New Project!

So, I really want to get started on my next project, but I know I need to finish my current one (as of the time of me writing this). Then I was going to work on some shorter fiction to submit for Tor’s “The Imprint” before going through the first revision of Sky Islands, including possibly coming up with a better title (“Sky Islands” kind of sucks). But, maybe I’ll begin work on project 2 before revising to give myself some space in between.

There’s only one problem with my next project: it would be historical fiction, and I know very little actual information about the time period.

So, the story would begin sometime in 1862, with the main character (MC) being a soldier for the Union Army in the American Civil War. The reason I chose this year is because one of the plot points would revolve around the Emancipation Proclamation, which was given January 1, 1863. Then the story moves out west and spans the next up to twenty years.

My main problem is that I need to know about:

  1. Civil War battles
  2. Civil War POWs
  3. Life in the west during the late 1800’s

I know #3 is extremely broad, but my only understanding of the “wild west” comes from a limited number of films and playing Red Dead Redemption. Not the most trustworthy of sources in the world.

This brings me to my request: does anyone know of any good books or documentaries that accurately depict any of those three topics? I really want this project to be good, but I need to know some information before I can even begin my rough outline. Please, if you know of a source that can help, leave it in the comments.

Also, I have posted some questions on the Ask a Historian subreddit, but they have gone unanswered for a while, so that does not seem to be a good place for getting information.

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