WHY I Wrote A Civil War Fantasy In Stark Contrast To My Earlier Nonfiction Book

In 2000 my book, Little Mac: Demise of an American Hero, was published. General George B. McClellan over the years acquired a rather belittled reputation. Much of the reason was political. You see McClellan was a conservative Democrat and the sainted Lincoln whom he ran against in the 1864 presidential contest was a moderate Republican, and of course winners write the history.

Though the General did have his faults they were nowhere near to the degree which twentieth historians went about trashing his early in the American Civil War generalship. So I did my bit to try and set the record straight.

Actually the well-educated and highly polished McClellan had a low opinion of the rather crude Abraham Lincoln. The general never really caught on to the fact that behind the president’s endless stock of funny stories, often very boring and time wasting tales for an extremely busy general-in-chief, was a man of deep human understanding.

That the two good at heart men never really clicked and thus often worked at cross purposes, when McClellan severed as Lincoln’s top general for some 17 months starting in July 1861, was an American tragedy, as it did much to lengthen America’s most bloody war.

Therefore I thought it most interesting to speculate as to how history might have been changed for the better had the two men been somehow brought to an intense appreciation of one another.

And so my short story fantasy was born, McClellan’s Dreams. In this sort of Charles Dickens fantasy a Black man with the demeanor of today’s much beloved actor, Morgan Freeman, comes to McClellan in his dreams, warning him that should he continue to avoid taking the president into his inner most confidence bad things would be manifested for he and his country.

In any event McClellan’s Dreams was posted back a few months here on Medium for your free enjoyment. Give it a whirl.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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