One of the pleasures of writing is meeting with people who are expert in what I am writing about. One such person, Mitch Yockelson, Ph.D., works for the National Archives in College Park, MD. The author of Borrowed Soldiers: Americans under British Command, he is one of the most knowledgeable writers about the Battle of Bellicourt Tunnel, and, specifically the 30th and 27th Divisions of the American Expeditionary Force’s II Corps. Soldiers from South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee principally made up the 30th. These soldiers are the main characters in the novel I am writing about them in the Battle of Bellicourt Tunnel.
Dr. Yockelson and I conversed at the National Archives.
When we were saying good bye he said that he admires historical novelists, books like my own The Angel of Mons. I answered that I marvel at historians who can write books like Borrowed Soldiers. His book is ripe with detail, drawing on a vast store of resources. I got a good of who these American soldiers were, and what brought them to this battle. Since I have a special need for the information, I am grateful to Dr. Yockelson to have undertaken the writing of this record.
Already, I have met with others expert in facets of the battle. These memorable meetings and friendships are one of the great pleasures for me.