As I mentioned in my farewell letter on May 31, we are working on a plan to benefit subscribers. We have had to retool our website to accommodate better communication with you and allow information on discount codes and other offerings to flow smoothly. Since our subscriber database is separate from our website, the first step toward receiving those benefits is for subscribers as of May 31, 2017, to register at this link (which also appears at the top of the online store page): Priority Subscriber Registration
I also want to thank everyone for the kind comments conveyed on the website, and through emails and phone calls. It was most gratifying and helped to ease an otherwise sad and painful reality.
I had just turned 30 when my late wife Robin and I launched the premiere issue of Blue & Gray. That was more than a third of a century ago. Then, a few years ago, as I entered my 60s, folks started asking about an exit strategy. Did I have one? My answer was no, I don’t. I will continue publishing Blue & Gray until someone tells me to stop. Well, that time has come.
The handwriting is on the wall. After the Civil War Sesquicentennial the subscriber base has declined to the point we can no longer afford to pay the printer and the post office, the costs of preparing the driving tour — which is the hallmark of the publication — and rising health care costs. Furthermore, our book business, which helped support our publishing efforts through the years, has all but disappeared with the advent of online discount booksellers, against which we simply can not compete. The staff at Blue & Gray headquarters for most of the last decade has consisted of just two people — my son Jason and me.
While there will be no more issues of Blue & Gray, we will continue to maintain the website. We are also exploring ways to convert unfulfilled subscriptions into credits that can be used for back issues and our book titles, while supplies last. So, continue to visit the website for updates.
This has been a very difficult letter for me to write. Since you’ve gotten used to me signing myself “The General” at the end of every driving tour, I’ll quote a real general, one who faced a far more difficult decision, and bid you all an affectionate farewell.
My goal in the last issue on the Bermuda Hundred Driving Tour was simply to indicate where Ben Butler’s earthworks crossed W. Hundred Road. In doing so I violated a cardinal rule of The General’s Tour by including a site I did not personally visit, though I did observe the site 25 years ago while preparing our 1989 issue on Bermuda Hundred, and it appeared on that issue’s Tour Map. Once the 2014 Tour was laid out, I realized there was one set of earthworks not included that could complete a tour of Butler’s Final Line as it stretched north beyond W. Hundred Road (Rt. 10) toward the James River.