Or rather, how to write a historically accurate Civil War battle scene as a retired teacher in the 21st century. One of the most difficult sections to write about in my book was how to get my central character, Truman Haden, in and out of one of the most horrific battles in the Civil War. I wanted to ensure that the scene was realistic and engaging, but also true to the character’s abilities and the story. Truman was an older conscript, a lawyer, not used to strenuous physical activity. A solitary man, he had spent his lifetime relying on no one. He had little understanding of weaponry, tactics and combat. How was he going to survive a battle? What was he going to feel like as he watched the enemy move towards him, his feet pressed against the earthworks with an impenetrable wilderness behind him?
How in the world was I going to make him feel and act in an authentic manner? Even more, how was I going to allow the battle experience to change him?