about this blog

BRD avatar Hello! I’m Brian Downey and this is a webmaster’s side project, taking you behind the scenes of my history website “Antietam on the Web” (AotW). I write about Digital History, the War, the battlefield, and related events on the internets. I most enjoy learning and writing about the people who were at Sharpsburg in September 1862, so they are often the focus.

The bulk of posts here were written between 2006 and 2012. You can expect a new post only occasionally, but a real-time stream of links from AotW to keep you current on the updates there. You might also check in with AotW on Facebook for quick updates.

This is meant to be a two-way conversation, so I very much want to hear from you. Please comment on anything that strikes your fancy – things posted here or seen on the main AotW site.

If you’d like to email me privately, please use the handy AotW contact form.

By way of further explanation as to why this site is here, here’s my inaugural post

Just what we need… another blog.

I started this one, a companion to Antietam on the Web, to catch some of the spin-off that comes from researching, writing, and coding for that site.

I initially resisted blogging or participating much in other online communities, because I’m jealous of my time and energy. I figured if I had time to post on a blog or a board, I should instead have been writing or reading for the website.

This may still be true, but I find all sorts of good things bubble to the surface as I’m working on AotW – things that don’t get onto the site or necessarily belong there – and there’s nowhere to catch them. So here’s such a place.


The illustration at the top of each blog page, going from pixels to picture–or vice versa– is from a War-era tintype called New York Zouaves. The group below are from a photograph of President Lincoln and General McClellan with some of his officers taken by Alexander Gardner near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in October 1862.

The visual design of behind AotW was originally based on the Simpla theme (c. 2005) by Phu Ly, running WordPress software, but I’ve customized mangled it beyond repair.