- Historic Sites
Creating The Ultimate Civil War Resource
Richard Dobbins has made it his mission to gather every single record of every single soldier into one huge, organized, searchable Internet database.
July/August 2001 | Volume 52, Issue 5
It’s all tedious work, and it can get especially maddening for Dobbins when he’s trying to make out frilly handwriting preserved on aging microfiche. Still, he grinds on. For him, the job is something of a higher calling, a public works project of the Digital Age. He finds pride and solace in the idea that absolutely any Civil War soldier, and at least the rudiments of that soldier’s story, can be extracted from these mountains of paper records. And he’s not oblivious to the irony in his mission. Computers, which so often can seem dehumanizing, are in this case just the opposite. “From the richness of the data,” he says, “you learn what really happened to these people.”