Lost in Research

Confederate Calvary

Good historical novels should have facts based on history. Otherwise why call them historical novels – right? I am committed to be an excellent storyteller and educate my reader at the same time. Yikes. I severely underestimated the depth of that commitment. I spent all day yesterday researching the Southern Calvary , its ins outs and how men enlisted there. I am not completely satisfied with my results, but the book can not wait another day for me to chase down these boys. I feel like I am playing hide and seek with the Confederate Calvary.  I have a few more sources to contact. Hopefully they will enlighten me.

My second goal yesterday was to find a way for Thaddeus and Stephen to enlist late, and still get back to Gettysburg in time for the battle. Out of all of the men enlisted in the various counties in Pennsylvania, you would think there would be more than one group out of Adams county that comes back in time. Nope, just one that works for our story. I found my link only after 3 hours of research. I would have been desperately lost in muster roles if it weren’t for my good friend-John- from the National Parks Service. Thank you John.

You may be asking why I am so obsessed about research. Aside from my perfectionist personality type and my love for research.  I am a historical re-enactor. Traditionally, most re-enactors are passionate about their hobby. We are driven to show and tell history through characterization of a specific role in history. We educate through acting. We go through pain-staking research, digging up any verifiable facts we can find pertaining to our character. We become moles lost in archives and musty books, round-table discussions all to give you the public the most realistic view of history.  It is a world of never-ending education. Some re-enactors are obsessed with every knit-picky detail. Picking apart uniform stitching, speech and mannerisms. I am not that obsessed, but I am leery of these types.

I realized from Day 1 this novel was going to be a huge undertaking. I am writing about one  of the most researched, well documented events in American History.  I am not intimidated by this, (well most of the time I am fine-really). I am driven to produce a verifiable novel sprinkled with fiction that tells a story that is enjoyable. Characters who you think about after the book is put down.  In the end when all the smoke clears (pun intended :-), I want you the reader to enjoy  the experience. For this, I will continue to work at it until I get it right.  So back to research, I think its time to call my infantry expert who knows a Calvary man.