablaze with fireworks, I thank each and every one of you for reading, following and supporting my wacky little endeavor to write something about the Civil War each day. Hopefully 2013 will be even better!