Civil War author Mark Grimsley has started a military history blog.

I have long admired his Hard Hand of War and his judicious temperament. Look for example at the sentiments in this piece:

... North and South magazine has asked me to assess Robert E. Lee's generalship during his first campaign against Ulysses S. Grant the spring of 1864. [...] This isn't exactly a challenging assignment, yet I have found it difficult to write. I keep wondering what purpose it serves.

[You can't hear this, but the large staff of Civil War Bookshelf is applauding.]

Very often these assessments amount to little more than second-guessing, which seems not only intellectually sterile but also disagreeable.

[Shouts of Bravo.]

... withering criticisms are essentially ahistorical ...

[The crowd is on its feet now.]

I have tried to evaluate the principal leaders of this campaign as sympathetically as possible, always bearing in mind that they were intelligent men who operated under conditions and pressures I have not had to meet myself. True, to write is to judge, and ultimately I have made judgments that are sometimes harsh, but I have encountered few historical actors . . . for whom I could not muster at least some respect...

[Whistling and shouts of MORE! But wait ... the team is in trouble.]

But one referee for the press scored me pretty heavily for leaving out the distribution of praise and blame. On balance, I decided he was correct. Assessments of generalship are so much part of the campaign narrative tradition that readers expect it. So I rewrote the conclusion. It wasn't hard and, as far as it goes, reviewers seem to appreciate that part of the book.


Still, I was never entirely comfortable with it, partly because I'm still not clear about what purpose it serves to critique generals who have lain in their graves a century or more.

[A polite smattering of applause.]

It's a good blog, much more diary-like than this effort, as you can see, and I recommend it highly.