Friday, February 25, 2005

Civil War battle in Petersburg, VA

Four years ago, I toured the Civil War battlefield in Petersburg, VA. This battlefield became very interesting to me for two reasons. First, on the Union side, Pennsylvania soldiers (coal miners) decided to use their mining skills to dig underneath the Confederate soldiers to gain entry and mount an attack. Second, some of the Union soldiers were African American. They trained to be the first soldiers through the hole and the first to engage the Confederate soldiers in battle; however, the Union changed its plans at the last minute and sent a white troop through first that had not properly trained for this role.

I tell the story of this battle occassionally. Recently, I decided to doublecheck the location of the battle (and ensure that my memory had not mixed up locations). What was interesting to me was that several Civil War sites online did not tell this version of the battle. I did finally find one that did and confirmed that I had the right location.

This search brought to mind an important feature that does not exist in the search engines I use. I would like for the search engines to analyze the pages retrieved and mark those that contain unique content (or a unique slant to the story). Yes, some search engines create categories, etc., but here I'm talking about something different. I want a search engine to tell me that of all of the pages returned, these are different, unique...and probably the ones were I will learn something new and different.

Is that too much to ask?

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