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The Official Records, Volume XLII, Part I (Petersburg Campaign August 1-December 31, 1864) is Now Complete at Beyond the Crater

I am happy to announce that after posting the reports from the Official Records, Volume XLII, Part I, one at a time since July 2010, the entire set of 375 reports pertaining to the Siege of Petersburg from August 1 – December 31, 1864 have been posted.  There will be a break of several days until October 1, 2011, when the first report from Volume XLVI, Part I will be posted.  Volume XLVI deals with operations in southeastern Virginia and North Carolina from January 1, 1865 to June 30, 1865, including the Petersburg and Appomattox campaigns.

As I mentioned when I completed Volume XL, Part 1, I could have gone in another direction at that time by moving on to Part II and Part III of Volume XL, which contains correspondence (instead of reports) concerning the Petersburg Campaign from June 13 to July 31, 1864.  Instead, I plan to post the reports for Volume XL, XLII, and XLVI (the last of which covers the Petersburg and Appomattox Campaigns in 1865) first, and then move on to correspondence.  One of the main reasons for this is that I have not yet figured out to my satisfaction how I want to represent correspondence.  The completist in me wants to dedicate one post per letter, but this would mean thousands of posts to cover the 6 books featuring correspondence from the campaign (Volume XL Parts 2 and 3, Volume XLII Parts 2 and 3, and Volume XLVI Parts 2 and 3).  The upside is that it would be very easy for someone to find a specific letter just by searching the site.  A more reasonable way to organize letters would be to dedicate one post per day of the campaign.  This would mean a grand total of at most around 300 posts for each of the 6 correspondence volumes.  This is still a lot of posts, but much less than if I decided to go with one letter per post.

In any event, I now have probably something like 12 months to figure out what I want to do by posting all reports first.  After doing the research needed to write this short update, the enormity of this project is really hitting me.  It will literally take me YEARS to post all of the material from the Official Records related to the Petersburg and Appomattox Campaigns.  As Harry Smeltzer at Bull Runnings has told me more than once, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

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