Research Methodologies: for the reluctant researcher

My guest today is Mary Findley, author of several historical fiction titles, of note is: Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion.

Link to GoodReads
Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion
Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion

other titles:
Send a White Rose Vienta Benny and the Bank Robber 2: Doctor Dad

For the “I Want to Write Historical Fiction but I Don’t Want to Research” Writer

I write historical fiction, but I do not like a whole lot of detail in the books I read, nor do I really like to write it. Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion is set in England, originally just sometime vaguely during the Crusades. Actually, I toyed with the idea of the character who returns after an absence going to Turkey under Suleiman the Magnificent. I thought I might be able to tie the story in with the Reformation and even Martin Luther, rather than the Crusades. I spent a year learning about Suleiman and his time, but also discovered how many conflicts an Englishman could have gotten himself involved in and eventually went back to the Crusades. (Fortunately I worked at a state university library at the time.)

I discovered Crusader Songs appropriate to the time period and was able to include them, and they even advanced the plot by showing the changing attitudes of the Crusaders on their sea voyage. I finally found a letter from “Guy, a Knight” describing the battle of Damietta, a port-controlling city in Egypt. Circumstances surrounding this battle included an armada of ships that set out for Alexandria and mistakenly arrived in Damietta after a huge storm. Many ships were also lost in this storm. Since my knight was supposed to disappear in his Holy Land quest, I had found my opportunity. This battle had a specific date, and better yet, a specific historical man, under suspicion of disloyalty to the French crown, who fought there. Providentially I found my time period and my villain, Hugo Brun de March, together. April 2, 1249 was the date of the battle and it took place as part of Louis IX of France’s first Crusade.

This battle is also important to the story because of an orphaned Arab, Sadaquah, who lives in Damietta but is forcibly removed very shortly before the battle, thus saving his life. He is brought to teach Arabic to, and becomes friends with, my main male character, known simply as the Christian Dog to the Arabs. Later Sadaquah refers to this incident that brought them together as both destroying any ties he might have had with his home and says his friend saved his life simply by being where he was when he was.

The names in my story are either local to the part of England where the people live, like Cloyes, or significant in their meaning. Hope’s name has obvious significance to a story of hardship, loss and desperate danger. Hope in Arabic is Raja, and Sadaquah points out that his English comrade said that word many times a day while trying to get back home, hardly understanding fully all the hopes that would and could be realized. Sadaquah refers to the alms Muslims give to the poor, and also means Righteousness. Rasoul, another Arab character in the story, is a messenger of sorts, reuniting friends, providing safety and help, and that is the meaning of his name. Tahira means purity, and the Arab woman in the story learns that God is the judge and restorer of purity.
I had to find an abandoned castle for some of the story to take place. Fortunately, there is Colchester Castle, a well-known and well-documented location. I was able to find industries appropriate to the time period, places of worship, even an oyster festival to help establish Hope’s character at the beginning of the story. Building the setting around Colchester, I was able to create a manor house for my minor nobleman, and learn about how life ran in such a place. I even got to study earlier English government and how common people involved themselves in the affairs of the nobility. One reviewer commented on how much he learned about medieval life, a whole new vocabulary in the clothing and customs of the day. Robin Hood, for example, may not have worn Lincoln Green but Lincoln Grayne, a finely woven linen fabric that could be any color but was often dyed red.

Nobility bedding down in the hallways of a castle and every available fireplace being commandeered to cook meals for a horde of retainers and guests was another “fun fact” I picked up along the way. I made a decision to use modern speech with a somewhat archaic flavor and the insertion of vocabulary important to the occupations, government and activities of the time. Realistically, if I had written in Chaucerian English, few would have understood it. I have a few Arabic words and phrases as well. This story came after more than twenty years of research and reading, checking sources, confirming most of the facts in many different references, online and in libraries, and though it may not be as detailed as some historical fiction, I am comfortable with the idea that it will give the reader at least of taste of a real time and place.
One sidelight is that this book also has an illustrated version. I tried to capture some of the feel of a Medieval manuscript with gilded leaves, jeweled page corners and elaborate designs, though mine are created with shapes and textures from my graphic design program, Photo Impact, and reproduced throughout, instead of painstakingly hand-drawn page by page.

Mary C. Findley
blog:
Elk Jerky for the Soul
Book links:
Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion Paperback
Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion Kindle

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the author and her husband Michael Findley

Research Methodologies

Researching methodologies: primary sources

I am in love with the ability to recall an out of print book free of charge! More than anything else, this has revolutionized research by and large for those of us who write in the civil war time frame.

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Two good examples of this are Google Books and Project Gutenberg, even more so for Google since they improved their iPad app. I can now download my bookshelf to my device (it used to only read from an internet connection) and be able to treat the pdf files as a virtual book a la iBook with page turns, etc. Project Gutenberg offers a variety of book formats for any device. What the epub files offer me over Google Books is the ability to highlight and make notes via iBooks.

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Though there are some limitations still with Google Books, i.e. inability to make notes or copy text, I’m greatly satisfied with where this technology has taken us. There’s a wealth of primary source material out there that has sat in special collections for decades (one or perhaps a handful of collections depending on the source) requiring travel, working with a curator to navigate the unique file systems, and limited time for study.

I would give a word of caution regarding primary source materials, especially like the ones that I’ve been using for my own particular brand of fiction. One needs to filter out the primary motives of the author. Some of my materials (see my research page) are regimental histories written decades after the war and primarily for the survivors and their families to recount their common experiences. These contain a certain lack of objectivity (not their primary purpose) and may at times contain objective opinions or one-sided information regarding a battle or a prominent figure. These should be used for gaining a flavor of the common experience of the regiment, how they saw what was happening around them, how the author saw it (regimental histories are written by single individuals), and data on where the regiment was at any given time in the narrative. Sometimes this information can be had from other sources, but the regimental history can be relied upon for accuracy for dates and actions engaged in.

War of the Rebellion Official Records of the Union and Confederate ArmiesWar of the Rebellion Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
One favorite of mine is the Official Records of the Rebellion, a copious collection of orders of battle, field reports, correspondence, and battle reports. Not everything can be found, but one can usually find individual regiments mentioned in brigade and division reports to clarify what a unit was doing on any given date. The same can be said for normal daily operations. What I like about tracking down where a regiment was is you usually get some little snippet of anecdotal data that can only add to the narrative of your story. I like fleshing these out, placing my characters in the regiment and then building a framework of the historical record, adding scenery, characters, emotion, and conversation to build a story around the story. This is one of the best resources for this data I’ve found. These are as close as you can come to real narrative data to the events as they are often real time records.

 

Link to book

Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman With Custer's Michigan Cavalry Brigade in the Civil WarPersonal Recollections of a Cavalryman With Custer’s Michigan Cavalry Brigade in the Civil War
The second, as I’ve already alluded to above, is the regimental history. Written from a designated point of view using collected reports from its time in the war, the regimental historian builds a dialogue, sometimes first person, recounting what he and the regiment experienced. The hard marches, the battles, the politics of army life, and the synopsis of the experience that comes with time, these are the real trademark of the historian. These histories also help fill a void in building the narrative based on recorded fact. They add that flavor of tension at times, recalling events that loomed large with the regiment and giving the story arch needed to place action with fact. It does not do to have a regiment in a battle but in the wrong place (Chamberlain’s 20th Maine behind the stone wall on the third day in the Movie Gettysburg, anyone?) doing things that it never had opportunity to do because it was somewhere else. These experiences built the character of the regiment and I like using that in my novels to not only be factually accurate but to pay tribute to those men now long gone. Having this sense of commitment is important, in my opinion, to the historical fiction novelist as fact is often more entertaining than fiction.

 

Link to book

Guest Blogger, Karen Baney on Researching tips: Museums

As part of a series the next several weeks on researching methodologies employed by historical fiction authors, today I host my first guest!

Guest blogging today is best selling Historical Fiction and Romance author, Karen Baney whose Prescott Pioneers series has reached #1 in the Kindle store and whose newest release, Nickles can be found here at Amazon: Nickels
Link to GoodReads titles.
Nickels A Dream Unfolding (Prescott Pioneers, #1) A Heart Renewed (Prescott Pioneers, #2) A Life Restored (Prescott Pioneers, #3)

Research Tips and Tricks at Museums
My husband and I recently took a nice long weekend trip to Tucson, Arizona. As with most of our vacations, we worked in a trip to a few museums. I love walking into museums, smelling that old musty smell of things long past.

Then reality hits. I mean, I’m standing in the largest aircraft museum in the country. I could spend days here. How am I ever going to gather all of the information I need in one short afternoon without testing my husband’s patience?
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Normally, I’m armed with my Nikon D50 and a notepad. I take hundreds of pictures and make notes (as long as the museum permits picture taking). But this time, I brought something extra. My iPhone and this neat little app called EverNote.

Several times throughout the day, I snapped a few pictures with my iPhone, saving the shot directly into EverNote. I added a few quick notes and viola! My research notes were instantly uploaded to my account and available from my laptop, phone, and even my desktop sitting at home.

By the end of the trip, I found myself getting into a groove. If there were long text descriptions of something that I wanted to capture to read later, I used my iPhone. If I wanted the highest quality picture of an object, like the WWII airplanes, I used my Nikon and added a few notes to my paper notepad. I always jot down the picture number beside the note.

At the end of each day, I allotted an hour in the hotel room to organize the day’s notes. I loaded the pictures from my Nikon to my laptop. I went through my notepad and typed up the notes directly into EverNote. Now, when I’m ready to write my WWII series, all my notes are neatly organized and extremely accessible. I don’t have to try to remember what drawer I stuffed them in.

My tips for researching at a museum:
1. Take lots of pictures.
2. Bring a notepad.
3. Always write down the picture number and a brief note in the notepad for the pictures you’re taking.
4. Find ways to use your smart phone to work more efficiently on research trips.
5. Do a quick review of your notes at the end of each day. You’ll remember things you forgot to write down and you’ll capture them while they are fresh.
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Self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years. She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels. For more information about Karen or her books, visit http://www.karenbaney.com.

Writing Militarily pt 2

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25th Infantry, some wearing buffalo robes, Ft. Keogh, Montana 1890

Indian Wars, post-Civil War to WWI

The Indian Wars, though occupying a time frame mirroring colonization, from the Pequot War in 1637 to the Posey War in 1923 between the Ute and Paiute against Mormon settlers, the conflicts romanticized in western films cover a time between the American Civil War and the crushing of the Sioux after Little Big Horn in 1876. It can be said that the uprisings, localized conflicts between settlers and marauders, punitive expeditions, and conflicts like the French and Indian War, War of 1812, and Civil War there were incidents that pit Indians against whites or hispanics throughout our nation’s history.

In 1862, a column of infantry, cavalry, and artillery raised in California to help repel Confederate General Sibley’s New Mexico invasion never faced a confederate save for a brief skirmish in Arizona when a patrol of the 1st California Cavalry ran into a confederate held outpost at Pichacho Pass, rounding up three prisoners and scattering the rest. The numbers involved were small and the outcome already established as the confederates had little choice but to withdraw before the superior union force. Having arrived too late to affect the outcome, the remaining Union forces in New Mexico: the 1st Colorado, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd New Mexico Volunteer Infantry and the 1st California Infantry, 1st California Cavalry, 1st California Artillery spent the rest of the war fighting Apache and Navajo Indians. A visit to the Santa Fe National Cemetery will reveal remnants of Californian service in New Mexico, men who died of disease and wounds from Indian campaigning.

As before the Civil War, these frontier units were scattered about in forts established along critical trade and communication routes throughout the western states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and later Texas and Oklahoma.

The ubiquitous cavalryman from our western films wasn’t the only federal army presence in the west even after the war. The army still had several regular army regiments of infantry that were again located in the various forts. Cavalry makes for better westerns, but not for a complete view of our military at this time.

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View of markers from Last Stand Hill, Little Big Horn

The campaign undertaken in 1876 to corral the Sioux and Cheyenne who were following Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse into the Black Hills of Montana was made up of both infantry and cavalry elements, Custer’s 7th being famous among them. A column under the command of General Crook, ten companies (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I, L, and M) of the 3rd Cavalry, five (A, B, D, E, and I) of the 2nd Cavalry, two companies (D and F) of the 4th Infantry, and three companies (C, G, and H) of the 9th Infantry was attacked at the headwaters of the Rosebud River, Montana and soundly defeated just days before General Terry’s column of including twelve companies (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, and M) of the 7th Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s immediate command,[4] Companies C and G of the 17th U.S. Infantry, and the Gatling gun detachment of the 20th Infantry arrived at the mouth of the Rosebud. Custer’s 7th was to make its way up the Rosebud while Terry’s other units were to converge on the Little Big Horn River and catch the Indian encampment between two forces and disperse it. The rest is history as the 7th stumbles on the encampment first.

Infantry regiments as well as artillery units played key roles in defending frontier outposts. Know your area of interest’s history for the forts and who manned them lest you stray into more myth about the cavalry’s sole role in this time period.

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Infantry Officer's tunic button

Organizationally, there is little difference from before with the regiment still the primary unit that held ones allegiance. As before the Civil War, with a reduced regular army, units would be spread out on garrison duty so that a single company or two of infantry, a battery of artillery, and a troop or two of cavalry might be the only units present. The duties and the organization would be adapted to the need. The Indian Wars were punctuated affairs with several months of active campaigning where an entire regiment might be united for the hunt and then dispersed once again for garrison.

Patrolling would be done in one to two troops of cavalry or company sized infantry detachments. Because the enemy (from the army’s point of view) was wily and evasive, preferring hit and run to a stand up fight, the use of large numbers of men (aside from a large campaign) would be minimal. The expansive, hostile desert made operating and supplying large numbers of armed men difficult. Little patrolling was done as the fort was a presence and a response to possible Indian depredations on communication trails or settlements. The soldiers spent more hours in drill and upkeep activities than they did in actually fighting Indians.

references cited:
http://www.militarymuseum.org/CaliforniaColumn.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Little_Bighorn

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Infantry Kepi bugle

 

Writing Militarily, Pt 1 Revolution to Civil War

Camp Coffee, Civil War style

Camp Coffee

Excerpt from They Met at Shiloh:

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Scenes from Army life (library of Congress)

Revile shook Philip from his slumber in the morning chill. Huddling his arms to his chest, he lay motionless. Grunts, groans, and coughs multiplied as his comrades awoke to the fading darkness of early morning. The crackling of cook fires and smell of char replaced the once quiet of the morning fields. Resigned to being awake, Philip rubbed his eyes and sat up in his bed roll. Pushing his night cap back from his eyes and forehead, he sat for a few moments more as the clouds of sleep slowly lifted. The flickering fires cast momentary flashes of orange and red upon the tree line a few rods away, making the figures in the distance look like demons.

Philip curled his legs Indian style and drew the blanket up to his chest. Next to him, Sammy crawled out of his blanket and stood, his face drawn and eyes but mere slivers behind squinted eye lids. To his left, Mule lay motionless and huddled under his blanket.

“Mule, wake up,” Sammy croaked softly.

Philip stared at the heap for a moment and marveled at Mule’s ability to sleep through the growing clamor.

“Mule, get up,” Sammy repeated louder. “Philip, nudge him.”

Philip turned to the Mule’s form and said, “Hey, Mule. Up.”

“You know that never works. Ya’ gotta nudge ’em,” Johnny said as he sat up in his bed roll next to Mule.

“C’mon, Mule. Revile, wake up. Time to get up, Mule.” Philip shook what he thought was a shoulder, and a grunt sounded from the lump of blanket.

Mule suddenly swept the blanket off and sat up with a dumbfounded expression painted on his features. “Mornin’ already?”

“Better get moving. We probably got an hour afore we got to form,” Sammy said while he stretched and sat down to pull his brogans on.

“Who’s makin’ Kaffe?” Mule grunted and ran his thick stubby fingers through a matted lump of hair.

“It’s Philip’s turn for mess. Better get him a-goin’,” Johnny said. He brought out his tin cup.

“Ja, Kaffe.” Mule thrust his cup into Philip’s face, shaking it.

“Ok, I’m going.” Philip grabbed the cup and let it drop on the ground as he struggled out of the blanket and to his feet. “Give me the cups.”

Johnny’s cup landed by Philip’s foot. Quickly slipping his brogans on, he made his way to the company cook fire and filled the cups with water. Philip dug through his haversack to retrieve a muslin bag and loosed the string enough to form a spout. After sprinkling the crushed coffee beans onto the surface of each cup, he set them in a row around the coals. The fire pit was ringed with cups and soldiers chatting. Philip settled down at the fire’s edge and nibbled on a brick of hardtack. Staring into the fire, he imagined they were perdition’s flames, and the suddenness of the thought caused him to wonder at the irony of using them to heat the coffee.

On occasion, he had tried to teach a lesson on Hell, of its flames, pain, and thirst. Those were his worst sermons for he lacked the oratory passion to make Hell seem like Hell and not some fantastic place of the imagination. The dance of the flames also brought to his mind thoughts of war and the fires of passion that burned in the early days. Each flame flickered for a moment, and then shrank back into the coals, only to birth another.

The parishioners in his circuit had little interest in Hell and Satan and anything else that had to do with the mysteries of the spiritual realms. He couldn’t help but to teach on those topics, regardless. He knew that if he did not ponder their effects, he, too, would become complacent in his faith.

The growing sectional conflict brought out questions of war and what was the pious, spiritual response. These were questions that he could not answer even for himself. Instead, he taught respect for authority as given by God and prayed for wisdom. Leaving this all behind was a relief, for he no longer needed wrestle with answers that met ecclesiastical requirements. The flames consumed him as they did the wood that slowly disintegrated into glowing coals of red and white. In the same way, flames consumed the nation and families that composed his circuit. Their hearts burned with indignation at the affronts caused by the rebel states and against the administration for its excesses in wielding power. Few, if any, that he was specifically aware of worried about the darkies or even mentioned the issue in conversation. His own thoughts were just as vague, and he had given little thought toward it until the regiment encountered the first sad columns of contrabands in Kentucky. Seeing only ignorant and pathetic forms under ill-fitting clothing, Philip tried to move himself to the righteous indignation he thought he should feel.
He pitied their plight and the sometimes dumb and numb expressions of the oppressed. Yet, he also saw smiles and expectation in them, a reverie in camp and a willingness to show graciousness for any small kindness shown them. They carried their world upon their backs and followed the army, hoping for protection and salvation. Often, they were turned back and looked upon as a nuisance. Starving and penniless, the runaways and liberated slaves presented a reality that shook Philip to the core. For good or for ill, the status of the black man was in the balance, and no one realized that more than the slave himself.

The eastern horizon brightened slowly and cast its lightening shades of blue westward. Slowly the surface of the cups stirred with bubbles rising to the surface. Soon, they were ready to drink. Deftly pulling each one from the coals, he set them down on the fire’s edge and doused the surface with cold water to settle the coffee grounds to the bottom.

“Ah, coffee,” Sammy walked to the fire and said. He bent down to grasp his cup.
“Are we ready?” Philip asked.

“Yeah, I rolled your blanket and put it on your straps. You just need to pack your things into the sack. Your traps are set by the pack.”

Johnny grunted as he set himself next to Philip and grabbed his cup. “You got any more apricots?”
Philip dug into his haversack and tossed Johnny the bag. Mule was the last to join them, and soon each was cooling the surface of his cup and chewing hardtack. Philip handed around a bag of cooked salt pork he had prepared the evening before. The strips were greasy and chewy but would suffice for a little intake of meat until they could cook again that evening.

His mess duties finished, Philip grabbed his cup and went back to his pack. Sammy had rolled his blanket up, and it fit onto the top of his pack properly. He always had trouble getting it rolled right himself. After exchanging his night cap for his forage cap, he grabbed his testament and quickly thumbed the pages to the Book of Isaiah. He hadn’t read much in that book before the war, nor had he taught on it. Reading it now gave him comfort as he compared Judah and her call to repentance with the rebellion. Who was the guilty party? Who was the faithless? He had no idea, only a faint hope that the North was not.

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Not just for reenacting, though this can serve as a nice recipe for early war scenarios before the blessed advent of Essence of Coffee (condensed coffee sludge invented as a means of getting coffee to Union armies, packaged in tin containers and easily prepared by adding a spoonful to hot water) but also for hikers, campers, wilderness survival (coffee is a necessity).20111229-090925.jpg

For the truly adventurous, take green coffee beans. They can be stored indefinitely and will not sour. Roasting them over a griddle produces a strong coffee, but it takes practice to get the beans roasted evenly and produces a unique flavorful brew.

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If you are roasting them yourself, have something handy to crush and grind them with. I’ve tried it with a rifle butt before, it can be done but takes awhile. A muslin bag can also be bounded with something blunt, keeps the grains from spilling everywhere and can be transported easily.

2 tablespoons full of ground coffee (handful if you like)
1 tin cup with water
1 fire with hot coals

Simply put the cup next to or on some coals and sprinkle your coffee on top and allow water to come to a boil. Beans will steep nicely. Once hot enough, remove from fire and add some cold water to surface. This will settle the grounds to the bottom and you will have a nice, rich cup of coffee. Add sugar to taste and use a brick of Hardtack to skim the surface of any grounds that refused to sink.

No grinder, no heavy or large coffee pot, no electricity required and one authentic cup of coffee, a soldier’s best friend!

Writing Militarily

Sometimes a good story can miss the mark when we lack the minutia of details that can transport the reader or give our plot realism. Sometimes these details are elusive unless time has been spent living the life we wish to portray. Although a brief article on civil war or military parlance can’t make up for having lived it, I will outlay some things that I hope will be helpful in creating realistic scenes, dialogue, plots, and character arcs.

I have always been a military history buff, the American Civil War being my favorite area of research but most periods of wars have drawn my interest. I’ve also been both a Civil War and WWII reenactor for over ten years.

One thing, no matter what period one is writing about, it was probably an era of conflict. What we see in movies and television is often inaccurate or cliché. Until the Second World War introduced a large and permanent standing army, our wars were fought by volunteer armies raised from state levees and disbanded as soon as peace was achieved. This brings the type of movie character we are familiar with, the fatherly sergeant, the young and inexperienced privates, into conflict with a very real dynamic that existed between soldiers and the command structure used at the time. For the Civil War time period, picking one or two published journals like Hardtack and Coffee by John Billings or Company Aytch by Samuel Watkins will give you an idea of soldier life. Another great resource is The Life of Billy Yank and The Life of Johnny Reb by Bell Irvin Wiley.
Do not assume that the army organization and functionality has remained static. Organization and how armies were used changed with tactics and wars. Here’s a quick guide to the basic elements of an army unit. These exist in any branch of the army (cavalry, artillery).

For Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican American War, Civil War, and Spanish American War the basic element was the company. The reason for this is that fire is massed in a tight formation, two ranks. The smallest element in the company was the comrades in arms, a group of four men who made up a skirmish group.

The next formation up was the battalion, a grouping of companies under the second in command of a regiment. It is rare that this unit is separated from the regiment but a battalion could be sent off on a small mission where it is not expected to run into much resistance. Picket (a string of vedettes along a long line like on a river bank separating forces or spread out along a line of miles whose purpose is to be an early warning for the larger force behind it) and garrison duty would be the only reason a battalion might be separated from their regiment.

The primary unit of all of these time periods was the regiment, made up of 10 companies that march, bivouac, and fight together. Volunteer regiments (as opposed to regular army regiments) were raised by the states and federalized for national service. They retained their state designation and the governor of each state had the power to grant commissioned officers. Volunteers were raised from each county in the state, sometimes from specific counties in the state and the volunteers being formed into companies from those who volunteered from that county, so that one served with men one knew already. This was a consistent practice up to WWII. Officers and noncommissioned officers would be elected after the formation of each company or the captaincy of each company would be commissioned by the governor and other commissioned officers by the same process. When writing about soldiers in these time periods, it was the regiment that held their allegiance most and governed their daily lives.

The next unit of note was the brigade, made up of between three to four regiments. When reading about these various wars and battles, one often runs into the brigade being mentioned most as tactics governed the movements of brigade sized units about the battlefield.
The third and fourth unit was the division (made up of three to four brigades) and the corps (made up of three to four divisions). These are forces made up of thousands of men and controlled by the commander of the army.

The last organization is the army, a grouping together in a geographical theater of operations (a term meaning anything from a state to a region to an entire continent). An army was usually comprised of a variety of organizational schemes. For instance, as the civil war progressed and the need to control the vast armies grew, army commanders used a variety of methods to group regiments and brigades together. Up until 1862 the largest designation was the division or, as at Fredericksburg, Right, Center, and Left Grand Divisions made up of several divisions. After the Union disaster of Fredericksburg, Corps were formed and Union armies kept these designations and organization for the duration of the war. The Confederate forces used different means of organizing itself and never adopted the Corps structure.

Writing Militarily, how to write with the pre WWI military in mind

Writing Militarily, Pt. 2 Indian Wars to WWI