His Name is Jacob Harris

by J.J. McFarland with Wm. Francis Herlehy III

His Name is Jacob Harris: A few years ago, while doing some ancestral research, the author discovered his great-great grandfather Jacob (Jake) McFarland and his brother Lorenzo were adopted by the McFarland family when they were quite young. Both served with the 51st Virginia Infantry during the Civil War and both survived the war. In His Name is Jacob Harris, these two characters and others are plunged into an environment during the Civil War that includes the Confederate Secret Service, who began planning subversive activities to encourage the northwest states to secede from the Union and form its own Confederacy. Many of these activities are still relatively unknown to many readers.  Several other well-known secret patriotic organizations, such as the Knights of the Golden Circle, etc., played critical roles in carrying out sabotage against Northern line-of-communication, transportation networks and national elections. The story describes in detail blockade activities of the Union Navy, the creation by the South of an ocean-going Naval threat against Union shipping, and the smuggling of arms from Liverpool to the Port of Charleston. The characters are all involved in the intrigue and danger, and the main character, Jacob Harris, is torn between his love for two women, including Lilly, a stunning beauty and Confederate spy, and Annie back home.

This spy/love story speaks to the tragedy of the Civil War—the heartbreak of loss on both sides and to the reality of history. This war provided many lessons and introduced many great men on both sides of the conflict. Many of the Confederate officers, such as Robert E. Lee, were former Union officers and West Point graduates. Several, from both sides, fought together in the Mexican War. The call of protestors and politicians to tear down the statues of Confederate leaders and generals makes us wonder where this will end and what the cost will be. This book introduces the reader to elements of the war not often discussed in other books. Surprises in it might challenge current thinking on the war between the states and the brave men who fought it.