Detail: an occupational hazard of writing historical fiction.
A few days ago I was able to block out an hour to write. I had outlined the scene, and knew exactly what I wanted to get out of the session. I started hammering away at the keyboard and was making excellent progress; then I stalled. The culprit? A greatcoat. Or the lack thereof.
I was describing a man outdoors in British Army uniform in late 1776. I was about to put a greatcoat on him, but then I wondered, “Did the British troops have greatcoats in 1776?” I think they were issued them by the Peninsular Campaign, but that’s several decades later. I’ve been in the Army for 24 years and am on my THIRD camouflage pattern! Surely greatcoats could have been introduced!
At any rate, the greatcoat conundrum robbed me of about 30 minutes of writing time. Sad, but details like that add to the authenticity of the work, so I suppose it was time well spent.
And no, the British infantry were NOT issued individual greatcoats. Poor buggers!