Despite all of the traveling this summer, I've made some progress on the Branch-Lane manuscript. I've been working on a chapter about daily life. The first part of this chapter actually walks a reader through what a normal (non-campaign) day was like. I covered things like sleeping arrangements, roll call, food, drill, guard mounting/pickets, dress parades, and down time, while Sundays brought inspections and church services. The rest of the chapter deals with other aspects of daily life, like writing and getting letters from home, camp fun, gambling, snowball fights, music, visitors in camp, hygiene, and accidents. Yet to be included are sections on getting paid and clothing. Handled in other chapters will be the whole medical aspect (there was a sick call every morning), and military disciple.
In the past, I have integrated the daily life into the chronological sequence of the book. I thought with the Branch-Lane brigade book that I could probably better explain what life was like by keeping it all together. I guess you, the readers, will tell me what worked better.
In writing a brigade history, I have found scores of illustrations from their letters to illustrate the various points. That's great. But, at the same time, I can only use a couple out of maybe ten or more. It is a challenge, but I hope you will enjoy what I've come up with. The Daily Life chapter will probably be the largest chapter in the book.
It is my hope to have the Daily Life chapter finished up by the end of the week. Then it is on to Chancellorsville. I image this will be the most challenging, considering the number of things written regarding the mortal wounding of Jackson.
Onward and upward....