Miami writer Robert Kofman has released “General Meade,” a novel of the Civil War soldier. The book in paperback (Lion Valley Publishing/$14.99) has connections to early Florida, according to the author. Meade was assigned by the army to scout locations in Florida, one of those locations now the town of Fort Meade. Additionally, Meade designed and built lighthouses along the Florida coast.
Question: How did the idea for a novel about General Meade Surface?
Kofman: “I chose to write a novel from Meade’s perspective because it tells the story of the Army of the Potomac whose nemesis was Robert E. Lee. It’s a dramatic story that not only includes battles like Gettysburg, where Meade defeated the seemingly invincible Lee, but also turbulent politics, congressional investigations and news reporting worthy of the label ‘fake news.’”
Question: How accurate are the events in your story?
Kofman: “The story very accurately depicts real military and political events. All the characters in the novel such as Meade, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant are historic figures. The many battles where Meade fought Lee, including Gettysburg, Antietam, Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, are accurately depicted. Abraham Lincoln’s role as Commander-In-Chief and his frequent visits to Meade’s Army of the Potomac are historic facts.”
Question: Florida has a lingering distaste for Yankee soldiers. Placing him in Florida, is that helpful in telling a bigger story?
Kofman: “Meade had ties to nineteenth century Florida. Incorporating these connections tells some early Florida history and provides a fuller picture of Meade. The army sent Meade to Florida in 1849 to scout locations for forts to fight the Seminole Indians. The town of Fort Meade in Polk County is named for him. Meade, who was an army engineer, returned to Florida in the 1850s to design and build lighthouses. He erected lighthouses in the Florida Keys on Sand Key, Craysfort Reef and Sombrero Key. He designed but did not build the lighthouse at Jupiter Inlet.
Question: Advice to those considering historical fiction, to anyone considering a book?
Kofman: “Writing historical fiction requires a good deal of research. If possible, travel to locales where the story takes place. For this book I made multiple trips to the battlefields where Meade and the Army of the Potomac fought.”