Site Redesign Complete

20 February 2018

Antietam on the Web was a bit overdue for an overhaul: some of the PHP code had been deprecated (gone obsolete), much of the HTML was clumsy and likewise obsolete, and the site navigation didn’t make it easy to find the information on the site. Most of the navigation dated from 2005, and even the newest PHP and HTML code was last updated in 2010.

So I re-wrote and re-organized the whole thing.

The content is now gathered into big clusters for people (soldiers & units), places (maps), events (narrative),  and features (special projects).  I hope you’ll find it easier and more intuitive to use. It’ll certainly run more efficiently and be easier for me to maintain.

Here’s a quick visual comparison, new vs. previous home page design.

I’d love to hear how it works for you.

I have been busy with the business of life, but not entirely ignorant of the world outside! I certainly noticed the October 2010 announcement of the incredible generosity of the Liljenquist family who donated their collection of more than 700 Civil War ambrotypes and tintypes to the Library of Congress. The Library is creating a physical exhibit for them opening in April 2011 as part of the Sesquicentennial observations.

In the meantime, they’ve scanned and posted the collection online on their own pages and through a Flickr photostream.  I’ve explored this treasure a little, and found some intriguing images with connections to our favorite battlefield.

[Unidentified woman wearing mourning brooch and displaying framed image of unidentifed soldier] (LOC)
Woman wearing mourning brooch and displaying framed image of soldier (1861 – 1865, Library of Congress via Flickr)

I’m sorry that so few of the subjects of these pictures are identified.  Only a couple of dozen are named, another dozen or so are identified by military unit from clues on their uniforms or in the photo background.  The remaining hundreds are unidentified.

I am moved all the more, however, by the anonymity of this woman in her grief. I presume from the context that the soldier in her lap has recently been killed. Her husband? It reminds me again of the deadly way the War ripped through families and brings perspective to battle maps, memorials and markers …

Tom Clemens makes his debut in the blogosphere today on The Maryland Campaign of 1862. That’s also the title of his two-volume series coming soon from Savas-Beatie: a carefully annotated edition of General Ezra Carman’s life’s work.

Tom's book, cover

Volume 1: South Mountain arrives mid-May 2010.

Among other things, Tom promises to use the site to get some of the hundreds of letters from battle veterans to Carman and the Antietam Battlefield Board online. Those eyewitness accounts formed much of the factual basis for Carman’s iconic narrative of the battle.

Tom’s new website/blog uses WordPress software, with a custom visual design built on the Thematic framework. I can recommend this software combination to anyone who wants to get online quickly, while still serving clean, fast-running and compliant code, with simple maintenance and vast flexibility in visual appearance.

In short, the tool doesn’t get in the way of the content.

WordPress makes it easy for Tom – who is not a web guy by profession – to maintain both the content and the look & feel of his online home down the road.

Good blogging and welcome, Tom!