Some Generals (Buford, Huger, Imboden, EK Smith, Zook)

Update April 2012:  He’s back.  Thank goodness!  Now subtitled Civil War Generals in Black and White, but with very similar layout and still at the address generalsandbrevets.com.  Thank you,  Mikel.

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Original post of 30 Jan 2010, “Generalsandbrevets Gone”:  As I’m sure you know by now, the excellent web gallery Generals of the American Civil War is offline. The site was a comprehensive online collection of photographs of very nearly every Confederate and Union General (about 1,000 individuals) – plus most of the 1,400 Federal officers who were made General by brevet. It had operated since 2001 as generalsandbrevets.com, and I remember it being up under another url for at least a couple of years before that.

When I first noticed the loss back in March 2009, I asked site owner and collector Mikel Uriguen about it by email. He could only tell me that he could no longer keep it going. I asked if I could help in any way. I also offered to host and maintain the site on his behalf, but have no further reply.

On the original site he wrote:

I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Mikel Uriguen and I live in Bilbao, a city in the Spanish Basque-Country. I’m a long-time enthusiast of the American Civil War. On this site I’ve tried to collect pictures of every general officer of the War. It’s usually interesting to put a face with a name.

In another section of this site you’ll also find the pictures of those officers appointed to brigadier or major general by brevet.

I realize that this type of site might be a little dull to some visitors. But we have to remember the real value of data-base sites: they assemble related material (in this case pictures) in an organized way and offer it to those who are interested.

He’s absolutely right about the tremendous value of his online collection. For that reason, I’m having trouble simply accepting that it’s gone. I think it’s too useful to too many people to let it go extinct.

As an experiment in PHP programming I’ve prototyped a database-backed site that might reprise the concept of generalsandbrevets. I have excess capacity on my own server and I could make some time over the coming months to re-gather and index the photos and push them into the database. It wouldn’t be difficult with a good picture “scraping” script – or help from online friends. Given that all the pictures he so carefully collected and posted are in the public domain, there’s no legal reason I couldn’t build another website home for these Generals’ faces.

The problem, of course, is that it was Mikel’s site – and his image collection – and he’s chosen (or been forced) to take it down. The reasons are none of my business, and his privacy is key. I feel I’ve already intruded enough and don’t want to badger him again.

So. What to do, what to do. Swoop in like some kind of vulture? Just let it drop?

Either of my readers have a thought?

13 Responses to “Generalsandbrevets is back”

  1. Harry says:

    Swoop. By all means, swoop like a mother.

  2. AJ says:

    I second Harry. It’s criminal to see work that’s obviously taken a lot of time and energy disappear like that. If it’s all in PD, then there’s no legal reason not to. It might be prudent to send him an e-mail letting him know what you plan to do, not necessarily expecting a response.

  3. Larry Freiheit says:

    Brian,

    I visited that site a few times but did not copy any pictures as I was unsure re copyright. If the photos are in the PD, and you can replicate that site, please do and let me know how I could help.

    Getting photos like that and others especially relating to the Maryland Campaign (including maps) on your site or a linked site such as those from the LOC, Harpers Ferry, etc., would be very valuable for many researchers.

    Larry

  4. Tom Clemens says:

    Go for it if you can Brian. It is quite useful.

  5. Bill Thayer says:

    Another vote for SWOOP and notify. Maybe he’s turning the free website into a paying book, which would account for no reply to a very kind (and rational) offer: I’ve seen several people do that. Still, if public domain, a valuable resource should not be allowed to perish.

  6. Eric Wittenberg says:

    Brian,

    Rock and roll. You will be doing all of us a gigundous favor if you do.

    Eric

  7. Brett Schulte says:

    Brian,

    Go for it! I was sad to see that site go since I had planned to use quite a few of the pictures at my Petersburg Campaign site. Generals and Brevets was an invaluable online resource.

  8. Bernard Fisher says:

    I agree the “Generals and Brevets” collection is too valuable to lose. You can still find the contents at the “Internet Archive” website at:

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://generalsandbrevets.com

    It is a great site for retrieving lost content…

  9. Brian says:

    OK. I guess I know what I should do next. Thanks, friends.

  10. David Woodbury says:

    Just dedicate the site to Mikel up top, or announce that that is where you got the inspiration, then you will have satisfied whatever code of internet courtesy exists. It seems likely, however, that he must have availed himself of copyrighted images at some point. Hard to say.

    David

  11. David Woodbury says:

    By the way, it looks like the site was captured by the LoC Single Sites Web Archive: http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/lcwa/mrva0013.0015/default.html

    Reconstituted as of a particular date here:
    http://webarchives.loc.gov/collections/lcwa0013/20060628191555/http://www.generalsandbrevets.com/

  12. Lyle says:

    Put the photos up at all costs. Don’t have the “slows” like McClellan, attack like Jackson!

  13. Dave Finney says:

    Brian, This was such a valuable site and contained images I’d never seen. I’m attempting to obtain a copy of the image of the three Hartsuff brothers (all from Livingston county, Michigan) that was on Mikel’s site.

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