One of the more enjoyable parts of writing about a historical event or period is that the writer must learn about that which he is going to write. One book I found to be an excellent source was Empires at War by William M. Fowler.
With the information gathered from this book I scoured the Web for information on the battles and the personalities involved in this, the real first world war. Websites maintained by the various forts and historical sites proved to be lucrative places to learn. Also invaluable were the various pages devoted to Native American life and history; especially when finding names and learning about the daily life of the Mohawk, Shawnee, Ojibway, Ottawa and the many other tribes affected by the war. Wikipedia was also an important source, so much so that I even ponied up a few bucks for this incredible site. These tools were relied upon heavily when writing about a historical character. I tried to represent them as truthfully as possible, e.g. most British officers had a disdainful attitude toward the colonial troops at their disposal and that trait is evident in men like General John Braddock, Colonel Munro, etc, etc. For the person of George Washington I attempt to show him as an intelligent and compassionate man and leader. This period of his life is one of learning the craft of war and learning the craft of dealing with politicians, important steppingstones to the man he will become. In the case of the Ottawa war chief, Pontiac, I found extreme opinions on his actual part in the conflict called Pontiac’s Rebellion. I chose to portray him as a sort of Vercingetorix, uniting the tribes in order to overthrow their new masters, the British.
However, a writer does not live on research alone. Nay, the author must still call upon his/her muse because stuff still needs to be made up. More in part 3.