Template talk:American Civil War/Archive 2

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Version before major revisions of August 2007

This version was in place from July 2006 to August 2007 with minor variations.

Horizontal version

Here is an alternative version. I think it should be superior for readers who have narrow browsers and it will allow us to expand some of the abbreviated entries if needed. What do you think? Hal Jespersen 02:37, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Tweaked. Unless anyone objects to this version, I'd like to replace the live version with this one. Hal Jespersen 16:17, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

IMHO, the big black square dots are distracting. Look at the bullet I just placed after "Origins." (Alt 8) Isn't this much softer; doesn't this draw more attention to text? Other than the bullet styling, it the box looks good to me. BusterD 17:08, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

I guess that does look better. Updated below. Any others want to comment? Hal Jespersen 17:42, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

I tweaked the font size down a touch; if you think it looks better at 95%, please bump it back, but make sure not to revert, leaving the orphan stick after "Confederate Navy". BusterD 19:45, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

OK. If I hear no objections in the next day or so, I'll pull the switch. In the meantime, I can't recall--did I put Stoneman in the list or did you? I would not rank him in with the other USA guys; I'd put in Pleasonton, Hancock, Custer, Meigs, Sedgwick, Sickles, Sumner, McPherson, or Warren before him. And I'm not thrilled by Anderson, although I guess I see why. Hal Jespersen 21:41, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Stoneman was probably the last Union person I put on the list. It was late, and I thought someone would come up with at least 8 stronger guys on edit, but the name fit. At the moment, I was trying to stick to soldiers who had Army or Department commands, Corps command for Confederates. Hunt and the sailors get in because they're damned important, like Gorgas and Semmes, Stoneman had similar specialty. Room for more now, almost seems a shame not to use more of the space, but I've had my fill of my own opinion for now. I'm currently beefing up the Topics list as previously announced. Finding some neat stuff, and adding a bunch of ACW people tags. Very rough of course, but some neat surprises. At least the "what links here?" tool is serving a useful purpose; I've screened about 2500 links so far. One last: is there a wiki "soft return" to use instead of two hard returns? BusterD 01:15, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

OK, I have no shortage of opinions, so I replaced Stoneman with Meigs. When we introduce this version, do you think we have the stomach to add it into the ACW main page, where it will be RJensened to death and the Confederate flag brigade will rise again?

I don't know what you mean by a "soft return." I maintain a watchlist (User:Hlj/wl) of ACW articles I've found and have only half of 2500, so I wonder if you can publish the list or otherwise provide details. Hal Jespersen 02:06, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

In DTP/WP software, a soft return refers to an line break without new default paragraph styling (otherwise automatically imposed when return is pressed). It's not important anyway. The root list I'm piling through is the "What links here?" link which is on the ACW main page, which yields about 8200 pages (which of course link to the ACW page). Many of these are not important, but I've stumbled onto a few things I liked and didn't know about. At the very least I'm getting people like Buffalo Bill and Mark Hanna correctly tagged as American Civil War people. Is Emily Dickenson an ACWp? My call is No. Was Henry Ward Beecher? Yes, IMHO. Let's tweak a bit further before placing this on the ACW talk page or other obvious red flag location. BusterD 02:58, 12 July 2006 (UTC)


One more thought: Might we craft a usage guidelines before the posting change already setup to defend against trivia insertion contests? Perhaps even rename the menu/template so as to have a blank talk page? Just an idea, I don't know the wiki custom. The current structure is quite capacious still, but if we've already staked out a bill of particulars and rationale, fewer controversies may ignite. BusterD 03:14, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

OK, I've added the usage up front. Also added 3 state articles that we overlooked. Hal Jespersen 15:34, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

can interested editors now go ahead and add this to 'see also' sections of ACW articles? Thanks Hmains 04:42, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Only if they are really interested. :-) Try to avoid any pages that RJensen lurks around. Hal Jespersen 19:45, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

A hopeless situation. Subject owns all US history articles. Thanks Hmains 20:35, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

As a side note, I added a link for the new Pennsylvania in the Civil War article, which is the companion to my Ohio in the Civil War article. Scott Mingus 20:49, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

OK, extending the side note about State involvement - We have a few more states now. Virginia in the Civil War now has a cheap stub (Copied from History of Virginia) and a corresponding category. The list is filling in. CQ 16:21, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to add Grand Army of the Republic to Aftermath.

Does anyone else agree that GAR and Sons of Confederate Veterans belong on that list? BusterD 23:02, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

  • OK with me, using the abbreviations. But what about United Daughters of the Confederacy? Maybe it would be cleaner to create a [[Category:American Civil War memorial organizations]] and link that here instead. Hal Jespersen 23:35, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
That last suggestion is interesting. I'll hold fire until I ponder and research it further. BusterD 00:12, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Based on current US Mil Vets structure, I carved out Category:American Civil War veterans and descendants and put all relevant societies under that sub cat. I suggest it goes under the name American Civil War veterans. BusterD 01:36, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Why did you omit 'organizations' from the name? One might assume that that category can be used for individuals who are veterans or descendants. Hal Jespersen 01:56, 16 July 2006 (UTC)


This version appears more flexible, but where to place it. I hope at the bottom of articles. But what articles? Every article and every bio article that had something to do with the civil war? I really don't know. Thanks Hmains 01:58, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

My intention when I created the first version was that it should go into the See also sections of the more popular ACW articles, the ones that casual readers would likely find. Thus, I would not expect that every obscure battle and biography would include it. Perhaps an algorithm to consider for some time in the future would be to place the menu into every article that is listed in the menu itself. As of now, I have been reluctant to place it into the articles with the highest visibility for fear of conflict with certain people. Hal Jespersen 13:54, 14 July 2006 (UTC)


I just noticed that there is a link to Chickamauga Campaign that has some campaign info beyond the Battle of Chickamauga. ['Just noticed' is odd because I wrote that article. 'Just remembered' :-)] I'll put it into the Menu unless someone objects. Hal Jespersen 16:11, 23 July 2006 (UTC)


Someone has just created a Vermont in the Civil War page. Since this is an obvious addition to the State involvement line, I'll add it in, waiving the desire to have discussions here first. If anyone objects, revert and I'll desist from such. Hal Jespersen 23:55, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Maybe the page has been incorrectly linked, but I don't see any article by that name, nor any link on the Vermont page. BusterD 17:45, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

It was there yesterday. An admin deleted it for a copyvio, but I suspect it will return shortly. Hal Jespersen 18:23, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Hal, add the Vermont article in - it's up and running as of this week. Tom Ledoux based it upon his website. Scott Mingus 16:19, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Morgan's Raid

Any thoughts on adding Morgan's Raiders to the template? Thanks! Stubbleboy 22:49, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Endorse Morgan's Raid on campaign list. Stubbleboy has also pointed out Stone's River really needs a campaign page (instead of a redirect to battle--I can't see how I missed that during initial testing) and is interested in starting such. I encourage and will watch and assist such a page; when it's ready I'll endorse its link addition to this menu. Thank you gentle sir! BusterD 02:45, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Endorse Morgan's. However, I deliberately did not write Stones River Campaign as a separate article because there is very little that happened outside of the one major battle. Separate campaign articles make sense, IMHO, only when there are a lot of battles that need to be summarized. Otherwise, a Background or Campaign section is adequate to discuss the movements prior to the major battle. There are a number of examples of this: Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, etc. Hal Jespersen 17:02, 8 August 2006 (UTC) (on vacation)
Yet Stubbleboy makes a fair case for campaign article inclusion (qv). BusterD 22:26, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
When you go to the battle article, the first major heading describes the campaign. The Hartsville battle is described in there in just the amount of detail that a separate campaign article would use. (I know, because I believe I have written all of the campaign articles.) Although it is possible to copy all of that first section into another article, I don't see the point, particularly since that is another article to monitor and keep in sync. I'd like to limit separate campaign articles to those that contain a significant number of battles. Hal Jespersen 22:21, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Three against none, it's in. BusterD 22:43, 8 August 2006 (UTC) As the primary author of the Morgan's Raid article, I would heartily agree. I would suggest that it be moved into chronological order instead of at the end. Scott Mingus 16:17, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Done. BusterD 22:30, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


Hal, I expanded the listing of prisons slightly to include some of the major ones such as Johnson's Island. Scott Mingus 02:40, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Normally we'd like to see each change discussed here before implementation. I see no objectionable changes, however, so I'll not revert any. BusterD 13:55, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Consider Abolition as a subhead under issues and combatants

I'd like to move issues strictly relating to the Abolition movement to a subcat which shouldn't actually change the size of the box at all. BusterD 14:04, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good! I agree with your concept. Scott Mingus 21:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Good faith addition to template reverted

I just added a new American Civil War subcategory Category:U.S. states in the American Civil War to the template a short while ago, and it was removed because there wasn't discussion here first. OK, so discuss. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 21:41, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I think this category addition makes sense for anyone wanting to look up Civil War information by state, like if they are wanting to look up information for their own state. Makes sense, right? Stevie is the man! TalkWork 21:43, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I would prefer to see the individual state categories appear in the line State involvement for those states that have no <state> in the Civil War overview article. You know, as an interesting aside, I wonder why no Confederate states appear as either articles or categories. Hal Jespersen 21:50, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, that's fair, as I didn't notice "state involvement" before (the template is quite busy). I'll add the state categories if they don't have articles. Regarding your aside, I merely added subcategories that were preexisting under the "American Civil War" category. I didn't search for others (yet). Assume good faith. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 21:54, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
More on why Confederate states don't show up with articles or categories on their involvement -- they don't exist as of yet from what I could tell from a brief survey. This sounds like a good project for somebody who much better knows Civil War history. My main intention with my efforts was to group Kentucky's articles in that regard and properly categorize and place them in the overall scheme of things. Hopefully, contributors from other states will build up their own categories of Civil War history. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 22:18, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Wait for a few more comments before implementing the change, please. Others from the ACW Menu pantheon might disagree with me. Hal Jespersen 21:58, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Didn't catch me fast enough. How about we keep them there and remove them if there are significant objections? Stevie is the man! TalkWork 22:03, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, watch out for BusterD's Terrible Swift Sword to smite you for this. (Just kidding.) I believe that most of the state contributions are by different individuals, so it is not a surprise that some states are missing so far, but I did find it interesting that all of the Confederate states are missing. Hal Jespersen 22:29, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, Stevie for participating in discussion here. As you can see from guidelines established early on, we're concerned about this template being hashed into a much more unwieldly mess, and so defend against non-discussed changes; when I stop reverting so reflexively, that's the day everybody's famous great-uncle gets into the template. BusterD 08:51, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, as the person who created the categories and articles for Ohio in the Civil War (my home state), Pennsylvania in the Civil War (where I live now), and cats for Illinois and New Hampshire (for friends), I know that I have not tackled any Southern states since no one has asked me to do so. Vermont in the Civil War was taken on by a Vermonter with an impressive website and an extensive knowledge of that state's history, and Stevie has begun to categorize Kentucky. There are some nice articles on the Civil War as sections within larger articles (see History of Maryland, but no cats yet. I may do Maryland since it's close to my house and I have spoken there at various CWRT and other events. Need some Southerners to get involved to help out we Yankees! Scott Mingus 11:22, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I am amazed that I added the first border state and the first state to have had a confederate governor (actually, two). :) I'm further amazed that Southerners haven't catalogued their information more intensely, as they seem to be a lot more serious about reenactments (from what I hear--some of them are still fighting the war--heh!). Stevie is the man! TalkWork 13:44, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I certainly understand why guidelines are necessary for a template like this, but I think contributors will necessarily view any guidelines up against being bold; that is, there really is no general expectation in Wikipedia to discuss before making a minor change in good faith. In my case, I know my initial revision wasn't the correct approach, but I think a reversion of that with the immediate suggestion of where to add states would have been an optimal response. I guess I'm saying, try to sort out those who are trying to make the template better from those who just want to add obscure data. Just my 2 cents. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 13:44, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
You are technically correct, but in this case BusterD and I are engaged in a bit of an experiment. Since this template may eventually be stored in dozens or hundreds of ACW articles, we realized that random changes from people who did not understand the intent could cause widespread blemishes or confusion. The alternative would be for us to simply swoop in and revert changes of which we disapprove, with only a one line explanation of our rationale in the editing history. Directing people to the Talk page first seems like the most efficient (and polite) approach. Hal Jespersen 14:26, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

New additions

BusterD recently created a Missouri in the Civil War article and I finished the first cuts at a Florida in the Civil War article. Both should be added to the State Involvement section. I may expand the weak West Virginia in the Civil War article over the next 2-3 weeks, as my great-grandmother's four older brothers fought at Antietam and Gettysburg in the 7th West Virginia Infantry. Scott Mingus 15:30, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I have added. (We may need to go to abbreviations before this state exercise is finished.) Hal Jespersen 15:44, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Hal! I also recently put together a Category:Indiana in the Civil War if you want to include these category listings. Scott Mingus 15:51, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I noted that someone added West Virginia in the Civil War to the template after I slightly expanded this stub. There's still much more to be added to this article as time allows... Scott Mingus 22:34, 19 August 2006 (UTC)


Would Category:American Civil War books be a good addition to the Categories list at the end? Hal Jespersen 15:44, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Hello Hal! When I created the category, it was in line with my reasoning to cut into the generic American Civil War category and break it into smaller pieces. If you add the books to the menu, then perhaps you should also add Category:American Civil War songs, which was another piece of my subcategorization efforts. Scott Mingus 15:59, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to hear other opinions. Songs seem pretty trivial to me. Hal Jespersen 16:17, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

State abbreviations

I just want to point out that the state abbreviations just added are U.S.-centric and thus are probably not helpful to Wikipedia users outside the U.S.. We should always use caution when using shorthands that only Americans tend to understand. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 19:35, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

It would probably be better to use state abbreviations that were common prior to the USPS two-letter standardization of the 60s, such as Minn., Mich., Cal. However, I would doubt that any international reader who would be interested enough in US history to read, say, Wisconsin in the Civil War, would be unfamiliar with US state abbreviations. Also, with the most browsers, holding your cursor over the link will explain things pretty well anyway. Hal Jespersen 20:01, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I think the reality is that people abroad tend to know U.S. history and geography better than Americans do. :) Anyway, anything that helps to clarify is a good thing, and fuller abbreviations may be a good compromise. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 20:08, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to reply that listing involvement by state is redundant, and could easily be linked by its own category, and thus relieve the already packed template with trivia. So I'm no fan of listing each state anyway. I think it a waste of space on this limited real estate. That being said, the state abbreviations used are the correct ones under US Federal postal law, and as such perfectly acceptable (and perhaps preferable) to non-English speakers or non-US readers. Since each one is discoverable by clicking the link, I'll hold for the accurate postal abbreviations. BusterD 01:29, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
On reflection, I'd like to add the following: as the pedia grows, it's inevitable that we add links to previously unwritten articles or categories or in this case, realms of coverage to this menu. This is a good thing, and since it's inevitable, we need to carefully discuss these new additions as they arise, specifically the state involvement in this case. That seems to be an issue of current interest on the new task force page and I welcome this addition to wikipedia's coverage of the subject matter. That being said, right now the state involvement subcat (on this template) uses both articles and categories, with no guideline as to which is preferable. I'd like to see the comprehensive listing of all states which have even slight involvement with the conflict cut from the page. I'd like to see additions of two new listings under created categories: [[Category:Civil War involvement by state (article)|State articles]] and [[Category:Civil War involvement by state (category)|State categories]] . That is my humble two pennies. What do others think? BusterD 04:31, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
If only the world adhered to U.S postal guidelines (sheesh, let's at least try to think outside the bounds of the U.S.)--I prefer the states spelled out, actually, but was willing to compromise. Anyway, I thought everyone understood that the state categories in the list were simply placeholders for what should ultimately be a list of state articles. I think the current category structure regarding state involvement in the Civil War is all right as it is--it's about as straightforward as it gets. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 06:17, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
There's not as much distance between us as it may seem, Stevie. I'm also uncomfortable with using abbreviations anywhere on this pedia. Even "ACW" has such a narrow understanding base, outside of historical interest groups. I was brought up outside the US, and I live in the most culturally diverse city in the world, so I AM thinking outside the US by my suggestions. Those young readers and those learning English need to be pointed in the modern direction of English language use, not down an archaic one. As Hal mentioned earlier, the postal changeover happened almost 50 years ago, so we're not trying to break any ground here. I'm always concerned what "everyone understood", but I see no discussion about any such understanding on this talk page. I might equally contend that we should list every single battle and campaign on this template, but since space prevents that happening, we make concessions. As in that case, a reference toward the complete list seems a perfectly sensible and economical alternative to an unordered comprehensive list which could run to 102 links (articles and categories including DC). BusterD 07:03, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure where the 102 number comes from, as we should list articles or categories, not articles and categories. Articles should be the preferred links, and categories only listed if articles don't exist. So that would make 51. A template should ultimately direct to articles, not categories; templates were not meant to be used as category compendiums (as far as I can tell). Also consider the fact that these state articles are categorized in their state categories, and users should be able to move on to related state articles if they so choose. As far as "everyone understood", this was brought up in talk at an earlier time (I'll find it shortly)--everyone means everyone who was following the discussion. Re: State abbreviations, I have no intention of contesting a consensus on that, if there is one, but it's clear that the template is already huge, so spelling out the state names isn't going to make a big difference at this juncture. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 17:27, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Yep, anyone following #Good faith addition to template reverted can see within the first several entries that categories would be placed in the template if articles didn't exist for state involvement. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 17:35, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Gag me with a rule

I thought we had an agreement to discuss changes in the template prior to implementation. (I am discounting the additions of state articles because that was discussed pretty well and is a bounded set.) Although I do not object to the change regarding slavery and abolition, I believe that gag rule is too narrow an article to be included in this list. (And if anyone with an interest in current events pays attention to that article, it will probably be rewritten to lose its antebellum focus.) Any other opinions? Hal Jespersen 15:54, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

If it's kept (and I'm not arguing one way or another), this template could link to the appropriate section in the gag rule article, rather than the article as a whole. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 17:31, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I thought it an innoucuous addition, and crucial to undertanding antebellum congress, but I'm not going against consensus. BusterD 23:38, 27 August 2006 (UTC)


Frankly I'm not sure of the utility of including a link to WN on this, considering the amount of time that's passed the the unlikelyhood that there'd be any "breaking news" on the subject. 21:04, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Actually, there's a lot of 'news' about the ACW--preservation issues, vandalism on battlefields, Gettysburg casino, annual awards like the Lincoln Prize, KKK demonstrations at Antietam, etc. There's a fulltime site: http://www.civilwarinteractive.com/NewsHome.htm and also a monthly newspaper, as well as numerous magazines. I haven't followed whether the Wikinews guys have picked up any of these stories recently. Hal Jespersen 21:14, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. And I suspect that the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday next year will trigger a lot of ACW news. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 21:17, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Whoops, the 200th anniversary is in 2009, not 2007. But still, events are ramping up for the 200 anniversary. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 21:22, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Robert E. Lee's birthday is coming up in January. And I would expect a lot of activity on the sesquicentennial of the war in 2011. (We're really planning ahead here with this template!) :-) Hal Jespersen 22:12, 27 August 2006 (UTC)


The Battle of Wilson's Creek is generally considered the biggest battle west of the Mississippi. Considering the politics that led up to it, it was an important battle regarding the status of a border state and set the stage for Sterling Price to join the Confederate cause.

I also added the James-Younger gang since they got there start as bushwhackers.

Americasroof 03:29, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Before I get too carried away, I know that Battle of Pea Ridge was west of the Mississippi. Americasroof 03:33, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I'll endorse Wilson's Creek (likely the most influential battle west of the MS); I'm surprised I missed it Thanks. I'll take exception to the James-Younger link though, but trade you a bushwhacker. BusterD 12:06, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Bushwhacker in aftermath is not really accurate. As applied to Missouri, the free form bushwhacking guerilla warfare occurred between the formal Missouri State Guard actions in 1861 and 1864 under Sterling Price. The notoriety and myths of the James-Younger gang was fed by Democratic papers opposed to Reconstruction -- notably the Kansas City Times. Americasroof 14:16, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Color scheme

Now that the ACW portal is mostly constructed, Kirill has suggested we adjust colors for this "topics list". When viewed as a part of the portal, the colors look extreme. While we're on the topic (and I know the watchlist for this page is still low) please feel free to visit the portal and provide feedback before I ask the same of the ACW task force. My prelim calculations and portal map are located on User:BusterD/portal. BusterD 00:40, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Well, make a proposal. I'm no HTML color wiz. I find the colors you've selected for the portal to be mostly Confederate gray, whereas I deliberately emphasized both blue and gray in the menu. If the menu is going to be placed in that portal, you could eliminate the portal's duplicate listing of other Wikimedia links. My general comment is that the portal has way too much information for anyone to pay attention to it. You should try for something that is not longer than one or two screens and collapse some of the duplicative displays, such as separate sections for maps, flags, photographs, and other images. I would think that "image of the week" would cover all of those well enough, particularly since the multiple featured articles (battle, weapon, biography) will probably include images inside their boxes, too. Hal Jespersen 01:02, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Re: crowded--you're right of course. I wish some of the other nice folks I asked had reminded me to KISS early on. Looper5920 tried to say it nicely but I respond better to bluntness, so thanks. When I look at featured portals, I see the proportional scroll bar seems large; on mine, little bitty. So I need to trim it down a bunch and I'll do that before I go further. Frankly, I've be playing with colors and would enjoy some help if you're interested. I really like the soft grays and with the blue titles and links, it seems balanced to me. I was wondering a butternut and blue might be nice. Maybe a blue background box with some butternut title bars and gray or very light tan boxes. I think Kirill's point was that since we might use even more space and open it up a little with lighter colors. Good catch on the wiki links; I'll delete the box. BusterD 03:41, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm no HTML color guy, as I said. I assume that we are limited to the "web safe" colors, as shown in http://www.pagetutor.com/common/bgcolors216.html for instance. Given those, there is little room for differentiation with the available shades of gray and blue. One alternative for the menu would be to keep the dark colors for the left-hand column and to use a single neutral color, like FFFFCC, for all of the right-hand column. Or, make the whole thing neutral. Or, copy the links into the portal in whatever format and organization you like. For example, a portal box about battles could have the links included right there, or a box about the states. That assumes that you would keep the rather detailed breakdown that you have now, which I have argued against. (Another reason to restrict the number of boxes, beyond the length of the page, is similar to what we did in the menu, to forestall proliferation. For instance, what if someone said that they wanted the political article of the week or the African-American contribution of the week or the Naval ship of the week? You would have little ground on which to stand to resist such expansions. But if you limited the boxes to, say, 1 article, 1 image, news, DYK, links, and a task force to-do list, you would have all the flexibility you need.) Hal Jespersen 15:53, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't see any limitation on web safe colors although I'm paying close attention to the websafe alternatives. Main page uses non-standard colors. See what you think about the softer versions I reverted. BusterD 18:03, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
The blue is light with a green cast that does not remind me of the dark blue Union uniform. The gray is so light as to be almost indistinguishable from white. I found a decent website with colors that you may wish to consult: http://www.xmission.com/~comphope/htmcolor.htm If your intent is to make the majority of the content very light, then I don't know if the alternating blue/gray colors are very important and could just as well be white or off-white. Hal Jespersen 18:22, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
I actually like the second version I reverted. The light blue has the benefit of being the same background color as the wikipedia page background, even if a tad green. BusterD 18:25, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
I believe that the background colors on the Wikipedia page are user configurable, so matching that one particular version is not a strong selling point. I think the base background colors that you are using on the portal page are good shades -- why not use those? Hal Jespersen 18:54, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps I should have said default color scheme. What about this combo? I'm goint to leave this up for a few hours until you see portal and menu together. Will revert on request, or you can. BusterD 04:26, 16 September 2006 (UTC)
I would prefer one teensy bit darker on the gray, which displays only as an off-white on my screen, but do not feel strongly about it. Hal Jespersen 15:57, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Signal Corps

Would anyone object if I added my new article, Signal Corps in the American Civil War? Hal Jespersen 00:25, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Endorse. Nice work, Hal. BusterD 00:31, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
How about Union Army Balloon Corps? Regular Army? BusterD 02:14, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
These are important enough topics that they should be added. Also endorse the signal corps and echo the comments on Hal's work. Scott Mingus 14:42, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Isn't the Balloon Corps a nice piece of work? Mike has done some fine research here, but he doesn't really have an ACW background. Another gem I've stumbled onto during my portal research is Coal torpedo. I agree that RA is sort of in the "gag rule" territory--important but not ACW specific enough. I'm glad someone took the trouble to write it. BusterD 16:32, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

I think the balloon article is appropriate, but the Regular Army article has very little Civil War content. I will add the other two and we can continue discussing the RA article if you want. Hal Jespersen 15:18, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

1861 Campaigns?

Out of curiosity why are there no references to 1861 campaigns? (maybe the articles haven't been written yet?) Thanks Americasroof 11:34, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, our methodology here is to avoid red links in the menu. The National Park Service, which we generally use for campaign classification, defines 12 campaigns in 1861, although some of these are very minor or have only a single battle in them, so I doubt that there will be many campaign article written. It is conceivable that someone may write articles about the campaigns in Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, and possibly North Carolina, after which we can discuss putting them into the menu. But we have to be circumspect, or this menu will become so large as to be unusable. My own algorithm for writing separate articles on campaigns is that they have to represent a significant series of battles and the reader will benefit from a brief discussion of each, along with a good background section and an aftermath. For example, "Operations at the Ohio and Mississippi River Confluence" has not been written as a campaign because it consists solely of the Battle of Belmont. In more of a gray area, the First Manassas Campaign has not been written because the two additional tiny battles are completely overwhelmed by the First Battle of Bull Run and there is adequate explanation in that battle article (well, that article is not all that good, but it ought to be).
By the way, I believe you added Price's Raid to the menu without discussion here on the Talk page first, which is our custom for maintaining the menu. I do not object to this particular addition, but other people who frequent this page are welcome to delete it until discussion has been held. Hal Jespersen 14:24, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
I had noticed the change, but frankly too busy at that moment to take action. I'd entertain discussion for keeping before demi-automatic reversion... Americasroof, please read the posting guidelines at the top of this talk page and welcome to the ACW task force. Hal and I sort of keep vigil at this crucial pass, not to block honest posts, but more to keep chaff sorted from kernels. Lotta good stuff out there not on the menu and for good reason: once the page gets overlarge, it loses much utility. BusterD 22:24, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Price's Raid

Since I made a change without discussion, here's the discussion. Price's Raid should be on the list of major campaigns in 1864 because it marked a last gasp offensive to bring Missouri into the Confederacy and involved a offensive that went from border to border. It was the furthest north of any Confederate offensive in the year. It also finally silenced the linkering doubts about Missouri's rightful place after the state's elected government had been evicted at Union gunpoint in 22:37, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Endorse I'll admit bias, as I had ancestors involved in both sides of the campaign, but a pretty good article adds something useful to the menu. I like the individual battles are placed in strong context. I can see some cause and effect; I like it. BusterD 23:09, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
While I have the floor, I should note bias because of personal historical connection is one of the primary concerns Hal and I discussed in the development of this worthy tool. I am far more loyal to the idea of the menu than any single article or cat inclusion. BusterD 23:18, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Endorse, too. My bias is that I wrote the article in question, but forgot about it because it doesn't have the word "campaign" in the title. This kind of article is not very difficult to write, by the way. It consists of a little introductory material and then the battle descriptions are shoveled in from http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/bycampgn.htm#West64 with a bit of editing, followed by Aftermath. It could use a better map, however. Hal Jespersen 23:28, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Endorse, part 3. Often overshadowed by the more famous and more highly publicized (at least today) campaigns, Price's Raid was perhaps the last great Confederate offensive in that region. Scott Mingus 00:35, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Battle of Westport

I know you're probably getting annoyed with my Missouri questions. But shouldn't Battle of Westport be included? It was the decisive battle of the Price's Raid and was the biggest battle west of the Mississippi with 30,000 troops on the field (bigger than Battle of Pea Ridge and Battle of Wilson's Creek). The battle is often ignored because its field was obliterated by the development of Kansas City. Americasroof 17:48, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Annoyed? No, discussion is always a good thing. The original algorithm for the contents of the battle list was those battles that I remembered to type in without looking at external references. I figured that if I remembered it, it was prominent enough for others to remember, too. I think it is possible that we have added a few over time, although I cannot recall doing so. I would not object to adding Westport, even though it did not come to the top of my mind when I wrote the list. Other opinions? The reason we have these discussions is that there is a fine line between important and obscure, and if we ever cross that line, we will have no good basis for resisting the addition of dozens of minor battles, which would overwhelm the menu. Hal Jespersen 18:57, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree that this discussion is always welcome. On the merits, I can list several articles which are IMHO more important to the war and don't appear on the menu: Battle of Mansfield, which reversed the Federal advance in the Red River Campaign; Port Hudson, which was the final Confederate outpost on the Mississippi; Battle of Cedar Creek, Early's final defeat; Yellow Tavern sees no mention; and weren't a few battles fought at Winchester, Virginia? Harper's Ferry? Fort Fisher? Of all those I listed as examples (and I could go on for a while) only Cedar Creek belongs on the menu (can't believe I missed that when I was helping compile the list). I like an unofficial two click rule: every major article must be no further than two clicks from this template. Adding the campaign suffices. Sorry for being so direct, but there you are. BusterD 22:09, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
Wow, you are so strict! :-) I am not sure how you can cite a two click rule and then say you want to include Cedar Creek. I can see from this list that you are a Phil Sheridan man; maybe you can review my big updates to his biography recently. I think the Valley Campaigns of 1864 as a series of campaigns are more important than any of the individual battles. Cedar Creek was a rather lopsided battle that was only interesting because Sheridan got caught with his pants down. As for Yellow Tavern, that is a very overrated battle, barely worth mentioning if it were not for the mortal wounding of JEB Stuart. Sheridan portrays it as a grand victory, but it simply was a distraction from his normal cavalry operations that were needed during the Overland Campaign. As cavalry battles go, both Brandy Station and Trevilian Station are a lot more interesting. Hal Jespersen 22:30, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
Notice Cedar Creek is still off the menu ;-) I thought the list made me look like a Banks basher (sometimes guilty). BusterD 22:42, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
Ah! The hazards of trying to make a comprehensive template for such a big opinionated subject (even as I consider modifying Template:Missouri in the Civil War on your model (and I only have to deal with one state)!). Since I'm venting, this template sometimes is larger than the linked articles and it does create mischief when you are trying to make sure you capture everything linked (what links here) so I do understand the desire to keep it from sprawling. My obsessions lie in Missouri-Kansas and there's always a belief that the conflicts there are ignored as trivial compared to what happened in the east. At the risk of expressing too up to date opinons, quite frankly of many the battles and skirmishes in Missouri boil down to the issues we are seeing in the Iraq War in which the U.S. has to decide whether Freedom Fighters are non-uniformed combatants areterrorists. This was a prequel to Price's Raid. Now to get back to the topic. If Price's Raid remains then its ultimate (and biggest west of the Mississippi) should be included. Americasroof 23:45, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
I think BusterD's argument is that since the campaign is in the menu, that battle in the campaign does not need to be listed separately. Based on his arguments and list of battles that he (and I) would consider to be more significant, but were omitted, I now tend to agree with him. Let's see if Scott Mingus wants to jump into this. Hal Jespersen 00:14, 28 September 2006 (UTC)


One factoid that always seems to come up and is never remembered... the sides, and count of each. 11 in the CSA, of 36 (Lincoln Memorial)... In any event, I suggest and request you add the two lists of the sides to your table/template (to the manifold gratitude and 'undying thanks' of untold numbers of High School students (as yet unborn <g>) faced with the dire task of writing CW term papers <g>—and probably more than a few College undergrads as well, now that I think about it! <G>) Thanks // FrankB 00:33, 19 October 2006 (UTC) reposted from User talk:BusterD BusterD 01:04, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

What are you looking for, more specifically? Do you want the list of state articles separated into USA and CSA? Hal Jespersen 05:07, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
That would be one sort of solution. Since the popular Confederate Navy jack contains 13 stars, making sure that count of states is visually apparent would do a service to the reader. Let's get the requester in on this... BusterD 11:44, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I typed my reply late last night and have thought some more about this. One thing I'd prefer to avoid is to deviate from primarily a collection of links in the menu. I am concerned that requests for data about the war will get completely out of hand. If we try to answer questions such as why there are 13 stars on the flag, then what is next? The sizes of the armies and the number of casualties on each side? Indicators of which battles were Confederate victories and vice versa? Perhaps the answer is that the portal can be used for summary data of this type (similar to the infobox on the American Civil War article itself) and the menu can be reserved entirely for navigational links. Hal Jespersen 16:53, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

1863 campaigns

I propose to add the Knoxville Campaign to the menu. As I was reviewing it, I noticed that Chickamauga is listed in Campaigns and in Battles. I propose to remove the former because there is no actual campaign article. Comments? Hal Jespersen 15:48, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Hal, this sounds good. Go for it. Scott Mingus 20:05, 17 January 2007 (UTC)


I propose to add the newly created Category:American Civil War museums to the menu. Note that category wasn't placed under locations/sites because many of the museums are not located on sites where Civil War activity took place. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 20:01, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

No objections from me. It should go near the bottom after National Battlefields. Hal Jespersen 20:37, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Proposal for American Civil War templates category

I'm starting to have some of my templates dinged for not having a category. It would probably be a good idea for this template to have a category. Wikipedia is not very good right now on a logical or consistent heirarchy. Initially I would like to see a heirarchy of :

History templates
War templates
American Civil War templates

Short term I think the "American Civil War templates" should be instituted and the various Civil War templates could be brought in. This proposal would involve creating the "War templates" as well the "American Civil War templates" category. But I wanted to discuss this. The History templates category is where the World War II navigation box is.

Thanks. Americasroof 00:50, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

No objections from me, although I'm not volunteering to do it. Hal Jespersen 01:28, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Proposed reformatting of template

Below is a proposed new format for this template. It is based on Template:World War I and Template:World War II. This template will appear in the collapsed mode, unless overridden when it is placed on a specific page. I removed the categories from the template (except the main ACW category) since categories do not appear on most other templates; I left the main category and all of the other categories are on that link anyway. I also removed most of the people leaving only the top 11 for each side (an arbitrary number, and I don't really know if I have the correct 11 on there). In addition to this template, I would also suggest 2 new templates: 1 for the state involvement, and 1 for the predominant figures then remove them from this template entirely. Other than as stated above, I did not alter any of the content (if I did, it was unintentional). Please feel free to change/add/delete the content. If there are no objections, I will replace the current template with this one after awhile.Old Hoss 22:49, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

  • Object. I prefer the current version. It is visually more appealing and contains more information (categories). I also see no benefit to advertising how to change the template (the tiny 'e' link) to people who would otherwise be too lazy to figure out how to vandalize it and affect dozens of articles. Hal Jespersen 01:29, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Double-plus Object. I appreciate the effort in construction, but this kinda looks like the older archived version we started with, and has many the disadvantages discussed then. I've noticed the vde link appearing more and more recently, and I agree with Hal here. Maybe we're old hosses ourselves. I kinda like the window-shade thing, though... (oh, and the color clashes). BusterD 13:53, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
After looking at recent edit history in the WWII template, not having the edit button looks like a big advantage... BusterD 13:58, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Make it collapsible

The only change that is really needed is that this template, as fantastic as it is, needs to collapse by default. Even though it's very informative, it takes up too much real estate. Any takers? Stevie is the man! TalkWork 22:46, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I like the template as it exists, and while I'm not a fan of the vde buttons, I can accept that this has become the style. The "window-shade" collapse is a very useful resource. BusterD 22:58, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
This template will eventually need to be converted to one of the major types anyway (which is why I showed up with the proposal), and Template:Navbox generic seems to be the best fit. When I first proposed reformatting it above, I was not aware of the archived version and the reasons thereof. So I took the above suggestions to heart to try to see what I could do. One of the problems was the "v·d·e" option — apparently there is a vandalism concern. I just got a hard-coded option on the main navbox to turn that feature off yesterday (coincidentally). Now, the only problem is the blue and gray alternating coloring, which I am trying to have fixed soon (an admin will again have to change the hard-coding on the protected template). I took to heart the suggestions above, and this is what I have so far. Hopefully the coloring can be corrected soon. Please provide any qualms or suggestions and we can see if we can incorporate them into it. Mind you, I'm not married to this draft.
Note: I did add the ranks to the Generals, etc., and bolded the need-to-know figures. I also added the alternate names to some battles in parentheses. I don't think I did anything else to the content, but I may have lost track; I think I tried to keep the changes relatively minor. Regards.--Old Hoss 23:41, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Seems to be on the right track. If the blue/grey colors were fixed to be fully alternating by row, that should do it. I also made a nit fix to it. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 01:06, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
I echo Stevietheman's approval, but we have some haggling to do.
  • Ranks. Just doesn't improve the list. These are supposed to be links, not explanations. Ranks and titles should go, in the genuine and compelling interest of brevity.
  • "Primary" figures. Superfluous word. These figures wouldn't appear on such a list unless they were primary. We might as well apply the adjective to each category.
  • Not sure I agree with the bolding.
  • Miscelleaneous group box size mismatches and text alignment issues.
But all in all, it's starting to grow on me. We're not there yet, but we're moving in a correct direction. Good job, Old Hoss! BusterD 12:39, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't really see the point of rewriting it, but if there is some global Wikipedia coding convention that must be used, I guess we can't resist forever. This version is larger and less visually attractive than the one we devised for the current version. I agree that the ranks (which are frequently incorrect) and bolding need to go. The first 3 rows used to be nicely grouped as Issues. Prisons don't need their own major row; they could probably be simply a link to the Category. Listing battles by year will increase the pressure to include more minor battles--for instance, 1865 looks empty--so I'd prefer the current list. Also, I don't see the need to include so many alternative names. Pickett's Charge doesn't need its own link. The ACW Category is listed twice. The secondary highlighted cells (dates, for instance) should have a fixed width to line up vertically. Hal Jespersen 14:28, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

You guys are the subject matter experts, and have much better idea of what should go where and how it should be worded, so by all means feel free to tweak the above to your liking. (I like tinkering with things and sometimes force my own vision on the template without knowing much of the evolution of how it got to its present version, sorry!)

The secondary groupings are established by using {{Navbox subgroup}} within the individual list. That feature is relatively new and it most likely can be adjusted to your requests using "width:0000px" and tinkering around with it a bit more, but it might take some tinkering to get it perfect, or it can be eliminated entirely and subgroups can be listed as before.

I only brought this to you now as it is because I saw the posting from Stevie and didn't want to miss the opportunity, so I agree it needs work. Regarding the "global Wikipedia coding convention" (to which my invite must have gotten lost!), there is no must as of yet, it is just my understanding that that day is coming soon, so there is no time like the present. Also, this format is the best way to offer the collapsible ("window shade") option, which seemed to be needed.

The only counterclaim I would have to Hal, is that maybe the battles & campaigns could be listed alphabetically as before, but still have the year in parenthesis; that would still give some concept of the timing of the action without encouraging people to add to the list. I am a big proponent of being able to see the year before I click on the link. Maybe the alternate names were a bit much. (Pickett's charge is on the active template currently, BTW.) Regarding the ranks, then maybe include their first name as well for the sake of drive-bys like me who would not make the immediate connection for the plain names like Thomas, Scott, Jackson, Smith, or even Lee or Grant. But that's your call and is fine by me.

I am going to leave this for now until the main Template:Navbox generic can be updated with the hard-coding to alternate the blue and gray, but I might tinker with it every now and again. By all means, please make the suggested content changes to the above draft; I am not haggling over the content, just the coding. I can adjust the secondary highlighted cells (dates, for instance) to have a fixed width so they line up vertically. Regards.--Old Hoss 16:36, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

I made 2 changes: 1. fixed subcat width; 2. re-combined 1st 3 rows as "Issues". Will tinker a little more.--Old Hoss 20:40, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Changes: 1. Removed bolding; 2. Removed ranks; 3. Removed prisons entry; 4. Added Forts and Prisons categories; 5. Changed "primary" in titles to "key" and "major" as they are on the current template; 6. Removed secondary names of battles; 7. Removed {{nowrap}} as it has been incorporated into the hard-coding. Will tinker with rest later.
UPDATE on alternating colors: There were some delays with changing the hard-coding on the main template to allow alternating colors and they are also in the process of doing other major reformats, so it should be updated fairly soon....--Old Hoss 19:08, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Changes: 1. Removed years for subgroups; 2. Removed dup. cat.; 3. Shrank subgroup boxes.--Old Hoss 22:36, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
This has now become pretty decent although the additions to the original template that are unrelated to collapsing (using full names of people, adding dates to battles) is making it really, really long. A cosmetic problem remains: many of the lines in my browser are breaking after the bullets, leaving a bullet at the end of the line. Also, it seems to be justifying the lines both left and right, which leaves unsightly variable spaces between words. Simple left justification would be superior. Hal Jespersen 23:07, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

I removed the years from the battles & campaigns (and I removed Picket's Charge), but I left them in order of occurrence and left the notation <!-- In order of occurrence --> so other editors will know as such. If you want them back alphabetically, that is fine. I unjustified the lists, but be aware that bots may come by now and again and justify it, and most other navboxes are justified. The hard-coding on the template prevents links from wrapping, so the bullet in a continuous list will always be hanging at the end. This is so the template acts properly in all different browsers at all different screen resolutions. If it still looks awkward to you, let me know what browser you use and at what resolution. Will tinker more later (with full names, etc.). Regards.--Old Hoss 01:21, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. The justification looks better (to me anyway). I had always treated the bullets as in bulleted lists, rather than as separators, but I see the intent of the template you're using. I would prefer the battles in alphabetic order, as in the original menu, but others may have other opinions. I will not object to putting something like this current version into production. Hal Jespersen 13:45, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
I think chronological order is useful as a teaching tool, although I realize this template is essentially a navigation tool. Perhaps the template could somehow indicate some listings are in chronological order, but I'm not holding that idea up as a stumbling block to putting it into production. It looks fine to me. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 13:58, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
I like what's happening here; my remaining concerns are about consistency.
  • I'd still like to see the qualifiers "key" and "major" vanish. I think they're redundant on a table which is clearly and specifically designed to provide essential facts. Using "major battles" I could live with, but the other adjectives are just not necessary, IMHO. As a substitute for the term "figures" I prefer "leaders."
  • IMHO, lists of events could deserve chronological treatment, but all other lists need a more "disinterested" approach (alpha serves perfectly). I especially do not like the idea of Davis, Lee, Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman out of alpha order, perhaps because of some judgment about relative "importance." This arena of judgment is a poor place for us to go. Slippery slope. Listing alpha keeps us from having to debate newcomers over this trivial issue.
  • I prefer to see "Naval Battles" moved back into list of battles, but I can see how chronological order makes this problematic.
  • Early and Ewell need first names restored. I also see a bunch of middle names which don't add anything. I'd keep only "Bedford", "Kirby", "Carlos" and reduce the rest to middle initials. IMHO. BusterD 01:25, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Additionally, this morning I popped it into the ACW portal to see how it would look. What do you think? BusterD 12:38, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

It seems to meld quite well with that particular page. I coded this template to default to the collapsed state so it can be placed on short articles. To override this on pages you want it to default in an expanded state, use {{American Civil War|state=expand}}. Of course, that will not work until this is transferred to the main template space. (I will add that instruction once it is moved.) Currently, the consensus (but in no means a requirement) is to have templates start out collapsed, except on the main articles. FYI.--Old Hoss 19:00, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

In the context of the portal, the menu title seems mis-centered(IMHO). BusterD 20:23, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
That actually is one of the fixes they are working on, along with a few other minor formatting issues. I think they are testing all of them together before they implement any of them.--Old Hoss 21:10, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Can we go ahead and roll this out, and make tweaks later? Somebody just made a bunch of undiscussed changes, so it would probably be a good idea to go ahead and have a consensus version and work from there. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 13:21, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
User:Psantora made changes which improved the underlying page code without making any negative changes to the page, and before I automatically reverted I learned quite a bit from reading the changes, and then chose not to revert. I was going to ask Paul to look at the template-in-progress here on talk. I do not endorse rolling this out until a stable version can be achieved here on talk. That has been our procedure in the past, and while I'm only one user, that's my opinion. I'm not yet satisfied this version is better than what's already in template space. BusterD 13:34, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
From what I've read here, it's plenty stable and nobody pretty much disagrees with where it's at now. And it's very much better than what was there. Making it collapsible is a major fix! There's nothing wrong with making some changes *after* it's put into production. That's what the Wikipedia is all about. I would advise incorporating User:Psantora's changes, without the project link as those don't belong in articles, and get this sucker out. The wait has already been too long. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 13:40, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
I've made several pointed suggestions which I've incorporated into the template here on talk, then reverted. Anyone can look at my more concise verion in page history. Plus the header centering is still off. Until I hear more opinions than just yours and mine (on a holiday weekend), I suggest we show patience. The pedia will be here 100 years from now, and our opinions will matter little except that they stood the test of time. BusterD 14:10, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
BusterD, I for one find it difficult to review proposals that are in some unspecified previous revision and then reverted. Perhaps you can use a sandbox or provide explicit links. On a general note, I have to say that this treatment of collapsing menus is not much of an improvement, particularly if it's collapsed by default--it's really no better than a link to another page. And even if it's not by default, the code as I understand it will collapse it if there are other menus in the articles, which means that all the zealous organizers who put in templates for "Southwestern Tobackychaw County in the Civil War" will ensure that eventually ALL articles will have multiple templates and everything will be collapsed. However, having vented :-), I'd say that this menu is probably close enough to be launched and then tweaked in production without causing any real pain. Hal Jespersen 16:11, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
OK, I see it now. Thanks. Yes, your version is preferable to me, although only moderately so. Hal Jespersen 21:49, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

I've moved a revised draft to a sandbox location

Here is the template after my changes, which in almost all cases were intended to tighten the size of the entire box. I'd be happy to go live with this revision. Please discuss away. BusterD 22:36, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Any chance this could be changed to use the new MILHIST standard (WP:MILHIST#NAV)? It should be functionally equivalent to the raw {{navbox}}, as far as the innards are concerned. Kirill 23:32, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
There is a bunch of titlestyle and groupstyle stuff which is discouraged. I'll play a bit, but someone else might quickly snap this stuff together with no seams. BusterD 23:40, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
Here's a version of the sandbox using {{military navigation}}: Template:American Civil War/Sandbox 2. There are a few minor differences (the header color is blue rather than white, the footer color is gray rather than white), and the stripe colors might be better off lightened a bit to avoid being darker than the group label colors, but I don't see any major problems with the conversion. Kirill 23:44, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
And we've agreed that navbar = plain. (we don't think vde links are so helpful here) I'm not sure where that should be changed. But aside from the header color change, it doesn't look so different. BusterD 00:03, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
The navbar dissapears if the raw_name parameter is left blank, so that's not a problem. Kirill 00:04, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
I think the one Kirill sandboxed looks good. My only remaining issue, which is very minor, is to restore 'Key' to the 2 Leaders categories. I know BusterD has argued against it (although why 'Major' applies to Battles by that thought process I don't know) because I would like to have a club to swing when someone tries to add non-Key names. Two very prominent examples are Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Robert Gould Shaw. These two men are popular because they were the subjects of recent movies, so they get a lot of editing attention, but I would consider neither to be key leaders of the Union Army; i.e., men prominent by their high rank (Grant, Sherman) or unique contributions (Meigs, Hunt). So without an adjective on the Leaders category, virtually any leader (sergeant and up) is fair game. Hal Jespersen 00:28, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
I don't disagree with the qualifier adjective "Key" after Hal's explanation. Except for the minor color issues, I could accept the new version in Sandbox 2 as changed. BusterD 00:32, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

OK guys, I went ahead and took the initiative and was bold! (Remember, it can always be reverted!) I implemented the above proposed template with the following changes as per the Sandbox changes:

  1. ‘’Combatants’’: removed flags.
  2. ‘’Origins’’: moved “Anaconda Plan” to ‘’Campaigns’’; re-alphabetized “Seccession”.
  3. ‘’Slavery’’: re-alphabetized “Emancipation Proclamation”.
  4. ‘’Campaigns’’: removed “Major” from title.
  5. ‘’Key Confederate/Union Leaders’’: changed “Figures” to “Leaders” in title; reverted to alphabetized list of last names.
  6. ‘’Aftermath’’: re-alphabetized “Reconstruction”.
  7. ‘’Topics’’: moved “Naval Battles” to “Military Topics”; re-alphabetized “Coperheads”.
  8. Coverted to {{military navigation}} - at first I doubted this change, but then I saw that this template is actually just an enhanced {{navbox}}, so that was alright by me.
  • I also added to notation at the top of the template <!-- All lists are in alphabetical order unless otherwise noted ("Campaigns" & "Major Battles" are in order of occurrence). -->.
  • I did not incorporate any changes from User:Psantora as all of that was already hard-coded into the basic template, or already included in the proposed changes anyway.

I did have one comment from an older posting, I believe that the purpose of such templates is not *just* navigational, but *also* as a teaching tool; why not kill 2 birds – that is after all the purpose of an encyclopedia. (That was just something I wanted to say as my opinion.) I also wanted to thank you guys for putting up with my haggling for converting the navbox. I will leave this to you now to finalize. I will change the main page so the navbox defaults to expanded. One final note: be sure to change any page you want the template to appear expanded with {{American Civil War|state=expand}}. Regards.--Old Hoss 04:47, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Rationale and usage guidelines

(Please keep this section at the top of the Talk page and do not archive it.)

This section records the rationale for American Civil War inclusions or omissions. It is obvious that this large menu could become dramatically larger and unusable if new entries are added without discrimination. We would like to establish the precedent that any changes to the menu are discussed in this Talk page prior to implementation.

General Usage: This list is exclusively for active Wikimedia article and category links. Do not include external URLs. Do not include red links (Wikipedia articles that have not been written yet). Links to stubs and multiple redirects to the same article are discouraged.

Rationale for the major headings in the menu:

Issues & Combatants
The subcategories Prelude and Slavery should be pretty obvious. The Combatants are intended to be only the "countries" and their highest level armies and navies. We cannot afford to include military units smaller than this (e.g., regional armies, corps, regiments).
Theaters & Campaigns
The Theaters are those named by the five articles plus the Union naval blockade. The Campaigns are those that have articles written about them. Since there are no campaign articles describing, say, the Battle of Chancellorsville or the Battle of Fredericksburg, these battles are covered only in the following section. If new campaign articles are written (and they are not simply redirects), they will be legitimate additions to this subcategory.
Major Battles
In our judgment, the current list represents the most important battles of the war, with unique strategic or political consequences. Please discuss any proposed changes to this list here in the Talk page, citing your justification, before editing the menu.
Key CSA Leaders
The Confederate leaders are listed before the United States leaders because of alphabetical order and to give them a gray background. The Military leaders selected commanded major armies or corps, were cavalry leaders with strategic significance, or in a few cases (Gorgas, Cooper) had important positions in CSA headquarters. There is also the single most important naval captain. This list will quickly become useless if people add their favorite commanders, ancestors, or movie characters at lower levels in the hierarchy.
Key USA Leaders
The United States leaders come second so that they can have a blue background. The Military leaders are those with the highest positions in the Army and Navy, with only a few exceptions. Hunt had unique significance as an artillery leader. Meigs is included for the same reason as Gorgas. The same warning about adding favorite commanders applies.
This row is limited to significant social and political articles about the postbellum era, with demonstrable links to the war.
Other Topics
This row is difficult to characterize. New entries or subcategories should not be added without discussion on the Talk page. The State involvement subcategory is intended only for comprehensive articles, such as the current entries.
This row is intended to include, indirectly, all of the smaller units and biographies not explicitly named above. Please do not include subcategories of categories that are already in this list without discussion on the Talk page.
Obvious. Please do not change.

Rationale contributed to by Hal Jespersen 15:34, 12 July 2006 (UTC), ....

I endorse the above strong suggestions as to possible future placement of links here and other comments made by Hlj. I strongly encourage any future contributors to discuss any changes before making them. BusterD 23:17, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Displayed name

I would suggest the main title of this template be "American Civil War" rather than "American Civil War" to be consistent with other templates of this nature. KellenT 10:46, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Proposed additions to template

User:Foofighter20x changed the flag and added two items. Because this is an important template which should maintain some stability, I reverted the changes (per the precedent at the top of this talk page), but have offered this discussion on the subject. I disagree with the flag change, but have no difficulty with the addition of States' rights and Lysander Spooner. It may be time for additional intellectual abolition figures, perhaps William Lloyd Garrison. BusterD (talk) 13:03, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I do not object to the additional articles, but the use of flags needs to be consistent. The US flag that is shown is the one used early in the war, so it is appropriate to show the Stars and Bars across from it, rather than the flag that was introduced in 1865. Hal Jespersen (talk) 20:38, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I was simply trying to maintain consistency with the article Confederate States of America as The Blood Stained Banner" flag displayed on that page was their final flag. That's all. Foofighter20x (talk) 21:50, 4 January 2008 (UTC) Note: I only changed the Confederate flag, and not the Union Banner.

How about a compromise of each flag on both sides showing a progression? The U.S. Flag went from 33 to 34 stars on 4 Jul 1861, and then from 34 to 35 on 4 July 1863. That'd be three flags on the Union Side, and then on the Confederate side The Stars and Bars, the Stainless Banner, and then the Blood Stained Banner? Note: the widths of each flag is set to give them all a height of 21px. Foofighter20x (talk) 22:23, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


Ick! One flag is plenty. BusterD (talk) 18:51, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

I reiterate: One flag is plenty. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (flags). BusterD (talk) 23:27, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I concur. Those large flags are really over the top. Let's stick with zero or one small image per combatant. (I don't really care if they are flags or something else, as long as they are consistently selected.) Hal Jespersen (talk) 00:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

If you are going to refer to the MoS, then enforce it uniformly. Took out the flags since they aren't allowed in the title bar as it is. Added mandatory links in top left corner (see Template:Navbox/doc). Note that the title parameter (under the mandatory heading) only allows text and does not allow images. Foofighter20x (talk) 20:32, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Enough with the flags already. If you can't get consensus here on talk, don't change the flags. BusterD (talk) 21:20, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

B.S. The last change I made was WIKIPEDIA POLICY. Also, I'm dropping the flag issue, but not the placement issue. Look at the other nav boxes for other wars, and you can see that I'm only trying to maintain a consistent style. I only removed the flags from the title bar, where they aren't suppposed to be, and moved them to beside the names of the combatants, where they are placed in EVERY OTHER ARTICLE ABOUT A WAR. Seriously, what's wrong with my last edit, other than the apparent fact that I didn't consult you first? Wikipedia is not owned by either you or me, and my edit is in line with Wikipedia policy. Foofighter20x (talk) 21:22, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Flag icons are "not recommended" per WP:MILMOS#FLAGS, particularly in those cases, such as this one, where the use of the icons are merely decorative and not informative. Flag icons might make some sense in a complex battle in which multiple nationalities take part, but when there are simply two combatants, the tiny icons add no value at all. When I get around to it, I will also be reverting all of the battle article icon changes you have been making. Our consensus style for ACW articles has been not to use flags. Hal Jespersen (talk) 23:02, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I'd like to note that today user has made 200 edits to ACW battle infoboxes, in almost all cases adding the flag icons. This amounts to a violation of WP:POINT, IMHO. This is just silly. BusterD (talk) 23:48, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

LOL... Sorry, but calling me out on a "point" when the article only tangetially touches on what I've done versus what you've done here...

  • If you're upset someone didn't follow process in making a change...
    • do find out why they did it and attempt to convince them otherwise
    • don't reverse an arguably good change for no reason other than "out of process"

Also, if you are calling the battle article edits I did disruptive...

  • Is tendentious: continues editing an article or group of articles in pursuit of a certain point for an extended time despite opposition from one or more other editors.

... Wll, the only discontent seems to be limited to the navbox and not to the articles. Other editors of the battle articles have written saying they like the addition of those flag icons. Therefore, excuse me while I roll on the floor laughing for the inconsistency/inanity of trying to get me in trouble. It's just a difference of opinion, and as each battle article is typically a stand alone article, and not one of any particular series, then each needs to be as informationally robust as possible. Thank you and have a nice day. Foofighter20x (talk) 00:23, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

I labeled the practice "silly". I've seen far more dramatic uses of WP:POINT in my watchlist in the last 15 minutes than any of this. It is interesting, but not particularly troublesome. BusterD (talk) 00:41, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Now first off, I think that all of you need to assume good faith in the other editors. Despite the flags being discouraged by the MoS, several users do agree that they add a nice touch to the template and so they should be included. What needs to be discussed is the types of flags used, not the other editor's contributions. Malinaccier (talk) 01:03, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

!!!! The template is screwed up!!!

I'm not sure who takes care of this template and i will try to locate him/her.. But the template is showing up all screwed up. Looks like an IP is screwing with it. I've reverted it Charles Edward 20:06, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

What's up with the redesign without discussion?

I don't like the change of format, and will revert it unless I hear some reasons why I shouldn't. BusterD (talk) 22:25, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

I think the new formet better sorts all the articles on it, but it's still ungainly if you ask me. A discussion of how the template should look would not be out of place.--Bedford Pray 22:40, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't have any showstopper objections to it, although I don't care for the colors and trying to determine which of the sub tabs to click will not always be obvious for the average reader. My one specific objection at the moment, which I will let lie until the discussion is completed, is that there is a single pair of order of battle links (mislabeled as "orders") that should be removed because otherwise someone will have to add about 20 other links for other battles. Hal Jespersen (talk) 01:20, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Please don't revert it yet. This template now utilizes {{Navbox with collapsible sections}} which is the perfect tool for this type of template, but it was not implemented correctly. When implemented properly, each collapsible section is assigned a flag, and when the template is placed on each article you turn on that specific flag. That way only the section of the template appropriate to that article is shown. Unfortunately, the user that is doing this to several templates, User:Sardanaphalus, is a little overzealous and always forgoes discussion. I left a note on his talk page to complete the process on this template and he responded on my talk page he is working on it. So I ask you to sit tight for a day or two. The organization of the template is not a concern for the user who switched it up — he was just focusing on the template design — so feel free to fix the groupings and labels. Rgrds. --Tombstone (talk) 03:02, 29 July 2008 (UTC) (BTW, I used to be Old Hoss)
  • Perhaps, since he follows WP:BRD, we should invite Sardanaphalus to comment here? I sympathize with his approach, as discussion first tends to prompt people to think up reasons not to try something. At least, that's my experience thus far. There was also nothing incorrect in his implementation of the template per se, just that we'd prefer it to utilize the "auto-expand-a-section" feature. Sardanaphalus (talk) 04:04, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

My basic disagreement is with the use of collapsible sections navbox, which IMHO duplicates the windowshade feature of the navbox header, sort of negates the usefulness of the careful choices and opens the door to runaway potential additions. That many of the most important links are available in one view is exactly the tool's usefulness. Now the template must be opened twice before it's useful. This does not "keep it simple". BusterD (talk) 11:08, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

The new arrangement lengthens the fully expanded template considerably, and in the implementation we've lost links to battles and theaters. BusterD (talk) 11:46, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
After better implementation, the redesign works pretty well. Thanks for helping. BusterD (talk) 19:55, 15 August 2008 (UTC)