One sad thing, for me, is that the focus will now be on the second year of the War, and my "favorite" part of the War (how can anyone have a favorite part of a war??) will pass along and be forgotten--again.
I think the first year of the War --all of 1861, from the election of Lincoln in '60 to McClellan's illness and Lincoln's step toward becoming Commander in Chief for real, is the most dynamic. The change in those 12 months, from peace to war, from union to armed disunion, is tremendous.
Of course, the life of Elmer Ellsworth and his terrible death is a mirror of this change. So many "self-made men" answered Lincoln's call, from voting to military service. Much of what we think of as "American" comes from that time period--good, bad, foolish, realistic.
It is the tension between 2 extremes that I find historically compelling, and 1861 if rife with those instances.
I have finished the first rewrite of First Fallen. I now have to make sure it holds up, chapter to chapter, and that my sourcing is accurate. I will be starting a Master's in Military History, with a Civil War emphasis, in March, at APU. I have done online learning before and found it very rigorous.
I am looking forward to 2012 with thoughtful excitement--no jumping up and down, but certainly smiling. All I can say is Happy New Year and