Jim Proffitt ’70 can now add author to his list of occupations which already includes naval officer, engineer and educator. The Illinois College assistant professor of management and organizational leadership has expanded upon his love of reading about history by penning a historical fiction novel set during the months before the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Manchester Bluff: A Civil War Novel
tells the story of a young Illinois College student, Jason Alexander, whose education was unexpectedly halted when his school, Illinois College, closes in 1862. Rather than finishing his education, Alexander must travel to Washington D.C., to report to the War Department. During this journey he is accompanied by Anna Ella Carroll, a friend of President Abraham Lincoln. As they travel across country, Alexander saves Carroll from an attack by a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle. She goes on to mentor Alexander in Washington as he confronts War Department politics and enemies of the Union.
“I grew up in a historically significant town and teach at the oldest college in the state, so my love of history is definitely an important factor in my life,” Proffitt explained during a recent interview with the Jacksonville Journal-Courier. He continued, “My hope is that readers will love the story and appreciate the history that is softly woven throughout Manchester Bluff.”