The Dream Of General McClellan
He had not been sleeping more than ten minutes when it seemed that the locked door of his room was suddenly thrown open, and someone strode up to him and in a voice terrible with power spoke: "General McClellan, do you sleep at your post? Rouse you, or ere it can be prevented, the foe will be in Washington."
He started up, but whether he was really awake he was never able to decide. The table covered with maps was still before him, but the furniture, the walls of the room were no longer visible. Instead, he was gazing upon a living map including the entire area of the country from the Mississippi river to the Atlantic ocean.
As he looked upon the great map, McClellan was amazed to see the movements of the various troops and regiments and a complete pattern of the enemy's lines and distribution of forces. The General was immediately infused with a great elation, for he felt that the movements on this extraordinary map would enable him to bring the war to a speedy and victorious termination.
Then his elation changed to great apprehension, he saw the enemy's forces moving to certain points which he himself had intended to occupy within the next few days. He quieted realized that in some way his plans were known to the enemy.
Then again the voice spoke. "General McClellan, you have been betrayed. And had God not willed otherwise, ere the sun of tomorrow had set the Confederate flag would have waved above the Capitol and your own grave. But note what you see. your time is short."
His pencil moving with the speed of thought, McClellan transferred the troop positions from the living map to the paper map on his desk. When this had been done, McClellan became aware that the fiqure standing near him had increased in light and glory until it shone like the noonday sun. As he raised his eyes he looked into the face of George Washington.
The first President with the sublime and gentle dignity looked upon the bewildered officer, and spoke as follows: "General McClellan, while yet in the flesh I beheld the birth of the American Republic. It was indeed a hard and bloody one, but God's blessing was upon the nation and, therefore through this, her first great struggle for existence, He sustained her and with His mighty hand brought her out triumphantly. A century has not yet passed since then, and yet the child Republic has taken her position of peer with nations whose pages of history extend for ages into the past. She has, since those dark days, by the favour of God, greatly prospered. And now, by very reason of this prosperity, has she been brought to her second great struggle. This is by far the most perilous ordeal she has to endure; passing as she is from childhood to opening maturity, she is called on to accomplish the vast result, self-conquest; to learn that important lesson, self-control, self-rule, that in the future will place her in the van of power and civilization..."But her mission will not then be finished; for ere another century shall have gone by, the oppressors of the whole earth, hating and envying her exaltation, shall join themselves together to raise up their hands against her. But if she still be found worthy of her high calling they shall surely be discomfitted, and then will be ended her third and last great struggle for existence. Thence-forth shall the Republic go on, increasing in power and goodness, until her borders shall end only in the remotest corners of the earth, and the whole earth shall beneath her shadowing wing become a Universal Republic. Let her in her prosperity, however remember the Lord her God, her trust be always in Him, and she shall never be confounded."
Manly P. Hall