Using actual historical events adds a layer of interest to your story. Be accurate and responsible when researching. Use primary resources when possible (diaries, letters, first-hand accounts). Avoid sites where anyone can add anything. Yes, there is a lot of false information wafting through the internet. You will be amazed at the bizarre things that happen in real life.
For example, did you know that Confederate president Jefferson Davis hid hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold and silver from the Yankees when they invaded Richmond, Virginia in 1865? Did you know that it hasn't been accounted for?
Read more in my second book Still Faithful coming soon on Amazon.com.