James Dabney McCabe, Jr. was born in Richmond, Virginia on July 30, 1842, the son of James D. McCabe, an Episcopal clergyman and editor. Educated at Virginia Military Institute, McCabe spent the war period writing plays (The Guerilla); pamphlets ("Fanaticism and Its Results. By a Southerner"); war stories, ("The Aide de Camp"); biographies (Stonewall Jackson ), Robert E. Lee ); poetry ("The Sword of Harry Lee"); history (The Gray Jackets ) and a journal, Magnolia Weekly [1863-64]. He also served in the Confederate War Department for a time.
Following the war McCabe continued his prolific writing in Boston, New York (where for a time he apparently worked for Fithian and Co., Virginia Tobacco Merchants), and finally in Germantown, Pennsylvania, where he died on January 27, 1883.
His later works (some written under a pseudonym, Edward Winslow Martin) include Paris by Sunlight and Gaslight (1869), Great Fortunes and How They Were Made (1871), History of the War Between Germany and France (1871), Lights and Shadows of New York (1872), Behind the Scenes in Washington (1873), History of the Grange Movement (1874), Centennial History of the United States (1875), Pathways of the Holy Land (1877), National Encyclopedia of Business and Social Forms (1879), Our Martyred President (1871) and Our Young Folk in Africa (1882).