So I'm writing a medieval epic fantasy book, as one does.
I've read in a few places that armies should have camp followers, but frankly, I'm not sure what that means or how that might operate.
As I understand it, these would be families of soldiers/craftsmen/etc that follow the soldiers (generally with the baggage train?), but - apart from the families, obviously - would they seek these people out and bring them with them? Would they pick them up along the way, with people just tagging along in order to try to sell stuff to the soldiers?
I read somewhere that the army also feeds the followers, which makes me think that anyone who joins would have to be approved (if not sought out specifically) by them.
(This is the relevant one) If an army passes through hostile territory, would it make sense for someone to blend in with these people and get close to the army like that, in order to sabotage their equipment or something similar?
Thanks in advance.
(Also apologies in advance if this is a bit of a dumb question, I've been able to find very little and what I did find is like American Civil war stuff.)