When I first created Beyond the Crater: The Petersburg Campaign Online I fully envisioned something along the lines of Harry Smeltzer’s Bull Runnings site. It is a nice blend of primary sources, Harry’s analysis and comments on said sources, and other news and notes on First Bull Run. However, knowing that the Petersburg Campaign is massive in scope, I wanted to make sure I had a solid start on posting primary source material here prior to launching, for lack of a better term, a “blog” portion of Beyond the Crater.
Let this initial “progress report” for my Petersburg Campaign site serve as notice, to both my readers at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog and the few dedicated individuals currently subscribing to Beyond the Crater’s RSS feed, that I will begin to post more than just primary source materials here at Beyond the Crater effective immediately. This new News and Notes section will consist of more blog-type entries like those Harry does at Bull Runnings.
Beyond the Crater was launched in August 2009 with very little fanfare, something I intended. If you look through the About and Resources sections of Beyond the Crater, you’ll very quickly see the grand scope of this project. Filling this site will literally take years, but this was done by design.
I plan to use Beyond the Crater to:
- Shed some light onto the neglected but fascinating Petersburg Campaign (some might use the misnomer Siege of Petersburg, a topic I’ll get to eventually)
- Provide an organized repository of information on the Petersburg Campaign, including the Official Records, newspaper accounts, diary entries, a chronology of the campaign, battle summaries, leader biographies, and more
- Give users some insight into my own research into the Petersburg Campaign
- Give me a place to “store”, for lack of a better term, my long-term research on the Petersburg Campaign
- Hopefully allow students of the Petersburg Campaign, researchers, and those who had relatives involved a place to go to both learn and share their own information
Before this post gets too long, let’s go over the progress made here at Beyond the Crater: The Petersburg Campaign Online since the site launched in August 2009:
- Nearly daily Today in the Petersburg Campaign posts have been posted 145 years to the day since events took place. These posts are ongoing and will continue until the fall of Richmond and Petersburg in early April 1865.
- Numbered reports from the Official Records, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), which covers the Petersburg Campaign from June 13-July 31, 1864, have been posted one per day. These posts will continue one per day for the foreseeable future until all of the information contained in Volumes XL, XLII (Petersburg from August 1-December 31, 1864), and XLVI (Petersburg from January 1, 1865 to the end of the campaign) of the Official Records are posted. Each volume contains three books, or “parts”, for a total of nine books which will be digitized here. This effort will literally take several years to complete, and at some times the release schedule may be released to more than one report per day.
- The Order of Battle for Grant’s First Offensive (of nine) has been started but no significant effort has been expended yet in this direction. This area will require a great deal of work but my goal is to provide detailed regimental level orders of battle for the whole campaign.
- The Maps area today contains all of the currently available Petersburg maps in the public domain. I was also able to get permission to display copyrighted maps from several other sources. I hope to increase the number of maps by gaining copyright permission from other sources as well.
- Subscribers to BTC’s RSS feed might also have noticed a Newspapers section which launched in the last week or so. I was able to secure rights from NewsInHistory.com to transcribe newspaper articles which describe portions of the Petersburg Campaign. I have started in mid-June 1864 and will continue to post newspaper articles through the end of the campaign in April 1865.
- Last but not least, as I described early in this post, I’ve introduced a News and Notes section which will serve as a kind of blog area featuring my research into the Petersburg Campaign along with any items of interest to those studying the Petersburg Campaign. Recent posts include news from Pamplin Park on the spring 2010 schedule, information on a late June 2010 seminar focusing on the Petersburg Campaign, and this progress report. Future topics will include book reviews of books focusing on the Petersburg Campaign, interviews of people who share an interest in the campaign, and much more.
If you enjoy battle blogs, please spread the word and let others know about Beyond the Crater: The Petersburg Campaign Online! Future progress reports will follow when sufficient progress has been made to warrant them necessary.
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