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About Antietam on the Web

notes from the webmaster

The US Military Commission to Crimea

The US Military Commission to Crimea (c. 1855) - Four military officers:
l. to r. Maj. Alfred Mordecai, LCol. Obrescoff1, Maj. Richard Delafield, Capt. George B. McClellan.

A Daguerreotype from the US Library of Congress (click picture to see larger copy)

About AotW :: questions? | copyright | privacy | accessibility | rss | technical | appreciation


An historian should yield himself to his subject, become immersed in the place and period of his choice, standing apart from it now and then for a fresh view.   - Samuel Eliot Morison

Antietam on the Web (AotW) is presented for your enlightenment and enjoyment. It began in November 1996 as a small personal project to help me collect, organize and see the vast amount of information available about the great Civil War battle, but it has grown well beyond that, both as an exercise in history research and as a Web project. AotW is not associated with any public institution, nor is it affiliated with the US Park Service or the Antietam National Battlefield Park. Although the Park may be my favorite spot on the planet.

Our core mission is to collect and disseminate biographical information about as many of the soldiers who were present as we can. The rest of the website is supporting that mission by providing content and background to the stories told by the soldiers' actions and lives.

I'm continually expanding the project: taking advantage of interactive nature of the internet to engage the larger community of interested people and pooling our resources to better present a story. I'd be very glad to hear your ideas.

In January 2004 I did a quality review of the site using standards developed by the Internet Scout Project. Although a lot has changed since then, you might look at the assessment results for more detail about how the site works and why you should trust what you see here.


Questions about the Battle?

I'm happy to try to answer your questions or hear your comments about the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg. If you have a question, though, please do look around the site or consult the site search for help finding the answer first before contacting me.

You may also check our brief FAQ (frequently asked questions) page for help.

And if you'd like to do more research on the battle on your own, I can recommend our bibliography as a place to find authoratative resources.

You might also try the TalkAntietam Discussion group (a web/email list) if you have something specific to ask or discuss concerning the battle - there's lot's of knowledge and expertise represented there.

I'm particularly interested in hearing about people who were present on the Maryland Campaign of 1862. If you have family history, documents, or photographs of such a person, please get in touch. If you are tracing your Civil War-era ancestors, generally, I may be able to help point you to sources and methods of research, but may not have time to do the research for you. Again, give me a shout, and I'll see what I can do.

For more general Civil War questions, go ahead and ask, but I may not be the best source. There are many other fine references on the Web. A basic Google search will get you a ton!


Copyright & Licensing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

My intent is to be as free with this material as possible, but certain rights are reserved. Generally, you may make unrestricted non-commercial use of this material with proper credit. If you want to use it for any commercial purpose, simply contact me to make prior arrangements.

For complete details click on the Creative Commons logo above for the full license and terms of use.

This is a non-commercial web site created and operating specifically for research and educational purposes. My use of excerpts from copyrighted works, with appropriate credit for their creators, is reasonably believed to fall within the provisions of fair use as provided under US copyright law.

I have tried to be careful to credit others' work when I use it, so material not quoted or attributed to another source or individual, or that which is not in the public domain—quoted US Government documents and pre-1923 photographs and publications, for example— is mine/ours. In addition, the Antietam on the Web site as a body is copyrighted material subject to the extremely open Creative Commons license terms.

On the other hand, if you believe I have done something to infringe on your copyright, please notify me immediately, with supporting details, so that I can correct the problem.

For more about how copyrights work in the USA, see the Copyright page at the US Copyright Office.

For details about other creative content on AotW you might also like to see more about the maps and about the photos & illustrations used here.


Your Privacy

This web site uses logs and software programs, including Google Analytics, to create statistics that we use to assess what information is of most or least interest, find server performance issues, find service errors, and monitor the inevitable malicious activity. Our server host and Google collect and store the following information on our behalf:

They will keep these server logs for an undetermined period (maybe forever!), but only the server owner/admin and the AotW webmaster can see this information.

None of the above identifies anyone personally, and I do not and will not share server information with anyone else, unless it results from malicious activity - in which case, I will notify the ISP of the activity.

While you are visiting Antietam on the Web the software also set a cookie on your computer, called PHPSESSID, which keeps session state data for us while you move about the site. It does not contain any personal information about you. It is required by our operating software - you may choose not to allow this cookie, but then the site may not operate correctly. This cookie expires and disappears after you leave AotW.

If you choose to provide me with personal information by other means, in an e-mail message, for example, I will use this information only to respond to your request. I will neither share your e-mail nor any other personal information you give me with anyone without obtaining your permission. I do save most email traffic indefinitely, but it is behind a firewall and reasonably secure.

If you have any concerns, questions, or comments about Privacy issues, please contact me.



To be sure as many people can use the site as possible, I have generally tried to design for accessibility, assisted by information from the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). As of July 2004 the whole site was at a minimum Level A conformance to the WCAG, and much of it was at Triple-A.

If you use assistive technologies or have access issues, I would particularly like to hear from you about how the site works, and your experiences in accessing the Web in general. I want to get this right.


Keep up with AotW

In May 2005 I wrote some code to automatically create an RSS feed for you. With it, you can keep up with the latest additions and updates on the site within your own blog or site, or with an RSS Reader, and jump back to AotW to see the new content. What's RSS and how does it work? See a technical tutorial by Mark Nottingham.

I also mirror AotW updates from RSS to Twitter tweets. You can see those by following AotW.

Finally, I've setup a Facebook page for the site, for further interactivity. I'd be glad to have you participate there, too.


Technical History

AotW was originally built from static HTML pages, handcoded. That became really hard to maintain, really quickly. When we moved to a new server in 2003, we restructured the site architecture. It is now delivered largely by HTML generated by PHP code talking to a mySQL database. The database contains the masses of factual information and text content which you see displayed on the site. AotW is ably hosted by GoDaddy.

There's more about the software tools that make up the website in a behindAotW blog post, if you're curious about that. Here's a fun diagram from that post showing the moving parts:

simple website architecture diagram



Thanks for coming by, enjoy your visit, and please feel free to contact me at any time - I'd like to hear from you.


Brian Downey, webmaster



Over the years a number of well-regarded people and organizations have reviewed, cited, or otherwise favorably noticed AotW. Many of our old internet friends are gone now, but some of the best are keeping on, and new ones are coming up. We'd like to thank a few of them here, and invite you to visit them - they are the best at what they do.

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1   "...The Commission continued to rub elbows with Europe's elite. By imperial invitation they attended a military review on the Champs de Mars. They sat next to Prince V.A. Dalgouroucki, the Russian Minister of War, who greeted them heartily and promptly assigned them a military escort for their stay in Russia, a Lieutenant Colonel Obrescoff, his own aide de camp". It is probably Obrescoff in the photograph. He is 'unidentified' in the Library of Congress documentation of this picture. (Reference thanks to the USAMHI via Dave Tooley, San Diego CWRT)
Moten, Matthew, The Delafield Commission and the American Military Profession, College Station (Tx): Texas A&M University Press, 2000, pg. 128  [AotW citation 454]