Civil War blogger Robert Moore’s online moniker is “Cenantua,” which is believed by many to be the source of the word “Shenandoah” and the name of the tribe that inhabited the Shenandoah Valley before European settlers arrived.
Ironically, while Moore uses the name as a “modest tribute” to those whose mysterious origins are lost in the prewritten history of America, one of the blog’s primary purposes is exploring the “potential of hypertext in the presentation of digital history.” In fact, Moore’s master’s thesis is titled “Blogging as Historians: Using New Practices on the Web to Sustain Authority and Counter the Distortion and Dilution of Historical Knowledge.”
Cenantua’s Blog goes a long way toward that end with compelling and informative posts that range from the speculative and futuristic, such as “Augmented reality and experiential history,” to the provocative and probing “Southerners honoring Southern heritage.” Moore counters a distorted notion: “The view of the Civil War in terms of ‘Southern perspective’ suggests something singular, even an implied ‘unity’ as a people in support of ‘Cause.’ It is reflected in the way that some people represent ‘Southern perspective’ as ‘Confederate perspective.’ Plurality is missing, and therefore the singular representation misleads.”
The blog’s second purpose is to explore Civil War “memory” and to serve as a sounding board for others’ reflections on the war, as well as his own: “I’m a Southerner. I was born in Virginia…and can claim Virginia lines that go back as far as Jamestown. When it comes to the Civil War…I have eight direct Confederate ancestors…who wore gray as well as Southern Unionists…I have a greater appreciation for the land and the people who lived on it, knowing the varied sacrifices made by a vareity of people during the war.”
Moore may be the hardest-blogging blogger in the Civil War blogosphere. Aside from Cenantua, he hosts half a dozen microblogs, which include Southern Unionists Chronicles and Page County Confederates. The scholarly and personal depth of Cenantua’s riverine array of posts make for ambitious digital history and a must-read hypertext for all Civil War buffs, students and historians.
Originally published in the July 2009 issue of America’s Civil War. To subscribe, click here.