At last I have gotten a real handle on this story I'm telling. I have been so bogged down in preliminary research -- and there's quite a bit to know about the Civil War in western North Carolina -- that it's been hard to narrow down and focus on the story I want to tell. But my characters are telling me their stories now and leading me where they want me to go so I am doing research as I go.
I now know more than I did about bandages (lint) of the era; I know that germ theory was not widely known; I know about scarlet fever and muzzle loaders and how Quakers use thee and thou.
If not for the Internet . . . but I can't even imagine writing a book like this without it -- or a team of research librarians.
The main points are in the books I have at hand (though they contradict one another more than one could wish.) But the little everyday things that make a story come to life, that make a reader feel he's really there, that's where Mr. Google is so helpful.
I went from wondering what sort of bandage would be used to realizing that Polly and her friends might well have a bandage rolling party -- I know I've read about something of the sort in books of the era.
The weather is chilly and mostly gray -- not conducive to pictures but good for writing. Of which more later.. Just now I have to find out what instrument a doctor would use to extract a ball (from a Colt 1851 Navy Revolver) lodged against a rib . . .
Oh, the places I'll go....