Lots of interesting threads embedded in that first post, many of which I've thought a bit about.
In this inaugural post for the H-CivWar Author's Blog, Daniel Farrell, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Cincinnati, introduces his dissertation project, emphasizing how early-stage research projects can quickly take on new directions.
Typically, you get to see the summary statisitics in a book (averages, some tables, maybe a few graphs), while all the hard work that goes into compiling the individual data points seems to disappear into the ether.
Fascinating study. I'm assuming you use a database or spreadsheet for your information? Access, Excel? With more than 3 dozen fields, it sounds difficult to manage- for a dabbler like me.
I have two databases of Civil War people with about 300 Connecticut men (and a few women) each- one for East Windsor and one for South Windsor with about half of the same fields you have (plus info about their burials).
Do you link your info to other databases or files to limit the amount of detail in a main data set?
Determining what someone thought and felt is difficult, especially since letters or speeches do not provide unmediated access to somebody’s mind, so I’m totally with you there. And your question about “trauma” is an important one because I don’t think there’s a universally accepted definition among scholars of the Civil War.
Great questions. I have been scratching my head over the chronological versus thematic question. Thus far, I think the solution is to provide a narrative of the regiment in the first chapter and then proceed thematically with the other chapters—but pick up themes in chronological order insofar as that’s possible.