“Wow!” That is the first thing that comes to mind when looking at the date on the calendar: August 25th. It was a year ago today that Greg Caggiano and myself started the blog together. We were writing on the miniseries on our separate blogs together, and Greg came up with the idea to just marshal our creative talents together and devote it to a blog concerned with the series. Of course, we both agreed that the blog should not come to be unless the series’ writer and executive producer, Michael Frost Beckner, gave us his blessing. Even though we were not going to be officially connected with the series, we still wanted to be sure he was okay with it. When Mr. Beckner gave his consent, I e-mailed Greg. Before I knew it, the blog was up and running. With that, our venture into the world of To Appomattox/Grant vs. Lee began!
Greg eventually had to move on to other things. But he did send in this piece for the article:
It’s hard to believe that it has already been one year since Steven Hancock and I started the unofficial fan blog for the To Appomattox mini-series. Just a year ago today, the two of us had hopes of pooling our resources (I was blogging about it on my site, while Steve was doing it on his Civil War Diary) to create a blog where coverage could be contained to one place. We soon approached the “father” of the project, screenwriter and executive producer Michael Frost Beckner, and told him of our idea, and he gave us his full blessings. It was truly a wonderful experience, in getting to talk to so many great people, including interviewing Beckner himself (in addition to having him contribute a ghost story for my blog’s October “Haunted History” series), as well as historians/advisers J. David Petruzzi and Cary Eberly, and the actor playing Gen. Charles F. Smith, the always-wonderful and passionate Patrick Gorman.
I was pretty upset when I announced I would be leaving the site, because I had so much on my plate, including balancing school and work along with official coverage of another Civil War film, now titled Copperhead: The War at Home. Still, it is nice to look back on this past year to see how much both the series and blog have evolved. The project, it appears, is getting much closer to production, something we have all been waiting for. Perhaps, most importantly, the process which has undergone to get this mini-series from page-to-screen, should serve as a lesson to all students of film, because it shows just how much work and how long it takes for something of this magnitude to get done. We must all tip our hats to the perseverance of Mr. Beckner and all those working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure this stays very much alive.
For me, the experience Greg gave above is reciprocated. I have had the chance to do some great things I had not had the chance to do. Mainly, I have had the opportunity to interview some of the historical advisers that have given their time and effort to the project. I first did an interview with Gordon C. Rhea, who is one of the chief authorities of the Overland Campaign. Abraham Lincoln is one of the historical figures who features prominently in the series, and it was a great honor to interview Dr. Ronald C. White, Jr., one of the foremost Lincoln scholars in the country. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview John Michael Priest, one of the leading experts on the 1862 Maryland Campaign and the battle of Antietam. Having the chance to correspond with these historians was a real honor, and gave me a chance to ask some serious questions about the events to be depicted in the series.
It’s also been exciting to write different kinds of articles. Under our Opinion Section, we’ve gotten to write about various types of subjects, such as what actors we’d like to see portraying specific figures in the series. We’ve also written about the casting choices that have been made, and why certain actors were perfect for the roles. I’ve also had a chance to write at length about the miniseries format, and why it is ripe for rediscovery, thanks in part to the success of the History Channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys (Which stars Bill Paxton, who shall portray Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in the series). We’ve also tackled a series of opinion articles called “What We Want to See,” where we’ve looked at what we would like to see in terms of the battle sequences, characterization and storytelling elements of the show. And we’ve also discussed the importance this series has in terms of educating people, both young and old, about the American Civil War, and why it is important to understand the events of this time.
Grant vs. Lee will be a historical miniseries, and we’ve had a chance to discuss the people and events in our series of Historical Articles. Here’ we have looked at the many historical figures who shall play an important role in the series, such as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and many others who fought for the Blue and the Gray. We’ve also looked at some of the important battles of the war that will be depicted in the series, including the Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, and the Battle of the Crater. And we’ve also explored how the war affects the human being, and how it can impact a life for the rest of their days.
But probably the most important part of the blog’s existence is presenting any News Updates about the series. Whether discussing the latest casting news, or any other announcements that come from the production team, this blog has been the go-to place to get the latest updates regarding the series. And we’ve been very busy with this section recently, especially in the recent involvement in the presentation video prepared to show network executives at the upcoming meeting, where fans of the series were encouraged to take part and lend their voice to support the program.
Overall, we have enjoyed presenting these articles to you for your knowledge and enjoyment. Greg and I both appreciate the support, and we have had great success with the blog. In the year since we started, we have had over 31,000 views on this site. And this is all before production has really gotten going on the series! Your enthusiasm for the project has shown through the success of the blog, and we both thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
So, here is to one year come to pass! And with production on the series set to commence very soon, you can rest assure that we will be getting doubly busy here in the weeks to come! In the year ahead, we shall continue to cover news, history, and many other things connected to Grant vs. Lee. And you can still count on us to keep you all in the loop when big things happen in regards to the series!
Thanks again for your support! God bless you all!