On September 16, 1862 Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan confronted Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn September 17, Hooker’s corps mounted a powerful assault on Lee’s left flank that began the single bloodiest day in American military history. Attacks and counterattacks swept across Miller’s cornfield and fighting swirled around the Dunker Church. Union assaults against the Sunken Road eventually pierced the Confederate center, but the Federal advantage was not followed up. Late in the day, Burnside’s corps finally got into action, crossing the stone bridge over Antietam Creek and rolling up the Confederate right. At a crucial moment, A.P. Hill’s division arrived from Harpers Ferry and counterattacked, driving back Burnside and saving the day. Although outnumbered two-to-one, Lee committed his entire force, while McClellan sent in less than three-quarters of his army, enabling Lee to fight the Federals to a standstill. During the night, both armies consolidated their lines. In spite of crippling casualties, Lee continued to skirmish with McClellan throughout the 18th, while removing his wounded south of the river. McClellan did not renew the assaults. After dark, Lee ordered the battered Army of Northern Virginia to withdraw across the Potomac into the Shenandoah Valley.
Closely related to George Washington’s Vision, but not as well known is the vision given to General George B. McClellan, one of the generals who took part in the second peril (or test) against America.
The only source I know concerning this Vision is the Evening Courier of Portland, Maine. It carries a lengthy account of a vision purporting to be the General’s own words. The General was alive at the time and could have reputed the account and demanded an immediate retraction if it were false!
General McClellan is not as well known as other military leaders, in America, but he did serve his country well, despite his faults and his disagreements with President Lincoln which eventually led to his removal from his Command. At the time of this vision, McClellan had gone to Washington, D.C. to take over the command of the United States Army. This being the third day since his arrival, he was working, at two o’clock at night, over the reports of scouts and checking his maps. Being weary from work he leaned his head on his arms on the table and fell asleep.
In about ten minutes the locked door suddenly opened, and in strode someone, right up to him and in a voice of authority said: “General McClellan, do you sleep at your post? Rouse you, or ere it can be prevented, the foe will be in Washington.
The General then gives some details of his strange feelings. Seemingly suspended in infinite space from a hollow distance above him, he heard a voice. He started up – not really knowing whether he was awake or not. The walls of the room, with its furniture and other objects were no longer visible, but the maps covering the table were still before him. Then, he was gazing upon a living map of America from the Mississippi river to the Atlantic Ocean.
The General was unable to identify the being standing before him, only a vapor having the general outline of a man.
Then he looked at the mysterious map before him and was amazed to see the movements of the various troops and had a complete picture of the the enemy’s lines and distribution of forces. Being greatly elated, he felt he now knew what strategy to use to end the way speedily and victoriously.
But then the elation gave way to great apprehension, because on this moving map, he saw the enemy’s soldiers moving to the very position he had intended to occupy a few days. He then knew that the enemy was aware of his plan of attack.
Then the voice spoke again, “General McClellan, you have been betrayed. And had not God willed otherwise, ere the sun had set the Confederate flag would have waved above the Capitol and your own grave. But note what you see. Your time is short.”
Noting the movement of troops of on the living map- he took his pencil and transferred their position to the paper map on his desk. Then McClellen was aware of the figure near becoming luminous with light and glory, bright as the noonday sun. Then raising his view he looked into the face of George Washington.
Sublime and dignified our first President looked upon the bewildered General and spoke the following: “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, though this, her first great struggle for existence, He sustained her and with His mighty had brought her out triumphantly. A century has not 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 favor of God, greatly prospered. And how, by very reason of this prosperity, has been brought to her second great struggle. This if by far the most perilous ordeal she has; passing as she is from childhood to opening maturity, she is called on to accomplish that vast result, 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 and raise up their hands against her. But if she shall be found worthy of her high calling they shall surely be discomfited, and then will be ended her third and last great struggle for existence. Thenceforth shall the Republic go on, increasing in power and goodness, until he 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.” After this, Washington raised his hand over the General’s Head in blessing and immediately a peal of thunder rumbled through space. McClellan awoke with a start and found himself in his room and spread out before him on the table were his maps.
In viewing the maps, he noticed a difference, for they were covered with marks, signs, and figures which he had made during the vision.
The General had to walk around the room to realize he was actually awake. Then, taking another look at the maps he found the markings still there. Realizing this experience was Divinely given, he ordered his horse saddled and went from camp to camp ordering changes to be made, which were necessary to frustrate the enemy’s planned offensive. The strategy was successful and prevented the City of Washington from being captured. The Confederate Army, at that time was so close that Abraham Lincoln sitting in the White House could hear the roar of Confederate artillery.
Thus the Union was saved and General McClellan concludes his account of his Vision with these words.:
“Our beloved, glorious Washington shall again rest quietly, sweetly in his tomb, until perhaps the end of the Prophetic Century approaches that is to bring the Republic to a third and final struggle, when he may once more laying aside the crements of Mount Vernon, become a Messenger of Succor and Peace from the Great Ruler, who has all all Nations of this Earth in His keeping.
“But the future is too vast for our comprehension; we are children of the present. When peace shall have folded her bright wings and settled our land the strange, unearthly map marked while the Spirit eyes of Washington looked down, shall be preserved among American Archives as a precious reminder to the American nation what in their second great struggle for existence, they owe to God and the Glorified Spirit of Washington. Verily the works of God are above the understanding of man!”
A point of interest;
George McClellan was considered a mediocre General by many. The battle of Antietam was out of Character for him, so much so. That month after, President Lincoln gave control of the Army to another General saying” since you’re not going to use the army then you won’t mind if I use it for a while”. I believe the testimony of McClellan’s war record and the battle of Antietam give credence to the authenticity of this vision, that the Lord used McClellan through a vision to stop the enemy. ……..R.F.