Today marks the third anniversary of All Not So Quiet Along the Potomac. I am sometimes surprised that I've managed to find the time and discipline to keep this self-published endeavor going. Then again, researching and writing about the Civil War is a labor of love, and I couldn't be happier that the blog provides an opportunity for me to share my passion with those who are also drawn to the study of our nation's most trying ordeal.
Three years have given me plenty of time to refine my style and hit my stride. I average around one post per week. I'd love to do more, but developing posts is time-consuming, and I only have so many hours in the day. Moreover, I am often balancing the blog with other Civil War-related pursuits, including reading, book collecting, and touring battlefields.
I view blogging as my way to make a contribution, however small, to the field of Civil War history. I often write about lesser known aspects of the war in Northern Virginia and DC. People from across the country, and around the world, have read my blog, and I am touched that so many individuals care about what happened in this area during the war. Knowing that people are interested makes blogging that much more rewarding. I also greatly appreciate the interactions that I have with my fellow bloggers, who share the same Civil War obsession with me. Your excellent work serves as an example to follow.
Blogging has also led to opportunities to contribute off-line. A few local historians have reached out to me in search of more information about topics that I have covered on my blog. I even provided research materials in connection with the development of a museum exhibit in Fairfax. People who are researching their ancestors also email me from time to time. I like hearing about their family ties to the region, and I hope that I am able to offer them insights on the Civil War history around here. I've also become active in the McLean Historical Society (MHS) and was invited this past winter to give a lecture on the Union encampments in the present-day McLean area. This talk, my second before the MHS, was the culmination of the extensive research and writing that I've done on the camps since starting the blog. Most recently, I was elected to the MHS's board of directors and look forward to helping the organization in the year ahead.
Blogging also gives me a voice to advocate on behalf of the worthy cause of historic preservation. Readers know that I've taken a keen interest in the future of Salona. This historic property in McLean once served as a campground for the famed Vermont Brigade, and Gen. Baldy Smith used the main house as his headquarters. I've argued that the land should be developed in a manner that best comports with the historic preservation component of a conservation easement purchased by Fairfax County. My on-line advocacy led to an interview with the Fairfax Times, and I was subsequently quoted in an article on the controversy that appeared in the Fairfax Section of the Washington Post. On other fronts, I was invited to be a Blogger Ambassador for the Partners in Preservation program, in which 24 historic sites in the DC metro area competed for grants from American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. I used my blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter, to campaign for Colvin Run Mill, which came in fourth place and won a $75,000 preservation grant.
Overall, it's been a great three years, and the last twelve months have been particularly fruitful. More than anything else, I'd like to thank my readers. Your engagement and interest means a lot, and you make this thing they call blogging that much more satisfying and rewarding! I look forward to sharing many more posts with you in the months and years to come.