Researching Hiram’s War

 

 

Mine Creek 1
Photo of the location of the Civil War Battle of Mine Creek in Kansas taken July 7, 2018

The Civil War: Too Big for Me

I knew as I was writing the final pages of Hiram’s Boy, that the next story in the Pierce Family Saga would have to include the Civil War. The thought was intimidating. How many battles should my characters be part of? How would I ever do all the research? Then, sometime in January 2018, I started thinking about Civil War battles fought in Kansas. A bit of research led me to the Battle of Mine Creek, which took place on October 25, 1864.

The Research Trip

When I mentioned my brilliant idea to a group of writer friends, Cheryl Unruh said, “Road trip!” I immediately said, “Yes!” We had thought to visit the Mine Creek Museum in April, but time passed without a definite date. Then on Saturday, July 7, I got a text from Cheryl saying the day was the coolest we would probably get for a while, so let’s go. And we did.

The Museum

The museum is in a rural area off Highway K-52 near Pleasanton, Kansas. Upon signing in, we were greeted by a member of the museum staff. I explained my interest in the battle and was handed a fabulous brochure, which I will say more about later. Then we wandered through the indoor exhibits, which included fashions, bullets, and a cannon replica, as well as large information posters about the battle sequence and soldiers involved. Then Chery and I went outside to view the battlefield. By that time, it was mid-afternoon and too warm for me to make the hike through the field and read the signs, but as you can see from the picture at the top of this post, it was a beautiful Kansas day.

The Brochure

I didn’t look at the brochure I was given until that evening when I got home. My first reaction when I opened it was “Wow!” I still keep saying “Wow!” every time I look at it. This has got to be the absolute best, most informative brochure ever. The entire Price Campaign of 1864 is shown, along with the battles and dates from September through November. Below that map is a brief description of what happened at each point in the campaign. On the reverse side of the brochure is a detailed accounting of the actual Battle of Mine Creek. there are two large maps and two small ones, each showing different views, along with a summary of the action on the day of the battle. This one brochure gives me a wonderful timeline for presenting the action in the novel.

What’s Next?

Given what I’ve learned about the Battle of Mine Creek and what happened in the days before it was fought, I’ve found a title for Book 4 of the Pierce Family Saga: Hiram’s War. I’ll be writing more about that in the next post.

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about this little-publicized battle on Kansas soil, check out their¬†museum page. The research links are going to be high-priority for me as I gather more information for Hiram’s War.

 

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November 2: Still in the Game

blog nov 2 trifecta b

I’m feeling a little crazier tonight than I did yesterday, but I’m keeping up for the moment. Here’s my report.

NaNoWriMo

The goal is 1667 words per day. I have a total of 4158 for the two days, so I am over goal. After writing a couple of hours at home, I attended my Emporia group’s kickoff party at the public library and wrote another 1,000 words.

Fiction MOOC

I’m barely hanging on here. My assignment is due tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. I need three characters who disagree about an event and place in which they were all present in the past, and I need to include a present setting, all in 800 to 1,000 words. The characters will be Hiram Pierce, the father, Ambrose Pierce, 14, and Lucy Pierce, 13. The current setting will be their new house. The previous setting will be the cabin they built and lived in when the first moved to Hidden Springs. The event is the death of Minerva Pierce, Hiram’s wife. Given the lateness of tonight’s hour, I will have to do some fast writing tomorrow. The good news is that the words will count for NaNoWriMo, too.

Blogging 201

Today, I checked out features and themes. When I chose the theme for this blog, I thought it was responsive. Now, I cannot find that word in any of the description of the features. I did see that it would work on mobile devices, so I’m hoping that is the same thing. I found information on how to make the menu the way I want it, but I didn’t have time to do that. There is tomorrow.

That’s it for today. I’m stumbling off to bed, probably to a night of wide-awake thoughts on one or all three of the above subjects.