Friday, January 25, 2013

The Year Ahead, Plus Some Odds and Ends

As the new year gets underway, I find myself thinking about the direction of the blog in 2013.  Things have been off to a pretty slow start due to a hectic personal and professional schedule over the last few weeks as well as a cold and stomach bug.  I also was busy preparing for a recent Civil War lecture to the McLean Historical Society.  That being said, I am planning on an active year for the blog.  Here are just a few of the topics I'd like to cover:

*As I did last year, I plan to look at the lives of civilians impacted by the war in Northern Virginia.  I have a literal backlog of items to cover on this topic.

*I also want to continue discussing the units that manned the defenses of Washington, particularly in Northern Virginia, so look for more posts in what I call the "Defenders of Washington" series.  I've started research on some of the regiments, but many more remain.

*It probably goes without saying that I will examine events that happened around Northern Virginia in 1863, the corresponding year of the Sesquicentennial.  Of particular interest is my recent discovery of contraband camps that sprung up in Langley in late spring 1863.  John S. Mosby really got going around here in 1863, so I may look at his activities from time to time.

*I have a lot of additional topics to cover concerning the early war in my neck of the woods, so bear with me as I periodically go back to 1861 and 1862.  In fact, next week's post will talk about a famous participant in the Battle of Lewinsville.

*As usual, I plan to visit and report on Civil War sites both near and far.  Here in Fairfax, for example, I just learned of a new property near Alexandria that is worth checking out.  I also hope to make trips to Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.  I'd like to visit before the big Sesqui crowds hit the scene.  (I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I haven't been to Gettysburg in many years, so I am looking forward to that pilgrimage!)  I will be sure to offer my readers thoughts on touring the famed battlefields.

*I will continue writing about my antique newspaper and book acquisitions. I have my eye on a few first editions and am saving up the cash.  I hope that this year will bring a lot of welcome additions to my library.

*I've also been toying with the idea of writing a law review article on slavery and emancipation.  If I do so, then I will report on the direction of my research.

This list is by no means exhaustive.  And I also realize that some of these topics will take a bit of intensive research.  In those instances, I may need to sacrifice the quantity of posts for the quality, so forgive me if I am not as prolific as I could be! 

Some Odds and Ends

*My lecture to the McLean Historical Society on the Civil War encampments in McLean was video recorded and can be viewed here.

Captiol, 1863, showing work on the statue of Freedom atop the dome (courtesy of USA Today)
*The recent Inauguration of President Obama was replete with Civil War references and symbolism.  John Rudy and Kevin Levin have both done an excellent job of pointing out some of the connections to our Civil War past.  (See here and here.)  Like John, I was particularly struck by Senator Charles Schumer's opening remarks, which touched on the significance behind the completion of the Capitol dome in 1863.  I'd urge you to read the full speech here.  As I watched the Inauguration, I couldn't help but think of the armed struggle for freedom that helped pave the way for where we are today.  A little over 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Americans saw an African-American sworn in as President for a second term.  Very few moments in contemporary life can bring the meaning of the Civil War alive as much as the Inauguration did for me on Monday. 


SteveG said...

It looks like a busy year ahead for you and an interesting one for us. I am looking forward to it.

Ron Baumgarten said...

Thanks, Steve! It will be a challenge, but I am looking forward to exploring these various topics.

Anonymous said...

Ron, FWIW--a law review article on emancipation could be really interesting and help illuminate some of the issues highlighted in the movie Lincoln about the President's concerns about the legality of the Emancipation Proclamation. Ken.

Ron Baumgarten said...

Ken--Yes, I think there could be some interesting angles to explore as to why the 13th Amendment was a critical piece of the whole emancipation saga and just as significant as all the other elements. Of course, the challenge will be finding something that someone hasn't written yet. Law reviews usually want a unique take on an issue.