Rules for Comments

I like to consider this blog as a virtual extension of my home.  As commenters, you are invited into my virtual home.  Just as anyone would have expectations of their guests, there are some expectations for guests in this virtual home.

1.  Please don’t insult other commenters.  Everyone should feel welcome.  If another is acting badly, it’s my responsibility to deal with them.  I wouldn’t insult another guest in your home and I hope you feel the same.  As I also wouldn’t insult you in your home, I appreciate it if you kindly refrain from insulting me here as well.

2.  Please don’t insult my friends.  I wouldn’t insult your friends in your home, either.

3.  Please refrain from modern politics, unless it is germane to the post upon which you’re commenting.  Value-laden comments about specific modern politicians or political parties/groups should remain unwritten.  Comments about religion and politics are sure ways to offend others and start arguments.  Such would distract from the historical discussion.

4.  Please do not use profanity.  I would like this site to remain family friendly.

5.  Disagreement is fine and encouraged.  I do request more than just a counterclaim, though.  Sources are appreciated.

6.  Please advance the conversation.  The two of us repeating ourselves ad nauseam is not a discussion.  Each post should add to the conversation.  So I would expect new information, new sources for support, or a new interpretation.  Likewise, I don’t want to repeat myself.  If I’ve already addressed something I don’t want to have to address it again unless from a new aspect or considering new evidence.

7.  Trolls are not welcome and will be banned without hesitation once it becomes obvious to me they are trolls.

8.  I don’t engage in blog wars.  If anyone would like to know my views on a specific issue, they can ask me about it here.  I’m not going to answer anyone else’s blog posts directed to me.

9.  Evidence trumps opinion.  If you want to convince me, provide credible evidence.

10.  I reserve the right to edit comments.  I won’t allow profanity or insults.  My goal is to ensure that people visiting this site are not subjected to crude language or a flame war among commenters.  I hope you won’t feel insulted by this, because no insult to you is intended by this, but editing your comment allows us to have the conversation without the objectionable material.


  1. Al as a bluebelly do you really feel safe? I do know a good psychiatrist in Knoxville,TN. Your 10 rules are quite silly. I don’t know how I ran across this untrue crap, but I’ll make sure not to come back unless maybe someone has enough money to debate me? Or better yet maybe we could have a duel?

    1. I feel very safe from the cowardly keyboard warriors. I don’t doubt you know a good psychiatrist in Knoxville. I suggest you make another appointment soon. I will assume by “duel” you mean an intellectual duel of wits. If not, I’m sure the Tennessee State Police would be interested in threats of violence. If so, I don’t duel with unarmed men. As you’ve now identified yourself as merely a troll who is unable to participate in an adult, intellectual discussion, this will be your last communication to this blog. Have a nice holiday.

  2. I found your blog from your comments on The Daily Show and Judge Andrew Napolitano. I appreciate your posts; thanks for sharing them. I like your Rules for Comments; I can imagine that a topic like The Civil War brings out particularly bad behavior.

    1. Thanks very much for your kind words. It’s true. The Civil War is politics and religion and family all thrown together. It has to be heavily moderated.

  3. A question rather than a reply: I understand counterfactual history is distained by many-so let me engage in it now: not to in any way insult the 20th Alabama but–would not an equal force of the French Foreign Legion or the Coldstream Guards (or from Garabaldi’s One Thousand) have kicked Chamberlain and his forces back to Maine?

    1. We’ll never know.

  4. Pat Eakin · · Reply

    I have been debating the causes of the Civil War for over 12 years. So far my Southern opponents cannot explain the following:
    Tariffs were a major concern, but Georgian Howell Cobb never complained about it when he was the Sec of Treasury for Pres Buchanan.

    Lawrence Keitt insisted that slavery be the reason for South Carolina’s secession.

    The South had a majority on the Supreme Court. So if tariffs were unfair, why didn’t they challenge them in the Court?

    Why no mention of tariffs in the Crittenden Compromise?

    I was thrown off of a pro Confederate cite, and another simply ignores my questions.
    I am Pat Eakin on google+ where I defend history from myths.
    Patrick Eakin

    1. I have an almost completed series on why various states seceded. You can search by state to see each one. I’ve completed all seven of the lower south plus Arkansas so far.

  5. Pat Eakin · · Reply

    Al, I see that you have posted the seceding states’ reasons for secession. My question is, why do so many modern day defenders of the Confederacy choose to ignore those reasons, and prefer instead to make up reasons of their own?

    I know this site has strict rules about not insulting or degrading fellow members, and I will respect that rule. With that in mind, I would like to know if it is reasonable to expect a site that relies on historical research to obey the basic rules concerning the presentation of historical arguments?
    For example, if someone posts that a tariff was the reason for why a state chose to secede, shouldn’t that person have to provide some verifiable evidence to substantiate his/her claim?
    The reason teachers and professors assign term papers is to teach students of history how to prepare a valid argument. I know this site isn’t a school, but wouldn’t it be a much better site if we followed the basic premises of preparing an argument that we learned when we were in school?

    1. Thanks for your comment. I agree proponents of a position should support that position with factual, verifiable evidence. Modern day neoconfederates, in my opinion, have a lack of knowledge of actual history, a lack of logical thought, and/or a lack of intellectual integrity. To me, that is the only explanation. True, I don’t want others to hurl insults. If anyone is going to take hits for insulting others, I’ll take those hits. But I think my opinion is an accurate description. I haven’t seen anything yet to disprove it.

  6. Christopher Luhn · · Reply

    Just FYI: the link for the “Dunning School” is either broken, corrupted, or obsolete. But, this may work until fixed:

    1. Thanks for letting me know. I think I’ve fixed it, provided I correctly identified the post to which you were referring.

  7. Ryan Rosenthal · · Reply

    I too would like to be a student of the civil war and have noticed you on a lot of ranger hikes around a certain national park just above the Mason Dixon line. Do you have any advice on how to really expand my horizons beyond maybe the ordinary. The ranger walks are always informative and the rangers always top notch.

    1. I do go on plenty of ranger walks. The NPS does a fantastic job, and I’m a big proponent of learning from the rangers. There’s no substitute for putting in the time reading good books by outstanding historians. I also think lectures by great historians are another great resource, and part of that includes conferences and symposia such as the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College and others. I’m readying a post on a Civil War course by an acclaimed historian that will be a great resource. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to learn.

  8. Just an interesting note related to the Civil War. Winslow Arkansas Summit Lodge 530 was overrun/entered/robbed during the Civil War and Union soldier(s) took the founding charter of the lodge. Recently a descendant of this Union soldier left instructions in his will to return this Charter. Summit Lodge 530 is now unique with two founding Charters. Freemasonry does not condone slavery and never could though this Union soldier perhaps thought all Southerners must. I am a member of Winslow Arkansas Summit Lodge 530 though I will soon be changing towns.

    1. And yet a number of Freemasons in the South were slave owners. Even George Washington, a Freemason himself, was a slave owner. So perhaps it’s not as all-encompassing as you thought.

      1. Freemasons owned slaves but ALL “involuntary servitude” is contrary to founding principles of Freemasonry. Priests would not be expected to be pedophiles, but many were/are.
        No Freemason has ever been an atheist but all Freemasons are sinners and perhaps especially me.

        1. So perhaps there might have been justification for Union soldiers believing Freemasons in the South to be proslavery?

  9. Not particularly. Freemasonry is extremely rare and has always been one of, if not the most exclusive of honorable fraternal societies existing. This will always remain true but still; pro-slavery idealization would be a fault leading to ceasing to be allowed as an honorable Freemason.

    1. Perhaps today, but apparently not in the Antebellum and Civil War-era South.

  10. Roger Davidson · · Reply

    Keep up the Blogging and teaching. While at Va. Tech., did you get a chance to take Civil War History from Bud Robertson?

    1. Thank you.

      Yes, I did. In fact, you can blame Prof. Robertson for the existence of this blog. Before I took his class I had little interest in the Civil War. It just shows the power of a great teacher.

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