In researching for my novel, Asunder, A Novel of the Civil War, I had a lot to learn. I dug through volumes of googled information as well as from books and pamphlets and actual Civil War era documents. I toured the battlefields multiple times. On one trek I walked the entire distance through chest high grass of what had been the 3rd Texas Cavalry campground and discovered it was about 400 yards long. I also picked up some tics along the way. Yeach! I also walked across the top of the high hill that, though now covered with trees was probably not so in the 1860’s because of wildfires and logging for homes.
I jumped the creek beds and gullies, found turtles laying eggs. Encountered numerous plants, some of which were present in the 1860’s I further encountered the actual graveyard of the Manley family tucked away on the imposing hill. It is this hill that I placed the Reeder farm, and it is this hill where Sigel’s artillery first launched their attack on the just waking Confederates.
I had to inspect and climb the perilous escarpment of the hill that was above the creek that flowed past the camp of the Texan and South Kansan Cavalry, ultimately named the Third Texas. I had to measure and see if it fit the premise of Sara and Lucas looking down from the somewhat flat top at the Confederate camp. It was. So the book is entirely as accurate as I could make it.
Wilson Creek Battlefield is one of the best natural preserved battlefields with much of the vegetation being similar to the era for my novel. Hence, when you notice that Joseph is leaning against a White Oak tree, that’s because that was there at the time. I also researched that hawthorns and apples were present, too.
I had to do research on weaponry and how exactly did a Civil War soldier load the rifles of the day. What brands and types of rifles and muskets were prevalent? That is only the tip of the ice berg of research. I do not regret it. I learned so much. So when you read the novel, it rings true.