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Full text of "Billy Hamilton; a novel"

amllton 




Archibald Clavering Gunter 



THE UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

LIBRARY 




THE WILMER COLLECTION 

OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS 

PRESENTED BY 

RICHARD H. WILMER, JR. 



u 



JjVlLMEACOLLECl 



Digitized by tlie Internet Arcliive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



http://www.archive.org/details/billyhamiltonnovOOgunt 



Billy Hamilton 



A NOVEL 



BY 



Archibald Claverinq Qunter 



AUTHOR OF 



"Mr. Barnes of New York," " Bob Covington," etc., etc. 



NEW YORK 
THE HOriE PUBLISHING COHPANY 

3 EAST FOURTEENTH STREET 



Copyright, 1898, 
By a. C. GUNTER. 

All rights reserved. 



CONTENTS. 



BOOK I. 



HOW STONEWALL JACKSON CAME TO FREDERICK. 

CHAPTER PAOH 

I. The Cavalry Picket at Norton's Ferry. ... 7 

II. A Sweet Prisoner 21 

III. Who the Duce is She ? 36 

IV. Stonewall Jackson asks a few Questions. . 49 
V. " Find her, and — make love to her " 57 

BOOK II. 

THE PROVOST-MARSHAL AT BALTIMORE. 

VI. Major Ananias of Stuart's Cavalry 67 

VII. A Blow in the Dark 77 

VIII. The Luncheon at Guy's 85 

J.X. " Give me five minutes alone with her ". . . 96 

BOOK III. 

A BEAUTIFUL ENIGMA. 

X. Washington in 1862 104 

XI. Mr. Arago's Treasury Girl 117 

XII. Baker's Secret Service. 125 

XIII. Mrs. Senator Bream's Dance 132 

XIV. The Belle of the Army 142 

XV. The Cigar Store near the War Department. 152 

XVI. Special Order No. 1410., . , .,,....., 164 

602934 



4 CONTENTS 

BOOK IV. 

THE BATTLE FOR HER LIFE. 

CHAPTBR PAGB 

XVII. The Touch of the Mouchard 176 

XVIII. The Nuptials of Damocles 188 

XIX. Lammersdorff the Sutler 200 

XX. Dead Men tell no Tales 212 

XXI. A Night at Port Tobacco 219 

XXII. Quashie, the Secesh Negro 231 

XXIII. " I have been traitor enough " 242 

BOOK V. 

THE BATTLE FOR HER LOVE. 

XXIV. " I will go to the Rebel capital " 251 

XXV. Major Billy Hamilton, C. S. A 262 

XXVI. By Day in Richmond 272 

XXVII. By Night in Richmond 283 

XXVIII. The Drooping Colors ... 293 

XXIX. The JEgxs of the Dead President 305 

Appendix 316 



BILLY HAMILTON. 

BOOK I. 

HOW STONEWALL JACKSON CAME TO 
FREDERICK. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE CAVALRY PICKET AT NORTON's FERRY. 

It is night on the Potomac — the night of the 4th of 
September of the year of our Lord eighteen hundred 
and sixty-two ; when one man's hand is against an- 
other man's hand ; when the shadow of a bush may 
conceal a Confederate sharpshooter ; when the hght of 
a firefly may develop into the flash of an Enfield whose 
whistling bullet will bring death — this night when I, 
William Fairfax Hamilton, captain in command of a 
troop of the First Union Kentucky Cavalry, am guard- 
ing Norton's Ford on the Upper Potomac, and prevent- 
ing the carrying of goods contraband of war, medicines 
for the Confederate service, despatches from Washing- 
ton spies, and the crossing of innocent Maryland farm- 
ers into Virginia to give the Southern generals notice 
of our movements. 

In addition to this, my instructions specially charge 
me to furnish, by courier riding for his life, the earliest 
news of the crossing of the advance divisions of the 
Confederate army under Stonewall Jackson, now ex- 
pected to invade Maryland. 

The bulk of my command occupies a knoll covered 
with second growth of pine and fir, distant fifty yards 
from the river, along whose banks my sentries are 
placed. 

5 



6 BILLY HAMILTON. 

Immediately behind me, a few yards away, is the 
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, crossed at this point by a 
small bridge, which of course is also guarded. Beyond 
this is the rolling valley of the Monocacy River, which 
running down from Frederick City joins the Potomac 
some mile and a half away. To the north, Sugar Loaf 
Mountain rises. To the west, something over two miles 
distant, is The Point of Rocks, where the Baltimore 
& Ohio Railway, coming through the great limestone 
cliffs of the Potomac gorge from Harper's Ferry — now 
occupied by General White and Colonel Miles and 
eleven thousand Union soldiers — turns sharply to the 
north and runs up the Monocacy Valley on its way to 
Washington, passing south of Frederick. 

These details of scenery are not apparent to my eye, 
everythmg being shrouded in the gloom of a summer 
night, the sky just now made dark by some passing 
thunder clouds. 

To prevent surprise, or loss of men by sharpshooters, 
I have ordered no camp-fires shall be lighted this 
warm September evening. 

I peer into the inky blackness and my feelings are 
more gloomy than the night itself, as I think of the de- 
moralization in the capital, which I had left but five 
days before, being hastily ordered on this service, when 
Washington was shaking with fear of capture, after 
Pope's defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run, and the 
Cabinet and War Office were appealing to General 
McClellan to reorganize the army and save Maryland 
to the Union. 

I have just returned from my rounds, after very care- 
fully inspecting the sentries posted near the banks of 
the river, which is now in this September so low as to 
be easily fordable, and consequently more difficult to 
properly patrol and guard. My ears being very wide 
open to catch any sound from the direction of the Vir- 
ginia shore which may proclaim the approach of Lee's 
victorious legions to the boundaries of Maryland— my 
State — the conversation from some near-by members 
of my troop, who do not discern me in the dark- 
ness, comes sharply to my hearing proclaiming that my 
subordinates appreciate my situation as clearly as I 
do. 

" I jist about guess," floats to me in Yankee twang, 



BILLY HAMILTON. 7 

"that if the Rebs swoop over here and capture ' My 
INIaryland, ' it 11 be tarnation hard on the Cap." 

"Sure, if his State turns traitor, what'll become of 
the poor divil ? Begob, they say the Cap's the only 
Union one in the houl family." 

This last is in the tones of Sergeant Lommox, a hard- 
riding Irishman who somehow has found his way from 
the British light cavalry service into my Kentucky regi- 
ment ; although, wherever hard blows are plenty and 
gunpowder is burnt freely, there are sure to be some 
of his combative race. 

" Bedad, this is a mixed up scrimmage anyway," the 
sergeant continues. "Some say we're fighting to free 
the niggers ; some say we ain't. Tare an' ages, I'm 
always asking myself when I'm sober what am I fight- 
ing for anyway? It isn't for grub! Sure, army ra- 
tions are too divilish bad to make a cat enlist. As for 
the Cap, they say his own family has cut him dead ; 
his father fired him out of the house in Baltimore, and 
his sweetheart spat in his face, because he's fighting 
for the Union." 

These last remarks as to family and sweetheart are a 
libel. I have no sweetheart, therefore none spat in 
my face, and my family are at present blissfully igno- 
rant that I am a Union officer, and think that I, wear- 
ing a Confederate uniform and carrying a Confederate 
commission in my pocket, am fighting under Lee and 
against my country. 

As I think of the deception I have been compelled 
to practise on the dear ones of my home, my thoughts 
of war are obliterated by reflections upon my unhappy 
social environment. For as soon as it is known to 
them that I, William Fairfax Hamilton, wear a blue 
uniform, my hosts of friends in my native city of Bal- 
timore will be my friends no longer, and my loving 
sisters and doting father will be mine no more; be- 
cause I am doing what I was educated to do — fight for 
my flag. 

My peculiar position has come about in a rather 
curious manner. 

Before interstate trouble was imminent, in 1857, my 
father had obtained for me an appointment to the 
national military academy at West Point. After the 
secession of South Carolina and formation of the Con- 



8 BILLY HAMILTON. 

federacy most of the cadets from the Southern and Bor- 
der States had tendered their resignations. 

These one and all had been refused by the War De- 
partment. Thereupon, most of the Southern cadets 
had, without leave, returned to their own States, and 
were forthwith entered upon the records of the War 
Department as having deserted their colors in the face 
of the enemy. Not wishing such an implied stigma to 
be placed upon me, my state not having seceded, I, who 
had always taken a very strict view of a soldier's dis- 
cipline and duty, had remained, and received my com- 
mission in that year of the double graduation, 1861, 
when, with the desire of placing officers in the field as 
rapidly as possible, the term of instruction at West Point 
had been greatly shortened ; my class being the later 
one, B of June, my name not appearing on the rolls as 
from Maryland, my appointment to the academy hav- 
ing been made at large by President Buchanan. 

But during my cadetship, I had, perchance from nor- 
thern associations, perhaps from more conservative and 
later reflection, but most probably on account of my 
views of military honor, determined it was my duty to 
support the flag of the United States. Without going 
over the pros and cons of a matter that has been 
argued in the halls of Congress, in all debating societies, 
in every cross-road tavern of the country, suffice it to 
say that for reasons sufficient to myself I had made up 
my mind to serve in the army of the Union ; though 
greatly fearing it would bring upon me the displeasure 
of both friends and kindred. 

So, having graduated, instead of resigning and join- 
ing the Confederates, as my family doubtless hoped 
and expected, I was still true to the banner under 
which I had marched from Plebe to First-classman. 

In order to fortify myself in this resolution, I had, 
without visiting my home, journeyed to Washington 
and secured from the War Department my commission 
in one of the new cavalry regiments just being formed, 
in an attempt to make efficient that branch of the serv- 
ice, which in the first year or two of the war was the 
jeer of the Rebels and the disgrace of the Federals, its 
condition being so pitiable that McClellan took as few 
cavalry as possible with him to the Peninsula, many 
so-called troopers being such incompetent horsemen 



BILLY HAMILTON. 9 

that they could scarce manage their arms and steeds 
at the same moment. 

In an effort to overcome this, several new mounted 
regiments were being raised in the Border States, Ken- 
tucky, Maryland, and Missouri, whose men had been 
cavaliers from childhood. These were now being 
rapidly instructed in the school of the trooper, and the 
nucleus of that great cavalry armament which under 
Custer and Sheridan did such fine work in the last years 
of the war, was being formed. 

In the hope of doing my share towards this, I had 
accepted a captain's commission in the First Kentucky 
Cavalry, and with this document in my pocket had im- 
mediately gone to that State to drill and equip my 
troop — very glad that my duty took me far away from 
my friends and family in Baltimore. 

Though thoroughly determined to fight upon the 
Union side, I still shrank from the ordeal of proclaim- 
ing myself one of the army of Uncle Sam, to the friends 
of my boyhood in Baltimore and the father and sisters 
who loved me — all rabid Southerners, and made bitter 
against all who differed from them by the potent pas- 
sions of that awful time, when neighbor turned against 
neighbor, and brother against brother, and friend shot 
down friend, in the so-called Border States, which suf- 
fered more from the war than any other of their sister 
commonwealths. 

Aftermy regiment was organized, equipped, mustered 
in and drilled, at the end of the opening campaign in 
Tennessee where my command proved its effectiveness 
at Forts Henry and Donelson and also at Shiloh ; in 
very desperation at the inefficiency of the cavalry of 
the Army of the Potomac, the War Department had 
ordered us east. 

Here, in the summer of 1862, on reporting at Wash- 
ington, I succeeded in obtaining a few days' leave of 
absence. Desperately anxious to see my father and 
sisters, after telegraphing word of my coming, I, 
dressed in mufti, had made my appearance at the 
town-house of my ancestors, in Charles Street, Balti- 
more, to be received in a manner of which perchance 
I had had some suspicion, but which my imagination 
had painted in by no neans the vivid colors that 
actually took form before my eyes. 



10 BILLY HAMILTON. 

Pretty little Birdie, my younger sister, a maid of 
sweet eighteen, meets me in the hall, looking most 
charming, her blonde hair done up in fashionable water- 
fall, and her pretty feet in their Balmoral boots peeping 
out from skirts enormously crinolined to the extreme 
of fashion, and throwing her arms around me, cries : 
"Billy, thank God you're back! — Where have you 
been these six months ? — Of course it's been something 
for the cause. How soldierly you look ! " Then 
between kisses, she suggests : " Now papa has a sur- 
prise for you. How well you'll look in Confederate 
gray ! But don't let those horrid Feds know of it, or 
they'll arrest you at once." This last is whispered in 
my ear, as if the walls might betray us. 

A moment later, Virginia, my elder sister, a stately 
young lady of about twenty, makes her appearance, and 
with equally fervid embrace exclaims : "Billy, thank 
Heaven you've come — at last ! We've all been anxious 
for you since you did not return to us after graduation. 
We sometimes thought you had feared arrest and gone 
straight to Virginia. Where have you been ? " 

' ' "That I — I had rather not tell you, " I answer between 
kisses. 

Something in my manner impresses her. She mut- 
ters : "Ah, I understand. God bless you, Billy ! You 
do not wish to compromise us by your revelations." 

"Yes; you — you had better not know," I stammer 
shamefacedly. To this I add, stroking a moustache 
which, cultivated assiduously during one campaign, is 
now quite soldierly : "Is the guv'nor in ? " 

"Yes; he's waiting for you in the library. He 
didn't wish to speak to you before the servants. You 
know, some of them — ungrateful creatures — have politi- 
cal sympathy with our invaders. The poor foolish 
things think they'll be made free, and do not know 
they'd starve if they were." 

"Very well; I will go in and see father," I re- 
mark, my face growing so gloomy that the two darling 
girls put a pang in my heart by gasping sympatheti- 
cally : ' ' You must have bad news. You — you've been 
captured." 

"No, not yet," I mutter. 

Then Birdie suddenly falters : " You've been 
wounded," and cries: "A — a sabre-cut just healed. 



BILLY HAMILTON. II 

I see it upon his cheelc," and the next instant the two 
stab me with their sweet hps as they kiss and cry over a 
scratch I had received at Shiloh, and whisper : "Thank 
Heaven ! you've been in our army." 

"Pooh, it is nothing!" 1 mutter, in a hang-dog 
way, as I put them tenderly from me and open the 
Hbrary door, to be cordially embraced by my father, 
a gentleman of old-school manners. 

"My dear boy," he says, his grizzled moustache 
twitching a little, " you have come home at last. You 
did not even write to us when you left West Point. I 
imagine, for fear your letter might be opened by the 
damned Yankee postmaster, one of the spies upon us. 
Neither I nor your sisters could bear to go up and see 
you march under that infernal flag, therefore none of 
us could witness your graduation. I feared you thought 
we had slighted you. Where have you been .? " 

Receiving no answer to this, he asks almost severely : 
" Not shirking your duty, I hope.?" 

"No ! " I answer proudly. 

Then as he sees the slight sabre scratch, his old eyes 
light with pride, he whispers : "I\Iy own boy! your 
wound shows me ! " and taking me in his arms, blesses 
me. 

Good God ! How can I tell my father I received it 
fighting against the cause he worships ? 

Then he inspects me anxiously, his lips trembling. 
His eyes have love and even anguish in them as he 
mutters : ' ' You are the last who bears our name. Still, 
you must bear it honorably, even if to death." 

Before I can reply to this, he suddenly astounds me ; 
by whispering, extreme significance in his low voice : 
"Across in Virginia, Lee, Jackson and Davis know 
what a West Point education means. The proof of it is 
here ! " With this he goes to the door and locks it, then 
draws down the blinds of the library windows, to ensure 
absolute privacy. As I gaze at him wonderingly, he 
opens a secret drawer in the old-fashioned wainscoting 
of the room and produces from among some papers a 
document of official form. Placing it in my hand, he 
remarks with a profound bow: "Major Hamilton of 
the Confederate Army, I greet you." 

As I inspect this document blankly, in a dazed sort 
of way, I see, with a start of horror, that it is a com- 



12 BILLY HAMILTON. 

mission made out to William Fairfax Hamilton, and 
signed by Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate 
States of America, and by Randolph, his Secretary of 
War. 

The old gentleman chuckles, "A pleasing surprise 
for you, eh?" then suddenly ejaculates, " Curious, they 
did not tell you of this in Richmond." 

" I — I was in the West ! " I stammer. 

" Ah, that explains it ! " remarks my father. " I ap- 
plied for it a year ago, but only received the document 
recently, the difficulties of transmitting it through the 
blockade were so great. You see the Southern leaders 
appreciate your military training : the commission of 
Major indicates that. Your wound does not incapaci- 
tate you from active duty ? " he asks nervously. 

" Not at all, I am happy to say." 

"Then you'll be anxious to get into the field once 
more — to free your native city — all the more eager 
when you see infamous Federal soldiers marching in 
the streets of this unhappy town — when you behold 
accursed Northern guns threatening our very homes — 
when you note Yankee officers flaunting their damned 
blue tyrants' uniforms in our streets. " 

These remarks give me a shudder. A blue cloth 
"tyrant's " uniform is packed securely in my trunk. 
This, the noise from the hall indicates, is even now 
being carried upstairs by Jonas and Jumbo, our darky 
footmen. 

"Of course it is hard to part from you," continues 
the old gentleman almost brokenly, "but every man 
must do his duty. Your sisters and I always knew you 
were doing your devoir." For into his mind never 
seems to come the thought that my West Point 
education may have placed in me different views 
from his as to my duty in this crisis of the nation 
— that I can fight on any other side but the one he 
loves. 

Under these circumstances, although with no thought 
that I will be anything but what I am, an officer of the 
Union, I can't bring myself to contradict him ; per- 
chance because I wish a few more kisses from my dear 
sisters, a few more tender looks from my beloved 
father, which I know will be no longer mine after they 
know. 



BILLY HAMILTON. I3 

"Still, I can't carry that accursed paper about with 
me," I think. 

So, remarking nonchalantly: "For my sisters' 
safety this had better be destroyed," I am about to place 
my commission in the Confederate Army in the flame 
of a wax taper, burning for convenience in sealing 
letters, after the old-fashioned custom w^hich being 
a gentleman of the old school, my governor always 
adheres to. 

But his hand is on my arm. He mutters hoarsely : 
" Don't shame your sisters, sir, by thinking they would 
not risk as much as you or I, for the cause they love," 

"If you take it in that light," I return, a choking 
sensation in my throat, "the document remains with 
me." With this, I place it carefully in my breast 
pocket, buttoning my coat over it. For into my mind 
has flown suddenly the idea that this little paper of 
Jeff Davis' may in some supreme crisis enable me to 
do a great thing for my country. "Still, with this on 
my person," I mutter, "I had better not remain in 
Baltimore very long." 

"Of course not," he answers. " Go and do your 
duty. Now step out and join your sisters. I — I will 
see you, Billy, before you go." 

As I turn from him, I feel I am playing traitor to 
those I love so dearly ; for the old gentleman has sunk 
into a chair, and putting his head upon his writing- 
table, is striving to conceal his emotion. 

In the dining-room, at lunch with my two fair sis- 
ters, the prospect seems no more reassuring. Guessing 
what they will say to me when they discover I am one 
of the blue uniforms they hate, I feel it is almost a re- 
lief that my loved mother died ten years ago, for I fear 
I could never have resisted her, had her arms been put 
about me and her sweet voice lured me from what my 
Western campaign has confirmed, even more than my 
West Point education, as my duty. 

Even now, though they do not guess I am recreant ; 
every tone of my sisters' sweet voices is a temptation 
to me to fight against my flag. 

As darling Virginia pours out my coffee, she mur- 
murs, tears coming into her brown eyes : "It'll be 
hard to part with you again, Billy. I see what papa 
has told you has already saddened your countenance ; 



14 BILLY HAMILTON. 

but I would to heaven I were a man," her pretty white 
teeth come together with a snap, "that I might go 
and strike with you for the South. As it is, we women 
can only pray for you, and nurse you if we have the 
opportunity." 

"Oh, don't be so gloomy, Virgie ! " cries dear little 
Birdie from the other side of the table, attempting a 
whimpering lightheartedness as she plays with her 
oysters. "There's a girl in Virginia who'll nurse him 
in a'manner more to his taste. 'Deed she will ! " 

" Who is that ? " I ask, astonished. 

"The girl to whom you're engaged, sir, of course." 
This comes indignantly from my elder sister. 

' ' The girl to whom I am engaged ! What girl } " 

" What ^zV/ /^ Oh goodness, h.e's/orgotle7i his little 
sweetheart ! " giggles Birdie. 

"Your affianced wife, William, Eva Vernon Ashley. 
I am surprised at you ! " remarks Virginia in stately 
severity. 

"That chit?" I laugh. "By George! she had 
slipped my memory." 

" Chit P Wait till you see her !" ejaculates my elder 
sister. 

"Oh, yes! Cadets have so viaji_y sweethearts," 
sneers Birdie. Then she cries with a shudder : " Oh, if 
I thought you loved some hateful Northern thing ! " 

" No," I reply, stabbing a soft-shell crab, which de- 
lights my palate after campaign rations. "Behold a 
free heart." 

"Ah. then, it's all right; true to Eve yet." 

" True to her as to any woman. By-the-by, so Eve 
is already a woman } The last time I saw her she was 
ten — a pretty enough nursery witch. But then I was 
a man of fourteen, and disdained her. " 

' ' She thinks you protected her ! I can recollect now, 
as a little tot, how you — you guarded her — though in 
a very lordly manner, " laughs Virginia. ' ' Besides you 
mustVemember, my brother, that it has been an under- 
standing among the families that William Fairfax 
Hamilton is to wed Eva Vernon Ashley." 

"Yes, I believe there was some talk of that when I 
was in pinafores and Eve in short skirts," I reply, add- 
ing with military nonchalance : "Still. I think I hav^ 
seen girls v/ho looked better," 



BILLY HAMILTON. 1 5 

" Not girls more beautiful ! " remarks stately Virginia. 
"Eve is the most lovely thing on either side of the 
Potomac. She came to us over a year ago — before the 
fighting began — accompanied by her half-brother, 
Charlie St. George." 

"You know he's a captain in Colonel Mumford's 
Second Virginia Cavalry, and awfully handsome," 
throws in Birdie with a suggestive blush. 

" But the young lady ? " I question sharply. 

"Oh! Eva!" cries my younger sister. "She was 
nineteen then and lovely enough to make Baltimore 
men crazjy ; and you know we've got some few beau- 
ties in this town — at least Captain St. George said 
so." 

"To you personally P" I query with a smile that 
makes dear little Birdie's face redder. Then I go on 
philosophically : "I suppose the young lady has for- 
gotten about the old-time idea of our parents .? " 

Virginia's answer startles me. "On the contrary," 
she says, " I am sure Miss Ashley thinks a great deal 
about it. She knows it was her dead father's wish — 
our Virginia properties adjoin. Her mother still keeps 
it before her." 

" Great goodness ! " I cry, " you don't mean to say 
Eve considers herself as my affianced ! " 

" I know she did when she came here, for she was 
always asking about you — though she, of course, was 
too maidenly to write to you. But I am sure when 
you reach Virginia all you have to do is to go up to 
Miss Ashley, in your Confederate uniform, and you'll 
find it all right ! " The Confederate part of this is in a 
whisper. 

"She didn't leave any anibrotype, daguerreotype or 
photograph for me, did she } "' I ask in uneasy face- 
tiousness. 

"Certainly not. Your fiancee, sir, has been brought 
up, I am happy to say, in Virginia old-school manners, " 
remarks my elder sister severely. 

"But she stole a photograph of you — the one in the 
West Point uniform," giggles Birdie. 

"Glad it impressed her favorably," I laugh, in the 
easy assurance of military youth. 

"Well, I should think it would," murmurs my younger 
sister, who seems proud of me. ' ' Five feet ten ; dark, 



1 6 BILLY HAMILTON. 

savage eyes ; long, drooping moustache, a Cavalry- 
man's figure." 

"And a most unblushing assurance! " laughs Vir- 
ginia, who is proud of me also. "But seriously, Wil- 
liam, you must think of this affair. The young lady 
evidently expects some communication from you. 
Papa said the other day that if we did not hear of 
you soon, he should strive to forward a letter to her 
mother." 

"So Miss Ashley is very beautiful? " I ask rather 
eagerly. 

"Ah, the Stoic has given cry at last!" muimurs 
Birdie archly. 

"Beautiful?" remarks Virginia scornfully. "Wait 
till you see her, my military philosopher. Oh, what a 
belle she'd be if it wasn't for this hateful war. She 
was in Washington not long ago at her aunt's — the wife 
of that horrid Border-state Union Senator — but of course 
Eve would look at none of the Yankee officers who fill 
that unfortunate town." 

"Well, if she's spent much time in Washington at 
]\Irs. Rufus J. Bream's," I remark cynically, " Miss Eva 
Vernon Ashley has probably very little of the old 
Virginia ideas in her now ! " 

" Wait till you see her, " laughs Birdie. " She will 
be a surprise to you — as much as the surprise we have 
for you in the closet upstairs." 

At this both girls sigh, and edge up to me, and place 
their arms round my neck and whisper, wiping away 
stray tears : * ' We put it there when we got your tele- 
gram." 

"What surprise?"! ask, masculine curiosity over- 
coming military nonchalance. 

" Run upstairs and see ! " 

Taking them at their word, this I do — to my con- 
sternation. 

A moment after I am in the room that has been mine 
since boyhood. On the table are flowers to greet my 
coming. The next second I have opened the closet 
door. 

I utter an imprecation of rage ; then my eyes fill 
with tears. For I am staring at a full-dress, gray. Con- 
federate major's uniform, silk sash, glittering military 
collar and magnificent sword. Pinned on it is a paper 



BILLY HAMILTON. I7 

that shows the Rebel garb is the work of the loving 
hands of my two sisters — for me, their Union brother. 

Filled with almost despair at the situation that con- 
fronts me — for it is worse than I even imagined it would 
be — I stride downstairs and, leaving the house, wan- 
der aimless and dazed about the streets of my native 
city. Here my peace of mind is not increased by see- 
ing a handsome Federal lieutenant, apparently of the 
artillery, and stationed at Fort McHenry, step into a 
street car, and every lady, young or old, turn their 
faces from him, and, as at various times they pass by 
him, draw their skirts away, as if contact with his 
uniform were contamination. 

I shiver as I think : " What if I loved any of these fair 
ones ? " as I remember the fate of my poor friend, George 
Arden Thornton, of Virginian birth, who graduated two 
classes before me and took his place in the Union army. 
After being brevetted for great gallantry at the first battle 
of Bull Run, lured by the eyes of a lovely Virginia girl 
and stabbed by her cutting invective, he had resigned 
his commission, and, when his resignation was refused, 
taken French leave and galloped across the Potomac 
to join the Confederate legions of Lee and Jackson. 

Even now there is a curious record written against 
his name in the annals of the War Department. 

" Dismissed. Having tendered his resignation when in the face of 
the Rebels." 

Though from all accounts, the said George Arden 
Thornton was never a coward after he joined the 
Southern ranks, as many a slashing charge with the 
rough-riding troopers of Stuart and Fitz Lee bore record. 
Besides that, he got the girl! 

I stroll into the Maryland Club. There it is no 
better ; in fact, it is worse ; for many of my old friends, 
thinking of course I am one of them in sentiment, talk 
what I consider treason. So, fearful of my temper and 
to avoid altercations which would surely arise if I 
expressed my feelings, I leave its charming billiard 
parlor, where the "Chief" is making one of his famous 
runs, convinced that Baltimore and I will very shortly 
be on exceedingly bad terms. If I did my duty, half 
of them would be in Fort McHenry by evening ; if 



1 8 BILLY HAMILTON. 

I did my full miliiary duty — Good Heavens ! — what 
would happen to my dear father ? 

I cannot stay. I must end the thing, and end it 
quickly. 

With this idea in my mind, I stride home and impress 
upon my father and sisters that circumstances con- 
vince me I must go to the front at once. 

"Ah, I understand," whispers my governor. "You 
feel with that paper in your pocket, you must be in the 
ranks of battle." You'll run the blockade across the 
lower Potomac from Leonardston, I presume," he con- 
tinues. "Ask for Wat Bowie; he can get you across 
if any man can," adds the old gentleman, his tones 
easy though I note his moustache is twitching. 

Then my loved ones almost shake my resolution. 
My sweet sisters, sobbing as if their hearts would 
break, whisper: "Go, dear brother, and do your 
duty ! " 

My father takes me in his arms and mutters : "Pre- 
sent my compliments to Jefferson Davis in Richmond, 
my boy ! " 

"I hope to !" I answer, scarce noting the signifi- 
cance of my remark. 

Then as if to drive the gloom of parting from his 
mind, my governor suggests : "Of course you'll see 
your affianced. Tell her mother, with my love, we'll 
have a grand wedding in a year or two, when the 
Yanks have fled to Canada." 

"Oh, you mean Miss Ashley," I tryto laugh. "Yes, 
I'll marry her after the Yanks have fled to Canada." 

With this half-jeering promise on my lips, followed 
by their blessings, their tears, their love, I get away 
from the house and fly from Baltimore, cursing myself 
for not having the moral courage to tell them I am the 
enemy of their cause. 

In my trunk is the gray Confederate uniform. To 
leave it were to create astonishment, perhaps doubt, in 
my sisters' minds. 

In my pocket is Jeff Davis' commission — a very dan- 
gerous document for a Union Border-State officer to 
carry, in Maryland in the year 1862. Found upon my 
person, this would be prima facie evidence of my 
treason. 

This I must guard against ! 



BILLY HAMILTON. 19 

Therefore, arriving at Washington, I order the hack- 
man to drive straight to the War Department, and send 
up my card. 

To my astonishment, I am almost immediately 
shown into the private office of that man of blood and 
iron who held Washington — ay, even this M'hole 
country — so iirmly in his hand during the last three 
years of that frightful struggle — Edwin ]\Ic]\I asters 
Stanton. 

As Madison, the darkey factotum of the secretary, 
opens the door, and I, entering, make salute, a clear, 
cold, stately voice greets me with : " You are Captain 
W. F. Hamilton, of the First Kentucky Cavalry, bre- 
vetted for gallantry at Shiloh, just returned from a 
visit to your Rebel friends and relatives in Baltimore ; 
what do you want with me, sir ? " 

For a moment I stand, astonished at the under-sized 
figure of the Secretary of War ; then as I look at him 
he seems to become a giant. The great eyes flash 
through their glasses at me ; the dilated nostrils appear 
expanded by latent fire ; the massive forehead, which 
is for one moment that of a judge, contracts and be- 
comes that of an inquisitor. ' " Why are you not in 
uniform ? " is thundered at me. 

I can see anger, even suspicion, in his glance. 

An inspiration prompts me to speak quickly. " I 
am not in uniform," I say, "because the matter is so 
urgent. " 

" What is it ?" 

" This ! " I unbutton my coat and place in his hands 
my Confederate commission. 

Mr. Stanton inspects it for a moment, then chuckles 
grimly : " Young man, you've saved your neck." 

"My neck ! " I ejaculate with a start. 

"Yes. In an hour you would have been arrested, 
and with that in your possession, what chance would 
you have had before a court-martial ? " 

"Arrested.?" 

' ' Certainly. Baker's detectives report by telegraph 
that you, a Union officer, visited your family, all of 
whom are rabid Secessionists, and departed from them, 
not only without altercation or quarrel, but blessed 
and caressed by both father and sisters. Two of the 
Secret Service were with you on the train. Had you 



20 BILLY HAMILTON. 

tried to leave it en route, you would have been seized. 
You have had a very narrow escape." 

"You do not doubt my loyalty? I, who have 
turned my back on home and friends for the cause "i " 
I gasp. 

"Not 710W ! But you Border-State men have so many 
temptations, Baker keeps his eyes on all of you." 

"Then let me destroy the cursed thing ! " My hand 
is stretched out to seize the paper and tear it up. 

But the Secretary motions me off, and holding Jeff 
Davis' commission in his hands, remarks : " You're 
either a very brave or very rash young man, to have 
carried this with you ! " Then his eyes that have 
always been upon me become searching. He queries : 
"Why did you even take it ? " 

" Because some day — " I cry. 

But he cuts me short. "Some day, you may do a 
great thing with it — for your country ? " 

"Yes ! " 

"Then keep it, and if the chance comes, do it !" 
He hands the document back to me and remarks 
caustically : "I shall not ask you who gave it to you. 
I know you would not answer, and we must not press 
you Union men of the Border States too strongly. I 
can guess your agony in putting yourself apart from 
friends and kindred, because of your country. Captain 
Hamilton." 

Then his tone becomes kindly. He laughs : " Going 
out again with that badge of treason on you ? You are 
taking great chances, young man. Wait till I make it 
innoxious to you." He hurriedly writes a few lines 
empowering me to bear any document whatsoever 
for the service of the United States, directing I shall 
be held harmless for having them in my possession. 
Signing this, he gives me his hand cordially. 

Four weeks after, I find myself this night, in com- 
mand of a Union picket guarding the Potomac. The 
river rolls silently beside me, the Stars and Stripes 
float over me, while my dear father and sisters are 
praying for me, their loved one, believing me to be 
fighting for the cause they adore, under the Stars and 
Bars of the Confederacy. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 21 



CHAPTER II. 

A SWEET PRISONER. 

Suddenly these gloomy reflections are interrupted by 
my first lieutenant, Harry Harrod, whispering excitedly 
in my ear, "Captain, they are crossing from the Vir- 
ginia side. " 

"Are you sure ? " 

" I hear them ! " 

"Very well," I order. "Take a platoon with you ; 
go down to the shore again and warn the sentries to 
be on the alert." 

My first lieutenant departing on his errand, I sum- 
mon my second. To him I remark, "Mr. Cartwright, 
is the bridge over the canal ready to fire on the in- 
stant ? " 

"Yes, sir. It's dry as tinder and we've soaked the 
timbers with two cases of coal oil to make 'em burn 
lively." 

"Quite right ! Do not light it without my personal 
command and order the men to mount on the instant. 
Don't let the bugle sound 'boots and saddles,' that 
might be a warning to the enemy. Direct all corporals 
and sergeants to see that every trooper is prepared for 
immediate action." 

Then striding to the near-by bivouac where the 
loquacious Lommox is reclining on the ground, sur- 
rounded by three or four of his men, I speak rapidly : 
"Sergeant, are you prepared for your ride to Washing- 
ton ? " 

"Ay, ay, sir. Though I don't like running away as 
soon as the Rebs show their cursed heads." 

"Nevertheless, you must fly the moment I give 
you my report. Make straight for Frederick ; if any 
Federal troops are in the town, warn them — then on 
to Washington, communicating to the commanding 
officers of any United States forces between Frederick 
and that city the intelligence of the Confederate cross- 
ing. Why is not your horse ready .'' '" I ask sharply. 



22 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"I have me hand on the bastes bridle at this mo- 
ment, Captain ; though it's too dark to see 'em," an- 
swers the Irish sergeant with a smothered guffaw. 

Then hurriedly, but silently, I step down to the bank 
of the Potomac. One of the sentries, as I answer his 
challenge, mutters: "Don't you hear 'em, Captain 
Hamilton? By the splashing, they're wagons of some 
kind." 

"And in a devil of a hurry too," adds Harrod. 

"They can't be part of the Confederate forces," I 
laugh. " Lee wouldn't invade Maryland with his 
ammunition trains or artillery as advance guard. Be- 
sides, these fellows are running away from somebody 
and scared out of their boots." 

This is now plainly apparent to our ears. 

Over the soft ripple of the waters in the quiet night 
air comes vividly in excited German accents, "Dunner 
und blitzen, Fritz ! If dat damned black mule balks 
vonce more agin mid himshelf, you shoot him, shust 
as he stands, und cut dem traces like heel ! Mein Gott 
in himmel ! does you think I'm going to be caught py 
my own mule? Slash 'im ! Cut the hide out of 'im. 
I stands de beer all around, boys, ven ve strikes ze 
Maryland shore." 

"Begorra, you bet he stands the beer all around 
when he strikes the Maryland shore ! " chuckles ser- 
geant Lommox, who is now by my side. 

This promised beer seems to have a great effect, not 
only on my sentries, but on the German's own men. 
The cracking of whips and the swash of the waters in- 
dicate the teamsters are crossing rapidly — but not too 
quickly for my soldiers, who are waiting for them with 
mouths made thirsty by this hot night. 

"We'll bag 'em all," I think, grimly, as I note from 
the sound there are not more than four or five wagons. 
"Harrod," I order my first lieutenant; "pass the 
word for silence ; let them all get on shore, then not 
one can escape." 

Two minutes after, five four-mule teams, the drivers 
cursing in German with great slashing of whips, hol- 
loaing and hullabalooing, dash out of the quiet ripples 
of the Potomac and rush up the Maryland shore. 

" Dere's a bridge right along de canal here! Ve 
makes for it kevick ! " cries the Teuton voice. 



BILLY HAMILTOM. 



23 



" Halt there ! Advance and give the countersign ! '' 
orders the sergeant of the guard, sternly. 

" Mein Himmel, it's dat damned Stuart's cavalry- 
men. Boys, ve are goners ! " shrieks the affrighted 
head of the party w^ith a German oath, and an effort is 
made to turn the rear team into the river. 

" Stay quiet, Dutchie, or be jabers, we'll fill you full 
of lead," orders Lommox. 

"Who are you.''" I cry; for I am now sure these 
are not soldiers ; certainly not Jackson's veterans. 

" Gott in Himmel, who are jyou P That is vot is de 
matter mit me 1 " answers the excited German voice 
from the darkness. 

" We're Troop A of the First Kentucky Union 
Cavalry," I shout, instinct telling me the Dutchman is 
too excited to explain who he is. 

"Union Cavalry ! Boys, ve are saved I " 

"Now, who are you P" 

" Lammersdorff ! So help me Gott ! August Lam- 
mersdorff! Sutler mid Bank's Corps, and pursued by 
Lee's whole army. Vip up de mules, Fritz ! Get right 
avay out of here, mein frient yourshelf, odervise you 
is a losht man." 

" Bejabers, you're a lost man," cries Lommox, "if 
you don't put up that beer you promised in the middle 
of the river when ye reached ' My Maryland.'" 

" All right, de beer goes, but for God's sake let me 
go away. Here, Fritz, Conrad, make de Union boys 
comfortable mit demselves. By Shultz's ghost, I 
thought I vas gone up de spout." 

A spigot is hastily put in a keg of beer in one of the 
sutler's wagons. I permit my men to accept the Ger- 
man's hospitality, while I inspect his sutler's permit by 
the light of a sulphur match. 

" Hab a cigar. Cap.?" Lammersdorff says in eager 
hospitality. 

" Thank you," I respond, and lighting up one of the 
purveyor's best per/ec/os, I question the Teuton rapidly : 

"How did you get into Lee's jaws.? Banks is in 
Washington." 

"Ven Banks falls back from Bealton, I vas left be- 
hind. Den I has to light out for meinself und vile Lee 
vas massacreeing Pope, by jingo, I flanks de whole 
Rebel army and comes behind dem. But ven I gits 



24 BILLY HAMILTON. 

down vere I thinks I'se safe, niein Himmel, I finds 
Lee vaiting for me to gibe me hell." 

" You say you were pursued by Lee's whole army. 
What makes you think that?" 

" De Rebs comes on us so shpunky ! " 

"Any other reason ? " 

"Yes, I heard de marching of men like von ob 
Leettle Mac's big army corps ! " 

"An army corps ? " 

" Und de rumbling of half a dozen batteries of can- 
nons. You don't mishtake dem for de creekings of 
sutlers' vagons, does it ? " 

" Half a dozen batteries of artillery ! " 

This information is so important, and Lammersdorff 
seems so impressed with the fact that he must hurry 
on, that I detain him only long enough to buy a box 
of his best cigars, with which I fill my pockets, cigar- 
case and saddle-pouch, distributing a few to my two 
lieutenants. 

"Don't keep me here. Captain. For God's sake, 
let me go on or I'm a losht and a ruined sutler. I has 
fifty thousand in greenbacks and twenty-five thousand 
in a commissary's draft on my body," he whispers 
frightenedly, then breaks out despairingly: "How 
long do you think dese vagons vould last mit Stuart's 
hungry devils. Dey'd eat 'em up and drink 'em up 
and smoke 'em up before I got drew cussing 'em ! " 

"Very well," I answer, " you can go on ! " And I 
give orders to let him pass the little bridge over the 
canal. 

" For God's sake, come mit me. Captain ! " begs the 
good-hearted German, who I can see by the light from 
my burning cigar, is in shirt sleeves, and the perspira- 
tion of exertion and anxiety rolling down his round 
Teuton face. 

" No I I'm guarding this ford. Good-bye ; thanks 
for your cigars ; I hope we'll meet soon," I add. 

" Gott in Himmel, I hope ve von'i /" 

"Why not?" 

"Because if you shtay here another hour I vill have 
to go to Richmond or hell to meet you," is cried 
out to me, as the wagons disappear into the darkness, 
driven rapidly, the mules trotting as they rush over the 
little bridge. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 25 

The noise dies away up the Frederick pike ; as not 
altogether pleased at the German's suggestion, I turn 
to my duty. 

" Lorn mox," I order, "go to the bridge with your 
horse and be ready to ride like blazes the moment I 
give the signal ! '' 

Leaving Harrod in charge of the bridge, I crawl to 
the front. At the bank of the river, quietly giving the 
countersign to the sentries who challenge me in low 
voice, I shortly encounter my second lieutenant. " Do 
you hear any noises ? " I whisper. 

"There is certainly no sound now of movement 
across the ford," he replies. " Perhaps they're waiting 
for a signal." 

A moment after I start with surprise. 

A sentry challenges sharply, 

A low, sweet, delicate, feminine voice comes through 
the still night air, saying easily: "You are part of 
Stonewall Jackson's command, I presume.?" 

" Great goodness ! A woman ! " I gasp. 

The next instant I have captured a very pretty pris- 
oner. At least, I judge so by the voice. For my hand 
is on the bridle of her horse and the soft voice is saying 
to me : "Are you some of Stuart's troopers ? " 

"No!" I reply, with military promptness. "You 
are speaking to Captain Billy Hamilton, of the First 
Union Kentucky Cavalry." 

' ' Bt'l/y Hamilton ! " The tone is one of great aston- 
ishment. "Captain in the First Uyiion Kentucky Cav- 
alry.?" The voice, for a second I think, indicates 
disdain. 

"Yes ! My orders are to stop any one crossing the 
river. " 

"What ! Hinder me from visiting my — my aunt in 
Leesburg } " 

"Certainly ! — unless you have a pass from the Gen- 
eral in command of this division, or the War Depart- 
ment at Washington." 

"0-oh!" This is a sweet, low gasp of dismay. 
" I had supposed that you military gentlemen consid- 
ered women non-combatants," adds the girl in piquant 
savageness ; for her accents tell me she is certainly 
very young. 



26 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"Please give me youi name," I demand with mili- 
tary directness, 

" My — my name ? " 

" Certainly ! " 

" I — I cannot give it you ! " There is a strange em- 
barrassment in the voice. 

Into this I break, ordering the sentinel sharply, 
"See who that is in the undergrowth. If he doesn't 
come out, shoot him at once ! " 

" Don't shoot ! " screams a scared darky voice, in 
answer to the click of carbine-locks. " 'Fore de Lawd, 
I'se only de missis' servant." 

"Stop your men ! '' cries the young lady. " Don't 
shoot ! Quashie, come here! Don't try to fly ! " 

A moment later a figure on horseback draws up be- 
side her. 

" Lawd-a-massy, dis niggah's most scared to 
death ! " mutters what is apparently a darky servant. I 
believe him, as to his fear ; for I can hear in the gloom 
his teeth chattering like castanets. 

Then the girl orders : "Quashie, you see these 
men ? " 

" 'Deed I doesn't, missie ; I hears dem. " 

"Don't try to run away from them, and do what 
they tell you, or you'll be shot at once." 

" Yes, missie. Am dey going to shoot you too ? " 

" I hope not ! You wouldn't kill me, Captain Hamil- 
ton, would you ? " The tone is coquettish, allur- 
ing. 

The easy use of my name astonishes me ; but with 
military gallantry I answer : "Not by the Stars and 
Stripes!" To this I add: "How did you get here.'' 
You could not have crossed the bridge." 

"No-o," there is a slight hesitation in her answer. 
"We — we must have lost our way and come up the 
river. " 

"Then how did you get over the canal ? " My tone 
is suspicious. 

" Over the canal? Is there one here.? O heavens! 
Quashie, we might have fallen in and been drowned ! " 

This is a bare-faced attempt to simulate feminine 
naivete and female terror. I am about to speak with 
great severity to my sweet prisoner — for I have made up 
my mind that she is very sweet — when suddenly there 



BILLY HAMILTON. 2"] 

is the rattle of dropping shots— not from the river, but 
from the rear of my command — and sounds of combat. 
Across the Baltimore and Ohio Canal, the darkness is 
lighted up by the flashes of carbines and revolvers. 

"Damnation ! " cries Harrod. " We're taken in flank 
— surrounded ! " 

A second's reflection tells me that the Confederates 
have crossed the Potomac at White's Ford, further down 
the river, and we have not been notified by the troops 
guarding that point. 

" Mount your horse, Lommox ! " I cry, struggling to 
the bridge. "Ride while you've time! Carry the 
news, the Rebs are in Maryland ! " 

"Faith, Fm gone!" answers the sergeant, and the 
sound of his horse's hoofs rings out rapidly on the little 
bridge and dies away smothered by distance and the 
noise of firearms. A moment later the flashing of Con- 
federate carbines tells me he is running the gauntlet. 

But I have no time to speculate on his fate. My own 
— that of my command — even that of the fair creature 
who is beside me — occupies my attention. I hurriedly 
seize the reins of the young lady's horse, for from the 
movement of her steed I see she is turning it and would 
gallop across the bridge towards the Confederate lines, 

"If you go to them it is your death !" I whisper, 
"In the darkness they'll think you one of us. For 
God's sake keep on the other side of me ! " 

"You wish to be very sure of your prisoner," she 
mutters. 

" I wish to do what I can to keep you alive." 

"Ah, thank you ! You think your body may inter- 
cept a bullet that w^ould reach me .? " 

"Yes ! " and I draw her back from the circle of light 
made by the burning bridge that has been fired by my 
order and is now blazing briskly. 

This done, I must save my command, if possible ; 
the weight of fire in our front indicates that at least a 
regiment is engaging us. However, they are coming on 
cautiously, thinking we are but a picket, and not know- 
ing the meagre force that is opposed to them. 

There is but one hope ! — to flank them ! My troop 
numbers scarce fifty sabres. The force opposed to 
them, must amount to several hundred. 

Fortunately, but few casualties have yet occurred, 



28 BILLY HAMILTON. 

the darkness preventing any accuracy of aim. 
" Come with me ! " I whisper to my young lady 
prisoner. Passing the word for the men to hold their 
fire and to follow me as silently as possible, I turn my 
horse's head towards the west. The darkness is our 
only safety ; were ft daylight, the paucity of our 
numbers and our route of march would be discovered. 
Then we would be overwhelmed in a moment ; for 
though the canal is between us and the enemy — the 
distance between it and the river is only a short hundred 
yards and with little cover — their carbine fire would 
destroy us. 

I soon discover that my flank movement is not a 
success, for a portion of the Confederate force is appar- 
ently moving parallel to me. A moment after, guess- 
ing at our location from ovft" noise, they scourge us by 
a volley. Three or four of my troopers fall from their 
saddles. 

Merciful heavens ! Even this portion of the rebel 
force is a full regiment. A cavalry brigade must be in 
front of me. Fortunately they have not been able to 
cross the blazing canal bridge. 

Suddenly a desperate idea strikes me. " Give them 
one volley to check them," I order. " Now, rfiy men, 
follow me I " 

" By the Lord ! " whispers Harrod, " you're not 
going into the river ? " 

' ' Yes, to the Virginia side ; it is our only chance. 
We may escape that way. Where is that poor girl ? " 
I ask anxiously. 

" Here, at your side, my gallant captain, who is 
trying to take such good care of me," M^hispers the 
sweet voice. 

" Very well. Please — please keep in front of me. 
Sergeant, get a few files between this young lady and 
the enemy." 

" You do nothing but think of my safety ? Thank 
you ! " And a delicate, soft, exquisitely shaped hand — I 
can tell that from its feel — seizes mine, and pressing 
it, sends through every vein a thrill that the danger of 
death cannot destroy. 

A moment later we stagger the Confederate advance 
by our rapid carbine fire, and I lead my men down to 
the river, to ford it. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 29 

" We must hurry," whispers Harrod, "The moon 
is rising. It will show our small force to them. We 
will be shot down before we get across." 

" It is our only hope," I return. " What chance 
would we have, charging a brigade .'' " 

We are scarcely half-way across the river, when two 
rockets rising from the Maryland side burst into red 
and white stars. 

I shudder as they are answered from the Virginia 
shore. The next instant my lieutenant grasps my arm 
and mutters : " Good God ! We're in front of a whole 
Rebel division ! " 

For in the first faint light of the rising moon, dark 
columns of infantry are leaving the shadows of the 
Virginia woods and entering the river. We can even 
hear the rumble of artillery and caissons. 

With a muttered oath, my color-sergeant seizes our 
guidon, and reversing its pole, plunges the flag that 
will betray us under the water of the river. Obey- 
ing a wave of my hand, my troop follows me, edging 
down the river in an attempt to get on the flank of the 
enemy on the Virginia shore. 

But we are too late. The advance guard and skir- 
mishers of the Confederate division are already around 
us in the river, the report of firearms on the Maryland 
side hurrying them to the support of their cavalry. 

At first they mistake us for part of their own force on 
the other side of the stream. This gives me a short-lived 
hope ; for a Rebel infantry captain laughs at me as he 
urges to greater speed his men, who are fording waist- 
deep : " Are they making it so hot for Stuart over 
there that you're retreating ? " 

" Yes," I reply. " Hurry up and support him ! " as 
I still keep my course down the river. In the thick 
undergrowth of the Virginia side, we may yet escape 
— some of us. 

But even as I do this, another column comes into 
sight below us. 

" That's damned strange ! " cries the Confederate 
captain after me. " You boys ain't used to run from 
Yankee cavalry." 

The next second, the rising moon, breaking wholly 
from the thunder-clouds, brilliantly illuminates the 
scene. 



30 BILLY HAMILTON. 

" By heaven, there's something wrong here ! Their 
uniforms are blue ! " cries the Rebel ofhcer. 

" Hanged if they ain't Yanks, flying from Stuart ! " 
yells one of his men, in the easy discipline of that 
time. 

" My God ! don't fire ! " I cry, " there's a lady 
riding with us." 

The next second we are surrounded. With the 
muskets of a Confederate regiment of infantry levelled 
at us, and the suspicious clicking of gun-locks in 
another one marching on our flank, as the order 
comes : " Make Ready ! " to resist would be useless. 
I sullenly surrender. 

A moment later we find ourselves deprived of our 
arms. To our captor's questions, I give the name of 
my command, and find myself a prisoner. 

" I am glad you did surrender," whispers the sweet 
voice at my side. " For see ! " and she points down 
the river ; " There are miles of them ! To resist would 
simply have meant the slaughter of your brave fellows. " 

I glance, following her hand. A Confederate army 
corps is on the banks of the Potomac. Turning, I 
look at her : the moonlight shows me a form light 
and graceful as a sylph's, clothed in some dark riding- 
habit that outlines each rounded contour of beauty. 

A second glance — for I give her several — shows me 
the young lady sits her horse perfectly and manages it 
with the ease and certainty of an accomplished eques- 
trienne. Her face is too much in the shadow for me 
to note all its loveliness — that came to me afterwards 
— though I can guess it has both youth and beauty 
from the brightness of her eyes as they look into mine. 

" Thank you," I remark. " You were very kind in 
not betraying us. It did no good, but, believe me, I 
appreciate it." 

" You feared I would do that ? " she asks reproach- 
fully, " when you took such good care of — of " 

" Of my fair prisoner," I murmur suggestively. 

"Your prisoner no longer ! "she laughs. "You've 
only had a short ten minutes' power over me. And 
now you're their prisoner. I hope they'll treat you as 
kindly as you did me." 

' ' Not much chance of that," I mutter, my voice grow- 
ing husky, as I think ot a long imprisonment before 



BILLY HAMILTON. 3 1 

exchang-e. "I suppose they'll send me to Libby Pris- 
on." Then I ask, perchance even anxiously: "And 
you ? " 

"Oh, they'll regard me as a non-combatant; these 
Southerners are very gallant. I presume now I shall 
be permitted to visit my mother in Leesburg. " Her 
tone is confident. 

"Your mother ? You said your ataif." 

" I meant both." 

By this time we have been escorted to the Virginia 
side of the river, and are now brought by our guard to 
an officer, who, after a few words with his subordinates, 
inspects us by the light of a blazing pine torch. 

As I am about to give him my name, the gentleman 
breaks out cordially and eagerly : " Permit me. Captain 
Hamilton, to introduce myself as Major Thornton of 
the First Virginia Cavalry, acting provost-marshal of 
Ewell's Division, Jackson's Corps, of the Army of North- 
ern Virginia." 

"George ! " I cry out, as I recognize my old West 
Point friend, who had been a First-classman when I 
entered: the George Arden Thornton, who, lured by 
his sweetheart's eyes, had left the ranks of the Blue, 
and who now is one of Stuart's dashing cavalrymen. 

To this he replies: "Billy, I'm mighty glad to see 
you, but sorry to see you wearing that uniform." 

Before I can reply to this, he whispers significantly : 
"By Jove, you're in luck ! I see you have a petticoat 
with you." 

" A lady I captured, attempting to cross the Poto- 
mac, " I answer quite loudly, anxious to prevent any 
embarrassment to the fair creature whose attitude, as 
well as I can see by the torchlight, indicates impa- 
tience. 

"And one who would like to have your private ear 
for a moment. Provost-marshal," returns the beauty 
somewhat sternly. 

At this Thornton, who is punctilio itself to the fair 
sex, doffs his slouched hat gallantly, as the young lady 
continues, a slight embarrassment in her voice : "I — 
I was so — so fortunate as to be captured by Captain 
Hamilton. Am I to be considered a non-combatant 
by you, or am I to have, in one night, the distinction of 
having been a prisoner of the Army of the Potomac on 



32 BILLY HAMILTON. 

one side of the river, and of the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia on the other ? " 

" Be assured the Army of Northern Virginia will do 
its best to keep all such prisoners a.sjyou," returns the 
Confedate major gallantly, apparently impressed by the 
sweet tones of his captive's voice. 

"Then — before you put me under guard," laughs 
the young lady, "permit me to whisper a word in your 
ear. " 

With this the provost marshal, taking the young lady's 
horse by the bridle, leads her a short distance from me, 
and I watch her discontentedly. As she converses ap- 
parently eagerly and impressively with him, I think, 
perhaps bitterly : "She, when I captured her, accorded 
me no such explanation." 

A moment after Thornton turns to me and suggests : 
"What shall we do with you, my boy in blue? Eh? " 

"Send me to Richmond, I suppose!" I mutter 
gloomily. 

"No, I've better news than that !" the major says 
cordially. "We haven't men enough to spare to guard 
the prisoners we're taking. We shall carry you with 
us into Frederick and to-morrow parole you until you're 
exchanged : at least, I believe that is the order at pres- 
ent. Give me your word, and you can take your 
horse and go with us comfortably. I shall be crossing 
the river myself as soon as I give directions about your 
men, whom we shall parole at once not to serve 
until exchanged." 

His cheery words make my heart jump ; I am not 
to suffer confinement in Libby Prison. I go with him 
to sign the parole of my troop. 

Returning from this, my charming ex-captive rides 
up to me and remarks, apparent petulance in her tones : 
" I am not to be permitted to visit my friends in Lees- 
burg. Like you, / am a prisoner. That awful pro- 
vost-marshal insists on taking me to Frederick. I shall 
not be released until Stonewall Jackson gives word to 
that effect. They — they think me a Union spy ! " 

"I don't imagine they'll shoot you offhand," I reply, 
delighted that this fair, yet rather mysterious young 
creature is to journey with me. 

The piquancy in her manner indicates she will make 
a charming companion on the night ride into Frederick. 



BILLY HAMILTON. ^^ 

" Oh, I don't suppose they will need to hang me. I 
shall be executed by refrigeration in this night air, ' 
laughs the girl. "My riding-habit is wet to the 
knees." 

"That I shall try to obviate ! " cries Thornton, step- 
ping up. "Come with me at once; across the river 
we will give you a camp-fire ! " 

A few moments, and we iind ourselves upon the 
Maryland side of the river. 

"I see you've delayed us for an hour," remarks 
the major, gazing on the ruined bridge. 

The Confederates are blowing out a sluice gate and 
closing a dam, so that the canal will soon be dry — and 
their engineers are hastily erecting a light bridge or 
two to replace the one I've destroyed. 

While this is going on a big bivouac fire is rapidly 
built for us by Thornton's order, and my fair com- 
panion, wringing out the skirt of her riding-habit in 
front of it, makes as exquisite a series of silhouettes as 
fitful flashes ever showed to admiring eyes. Her very 
occupation compels an innocent abandon that permits 
most charming hints of a figure as graceful as a naiad's, 
as she shakes the Potomac water from her clinging 
skirts. 

But there is no air of coquetry about her, though I 
catch a glance or two that she steals at me, when she 
thinks I am not noticing her. In them, I can only see 
disdain, haughtiness, perchance contempt. 

A moment later I think this idea is caused by the 
conviction that every Southern woman hates a Union 
soldier ; for the young lady's voice has become win- 
ning, her air disingenuous, as she queries: "I sup- 
pose after your parole you will return to Washington ? " 

Then her eyes become wistful and eager. She whis- 
pers : "I believe a Southern Union officer like you 
should be in high favor with the War Department." 

" I am ! " I reply, with the proud assurance of youth, 
as I stir up the blazing brands, to get a better look at her. 

"Ah ! " she gazes at me wistfully, then murmurs a 
gracious; "Thank you! My habit is perfectly dry 
now." 

As she lifts her graceful head, by the flashes of the 
camp-fire, which is now burning very brightly, I obtain 
a first thorough impression of her face ; I behold youth, 



34 PAhhV HAMILTON. 

beauty, vivacity, combined with a subtle yet charm- 
ing- fascination. 

My glance is so searching- a blush flies over the ex- 
quisite features. She murmurs, a bashful embarrass- 
ment in her tones : ' ' You are satisfied with the inspec- 
tion of your — your former prisoner, Billy — I mean Cap- 
tain Hamilton ? " 

This most easy use of my Christian name astounds 
me. 

" You — you have known me before? " I gasp in sur- 
prise. 

"No; of course not! Oh! What was I thinking 
of! What have I said ! " she stammers, growing red 
as a peony in the firelight. Suddenly she cries ex- 
citedly as if to avoid further questions : " Look ! See ! 
Isn't it a glorious sight ! Behold the Confederate army 
crossing into 'My Maryland.'" 

And the girl's eyes become inspired ! 

From the elevation of our knoll by the river bank, I 
gaze, and a sight comes to me that takes all else from 
my mind. 

The veterans of Jackson's advanced divisions are 
fording the river, that flows waist high here — one con- 
tinued stream of marching manhood : each eye bright- 
ening as the bands play "My Maryland" ; each regi- 
ment cheering as it steps on the soil of the State they 
think to win and add, a new sister, to the Confederacy. 
Regiment after regiment of Virginia boys, brigaded 
under Taliaferro, veterans of many pitched battles, vic- 
torious on many stricken fields ; their uniforms ragged, 
their feet sometimes even bare, but their muskets gleam- 
ing brightly and their cartridge-boxes filled, tramp past 
us. 

These are followed by Stafford's Louisiana lads, 
five regiments, that give the wild Rebel yell as they 
touch the shores of Maryland. 

Somehow, the enthusiasm gets into me. Somehow, I 
remember I am a Southerner ! Somehow, I want to 
yell too ! 

But I am recalled to my duty by the sweet voice of 
my companion saying sarcastically : " Don't you wish 
you could cheer with them ? " Then as if willing to 
undo the effect of her words, Miss Variable quickly 
adds; "Pooh! We're two poor prisoners together. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 35 

Both Southerners, and both on the wrong side, I pre- 
sume." 

I do not answer this : the sight is too impressive. 
Silently both of us gaze, the placid river flowing past 
usswiftlyin the soft moonlight that tinges its ripples. 

From up-stream, borne to us by the breeze, come 
the sounds of the Confederate engineers throwing, by 
the light of blazing torches, a pontoon bridge across 
the Potomac, for the passage of the artillery. To our 
right, two miles away, distant explosions tell us Stuart's 
cavalry are blowing up culverts and destroying the 
Baltimore & Ohio railroad, cutting off the doomed gar- 
rison of Harper's Ferry from flight, succor or assistance. 

And still we gaze, and still they come : regiment 
after regiment, column after column — the young man- 
hood of the South ! Archer's Tennessee Riflemen, from 
the ridges of the Allegheny ; Thomas' Georgia Infantry 
and Pender's North Carolinians, their bayonets gleam- 
ing, their bands playing — not in the glorious panoply 
of war, but in the stern, dread reality of slaughter and 
of death. 

Forgetful of dead comrades fallen in Chickahominy 
swamps, careless of the decimation of the Second 
Manassas and Chantilly, reckless of everything except 
that they must win ; triumphant and confident, — for 
they are marching under a leader who has never lost 
a battle, — Stonewall Jackson's "foot-cavalry " tramp 
joyously across the fair Potomac water from bloody 
fields they have gained to other bloodier ones to be 
fought. Over all this, as each regiment reaches the 
Maryland shore, floats one continuous Rebel yell. 

Their losses, as they march, my military eye tells 
me, have been awful. Brigades are commanded by 
colonels ; captains lead battalions ; and in one in- 
stance I note a lieutenant is the ranking officer of a 
regiment, 

"Oh Heaven! How these darling, ragged, bare- 
footed, light-hearted heroes have suffered to win ! " 
sighs my beautiful companion. "Oh mercy!'' she 
mutters. " Don't look at our glorious boys any more ! 
To-night they're full of life, hope and courage ; to-mor- 
row how many of them will die here, right in this State." 
And the girl bursts out sobbing as if her heart would 
break. 



36 BILLY HAMILTON. 

But the men we look at, think not of death but of 
victory ; and the wild yell of triumphant invasion 
drowns the sad sobs of tender womanhood, — who 
pities, who sorrows for these light-hearted, devil-may- 
care Southern boys as they pass on with merry jest and 
careless laugh to the shambles of South Mountain and 
Antietam. 



CHAPTER III. 

WHO THE DUCE IS SHE ? 

A FEW moments after, as if to brush away any 
Southern sentiment she has displayed, Miss Enigma 
whispers: "Just see to my horse's girths, my gallant 
cavalryman. Then you can put me in the saddle — for 
here's Major Thornton come to tell us, I imagine, that 
we must both make a long jaunt into Frederick." 

"You have divined correctly," returns the gallant 
Southerner, and he gives directions to the troop of 
cavalry who are under his immediate orders. 

A moment later, the prettiest foot in the world is 
put into my eager hand, and I swing Miss Beauty into 
her saddle. I call her Miss Beauty now ; I have no 
other name for her. Once or twice I have, at odd 
times, by deft hints expressed my desire to know this 
young lady's baptismal appellation ; but at these mo- 
ments she has grown unusually stupid and doesn't seem 
to understand what I am suggesting. 

She has apparently been no more explicit with the 
Confederate Major, for we have hardly mounted and 
taken a by-path to get away from the marching infan- 
try who will delay us, when Thornton says gallantly, 
but decidedly : "Now I must know the name of my 
prisoner." 

' ' Not this evening," answers the captive mutinously ; 
then adds playfully : "I shall not reveal my identity 
to any one save General Jackson himself; " next mur- 
murs bashfully : " As if I would have all my friends in 
Virginia and Maryland know I've been conducted with- 
out chaperone, by two dashing officers, on an all-night- 
ride. Besides what would Mrs. Thornton say .? " 
Then she laughs into the handsome Confederate's face : 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



37 



"Your marriage, more than your desertion to the 
enemy, brought sad hearts to many Washington beau- 
ties, I believe." 

"Ah, you're acquainted in Washington .'' " 

"A little." 

With this the two go into a conversation, which I 
cannot catch, as they are riding side by side, and the 
narrow country lane compels me to keep in their rear. 
So I go to meditating as to whether it is only fear of 
scandal, or some ulterior political or military motive 
that makes this young lady silent as to her journey, 
not only to myself, but to the Confederate. Surely she 
could confide in one of us, I think. 

Then suddenly a spasm, which I have since dis- 
covered was jealousy, flies through me. Was it in 
hope of meeting some particular officer of Lee's army 
that this girl, who from her appearance is of gentle 
birth and tender breeding, has taken this wild night- 
ride through the lines of contending armies ? 

But Miss Enigma who rides in front of me gives me 
little opportunity for further grounds of speculation at 
present. Thornton's questions perhaps becoming too 
searching, she suddenly grows so sleepy that she can 
answer neither of us, though I note she guides her 
horse as dexterously as before, as we two ride on 
glumly after her. 

Soon after we enter the main road in advance of the 
infantry, but behind the cavalry that is hastening to- 
wards Frederick. 

A moment later, the young lady turns in her saddle 
and beckons us beside her. As we ride up, she says : 
" Would you like a sleepy prisoner, or a very gossipy 
and wide-awake captive. Major Thornton ? " 

" I hardly understand you," mutters the Confederate. 

"Well, I mean that if you put searching military 
questions to me, I shall be so sleepy I cannot answer 
them. If you permit me to chat about the affairs of 
the world, I'll make myself as entertaining as I can, for 
the courteous manner in which you've treated me this 
evening." 

"Anything but a silent prisoner ! " laughs the major. 

Whereupon she turns to us, and we enter into a con- 
versation about general news ; even going as far as 
Italy and Garibaldi's attempt to capture Rome, and 



38 BILLY HAMILTON. 

from this drift to Washington society and Virginia 
matters and Maryland affairs, the young lady's babble 
being so bright, charming and pleasant, that the ride 
seems very short as we come into Frederick about day- 
break. 

A huge bonfire of burning commissary stores de- 
stroyed by the Federal provost-marshal, who has re- 
treated with the one company under his command, 
leaving only the sick in hospital behind him, shows 
me that Lommox has reached here safely and given his 
warning. 

So chatting, we ride on into the little capital of 
Maryland. Every moment this young lady's conver- 
sation gives me more potent hopes of learning her 
name. Unguardedly, this beauty incognita has ad- 
mitted she knows several of my Baltimore friends and 
one or two of my Washington acquaintances. 

"It'll be the devil's own luck if I don't find you out, 
my elusive charmer, after the hints you have given 
me," I think cheerily as I assist the young lady from 
her horse at the entrance of the principal tavern in 
Frederick Town. 

This is now lighted up with its doors open, and the 
proprietor is answering Thornton's hurried military 
questions as to the number of the United States troops 
that have been in the town, and the direction they 
have taken, his darky servants going about rather 
nervously in the presence of the invading Confeder- 
ates. 

Roused by the noise of Rebel hoofs, a number of the 
townspeople in hastily-made toilets are thronging 
about the advanced squadrons of Stuart's Cavalry, 
gaping at their invaders, who call themselves their 
friends and say they come to free them. 

"Gol darned if I thought you Rebs — I — I means 
Confeds — were in fifty miles of us," I hear a farmer, 
who has come in with early morning vegetables and 
poultry, say to one of Stuart's troopers, as the cav- 
alry take all his supplies, and pay, to his astonish- 
ment and delight, is Yankee greenbacks, and gold, 
probably gleaned from the Federal dead at Second 
Manassas. 

His business with the boniface finished, Thornton 
turns to us and speaks with military promptness. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 39 

"Remember you are both on parole not to leave 
this hotel without my permit. Have I your word of 
honor that you will remain here ? " 

" You have," I reply, " and my thanks also for your 
courtesy. " 

" Have I yours also, INIiss ? " says the Confeder- 
ate, addressing the young lady, who has not replied to 
him. 

" And if not ? " answers the fair captive airily. 

"Then I shall be compelled to place a sentry at the 
door of your chamber," remarks the provost-marshal 
sternly. "A discourtesy I am loath to be guilty of, 
to a young lady whom I wish to treat with every pos- 
sible consideration." 

"Under these circumstances you have my word. 
Major Thornton," replies the girl. Then, a strange 
eagerness coming to her voice, she says impulsively : 
" Only p/ease — please let me see General Jackson as 
soon as he arrives, you — you don't know how impor- 
tant it is ! " 

"I will try and accommodate you, but I am a very 
busy man," answers the Confederate officer. Then he 
rides hurriedly away, leaving us tvv'o captives looking 
in each other's face, as I give the darky groom a dollar, 
and tell him to see our horses are well fed and bedded. 

"You wish to see General Jackson immediately.''" 
I query meditatively. 

"Yes, of course," answers my ex-captive. " My 
night's experience makes me anxious to escape from 
between contending armies." 

"Ah, yes," I reply. "Only I thought your manner 
indicated that it is more important for Jackson to see 
you than you to see him. " 

"Goodness, what a suspicious creature you are ! " 
half laughs Miss Incognita. "Don't you see I am as 
much a captive as you are ? But, good-morning, I am 

very tired and " Her languid manner indicates that 

she wishes to end the interview. 

"You would like a little beauty sleep, eh.''" I sug- 
gest, as I assist my fair companion into the hotel and 
do what I can for her comfort. 

" Of course ! " returns the young lady laughing. To 
this she adds : "A little would do you no harm also," 
and trips away attended by the hotel-keeper, leaving 



40 BILLY HAMILTON. 

me chewing my moustache and gazing wonderingly 
after her. 

Has this interesting creature been caught accident- 
ally between contending armies, or is she one of the 
"dyed-in-the-wool" Secession gii Is who'd risk every- 
thing for their cause, even life itself, and be a bearer 
of information to the Confederate chieftain, or is she, 
worse still, the affianced or the wife of some Rebel 
officer desperately seeking, at the risk of her own per- 
sonal safety, the lips she loves, the arms she longs for ? 

" Damn it, this last is the worst of all," I think, as 
my heart sinks. "Better the lover of the Confederate 
cause than the sweetheart of a Rebel officer. Curse it 
— how jealous I am becoming." 

A moment later I conclude that Miss Incognita's 
suggestion as to sleep is a wise one, I have been in 
the saddle almost continuously for forty-eight hours. 

Five minutes after I am shown into a little bed- 
chamber whose dormer windows open on the main 
thoroughfare of Frederick. As I look out, a battery of 
Confederate artillery is thundering up Market Street, 
the stars and stripes have been hauled down from the 
flagpole in front of the town hall, the Rebel banner 
is flying in its place ; the rising sun gleams on the 
flashing bayonets of an infantry division marching 
from the south — Stonewall Jackson has entered Fred- 
erick. 



Notwithstanding the noise of ammunition trains and 
the rumbling of artillery, my forty-eight hours in the 
saddle makes me sleep well and soundly. Once or 
twice, however, I dream of a fairy figure in a dark 
gray riding-habit. 

Some unusual and more potent noise in the street 
awakens me. I spring from my bed and grasp for my 
absent sabre, thinking for a moment that it is the call 
to arms. I glance from the window, and look out on 
a soft Maryland September day. The rattle comes 
from the drums of a Confederate brigade marching up 
the street. I see the gray uniforms ; recollections of 
the preceding night throng upon me. My lack of 
weapons brings my situation home to me — I remember 
I am a prisoner. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 4 1 

But appetite in a healthy young man is always a 
dominant passion. Thoughts of breakfast prevent my 
growing morbid over my captivity. The officer with 
meagre rations the night before, rejoices in the chance 
of a hotel breakfast. 

I glance at my watch ; it is twelve o'clock in the 
day. 

Making a hasty soldier's toilet, I step below into the 
main room of the hotel. This is now full of a con- 
glomeration of Maryland citizens and Confederate offi- 
cers. The faces of the invaders are full of exultant 
hope, the countenances of the invaded bear the impress 
of the mighty passions of that mighty time. All of 
them betray concern ; some of them indicate joy ; 
others, though they try to conceal it, bitter animosity 
and undying hate. 

A few, however, display such tremendous out-spoken 
enthusiasm and friendship for the Rebel soldiers that I 
know it means recruits for Lee's invading army. Some 
of these gibe their neighbors of Union sentiment with 
vindictive speeches. 

As I elbow my way through the throng, I hear one 
of them scoffing: "Hi, Jake, Pap Lee and his boys'll 
make you walk Spanish for telling on Bill Garvey when 
he took that band of volunteers over the river two 
months ago." 

"Garvey's in the old Capitol prison," guffaws an- 
other. _ " You'll know about what his feelings are when 
you're in Libby yourself. Didn't reckon we knew you'd 
betrayed us ? Trying the sneak act, eh ? " 

For this remark has produced a deathly pallor in the 
face of the man addressed, and he is leaving the hotel, 
the fear of immediate retaliation showing in his shiv- 
ering limbs. 

But despite the cruel passions of civil war, the nervous 
tension seems to have made down-hearted Union men 
and enthusiastic and triumphant Confederate sym- 
pathizers equally thirsty. The bar-room of the hotel 
is doing a great business, the chink of glasses sounding 
merrily, some of stuart's officers remarking that 
the whiskey is as good north of the Potomac as it is 
south. Altogether, the scene is one of great excite- 
ment, brilliancy and elan\ there is cheering on the 
street, and the bands of the Southern Infantry, as they 



42 BILLY HAMILTON. 

pass the house, are triumphantly playing, " My Mary- 
land," "Bonnie Blue Flag" and " Dixie." 

In this gathering my blue uniform naturally attracts 
both attention and comment, A gray-coated captain, 
after consultation with one or two of his broiher officers, 
steps to me and asks firmly, but politely, the reason of 
my presence. To him I return shortly that I am a 
prisoner under parole. 

As I do so, we recognize each other as classmates at 
West Point. The Rebel's manner changes, so does 
mine. We forget we wear different uniforms and fight 
under opposing flags. The old days on the green 
parade-ground on the Hudson come back ; the old class 
feeling so often displayed during all that bloody time 
returns to us. Personal friendship, that even the awful 
animosity of that war did not destroy, when dying 
Armstead begged to be carried to his old chum Han- 
cock's tent, when Sherman and Johnson, though com- 
manding opposing armies, were to each other as ' ' Bill " 
and "Joe," comes to us and makes us clasp hands 
over the bloody chasm. 

Jeff Crockett, of the Twenty-second Confederate Ten- 
nessee Infantry, says to Billy Hamilton, of the First 
Union Kentucky Cavalry : " I am almighty glad to see 
you, though deuced sorry to see you dressed in blue. But 
I'll give you a hint ; if you are a prisoner and hungry, 
you had better feed at once — you may not have long 
to stay here, and your Yankee commissary is a good 
way off. Besides," whispers the young officer as I 
voice my thanks for the information, " there's a deuced 
pretty girl in the dining-room. Her beauty kept me 
from eating a few moments ago, and I had the appetite 
of a government mule." 

"In a gray riding-habit.'' " I ask excitedly. 

"Yes, but I did not look at her dress. It was her 
face, her face, Ramrod." 

Jeff is calling me by my old class name ; but I hardly 
listen to him ; for I am turning eagerly to the dining- 
room with the sudden hope in my heart that I may 
catch my ex-captive at breakfast. 

Entering, I find that fortune has been kind to me, 
though for a moment I hardly recognize her. 

Before, her beauty had been partly concealed by the 
shadows of the night. At best, it had been but the sug- 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



43 



gestions of the fitful brands of a camp-fire, of flickerir.g 
coal-oil lamps, and dim kerosene effects of the countrj^ 
hotel. This morning, under the soft summer sun that 
floats through the windows and halos her exquisite per- 
sonality, her loveliness is a revelation. 

Eyes of deepest blue, sparkling when betraying viva- 
city, but dark when indicating passion ; forehead, low, 
as in all beautiful women, but still high enough to 
predicate brilliant man -catching mentality and that 
sprightly feminine intuition — instinct- — divination — call 
it what you will — that seems so weak logically — that 
is so strong actually ; complexion of mixed lilies and 
roses; mouth, kissable yet refined — even haughty; 
chin that would be firm were it not so wom.anly ; a 
nose, patrician, with just enough retrousse in it to give 
it piquant witchery and alluring roguery ; chestnut 
hair, wavy and curling about an exquisitely-formed 
head, and all this supported by the figure of a nine- 
teen-year-old Venus, which is a good deal more grace- 
ful than the seven-and-twenty article. 

This is what strikes my eyes as I place them on my 
captive of the preceding night. Altogether she is a 
most charming picture : the riding-habit of the night 
before seems somehow to have been made by some 
subtle art as fresh as if it had suffered no contact with 
Potomac water or dust of Maryland roads. A half- 
blown rosebud or two, tucked into its bosom, adds 
to the graceful effect as their perfume floats about 
her. 

Sleep seems to have made the young lady more do- 
cile. She looks up at me archly, then a great, red. 
burning blush flies over her face, the reason of which 
I cannot guess, though it gives me a rapture which is 
increased by a soft, liquid Southern accent and piquant 
daintiness of demeanor. 

" Good-morning, Captain Hamilton," she says cor- 
dially, though she has become strangely bashful. 
"Captivity has not destroyed your appetite, I hope." 

" Nor yours either, I can see," I answer, as I inspect 
the depleted breaklast-table in front of her and take my 
seat immediately opposite. 

The dining-room is nearly deserted. I felicitate my- 
self upon chance of tete-a-tete. 

"No trace of cold from your ducking last night ? " I 



44 BILLY HAMILTON. 

question a latent anxiety in my voice that apparently 
impresses the young lady. 

" You're concerned for my health ? " she says airily ; 
then suddenly laughs : ' ' Oh, of course_yoM should be ! " 
and another wave of blushes flies again over her ex- 
pressive face. A moment later she asks, a peculiar, 
embarrassed persiflage in her tone : "Why ? " 

"You were my captive when we forded the Poto- 
mac," I answer. " I always like to take good care of 
my /(2c?y-prisoners. " 

" Have you had manyp" A sneaking, though wist- 
ful, eagerness in the inquiry delights me. 

"You are my first," I return; " but the experience 
is so pleasant I am longing for many more." 

"Plumph! The remark is not so flattering as you 
intended it to be," laughs the young lady. Apparently 
she is growing more at her ease. 

There is something familiar about the girl by day- 
light. Hang it ! where have I seen Miss Alluring be- 
fore.-' I rack my brain as I order from the attendant 
darky waiter a supply of provender which apparently 
astounds my vis-d-vis. 

" Mercy ! Your government rations must be very 
meagre, my cavalier," she says vivaciously, 

"They are ! This is my first civilized breakfast since 
I left Washington, six days ago." 

" And you hope to be returning there shortly .? " 

"Yes; unless I'm sent to Libby Prison," I mutter 
glumly; then I ask eagerly: " And _yo«r fate.? Have 
you seen General Jackson .? " 

" Pooh ! That was settled early this morning. I'm 
afraid that great commander thinks I'm a very saucy 
girl," remarks the young lady piquantly. 

" I hope not ! " I answer gravely. "Stonewall Jack- 
son is respected by every one. North or South." 

"And why not .? " cries the girl defiantly. "Why 
shouldn't I give him a piece of my mind, if he treats 
me like a prisoner and threatens to send me to Rich- 
mond under guard .? Anyway, I don't care. I suppose 
I '11 see my mother and my aunt in Leesburg some day 
— before I die." 

"Why, I thought you were a Southerner!"! say 
impulsively. 

"And are you not a Southerner .? " she asks, "and 



BILLY HAMILTON. 45 

yet for the Union ? Are there not cold-blooded South- 
erners like you and me, who remain on the side that is 
most convenient for them? But come! Let us run 
over to the stable and look at our horses ? Here's some 
sugar for my Bonny Belle." The girl has taken three 
or four lumps from the bowl. 

She rises and trips to a French window that o]5ens 
on the veranda at the rear of the house ; from which 
steps leads to a garden, through which runs a path 
apparently to the stal)les of the hostelry. 

Standmg with the sun shining on her delicate, pi- 
quant, patrician face, the green ivy leaves blowing 
about her graceful figure — what man wouldn't follow 
her. 

Delighted to know that this beautiful creature is cer- 
tainly on my side of the political fence, I spring up 
from the relics of Maryland biscuits, porterhouse steak, 
and corn-cakes and coffee ; though I blush as I re- 
member that I, a cavalryman, have, attracted by 
woman, forgotten my steed's breakfast. 

Stealing a few lumps of saccharine to make my 
apology to my charger, I follow my beautiful guide 
across the little garden. 

" Neglected his horse's breakfast ! That's nice for a 
dashing, yet sleepy dragoon," jeers the girl. 

"I have been in the saddle for forty-eight hours," I 
mutter shamefacedly. 

" Well, /didn't forget your horse, if you did," laughs 
the young lady. "When I came out this morning to 
see after Bonny Belle I took care that your charger — 
Roderick, you call him, I believe — had everything nec- 
essary for his comfort." 

We are standing beside the horses now, her pretty 
little half Arab being stalled next to my heavier Ken- 
tucky-bred roadster, which has carried me through my 
first campaign and become a charger in several skir- 
mishes in Tennessee and Kentucky, and the pitched 
battle of Shiloh. My companion has petted and given 
the sweet dainties to her mare. Bonny Belle, while I 
have made my amends to Roderick, who crunches the 
lumps of sugar between his strong teeth, and looks at 
me affectionately from his great big, honest eyes, as I 
fondle his soft nozzle. 

A moment later Miss Vivacity has tripped beside me 



46 BILLY HAMILTON. 

and is petting my horse also. "What a noble fel- 
low ! " she says, and inspecting Roderick's good points 
with the eye of a horsewoman, whispers : "Fit to 
ride for a man's life ! " 

Ye gods ! How a magnificent horse sets off a beau- 
tiful woman ! I can see her now, as she stands with 
one hand over the shoulder of the great chestnut, the 
closely fitting riding-habit outlining each exquisite 
contour of her beautiful form ; its skirt, held up by a 
dainty hand, displaying an equally dainty foot, in 
tightly fitting, burnished riding-boot : the other little 
white hand is playing with the flowing mane of my 
big chestnut. 

A moment later tears come into the girl's eyes. She 
mutters: "Oh, if these Confederates steal our horses 
from us ! It — it'll break my heart to lose Bonny 
Belle ! " 

A glum feeling comes into mine also, as I see in 
imagination some hard-riding trooper of Stuart's be- 
striding my favorite war-horse. 

Perchance sympathy makes us both tender to this 
noble animal : we vie with each other in petting him 
and caressing him. Suddenly an electric spark flies 
through me. In fondling my charger's nozzle I have 
unwittingly touched the beautiful hand of my com- 
panion, which is stroking it also. 

A blush is on her face as she moves a little away 
from me. 

I step after her and say : " I hope last night's ad- 
ventures have made us friends ; that, though you will 
not give me your name, I may see you again." There 
is a suppressed passion in my voice, that — fight it 
down as I may — I can't keep out of it. 

The girl's answer astounds me. "Oh, you will 
doubtless see me quite often — too often perhaps ; " she 
jeers — looks at me demurely for a moment — then 
suddenly bursts into a paroxysm of roguish laughter, 

A little mockery in her cadences makes me more 
ardent, I mutter: "I shall live in that hope.'" and 
my voice conveys even more than my words. 

Apparently the beautiful creature at my side thinks 
so. She turns to me, and with flashing eyes murmurs : 
" You say pretty things to many women, I suppose, 
my gallant Captain." Then her voice grows deep per- 



BILLY Hamilton. 



47 



chance passionate, as she demands: "Have you the 
right to ? " 

"Certainly ! "' I answer, ardently, yet carelessly. 

" Think ! " my charmer looks me straight in the 
eyes. "Are you not engaged? Are you not the 
affianced of Miss Eva Vernon Ashley, of Virginia ? " 

"Oh, that little witch ? " I laugh. "Egad ! I have 
not seen her since she was ten." 

"Are you not betrothed to her riozv P " 

"Y-e-s," I mutter, chewing my moustache. "I 
suppose it's a family arrangement. But then I have 
not seen her for a great many years." 

"And I have no doubt the girl was ugly," sneers 
my fair companion. 

"No, on the contrary, she v/as as pretty a little 
termagant as I ever put eyes on." 

"Ah — ah!" There seems to be a triumph in my 
inquisitor's voice— why, I cannot for the life of me un- 
derstand. "You think she may have grown more 
beautiful.?" she queries eagerly. 

"Yes; but I hardly believe she would come up to 
a young lady that I have met more recently.'' My 
accent on the last word is significant. 

"Oho!" The girl is giggling in my face! Then 
she continues slowly and meditatively, "I su])pose, 
like most young officers, you're permeated with that 
naughty soldier sentiment so ably voiced by fickle 
Tom Moore ? " And she quotes these damnable lines : 

" 'Tis sweet to think that where'er we rove 

We are sure to find something blissful and dear. 
And that when we're far from the lips we love 
We've but to make love to the lips we are near." 

"On the contrary," I say, made desperate by the 
alluring beauty, who seems to scoff the pangs she 
raises in my heart, "in this case the lips that are 
near are also the lips that are dear." 

"I — I will tell those words," remarks the young 
lady, biting her lip, " to — to your fiance'e — " at the word 
the fair face suddenly grows as red as the roses in her 
habit. "You shall see what Miss Eva Vernon Ashley 
of Virginia, thinks of them." With this she suddenly 
bursts out into such an uncontrollable fit of laughter 
that it seems almost hysterical. 



48 HILLY HAMILTON. 

" You're a deuced curious girl," I meditate glumly, 
as I look at her; though there is a latent haughtiness 
in her manner that I cannot understand. 

Just here, perhaps fortunately for me, this extraordi- 
nary interview is interrupted. Major Thornton enters 
the stable hurriedly and remarks: "I've been look- 
ing for you all over the hotel. Come with me, Hamil- 
ton, at once to General Jackson's headquarters." Then 
he bows to the young lady — rather coldly, I think. 

"Has my fate been decided upon.?" she asks 
quickly. 

From her position I cannot see the face, though I 
note on Thornton's a kind of wary smile as he returns: 
"You will probably be sent South under a guard." 

"To Richmond.? " asks the piquant prisoner, with 
apparently forced anxiety. 

"You will pardon me. I cannot discuss this affair 
with you," answers the Confederate major ; it seems to 
me, with an affected and exaggerated brusqueness. 

"Ah, you Southerners are not as gallant as Captain 
Hamilton, the Federal, was to me but a few moments 
ago." She turns on me a sweet, yet mocking smile. 

Stepping to her, I whisper : " You will forgive words 
I couldn't help uttering.?" 

"I will, if Miss Eva Ashley will," returns Miss Enig- 
ma in a low voice ; then suddenly breaks out laughing 
again. 

"You won't tell me your name ? " 

"Akver/" 

With this answer I am compelled to be content, for 
Thornton is saying impatiently: "Come quickly, 
Hamilton, if you would escape Libby Prison." 

We walk out of the stable and cross the garden, the 
young lady following us, a strange merriment in her 
beautiful face. In the hotel I whisper to Thornton : 
"Tell me her name. You must have discovered it by 
this time." 

" Not on my life, young man ! " is the Confederate's 
jeering answer. Then he utters this ambiguous sug- 
gestion : "But you will doubtless know some day to 
your sorrow." And he, too, goes into an uncontrol- 
lable fit of merriment. 

" Hang it ! Are they both mad ? " I think. Then I 
mutter: "Who the deuce is she?" For oh, how I 



BILLY HAMILTON. ^n 

want to know ! the exquisite, roguish, pathetic, sym- 
pathetic, jeering beauty of the giVl I caught upon the 
banks of the Potomac has surely captured me. 



CHAPTER IV. 

STONEWALL JACKSON ASKS A FEW QUESTIONS. 

In the main street, checking with some difficulty his 
merriment, which I look sternly upon, for it seems to 
me_ there is a mocking ring in it, the Confederate 
major, forcing his face to seriousness, remarks with 
military abruptness : "They have a few questions at 
Headquarters to ask you. If you reply to them satis- 
factorily. Captain Hamilton, you will probably be 
paroled at once." 

' ' And if my answers are not satisfactory ? " I ask 
moodily. 

"Then, perhaps, sent to Richmond under guard." 
This suggestion makes me gloomy. I have a pretty 
shrewd idea of the kind of questions that will be asked 
me, and have determined not to reply to them. But 
present military spectacle drives from my mind visions 
of Libby Prison. 

Evidences of the Confederate occupation are every- 
where present. A brigade of A. P. Hill's Division is 
marching up the street, its band playing " In Dixie's 
Land." The faces of both officers and men are confi- 
dent and enthusiastic, though their uniforms are worn 
and ragged. 

Their reception by the inhabitants of Frederick indi- 
cates a decided variety of political sentiment. In some 
cases the blinds of the houses are closed, though from 
behind them eager eyes are scrutinizing the boys in 
gray as they march past. Some of the other dwellings 
are open, their occupants, men and women, gazing 
with curiosity upon the military pageant, with faces 
showing a sympathy they dare not more openly ex- 
press. In a few others, however. Southern sentiment 
is vivaciously, enthusiastically and boldly displayed. 
One mansion is decorated with Confederate flags, the 
ladies and gentlemen on its veranda waving their 



so BILLY Hamilton. 

handkerchiefs and displaying the Southern colors, 
while the members of the family distribute to the pass- 
ing soldiers eatables and clothing such as seem most 
needed. 

"That's Ross's residence," remarks Thornton. 
" He's the happiest man in Maryland. You Yanks had 
him in Fort McHenry for awhile, but now he is able to 
shout secession as much as he likes without being 
arrested. He is giving us a banquet this evening. I 
hope to make up for six months short rations at Mr. 
Ross's hospitable board." 

"But supposing we Yanks come back," I ask. 

"But you won't, my boy ; we are in Maryland to 
stay," replies the Confederate, confidently. "Any- 
way, our friends here are having a good time now. 
The pent-up enthusiasm of two years is let loose kiting ! 
They've just torn up and destroyed the office of the 
Frederick "Examiner," a red hot Black Republican 
paper. Scholtz, the editor, skedaddled this morning 
as Jeb Stuart's Cavalry came into town. But here are 
Jackson's headquarters." 

The number of orderlies holding staff-officers' horses, 
an occasional brigade or division commander riding 
up, all indicate the military home of the Confederate 
chieftain. At present Bradley Johiiston, who has just 
been appointed provost-marshal of the place, is mak- 
ing an address in the garden outside to a number 
of the citizens of Frederick who are congregated 
about him, assuring them that their private property 
will be held inviolate, and any supplies taken from 
them will be paid for in Confederate or Federal money, 
as they elect ; that any soldier discovered in the 
slightest transgression against private rights or prop- 
erty will be summarily and severely punished. 

Making our way through gaping farmers who have 
come grumblingly to headquarters to present orders 
for live-stock and provisions gleaned from them by 
Rebel foraging parties, Thornton ushers me in by a side 
door. 

Here, after a few whispered words with an orderly, 
my Confederate friend remarks to me: "You'll have 
to wait a short time. General Jackson is now engaged 
with General Stuart." 

With this he leads me into what is apparently the 



BILLY HAMILTON. 5 1 

main room of the house, where a number of Rebel 
officers are standing about chatting, and a few more 
are writing, seemingly very busy over general staff 
duties. 

As I enter, a little conversation is wafted to me 
from a red-faced brigadier and a colonel of cavalry, 
who, in his high boots and plumed slouch hat, looks 
like an old-time cavalier. Apparently, they have not 
noticed me, and their words are by no means guarded. 

" We have tried every way to get the information, 
for General Jackson seems to want it immediately," 
says the colonel. " You see, none of our command 
crossed into Maryland earlier than dusk last night, so 
no trooper or officer of ours can tell. Two of McClel- 
lan's Army Corps never crossed the Potomac to join 
Pope. We must know whether any of them have been 
sent into Harper's Ferry to strengthen that place." 

"Then why the deuce don't you try the cursed 
Maryland farmers ? " interjects the brigadier, with an 
oath. 

"We have !" returns the cavalryman. "One half 
won't tell us if they can ; and the other half have been 
so busy harvesting their corn that their sleepy, bucolic 
eyes haven't noticed. Besides, the trains with rein- 
forcements might have passed through in the night. " 

" By the Lord Harry ! if I were Stuart, I'd get it out 
of these cursed, no-side Maryland yokels if I had to 
string 'em up by the thumbs ! " mutters the burly 
general-officer, whose breath indicates Kentucky 
Bourbon. 

"But," dissents the colonel, "you know we invade 
this State as friends, not enemies ! " 

"And the blasted Maryland farmer has by this time 
discovered that there's lots of Yankee greenbacks for 
his live stock and grain, delivered to the U. S. Com- 
missary in Washington," mutters the brigade-command- 
er. "That's the reason these country louts outside 
scowl at us — their deliverers — as they take our Confed- 
erate currency for their farm produce." 

Then his eye suddenly catches my blue uniform, 
which, with my lack of side-arms, now begins to 
attract attention from the surrounding warriors in 
gray. He advances irascibly towards me, and I, catch- 
ing his name from Thornton, remember him as a 



52 BILLY HAMILTON. 

gentleman I had heard of, in old army lore, as a bully- 
in Dragoon service on the frontier, where, after eating 
government pap for thirty years, he had resigned his 
command at the first rumor of secession, and come 
East, "to give the Yankees hell," as he expressed 
it. 

Glaring at the blue uniform he had once worn, 
this potentate growls : " Who the devil are you ?" 

After learning my rank in the Union Army and the 
particulars of my capture, this bluff old soldier says 
to me, the arrogance of authority in his voice : 
" Come, sir, we want the following information from 
you, and we must have it quick ! If your answers are 
satisfactory, we will parole you at once." 

"Isn't that somewhat in the nature of a bribe, 
General ? " I reply to him. 

" You must be your own judge of that," answers 
the martinet sharply. "What is the strength of your 
garrison at Harper's Ferry ? " 

"My military honor will not permit me to answer 
that question, sir, " I return stiffly. 

" Confound it ! How many men have you at 
Martinsburg .? " 

" I am unable to state." 

" Hang it ! What is the strength of your command 
at Winchester .? " 

" I cannot reply." 

" Dash it, don't you mean to give me any informa 
tion at all .? " 

" Yes. Permit me to be of service to you, General," 
I say blandly, unheeding Thornton's warning look. 
"You w'ere educated at West Point — only a great 
many years before me — you must remember the 
teachings regarding military secrecy and military 
honor. I imagine they were just the same in your 
day as they were in mine." 

" Damn it, sir ; do you mean to teach me my pro- 
fession .? " roars the Rebel brigadier, getting very red 
in the face, for some of the staff officers about find 
great difficulty in choking down their merriment. 
"Your parole is revoked! " he says to me sternly, then 
summons a sergeant : " Place this man under imme- 
diate close arrest ; forward him under guard to Libby 
Prison in Richmond by the first return wagons ! " 



BILLY HAMILTON. 53 

My heart sinks at the prospect of long confinement ; 
perhaps during the whole war. 

Here Thornton comes to my aid. He remarks : 
"Pardon me; I have General Jackson's orders to 
conduct Captain Hamilton to him immediately." 

" Then why the devil didn't you say so .-' " growls 
the blustering brigadier. 

A moment later I hear : "General Jackson desires 
to see you now." 

An orderly opens the door, and Thornton beckons 
me into an adjoining apartment. 

As I enter I catch " reinforcements — Harper's 
Ferry." But I am thinking more of my personal fate 
than anything else, and I scarce note the words. 

A dashing, bronzed and free-and-easy trooper is just 
striding out. 

I stare as I recognize, from old West Point history, 
the great cavalry-commander remembered at the Mili- 
tary Academy as " Beauty " Stuart. His brow is lofty 
and his eyes as flashing as a roguish boy's, and his 
manner as full of juvenile freshness as a Plebe's. 

Can this be the man who has made himself famous 
as the inventor of the complete-circle-of-the-enemy- 
raid ? Is this the cavalryman who rides all day and 
fights all night, and then rides on again ? 

But it is ! 

For a quiet, modest, but mathematically precise voice 
calls him back : " One moment. General Stuart ; 
remember I mus! have this information ! 

" General Jackson, yo\x shall have the information ! " 
says the cavalryman, confidently. " If I can't twist 
it out of the farmers' boys, I'll " 

" Remember — no threats, nor force ! We come into 
this State as friends." 

" I'll — I'll wheedle it out of the farmers' girls, along 
the Baltimore & Ohio railroad." laughs the trooper, 
stroking his long moustache caressingly. " General, 
I'm good with the girls ! 

Apparently the dashing Confederate Is good with the 
girls. For even as he speaks, some pretty little Mary- 
land maidens are decorating with wreaths of flowers his 
prancing war-horse, held by an orderly, in the street 
outside. 

Striding from the house, this rough-riding, hard- 



54 BILLY HAMILTON. 

fighting, non-drinking, never-swearing cavalry general 
of boyish frankness and youthful elan, steps to the 
street and swings his long legs, in high boots, over his 
mettlesome Virginia charger. 

Then leaning laughingly from his saddle, he picks 
up a little tot, who unabashed offers him a sweet-smell- 
ing posy. Kissing the child tenderly, he holds it in 
front of him, and so surrounded by fresh blooming 
flowers and with innocent childhood in his arms, the 
Virginia cavalryman is for one moment a picture of 
peace. 

Then placing the child carefully on the ground, Jeb 
Stuart becomes a man of war again, and plunging his 
rowels into his steed, dashes away, singing gayly : 

" If you want to have a good time, 
J'ine the cavalry I 
J'ine the cavalry ! " 

Turning from this martial, yet pastoral scene, I 
anxiously place my eyes on the arbiter of my fate. 

Seemingly too absorbed in thought to notice me, a 
tall, raw-boned figure, in a faded, battle-worn, undress 
uniform of the Confederacy, is rapidly, with a peculiar 
stride, pacing the floor. The two stars on his military 
collar indicate a major-general.* 

" This is Captain Hamilton — the officer you wish to 
see. General Jackson," remarks Thornton, saluting. 

As the staff-officer retires, I will confess my view of 
the Confederate chieftain astonishes me. Can this be 
the man who has carried victory in his hand on so 
many stricken fields ? 

Though his aquiline nose and firm lips under the full 
beard and moustache indicate decision, and his high 
forehead and massive brows portray both gigantic, 
intellectual force and power of intense concentration 
of mind, still his gaze is more that of a student than a 
warrior, and his manner diffident — even to bashfulness. 
His smile is winning, his voice has the quiet tones 
of a reticent professor rather than the sharp command 
of a military chieftain, though there is a mathematical 
directness in them as he says to me : "I am sorry to 

* Jackson was not made a Lieutenant-General till after Fredericks- 
burg. — Ed. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 55 

trouble you, Captain Hamilton, with a few questions, 
before granting your parole. You had been scouting 
on the Potomac, I understand, when you were cap- 
tured ? " 

" Yes, sir," I answer promptly. 

" Ah, guarding trains on the Baltimore & Ohio rail- 
way, I presume," he says. His eyes are meditative. 

" No, sir," I reply carelessly. " There were no 
trains to guard." 

" Thank you 1 

Suddenly his manner changes. He is no more the 
student ; he is the military genius — the inspired strate- 
gist — the commander who holds the forces of war 
within his grasp. 

" Good God ! What have I carelessly told him ! " 

He has sounded a bell upon his table. A staff- 
officer enters hurriedly. To him he whispers certain 
orders with great rapidity, repeating them over, I 
imagine, from the way he speaks and adding : 
" See that every division-commander in my corps gets 
this in duplicate by separate messengers within 
the hour. " As I stand in the corner of the room and 
watch the play of his precise yet confident and 
enthusiastic features, and see the nostrils of the aqui- 
line nose expanding, and the great eyes, glowing under 
their prominent brows that give to them such intensity 
of divination, I start and wonder : "Have my words 
produced this sudden resolution in the Confederate 
commander ? " 

All at once it strikes me like a rifle shot. If there 
were ?io trains to guard on the BaUimore & Ohio rail- 
road, the only route to Harper's Ferry, no reinforce- 
ments have gone into this place. Some one must have 
given the Confederate general exact information as to 
what was the strength of its garrison a few days before. 
If they have not been reinforced, by the two corps of 
INIcClellan'sof which we have no report, he knows the 
exact Union forces in the doomed fortress. What 
Stuart's cavalry could not get for him,— what Maryland 
farmers could 'not or would not give him, — what the 
blustering brigadier could not bully out of me, the 
student, in two most politic and deftly worded sen- 
tences, has drawn from fne. 

1 gaze disconcerted and chagrined out of the window, 



56 BILLY HAMILTON. 

and see staff-officers one after another galloping off 
hurriedly, and a division-commander and a couple of 
brigadiers mounting their horses and riding away in 
sudden haste. 

A moment later, the courteous voice of the Confeder- 
ate chieftain calls me to him. " There is only one thing 
more, which can in no way affect the military situation, " 
he says ; ' ' the young lady you arrested at Norton's Ford 
last evening — the one captured when you were taken 
prisoner." There is a pathetic interest in the Confed- 
erate general's tones. 

" Yes, sir ; what of her ? " I ask anxiously. 

** Do you know her name .'* 

"No, sir! She absolutely refused to give me any 
information on that subject ! " 

"Have you any idea of her purpose in attempting 
to cross the river? " 

"No, sir. " 

"This is on your honor, both as an officer and a 
gentleman } " 

" It is, sir ! My answers are absolutely coirect." 

"Thank you ! Then you will be paroled as soon as 
possible." 

A moment later the Confederate General gives direc- 
tions to this effect to Thornton, who is waiting for me ; 
then astounds and confuses me again by ordering an 
aide to bring to him instantly the map of Pennsylvania, 
and calling the dashing cavalry colonel of the plumed 
hat in to him, I hear him in distinct voice and direct 
tones order : 

" Colonel Brien, overtake General Stuart and tell him 
your regiment is to ride as far as Chambersburg ; I 
wish to know if any Pennsylvania militia or State 
troops are gathered at that point. You will make no 
attack upon them — only so far as is absolutely neces- 
sary to develop their force. Then return with the in- 
formation to me." 

" Is this last order intended to befog me ? " I think, as 
I notice the General glances towards me once or twice. 
Any way, this places my mind in a muddle. I had 
supposed General Jackson's point of attack was Har- 
per's Ferry ; now it seems to me his eye is turned to- 
wards Harrisburg and Philadelphia. At all events, I 
am no more sure of his absolute intentions than when 



BILLY HAMILTON. 57 

I entered. All I know is that my hasty words have 
given him the information he wanted. 

So we walk out from the headquarters of the man 
whose genius made for the first two years of the war a 
triumphant South. 



CHAPTER V. 

"find her and MAKE LOVE TO HER." 

In the street, the Confederate Major whispers to 
me : "What do you think of him ? " 

"Think of him.?" I answer. "He is the greatest 
diplomatist I ever saw. He got out of me as an irrel- 
evant side remark what that blustering brigadier could 
not by direct questions." 

"Ah, but you should see the diplomatist m battle" 
answers my companion, " or on the march. Hang it, 
he gives us no rest ! We've marched farther, fought 
more and eaten less than any troops in the history of 
the world ; and would go faster, if the cursed com- 
missariat could keep up with us ! " says the major, un- 
wittingly betraying the great weakness of the Confed- 
erate army — their commissariat. 

The provisioning their men and foraging their horses 
was always their embarrassment. 

Even this very day an effective commissariat might 
have made a change in the whole war. Could Stone- 
wall Jackson have moved at once, Harper's Ferry 
would have fallen five days before it did. Jackson's 
immense Army Corps would have joined the main 
body of Lee's command at South Mountain. With 
the Confederate force so increased in power, McCIel- 
lan's army might have been beaten at Turner's and 
Crampton's Gaps ; there might have been no Antietam. 

Evidences, though, of the hurried gathering together 
of provisions are now apparent. A cavalry troop 
comes up, driving a drove of cattle on the hoof. 
Shortly after another appears, escorting wagons laden 
down with forage, corn and provisions. Evidently 
every effort will be made to get on the march at once. 

"You will have to stay here," remarks my Confed- 
erate friend as we pause in front of the hotel, " until I 



S8 BILLY HAMILTON. 

can escort you from the lines. That I shall be too 
busy to do before evening. Make yourself comfort- 
able, and eat another square meal." 

"Thank you," I reply, and hurry into the hostelry. 
But a square meal is not in my mind — my one thought 
is to again see the beautiful face I left there this morn- 
ing. For some very curious speculations have come 
into my mind regarding Miss Illusive. Why was 
General Jackson so anxious to discover if I knew her 
name or her reasons for crossing to the Virginia side ? 

With this purpose I look around the hotel, for I hesi- 
tate to inquire about my charmer at the office; my 
questions might perhaps unpleasant produce comment 
upon the lady of my thoughts. 

I look about the garden. She is not there ! 

I wander to the stables. Our horses are crunching 
their oats cheerily. Bonny Belle, the pretty half-Arab 
mare which had borne my companion so bravely the 
night before, is whinnying for more sugar ; but her fair 
mistress is not there to give it. 

I recross the garden and return to the hotel, to eat a 
moody meal. I daudle the time away, lounging about 
with one of Lammersdorff's cigars in my mouth. 
Darkness slowly comes upon the scene. 

I stroll out upon the veranda. Sitting in the twilight 
I find at least quiet ; for though the front of the house 
is full of customers, the garden is practically deserted. 
The gnats in the soft summer evening air annoy me. 
Hoping to escape them, I take my chair, descend to 
the garden and seat myself, thinkmg the breezes of the 
evening may blow them away. 

In this position my head is some two feet below the 
flooring of the balcony. In the darkness, which is aided 
by some shrubs and the climbing vines of the portico, 
I am indiscernible from the illuminated portion of the 
house. A gloomy meditation upon my coming en- 
forced inactivity until exchanged causes my cigar to 
die out. This is broken in upon by a soft feminine 
voice above me. 

It is her voice ; her vivacious accents ! The lady of 
my quest is speaking apparently to a Confederate 
officer, by whose side she is promenading the veranda. 
Who is the gentleman ? I know from his tones he is 
not Thornton. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 50 

As they walk, when near me I hear their words ; 
when at the other end of the balcony, I miss them. 
It seems to me I miss those I want most, though even 
as it is I hear too much for my own peace of mind ; 
for this is what comes to me in broken-up, disjointed 
phrases : 

"Oh ! how great my joy at meeting you ! " What a 
pleasant walk we've had, dear Charley " 

Then they are at the other end of the veranda. 

My heaven ! What a pang ''dear Charley" gives 
me. My charmer has come to meet a Confederate 
beau ! That's the meaning of her night ride between 
contending armies. 

They are near me again. 

Suddenly my woe at this beautiful girl being the 
sweetheart of another is destroyed by chagrin, even 
rage. As she comes near me this time, the young lady 
is apparently merry. 

"Wasn't it curious?" she is babbling. " My being 
captured by him, and he a Union officer. It — it was 
quite embarrassing." There is a delicious naivete and 
diffidence in the girl's voice. 

"He made a little love to you, I presume, eh.?" 
says the masculine voice in bantering tones. 

"He — he might have," is murmured in sweet yet 
bashful accents. "But — but I kept him in order by 
threatening to tell his fiancee, Miss Eva Vernon Ashley, 
of Virginia." 

"What?" almost screams the man. "You dis- 
ciplined his amorous spirit in that way ? Well, of all 
the cool and original things ! " and the gentleman burst 
into uproarious laughter. 

" Yes, I've — I've had hysterics over it twice to-day," 
giggles the young lady. "Oh, Charley, how he looked 
at me when I taxed him with his engagement ! Ha, 
ha, ha ! He, he, he! " 

The light, silvery, yet half-mocking cadences of the 
girl mingle with the deeper guffaws of the man, both 
dying away as they leave me, for they are pacing to- 
wards the further end of the veranda. 

With a gesture of rage I toss away my extinguished 
cigar. Curse it ! they are laughing at me ■' 

But greater anguish is in store. They are approach- 
ing again. She is saying very tenderly : " Fancy my 



6o BILLY HAMILTON. 

joy when I saw you, dear Charley, ride by in the street. 
I'd — I'd not seen your loved face for three long months. " 

And then — my God ! — the sound comes to me of a 
tender kiss ! 

His affianced or his bride ; I know that now ! For I 
feel that this girl is one who wouldnever surrender her 
lips unless she had given her heart in honor. Her pure 
innocence and noble womanhood have told me that. 

Thank heaven, she has turned and gone into the 
hotel with her Confederate. I shall suffer no more 
agony from their half-mocking laughter — from their 
torturing kisses. 

Permitting a few minutes to elapse, partly to over- 
come my agitation, and partly that by no chance the 
girl may suspect I have overheard her tender interview, 
I rise and stroll into the hostelry, thinking glumly how 
she must love him. No wonder she doesn't care to 
have her name known, for the gossip of an army. 
She took the chances of war to visit her affianced, and 
he — curse him ! — didn't even seem over-complimented 
by Miss Beauty's devotion and the risks she took to 
meet him. 

In the hotel I am almost immediately met by 
Thornton. He says : "Come with me; I am to take 
you to the provost-marshal, who will receive your for- 
mal parole, and then I'm to conduct you out of the 
Confederate lines." 

" Come on — quick •' " I return savagely. 

"You'd not like to see Miss — Miss Incognita— just 
for one moment?" asks the Confederate major with 
a grin. 

"Certainly wo/ .^" my tone makes him start — then I 
query anxiously : "My horse .-' " 

"That you are to have, Stonewall Jackson, who 
thinks of everything and every one but himself, told 
me not to put you down on foot in the road. " 

Delighted that I have saved Roderick, I go to the 
stable, saddle up hurriedly and rejoin the Confederate 
major, who mounts and rides with me to the provost- 
marshal's office. There my parole is formally made 
out. 

As this is being done I note a cavalry guard un- 
der a sergeant being told off. 

An hour later I am .shaking Thornton's hand and 



BILLY HAMILTON. 6l 

bidding him " Good-bye and God bless you!" at the 
last outlying Confederate picket. 

"You know the name of the young lady?" I can't 
help saying. 

"Don't ask me any questions about her," he replies • 
then bursts out laughing. ' 

" You refuse to answer for military reasons .? " I ques- 
tion half-angrily. 

His reply astounds me : "No ; for social ones ! " 

" What mystery is there about her and me P" I cry 
sudden inspiration coming to me. ' ' And what are you 
going to do with her .? " 

"She is to be sent South under guard this evening" 
replies Thornton. 

"For what reason .? " 

Wis answer almost petrifies me : " Hang it ! We 
think her a Yankee spy. The girl has even refused to 
speak to General Jackson. Egad, you ought to hear 
some of the Secesh maidens in Frederick discuss her, 
A Virginia girl rude to Stonewall Jackson ! They'd like 
to tear her eyes out." 

"Impossible ! " I mutter. 

"Nevertheless, the sergeant's guard for her left the 
provost-marshal's office even as we entered it. You 
saw them told off. But I must bid you good-bye. 
Here, we've put you in the road, with a horse. Take 
one of my pistols ; bushwhackers may be about. 
Good-bye ; God bless you I Give my love to the Bal- 
timore girls." 

_ "And my regards to Mrs. Thornton," I reply, as I 
ride off into the darkness along the pike that leads from 
Frederick towards Urban a e?i route for Washington. 

Roderick carries me eighteen miles that night to 
Clarksburg. In proof of the efficiency of the rebel pa- 
trols, I am halted on this portion of my journey by 
scouting parties of Stuart's command, and compelled 
to show my pass from Confederate headquarters no 
less than five times. 

Judging by the talk of the innkeeper of this place 
that I am pretty well beyond the sphere of Rebel 
raiders, I sleep in Clarksburgh. Getting on my way the 
next morning about eleven o'clock a little adventure 
comes to me that has considerable effect upon my life, 
though at the time I think it unimportant. Some few 



62 BILLY HAMILTON. 

miles beyond Middlebrook I overtake five four-mule 
sutlers' teams, apparently held up by a couple of men 
in the road. 

"Hello, more Rebel raiders ! " I think, but journey 
confidently towards them, as I have a Confederate 
pass in my pocket. On approaching, however, I dis- 
cover the men on foot wear blue uniforms and are 
holding an excited discussion with a gentleman who is 
damning them in High Dutch and Low Dutch, with 
now and then a Yankee oath with German phrasing. 
I recognize the tones as Lammersdorffs. 

"Mein Gott in Himmel, is dat you, Cap .? You vas 
alive mit yourself.?" cries the sutler who, in his shirt- 
sleeves, and armed only with his black-snake whip, 
is confronting a scoundrel who is handling a U. S. Army 
musket. 

"Yes, but captured, as you said I would be," I an- 
swer, riding up. 

" Den, kevick ! prove you is alive by helping me to 
stand off dese damned tieving bounty-jumpers who 
vants to drink my beer for nutting." 

"You lying Dutch huckster ! " cries one of the ruf- 
fians, " Take that to keep your jaw shut ! " He is a 
cocking and raising his gun as my revolver cracks. 
The Confederate had loaded his weapon properly, and 
the fellow screams with pain as his arm falls to his 
side. 

Then he and his comrade jump the fence and take to 
the fields. Gazing after them, I discover the two men 
are half-drunken stragglers from one of the regiments 
in camp near Washington, a kind of gentry very prev- 
alent about the capital in those days. 

* ' Tha nks for your aid and comfort, " says the German 
gratefully. " I shan't forget dat you saves my life. " 
Then looking at me with wondering eyes, he mutters : 
"And de Rebs didn't send you to Richmond?" 

" No ! I am on parole, but hungry." 

"Veil, sit in ze vagon mit me. Von of my boys vill 
ride your horse, and ve'll eat a Bologna sausage und 
delicatessen, und crack a bottle of champagne together 
on your escape from ze Rebs und my escape from 
dese damned Union robbers. Here, Fritz, hitch ze 
Cap's horse alongside your offish mule ; ze von dat 
doesn't kick mit himself." 



BILLY HAMILTON. 63 

I accept the genial sutler's offer, and together we 
drive towards Washington. We soon come upon scout- 
ing parties of Union cavalry, of Pleasanton's command, 
thrown out to mask the movement of McClellan's 
army corps. 

As we approach Rockville, our way is blocked and 
our journey made tedious by the infantry of Couchs 
division, already on the march to attempt to save 
Harper's Ferry. 

After passing with great difficulty these sunburnt 
veterans who, just returned from the battles of the 
Peninsula, are nearly as dirty, though not quite as 
ragged as " Stonewall " Jackson's boys, we come on 
Slocum's division, the advance of Franklin's corps, 
likewise dilapidated by hard service, and the First 
Massachusetts Battery, led by its gallant young cap- 
tain, Josiah Porter, that is on its way to take its 
place at the apex of that fiery crown of artillery that 
at the Antietam hurled back Lee's last desperate charge 
of veterans that never had been stopped before. 

" Hello, damn it ! " growls Lammersdorff. "More 
troops, more dust und more vagons und ardtillery. I'd 
shust as veil go into camp myself by the road undtil 
dey passes." 

"To progress on the main high-ways i^' now simply 
impossible. They are blocked with marching in- 
fantry and rumbling artillery that is being pushed out 
from Washington in the attempt to relieve Harper's 
Ferry. The dust and heat are terrible. 

Bidding adieu to Lammersdorff, I mount my horse, 
and taking lanes and by-roads, and passing the white 
tents of new regiments and the brown, weather-beaten 
ones of veterans still in camp, and batteries whose 
guns are yet parked, I reach the city that is now not 
only an armed fortress, but the great gathering-place 
of all who come to prey upon the revenues of the na- 
tion in distress and the troops engaged in its defence ; 
from army contractors, who are here to make their 
millions out of the government, and gamblers who 
fleece high-play officers, to courtesans who prey upon 
the boys in blue after the paymaster has made his 
rounds — the Washington of the war. 

Evidences of this are on every side of me, as I edge 
my way past a regiment of marching infantry, amid 



64 BILLY HAMILTON. 

the dust of Pennsylvania Avenue, vi^hose sideM'-alks 
are crowded by the conglomerate throng of an 1862 
evening. 

Women of the town, in gay dresses, are trying 
their allurements, jostling and jesting with the rank 
and file of the army. Staff, general and mounted 
line officers are galloping about. Civilians in plain 
clothes are everywhere mixed wath army blue. The 
big gambling-houses on Pennsylvania Avenue are 
lighting up for their night's work with high rolling 
officers, who will risk and lose their money this 
evening as recklessly as they will risk and lose their 
lives a week from now at bloody South Mountain and 
deadly Antietam. Yet, over, all hangs a certain indis- 
cribable air of anxiety and excitement — Lee is in Mary- 
land. 

Forcing my way through this concourse, I finally 
reach army headquarters to report myself and the 
capture of my troop. 

Two hours afterwards, as I sit in Williard's smok- 
ing my after-dinner cigar and listening with one ear to 
a Jacobin Senator attacking Lincoln for not emancipat- 
ing the slaves off-hand and putting Fremont at the head 
of the army, and with the other ear being edified by 
an Illinois army-contractor, who is busily engaged in 
obtaining the help of a Western Congressman for his 
schemes, I am hastily summoned by an orderly to the 
War Department. 

It is dark when I arrive at the old-fashioned brick 
building. On hearing my name the officer in waiting 
tells me that the Secretary will see me shortly. 

Amid hurrying officers and busy heads of depart- 
ments, surrounded by the semi-panic of rebel invasion, 
in the midst of the mighty military preparations of the 
nation in its death-grapple, Edwin McMasters Stanton 
seems to be able to devote two minutes to me ! 

A few moments after, in his private office, he asks 
anxiously what I know of Lee's force and Jackson's 
movements, and listens eagerly, but irritably, to my 
account of my capture, and the information I give him 
in regard to the Confederate occupation of Frederick. 
As I look at the scowling brow, implacable counten- 
ance, and irascible figure of the head of the War Depart- 
ment, I do not deem it wise to tell him of the information 



BILLY HAMILTON. 65 

the Confederate strategist gained from my careless 
answer to his astute question. 

" If Jackson attacks Harper's Ferry, he will probably 
get it : he gets most everything ! " mutters the Secre- 
tary glumly. " God ! Wouldn't I like to have him on 
the Union side ! " And he goes into a moody medita- 
tio;i, stroking his long beard reflectively. 

This I dare to interrupt by suggesting : "What is to 
be done with me until I am exchanged ? " For I don't 
care much to be sent out on the plains to fight Indians, 
or to the northern frontier to police it — a disposition 
that was made at that time of quite a number of Union 
troops under parole. 

' ' You .'' " remarks the Secretary, his deep eyes looking 
at me contemplatively through his glasses. "You.?" 
Then he suddenly takes me off my feet. He says 
rapidly : "There was a girl you captured at Norton's 
Ford, who was brought into Frederick and stayed at 
the same hotel as you did." 

"There was," I answer, wondering where he got all 
this information : though Baker's spies are thick as 
blackberries this September in Maryland. 

"Well, you — you had a little flirtation with her, 
I am informed. Find her out and make love to 
her. " 

Here I sweep him off his feet ! 

"Impossible ! " I reply. "She has been sent South 
under guard, suspected as being a Union Spy." 

"Can I have been mistaken .?" mutters the Secretary. 
Then he suddenly says : "If you see her in Washing- 
ton, make love to her and" — his eyes light up with the 
fire of a Vidocq — "tell me all about her — / wa7il 
her ! " 

Fortunately, I get out of his presence without his 
seeing my face. In front of the dimly-lighted War 
Department, I look up at a shadow in the Secretary's 
private office — I think of her sweet face and of his 
police-magistrate, detective, cold, merciless eyes. 

" My God ! He thinks her a Rebel spy ! " I mutter 
astounded. "This I know to be false!" Then I 
add savagely: "Damn you. You shall never have 
her ! " 

But turning away, I jeer myself bitterly : "Nincom- 
poop I What strange thing has come into your heart 



66 

BILLY HAMILTON. 

^vveethearf from j" SecrehrvS, T'^''^"'^ «™°Pe"s 
Stales War Deparlment? ^ ^""""» "^ 'he United 



BOOK II. 
THE PROVOST MARSHAL AT BALTIMORE. 



CHAPTER VL 

MAJOR ANANIAS OF STUART's CAVALRY. 

Willard's Hotel being at this time intensely noisy, 
excessively crow^ded and decidedly expensive, I move 
to the quieter quarters of an F Street boarding-house 
and remain in Washington under w^aiting orders, kill- 
ing time. 

This is not difficult to do ; the excitement would kill 
almost anything — even time. The general anxiety of 
everyone fills the place with a pent-up, compressed 
and latent dread. Every word you hear at Worm ley's 
restaurant or Willard's Hotel is : " Where is Lee 
now.?" or "Has Jackson gone into Pennsylvania?" 
" Do you think he'll get here and capture us ? " 
' ' What is McClellan doing ? " " Why hasn't he brought 
on a battle ? " 

The force attributed to the Confederates, makes me 
jeer. Once from reliable contrabands it is placed as 
high as 250,000 cavalry, infantry and artillery with 400 
guns, and published as a/ac/ by the newspapers. 

Again, it is reported that Jackson has flanked Mc- 
Clellan and is now in a direct march for Baltimore and 
about to blow up the bridge over the Patapsco. On 
hearing this, one of the few ultra-bloodthirsty Jacobin 
senators summering in Washington, stops abusing the 
government and is heard to whisper, with white lips : 

"My God ! What will Jackson do with me if I am 
captured.?" and takes a train for the North within the 
hour. 

Even in the great gambling-houses on Pennsylvania 

67 



68 BILLY HAMILTON. 

Avenue at night, as Government contractors lay their 
money on cards, the hand of the Rebel is felt hanging 
over the "Goddess of Chance, " In Chamberlin's, one 
evening when the stakes were very high, it is related 
that a luckless gamester, in revenge for his losses, ran 
in from the street, crying: "My God, gentlemen! 
Save yourselves and your money ! Stuart's Cavalry is 
raiding the town ! " 

More curious to relate, in thirty seconds the great 
establishment was nearly empty, though one cold- 
blooded croupier coolly remarked : "I guess Jeb 
Stuart and Stonewall Jack won't git here till after this 
deal," and raked in every stake left by the fleeing 
gamesters. 

This anecdote is related to me by young Napoleon 
Leonidas Finnaker, of Chicago, a clerk in Meigs the 
Quartermaster-General's office. Little Finnaker oc- 
cupies the next room to mine at my boarding-house 
on F Street. 

In the social republic of Mrs. Lorimer's dining-table 
I soon discover little Nap Finnaker is the most un- 
blushing braggart and most audacious liar I have ever 
encountered, and that for concentrated, condensed 
cheek and assurance he can give points to even the 
celebrated Beau Hickman, who is still ornamenting 
Pennsylvania Avenue with his perennial nosegay in 
his buttonhole. 

Being connected with the Quartermaster-General's 
Department, little Napoleon thinks it necessary he 
should assume martial airs, and would wear a uniform 
it the regulations permitted. In fact, he confidently 
informs me that it was to keep him out of the army 
that he was put in General Meigs's office. 

"I would go to the front, my dear fellah. Wild 
horses couldn't keep me from getting at the Johnnies' 
throats. The only hope of my frightened mother was 
a compromise, and so I entered the Quartermaster- 
General's department ! " he babbles in a voice deep, 
bass and resonant and of such tremendous power that, 
looking at his little stature and slight physique, he 
seems to be all lungs, wind and noise. 

After the first battle of Bull Run, this little swash- 
buckler had the audacity to bring himself in vv^ounded, 
though he had spent the whole day in bed, timidly 



BILLY HAMILTON. 69 

listening for the sound of the approaching Confederate 
cannon. 

" Good gad, my boy ! " he says to me in a roar, 
"We military men look at the present situation with 
extreme concern. Whenever / have encountered 
'Stonewall' Jackson, I have found him invincible. 
And — damn it ! — they're not going to move the War 
Department ! Think of it ! the imbeciles ! We clerks 
will be butchered to a man ! Stanton sits there grind- 
ing his teeth as if nothing was happening ; doesn't the 
idiot know that they'll cut his throat? Haven't they 
sworn vengeance on him and us for Pope's out- 
rageously bloodthirsty and foolish proclamation in 
Northern Virginia } Three hundred thousand Texas 
bowie-knife cut-throats in Maryland ! And yet, we 
are staying here to be sacrificed ! Four times in the 
last three days have I applied for leave, and it has 
been steadily refused me. They talk of organizing 
us into a militia company of home guards, for the 
crisis ! " 

Then suddenly he trembles and whispers in deep 
voice: "Good God! What is that horrible extra.? 
Oh, curse it ! What is McClellan doing } " and wan- 
ders out into the street, with pale face and timid air. 

For the newsboys are crying outside : " Lee in full 
march for Baltimore ! Maryland Secesh have risen to 
a man ! Rebel Cavalry raiding to the gates of Harris- 
burg ! — Panic in Philadelphia ! — Brag threatens Ohio ! 
Business stopped in Cincinnati 1 " and other pleasing 
war rumors of that stirring time. 

Every one is on the alert, I among the rest. I run 
out into the street, and try and pick up news ; for I 
feel that on this campaign, probably within the week, 
will be settled the fate of Washington. However, I 
note with pleasure, that the few soldiers left in the 
town are much more confident of the success of the 
Union arms than civilians ; especially those of the 
troops who have served under Little Mac, as they call 
him, now that he is again in command. 

So the time flies on. 

On the twelfth of September, it is announced that 
the advance division of the Federal Army has reoccu- 
pied Frederick. 

On the thirteenth, that Stonewall Jackson has at- 



76 BILLY HAMILTON. 

tacked Harper's Ferry. Lee has probably fallen back 
to protect his lieutenant. 

Early on the morning of the fifteenth comes the 
news of the victory at South Mountain, and the forcing 
of Turner's and Crampton's gaps by the Union forces, 
with most exaggerated details ; Lee is reported 
wounded and the Confederate loss seventeen thousand 
men. Every military eye is on Harper's Ferry. 

Will it hold out until relieved ? McClellan must be 
very near to it now ! 

There's no more news from the front — apparently 
the victory has been over-estimated. All we can learn 
is that every surgeon, every ambulance, and enormous 
hospital stores have been sent to Frederick. This 
indicates a heavy loss to our troops. 

On the morning of the sixteenth, I am again sum- 
moned to the War Department. Hoping that they 
have found some employment for me that will not be 
inconsistent with my parole, I hurry to the old- 
fashioned brick building. There are now not so many 
officers about ; most of them are at the front with 
McClellan, and every man jack of them from the As- 
sistant Adjutant General to Madison, Stanton's colored 
factotum, is suspiciously quiet and anxious. 

"Is there any news of Harper's Ferry.?" I ask one 
of the officials in waiting. 

" No, but a courier must come from McClellan soon 
to Frederick. To that point the telegraph line has been 
repaired." 

After some half-hour's waiting, I am ushered into the 
Secretary's private office by black-faced and white- 
headed Madison. 

"He's powerful out of sorts this morning," whispers 
the old darky. "Be careful and rub him the right 
way." 

As I enter, I feel a presentiment of evil come on me. 
The cold blue eyes glare at me through their glasses. 
Hardly recognizing my salute, the Secretary begins : 

"Since our reoccupation of that town, I have had 
some curious information from Frederick. It is re- 
ported to me that immediately after your interview at 
Jackson's headquarters with that general, he gave in- 
stant orders for his corps to prepare to march. You 
will state immediately to me what were the exact 



BILLY HAMILTON. 7I 

questions he put to you £\nd your answers to that Rebel 
lynx." 

After a moment's pause of consideration, I answer 
this question truthfully and exactly. 

As I give the two questions of the Confederate 
general and my careless reply to the last one, the 
Secretary starts up from his desk, and standing in 
front of me, breaks out viciously in low, clear-cut, in- 
cisive, yet measured tones : 

"And_y^«, by your imbecile answer, told him that 
710 trains had gone over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad ! 
Then, of course, no reinforcements went into Harper's 
Ferry. Oh ! you're a beauty to let the cat out of the 
bag ! Curse it, sir, couldn't your little brain guess that 
that Rebel watch-dog knew that with no reinforcements 
he could probably capture the place, commanded as 
it is, by a septuagenarian officer .' " 

And pushing his eyeglasses upon his forehead he 
glares at me and goes shuffling vindictively about the 
room. 

Before I can answer this invective from my superior 
officer, to which I have listened respectfully, fighting 
down indignant words upon my lips, the door is opened 
and old Madison makes his appearance, ushering in 
Colonel Hardie. 

"What the devil, you infernal nigger, are you com- 
ing in here for, sir .? How dare you break into a pri- 
vate interview of mine .'' " splutters the head of the 
United States dogs of war. 

"You will pardon this intrusion, Mr. Secretary," in- 
terjects the colonel hurriedly. " This telegram could 
not wait. It is from the front." 

Pulling his eyeglasses down on his nose again, Stan- 
ton reads the dispatch. As he does so, he looks up 
from it at me, and his face horrifies me. 

It is the incarnation of the hate of the war. 

"By Heaven!" he mutters, "Harper's Ferry has 
surrendered and fallen with eleven thousand men. 
McClellan too late ; Jackson too quick ! It's always so 
with these Democratic generals and Border-State offi- 
cers ! " and he glares at me. 

Then he snarls : " It's to this young man, perhaps, I 
owe this dispatch. Get out of my presence ! Go to 
the devil!" he thunders. "You'll hear from me! 



72 BILLY HAMILTON. 

You shall remember Harper's Ferry longer than I will. 
Don't forget that, my Maryland recruit ! " 

As I leave the apartment, I hear him saying, his 
voice low, his diction clear-cut as if quoted from the 
book of fate : "By the Eternal ! Give them as many 
victories as they like, but I'll grind these Southern 
cavaliers out under the heel of Northern infantry be- 
fore I get through with them, if it takes a year ! if it 
takes tivo ; if it takes ien/ So long as I live, I'll pound 
away at Jeff Davis and his Rebel crew ! " 

Two hours afterward, I am directed to proceed to 
Baltimore and remain on waiting orders. I am very 
glad to get away from an official whose ill-will I know 
I have, and one who can certainly prevent my advance- 
ment. 

While in Baltimore on waiting orders, I am not com- 
pelled to wear my uniform. I can again associate with 
my old-time boyhood comrades and renew the friend- 
ships of my early youth. I can again receive my dear 
sister's caresses ; I can once more embrace my father 
that I revere and honor, despite the difference of our 
political opinions, if they have not heard I wear the 
blue. 

A visit to our Charles Street residence soon shows 
me they have not. I steal a few more kisses from my 
loved ones under their misunderstanding that I wear 
the gray. My father's and sisters' astonishment at 
seeing me is only exceeded by their joy that I have not 
fallen in the carnage of the recent battles. 

To their eager inquiries, I answer in a shamefaced 
way, that I have been captured near Frederick when 
detailed on a scouting party, and having been paroled 
vintil exchanged, I have naturally come home to live 
until by cartel I am freed from my obligation not to 
take up arms. 

"Taken near Frederick .?" mutters my father. "It 
is curious that the Yankee papers did not mention it ; 
they generally magnify their slight successes, instead 
of concealing them. And paroled.? That is a rather 
unusual complaisance to a Confederate prisoner from 
Union authorities." 

"Well, I've my orders from Stanton himself," I say, 
growing more confident, "to live in Baltimore until 
further directions." 



BILLY HAMILTON. 73 

What my governor's reply would have been I know 
not ; for Birdie here breaks in enthusiastically : " Cap- 
tured near Frederick? Billy, you must have been with 
Jackson ! " 

" I was ! " I answer, the confidence of the liar grow- 
ing in me. " I saw 'Stonewall' on the afternoon of 
the fifth. I was at his headquarters with Thornton, of 
the First Virginia Cavalry." 

"And soon after you were captured, my poor 
brother.? " interjects Virgie with a kiss. 

"Yes ! In the Federal lines the next day by noon ! " 
I reply, staving off further inquiry by caresses. To 
these they all respond ; even my old regime father un- 
bending and telling me with tears in his eyes that their 
anxiety has been awful, ever since the second Battle of 
Manassas. 

" We could get no accounts of the Southern killed 
and wounded. You don't guess the anxiety of those 
who wait here to learn of their loved ones in the Con- 
federate ranks," he remarks. "There's Mrs. Bouvier 
has an only son in the Maryland Line. William, if 
you've any tidings of Arthur Bouvier — a lieutenant 
in Brockenbrough's Battery — you must go at once 
and give them to his mother. She's a widow now. 
You remember little Arthur.? you used to play with 
him ! " 

"Yes, of course," I answer uneasily, "but I did not 
see him. He must have been in Longstreet's corps." 

"And then, perhaps, you met Charley St. George; 
you remember Eva's half-brother, he's so handsome 
— in Mumford's Second Virginia .? " asks Birdie, with 
very eager eyes. 

"No I I met Stuart and saw Brien of the First Cav- 
alry, and Thornton and Ruff Crockett of the Tennessee 
Infantry. But when a man's fighting and riding, and 
fighting again, social duties take the rear rank de- 
cidedly ! "' I answer. 

"Then you didn't see Eva } " murmurs Birdie, disap- 
pointedly. 

" See her .? Of course not ! " is my unabashed reply. 
" I had something more to do in Viriginia than to look 
up girls — even my fiancee." I wince at the term, how- 
ever, as I utter it, for I am thinking of the beautiful 
creature who stood beside me the only few minutes I 



74 BILLY HAMILTON. 

spent in Virginia while Stonewall Jackson's men crossed 
the Potomac. 

"And the gray uniform we made for you ? " whispers 
my elder sister. " We had rather speculated how Miss 
Ashley would admire you in it." 

"The gray uniform is a thing of the past," I laugh. 
" You should have seen what was left of it after Cedar 
Mountain, Second Manassas and Ox Hill. I believe by 
that time I was as dirty and as ragged as any trooper 
in Stuart's." 

Great powers, how I am lying ; but mendacity once 
begun must be carried to the end. I have spoken of 
battles ; mention compels description. My father and 
my sisters gather round me closer and listen to the vet- 
eran Confederate. Their eager anxiety as to my per- 
sonal adventures has to be satisfied. 

Fortunately, I have seen enough stricken fields, and 
a battle in Virginia can't be very different from a com- 
bat in Tennessee. 

I give my loved ones details of Jackson's defence 
of the railroad embankment at Pope's big defeat. I 
ride with Stuart on the foray when we capture Cat- 
lett's station. With him I raid the great Federal 
Commissary stores at Manassas Junction, and grow- 
ing vivid I tell how, after living on corn in the ear 
for a week, we knock off the heads of champagne 
bottles and drink the vintages of France and feast on 
canned chicken and lobster-salad, and condensed plum 
pudtiing, our meal lighted by the blaze of five million 
dollars worth of Union stores for Pope's hungry army. 

Then both papa and sisters show their love for me 
by asking more questions, and Major Ananias, of 
Stuart's Cavalry Division, at last finds himself located 
definitely as an officer of the Jeff Davis' Legion, an in- 
timate of Fitz Lee's and on speaking terms with Rosser, 
Robinson and even Jackson. 

As I think over the matter afterwards, the only apol- 
ogy I can make for myself, is that if I told the truth, I 
lost the love of my dear ones, and that one lie leads to 
another, the very nature of my description requiring the 
endorsement of detail vivid and exciting as the scenes 
I described. 

"I'll keep their love and their kisses as long as I 
can," I think desperately. "They'll hate and despise 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



75 



me so much after they know ; a Httle more delusion 
and exaggeration won't add to it — all but Birdie ! " 

Of my younger sister I have a little hope — she is so 
sweet, so amiable, so affectionate to me always — she 
will not hate her brother /orever, even if he is a Union 
officer. 

Perhaps my answers might receive more critical an- 
alysis were they all not so glad to see me safe and un- 
wounded, and were not the anxieties of the present so 
great that the events of to-day engross them more than 
the happenings of yesterday — for as yet the news of 
Antietam has not arrived. 

In fact, even as I, in our quiet family home on 
Charles Street, Baltimore, am conversing with my 
family, the veterans of McClellan and Lee, at Sharps- 
burg, not a hundred miles away, are slaughtering each 
other on that desperate and bloody field which decided 
the fate of Maryland. 

But no news comes to us this day ; the streets of the 
town are full of people desperately anxious as to the 
result of a campaign, which means so much for the 
city, many of its citzens of large property, yet Southern 
sympathies, apparently dreading the approach of Lee's 
army victorious and triumphant more even than his de- 
feat. This curious state of feeling is explained to me 
at the Maryland Club. 

" Don't you know," whispers George Ransome to me, 
"the Federal authorities have made little preparations 
to defend this town from Lee ; but ample for its de- 
struction in case the Confederates occupy it. They've 
six mortar boats in the river under Porter, and with 
bombs from them falling in the streets and the fire of 
the forts, this place will be a living hell — and then our 
mothers, wives and women folk." 

The genial club man's face grows white and long as 
he thinks of his handsome young wife and two pretty 
children. Many talk of flying on the approach of the 
army they hope with all their souls will succeed and 
conquer. 

But my father is made of sterner stuff — on my sug- 
gestion that he go to New York himself, or at least send 
Virgie and Birdie there, till the danger's is over, I am 
met with stern rebuke ; not only from him but from 
my sisters. 



76 BILLY HAMILTOISf. 

"For shame, William ! " they cry. " Fly from the 
army we love ? Avoid Lee and Jackson when they come 
to free us ? " 

"You've never seen a bombardment," I dissent ; 
" you don't know what it's like and I pray God you 
never will." 

But the next day, the news comes of Antietam. 
McClellan has saved Maryland to the Union ; Lee, 
baffled and brought to bay, two days after gets back 
into Virginia as best he can. 

Heavens ! how I have to struggle to conceal the 
triumph in my face from my two pretty sisters, who 
go about with sad, even teary eyes, from my father, 
whose countenance is as long as Job's tribulations. 
It is more difficult to lie with the phiz than with the 
tongue. 

" You — you don't seem downhearted, Billy — even 
now ! " whispers Birdie. 

" Oh, Lee'll be back again ! " I contrive to utter. 

" Yes, the Southern boys'll never give up. They'll 
never leave us under the heel of our oppressors ! " 
ejaculates Virginia confidently and defiantly. Then 
womanhood coming up in her, she murmurs — " But 
how many of them have died here for us already." 

But, curiously enough, the excitement of Antietam 
is soon over. Accustomed by two years of war to its 
varying chances, Baltimore to my astonishment grows 
gay in a social sense. I accompany my sisters to re- 
ceptions and dances, and renew many old acquaint- 
ances with the Jeunesse dorh of my native city, both 
male and female. 

The gentlemen look at me with kindly eyes — I have 
battled in a gray uniform — and am even now a Federal 
prisoner. 

The young ladies are inclined to make a hero of me ; 
I have ridden with Stuart and Fitz Lee ; for my sisters 
have girl's tongues, and every one hears of their dear 
brother who marched with the Confederates into Mary- 
land and fought so gallantly under Jackson, though he 
was taken prisoner by the odious Yankees. 

I am quite the rage at receptions and dances ; 
and many a Baltimore civilian and club man has 
ground his teeth as I have led out his sweetheart 
for the german, or carried his beloved off for soft con- 



BILLY HAMILTON. 77 

servatory flirtation under his jealous eyes. IMy martial 
air is effective, the scar of my sabre wound most 
subtly potent with the female heart — for I have re- 
ceived it in the cause they love. Had it been acquired 
under the "Stars and Stripes, "the wound for which 
they adore me would be only a badge of infamy in 
their bright Southern eyes. 

The war has drifted back to Virginia. In the arms of 
my dear ones, the delights of peace seem near to me. 

So, blessed by my father, loved, petted and caressed 
by my sisters, and flattered by the society of the ]Monu- 
mental City generally, I pass my time in a fool's 
paradise — almost forgetting that I have eaten the 
Northern Union apple and must some day be discov- 
ered and expelled from my present Southern Eden. 

The day of my exodus comes sooner than I expect — • 
and as, in the case of Adam — by means of a serpent. 

From my social day-dream I awake with a start. 



CHAPTER VH. 

A BLOW IN THE DARK, 

I HAVE accompanied my sisters to a dance given by 
Mrs. Coleman. In the carriage going to Wxq fete we 
have all been very merry ; Birdie remarking roguishly : 
"You must be very careful this evening, Cyril, or I 
shall surely write and tell tales of you to Eva Ashley. 
Your conduct the other evening with Lulu Davant was 
outrageous." 

' ' Indeed ! What was my offence .? " I return, strok- 
ing my moustache contemplatively, though I know 
very well to what she refers, for in the bright smiles of 
one of Baltimore's fairest — and my native city has many 
who are fairest — I have been trying to forget the charm- 
ing maid in gray-riding-habit who still seems to haunt 
me, 

"What was your offence.?" remarks Virginia in 
stately tones. " Only this — paying too great attention 
to one young lady when you're engaged to another. 
Now, William, I know the girls here make much of 
you — too much," 



78 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"But then they know you're a gallant Confederate 
cavalry-man and can't help it," interjects Birdie get- 
ting my hand in hers. 

"Still, as a man of honor, my brother," continues 
my elder sister, "you must remember you are bound 
to another." 

" Yes, a young lady I'm to marry as soon as the 
Yanks have fled to Canada," I mutter savagely, Virgie's 
criticism not being very much to my liking, as Lulu 
Davant has as pretty blue eyes, as lovely a figure, and 
as plumply rounded white shoulders as you'll see in a 
ball-room, and waltzes like Terpsichore herself. 

" You'd not sneer in that way, my brother," answers 
Virginia, " if you saw the beauty of the girl to whom 
you're engaged ; if you knew her exalted mind, her 
exquisite womanhood." 

" Pooh ! That Davant girl is no more to be compared 
to Eva Ashley than a Union cavalry captain to you, 
Billy," babbles Birdie airily. 

"Well, I'll try and be more circumspect," I mutter, 
wincing at the shot my dear little sister has unwittingly 
given me. 

A couple of minutes later we are in hospitable Mrs. 
Coleman's parlors which are thronged with the best 
society of Baltimore, the ladies' white arms and gleam- 
ing shoulders, being set off by exquisite ball gowns, the 
gentlemen all in the plain black and white of evening 
attire de n'gueur, for no blue uniforms ever find their 
way into the haul monde of Maryland at this epoch. 

A little orchestra is playing merrily. 

As I enter I note we apparently create a sensation ; 
several near-by couples stop dancing and gaze at me ; 
a peculiar and by no means cordial expression on their 
countenances, especially those of the ladies. 

But I hardly appreciate this ; I am a favorite with 
most of the girls, anyway, and my eye is upon Lulu 
Davant as the pretty little chick sits in a far'away 
corner — waiting for me, I fondly think. 

We approach our hostess. 

IMrs. Coleman, though she has a surprised look on 
her face, greets my sisters kindly though in a curiously 
sympathetic manner ; to me she gives a cold haughty 
courtesy then turns to other guests. 

Doing the old regime act I think placidly as I look 



BILLY HAMILTON. 79 

at the dowager. But having made my duty bow I 
pass on, too eager for Miss Lulu's smile to pay par- 
ticular attention to any one else in the room. 

A moment later, I am before this young lady who 
had listened to my honeyed words for a too short hour 
in Mrs. Gill's conservatory but the day before and 
seemed to think them very pleasant — to receive a 
shock. 

" Miss Lulu," I say, bending over the fair girl whose 
eyes turn away from mine, "you remember your 
promise of yesterday evening." 

But the eyes — the blue eyes that had looked into 
mine so languishingly scarce a day ago — now gaze at 
me, cold as a Greenland iceberg. Then shuddering 
slightly Miss Davant turns to a near-by gentleman 
and murmurs : " Mr. Key, this is our dance, I believe. 
Supposing we begin now ; the room is a little cold." 

"Oh, dash it," I think glumly, "some one's been 
telling the fair Lulu of my Virginia engagement. Hang 
it, if she can be rudely indifferent so can I — till I bring 
her to her senses. Ah, here's Miss Madeline Reeves, 
she's pretty enough to make any other girl jealous." 

With this, I step to the piquant Miss Maddie, a 
brunette who has been quite partial to me ever since 
she was a dainty, sixteen-year-old lassie, and suggest 
the honor of a dance. 

But if the blonde Lulu Davant has been icily indif- 
ferent, the brunette Maddie Reeves simply appears to 
loathe me. That's the only word that can express the 
shudder in her exquisite form, the shrinking from me 
as if I were a viper, as she draws herself up and re- 
marks to a passing beau: "Mr. Jervaise, would you 
take pity on me and take me away. I don't like slimy 
things." 

After one short stare of astonishment, I have a pretty 
strong suspicion of what is the cause of my tribulation. 
I hear a maid who within the week has been cordiality 
itself to me whisper to her escort something about 
renegade and Yankee spy, as she cuts me dead. 

A very little of this sort of thing goes a good way 
with me ; the gentlemen's glances 1 return, scorn for 
scorn, glare for glare; but the ladies — the bright eyes 
that have looked so caressingly on the cavalryman of 
Stuart'?., they stab me to my youthful heart. 



8o BILLY HAMILTON. 

Not wishing to spoil my sisters' evening, I edge my 
way to Virginia. I have little trouble in doing this, 
though the room is crowded ; for the fair demoiselles 
clear the way for me, drawing their crinolined jupes 
aside for my passage very much as if I were a rattle- 
snake crawling amid their dainty slippers and pretty 
ankles. 

At my sister's side, I whisper to Virginia, who is in 
conversation with young Mr. Darrell and apparently 
has no idea there is anything the matter — "In case I 
should wander off, could you find somebody to take 
you and Birdie home .-' " 

Virgie looks at the young and handsome Mr. Darrell 
and thinks she could. 

"Then make my excuses to Mrs. Coleman," I sug- 
gest. 

"You are not well, Billy ? " asks my sister anxiously. 

"Quite up to anything," I remark. But I want to 
behave myself very well and Lulu Davant looks very, 
very pretty this evening." 

With this ambiguous excuse, I turn and pass out of 
the salle de da7ise, followed by vicious glances from 
those of the ladies who look upon my exit. 

I've about made up my mind what the trouble must 
be. In the dressing-room I get not only evidence of 
what it is, but also of what has produced it. 

Young Darrell, a high-spirited, kind-hearted young 
gentleman and great friend and admirer of my elder 
sister, has hastily followed me. 

He had returned my bow as I had addressed Virginia, 
but coldly ; he now comes up to me and mutters : 
' ' For God's sake, Bill, give me your authority. Let me 
go down and tell them all that this is a lie from Hell." 

He thrusts a Baltimore evening paper into my hand. 
His finger is on the paragraph. Reading it, I know 
how I've been struck and who has struck me. 

" It's all true as Heaven ! " I answer. 

"Good God! You came here to play the spy," 
mutters Darrell, his face turning white as he thinks of 
the treason he and his friends have spoken to me when 
they thought me a Confederate officer. 

" No spy ! " I answer sternly. "I — I concealed my 
rank in the Union army when I came here, so as to 
get a few more kind words from my dear old father, a 



BILLY HAMILTON. 8 1 

few more sweet kisses from my beloved sisters. But 
now — " 1 loolv at the paper and falter: "These are 
lost to me forever. Believe nie, " I add, "no treason 
spoken to me when I was thought an officer of Stuart's 
will cost any man or woman anything." I offer him 
my hand. 

But young Darrell mutters: "I pity you, as I do 
any one who loses friends and kindred, but I pity more 
your poor father and sisters," and does not see my 
hand. 

Thornton of the Virginia cavalry, Ruff Crockett of 
the Tennessee infantry, had given me the greeting of 
man to man, though they wore the gray and I the 
blue ; but this young dandy who had never raised 
sword or pulled trigger draws himself away. Oh, 
the awful vindictive hate of the non-combatants in 
those war days ! 

But here is something tangible that I can meet, and 
fortunately from a 7na7i. 

" I\Ir. Darrell," I remark, "if you think because I 
am a Union officer, my hand is not worthy your notice, 
I can draw it across your face. That'll at least make 
you see it. " 

But he mutters: "My God! I — I can't fight you! 
I — I am engaged to marry your sister. Virginia has 
just honored me by accepting my love. When I heard 
the rumor of this, I felt I must speak to your sister at 
once so I could be enabled to stand by her thoroughly 
in this misfortune." 

"Very well," I say sarcastically, as he turns away. 
"Take my sister's hand instead of mine, Mr. Darrell. 
It's much prettier, softer and more Southern." 

But with this jeer on my lips I know Darrell is right 
as to my losing friends and kindred. As I read the 
paragraph I am sure it has cost me that. 

Curiously enough, the article is very complimentary, 
the newspaper printing it being a Union one and 
strongly supporting the Government. 

It reads : 

" We are happy to announce the appointment of Captain William 
Fairfax Hamilton of the ist Kentucky Union Cavalry as Special 
Provost Marshal of Maryland. 

This appointment was made under the instructions of Secretary 
Stanton himself, to reward Captain Hamilton for distinguished 



82 BILLY HAMILTON. 

gallantry at Forts Donaldson and Henry and the Battle of Shiloh 
in Tennessee, when the rebels threw up their hands. 

Captain tlamilton was unfortunately captured by Jackson during 
that Rebel general's recent raid into Maryland and being under 
parole is consequently not able to engage in active service until ex- 
changed, though eligible for the office of Provost Marshal, in which 
he can make copperheads and secession sympathizers walk very 
straight in his native city of Baltimore. For the gallant captain 
is the son of our well-known capitalist, Carroll Lamar Hamilton of 
Charles Street, and as such a shining proof to Xhe jemiesse doree oi 
Baltimore that all of them are not out and out Rebels nor secret 
aiders nor abettors of Jeff. Davis and his Richmond traitors." 

Following this is the official order of the day : 

" Headquarters Department of Maryland, 
"Baltimore, Oct. 14th, 1862. 
" General Orders No. 34. 

"Captain W. F. Hamilton, ist Kentucky Cavalry, in compliance 
with the orders of the Secretary of War, is hereby appointed Special 
Provost Marshal of the Department of Maryland and assigned to 
duty at this headquarters. 

" He will be obeyed and respected accordingly. 
♦' By order of 

" Major General John E. Wool, 
" Comd'g Dept. of Maryland. 
" Official. 

" James R. Bellow, 
" Asst- Adj. -General." 

"By Heaven ! " I mutter, as I stride down Mrs. 
Coleman's steps. That was a blow in the dark, for my 
imguarded words to Stonewall Jackson at Frederick. 

The crafty subtlety of the attack appalls me. I am 
made the officer whose very duty compels me to arrest 
Rebel sympathizers among my old friends and numer- 
ous relations, all of them apt to get imprisonment for 
their Southern views. Besides, this will forever cut me 
off from my father's affection, my sisters' love. 

Evidences of this come to me very fast. 

As I enter my home my father, who has apparently 
been w^aiting up for me, meets me in the hall with an 
agonized face. In his hand is a copy of the evening 
paper, also a document that bears the War Department's 
l)rand. 

I could not believe what I read in this cursed news- 
paper, sir," mutters the old gentleman, " though this 
seems to confirm it." He passes me the envelope 
addressed Capt. W. F, Hamilton, ist Kentucky Cavalry, 
on service. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 83 

"Is this for you? " he asks falteringly. 

For answer, I break the seal of the missive. 

It contains the order mentioned in the paper and 
directs me to report at the Provost Marshal's office, 
Baltimore, for duty on receipt of it. 

"My God, I — I can't beheve it," stammers my 
father. Then he cries out to me, "Bill, my boy, tell 
me it is not true ? " 

" It is, sir," I answer quietly for the old gentleman's 
grief appalls me. 

" True that you have been a Union officer, while 
you smuggled yourself into my heart and your sisters' 
caresses ? Good heavens ! it will break their hearts 
when they know that the wounds you bear upon your 
brow are the marks of infamy, not honor." 

" Not that, sir. No scar of manly combat is dishon- 
orable," I reply. 

But he interrupts me, lashing himself in rage, "Not 
when received in crushing us under the heel of the 
Yankee ? My God, my boy — that I adored — deceiv- 
ing me — crawling into my home as a Confederate 
officer — when he's a traitor to the South — a traitor to 
his country." 

" I may be a traitor to the South, but I am not a 
traitor to my country," I return stoutly. " I have re- 
ceived an education from this country ; I have fought 
for this country ; I'll stand by this country — the whole 
of it, not part of it — till I go under.'' 

"Then out of my house, you damned Yankee scoun- 
drel," cries my father. " Out of my house ! " 

_ No appeal of mine will he listen to, though I beg 
him to consider I have a right to my faith, as he has to 
his. 

It is useless for me to expostulate with him. 
My father falters: "Heaven forgive you; you've 
broken my heart," and the banging of his library door 
is answer to my last word. 

Defiantly I go upstairs, don my blue uniform, and 
pack my trunk. 

Jonas, the negro footman, with a sad look in his eyes, 
carries it down and mutters : " Good-bye. God bless 
you, Massa Bill, then whispers, " I hopes you fight 
de Rebs like hell," and by my direction goes in search 
of a cab. 



84 BILLY HAMILTON. 

As I wait for the vehicle I get another greeting. 

A carriage draws hurriedly up. I hear the patter of 
light slippers on the front steps, as 1 am about to open 
the door. 

Virginia and Birdie fly in. They have heard the news. 

" Go back with us, Bill," cries my elder sister de- 
fiantly, "and tell them it is all a dastard lie. Tell 

them " Then she sees my Federal uniform, nad 

pauses petrified, but shuddering. 

As for Birdie, dear little Birdie, she begins to cry as 
if her heart would break and implores me wildly : 
"Take it off! Take it off! Take off the horrid 
thing, Billy. Why, one would think you were an 
Abolitionist." 

" I am not an Abolitionist," I mutter sullenly. " I 
am only an officer of the Government of the United 
States, your country." 

"Our country is the South — when our brothers and 
sisters live," cries Virginia who is striding about with 
the air of Lady Macbeth. Then she bursts out laugh- 
ing in a horrid, jeering, unnatural way : " Oho ! The 
gallant officer of Stuart's, he who rode with Lee and 
fought the Yanks with Jackson." 

"Forgive my deception," I cry desperately. "I 
only deceived you so as to keep your love — your kisses. " 

" Which you have lost forever," returns my stately 
sister, with white face, and agonized though unforgiv- 
ing eyes. " Good-bye ! Until you repent in sackclotli 
and ashes ; no ! in Confederate gray — I call you brother 
no more. Come, Birdie ! " Virgie turns and walks up 
the stairs though once I see her falter in her step. 

But Birdie, dear heart, is in my arms ! She is sob- 
bing : " Good-bye. God bless you, Billy, though I don't 
suppose I'll ever see you again. You can't fight 
against our Southern troops, they'll simply kill you, 
that is all." 

Then she goes faltering on — for my only answer 
to the dear little girl is a caress: "What will Eva 
Ashley say when you fight against her friends and burn 
her Virginia home } She'll despise you. You've lost 
not only your family but your wife ! But I forgive — 
I pardon you — you don't know what you're doing, you 
foolish fellow — my only brother ! 

Then she screams out : " Virgie, come and give him 



BILLY HAMILTON. §5 

a kiss ! — be a sister to him ! Father, come and give 
him your blessing before he dies ! " 

But the scene is too horrible. With a hasty kiss, 
I break from her clinging arms and run from the 
house. 

Truly the Secretary knew how to reach the heart of 
a Border-State Union officer. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE LUNCHEON AT GUY's. 

1 SEND my baggage to an out-of-the-way hotel and 
the next morning report at the provost-marshal's office 
for duty. Somehow I get through my work for a 
miserable three weeks, that is made endurable only 
by the renewal of a West Point intimacy with an old 
classmate, Captain Arthur Vermilye, commanding one 
of two light batteries of the 21st Artillery. 

This young officer is stationed with his regiment at 
Fort McHenry, and cut off, like myself, from the society 
of Baltimore ladies by his blue uniform. Naturally, 
we become even greater chums than in our days at 
the Academy. Arthur, however, has one advantage 
over me. On leave, he can run up to New York 
where his family occupies a distinguished social posi- 
tion, and being a man of large means, enjoy the de- 
lights of home, of girls' sweet voices and feminine 
bright eyes. 

But no social happiness can come to me. The local 
press have made me prominent, the loyal portion of it 
eulogizing me as the most uncompromising out-and- 
out Unionist of the State, the journals of secession pro- 
clivities sneering at me as strongly as they dare, and 
hinting I am both a coward and time-server. 

During this time my official business, thank Heaven, 
is almost entirely routine work, and brings me little in 
contact with my fellow-townsmen with whom I have 
been intimate before ; for since Lee's retreat from 
^laryland, the government authorities have little fear 
of Baltimore secessionists, those of them who have 



86 BILLY HAMILTON. 

determined to go to the war having already gone 
South long ago. 

Still I do my utmost to fill my office efficiently, seiz- 
ing, one night, in a country house just out of Baltimore, 
three Confederate sympathizers who are about to cross 
the Potomac to join the Rebel army under Lee. This 
makes me all the more hated and, fortunately, feared, 
for it stops covert newspaper abuse. 

But as a rule my provost-marshal duties are mostly 
gathering in drunken soldiers who have overstayed 
their leave of absence, apprehending a few bounty- 
jumpers, now becoming numerous under the new call 
for troops, and stopping the underground mail route 
to Richmond via Leonardstown, by means of which 
some medicines and supplies, as well as a few volun- 
teers for the Rebel ranks and returning Southern soldiers 
who have sneaked over into Maryland to visit relatives, 
find their way to the South. 

This places me on rather intimate terms with several 
of Lafayette C. Baker's Secret Service detectives, and 
likewise produces a long distance acquaintance, by re- 
ports I secure of them, with quite a number of Rebel 
blockade runners, Potomac pilots and Maryland under- 
ground post-office runners, etc., among them the cele- 
brated Wat Bowie and the renowned Alec, the guide 
par excellence for Rebel parties crossing to Virginia. 

Of the latter, I arrest none, no evidence being ob- 
tainable against them at the time, but from the former 
I receive some inside information one day that causes 
me to open my ears very wide. 

I, in command of some twenty troopers, have gone 
down to Leonardstown, accompanied by two of 
Baker's detectives, by name, Rod Gibbon and Joe 
Shook. These two gentlemen hunt in couples, Mr. 
Gibbon, who is a Maryland farmer, and knows the 
State from one end to the other, being the "bull-dog" 
of the partnership ; Mr. Shook, a Pennsylvania Dutch- 
man, from the vicinity of Hanover, just over the State 
line, who has enough Hebrew lineage connected with 
his Teuton blood to make him cunning as a Judas 
Iscariot, acting as the terrier of the firm. 

In their company I brush up Leonardstown to find 
our suspects as usual not en evidence, our local spies 



BILLY HAMILTON. 87 

telling me that Bowie has crossed the Potomac, and 
Alec is probably at Port Tobacco. 

In the Leonardstown hotel, which is a miserable 
one, as almost all IVIaryland rural taverns were in that 
day, over a badly cooked and worse served dinner, of 
which I furnish the only endurable portion in the form 
of a bottle of whisky from my saddle-pouch, Rod 
Gibbon and Joe Shook, made sociable by the liquor, 
go to telling me anecdotes of their war detective life, 
how they have arrested young ladies of the demi- 
monde travelling under passes issued by division 
commanders, how they have broken up Confederate 
mail routes, how they had even been caught in the 
Rebel lines during Lee's recent invasion of Maryland, 
and were never taken for anything but farmers and 
locals. 

"Ye didn't git off quite so slick. Cap. I seed ye in 
Frederick just after the Rebs had nailed ye," remarks 
]\Ir. Shook with a grin. 

"■ You saw me in Frederick .' " I return, my eyes ex- 
pressing my surprise and interest. 

" Yas, I war the country farmer selling vegetables 
and chickens to Stuart's men, when you rode up with 
a Johnnie officer, and a gal on a dappled mare. Rod, 
here, war the countryman driving of my wagon. Gee- 
hosh ! But I'd have guv half a month's wages to have 
been in yer boots ! " adds the Secret Service lynx with 
another grin. 

"You'd have liked to have been in my boots when 
I was a prisoner.' " I ask astonished. 

"Yes, siree, if the gal war the one I've since allowed 
she might be. -Would yer mind giving me a descrip- 
tion of her } There warn't no light in front of the 
house, and gol darn it, we darsn't go into the hotel 
with the Reb cavalrymen. Some cussed secesh local 
might have recognized us and guv us away. Both of 
us war wearing cavalry boots under our jean pants, 
the Rebs come on us so suddenly. We only jist got 
warning half an hour afore of Stuart's coming, from 
Kelly, the telegraph operator, before he took to the 
woods. Luckily, Kelly's brother war a truck farmer, 
and that guv us a chance to take suspicion off of us by 
selling the Johnnies his farm stuff." 

"There warn't no show to make a run of it," inter- 



88 BILLY HAMILTON. 

jects Mr. Gibbon. "We were both so lame we could 
hardly walk, and our two nags had been ruined by a 
darn niggah. Besides, we wanted to get a look at the 
gal. You couldn't give us a description of her, could 
yer. Cap ? You must have seen her in a leetle better 
light than we ? " he asks eagerly. 

Somehow, instinct tells me to assent to this. 

" Certainly, I can ! ' I reply. " I saw her the next 
morning." 

And then instinct tells me to give these two govern- 
ment blood-hounds such a description of the girl that 
I captured on the Potomac, they'd look her straight in 
the face for a day and never dream they had heard of 
her. 

This I do frankly and fully ; so fully that Rod Gibbon 
mutters, disconcertedly : ' ' Ye say she's a brunette gal ? 
Curse me, I thought her a blue-eyed blondy." 

" Then you've had your idea of her for nothing," I 
reply, and growing curious in my turn, I query : 
" Why do you want her description .? " 

" Because — I don't suppose it makes much difference 
in my telling you. Cap. Reckon we're mistook any 
way," returns Shook. " But Rod and I allowed she 
war a gal that Stanton had told our boss, Baker, to git 
at any price. Some highfalutin creature that's got a 
way of getting inside War Office information somehow, 
and then gitting it to Reb headquarters slick as grease. 
We'd kind o' got on her track that very night down by 
the Potomac. At least, we allowed M'e had, and were 
riding after her like streaks of lightning along a coun- 
try lane, when, gol darn it ! suddenly both Rod and 
me, we were riding neck and neck, both thought we 
had struck Kingdom come 1 The gal, or her damned 
niggah, who was called Massie or Quashie, or some 
such fool name, had stretched a rope knee-high across 
the lane from one tree to another. Rod and me 
couldn't do more than limp around for an hour, and 
our horses were so shook to pieces that we had to leave 
'em and hire a wagon to git us to Frederick. Of course, 
as soon as we could, we sneaked away from Stuart's 
men to where we could git off our cavalry boots and 
make ourselves look like real Maryland jays all over. 
The next day Rod strolled back into Frederick to git a 
look at the gal in the hotel, but on Market Street we 



BILLY HAMILTON. 89 

heer'd as how the gal war to be sent down South under 
guard for insulting of Stonewall Jack. So we reckoned 
she warn't our bird, but since then, I rather guess that 
Stonewall Jack war too smart for us Secret Service 
men, just as he'd been too slick for a good many Union 
ginerals. So, Cap, I'll give you a tactic. If you should 
happen to see that ere gal, just p'int her out to Baker, 
and it may make you a Colonel." With this, Shook 
winks knowingly at me with his cunning gray eyes. 

Now, on my return to Baltimore, this conversation 
has more effect on me than I will admit to myself. I 
have had some thoughts of resigning my commission. 
It may be a year before exchange will place me in the 
active ranks of the army. I am pretty well aware that 
advancement will be very slow at best, under the 
negative enmity of the Secretary. 

But from this moment, my views change. I have 
entered the army to fight for the Union. Mr. Stanton 
isnt the Union. In a day, in a week, under the quick 
changes of the political volcano in Washington, he 
may be out of office. He certainly will be if McClellan 
remains General-in-Chief, and everything points to 
little Mac's retaining his command. Since his victory 
at Antietam, the Democratic General is the idol of the 
army ; ay — even of the people, save certain Western 
politicians who want a Western General in command. 

But underneath my outburst of patriotism, I find a 
lingering hope of being in some way of aid to a bright 
face and charming personality, about whom, it seems 
to me, the meshes of a net dangerous to her liberty — 
perhaps, even to her life — are being drawn. 

Perchance / was half-way traitor even then ■' At all 
events, I knew that a certain young lady with blue 
violet eyes and nut-brown hair would receive succor 
from me — even in the face of the Secretary of War 
himself. 

About the end of October, somewhat to my aston- 
ishment, I receive information that I will shortly be 
relieved from active duty in Baltimore and again 
ordered to Washington to await my exchange. 

I am delighted to go — my native city has become to 
me the saddest spot on earth — for I am in my home, 
yet homeless. My brother-officers that I associate 
with are happy ; the Baltimore girls may scorn them, 



go BILLY HAMILTON. 

but there are awaiting sweethearts in the North. 
When their furloughs come, welcoming arms and 
sweet lips will greet them by their firesides. As for me, 
I am desolate beside my own roof-tree. 

Fortunately, I have never encountered my father. 
My two sisters I meet one day in the hurrying crowd 
on Baltimore Street, and find I have now — only 
ojie. 

Virginia passes me by as coldly and haughtily as if 
I had never existed as her brother, only I notice she 
shivers as she draws her dainty skirts away from my 
contaminating blue, for I happen to be in uniform. 

Birdie, God bless her dear heart, gives me one 
agonized glance, and the tears well up in her soft eyes 
as I pass hurriedly on. 

Half a block away a pleading little hand is laid upon 
my arm. Birdie has run after me. 

"Billy!" she begs. She is almost crying now. 
" Passing me without a word ? " 

"Virginia cut me as if I were a dog," I mutter, indig- 
nantly. " Why shouldn't you do the same ? " 

"To my brother?" shudders the girl. "No, no ! 
Ah ! pity us I You're breaking father's heart. Please — 
please ! Even if you won't fight for it, don't fight 
against the cause we love. Think of us a /i///e. Virgie 
hangs her head in shame when she hears whispers 
about you. When * spy,' and 'dough-face,' and ' traitor,' 
and ' coward' come to my ears, I — I can't defend 
you ; I can only slink away and cry." 

"Don't trouble yourself to defend me, dear Birdie," 
I whisper. "As for my flirting young lady friends of 
yesterday " — my voice becomes bitter — " let them say 
what they please. In regard to my gentleman defam- 
ers, send them to me ; I can defend my good name 
and the uniform I wear. But — " I go on, in sarcastic 
voice : — "Virgie is waiting for you half a block away. 
The air about her Union brother is too tainted for her 
Southern nose." 

"But not for me, Billy," sobs Birdie; and putting 
her arms around me right in the street, my darling 
little sister kisses me as tenderly as if I wore the gray 
and not the blue. 

"No," she pouts. "I am not going to Virgie. She 
can stand there as long as she pleases. I haven't seen 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



91 



you for two weeks. Supposing you take me to lunch 
with you, my — my brother. " 

That word settles it ! 

"Who could refuse dear little sister anything.'"! 
answer. "Come along, Birdie, let's forget this cruel 
war over the rne?iii at Guy's." 

The ' Guy's ' of that day was a fashionable restaurant, 
but expense was little to me. Fortunately, I had re- 
ceived from my mother's estate a considerable income, 
and now, though cut off from any assistance from my 
father, am, with my pay, financially very comfortable. 
There is only one obstacle to my sister's lunching with 
me at Guy's : that is, I have invited for the same meal, 
at the same place, the only officer I am particularly 
intimate with in the Baltimore garrison, Arthur Sever- 
ance Vermilye of New York. 

As we turn off Monument Square into Guy's, I see 
the handsome fellow standing waiting for me, and re- 
membering he is of the very best family connections 
in the Empire City, and in every way my sister's 
and my social equal, I mutter to myself: "Why 
not } " 

Two minutes afterward, I lead my classmate to 
Birdie as she is sitting at table, and to her astonished 
glance, say : " Permit me to introduce my great friend 
and class chum. Captain Vermilye, of New York. 
Arthur, this is my sister. Miss Clara Oriole Hamilton, 
whom our family has called 'Birdie' since she first 
chirped. Captain Vermilye had my invitation to 
lunch." 

" And if he had cut me off from the additional pleas- 
ure since he added you to the party, Miss Hamilton, I 
should never have forgiven Ramrod," interjects Ver- 
milye, giving me my Academy nickname in an easy 
offhand manner, for the Captain of Artillery sees the 
embarrassment the first introduction he has ever had 
to a Baltimore belle brings upon her. 

"I am always pleased to meet a gentleman who has 
been kind to my brother," remarks Birdie, forced to a 
cordial tone, though, in truth, she has since confessed 
to me she thought of running away. "Billy's letters 
often mentioned you when he was at that awful West 
Point that has made him " 

" What P" asks Vermilye, bowing hauglitily and 



()2 BILLY HAMILTON. 

getting red in the face, for though desperately anxious 
to know Baltimore girls — as what young man wouldn't, 
seeing their beauty day after day — he had even ex- 
postulated with me when I suggested the introduction, 
remarking : "It will only embarrass your sister to be 
rude to me. Hang it ! She's pretty nearly cut your 
acquaintance though you're her brother, I understand. 
Curse it ! These Baltimore beauties have got into the 
habit of scorning us." 

"Nonsense! Come along," I whisper. Its a bad 
habit we must break them of." This last v^^ith a laugh, 
for I am in high spirits. At least, I have regained one 
sister, and Birdie this afternoon looks beautiful enough 
to make any brother proud ; so beautiful, I have little 
difficulty in bringing Vermilye over to our table. 

A moment after, Birdie, who of course feels she 
can't slight his uniform unless she slights mine, finds 
herself seated at table with two officers in the hated 
blue, and one of them very handsome and very charm- 
ing, for never have I seen Arthur exert himself to please 
as he does at this meal. Fortunately, he has not only 
a face that is effective with young ladies, but a bear- 
ing that, though it is punctilio itself, is veiled by that 
high social art which conceals it. Besides, though 
perfectly unassuming, and with no suspicion of famil- 
iarity in his manner, he has a frank style, and an easy 
honest bo?2hom/'e that forbids man or woman to keep 
him at arm's length if he wishes to get nearer. 

In this case, apparently, he wishes to get very near 
Miss Birdie, whose piquant archness seems to be 
heightened by the latent embarrassment of being cheer- 
ful with her tyrants, and holding out her metaphorically 
manacled, though exquisitely gloved, patrician hands 
in fellowship to her military jailers. 

Seeing Vermilye, who has been longing for feminine 
society, — the thing he likes and from which he has 
been cut off in Baltimore, — putting his best foot for- 
ward, I devote myself to my oysters, partridge and 
champagne, and permitting him to monopolize my 
sister's small talk, am delighted to see, after a little 
the two get to chatting, not as enemies, but as friends, 
perchance even as a young man and young woman 
who want to make a mutually good impression. 

Chancing to hear that for social pleasures Captain 



BILLY HAMILTON. 93 

Vermilye runs up to New York when he can get leave, 
and very shortly discovering that he moves in the best 
set in the society of the metropolis, Miss Birdie com- 
mences to ask that gentleman of the new tigures in 
the german at Mrs. Belmont's recent ball on Fifth 
Avenue. 

A few minutes after they discover they have mutual 
friends in Manhattan, for my sister had been educated 
at Miss Hayne's Select Academy in Gramercy Park. 

Before I realize it, the two are deep in social chat, 
repartee, and the polite, yet charmmg nothings that 
make young ladies and young gentlemen pleasing unto 
each other. The meal apparently runs along very 
smoothly on the jjjeasant lines of society, which are 
about the same everywhere, Captain Vermilye telling 
my sister of a ball he has lately been to in Washington, 
that of Mrs. Senator Rufus J. Bream. " By-the-by," 
he adds, turning to me, "a young lady there men- 
tioned your name to me. Incidentally she had learned 
that I had been in the class of 1861, and I presume 
from that she judged I was your classmate at West 
Point." 

" Indeed ? " I answer. " A girl in Washington takes 
enough interest in me to talk about Billy Hamilton ? 
What's her name anyway.? " 

"She is a Virginia young lady, I believe," answers 
Arthur carelessly ; "Miss Eva Ashley." 

"Eva Ashley!" cries Birdie excitedly. "Well, I 
should hope she would take an interest in Billy. She 
is engaged to be married to him." 

" Engaged to be married to jyou ? " echoes Vermilye, 
turning his eyes upon me with about the same expres- 
sion in them as if he had heard I had just won the 
capital prize in the Havana lottery. " Then I can con- 
gratulate you on gaining certainly the most beautiful 
woman in Washington." 

" Why not say Baltimore as well } " adds Birdie en- 
thusiastically. 

"I would have until this afternoon," remarks the 
artillery-man pointedly. "You see, I haven't had 
much opportunity of inspecting Baltimore _/aces ,■ the 
backs of the young ladies have been generally turned 
to me when I chanced to encounter them', but now, 
judging by sample — " 



94 BILLY HAMILTON. 

Here I interrupt, for Birdie's face is growing very red 
under my comrade's impassioned glance. 

"Oh! Go a little further," I say nonchalantly. 
" Make Miss Eva Ashley the prettiest girl in the world." 

"She is ! " says my sister promptly. "And you are 
the only man who has not enough interest in her to 
tind out for yourself. I — I don't believe you'd walk 
into the next room if your affianced were there at this 
moment." 

"This is very extraordinary," mutters Vermilye, 
looking at me so astonished that I hasten to explain : 
"You see, Arthur, I haven't seen my ^putative Jiancee 
since we were children. Our families made the ar- 
rangement for us in our early youth. As for Miss 
Ashley, I expect the minute she sets eyes on me she 
will repudiate it, if she has not done so practically 
already. " 

Vermilye's answer startles, even horrifies me. " I 
don't think she has," he says slowly. 

"Why not.?" 

"Because I heard the young lady tell an officer, who 
was inclined to be A^ery attentive to her : ' I always 
think it right to warn gentlemen that I am already 
affianced.'" 

This remark gives me a shock. Miss Ashley's faith- 
fulness may seriously embarrass me. I think glumly 
of that girl in the gray riding-habit as I gaze on Birdie 
making play with Captain Vermilye. 

What the deuce has got into my Rebel sister ? She 
is flirting as if the Union officer were a cavalier of 
Stuart's. 

As for my \comrade, he apparently is doing his level 
best, for Miss Birdie's eyes are very bright, and her 
smile saucy and piquant, and her exquisite features 
most dangerously pretty in their dainty beauty, as the 
meal runs along to its close, I throwing in a word or 
two now and then, merely to show that I am e?i evi- 
dence. 

As we rise from the table, the only embarrassing 
incident of the afternoon takes place. Bowing his 
adieu, Vermilye says, — his eyes fixed eagerly on the fair 
face that looks so piquant under the little hat that tops 
the clustering curls: "Miss Hamilton, I hope I shall 
see you again," * 



KILLY HAMILTON. 95 

" Indeed you shall ! " cries Miss Birdie, eagerly liold- 
ing out her hand to the handsome captain. " Don't 
fail to call soon." Then she suddenly grows red as 
fire ; his blue uniform has made her recollect. The 
next instant, she adds with woman's exquisite tact : 
"That would be my invitation to you were not my 
sister and my father so averse to the cause you serve. 
As for ?ne, I have met to-day two Union officers, one 
my brother, whom I love, and the other" — she looks 
shyly at him, — " who — who has given me a very 
pleasant afternoon." 

" Believe me, I would not embarrass you for the 
world. Miss Hamilton," returns the Captain. " Under 
the circumstances, I shall only call by deputy." 

"By deputy P" 

"Yes, I shall take the liberty of sending a bouquet 
to represent me in your salon to-morrow. You 
need not fear," he adds hastily, for Birdie is pale now, 
though her eyes are very bright. " It will be anony- 
mous. But when you see it, think Arthur Severance 
Vermilye is bowing before you. " 

Her face flames up at his words, for the gentleman's 
tone seems to indicate more than he expresses. 

" Indeed I will," answers Birdie heartily and extends 
her hand, which the Captain takes with old-time defer- 
ence. 

Then we bid him good-bye, I escorting my sister to 
the neighborhood of her home. Though the girl seems 
in high spirits, she says but little until near her Charles 
Street residence. 

"Don't come any further, Billy," she remarks ner- 
vously. "If papa saw you he might make a 
scene." 

"Very well," I reply. "But where and when am I 
to see you again .'' " 

"I — I don't know," she answers dubiously, prodding 
the toe of her little boot with one of the petite parasols 
ladies sported in those days. "Unless" — here she 
looks at me suddenly and roguishly — "unless you 
invite me to lunch again ! " 

"All right!" I answer cheeril)^. "Day after to- 
morrow. Will you come ? " 

" If they don't lock me up," returns Birdie laugh- 
ingly, but nervously. Then she does grow pale as she 



96 BILLY HAMILTON. 

whispers: "I suppose Virgie will scold me awfully 
for going- with you. " 

"Pooh," I say, "I know her stately manner. INIiss 
Virginia Lawrence Hamilton will say ; ' My sister, I do 
not presume to dictate to you, but I think you should 
regard papa's wishes in this matter.' But, Birdie, 
you'll come, even if Virgie does bully you ? " I ask 
eagerly. 

" Won't I ; with my whole heart ! " 

" Very well, then ; same time, same place ! " 

" Yes, Guy's — one o'clock, Monday." 

" And same party .-' " I add, unable to restrain a little 
brotherly joke. 

" What do you mean ? " 

" Arthur Severance Vermilye, of course." 

"Oh! if you like. He's a — a very charming gen- 
tleman." 

" Union officers are not so awfully awful.'" I jeer. 
" Don't kiss his bouquet." 

" What nonsense ! Under the circumstances, that 
would be equivalent to kissing him," whispers Birdie, 
haughtily yet bashfully ; then runs away with a very 
red face, though her saucy nose is quite high in the 



CHAPTER IX. 

" GIVE ME FIVE MINUTES ALONE WITH HER ? " 

A FEW hours afterwards I meet Captain Vermilye at 
his quarters. Curiously enough he seems rather glum 
and out of spirits. But the minute he receives my in- 
vitation to a second luncheon at which my sister will 
be present, he brightens up immensely, accepts eagerly, 
and goes off to billiards with me in the very highest 
feather. 

The consequence is that we three meet again for 
luncheon in Guy's Restaurant at the time appointed, 
but here. Miss Birdie gives me a start. On the previous 
occasion, she had been very prettily gowned, but her 
toilet this time is of such stunning style, chic and 
effectiveness, that I gaze at her astonished, and know 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



97 



the get-up is not for me. In addition, she wears in 
the bosom of her corsage, a few exquisite rosebuds. 

"Souvenirs of your last call," she says, archly 
pointing to them, as Captain Vermilye bends over her 
extended hand. 

So sitting down, the two seem to commence about 
M'here they left off on the previous luncheon, and with 
a cordial familiarity that astounds me, proceed to play 
the game of Adam and Eve. 

" Judging by your tree-and-easy greeting, Captain 
Vermilye has called several times, Miss Birdie," I 
mutter roguishly, as I digest my oysters. 

" He has, twice — by bouquet ! Though that is not 
the most satisfactory way for a young lady to receive 
a gentleman's visits, " she remarks coquettishly, blushing 
very prettily as she speaks. 

" Nor the pleasantest way for a gentleman to pay 
them," returns Vermilye, ardently. 

Then I break in: "No unpleasant social family 
effects from our last meeting, Birdie } You suggested 
being locked up in your room," I laugh. 

" Not the slightest. Virgie has never spoken to me 
about it. Better still, has never spoken to papa. 
Though doubtless angry with me, she has too noble a 
nature to think that her prejudice should separate me 
from my brother." 

This gives me a pang. What will Virgie think of me 
if, in addition to my own offences, I add the unpar- 
donable one of putting Birdie in the zone of Union 
influence, emphasized by a pair of very handsome 
masculine eyes, a very effective masculine moustache, 
and a very lover-like manner, for that is what 1 begin 
to see in Vermilye's tender tones and expressive 
glances. 

Apparently, this idea strikes Miss Birdie at the same 
moment, for she grows very red, then turns very pale, 
and from now on doesn't seem to give much attention 
to her lunch ; though, perhaps, this is because she 
pays so much to the dashing artillery captain, whose 
manner is now so unmistakably gallant that it gives 
me a start. 

But the_/?/g draws to a close. 

Though Birdie hasn't eaten much, nor drank much 
for that matter, her face seems strangely flushed and 



95 BILLY HAMILTON. 

her eyes unnaturally brilliant as she says she has had 
a delightful afternoon. This is evidently intended 
more for Arthur than for me, at least she looks at him 
as she makes the remark. 

So Birdie and I walk home again, and this time, 
instead of being silent, the young lady has a good 
many roundabout questions to ask me, the drift of all 
of them deftly turned toward my comrade. 

Though I answer her questions, in an off-hand, big- 
brother manner, still I think my eulogy of the gallant 
captain is satisfactory to my pretty sister ; for, as 
she bids me good-bye, on Charles Street, she says : 
"Thank you, thank you so much." 

Then she adds, a curious eagerness in her voice : 
"When do we lunch again ? " 

' ' Ah, you liked the oysters ; Guy's menu was excel- 
lent } I say banteringly. 

' ' Of course I did. When do we lunch ag-am ? " 

" Do you wish me to include the captain ? " 

" Cetainly ! " This is emphasized with a blush, she 
adding severely : "It would hardly be polite to exclude 
him now." 

" Very well," I say, " I'll tell Captain Vermilye of 
your hospitality. Same time, same place, four days 
from now," 

" That's Friday, but don't mention my suggesting his 
attendance. It's very bold my lunching with two 
gentlemen even though one is my brother," murmurs 
Birdie bashfully. 

So I go off laughingly to tell Vermilye about the 
arrangement for him. 

To my astonishment the artilleryman has grown 
more gloomy than ever. More curiously, when I again 
suggest the proposed entertainment to my brother- 
officer, he appears about to decline my invitation. 

"Why? What's the matter?" I ask, astonished. 
" You've nothing to do, and surely have no other 
social engagements with ladies in Baltimore ! " 

' ' No ; that's the reason I hesitate to accept your 
very kind invitation," remarks the captain, chewing 
his moustache and puffing his cigar in an uneasy and 
nervous manner very unusual in him. 

" Indeed ! " I say haughtily, and turn away rather 
inclined to be angry. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 99 

But he stops me. Laying his hand on my arm he 
says impulsively and impressively : "For God's sake, 
don't misunderstand me, Bill, and answer me this 
question : Do you believe in love at first sight ? " 

" Of course I do ! What man of twenty-three 
doesn't? " 

" Lasting love ?" 

" Yes ; the strongest kind. I am a victim of it my- 
self" 

" Oho ! " he laughs lightly, then goes on anxiously : 
"Then you will appreciate my position. To meet 
your sister at any time would be one of the greatest 
pleasures of my life, so great a joy that I hesitate to 
take it. To be very candid with you, Miss Birdie 
Hamilton" — he lingers quite tenderly over the "Birdie " 
— " has made a greater and much more positive impres- 
sion upon me than any young lady I have ever met. 
Set apart from her by the passions of this damned war, 
and unable on account of sectional hate and prejudice 
to visit her father's house, would it be honorable in me 
to continue meeting this young lady .? Now, as her 
brother, if you repeat your invitation to me" — his eyes 
are very eager — " Hang me if I don't accept it, and you 
may know what to expect ! " 

"Come!" I say cheerily. "If Miss Birdie is the 
same girl she was yesterday, the minute she doesn't 
want to see you she'll let you know." 

"Done!" cries Arthur, and his jaws shut together 
with a click like the sound of one of his own battery 
trace snaps. Then our hands clasp ; mine, I think, 
tending to give encouragement, for Vermilye goes off 
and plays billiards with me and seems in great spirits 
the whole evening. 

Naturally, I get meditating on this matter. Once or 
twice I find myself thinking: "Hang it! If Arthur 
should hold a winning card with my pretty sister, that 
would be a beautiful revenge upon the governor for 
turning his back upon me. Tivo blue uniforms in the 
family ! " Then I mutter : ' ' Why not ? Vermilye is 
an honorable gentleman, a man of fine family, first- 
rate position, and large fortune. A much better match 
for Miss Birdie in every way than some of these Balti- 
more young gentlemen of long pedigree and impetuous 
chivalry, but slender means, and no particular manner 



loo BILLY HAMILTON, 

of improving them. Why should I discredit my own 
uniform ? Miss Birdie must take her chances in this 
matter." Here I chuckle to myself, "And hang me, if 
the dear little girl seems to be very much averse to 
taking them on her own account ! " 

Still, on consideration I conclude it is hardly fair for 
my sister to enter upon a defensive campaign without 
warning. Therefore, by means of one of our old foot- 
men, Jonas, I smuggle a note to her, and, Miss Birdie 
meeting me the next day in Monument Square, we go 
off on a stroll together. 

During this I tell her, by means of masculine hints 
and brotherly jeers, as indirectly as I can, the impres- 
sion I think she has made upon my comrade. 

Then, Miss Clara Oriole Hamilton astounds vie. 
Though she is sometimes a mass of blushes, and at 
others her cheeks grow pale, her questions are very 
straight and to the point. 

"Do you think, Billy," she asks with white lips and 
anxious eyes, " that aside from all sectional prejudice. 
Captain Vermilye would not only be a suitable match 
for your sister, but a man in whose hand you would be 
happy to place mine and call yourself his brother.? " 

" I do ! " I reply earnestly and frankly. There is 
something in the girl's face — something in the girl's 
voice that tells me it is my duty to answer her with a 
brother's frankness. 

"Thank you," she says, looking at me gratefully ; 
then astounds me, for she murmurs : "You have made 
me very happy, but " — here she grows very bashful — 
" I will think about coming to the lunch. If I do come, 
you may know that a blue uniform makes no difference 
to me." Then suddenly she mutters, " Papa and Vir- 
gie ! " and bursts out crying as if her heart would break. 

To her I falter : "I should not have let you meet 
him." 

" Don't say that," she whispers impulsively. "God 
bless you for doing so ! " then runs away from me. 

Of this interview, I say nothing to Arthur. Conse- 
quently he sits down to lunch with me the next time at 
Guy's, not guessing that I have given a hint of his pas- 
sion to my sister. As the hands of the clock move 
round he glances eagerly and anxiously at the door 
of the restaurant each time it opens, and grows 



BILLY HAMILTON. lOI 

more and more gloomy, for no Birdie comes to brighten 
our conclave with her smiles. 

I grow gloomy also; though thinking of the mangled 
state of my own affections I mutter grimly: "The 
course of true love never did run smooth." 

Suddenly, I see a change in Vermilye's face. It has 
become radiant as the sun which is streaming through 
the windows. 

I need not ask the reason. Light footsteps are bring- 
ing my sweet sister towards us, though there is a pecul- 
iar set expression in her face as she murmurs : "You 
will excuse my being late, Billy. I have had a little 
trouble at home." 

"Was it with the governor.' " I question uneasily. 

" No, with Virgie. She has discovered that I — I take 
lunch with two blue uniforms.'' And the girl's face 
grows red as fire. 

As I look upon Vermilye I know that he has deter- 
mined that no more embarrassment of this kind shall 
come to my pretty sister. Drawing me a step aside 
he whispers to me : " For God's sake, give me just five 
minutes alone with Miss Birdie ! You owe it to me 
now ! " 

" All right ! But first give me a few minutes inter- 
view with these oysters, partridge and champagne, "I 
whisper in his ear. 

I had always known Vermilye to be a man of ex- 
ceeding grit ; but his resolution of formally asking the 
hand of a Baltimore belle of ultra-secession proclivities 
and family, at third time of meeting, and he a Union 
officer, excites my admiration for his social nerve. 

I glance at Miss Birdie, and notice that my sister's 
pretty features have an air of agitated bashfulness that 
is foreign to them, likewise a suspicion of humility that 
is most unusual in her. She looks to me like the bird 
in the snare of the fowler. 

" Egad," I think grimly, "some citadels are taken 
by sudden assault more surely than by slow sap and 
approach." 

Accordingly the meal runs along, I doing the high 
spirits for the party ; for though Arthur's conver- 
sation is easy and unaffected, still there is a tinge of 
anxiety in his voice, and his tones are mostly low and 
deep — very much like those I have noticed in men just 



I02 BILLY HAMILTON. 

before they head a desperate charge, where defeat 
means probably annihilation. At proper opportunity, 
I stroll out after a light for my cigar, and contrive to 
occupy myself with the weed for a few minutes, then 
return — to be astounded ! 

Birdie is sitting alone, with the palest face and 
brightest eyes. 

Has Miss Rebel given Captain Yankee his cong'e in 
short order? "So you sent poor Captain Vermilye 
away," I suggest, chewing my moustache glumly. 

"No. He went of his own accord, to — to buy the 
engagement ring, I beheve," falters Birdie, her face a 
mass of color now. Then she says quite haughtily : 
"You knew what my answer must be, the moment I 
came under these circumstances to lunch with Arthur. 
You needn't look surprised at my using his first name ; 
I 've been thinking of him as Arthur for the last day or 
two." 

"God bless you !" I say huskily, and hold out my 
hand. "I know you have selected a gentleman who 
will make you happy, if you love him." 

''If\ love him !" says the girl. "Am I not proving 
that now?" Then she falters : " Good heavens ! Papa 
and Virgie — how shall I tell them?" 

Gazing at her, I determine that though Vermilye's 
social nerve is very good, my pretty little sister, with 
her soft voice and butterfly manner, has even perchance 
a higher social courage than his, in accepting the hand 
of a man who wears the uniform her father and her sister 
hate ; holding herself up to the rage, scorn and hate 
of every one who has been a companion of her child 
hood. 

"There's only one thing that I'd like changed in the 
affair," Birdie whispers pathetically to me. 

" His blue uniform ? " I suggest. 

"Pooh ! I don't think of Arthur in any clothes at all !" 
says Birdie defiantly. "No, no, of course, I don't 
mean that. I — Billy, you — you sha'n't laugh at me ! " 
She is red as fire now and very savage. " I — I wish 
Arthur were not so extremely rich. They'll say that I 
was false to my Southern birth, not for love but for 
money." 

"Pshaw ! " I return in cynic tones. " Don't let that 
trouble you. You '11 find a very much better chance 



BILLY HAMILTON. I03 

of winning love's battle with plenty of money behind 
you than without it." 

" Nonsense !" answers the girl sharply. "You're 
trying to make me think you are not romantic ; when, 
Billy, I know you're the most inflammable piece of 
masculine material on earth." 

"Even more than the clothesless Arthur?" I say, 
regarding her with the eye of a brother, privileged to 
joke on such occasions. At which she blushes hotly, 
and, despite herself, commences to laugh in an hyster- 
ical, nervous way. 

Fortunately, this is broken in upon by the return of 
the ardent one. " I 've got the prettiest ring," he whis- 
pers to her eagerly, " that I could find on Baltimore 
Street. But we'll not put it on here." He looks at me 
suggestively as we shake hands and I congratulate 
him, then remarks in the coolest manner : " I say, Bill, 
supposing I escort Birdie home this afternoon." 

"Certainly," I reply, for Birdie has given me an im- 
ploring glance ; though I feel perchance a little pang of 
jealousy at the thought that when the lover comes, the 
brother steps quickly to the rear. 

Two or three minutes after I hear them say some- 
thing about Druid Hill Park, and conclude that Mis? 
Birdie's jaunt will be a much longer one on her way 
home than it had been with me. 

"Any way," I cogitate, as I look at the two depart- 
ing together : " they'll make a very handsome couple. 
Arthur is the best fellow in the world, and Birdie the 
best girl I know — except one .' " 



BOOK III. 
A BEAUTIFUL ENIGMA. 



CHAPTER X. 

WASHINGTON IN 1 862. 

An hour afterwards, at my quarters, a despatch from 
Washington, ordering me to report forthwith at that 
city, turns my thoughts for the moment to my own 
position. 

While I am pondering over this, Vermilye joins me, 
looking a little happier, if possible, than when he left 
me. 

" Put on the engagement-ring ? " I say laughingly. 

"Didn't I ! Bill, I 'm the happiest man on earth 1 " 

"No fear of facing papa, eh ? " 

" Not a bit ! I have settled the whole matter with 
Birdie ; no embarrassment must come to her from which 
I can relieve her. She shall wear my engagement-ring 
openly in the light of day. " 

" To-morrow I call upon your father — I introduce my- 
self in the full uniform of a Captain in the United States 
artillery — I prove to him that aside from differences of 
political opinion, I am perfectly fitted to be his son-in- 
law ; that I have ample fortune to support your sister 
in every ease, elegance and distinction in life ; that as 
my wife, she '11 move in the very best set of metro- 
politan society." 

' ' With your uniform on, you may count on my gover- 
nor showing you the door — he did me without mine, 
in very quick order." 

"Then I shall bow myself out," returns the Captain, 
" but not until I distinctly inform him that I consider the 
shoulder-straps I sport no bar to my wedding anybody ! 
I shall also suggest to him that though I may not enter 
his house again, there will always be a seat at my fire- 
side for papa, when he changes his mind, — after I 

104 



BILLY HAMILTON. 105 

marry his daughter ! For that I am going to do, — war 
or no war — South or no South — North or no North ! " 

" But supposing INIiss Birdie is restrained? " 

"That she shall not be ! " answers Vermilye, his eyes 
cold but glinting. "Trust me to hold what my sweet- 
heart's sweet lips have given unto me. And trust your 
sister also for keeping her troth." 

' ' Well, I rather imagine you and the guv'nor will 
have a decidedly exciting, though perhaps not an en- 
tirely pleasant interview," I remark grimly. Then I 
ask : " And Birdie — what does she say about it .-' " 

"Oh, Birdie, I hope, is happy, though I'm sure she's 
palpitating," laughs the captain. 

"Well, I'm sorry I shall not be here to see it, and 
aid you," and I show Arthur my order to Washington. 

Then, convinced of the necessity of an adviser as 
regards my own affairs, and having very much of a 
brother's feeling for Vermilye, I take him into my con- 
fidence, explaining the whole of my troubles with the 
Secretary of War and most of my adventures in Fred- 
erick — omitting only that of my young lady captive 
with a gray riding-habit ; I having an extreme diffi- 
dence about confessing I have fallen in love at almost 
first sight with a girl whom I am convinced is at least 
the betrothed, if not the bride, of some Confederate 
officer. 

To my astonishment, Captain Vermilye, who has a 
mathematical mind, entirely disagrees with me. He 
says : " You'll get no promotion. Your chances in the 
army are naught. You'd better resign at once, Bill." 

" McClellan has the love and confidence of his army. 
Stanton will not remain Secretary of War," I reply. 

" I beg your pardon, for that very reason McClellan 
will not remain in command." Here Vermilye's voice 
grows low and cautious. "There is no wish in Wash- 
ington to build up a Democratic fetish for the people to 
vote for at the next presidential election. For that 
reason McClellan — all the more so because he has 
lately been victorious — will be deposed from command. 
Do you suppose Mr. Secretary Stanton will let a gen- 
eral remain who has branded him with the sentence : 
"You have done your best to sacrifice this army ! " * 

* See The Army in the Civil War, Vol. V., Antietam and Freder' 
icksburgh, by General Francis Winthrop Palfry. — Ed. 



Io6 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"But McClellan has the army behind him." 
"That would count for everything were Little Mac 
a man like Bonaparte. McClellan now is in the posi- 
tion to play the Caesar. Quite curiously, the Abolition 
Republicans — and a lot of the Jacobin press — have 
made it possible for him to play that role, and play it 
as a patriot.* Let him walk into Washington and 
say: 'Thou art weighed in the balance and found 
wanting, I proclaim a provisional government,' — he 
has the power to do so, for the moment any way ; 
what the country at large would do afterwards I don't 
propose to speculate upon. But I have heard such 
whispers from the officers of the Army of the Potomac 
that I know that McClellan has only to hint — nay 
more, not to restrain them — and they will follow him 
to Washington the moment he has been deposed from 
command, to ask, with the loud and potent voice of a 
hundred thousand veterans : ' What is the matter with 
our victorious general ? ' f He could pose as a patriot, 
and if he wins the war, be considered the saviour of his 
country, not only against the politicians in the capital, 
but against the Southern Confederacy. But if I know 
anything of the man," adds Vermilye, "Little Mac is 
too good a soldier, too great a patriot, and too conserv- 
ative a gentleman to take by the force of bayonets 
what the gods have given to a Caesar. Therefore he 
will be deposed ; therefore he will resign his command ; 
therefore he'll be crushed ! Were Stanton, McClellan, 
and McClellan, Stanton, I might predict a different 
ending. Consequently, I say to you, if you have been 
so unfortunate as to have incurred the displeasure of the 
Secretary of War, the sooner for your own success in 
life you take off your shoulder-straps and go to work 
at something else than soldiering the better for you. 

* See New York Republican journals of that time (1862) ; note the 
hints in Harper's Weekly, about a provisional government being 
necessary; read the editorials of Horace Greeley. Unless these were 
the ravings of lunatics, they meant that the government in Washing- 
ton was so inefficient, so absolutely incapable of fighting a victorious 
war, that it should be deposed by somebody. — Eu. 

t It has been creditably reported that immediately on McClellan's 
removal from command after Antietam there was a meeting of the 
officers of the Army of the Potomac, called to do this very thing, and 
had it not been for McClellan's own personal entreaties and influence, 
it would have been done. — Eu. 



BILLY HAMILTON. IO7 

Of course this is confidential," whispers the artillery- 
man. 

"As one brother to another," I say, and make him 
happy with the speech, though I add glumly : " I do 
not think I shall take your advice ; at all events, not 
till I have gone to Washington and seen what is before 
me." 

" Very well, every one makes his own bed," returns 
my chum philosophically, "and I've got to see about 
making mine now." 

So Vermilye goes with me to the Baltimore depot 
and bids me bo7i voyage. 

Two hours after I am in Washington, and taking up 
my quarters in my F Street boarding-house, discover 
that my provost-marshal fame has preceded me, and 
I am regarded not only as an intense Union man, but 
as a tremendous cut-the-throat hater of all Southerners. 

Mrs. Lorimer, my landlady, as she greets me at the 
front door, whispers : "We read in the papers about 
you, my noble boy, in that hot-bed of secession. I 
was afraid from what the Baltvnore Comet said, you 
might be assassinated on the streets of that town for 
your intense loyalty." 

Mrs. Lorimer poses as the widow of a dead diplo- 
matist and declares she has been ruined by the aboli- 
tion of slavery in the District of Columbia ; though as 
she has been engaged in the boarding-house business 
for twenty years, this measure of the government can 
hardly have affected her social status. At all events, 
it hasn't affected her patriotism, as noting on which 
side her bread is buttered, her best front parlor being 
rented to Miss Lucy Albemarle, the beauty of the Treas- 
ury office and putative niece of the sturdy Union Con- 
gressman Cobblestone, whose influence has obtaned 
for Miss Albemarle that appointment, and her other 
guests being mostly of northern proclivities and senti- 
ments, Mrs. Imogene Lorimer is now shouting for the 
Star Spangled Banner as loudly as any boarding- 
house-keeper in Washington. 

Further evidences of my fame as an intense Unionist 
come to me at the supper table that evening. Two 
New England girls, clerks in the Interior department, 
congratulate me upon my war-record, and a fascinating 
widow, whose chief occupation is lobbying contractor's 



I08 BILLY HAMILTON. 

bills through congress by her smiles upon its members, 
glances at me and suggests, rather flirtatiously: "1 
suppose, now that the Baltimore girls have turned 
their backs on you, you will thoroughly enjoy feminine 
Washington society. " This is emphasized by a look 
of her lustrous and drooping eyes that have been very 
effective upon legislators during the last session. 

But little Napoleon Finnaker, of the Quartermaster- 
General's office, perchance thinking to add to his own 
military splendor and glory by my patriotism, rises 
from his place at the dining-table, and walking over, 
taps me on the shoulder, and says loudly and patron- 
izingly : "We've been talking about you in the War 
Department, Captain Hamilton." 

"Indeed !" I say surprised. 

"Yes! You've been doing great things in that 
secession haunt, and doing them nobly. Provost- 
Marshal in Baltimore!" His voice is a roar. "By 
the stars and stripes, how your secession relatives must 
have ground their Rebel teeth when you captured those 
three Confederate sympathizers! How all your Balti- 
more friends must love you ! Oh, Yankee Doodle ! I 
think I see papa's glance, and also hear Miss Virgie's 
and Miss Birdie's kind words to their Union brother. 
The papers here state that you were requested to leave 
Mrs. Coleman's dance the night your appointment was 
published. I hope you insulted a few of those damned 
blue-blood copperheads. I would, you bet ! You see, 
there's a kindred feeling between us two, both out-and- 
out fighters and both cut off from active service. You, 
by your parole ; I, by the tears of a widowed mother. 
By John Brown's body ! I never get down to the Long 
Bridge but I have a terrible struggle to hold myself 
from going over into Virginia and having another crack 
at the Rebs." 

"Yes, you haven't had that pleasure lately," I re- 
mark sarcastically, Mr. Finnaker's suggestions about 
Baltimore friends and relatives making me inclined to 
be surly with him. 

"Yes ! Not since Pope's Second Battle of Bull Run. 
Then, I rode to the front and as usual had a horse shot 
under me. Didn't I. Mrs. Lorimer.?" 

This last is in savage interrogation to the landlady 
who is indulging in a quiet feeble snicker, having surrep- 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



109 



titiously served Mr. Finnaker's breakfast to him in bed 
on the morning of the Second Bull Run, that hero hav- 
ing- spent that day quivering between bed-clothes. 

But no matter what the opinions of INIrs. Lorimer and 
her guests are in regard to Mr. Finnaker's war-record, 
there apparently is none in regard to mine, when I re- 
port at Secretary Stanton's oftice on Saturday morning, 
for I am very warmly received by the officers in wait- 
ing and congratulated on my Baltimore record. 

After dawdling away my time among reporting staff 
officers, eager army contractors and people with griev- 
ances of all kinds, from the mother of a deserter who 
has been sentenced by court-martial to be shot, to a 
congressman who is kicking about a transportation 
contract, for my affair now seems to be routine busi- 
ness, old Madison shows me in once more to the office 
from which I had departed pursued by official anath- 
ema. 

In reply to my salute, Mr. Secretary Stanton, who 
had reviled me on my departure, receives me quite 
affably upon my return to Washington. 

"Having proved you, I know 1 can trust you now, 
Captain Hamilton," he says, regarding me quite be- 
nignly through his glasses and stroking his long beard 
contemplatively. 

"Proved me.''' I stammer. "I do not understand. 
Why trust me more now, Mr. Secretary, than you did 
before .'' " 

" Because I have put you through the furnace, and 
you have come out molten gold. When I signed the 
order making you Special Provost-Marshal of Mary- 
land, where your father and your family and the friends 
of your youth — all rabid secessionists — were living and 
plotting, I said : " If he stands this, there's no further 
doubt of the unhesitating loyalty of Captain William 
Hamilton." 

"And you," I mutter, "have cut me off from my 
family — my friends ? They hate me worse than if I 
were a Northern soldier." 

There is a desperation in my voice that seems to please 
him. 

"And made you all the better Union man for it," 
he laughs. "If you could resist their entreaties to 
lean to the Rebel cause, and have stood up under their 



110 BILLY HAMILTON. 

contempt and contumely for not doing so, I can trust 
you in the middle of Lee's Rebel army. They hate 
you — you hate them : that is the proper kind of war 
feeling : the better hater, the better warrior. Apropos 
of that, until you're exchanged, I want a man who can 
resist bright eyes, for a certain purpose. You will re- 
main in Washington, under full pay." 

"And my duties ? " 

" They will be explained to you when the time comes. 
Do them well, and I forget your indiscreet answers to 
Stonewall Jackson's questions before he captured Har- 
per's Ferry." 

Wondering what the deuce he wants of me, I half 
laugh : "Thank you for a very pleasant way of spend- 
ing the days of my parole," and turn to leave him. 

But he calls me back to him and remarks: "You 
must look to me for promotion. He who stands by 
me, I stand by him." 

"Thank you once more, Mr. Secretary," I reply, 
saluting ; and leave him gazing affably after me. 

As why should not he ? For in his pocket he has a 
document that brought a shriek of discontent, a mutter- 
ing of rage, from a hundred thousand veterans en- 
camped in Virginia — the order for his enemy's, but their 
beloved general's official head. 

Getting out from this interview, I stand for a mo- 
ment on the lawn in front of the old three-story brick 
building, with its white facings and semicircular win- 
dow heads, which at that time was known as "The War 
Department," the white columns in front of it contrast- 
ing strongly with the prevailing gray of its time-worn 
brick, and wonder what the devil Mr. Stanton wants me 
to do that will require me to resist bright eyes. 

Suddenly a shudder goes through me. Can it be any- 
thing connected with the subject about which he spoke 
to me before — my captive of that night on the Potomac ? 

Then I speculate; " Shall I meet her.?" and look 
round at this great city of the war — this capital sur- 
rounded by an armed encampment — this place where 
the delights of peace, the fetes of fashion, the beauty 
of ladies, mingle with the rumbling of artillery wag- 
ons, the tramp of marching regiments, and the rattle 
of anibulances as they glide to the military hospitals .' 

Standing where I am, the city makes a beautiful but 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



Ill 



varied panorama, Immediately to my right, set back 
in its grounds, is the White House, seeming very bright 
this sunny day— where Abraham Lincohi, with all the 
cares of a nation in its death-grapple upon his shoul- 
ders, still maintains that calm serenity, that pleasant 
bonhomie, that enable him to give tears and sympa- 
thy to the suffering soldier, jovial Western anecdotes 
and backwoods' parables to besieging politicians, and 
ofttimes sound military advice, told with homely com- 
mon sense, to his erring generals. Beyond that, looms 
the Treasury Department. 

Directly in front of me across Pennsylvania Avenue 
stands the building that is now known as Corcoran's 
Art Gallery, but at this time is occupied by the Quar- 
termaster-General of the United States Army. To the 
right of this is Lafayette Square, with its colossal Jack- 
son statue amid pretty plants and parterres. 

Just across Seventeenth Street, on the corner imme- 
diately to the west of the War Department, is that well- 
known old brick bar-room that we used to call Mulloy's, 
I think, a resort celebrated in those days as being the 
drinking-place of generals— chiefly political brigadiers. 
Adjoining this, further to the West, in the direction 
of Georgetown, are a number of small cigar-stores, low 
groggeries and places of disreputable savor gradually 
growing more disreputable as they approach the low 
flatstowards the Potomac, untilthey reach their apogee 
of disrepute, crime, drunkenness and lewdness in the 
district immediately surrounding the great Quarter- 
master's stores on Twenty-second and G Streets, whose 
immense warerooms run pretty close to the Potomac, 
where they join the extensive yards upon the river- 
bank filled with the lumber and marine supplies of the 
Quartermaster's Department. Back of these is the 
Potomac, and beyond its muddy stream the Virginia 
hills, crowned with their outlying forts and decorated 
Avith the white encampments of protecting Union troops. 
On my right hand, in great contrast to the squalor 
of the low grounds towards the West, runs the same 
great avenue, but it leads to fashion, wealth, and the 
struggling concourse of the better half of the inhabi- 
tants of this war-time capital — the great centre of the 
hive— from the White House to the Halls of Congress. 
Carriages roll about ; in them beautiful women, 



112 BILLY HAMILTON. 

fashionably gowned, and sometimes more sober equi- 
pages carrying cabin et-oflScers or foreign ministers. 
Generals and staff officers prance about on horseback, 
though most of these are political warriors, who have 
never yet smelt powder, and never will if they can 
help it. 

Along the sidewalks throng the crowds of a great 
military capital. Officers and soldiers, of the local 
garrison or called here by military business, con- 
trast greatly with the hurrying civihans, though their 
uniforms of dark blue mostly show the signs of hard 
service and actual war. Government contractors, 
•who are nearly all very bloodthirsty, crying for 
Southern gore with their mouths, and fleecing with 
both hands the public purse, each of them doing 
the damage of a Rebel regiment, jostle with applicants 
for office of all kinds and the general political bummers 
and hangers-on of a great nation which is giving with 
lavish hand for its protection and its existence — the 
scavengers of the treasury. Secession-sympathizers, 
slyly glorying at each victory of Lee or defeat of the 
Federals, are mixed with the Union masses, the great, 
strong arms which upheld this country in her travail, 
and Jacobin politicians, calling every man " copper- 
head," but themselves. 

These are now leavened with numerous department 
clerks, both male and female, for the beauties of the 
Treasury Department, sometimes yclept its "courte- 
sans," many of them being proteges and cheres amies ot 
Congressmen and Senators, or those high in political 
power, have come out this lovely afternoon to give 
life, beauty, vivacity and wickedness to Pennsylvania 
Avenue. 

And each and every one upon those crowded streets, 
is dominated by the awful war-time passions of civil 
contest. 

Among the gentlemen-attaches of the various offices, 
I note little Napoleon Finnaker strolling from the 
Quartermaster-General's counting-rooms opposite. 

As I walk down the avenue he joins me, linking his 
arm in mine with his usual assurance. There is an air 
of mystery about the dapper creature as he remarks, 
with a furtive gesture toward the War Department : 
" We did a great thing in there to-day." 



BILLY HAMILTON. II3 

"And what was that ? " I ask laughingly. 

His answer stuns me. 

"We deposed McClellan from command of the Army 
of the Potomac and put in Burnside. " 

" Impossible ! " I gasp. 

" Fact, just the same. Nobody knows it but a few 
of us, who are the inside clique. Keep it dark ! " 

" De — deposed from his command ! " I stammer, as 
the thought flies through me that I am fortunate in 
having regained Stanton's favor. 

"Yes, deposed — for absolute military incapacity. 
Let Lee escape from him after Antietam. By the Star- 
Spangled Banner, if I had been in his line of battle, I'd 
have shown Little Mac a wrinkle or two ! Why didn't 
he press Lee ^— press him ! That's the tactic — press 
HIM ! Between ourselves, we suspect him of dis- 
loyalty. " 

At this news I give a sigh — as over one hundred 
thousand other veterans do this day ; — perchance 
guessing at the military incapacity that is going to 
doom fourteen thousand of them to useless death and 
wounds in that great Fredericksburg slaughter-house 
blunder. 

Whereupon little Finnaker looks at me sternly. He 
says : "A word of advice to you, my cavalry buck. 
If you want to get in out of the wet, drop all McClellan 
sentiment. No Democrat is going to get very far in 
this army, without a pull-down. Listen to me — I'm 
on the inside ! " 

And so he seems to be ; for in the course of the next 
week or two I discover that Napoleon Finnaker seems 
to be on the inside of everything. War Department 
secrets in some way drift in to him ; social news is at 
his finger-ends. For he is quite a dandy at all local 
balls and parties, dancing in a volunteer uniform that 
throws a brigadier-general's into the shade. For this 
very purpose he has formed and recruited, all by him- 
self, on paper in distant Illinois, a military company — 
of which he is the sole member — and having elected 
himself captain of the same. Napoleon has naturally 
selected his own uniform, which is gorgeous beyond 
compare. With this he flourishes at social functions, 
doings the heavy military swell in a very languid, fin- 



114 BILLY HAMILTON. 

nicky, yet at times ferocious manner, especially after 
battles fought near the capital. 

His babble makes the stroll down the avenue a short 
one, for he knows every one, and our walk is a run- 
ning- comment from him on passers-by. 

'•' Look there ! Do you see that gal.? She's Treas- 
ury — Division C, Room Number 21. Ah, how do you 
do, Miss Albemarle.?" and he takes off his hat and 
bows to the department beauty. " Our star boarder," 
he babbles. "You see, I had something to do with 
her appointment," he whispers. "Lucy Albemarle's 
particular friend, Congressman Cobblestone, implored 
me to use my influence. If you want to get on Cob- 
blestone's right side, show her attention, but for the 
Lord's sake don't make him jealous; the aged Con- 
gressman's like a sultan when the boys get round his 
putative niece ! " and the little fellow goes into a 
hideous guffaw. Suddenly he cries : " Oh, by George ! 
there's Mrs. Senator Rufus J. Bream ! Her equipage — 
that one dashing up the avenue — two white horses. 
I selected them for her : I am said to be the best judge 
of horseflesh in Washington. Rufus is a great chum 
of mine ; has supported me for promotion twice with 
the Quartermaster-General. I back him up when he 
makes his great war speeches. He's the man we war 
officials like; he has demanded that the quota of troops 
from every State, except his own, be increased. You 
should listen to his eloquence ! after I hear him I feel 
like cutting Southern throats, cursed if I don't." 

Under this gentleman's tutelage, I stroll down the 
avenue, being introduced by him right and left, and 
chancing to meet a crony of his, one Henri Dubois 
Arago, a handsome young Creole, we step into Wil- 
lard's for a game of billiards. 

" Mr. Arago, besides holding an important clerkship 
in our office," Napoleon whispers to me between shots, 
"represents a syndicate that has a permit from us, to 
buy seized and confiscated rebel cotton in Louisiana. 
Arago's as black a Republican as Horace Greeley," be 
adds vivaciously, "and as liberal as a gold-broker 
with his cash." 

This intense Republicanism in a man from Louisiana 
seems to me a little curious, though this is easily ap- 
parent, as Arago dispenses lavish patriotism M'ith a 



BILLY HAMILTON. llg 

loud yet melodiously sensuous voice to his surround- 
ing friends and liberal tips to the billiard attaches dur- 
ing our hour's exercise with cue and balls. 

Getting away from this, however, I at last find my- 
self at my. F Street boarding-house, to be surprised by 
a card requesting the pleasure of my company at a 
soiree dansaniezX. Mrs. RufusJ. Bream's, on Wednesday, 
the twelfth of November. 

That evening, on his invitation, in company with 
Mr. Finnaker, who acts as guide, and Mr. Arago, who 
joins us, I kill time in the Capitol, seeing a play at 
Ford's Theatre and afterwards dropping a treasury note 
in Chamberlin's great gambling-house, where at last 
McClellan's deposition has got noised about late at 
night. Here Napoleon swellsaround, among congress- 
men and army contractors, remarking : " We of the 
War Department did it," and introducing me as a 
staunch IMaryland Unionist who as provost-marshal 
at Baltimore had made the gilded secesh youth of that 
place toe the loyal line and sing the "Star-Spangled 
Banner" and "Yankee Doodle" instead of "Dixie." 

To my astonishment, I discover that nearly every 
one I meet seems to think me not only a Union man, 
but a personal hater of every Southerner from Jeff Davis 
down to his lowest rebel private. 

I am too down-hearted over my loss of boyhood's 
friends and my father's and my sisters' love to take 
the trouble to deny this, and go about in a gloomy and 
morose manner w^hich seems to add to the impression 
that I am a stern and most determined loyalist. 

Leaving Arago, who seems an inveterate and eager 
gambler, still engaged over the board of green cloth, 
where his eyes sparkle with love of gain and his black 
frizzly hair andjet moustache seem to bristle with excite- 
ment, little Nap Finnaker and I, about two on Sunday 
morning, stroll out of the brilliantly lighted rooms on 
our way to our boarding-house. 

On our walk home, probably some recollection of 
Mrs. Bream's invitation turns my mind to my shadowy 
fiancee. How will iNIiss Eva Vernon Ashley regard my 
vindictive Unionism } Perhaps this may give the girl 
an opportunity she may have been longing for, an ex- 
cuse to break off the slight bond that connects us, and 
leave me free — free to follow the girl in the gray riding- 



Il6 BILLY HAMILTON. 

habit. Pshaw ! what good will that do me ? Is not 
the girl in the gray riding-habit the sweetheart of a 
Confederate trooper? As we stride along, I ask a few 
questions of Mr. Finnaker. 

"You're as much au /ait w'lih society as y©u are with 
the War Department } " 

" Well, rather, my boy ! " 

"You're an intimate friend of Mrs. Senator Rufus J. 
Bream .? " 

" You bet ! Why do you ask .? " 

"I have an invitation from that lady for a dance at 
her house next Wednesday." 

"Yes. My mention of your name probably got it 
for you, my boy. I was telling her last night of your 
provost-marshal adventure," is the confident answer. 

"You remember a ball Mrs. Bream gave some two 
or three weeks since.'" 

"Well, I should ejaculate!" His deep voice is 
strident will pride. "What I don't know about that 
ball isn't worth knowing ! " 

' ' Do you recollect meeting there a young lady, Miss 
Eva Ashley .? " 

"Eva Ashley, the belle of the army? Tra la la la! 
I danced with her two or three times ! " and little Fin- 
naker skips about humming the latest waltz ; then goes 
on : "1 tell you what, my cavalry buck ! she'd suit 
you ! Miss Eva is as pretty as a new Government 
ten-thousand-dollar bond, and as good a Unionist as 
the Goddess of Liberty on it ! " 

"As good a — a Unionist ? " I stammer. 

"Well, rather! She's Mrs. Rufus J. Bream's niece! 
When she first came to Washington a few months ago, 
Miss Pocahontas — she comes from Virginia you know 
— was inclined to be a leetle offish to shoulder-straps, 
but we boys in blue soon brought her up. Besides, 
living in his family, who could resist the inspired elo- 
quence of our great war orator, the Senator himself? 
Bream's voice is almost as good a one as mine. Miss 
Eva is now the belle of the Quartermaster's Depart- 
ment." 

"Ah, and flirts with every brigadier of you, I pre- 
sume ! " I mutter rather savagely. What dog, even if 
he doesn't want the bone, but objects to any other cur 
having: it ! 



BILLY HAMILTON. II7 

"Well ! Hm— that is— hm— hm— a little. She's al- 
ways so excited about our army movements, you 
know. Lord ! any time, I will talk army to her, I 
can get half an hour's tete-a-tete. She is so inter- 
ested in co?i/e?np/a/ed movements, the disposition of our 
army corps and plans of our generals, don't you see. 
In a few days I have promised to take her through 
our Quartermaster-General's Department and let her 
see its inner workings. Mrs. Bream will act as her 
chaperone." 

But I make no answer to these remarks ; I am too 
astonished by them ! That Miss Eva Ashley, the 
daughter of an old Virginia house, connected with half 
the leading families across the Potomac, should have 
become a dyed-in-the-wool Unionist astounds me. 

Finally, I conclude philosophically, if I am a Union 
officer why shouldn't she be a loyal girl ? Then mutter 
disconsolately: "Egad! My Baltimore provost-mar- 
shalship may make her even more faithful to the vows 
of her early youth than before. By the Lord Harry, 
at Mrs. Bream's dance I'll see this army belle and — and 
settle my matter with her ! " 

With this rather grim reflection, I turn in and go to 
sleep, even amid the all-night bustle of this war-time 
capital, for several new batteries of light artillery, ap- 
parently ordered to reinforce the army, are rumbling 
through the streets on their way to the Long Bridge to 
cross into Virginia. 



CHAPTER XL 

MR. ARAGO'S TREASURY GIRL. 

On Sunday, arising late in the day, I spend most of 
my time in unpacking my baggage and arranging for 
a prolonged stay in Washington, engaging for this 
purpose a little private parlor in addition to my bed- 
room. 

This done, I stroll to Willard's, to find the town ex- 
cited over the news of McClellan's removal from com- 
mand, such reports coming of the rage and anguish 
of his army at being deprived of their beloved chief as 



Il8 BILLY HAMILTON. 

make a good many high in authority, in Washington 
this day, bear very white and anxious faces. 

Early on Monday morning, however, I discover I 
have an affair on my hands that for the moment drives 
all else out of my thoughts. 

Coming down to a languid and late breakfast, I find 
on my plate several letters, bearing the Baltimore post- 
mark. 

Noting these, little Finnaker, whose eyes seem every- 
where, forgets his omelette and coffee, and remarks 
joyously yet jeeringly: "Good news from home, eh.''" 
and rubs his hands gleefully. "Papa sends his bless- 
ing and the young ladies their kindest wishes to the 
Union Provost-Marshal, eh?" 

But I am too busy over my correspondence to break 
his cursed head, which is my first inipulse. 

As I read, I discover a crisis has come in my family, 
and that Arthur Vermilye and Birdie Hamilton will 
very shortly elope. 

In the afternoon, trying to get out of my head this 
matter, in which I can do no good by personal inter- 
ference, and may do much harm, I saunter down to 
see Lieutenant Harrod, of my troop. This young 
officer, during his parole, is employed as Under-Quarter- 
master in the great Government Storehouse on twenty- 
second and G Streets. 

As I pass the office of the War Deparment, I can't 
help wondering what curious mission Mr. Secretary 
Stanton intends to employ me upon. Somehow I grow 
eager to discover it. 

A moment later, passing Malloy's Generals' Bar-Room 
at the corner, I observe Mr. Henri Arago saunter out 
of the cigar store just beyond it. This place has been 
pointed out to me as frequented by secession-sym- 
pathizers, probably on account of its immediate prox- 
imity to Mulloy's bar-room ; its hangers-on hoping to 
pick up stray bits of military information from the con- 
vivial chat of Union officers over their whisky, most 
of which will drift across the Potomac by underground 
mail-routes to Lee and other Southern generals. 

Mr. Arago has apparently been in the place buying 
a cigar, for he is lighting one as he comes out. As he 
encounters me, he seems to give a start of annoyance, 
though a moment after his face becomes cordial. 



BILLY HAMILTON. II9 

With effusive greeting he offers me a Havana from 
his case, remarking: "Captain Hamilton, these are 
the finest Bouquets Especiales in Washington. Permit 
me to give you a local hint ; if you want a good cigar, 
Bermudas in there will sell it you, especially if you 
mention my name. I don't give this information to 
many people, otherwise the thieving Don would raise 
the price on me." 

Accepting and lighting up, I find the cigar a mag- 
nificent one. 

"You passed a very pleasant Sunday, I hope, Mr. 
Arago," I say carelessly. 

" Yes ; but a curious one for me. I went to church 
in the evening." 

" I presume you had an attraction .? " 

"Well, yes ; I escorted Mrs. Senator Bream and her 
niece." 

"Ah, Miss Ashley ! I believe, is very pretty ! " I re- 
mark. 

At my words, for one moment, a peculiar startled 
and agitated look flies over Arago's sensitive Creole 
features. Then suddenly his eyes glow, with the 
light, I think, of passion. 

" Miss Ashley is very beau-ti-ful," he says softly and 
lingeringly, as a ring of blue vapor floats out from his 
rather sensuous lips; "but au revoir. I am behhid 
my time already at the Quartermaster-General's," and 
suddenly bidding me good-bye, he hastily crosses the 
street to take his place, I presume, at his desk in the 
Government office. 

I carelessly wonder if Arago is smitten by the charms 
of Miss Ashley ; for several passing expressions I have 
caught from other officers and gentlemen in the last 
day or two have conveyed to me the idea that my 
^\xi?X\VQ fiancee is very popular in Washington society. 

A few minutes afterward I turn off the avenue, and 
going down Twenty-second Street make my way 
through long trains of army wagons, even now loading 
with supplies for the front, many of them driven by 
half-drunken teamsters, and approach the Quartermas- 
ter's immense storehouses. 

In this vicinity I am impressed by two things : first, 
the generous provision of the Government for the wants 
of its great army ; second, the enormous preparations 



120 BILLY HAMILTON. 

to despoil, of both virtue and money, the eight thou- 
sand attaches, clerks, laborers and enlisted men that 
toil in this Government hive, in surrounding debauch- 
ery, prepared for them in the numerous low haunts 
of drink and women that are entrenched about Uncle 
Sam's depot ; two sides of a great square being one 
mass of the lowest kind of army groggeries and camp 
women's houses.* 

In the Depot Quartermaster's office I am heartily 
greeted by my first lieutenant. Campaigning together 
has made us strong friends. In answer to my inqui- 
ries, Harrod informs me that Cartwright, the Junior 
Lieutenant of the troop, has a desk in the Quarter- 
master General's main offices during his parole ; that 
most of the members of the troop until exchanged are 
being employed on various duties in the great army 
depots of Washington, and that Sergeant Lommox, who 
had escaped with despatches from me the night I had 
been captured, is now acting as mounted orderly at the 
Quartermaster-General's office. 

With most of this I am already acquainted, as the 
powers that be have already informed me that they 
wish to keep my troop intact until exchanged ; then 
add it in a body to our regiment, which is now at the 
front, minus Troop A. 

Even while they are talking, among the various 
orderlies arriving with the numerous requisitions for 
supplies, Lommox comes riding up, and pullmg from 
his waist-belt an order from the Quartermaster-General, 
goes in with it to the Depot-Quartermaster. 

Two minutes afterward the gallant Irishman joins 
me and Harrod, and saluting, says: "Begorra! 
Happy I am to see you alive, Cap, though I had a 
close shave of it meself after I left the little bridge. 
A hull Rebel regiment let loose on me an' I had to 
jump the fences and take to the fields. Musha, I think 
I must have flanked a hull brigade of Rebs. When I 
saw their force I gave you and the rest of the boys up 
for lost." 

* Near Twenty-second and G Streets, Headquarters of the Depot 
Quartermaster, two sides of an entire square were occupied by tiie 
lowest groggeries, wlierein at all hours of the night could be seen the 
common soldier, the teamster and the mechanic. — Lafayette C. 
Baker's Secret Service. — Ed. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 121 

"Well, we were captured while you escaped," I 
remark. 

"Sure, an' it's little good that did me. I'd jist as 
well be paroled as the rest of yez. Instead of riding 
down Rebels, I am only using a fine charger to gallop 
up and down F Strate with requisitions for supplies 
and transportation, whin, after Antietam, I hoped to 
be fighting under Little Mac. But divil a chance I'll 
get now, they've — they've cut poor Mac's head off." 
And tears came in the honest trooper's eyes. 

" Well, we'll be exchanged soon," says Harrod 
cheerily. 

"That's what I am hoping," remarks Lommox. 
"for it comes hard on to me to take orders from little 
upshtart Government clerks who have never raised 
sabre or pulled trigger, and I could baste the life out of 
'em with one little hand." He extends an enormous paw 
and goes on savagely, " Ther's that little Napoleon 
Finniky ! Some day when he puts on style wid me, 
I'll be knocking his head against the side of the War 
Office ! " 

"For God's sake, don't do that ! " I say, laughing. 
"There's the guard-house here as well as a guard-tent 
at the front." 

' ' Divil take me ! Don't I know that as well as any 
of yez ? Begorra, it's always full here ! " remarks the 
Sergeant, as, with a grin, he mounts his horse and gal- 
lops on his way to headquarters. 

A few minutes after, Harrod getting leave of absence, 
anxious to get away from the interminable din of this 
Government beehive, we stroll out from it, and saunter 
down towards the Potomac through the great piles of 
lumber, pontoons, rigging and marine army stores, 
which have been accumulated for Government use. 

"I imagine we'll be sending a lot of these to the 
front soon," remarks Harrod, tapping one of the pon- 
toons. 

"Indeed ! Why ?" I ask carelessly. 

" There's a rumor somehow got round here that the 
army under Burnside is going to Richmond by way of 
Fredericksburg. " 

But I pay little heed to this, as we very shortly get to 
discussing the various members of my troop, whether 
they can all be got together in a hurry, for both of us 



122 BILLY HAMILTON. 

have a latent hope of quick exchange and active work 
at the front. I ask individually after the members of 
my command, for an officer who does not take a per- 
sonal interest in his men will never get efficient service 
out of them. Finally, I leave Harrod, after inviting 
him to join me and Cartwright, our Junior Lieutenant, 
at a supper at Wormley's the next evening. 

With this idea in my mind, I return to the Quarter- 
master-General's, to find Cartwright at work at a Gov- 
ernment desk. In answer to my inquiry as to how he 
likes clerking, my young fighting lieutenant smiles 
grimly and dashes his pen away. " By Kentucky Tom- 
cats," he snarls, " I feel like a rooster with his head cut 
off. What's a fellow good for Muthout a sword in his 
hand now.? Do you reckon that dandy Cock-a-doodle 
would do much towards helping us lick Jeff Davis ? " 
and he points to little Finnaker who is pushing his way 
to me and calling out : " How are you, Provost-Mar- 
shal?" Then Cartwright asks eagerly about our 
chances of early exchange, and accepts my invitation 
to meet Harrod and myself the next evening. 

It is growing dark as I leave the Quartermaster- 
General's Office and go to Wormley's to make my 
arrangement for a convival evening with my two sub- 
alterns. Finding I am late for supper at IMrs. Lorimer's, 
I remain in the restaurant and dine there, and coming 
out from this, it being now dusk, receive an extraordi- 
nary surprise. 

I have turned from Pennsylvania Avenue and am 
walking on one of the more quiet streets. Striding 
rapidly along, I overtake a lady and gentleman walk- 
ing in front of me. The gloom prevents my noticing 
anything except that the lady is very graceful, and the 
man apparently young and vigorous. Evidently too 
interested in their conversation, for they are speaking 
very earnestly together, to notice anybody else, their 
ears do not catch my overtaking footsteps. 

Hesitating to jostle them, as the sidewalk is narrow, 
I turn out and cross the street. As I do so, a few 
words in a familiar voice catch my ear. They are : 
"Make sure I will give the despatch to Lommox. " 
The name of my old sergeant attracts my attention. 
The voice is that of ]\Ir. Arago of the Quartermaster- 
General's Office. 



HILLY HAMILTON. I23 

Arrived on the opposite sidewalk, I happen to glance 
at them again. They are just passing under the gas- 
light. 

My heart gives a jump. The lady he is speaking to, 
as well as I can discern by the flickering light, is my ex- 
captive of the Potomac. For a moment I stand uncer- 
tain. Then 1 am sure ! Have I not seen that bright face 
and those blue eyes lighted up dimly by camp-fire on the 
Potomac ; by coal-oil lamp in the hotel at Frederick.? 
After a moment's consideration, I make a step or two 
to overtake her, to greet her, but they have passed on 
into the gloom. The rencontre might embarrass her. 

I go to my boarding-house wondering what the 
deuce she is doing here in Washington ? How is it 
she's talking to ^Ir. Arago of the Quartermaster- 
General's Office ? Why has he mentioned to her the 
name of my sergeant ? Anyway, I can now discover 
her name. Arago will at least be able to tell me that. 

I go to Willard's, that evening, but he is not there, 
then later to Chamberlin's. Here Mr. Arago is losing 
some of the booty of his cotton ventures in Louisiana, 
for he seems to be in a very bad humor. It is rather 
difficult to get much opportunity for conversation with 
a man deep in the mysteries of practical Faro. 
Besides, in the heterogeneous crowd of even the best 
Washington gambling-house, any mention of a lady's 
name would be almost an insult to her. 

However, curiosity drags me on, and, waiting im- 
patiently, when Mr. Arago ceases play for a few 
minutes and seats himself at the magnificent supper- 
table, where a feast fit for Lucullus is served to the 
votaries of chance each night, I contrive to occupy the 
chair next him. 

Over our meal, I incidentally remark : "That was a 
very pretty girl I saw on your arm this evening." 

For a moment he looks at me surprised, and returns 
uneasily : "I only remember meeting you this morn- 
ing. Captain Hamilton." 

"No, it was too dark, and you were too interested 
to see me," I whisper laughingly. "It was on the 
corner of Thirteenth and E Streets." 

For half a second his moustache twitches ; then he 
mutters : "You saw her face.? " 

"Only sufficiently to know that she is beautiful." 



124 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"Ah, yes! diahle ! I remember now, " he laughs; 
then sneers, showing his white teeth: "Most of the 
young ladies in Clark's Printing Department of the 
Treasury are pretty — very pretty." 

A suggestive laugh that comes up from one or two 
near-by gamesters, who are discussing their terrapin 
and canvas-backs, at the name of Clark's Printing De- 
partment young ladies, closes my lips, for at this time 
there are some curious and horrible rumors floating 
about Washington in regard to the ladies of that par- 
ticular department of the Treasury. Many an innocent 
girl being unjustly judged for the light conduct of her 
sisters in office.* 

With a shudder, I think : "Can it be possible .? Can 
she be — .? " But here something comes into my heart 
that tells me that either I have not seen my lovely ex- 
captive of the Potomac in his company, or that Henri 
Dubois Arago is an infernal cur and liar ! " 

If the first, all right ! 

If the second, I will shove his cursed insinuation 
down his throat at the first convenient opportunity. 

But going home, just the same I have an unpleasant 
night of it. 

* The minority report presented in Congress, in 1864, presents the 
following picture of the immoralities which prevailed in the Treasury 
Department at that time : 

" These affidavits disclose a mass of immorality and profligacy, 
the more atrocious as these women were employees of Clark, hired 
and paid by him with the pubhc money. These women seem to have 
been selected, in the Printing Bureau, for their youth and personal 
attractions. Neither the laws of God, nor of man, the institution of 
the Sabbath nor common decencies of life seem to have been 
respected by Clark in his conduct with these women. A Treasury 
Bureau — there, where is printed the money — representative, or ex- 
pressive of all the property and of all the industry of the country, — 
there, where the wages of labor are more or less regulated, and upon 
the faith and good conduct of which depends, more or less, every 
man's prosperity — is converted into a place for debauchery and 
drinking, the very recital of which is impossible without violating 
decency. Letters go thence, to clothe females in male attire to visit 
tlie ' Canterbury ' (a notorious dance-hall). Assignations are 
made from thence." Sights atid Secrets of the A'ational Capital, bv 
Dr. John B. Ellis. 

This report was supported by numerous affidavits. — Ed. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 12$ 



CHAPTER XII. 

baker's secret service. 



The next day, filled with a desire to be sure in the 
matter of the girl I saw with Arago, I use the acquaint- 
ance of a Treasury official whom I know slightly, and 
under his auspices visit that department, paying par- 
ticular attention to Mr. Clark's Printing Bureau young 
ladies, and though I discover many lovely faces and 
graceful figures in the Treasury building, none of them 
are the beautiful face and exquisite form for which I 
am looking. To be as certain as possible I spend 
the day with this gentleman, taking him to lunch with 
me at Willard's, and contriving to drop with him into 
the Bureau several times, and by the evening have 
made up my mind that it is practically impossible 
that the young lady in the gray riding habit, M'ith 
whom I spent those pleasant two hours at Frederick, 
is one of the employees of Uncle Sam's Printing 
Bureau. Ergo, Henri Dubois Arago is a liar, but after 
a little consideration I conclude the present is not the 
time to shove his lie down his throat. 

Concluding my investigation, I find it is the hour of 
my appointment with my two lieutenants at Wormley's. 
In that well-known restaurant, we three ex-warriors, 
whose sword arms have been cut off by our parole, 
fight our battles of the Tennessee campaign over again. 
Our closing toast is : " INIay we soon get to the front." 

The next morning I receive an envelope, the con- 
tents of which give me a start. Coming direct from 
the War Department, it directs me to report to Lafayette 
C. Baker, head of the United States Secret Service, at 
his office forthwith. With this comes into my mind a 
presentiment of the duty expected of me. 

Less than an hour afterwards I enter that place of 
mouchards, which at that time was generally despised 
by military men for its arrogant authority and frequent 
violation of constitutional liberty and the rights of the 
citizen, even in extreme Northern states far removed 



126 BILLY HAMILTON. 

from actual war. There, closeted with the head of the 
spy bureau and general dirty-work department of the 
Secret Service I find to my disgust that I have too 
truly guessed the mission for which they want me. 

After congratulating me upon the staunch Unionism 
I have shown as provost-marshal of Baltimore, that 
official, I believe his rank was Major, goes on rapidly : 
" Captain Hamilton ! You arrested a girl at the 
crossing of the Potomac on September 4th, the night 
you and your command were captured by Stonewall 
Jackson." 

"Yes, sir," I answer. 

"That young woman was brought to the hotel at 
Frederick with you ? " 

"Certainly ! We were both held as prisoners by the 
Confederates. " 

' ' Two of my detectives, Joe Shook and Rod Gibbon, 
reported to me afterwards that they had reason to think 
that girl was a rebel spy whom they were in pursuit of 
that very night. Do you know the woman's name ? " 

" I do not," I answer. "As my captive she refused 
to give it to me. " 

*'Ah !" 

"She also declined to disclose it to the Confederate 
officer who had charge of us both after I was captured 
by the Rebels," I add. 

"Humph! That's a little curious!" mutters my 
inquisitor. 

"It would be!" I reply. "But I have reason to 
believe that she was travelling with the intention of 
visiting her sweetheart, some officer of Jeb Stuart's, 
and I presume didn't care for army gossip to make too 
free with her name." 

" Shucks ! What reason did she give you for wish- 
ing to cross to the Virginia side .? " 

"She said she was going to visit her aunt and 
mother in Leesburg." 

" You must have seen her in Frederick, she stopped 
at the same hotel. Give me a description of her. 

I don't like his blunt manner. He is addressing me 
very much as he would one of his own spies ; but I 
answer giving him promptly the same false description 
of the young lady as I gave his emissaries, Shook and 
Gibbon. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



127 



"Curse it! A brunette ! " he mutters, a disappointed 
look in his face; then asks eagerly: "You would 
know her again ? " 

" Certainly ! " 

"Well! I'll be candid with you," he says. "For 
months we had have reason to believe that in some 
mighty smart way mside-secrets of the War Depart- 
ment have been conveyed to the Confederate leaders. 
Now, there are some pretty big difficulties in doing this 
thing, I flatter myself First, it's mighty diflicult to get 
the secrets of the War Department, and second, its 
rather hard to get them out of Washington ; but some- 
body who hasn't cared very much for their neck has 
been doing it, and we think this girl is about the 
brightest, cutest, tarnationest, smartest critter on earth, 
and has had something to do with it. We're sur- 
rounded here by any quantity of half-way Rebel spies. 
A good portion of the locals of this town are secesh. 
Half the market-men that travel in with produce from 
the surrounding country try to take out information 
with them, and so on from that up. The wives of a 
few of the Union officers we can't trust ; they are 
Southerners.* 

"But this makes little difference to us. It is g-e?t- 
gr<7/ information, and Stonewall Jackson and Lee can 
guess at it pretty near as accurately as it is given to 
them, but the information that has been sent across 
the Potomac by means of the person I am speaking of 
has been inside vital points and contemplated move- 
ments that have been very valuable to the Rebel gen- 
erals. If she isn't the party, we don't want her ; but 
if she is — ! " he snaps his great jaws together and 
looks the unutterable ! 

"I don't think she can be the one you want, "I reply. 

* In Richmond, after its capture and occupation by the Federal 
troops, accurate tracing-drawings of all the forts and fortifications 
about Washington, taken from the absolute military maps of same 
made by the Federal engineers, were found among the Rebel docu- 
ments. They were supposed to have been made by the wife of a 
prominent U. S. engineer officer, taken secretly in his private office at 
dead of night, and transmitted out of Washington by means of her 
brother. This lady was a noted secessionist, though her husband 
was one of the staunchest Federal officers that helped Uncle Sam 
put down the Rebellion. — Ed, 



t2S BILLY HAMILTON, 

" The young lady herself acknowledged to me that she 
had been saucy to Stonewall Jackson. *' 

' ' For what reason ? " 

"Well, for holding her a prisoner in Frederick, and 
not permitting her to go and see her aunt and her 
mother. She was afterwards sent South under guard, 
it was creditably reported to me, suspected of being a 
Union spy." 

"Who told you that?" 

" An officer of Stuart's command." 

" Cock-a-doodle ! of course they'd say anything to 
save their emissary." Then the head of the Detective 
Bureau goes on with a grim smile : 

"Some of these things don't go very well together, 
young man ! Virginia girls are not in the habit oi being 
saucy to Stonewall Jackson, and if she was in love with 
the Confederate officer, the chances are she is a thunder- 
ing big Rebel anyway. At all events, we have a sus- 
picion that some one moving in the very highest so- 
ciety here, by means of personal influence, or some 
other damnable art, gets hold of War Office secrets and 
sends them across the Potomac, and whether it is man 
or woman we intend to have 'em. Now what I want 
you to do is to look about Washington society — your 
old blue-blood Baltimore family will give you entre'e 
to all kinds of society here, both Union and Rebel. 
You're thundering good-looking. Hang it, I think 
a good many gals 'd look sweet on a cavalry fellow 
like you!" he mutters with a chuckle. "And if you 
see this young lady — I notice you speak of her as a 
young lady of birth, education and breeding." 

" I do ! " I reply, "of the highest." 

"Well, if you see her make a leetle love to her — a 
few conservatory flirtations ; arm around the waist, 
head on shoulder, fountain playing softly, band music 
coming faintly — you young army chaps understand," 
he chuckled in grim suggestiveness, " and — and tell 
me what you find out from her. Girls in sentimental 
moments sometimes let the cat out of the bag, even 
the cutest of 'em show a bit of its tail ! " 

This cold-blooded proposition to me that I should 
obtain a young lady's confidence, perhaps even win 
her affections, in order to turn her over to his brutal 
hands and stern military punishment, makes my blood 



BILLY HAMILTON. I29 

fly into my face. I am about to answer hotly, indig- 
nantly. Suddenly 1 become cool as ice ; I think oiher f 
The art of a diplomatist comes into me. I reply : "I 
understand perfectly. If I meet the young lady I will 
report to you everything I can discover about her." 

"Very well ! go to work at once. There is a party 
at Mrs. Rufus J. Bream's this evening. Would you 
lilce me to get you an invite from the Senator? He is 
with us body and soul." 

" I have one already," I respond. 

"Very well, then! Good-bye; I've got a heap of 
business to take care of, young man ! — half a dozen 
bounty-jumpers, three or four deserters, two or three 
Potomac mail-route chaps, and an English officer 
who has been trying to get over the river to join Lee's 
army in Virginia, to attend to this morning. Good-bye, 
let me know all that you can discover, and quickly ! '' 

But as I am leaving, he steps up to me and whispers : 

"Efficiency in this matter won't hurt your promo- 
tion in the army ! " 

Getting out of his office I walk down the street, and 
going to one of the squares, take a breath of purer air. 
The ineffable insult of asking me, an army officer, to 
be a spy upon a young and lovely girl ! For a quarter 
of an hour I have thoughts of throwing up my com- 
mission. 

Suddenly I mutter : " Resign .? Never ! You have 
made me a spy. Damn you, I will be a spy, not to aid 
you but to defeat you : not to destroy her, but to save 
her ! " 

The thought of a pair of blue eyes, and the recol- 
lection of the soft brown hair and pretty hand of the 
girl as she played with Roderick's mane that day in 
Frederick, the sun shining on her and outlining her ex- 
quisite figure in its natty gray riding-habit, comes back 
to me, and somehow I determine, even if it carries 
with it disgrace, perhaps ruin to me, to stand between 
that charming personality, whether she's another 
man's sweetheart or my own, and try to save her 
from the web being drawn about her pretty self that 
is dangerous to her liberty, perhaps even to her life. 

My first step in this matter must evidently be to find 
her. My most direct means of communicating with 
her, if my suspicious are true, is through Arago. He has 



130 BILLY HAMILTON. 

evidently lied to me in regard to her being one of the 
Treasury courtesans. Was this intended as a slur 
upon her, I meditate ? 

Suddenly it comes to me : " No ! it was to prevent 
my making further inquiry about her. Arago doesnt 
wish attention attracted to whatever relations he may 
bear to this young lady." 

I determine to investigate this. Somehow a detec- 
tive feeling is getting into my veins. 

Two hours afterward, at Willard's, I have the chance 
of making my test, though it compels me to open my 
hand quite freely to Mr. Henri Dubois Arago, of the 
Quartermaster General's office. 

That gentleman and young Mr. Finnaker are play- 
ing a game of billiards with disastrous results to little 
Nap, for Arago has a facile Creole touch with his cue 
that produces many French caroms, but as usual, young 
Napoleon is trying to bluff things through. They are 
gambling on the game, Finnaker betting high that 
Arago will miss his shot, thinking to test that gentle- 
man's nerve, and losing his money doing it. 

I stroll up to their table, and indulge in general bil- 
liard-table conversation, making side-bets myself on 
some shots. 

Soon little Napoleon, whose losses have made him 
desperate, offers to wager a twenty dollar bill that 
Arago cannot make his next point. The carom is one 
of considerable difficulty, but easily within the Creole's 
powers. I have seen him on the previous afternoon 
make similar ones, accurately and certainly. 

"You will lose your money," I laugh, but as I speak 
I see the chance of testing the Creole's interest in the 
young lady about whom he has lied to me. As he is 
preparing for the effort, little Finnaker fortunately gives 
me the opportunity. 

" By-the-bye, Hamilton, where have you been all 
day ? " he cries, rubbing his hands and looking at me. 
" You've missed it ! You might have come in and bet 
against Henri before." 

"Oh! I had some personal business with Baker's 
Secret Service office." 

' ' Ah ! look out for them, my boy ! " laughs little Nap, 
chalking his cue. " But then you are on the inside 1 " 

"Yes 1 ver^f much on the inside." 



BILLY HAMILTON. 131 

"Your Provost-Marshal business, I presume," re- 
marks Arago, looking up from his cue ball. 

"No," 1 answer. " I was so fortunate as to capture 
a very pretty girl on the Maryland bank of the Poto- 
mac one night. They wish me to hunt her up and 
tell them if I see her in Washington society ! " 

I time this speech to strike Arago just as he attempts 
the shot. 

At my words a slight but convulsive twitch in his 
arm makes his billiard essay a fiasco. 

" By Jove, your twenty is mine ! " laughs Finnaker. 
' ' Here, take it ! " mutters the Creole, in a half-startled 
half-dazed tone. Then looking at me, he partly opens 
his lips as if about to speak, but suddenly turns to the 
billiard table and continues the game ; though from 
now on I note his skill seems to have left him, and 
little Nap Finnaker ends the contest in triumph. 

" Vou've a very good nerve, Mr. Arago ! " I cogitate 
glumly, "but I gave your ganglions a little pinch 
that surprised them." 

On my way home to Mrs. Lorimer's I meditate on 
this matter. Even as I dress for Mrs. Bream's thoughts 
ofmeetingmyputative>7;zc^g—I\Iiss Ashley— for reports 
of her beauty, loveliness, chic and general fascination 
have come to me from so many lips that I can't help 
having a latent curiosity about her— do not drive Arago 
and the fleeting vision I saw under the gas-light in 
Thirteenth and E Streets from my head. 

My reasoning upon this subject brings to me the 
following startling conclusions : First, Arago must 
have reasons for wishing his relations to the young 
lady— whatever they are— to be private and unob- 
served. Hence his enormous lie about her being one 
of the Treasury beauties. 

To this is now added my suspicion that he is aware 
of the young lady being my captive of that night on 
the Potomac— otherwise, why did my remarks about 
her and Baker's Secret Service so jar his nerves, that 
from being an expert with the cue, he became in one 
second the veriest amateur. She must have told him 
of that meeting. 

To this suddenly comes with an awful, dismaying 
bang into my brain— :\Iy God, if Baker's suspicious are 
true •' 



132 BILLY HAMILTON. 



CHAPTER XIII. ^ 

MRS. SENATOR BREAM's DANCE. 

But my meditations on the unknown girl are here 
broken in upon. Little Finnaker comes striding into 
my parlor, in his militia uniform. This is a Turko- 
Zouave dress, of Oriental ferocity. 

" I have a question or two 1 want to ask you, my 
son of Mars," he says, trying to bring his enormous 
voice down to a whisper. " But this must be private ! " 

"Certainly." 

" I know I can trust you ; your intense loyalty shows 
me that ■' So I want a hint from you. Though you're 
in the cavalrv, I presume you studied engineering at ^ 
West Point?" 

" I did, till my head ached ! " I laugh. 

"Now, this is very dark ! " he steps up to me, and 
speaks in my ear, his deep voice miaking my tympanum 
ring: " Orders came from the front to-day to prepare 
a pontoon train with eighty pontoons and two thousand 
feet of wooden bridge, with extra anchors and lashings, 
and forward it to Aquia Creek. Arago sent the requi- 
sition down to the Depot-quartermaster, special order 
14 10, by that cursed insolent Irish orderly Lommox, 
not two hours ago. As a military engineer, what does 
it mean ? " 

I glance at an elaborate map of Virginia that I have 
hung on the wall of my parlor, for convenience in fol- 
lowing the movements of the army. After a minute or 
two's inspection of this, I reply sharply : " Fredericks- 
burg ! " 

"Ah, you think it means a pontoon bridge to cross 
the Rappahannock at that point.?" 

"No," I reply. "I think it means two, perhaps 
three, pontoon bridges — for Burnside's army to cross 
at Fredericksburg. If you've reported your orders cor- 
rectly to me, I should judge that is the route the new 
commander of the army intends to take to Rich- 
mond." 



felLLY HAMILTOfJ. I33 

" You bet ! What do you think of it ? " asks Finna- 
ker eagerly. 

" Humph ! If he gets over before Lee can entrench 
himself back of the city," I remark, "it might not be a 
bad plan." 

"Well, I think Ambrose understands that; for the 
orders have come to expedite getting together that 
pontoon train and start it as fast as possible. We sent the 
requisition off like a shot ; that insolent beast Lommox 
was back in five or six minutes, though I think his horse 
must have thrown him, he was dusty as a badger when 
he reported back. Now, you must take your oath not 
to whisper this to anybody!" he adds warily. "I 
tell too many things now. Some day I may get into 
trouble over them." 

"Some day you may!" I think grimly; but not 
wishing to cut off my inside information, I do not voice 
this. 

While we have been talking, I have finished a 
most elaborate, and I hope effective, military toilet, 
for — shall I confess it? — the benefit of Miss Eva Ash- 
ley. What man does not wish to look his best in the 
eyes of a beautiful and fascinating girl to whom he 
has been a childhood sweetheart — at the first meeting 
after mutual maturity.'' Whether he wants her love or 
not — no matter how attenuated Cupid's ribbon that 
once joined them has grown — he wishes the little girl 
to see that her boy beau, in manhood has not deterio- 
rated. 

So with my heart beating at the thought of meeting 
for the first time in seven years my putative _^ancee, 
and rather wondering what will be the precise nature 
of her greeting — whether she has not practically for- 
gotten me — but still with my heart fluttering slightly 
about the affair, accompanied by Finnaker, I step over 
to Mrs. Bream's old-fashioned but handsome residence 
on the north of Lafayette Square. 

The distance is a short one, the night pleasant ; 
though even as we arrive, quite a string of carriages 
are putting down various ladies and gentlemen at the 
wide-open, hospitable portals. Most of the gentlemen, 
from clanking sabres under their cloaks, and spurs 
flashing in the gaslight, I discover are in uniform. 

"Yes; it's going to be quite a military affair," re- 



134 BILLY HAMILTON. 

marks little Napoleon to me. " We let in a few Con- 
gressmen ; some foreign attaches wander in ; but this 
evening it's mostly the ' boys in blue ' and the girls 
who love 'em. It is one of four that Mrs. Bream's 
going to give ; not big crushes like her grand ball, but 
jolly, happy frolics, where every one knows everybody 
else — and the prettiest girls in Washington to dance 
with, flirt with, and make 'em love you." 

Most of this is whispered while we are divesting 
ourselves of our outer wrappings in the gentlemen's 
dressing-room. Around us I note, among lots of blue 
uniforms, a few dress coats, worn mostly by foreign 
legation attaches ; beside me is Senor Rafael Ortegas, 
the Spanish first-secretary, also Rupert Schuyler and 
JackTotten, old West Point friends ; General Broughton 
of the Engineers reminds me he is also near me, by 
doing me the honor of treading on my toes. 

I deliver my cavalry cloak and helmet to the inevi- 
table attendant darky of all Washington residences, 
though little' Napoleon refuses to surrender his Turko 
headgear to that fimctionary, probably thinking that it 
gives him greater martial ferocity. 

"All of us boys from the front ! " remarks Napoleon, 
who seems to know everybody, looking round at 
several officers, on temporary leave from the Army of 
the Potomac — "to-morrow we go out and get at the 
Rebs again — don't we, comrades ? " 

"By Jove! how I sympathize with your martial 
ardor, Mr. Finnaker," laughs young Totten of the in- 
fantry. "Penned up here, with never a chance to 
shed your blood." 

" Yes, it is sad ! " cries Napoleon unabashed. 
"Though I'll bet I have had more horses shot under 
me than any man present ! And at First Bull Run — 
damn me ! — acting as a volunteer-aide, I was wounded ! 
If you don't believe me ask Colonel Cameron of the 
79th New York ! But then he's dead, poor fellow — fell 
at my side and died in my arms ! Good God ! don't 
talk of it here ; it might frighten the girls." And the 
little liar brushes actual tears out of his ferocious eyes. 

Finnaker has told this story so often that it has bC' 
come a reality to him ; and so strongly was this fiction 
embedded in his mind that after the war he applied for 
a pension on it — by special legislation. 



BILLY HAMILTON. I35 

A moment later, I step downstairs to pay my re- 
spects to my hostess, followed by the little hero, who 
suggests : "The girls are waiting for us." 

1 had seen Mrs. Senator Bream several times when 
she visited West Point during my cadetship. At mid- 
summer hops I had had the honor of dancing with the 
wife of the distinguished Senator, who is as lovely, 
pleasant, and hospitable a young matron as ever forgot 
old husband, — though only for a moment — in the arms 
of a dashing lieutenant. For Lucy Bream was always 
the Bo7ia Dea of us cadets ; her happy face, her bright 
smile, had enlivened many a dress-parade for us, and 
made charming many a graduation hop. 

As I enter the fete, I observe that the double house 
is a roomy mansion, old-fashionedly spacious, with 
rather low ceilings. Its ample parlors are of sufficient 
extent to give dancing-room to a hundred couples. In 
the large hall, surrounded by potted plants, a portion 
of one of the bands of a garrison regiment is playing 
vigorously, as many dashing fellows are doing the 
detix temps, each one with a pretty partner, to the 
dreamy music of Godfrey's " Mabel " waltz, that is just 
now very popular. 

Elbowing my way discreetly between one or two 
surrounding wives of Senators and Congressmen, I 
find myself bowing over the fair hand of Lucy Bream. 

Thirty odd years have fallen lightly on her dimpled 
shoulders, her soft, brown Virginia eyes are as charm- 
ing and her voice is as sweet, as when, some twelve 
years before, she enchanted cadets as pretty Lucy 
Warrington. She is the youngest sister of Miss Ash- 
ley's mother. "The baby of the family," I have heard 
her called in the old time, before she married the rising 
Border-State politician who afterwards threw away his 
Democracy and became the great Republican war- 
horse. 

That political luminary is not in the room. 

Noting my glance, Mrs. Bream remarks : " I'm ex- 
ceedingly glad to learn that you've escaped from your 
secession relatives in Baltimore, Captain Hamilton. 
But you needn't expect the Senator until later ; at 
present he is occupied on committee business at the 
capitol. I never see him now until eleven o'clock." 
This last with a little sigh ; as she loves her old 



136 BILLY HAMILTON, 

spouse very tenderly — though perhaps not in a Juliet 
fashion. 

"And — and Miss Ashley?" I ask, gazing about 
curiously. 

"Oh, Eva vi^ill be down presently — she complained of 
a slight headache after dinner but finally went out 
for a walk and fresh air, this beautiful afternoon, and 
did not return till quite late." To this Mrs. Bream 
adds significantly, "You and Eve used to be quite 
friends in the old days ; " and asks me after my father 
and my sisters. 

"I don't know very much about them at present," 
I return glumly. 

"No, I presume not," she laughs suggestively ; then 
murmurs, with the tact of the hostess: "Ah, Mr. 
Finnaker — as usual here when the pretty girls come-''' 
and greets Miss Sallie Bridger, a dashing frontier 
amazon from the plains, and the Misses Alice and 
Laura Gushing of New York, metropolitan beauties, 
who are spending a month or two in Washington. 

I turn from my hostess and glance round the room 
at as pretty a war-time frolic as I have ever seen. 

For Mrs. Bream's party, though it has not all the 
redundant paraphernalia that have come to later Ameri- 
can social functions and its young ladies are not all 
decked in imported Parisian gowns, though the favors 
in its german will not be made of silver and gold and 
decked with jewels, has an informal jollity about it 
that is missing from so many of the more elaborate 
affairs of the next few decades. 

The girls all look as prttty and happy as wood- 
nymphs, though half of Ibcui have probably made 
their own simple dancing frocks ; but in them they 
are a merry lot of open-hearted, whole-souled dam- 
sels, many very beautiful, and all very well pleased 
with the gentlemen in attendance upon them, who are 
mostly of the younger and fighting blood of the army 
— dashing fellows on short leave from the front. 

For in those days it was flirting, dancing and loving 
one day, and shooting, fighting and dying, the next 1 
Some of the officers about me, even now, are giving 
their young eyes their hist earthly feast of beautiful 
women, though they do not know it ; and are making 
love as persistently to the pretty maidens in their way 



BILLY HAMILTON. 137 

as if they will live to be centenarians and die with 
four generations around their bedsides. 

Upon this scene I took philosophically. The strains 
of the " Mabel " waltz are floating in my ears. 

Mr. Finnaker is saying: " Miss Ashley, let me pre- 
sent my friend, the ex-Provost-Marshalof Baltimore and 
gallant Union officer. Captain Hamilton." 

Turning, I bow to a radiant mixture of arch smiles 
and blushing embarrassment, and murmur: "I have 
known Miss Ashley before." 

Suddenly the room seems to revolve around me 
with jiggling dancers ; the music seems to give a 
mashing crash upon my brain. I see standing before 
me, as piquantly lovely, as exquisitely beautiful as 
when she wore the gray riding-habit, my ex-captive of 
that Potomac night — my charmer of those two happy 
hours in Frederick. 

Cavalry officers don't faint. Therefore I do not reel 
and utter a smothered cry, but, chewing my moustache, 
look sheepishly at her as she sa/s — for women always 
have social presence of mind : — "No need of an intro- 
duction, Mr. Finnaker ; Captain Hamilton and I are — 
are old friends." Then she makes my heart beat with : 
"Billy, will you give me your arm and take me out on 
the veranda ? It — it's a little warm here, and as sub- 
hostess I have been dancing continuously." 

Remembering Mrs. Bream's remark I know the 
young lady has told a little fib — but it makes me very 
happy. 

"Yes ; very old friends," I contrive to mutter. 
"Though I've not seen you for several years." 

At my omission of the Frederick meeting she gives 
me a grateful glance. 

Again I notice Miss Ashley's tact. 

She says : " Captain Finnaker, you won't mind losing 
me for a few minutes. I'll give you a dance later in the 
evening — two of them, if you like" — and sends little 
Napoleon away very happy both for her dance and 
his military title. Then placing upon my arm a light 
hand, the touch of which thrills me from heart to 
brain, she almost whispers in my ear: "Thank you 
for not remembering too much." 

In a dazed way, I lead her through circling dancers, 
and happily get her to a window opening on the bal- 



138 BILLY HAMILTON. 

cony without accident to her light muslin skirts and 
lacy draperies. 

For she is all in white — diaphanous white. The only 
color about her — except her cheeks, which are roses 
and lilies by turns, with varying emotions — is a broad 
scarf of light pink satin or silk or some other glistening 
texture that girdles her fairy waist and floats off over 
the fluttering little flounces of her crinolined skirt to 
petite pink slippers that come peeping out from 
under it. 

The gown is very simple ; perhaps it has been made 
by her own pretty fingers. But — heavens and earth ! 
— what a magnificent pair of shoulders and arms 
spring out of it, superb in sculptured beauty, gleaming 
like ivory and white as driven snow. 

As I draw the curtains back for her to exit in ad- 
vance of me, I feel as if I could kiss every dimple in 
them. 

Glancing archly over her shoulder as she passes, out, 
perhaps the girl catches the spark of proprietorship in 
my eyes, as I am looking proudly at her and thinking 
' ' Afy fiancee ■' " for her fair cheeks grow redder even 
than they were before. The next instant the blushes 
leave her face, which grows deathly pale, her eyes blaze, 
her delicate nostrils expand in haughty coldness ; Miss 
Eva Ashley is no more the bashful maiden, but the 
self-possessed beauty of society. 

On the broad veranda, which fortunately is occupied 
by but few of the ladies and gentlemen of the fete, I 
silently place a chair for her in a retired nook and an- 
other for myself. 

A moment later she glances at me shyly, then 
laughs archly : "Why are you so glum .-* One would 
think meeting me after childhood's hours, was not 
pleasant to Sir Galahad. " 

To this I do not immediately reply ; I am gazing on 
all this loveliness surlily. For, curiously, just at this 
moment, the memory of the accursed kiss I heard on 
the Frederick hotel balcony, and the "Dear Charley ! " 
that brought misery to me as I sat in the gloom of the 
tavern garden, have made me tremendously jealous. 
" What right has she — v(\y fiancee" lam thinking, "to 
dare to let another man salute those lips that should 
be for me and me only .'' " 



BILLY HA^rILTON. 1^9 

Oh ! how constant I have suddenly become to our 
childhood's engagement. Into my mind has flown with 
alia Romeo's ardor, " She is my betrothed, and by the 
Eternal, she shall be no other man's ! " 

Still, as I look at her radiant beauty, softened by the 
subdued lights that stream from the curtained windows 
upon Miss Ashley, a sudden and unpleasant reflection 
intrudes itself upon me : " How will she wow regard the 
engagement made for us by papa and by mamma? " 

Evidences of this do not come to me immediately, 
as I seat myself beside her, for the young lady looks at 
me merrily, though graciously, and murmurs gratefully : 
"Thank you again for not being ioo explanatory be- 
fore Mr. Finnaker. I do not care," she whispers, 
" for my harum-scarum, fly-away escapade that night 
you were so kind as to — to save my life, Billy, to 
be common gossip." 

" What makes you think I saved your life .' " 

"Why, one of your poor troopers you ordered to ride 
behind me was shot down. And you — did you not 
have a bullet through your clothes as you kept so care- 
fully between me and the Confederate fire? " 

"Yes, I believe I did lose a button," I murmur; 
then go on, in a tone whose gloom is deeper than 
the night : " No wonder you wish it to be a secret, 
Miss Ashley, when you visited the Confederate Army 
to meet a handsome young officer 1 " 

"I beg your pardon, sir," The blushing girl has 
become a statue of ice and as haughty as Lucifer. 

"Oh, you need not deny it," I mutter savagely. 
" Sitting on a chair in the garden at Frederick — in the 
early evening — as I might be sitting down below this 
veranda now — I heard you call a gentleman 'Dear 
Charley ! ' And then — God help me ! — I heard you — " 

"Kiss him?" she laughs, "Why certainly! My 
half-brother, Charley St. George, of Munford's Second 
Virginia Cavalry. Of course I kissed him, when I 
hadn't seen him for months ! " then adds slyly : "And 
you were — " But she checks herself, biting off the 
word she is about to utter, next a sudden eagerness, 
perhaps anxiety, coming into her voice, she asks un- 
easily : " Tell me all you heard that evening ? " 

"Nothing more!" I reply, and mutter glumly, 
" Wasn't that enough ? Didn't I suffers© much misery 



140 BILLY HAMILTON. 

that I couldn't bid you good-bye in Frederick that 
night ? " 

At this she breaks out laughing but remarks in com- 
mon-sense tone : " Don't be foolish, Billy ! What right 
would you have had to complain if Miss Ashley had 
kissed any man ? You've paid so much attention to 
her since you left West Point." There is a haughty 
sneer in the patrician face, her nostrils are dilated with 
lady-like contempt. 

Here despair and Cupid give me a crafty suggestion. 
I murmur: " Miss Ashley's kisses made little differ- 
ence to me then, but that one of my ex-captive in the 
gray riding-habit did mightily." 

"Ah, yes, I perceive ! " says the young lady slowly, 
and breaks into a slight laugh, in which I can't help 
joining. 

Then I whisper : "You told Miss Eva Vernon Ash- 
ley, that you disciplined Captain Billy Hamilton with 
threats of his fiancee," — she grows rosy at the appella- 
tion — "when he was about to make a little love to 
you? You remember you threatened to tell her of my 
perfidy," I laugh ; I am so happy now. "How did 
Miss Ashley receive your communication ? " 

" Oh, she knew you were fickle without my telling 
her," giggles the young lady. Then suddenly she 
grows, I think, cruelly cold ; she remarks haughtily 
"You have already taken a tone with me, Captain 
Hamilton, that years of attention should not allow a 
gentleman to assume to a lady." 

"Yes, I was jealous, I'll admit it," I say, my voice 
growing very tender. And carried away by her glori- 
ous beauty, which is as tantalizing to me, as the for- 
bidden fruit was to the serpent, I whisper : "Will you 
not permit me the pleasure of being jealous of you. 
Eve } " 

It is the first time I have used her Christian name. 
As it strikes her ear she grows very red, but answers 
firmly, though laughingly : "Not until you have earned 
the right, by months and months of devotion." 

Here inspiration comes to me. I answer : "I have 
already two months to my credit I " 

" Two months } I — I hardly understand you." 

' ' From the night of September 4th to November 14th, 
this evening," I whisper, "I have been devoted to 



BILLY HAMILTON. I4I 

you — not perhaps as Miss Eva Vernon Ashley, but as 
the beauty of the gray riding-habit. Permit me to 
unite the two young ladies in one. It is not always we 
can combine love and duty. You know your mother 
and my father wish it. I always like to please my 
governor," I add nonchalantly — thinking I've played a 
master stroke. 

But I haven't ! 

"Yes; you are ahvays anxious to please your father !" 
she sneers half-laughingly, "Union soldier and ex- 
Provost-^Iarshal of Baltimore. Oh, yes, you always 
enjoy making your governor happy." She rises, as if 
shaking some insect from her dress, and remarks in 
icy hauteur: " But please take me in to the dancers; 
our absence will be noticed, Captain Hamilton." 

" Hang it ! what have I done to displease you now } " 
I say, hurriedly rising after her. 

" Nothing ; only it is cold here." Her white shoul- 
ders shiver slightly. "If you prefer the moonlight, 
stay outside ; but I must go into the ball-room." 

Silently I open the window for her, and she passes 
into the throng ; and I, gazing after her, see her 
face, which had been cold to me, light up with gay- 
smiles as she is surrounded by half-a-dozen blue uni- 
forms and one or two black dress-coats. A moment 
after she is whirled away into the dance by young 
Schuyler, a lieutenant of engineers. 

On my charmer's last vagary I look with gloomy eyes, 
and stand speculating in the moonlight : " Is it because 
she thinks me an undutiful son ? or is it because I, a 
Southerner, am a Union officer? " 

A mon^ent later I speculate again : "Is she devoted 
to the Union as little Finnaker so proudly asserts .? Has 
the great War-Senator's eloquence converted her.?" 
Somehow, it seems to me it would take a good deal more 
than eloquence to make most Virginia girls anything 
but the most pestilent of Rebel maidens. I know my 
eloquence has never converted any of them. "The 
only thing that has ever seemed to soften them has 
been making love to them," I chuckle grimly to my- 
self, as I think of my dear little sister Birdie's icy 
hauteur growing soft and pliable and sunshiny under 
handsome Arthur Vermilye's ardent glances. 



142 BILLY HAMILTON. 

Suddenly all speculation of this kind is knocked out 
of my brain with another battering crash ! 

I see Miss Ashley, beautiful as a sylph, come floating 
through the crowd of dancers, steered by the arm of 
Henri Dubois Arago, who in plain, civilian, faultless 
evening dress, is guiding her through the throng with 
Creole grace and suppleness. 

"She was the girl Henri Arago talked to that night ! " 
flashes through my mind. "She — Eva Ashley — my 
fiancee — was the girl he scoffed at as a Treasury 
wanton ! " 

But noting him, I see his bearing to the young lady 
is punctilio itself; though as he looks upon her there is 
something in his eyes that makes me hate him. 

Then with a little gasp I remember what the Chief 
Detective of the Secret Service Bureau said to me this 
day. " My heaven ! Can he be right } Is Eva Ashley 
the woman Lafayette C. Baker and Edmund McMasters 
Stanton want? " 

That I must discover — for her sake — for my sake : 
to defend her properly — to keep her from military pun- 
ishment ! That I must know, and know quickly ! " 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE BELLE OF THE ARMY. 

To do this I must have not only the talent of a Vidocq 
and the astuteness of a diplomatist, but the cold- 
blooded s avoir fair e of an indifferent. Can I be that 
to a woman whom I have loved for two months — 
whom I have adored for ten minutes .'' 

Schooling myself to my role, which is not an easy 
one for a dashing, whole-hearted, up-and-down, cut- 
and-thrust, hit-or-miss cavalry officer, I step into the 
ball-room and do my devoir, in what would be, under 
ordinary circumstances, one of the jolliest dances I have 
ever seen. 

I waltz with Miss Molly Bent, a fascinating little 
witch from Iowa, flirt with Miss Georgie Langdon of 
Hartford, have a very charming tete-a-tete with the 



BILLY HAMILTON. I43 

sprightly Alice Gushing of New York. Sitting on the 
stairs, a little distance below us, is her brother, Jim 
Gushing of the infantry, paying his court to the piquant 
French beauty and soft Southern eyes of Grace Gho- 
teau, a St. Louis girl whose ancestors were great in 
the fur-trading line. 

But none of these demoiselles, pretty as they are, 
sparkling as they are, can keep my glance from fol- 
lowing the exquisite loveliness of Eva Ashley, as she 
floats about, first with one cavalier, then with another, 
apparently dispensing the favors of her hand quite im- 
partially among the gentlemen about her. 

Though, noting her time and again, I shortly dis- 
cover that Mr. Arago somehow contrives to have a 
little the best of any of her attendants. Something in 
her manner to him makes me grind my teeth : there 
seems some indescribable, common interest in both 
this young lady and gentleman — illusive, intangible — 
but still a bond of some kind between them. Once or 
twice, as she almost whispers to her Greole beau, I 
think it is some secret that is theirs and theirs only. 

Determined I will not go near Eve, I still am not 
able to get her out of my head, and perhaps make 
rather indifferent company to the young ladies with 
whom I am talking. 

So, strolling a little further, I get into conversation 
with our hostess. " By Jove, I'll pump her about her 
niece ! " I think, and, chatting with Mrs. Bream, I 
tell her the story of my sister Birdie and her love affair 
with Gaptain Vermilye of the artillery. 

"Yes; the captain was here at my ball," remarks 
my hostess. " I thought him a very distinguished gen- 
tleman, besides being very rich. Your little secession 
sister's made a good Union match," laughs Lucy, "and 
I have no doubt your father in his heart of hearts 
blesses you for it. " 

"Indeed he doesn't! You should have seen the 
letter he wrote me ! " I reply glumly. 

"Well, it's a good thing, you young people oi oppo- 
site sides getting together. It won"t make you hate 
each other so much after the war is over. Now there 
is my niece," she looks at Eve who is standing at a 
little distance, talking to a couple of oldish brigadier- 
generals, " when she came here from Virginia, she 



144 BILLY HAMILTON. 

was quite a vicious little Rebel. But though she says 
it was my husband's eloquence and argument that 
have softened her sectional animosity, I rather think 
you handsome young officers have had more to do 
with her conversion than the Senator's fiery speeches. 
By-the-bye," my hostess remarks, "when you were 
quite young was not it rumored that you were en- 
gaged — a kind of boy-and-girl affair — to Eve ? " 

"The rumor was true," I say determinedly, "it was 
ayhc/." 

"But you have not been with her much this even- 



ing 



? " 



"Why not.''" I reply, knowingly. "We had a 
pleasant little chat out on the back veranda." 

Suddenly Lucy Bream startles me. She says in 
American common-sense tones : 

" Why not renew the affair? " 

"You mean it.? " 

"Certainly!" To this, the matron adds, a tone of 
anxiety in her voice : "Step up to her now, she is speak- 
ing to Mr. Arago. Between ourselves — this must be 
confidential — even if you only flirt with her, do me the 
favor of destroying INIr. Arago's chances. I — I don't 
like the way Eve is carrying on with that young New 
Orleans man ; I have spoken to her about it, but my 
niece laughs it off." 

" I have your good wishes.? " I ask anxiously. 

"Yes! to the fullest extent." Lucy Bream's hand 
meets mine with hearty grasp ; her frank eyes look into 
mine encouragingly : I know I have a friend in the 
camp of my sweetheart. 

Still, something in the matron's eyes makes me 
whisper: "You think I have a difficult task before 
me?" 

Her answer is not assuring. " Very ! At least, it 
would be, young man, if I were Eva Ashley. Engaged 
to her as a boy, and neglecting her as a man ! In ad- 
dition, Eve's natural pride has been augmented by her 
poverty. You see, she is very sensitive now ; her 
family's losses by this war in the Valley of Virginia 
have made her poor. And let me tell you, my gallant 
captain, if she thinks for one moment your neglect of 
her came from the knowledge of her poverty, good-bye 
to any hope of her ! I'm not altogether pleased with 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



H5 



your conduct in this matter, Lilly," adds the aunt, 
looking at me rather savagely. 

" Then for God's sake, let me atone for it ! " 

"Ah! Now that you see Eve's about the prettiest 
thing in the world " 

" You do not understand. I — I cannot explain — 
only believe me, I have loved her ever sinee I saw her 
as a woman ! " 

" Pish ! For an hour ? " 

" No ; for much longer." 

"Tell me ! ' Woman's curiosity is blazing in the 
eyes of the matron. But this shows me Eve has not 
made her aunt her confidant of her night ride between 
the armies. Under the circumstances, I must keep my 
lips closed. 

"Tell you," I laugh, "when I'm ?narned to your 
niece." 

This last is a whisper that makes Lucy Bream give 
a little startled, " Oh ! " 

But though my words are confident, my heart is not 
equally so. I sit apart and inspect glumly Miss Eva's 
radiant beauty, from the browii, sunny curls that 
crown her graceful head to her exquisite feet and ankles 
disclosed to me in the dance, by her fashionable crino- 
line, as she waltzes with young Burbank of the cav- 
alry, or Ortegas, the Legation attache, and exchanges 
military confidences in out-of-the-way nooks with sev- 
eral old general officers. 

But suddenly I find my indifference is rewarded. 
Why is it that women are so apt to run after the cold 
shoulder .? Seeing I will not go to her, Miss Ashley, to 
my astonishment, comes to me. 

"You got tired of the moonlight, I presume, Billy," 
she says, apparently as if she had left me on the best of 
terms ; then adds, as she drops languidly into a seat 
beside me : " Found another young lady who likes the 
moonlit piazza } '' 

" No," I growl. "There is only one here I'd care to 
share it with. You know who she is." I gaze straight 
in her face, though I have great difficulty in keeping 
my lip from twitching. 

"Oho ! Trying to makeup by present ardor for past 
indifference? " 

" My heaven, how you misjudge me ! My devotion 



146 BILLY Hamilton, 

to the girl in the gray riding-habit kept me away from 
my — my fiancee." I rub the title into Eve till her 
cheeks blaze — and get a great big hope from it, for she 
doesn't command me not to use the term, 

" Yes ; that is a redeeming point in your favor," she 
observes in icy tones. " I don't suppose I should be 
very angry at any compliment for the young lady you 
have just mentioned." Then suddenly she whispers ■ 
"But no more of this here," a tinge of anxiety in her 
voice ; for the music has ceased, and our words are now 
quite distinct to those standing near us. 

Then the girl gives me another hope, though this 
time it is tinctured by rage. She remarks : "No, Mr, 
Arago, I don't think I can give you the next dance. 
You see, I haven't seen my old playmate. Captain 
Hamilton, for several years. We are indulging in rem- 
inisences. '' 

" Pleasant ones, I hope," mutters the Creole, bowing ; 
though his tone indicates he would prefer that they 
were unpleasant, 

"Very pleasant ones! " I interject. "So pleasant 
that I think I shall have to take Miss Ashley in to 
supper. " 

"That honor has been already accorded to me 1 " re- 
plies the clerk in the Quartermaster-General's. 

"Has it, Eve.?" I ask, in old-friend tones, a little 
emphasis on the young lady's Christian name that 
makes the gentleman standing before us turn angry, 
though inquiring eyes on me. 

But here consternation comes to me. Miss Ashley 
says, an indescribable something in her voice : "Mr. 
Arago is correct : I have already promised him that he 
may look after my appetite this evening ; " then adds 
to him : "1 shall be waiting for you here ; it is after 
the next dance, I believe." 

And the Creole leaves us, with triumph on his face, 
while I cogitate dejectedly : "What is it that makes 
Miss Ashley so complaisant to this gentleman } " 
Though now she is trying to show me it is only good 
breeding, for she is saying : "I had already made the 
engagement with Mr. Arago, so don't wrinkle your 
brow so savagely, Billy." 

" Curse it ! Is the poor little thing trying to palliate 
to me her acceptance of the Creole's attentions .'' Hang 



BILLY HAMILTON. I47 

it ! is she frightened of him ? Still, as I look at the 
high-bred face, courageous eyes, the haughty and 
clear-cut nostrils of the girl sitting beside me, it is very 
difficult to think Eva Vernon Ashley is afraid of any- 
thing — much less a half-French gentleman from New 
Orleans, with suave voice and oily smile. 

I must be hating Arago ! I thought him a handsome 
fellow but yesterday : now he seems to be repulsive. 

But schooling myself to society manners, and deter- 
mining to make the best use of my time, I do drift into 
reminiscences with the charming creature at my side. 

It is : "Billy, don't you remember that " "Eva, 

do you recollect when " But these are broken in 

upon by half-a-dozen gentlemen coming and begging 
for a turn, and finally, to get away from these, 1 sug- 
gest : " Dance with me .-* " 

"With pleasure ! " says the girl, and putting a dainty 
hand, light as a falling snowfiake on my shoulder, my 
arm goes round her waist — the first time I have clasped 
it since she has become a woman — and I feel the heart of 
Eva Ashley beat against my own. Somehow, its throb- 
bing seems to tell me that she loves me — that she has 
loved me ; somehow, it is as if she felt confidence in my 
supporting arm — that peace has come to her. In my 
soul I swear : " She shall never regret it ! " as with the 
music of that soft, sweet " Olga " waltz floating in our 
ears, her little feet keep perfect time to my West Point 
step. For one sweet moment I forget I have a Secret 
Service suspect in my arms, and think my love can be 
a happy one. 

Suddenly her heart gives two grand throbbing, wave- 
like beats against mine. Mr. Arago is saying over my 
shoulder in happy tones : " I am waiting for my recom- 
pense. The next is supper." 

Afraid of him ? Hang it, her eyes blaze with triumph 
and success ! 

As she leaves my arm and puts her hand upon the 
black sleeve of the Creole beau, it seems to me that 
Miss Eva Vernon Ashley wants to be very kind this 
evening to Henri Dubois Arago, Chief Clerk in the 
Quartermaster-General's office. 

Is it for some mighty service he has rendered to 
her } Meditating gloomily on this, I follow them to 
supper. 



148 BILLY HAMILTON. 

With terrapin and champagne, come in Senator 
Bream and two or three more politicians, bringing 
with them the awful passions of the war, into our 
mirth and revelry. Our soldiers fought and forgave ; 
our politicians never fought and never forgave, and 
always kept talking about it. 

The conversation which had been that of any joy- 
ous fete and festivity far from the noise of cannon, 
now becomes that of an entrenched camp, the enemy 
not very far away. 

A Jacobin congressman, even as we eat and drink, 
commences to attack McClellan. Finally young Cap- 
tain Totten, who is just from the front, with tears in his 
eyes turns to him and says : " You have never fought 
under that general — I have ! But if you will join 
me and stand with me in the next battle — by Heaven, 
sir I think you'll wish we had him back ! I know / 
will ! " 

Prophetic words ! Already the advance divisions 
are in motion for the awful mistake at Fredericksburg 
where handsome Jack Totten fell. 

Premonitions of this movement commence even now 
to permeate army circles ; for I hear an engineer officer 
near me whisper to a young lady : " Mabel , I'm or- 
dered to the front to-morrow morning ; I suppose 
there'll be some bridge-building." 

" Oh, Heavens, George ! " gasps his sweetheart, who 
is looking anxiously in his face ; then she falters : 
"Why?" 

"Because I take with me all the reserves of the 
engineer battalion especially equipped as pontoniers. " 
The last of this speech is quite loud. 

At the young officer's words, my jealous eyes, that 
have never left them, note that Mr. Arago pauses as he is 
drinking his champagne and gazes, a strange look of 
ecstatic joy in his face, at the beautiful girl sitting be- 
side him who is playing with oysters a la Maryland, 
for this evening Miss Ashley doesn't seem to have much 
appetite — perhaps some reminiscences of her headache 
that had taken her out walking in the afternoon, affect- 
ing her. Then her eyes meet his — no love in them, 
thank God — only some enormous glory — Eva Ashley 
has the look of a general who has won a battle. 

Just about here Mrs. Bream comes and takes a seat 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



149 



besida me, remarking with a hostess's anxiety : "You 
are not eating, Captain Hamilton." 

"No; but I'm drinking," I laugh savagely, and toast 
the charming matron in another glass of her champagne. 

" You're not getting along as well as you expected? " 
she whispers, glancing across the room towards her 
beautiful niece. 

" Oh, yes ; I'm doing pretty well," I say, with a 
confidence that seems to astonish her. 

" Indeed ! How ? " 

"I have discovered the reason of Eva's interest in 
Mr. Arago. " 

" What is it ? " Again feminine curiosity lights the 
eyes of pretty Lucy Bream. 

Again I disappoint it. " Tell you— after I'm married 
to Eve," I whisper, 

"Pooh ! " You're the most disappointing creature I 
ever saw ! " she laughs, as she rises from my side and 
goes over to her husband, to make him happy with 
her wifely attentions. 

And the Senator is very happy ! He is now in the 
midst of what he thinks a good anecdote. His stri- 
dent voice, that has lately filled the halls of the Senate, 
fills the dining-room, and would bring confusion upon 
little Finnaker, if anything could. 

The conversation has fallen upon Abraham Lincoln, 
who occupied not only the hearts, but the attention, of 
the people ; his stories, bons mots and backwoods rep- 
artee amusing the army at the front and even the 
copperheads, as they plotted his political downfall at 
the rear. 

" I've got a new one of Abe's," chuckles the Senator. 
"To-day, the President and I visited the Quartermaster- 
General's office. While we were there, the greatest 
patriotic chatter we either of us had ever heard came 
resounding in to us. 

" ' Good Lord ! ' says old Abe to me. ' Do you know 
that reminds me of the explosion of the Belle of Alton 
on the Wabash in 1842.' 

"'How, so Mr. President?' replied I, preparing 
to laugh, for I could see the twinkle in Abraham's 
eye. 

" ' Well, when the Belle 0/ Alton blew up I heard the 
darndest, biggest, most horrible noise on earth, and 



150 BtLLY HAMILTON. 

looking round for the cause of it, darn me, if I could see 
anything- left — the whole thing was nothing but ?ioise 
and wifid ■' Little Napoleon Finnaker reminds me of 
that explosion.'" 

A roar of laughter breaks out from every man and 
woman of us, and looking about I expect to see Nap 
crushed and broken. 

But rising with his champagne glass in his hand, the 
Zouave uniform making him ferocious, the little hero 
cries: "Thank you, Mr. Senator! Our honored chief 
knew that the explosion of the Belle 0/ Alton killed one 
hundred men. By Jove, sir ! he knew I was equally 
deadly ! Phil Kearney saw me shoot six rebels before 
he died in my arms at the battle of Chantilly, while I 
soothed his last anguish. Ask him if you don't believe 
me .' " And the little fellow gazes at the laughing 
crowd. 

Then suddenly tears come into his eyes, and he mut- 
ters, his voice unsteady with champagne: "But Phil 
— poor Phil Kearney — is dead ! Another comrade 
gone. Soon perhaps the Rebel bullets will give me my 
quietus also." 

Curiously, Finnaker's eloquence, tears and cham- 
pagne grief carry conviction to some. Pretty Ethel 
Davenport, who has just come from the West, whispers 
to me : " Is he so awful brave .? " 

"Captain Finnaker is as brave as he looks," I answer 
laughingly. 

By this time the fiddlers have got to playing again, 
and the younger contingent saunter out from the jolly 
supper-room to dance the german. Taking oppor- 
tunity of the cotillion, I lead out several times Miss 
Ashley, and once tossing me a flower favor she gives 
me floral invitation to tread a turn with her. But all 
the time I see Arago has the best of it ; he gets most of 
the dances : though once, as I guide her to the strains 
of the Faust waltz. Eve adds to the brightness of its 
music one ray of sunshine. Her lips whisper : " Come 
and see me to-morrow, Billy," 

" And why? " I mutter savagely. 

" We've not /la^ finished our reminiscences." 

" What time ? " I ask eagerly. 

" About three o'clock." This is said consideringly. 

I consider also, and remember Arago's hours of duty 



BILLY HAMILTON. 151 

must keep him at the Quartermaster-General's all the 
next afternoon. 

"Very well," I answer briskly, and leave her, not 
wishing to commence the campaign with too much 
ardor; though I cannot stand and see her dancing 
every other figure with that cursed Creole, who seems 
so ineffably pleased with his success over me. As for 
the young lady, she is now making play with two 
or three old general officers in a way that surprises 
me. 

As I bid Mrs. Bream a hasty adieu, my hostess 
whispers : "A little more difficult than you reckoned } 
eh, my captain ? My niece is not picked up again as 
easily as you imagined." And she casts a significant 
glance towards the fairylike creature, who is now 
chatting with old Broughton of the engineers. 

Strolling from the_/?/e in the early morning light, as 
I walk to my F Street boarding-house I hear the rattle 
of drums and the tramp of boys in blue. A regiment 
of infantry, on its march through the city to cross the 
Long Bridge, and join contending armies in Virginia, 
blocks my path. Waiting for this to pass, I am joined 
by old Broughton, that old engineering authority having 
tramped after me from Mrs. Bream's. 

" Awfully jolly shindig, young man ; regular Ken- 
tucky frolic ! " he babbles to me, made loquacious 
by champagne. "Yankee Doodle! how the girls 
danced that Virginia reel ! Did you see me foot it 
with that little Ashley witch.? Hang me, sir, I made 
a hit with her ! Nothing would do, but old Brough- 
ton must take her out on the balcony ; her bright 
eyes wanted a little more of him. What she doesn't 
know about pontoon bridges now — ain't worth know- 
ing. She's smart and cute as a vivandiere, and 
beautiful as a topographical map, sir. By heaven, you 
should have seen her pretty lips as she lisped : ' Dear 
General, how long a bridge will cross the Rappahan- 
nock .? ' Guessed Burnside's movement — guessed it 
like a major-general ! And my God, what shoulders 
and arms ! Reminds me of Dolly Madison, sir, when 
I was a plebe — the belle of the army, sir ! " 

But Broughton's remarks don't make much impres- 
sion upon me at the time, though as I watch the 
venerable military scientist turn up Pennsylvania 



152 



BILLY HAMrLTON. 



Avenue, it seems to me curious that Miss Ashley should 
be interested in pontoon bridges, 

Then I go home ; but noi to sleep. My soft couch 
is harder than any bivouac ground I have ever lain 
upon. I toss about my pillows. A Secret Service 
suspect ! Good heavens, what curious bond is there 
between Eva Ashley and Henri Dubois Arago.? Why 
is she grateful to him P 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE CIGAR STORE NEAR THE WAR-DEPARTMENT. 

I DETERMINE to investigate him. Making inquiries 
in a casual way, so as not to attract attention, I dis- 
cover that Mr. Arago has been representing his cotton 
syndicate in Washington ever since General Butler 
captured New Orleans — that is, for something over six 
months — having arrived at the capital bringing strong 
letters of recommendation on account of his activity 
in disclosing concealed Rebel arms in New Orleans, 
and Rebel cotton in the surrounding parishes. In the 
course of the next two months, — by political influence 
that the cotton-stealers who have grown rich out of this 
business have brought to bear. — Mr. Arago has received 
appointment as a clerk in the Quartermaster-General's 
office, and rapidly risen in that department on account 
of executive ability as well as general attention to his 
duties. 

He has no funds of the government in his hands, 
therefore no attention is paid to his conspicuous 
pursuit of the goddess of chance in the great gambling- 
rooms of Washington, it being generally considered 
that the Creole's wad of greenbacks comes from his 
portion of the profits of the cotton-stealing gang. 

He has apparently been on visiting terms at Mrs. 
Bream's for four or five months, and probably made 
Miss Ashley's acquaintance at the home of her aunt. 
Aside from his love of play, nobody has anything to 
say against him ; and his faro and poker everybody 
seems to think is his business, not theirs. 

From all accounts he is well in favor with the powers 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



153 



that be, one gentleman giving me a start by remark- 
ing : "By Jingo I think he's even in touch with Baker's 
Secret Service Department." 

" What makes you think that? " I ask. 

"Why, I'm incHned to imagine that he kept them 
from pulling, one evening, Jake Burner's second class 
gambling-house, that has brought a few paymasters to 
ruin." 

If this is so, I reflect, Arago must have a good deal 
of influence with Baker's Secret Service, for that officer 
generally does his work with grim severity, whenever 
he gets a chance at gambling-houses that rob Uncle 
Sam's boys of their money, the houses of ladies who 
steal virtue from the soldiers, and the general vices of 
the capital, doing this with the same haughty disregard 
of constitutional rights that pervades his treatment of 
copperhead newspapers, democratic politicians and 
any other persons or things the government desires to 
squelch. 

But in the afternoon my thoughts of Mr. Arago are 
practically driven out of my mind by the charms, 
witcheries and allurements of Miss Ashley. 

At the time appointed, I call at the Lafayette Square 
residence, and find I have one tremendous advantage 
over my rival. My entire time is my own ; his is 
naturally circumscribed by the duties of his office. 
While he is niaking out quartermaster's requisitions, I 
can fight Cupid's battle, and, thanks to Lucy Bream, 
have the delights of iete-a-teie in which to do it. 

Miss Ashley receives me with unaffected ease. Still, 
all this day there is a latent air of triumph about her. 
Sometimes I wonder if it is not triumph over me ; for 
she must know that, no matter how remiss I had been 
as a lover to Eva Ashley, I am a regular Romeo to my 
ex-captive of that Potomac night. This I practically 
suggest to her, though not in direct words. 

To this she remarks, blushing a little : " Yes ; that is 
a very pleasant way of excusing yourself. But do 
you know, I like to think of you best as the little 
boy " 

"Great Scott ! In pinafores .-' " I laugh. 

"Yes; the little boy who guarded me, though he 
did it in a very lordly way." 

" Guarded _>'o« ? " I say, astonished. 



154 BILLY HAMILTON, 

"Why, yes. Don't you remember when at school 
I got into trouble, who assumed my woe ? Billy 
Hamilton ! When by accident I tore Webster's dic- 
tionary, who got up and lied for me and said he did 
it ? Who took from the awful Miss Priscilla Sturgess, 
the austere Yankee schoolmarm, the whacking that 
should have fallen on my shoulders ? Billy Hamilton ! 
Who trounced Sammy Jones, because he teased me ? 
Billy Hamilton ! " And her eyes look more grate- 
fully at me than they had done the evening before ; 
but not so gratefully, I think, as they had gazed upon 
Arago once or twice the preceding night. 

Still, if she wants to make a hero of me, though I've 
forgotten about it, I'm agreeable. 

Then / commence to remember also. What a darling 
little witch Eva was at school — how I had, in the con- 
ceited manner of the b/g boy, extended my protection 
over the l?///e girl — how I had permitted her to love me. 
With this comes the disconcerting thought : " Hang it, 
I'm doing the loving^ now ! " 

One reminiscence leads to another. We get to chat- 
ting of old times, and finally I lead her to Frederick 
Town, and that night on the Potomac. 

But here she stops me with low voice : "As a great 
favor to me, I beg you to forget that, and never to 
speak of it. " There is a nervousness in her manner 
that frightens me, linked as it comes into my mind 
with the request ot the Secret Service Department. 

"Certainly, your M'ishes are my command," I mur- 
mur, though I cannot help wondering if she didn't visit 
a Confederate sweetheart, why does Eva Ashley care 
so much to have that episode in her life obliterated .? 
" You know, of course," I add, " I shall never mention 
this again." 

"Please, never do." 

"Though I can't help thinking of you," I whisper, 
" with the sunshine playing about you, as you stroked 
Roderick's mane." 

"Roderick.? Ah, your handsome charger!" Her 
eyes have lighted with the fire of the Southern horse- 
woman. "Where is he now ? " 

"Eating his oats, I presume, comfortably in the 
stable. And Bonny Belle, your pretty half-Arab 
mare .■* " 



BILLY HAMILTON. I55 

With twitching lips, the girl mutters : "I have sold 
her — sold my Bonny Belle," and her beautiful eyes 
grow full of unshed tears. 

"Sold her ! " I ejaculate. "Why ? " 

"Because — can't you guess it — we, in Virginia, are 
so very poor ! You do not know what the troops 
whose uniform you wear have done to us ; how they 
have oppressed us ! " And the fire in her eyes burns 
up their tears. 

Then she checks herself and mutters, wringing 
her hands slightly : " But I must not think of our 
wrongs. I am here — far away from troubles of that 
kind. I might be rich — God bless Aunt Lucy's kind 
heart ! — but my pride won't let me accept too much, 
even from her. Though this little gown is her present 
to me." And she glances at the pretty but unpreten- 
tious dress she is wearing, that, decking her exquisite 
figure, becomes as beautiful as any robe invented by 
French modiste. 

"Though we won't speak of Bonny Belle," I remark 
"I cannot help thinking of you and Roderick, when 
you played with my charger's mane, and my hand ac- 
cidentally touched yours. " I look at her dimpled mem- 
ber with its delicate, white, patrician fingers, and think 
I have played a master-stroke. 

But I have not ! 

" Ah, but then I reminded you," the young lady says, 
"that you had a betrothed you had /orgo//en," and her 
glance grows stern and haughty. Here she falters, her 
face ablaze with blushes : "No — no; I don't mean that. " 

"Ah yes, you do. Betrothed — that is the word 
between you and me." 

' ' Yes, " she says sarcastically, ' ' The betrothed you 
had forgotten." 

"But still betrothed!" 

" Not at present ! " She draws herself up haughtily, 
then looks at me, I think, savagely and sadly. 

" You will not let me use that term to you? " 

" Not until you have done a good deal more to earn 
it than you have so far. Do you think it has been 
pleasant to my pride to think you had tossed me from 
even your memory } " 

" But I had not forgotten you, I was always think- 
ing of the girl in the gray riding-habit." 



156 BILLY HAMILTON. 

This touch perchance makes her slightly more com- 
plaisant to me ; but as I look at her I can see I am go- 
ing to have no favored lover's privileges. Those lips 
that are so tempting, seem a thousand miles away. 

Just at this moment, Lucy Bream comes in and 
startles me by saying : " Good gracious, you here yet, 
Billy ? " 

" Holy poker, do you begrudge me a few minutes ! 
You're not as hospitable as you were last night," I 
laugh. 

" Is n't two hours long enough iox o. first interview ? " 
she laughs. " Have you persuaded Eva that she once 
loved a little boy } " 

Then, oh, the blushes on the face I am gazing at ! 

But the girl says lightly: "It is of such little conse- 
quence — loving Hltle boys. Loving men is the more 
important matter." 

But here perhaps a little of the coquette coming into 
her pansy eyes. Miss Eve gives me one ray of hope. 
She whispers to the matron : "Can I invite him.?" 

"Certainly." 

"To-morrow evening we're going to the theatre, 
Billy. Would you like to join us in our box at Ford's .? " 

" Wouldn't I .^ I could sit through a whole perform- 
ance, only looking at your shoulders." 

At this the two ladies burst into merriment, as I, a 
latent hope in my heart, glancing at my watch, find I 
have been there two hours. 

Shaking both ladies by the hand, I note Lucy Bream's 
clasp is cordial and Miss Ashley's but an endured salu- 
tation. 

Out in the avenue, I mutter to myself : " A long siege, 
much strategy, and then a desperate assault, before that 
citadel can be retaken." 

Ah, Billy Hamilton ! When you let a child's love 
pass away from you, you did not know how precious 
the woman's would become ! 

During half an hour's walk, I decide upon my plan 
of campaign. First and foremost, I must make Eve 
love me — if I can.? Second, I must destroy Arago's 
influence over her, whatever it is — if possible .? 

I continue my investigations in regard to that 
gentleman, but with unsatisfactory results. True, he 
is a gambler, but many dashing, high-spirited young 



BILLY HAMILTON, 



IS7 



men of that day were votaries of cards and chance, 
and nobody thought the worse of them for it. 

Still, I think I will see a little more of the gentleman 
than I have lately ; but tluring the day this is difticult 
to do, for Arago, and for that matter Finnaker and all 
in the Quartermaster-General's office, are very busy. 

Late on Friday night, however, 1 discover him at 
Chamberlin's, Arago is playing as usual, and to my 
astonishment seems to feel the strain of the game. 
At least he is nervous — an emotion he has never dis- 
played at faro before, though I have seen him play 
for higher stakes. 

On seeing me, however, he seems to become jovial, 
and giving up the green table, we two take a drink to- 
gether. During this he jokes : " Been to see your old 
friend Baker again, eh ? " 

"No," I laugh ; "you need not miss another shot 
at billiards on his account ; " and rather think I may 
startle him. 

But to my dismay, the Creole's eyes light up with a 
triumph he cannot conceal. He becomes extraordi- 
narily happy and jovial, even laughs with me at his 
losing his money at billiards to such a duffer as Finna- 
ker. Then producing his cigar-case, he proffers in his 
light, elegant and winning Southern manner, one of 
his famous Bouquets Especiales, in fact, presses two or 
three upon me, saying : ' ' You looked a little surly, my 
dear fellow, when I took her away from you to supper 
the other evening ; but you must get accustomed to 
that." His eyes grow luminous, and sensuous ; in his 
imagination I am sure he sees the girl I love and sees 
her as his oivn. 

"I am not accustomed to getting used to anything 
I don't like, INIr. Arago, and I object to your tone to 
me," I remark coolly but imperiously. 

" Ah then, please accept my apologies. I beg your 
pardon," he murmurs, so humbly that I am compelled 
to receive his amende. Anyway, I can't quarrel about 
her in a gambling-house. But even as I do so, I 
catch his Creole glance once more, and it shocks 
me. Into his eyes has come a look of pity, perhaps 
even contempt; he seems to think me but a poor op- 
ponent in the game he is playing. For somehow it 
strikes me that the triumph in his eyes comes not alto- 



158 BILLY HAMILTON. 

gether from his success over me in the ball-room with 
Eva Ashley. He seems to have suddenly taken upon 
himself a renewed and most buoyant confidence en- 
tirely unwarranted by the slight advantages of escort- 
ing Miss Ashley to supper and getting the most of her 
dances at Mrs. Bream's soiree. 

As I leave him, for now he seems to waste but little 
attention upon me, having returned to his faro game, 
crying vivaciously: "I put fifty on the queen, and 
copper the jack with twenty ! " 1 know that Henri 
Dubois Arago and I are enemies. 

Going home I turn the matter over in my mind, and 
this curious suggestion strikes me like a rifle-shot. The 
Creole knew I had instructions from the Secret Service 
oi'fice in regard to the young lady I had captured at 
Norton's Ford ; my foolhardy information to him as I 
made my billiard test has shown Arago that ! In some 
way he knows that Eva Ashley is the girl I captured 
on the Potomac ; furthermore, he must be aware I 
have recognized her at Mrs. Bream's as my ex-captive. 
I have told him I have not seen Baker ; ergo, I have 
not reported my discovery. Perhaps my negligence 
in this makes him think he has a hold upon me. 

This view of the matter seems a very serious one, 
as I reflect that every day I fail to report my discovery 
of the girl I met at Frederick to Uncle Sam's detective 
bureau, the greater chance Arago has of placing me 
under the suspicion and condemnation of the War 
Office, who have made me their spy. 

"By Jove, they may put me in the old Capital pris- 
on — that tvould give him a fair field, '' I cogitate rue- 
fully. But dissecting this idea the second time, I 
throw away any thought of immediate annoyance to 
Miss Ashley or danger to myself on this point, as Arago 
has seemed as anxious as I to shield the young lady 
from scrutiny or surveillance, if his remark about the 
Treasury young lady indicates anything. 

Anyway, though the concealment of her identity 
may bring annoyance, perhaps condemnation upon 
me, she, standing under the very wings of the great 
War Senator, who I know is truckled to for his vote, 
eloquence and influence by the government itself, who 
is regarded as strong a Union man as any War-Senator 
or War-Governor in the land — the niece of his wife, an 



BILLY HAMILTON. ig^ 

inmate of his household — the most that can come to 
Eva Vernon Ashley will be a most polite request to 
kindly visit Mr. Stanton in company with her aunt 
and tell him of her movements during that September 
evening. " Dash it ! " I laugh, " she's as safe as if she 
lived in the White House ! Besides — egad ! " I con- 
tinue, "I can shield myself under her Mang. I have 
but to mention that though I discovered the young 
lady, I found that she was of such loyal standing, so 
intimately connected with the patriotic Senator Bream, 
that I did not wish to bring his family under any slur 
that might come to them from Baker's too alert de- 
tectives." 

"By Jove, with the Senator standing by me, I can 
rout every government spy from here to Michigan ! " 
I laugh, and grow rather merry over this matter. 

Smoking the last of Arago's fine cigars the next 
morning, it suddenly occurs to me I'll have a box or 
two of these for myself, and incidentally see what 
Mr. Bermudas says about his customer. 

Consequently, about eleven o'clock on Saturday 
morning, I wander into the cigar store next to Mulloy's 
Generals' Bar-room. This has not so many brigadiers 
in it as on previous occasions. Some of them have 
gone to the front, for the army is now in motion ; 
the rest of them are mighty busy in forwarding sup- 
plies to it and on general staff duties. 

The little cigar-store is very much like any other 
little cigar-store. It has the inevitable wooden figure 
of the Indian chief in front of it and, apparently 
to reduce the rent, a bootblack's stand in the back 
portion of the shop, at which a darkey, as I make my 
purchases, is polishing boots at five cents a shine. I 
am waited upon by Senor Bermudas himself. To him 
I mention my name, stating Mr. Arago had advised 
me to try his particular brand of cigars. 

" Caspita! he's a very good customer," says Bermu- 
das, a genial-mannered Cuban, with a voice soft and 
soothing as the smoke of his own cigars. 

"Here are the Botiqiiets Especiales — Colorado you 
wish, Senor Capitan .'' " he remarks. 

Making my selections, I take from a box I purchase, 
a few cigars for my case. With one in my mouth, I 
turn about for a light. 



l6o BILLY HAMILTON. 

"Here, Quashie," cries Bermudas. "Fire for the 
Senor," 

At his word the boot-black, who has just finished 
shining an under-Treasury clerk's shoes, steps to me. 
As I light my cigar nonchalantly I gaze at him. ''By 
the Lord, Cuffy," I cry, in the careless tone of one ad- 
dressing a nigger, "You have got a smashed eye!" 
For the appearance of one side of the black's face is 
something terrific. 

"'Deed I has, INIassa," mutters the black promptl5\ 
"Yo'd t'ink yo' had one too, if a damn U. S. Guber- 
ment mule smacked you in de jaw wid his behind hoof. 
Ef yo' don't believe me, yo' jest get behind one of 
Massa Linkum's teams down near Twenty-secon' an' 
G Streets." 

"Yes, we must all look out for Uncle Sam. He 
kicks hard and strong," I laugh, thinking perhaps to 
give Seiior Bermudas, who is suspected of secession 
proclivities, a timely warning. 

So, followed by a little laugh from two or three loung- 
ing purchasers or bystanders, I take my way, carrying 
two boxes of cigars, smoking which I shall spend some 
of the most terrific hours that ever came to any man. 

One of these comes to me this very night ! 

About eight o'clock in the evening I stroll down F 
Street, and turning along Tenth come to Ford's The- 
atre, a plain stuccoed building, which nearly three 
years afterwards was brought into most melancholy 
prominence by the assassination of our nation's Pres- 
ident after he had done his work upon the earth. 

At present this little theatre is a scene of happy mer- 
riment and boisterous laughter. 

Though Saturday is technically called "Niggers' 
night " in the South, a good-sized audience is present, 
many of them officers ; the enormous local garrison, 
which generally numbers twenty-five thousand men, 
assuring that. 

Among the blue uniforms and black coats are scat- 
tered a good many ladies, quite a contingent of them 
young, charming and beautiful, but none so lovely as 
the fair girl who sits beside pretty Mrs. Bream in stage- 
box A, the two ladies being well backgrounded by the 
massive form of the truculent War-Senator, who is 
behind them in black broadcloth coat, cut rather too 



DILLY HAiMILTON. l6l 

big^ for him, his low velvet vest displaying a border- 
state expanse of rumpled and crumpled shirt-front. 

As I enter, a burst of laughter greets me. Every- 
one is enjoying John E. Owen in his marvellous role 
of "Solon Shingle" in The People's Lawyer. The next 
moment I join the box party, greet Mrs, Bream and 
her niece, shake hands with the Senator, and seat my- 
self behind Miss Ashley's statuesque shoulders. But 
get little attention from her, for all through the piece 
she is laughing till the tears run down her fair cheeks 
— as for that matter, so are the whole of us, the Senator 
swallowing a chew of tobacco in his uproarious mer- 
riment. 

Between the acts we all get to chatting together — 
for a moment on the play ; afterwards on other mat- 
ters. Glancing at the audience, Mr. Senator Bream 
remarks: "I think I'll go down and see poor Gen- 
eral Braxton." 

" Yes," titters his spouse. "Poor General Braxton 
is getting up to go out. But why do you call him 
poor P" 

"Well, the unfortunate fellow's got a secesh wife. 
She drives him to drink." 

" And how about the unfortunate secesh wife ? " re- 
marks Miss Ashley suddenly and sarcastically ; then 
laughs: "I hope, Uncle Rufus, that you don't make 
Aunt Lucy's having been born in Virginia an excuse 
for visiting bar-rooms." 

"Not the slightest, my dear. I visit them without 
excuse," chuckles the Senator ; then whispers, laying 
an affectionate hand upon his spouse's shoulder : "I 
have perfect confidence in the patriotism of my wife 
and the unfaltering loyal Unionism of my dear little 
niece." With this the political magnate strolls out of 
the box, leaving Miss Ashley with very red cheeks and 
a kind of spasm of anguish in her eyes. 

Suddenly she breaks out upon me, as if to get some- 
thing out of her mind: "You have not told me, my 
Union Provost-Marshal, how you left your father, and 
dear Virginia, and sweet little Birdie in Baltimore." 

" Oh, they're quite well, I believe, especially Birdie. 
I haven't seen much of them since I became sponsor 
for their loyalty," I mutter. 

"Why especially Birdie ? " asks the girl astonished. 



l62 BILLY HAMILTON, 

Thus adjured, I recklessly run into a narrative of my 
return to my family, my posing as trooper in the Jeff 
Davis' Confederate Legion, my stories of Major Ana- 
nias's dashing rides with Stuart's cavalry, the awful 
catastrophe that came upon me when it was announced 
that I had been appointed Union Provost-Marshal, and 
from this I pass into a description of handsome Arthur 
Vermilye, of the artillery, one of my brother officers, 
winning, with my connivance, sweet little Birdie's 
love. 

During this, Mrs. Bream has laughed heartily several 
times, but here her niece startles and horrifies me. I 
think I hear her sigh out: "What an ineffable apos- 
tate ? " 

"Oh, you needn't look so severe. Miss," laughs the 
aunt. "Supposing Miss Birdie does elope, it's an aw- 
fully good match for her. " 

But the girl, tapping the rail of the box with her fan, 
nervously, murmurs : " Dear, weak little Birdie." 

" Weak, in gaining handsome Captain Vermilye for 
a husband .? " ejaculates Lucy Bream. 

Here the girl astounds us both. She swings round 
on us, her eyes blazing, and remarks: "Weak, in 
not making Captain Vermilye jump over to her side of 
the fence to woo her, instead of her crawling through 
the hedge to his political pasture." Then she goes on, 
her face seeming inspired by some subtle emotion : 
"Every girl in this war should at least make one 
convert. " 

"What convert.? " I ask. 

" TJie ma7i who loves her ■' Every girl should at least 
do that. Her arms should only go round the man 
whose heart throbs with her heart — whose triumph is 
her joy ! " 

" Humph ! " I jeer. "That depends upon who loves 
the strongest." 

"Ah! Who — loves — the — strongest." This is sighed 
out. Then, looking into my face, she half sneers : 
"Who loves the strongest will be the weakest in pa- 
triotism, eh. Captain Hamilton 1 " 

But I have no chance to answer this. The Senator 
comes in, wiping his moustache, the curtain goes up, 
the house breaks into screams of laughter at John E. 
Owens in that roaring farce, The Live Indian. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 163 

But after this is over, as the green curtain falls, Miss 
Ashley turns to me, and, with curious change in her 
manner, permits me to cloak her. As my hands trem- 
ble arranging the draperies about the beautiful shoul- 
ders, she gazes at me with a look that makes my heart 
beat very fast. "Thank you, Billy," she murmurs. 
"Now you remind me of the little boy that took such 
good care of the little girl." 

It is not the speech, but the manner of it that causes 
me to walk on air ; that makes the theatre, half empty 
now, its plain seats and benches in full view, seem 
Elysium, as I offer my arm to Eva Ashley and follow 
Mrs. Bream and her husband from the box. For there 
is a confiding clutch in the little hand that is on my 
arm, and the graceful head seems to nestle very close to 
my shoulder, as we come down the few stairs and step 
out into the lobby. 

A moment later I put her into the carriage, and she 
gives me another joy. I\Irs. Bream suggests: "We 
are to have a little quiet supper at home ; won't you 
join us .-* " 

"Yes, won't you, Captain Hamilton.?" comes to me 
in Eve's voice pleadingly. 

For answer, I step in beside her and am, for a short 
hour, the happiest man in Washington ; for at the little 
supper-party my goddess seems to have become like 
the girl that morning at Frederick — free, unaffected, 
sweet to me. 

I bid them good-bye, and she, running out in the 
hall after me, whispers: "To-morrow, take me to 
church — won't you, Billy ? " 

"With Mrs. Bream.?" 

" No ; all by ourselves. I am an Episcopalian." 

"Then if you're an Episcopalian, so am I," I answer. 
" What is yotir church is m_y church." 

"Ah — then what is f?iy " but whatever is in her 

mind, she checks herself, and extending a gracious 
hand, says shortly : "Good-night." 

This time it is not an endured salutation. Her soft 
white fingers clasp mine as I look into her eyes ; but 
these droop under my glance ; her beautiful head is 
turned slightly away, in graceful bashfulness. 

"Good-night," she murmurs, and as if afraid of her- 
self, runs from me. 



164 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"Good-night," I say, my eyes on fire, my soul in 
heaven ; and though the night is dark, I walk home 
amid sunshine. 

As I stride along Lafayette Square, I cogitate : 
"What the devil has caused this change in her?" But 
whatever it is, I don't care ; it makes me happy. 

Arriving at my F Street boarding-house, I sit down, 
and over one of Arago's exquisite Bouquets Esp'eciales I 
chuckle: "By hookey, my Quartermaster-General's 
clerk, you haven't much chance when you run against 
a cavalry boy. Anyway, I'm in heaven ! " 



CHAPTER XVI. 

SPECIAL ORDER NO. I4IO. 

Into this heaven suddenly comes the roll of war ! 

Little Finnaker, hardly waiting for my cheery "Come 
in," enters the room, his face pale, his eyes excited. 
"I — I couldn't sleep, I'm so flabbergasted," he whis- 
pers. " There's the devil to pay with us I" 

"What is it.?" 

" This is dark — but it's hell ! " 

" Well, what's the row now ? " 

"This is most strictly private ! " 

" Have I ever blabbed of your pontoon order?" 

" It's about that ! My God, there's the devil to pay ! 
You heard me tell you that we sent down a special 
requisition number 14 lo, to the Depot Quartermaster, 
calling for eighty pontoons and two thousand feet of 
bridge, to be got ready at once ? " 

" Yes, certainly." 

"Well, special order 1410 to Depot Quartermaster 
has been forged or altered. Lee'Il get to Fredericks- 
burg before our pontoon trains — and then God help 
Burnside ! " 

"A special order of the Quartermaster-General's 
forged or altered!" I gasp. "Impossible! I know 
their checks and routine. " 

"Don't fly off; listen to me ! " breaks in Finnaker. 
"This evening — only an hour ago — we sent down to 



BILLY HAMILTON. 165 

ask Depot Quartermaster when he would have requisi- 
tion 14 10 ready. Curse it, he knocked us off our feet. 
He replied that requisition No. 14 lo had been filled 
and ready to start for two days. This astounded us, 
eighty pontoons and two thousand feet of bridge got 
ready in a few hours. Meigs sent me down to see 
about it. At the depot I found there were only eighi 
pontoons and /wo hundred feet of bridge — good Lord, 
just a tenth of the order. What use is that to bridge 
the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg .? " 

"Then it is Fredericksburg.?" I say, chewing the 
end of my cigar. 

"Yes, we know it now in the department." 

"But how did the mistake occur.? '' 

"That's the devilish part of it. Our order-book 
copy reads eighty pontoons in both letters and figures, 
and two thousand feet of bridge in both letters and 
figures ; and the requisition received and on file at the 
Depot Quartermaster's reads eight, in both letters and 
figures, of pontoons, and two hundred feet, in both 
letters and figures, of bridge. Those eighty pontoons 
should have moved to-morrow ; at the latest, on Mon- 
day. You know, Burnside has started his command 
to-day ; the pontoons were to have met his advanced 
divisions at Fredericksburg, and Sumner's army corps 
was to have immediately crossed and instantly en- 
trenched itself in the heights beyond ; then the cross- 
ing of the rest of the army would have been assured. 
Now, if Lee gets there before the pontoons, Burnside 
is blocked." 

"But how did the mistake occur?" I ask, running 
through my mind the usual military formula of the 
Quartermaster-General's office, which would certainly 
prevent it. 

"The order left us all right ; of that we're certain ! 
I myself and two other clerks saw Arago give it to 
Lommox. That damned Irish traitor is under arrest 
now, for just as sure as Lommox delivered the re- 
quisition that is now at the Depot Quartermaster's 
it reads eighi pontoons and two h^mdred feet of 
bridge." 

"Lommaxa traitor.?" I cry. "Nonsense! He is 
as blundering and honest an Irishman as ever lived 1 
How long did he take to deliver the order .? " 



1 66 BILLY HAMILTON. 

" He reported back in ten minutes; six going and 
four returning." 

"That's quick enough ; five good long blocks each 
way, after dark, in streets crowded as they are round 
the Quartermaster's depot. " 

" Yes," remarks Finnaker. " That's the devil of it ! 
The orderly made about the right time, and it's certain 
that requisition could not have been changed or forged 
in a moment. The order reads, — so they tell me — all 
right, as regards penmanship, at the Depot-Quarter- 
master's office." 

*' What does Lommax say? " 

" He says nothing, but curses low and deep, and re- 
peats that he received the order at 6 : 45 and delivered 
it at 6 : 51 p. m. as shown by the receipts." 

"Then the trouble is with Arago," I cry, anxious to 
make things hard for my Creole rival. 

" Nonsense ! I and another clerk stood by Arago as 
he copied it. While it was drying, he went off to wash 
his hands and ran over to Bermudas's for a few cigars. 
When he came back we had it sealed in the envelope 
and I walked out with him and saw him deliver it 
to Lommax. We were chatting together about some- 
thing else at the time." 

"Did Arago call your attention to his folding up the 
order ? " 

"Hang it. He didn't fold the order. I folded it in 
the presence of Wilkins, the other clerk. My eyes never 
left the envelope till I saw Arago deliver it to Lommox. 
I can swear to it ; Arago's all right ; it's that damned 
Irish traitor certain!" He always looks saucily at me 
when I boss him ; he's a disloyal scoundrel sure as 
poor Colonel Ellsworth died in my arms." 

"Pooh," I mutter, "Lommox has risked his life on 
too many battlefields to be called traitor now. How 
does Arago take it } " 

"Beautifully ! He's cool as a julep! It is the big 
guns that are raging. Stanton's over at our office, 
giving us all fury. Meigs is raising the deuce with his 
assistants — and they are giving their clerks glory halle- 
lujah ! As for the Depot-Quartermaster, he says stiffly 
he obeyed orders as he got 'em and he don't care a cuss 
for anybody." 

"What are they doing? " 



BILLY HAMILTON. I67 

" Working like beavers — they'll get the pontoon train 
off by the 20th, and it may get there in time, but I 
doubt it — especially if it rains and makes the roads 
bad — you know Virginia mud." 

' ' Where's Lommox ? " 

"At his quarters, under arrest and cautioned to say 
nothing about it. That's the cue of all of us. Good 
lord, if the newspapers get hold of it — flaming head- 
lines "Another Blunder!" — "Provisional Govern- 
ment," and all that, don't you see ! As for Stanton, I 
heard him say, ' By the God of Heaven, when I catch 
the traitor who did this I'll hang him high enough for 
the whole Army to see him, and Lee's Army too ! My 
lord ! the way he looked make my blood run cold, 
and I've been in four pitched battles, I have. So keep 
it dark. Keep it dose. But then I know I can trust 
you as I would myself ! " 

"Better!" I say grimly as Finnaker goes off ex- 
citedly. 

The affair, though it interests me, doesn't excite me 
very much. If the pontoons don't reach Burnside in 
time and he finds Lee ahead of him and intrenched, 
he must turn back and try another way to Richmond. 
I reflect as I puff cigar smoke about me. For at 
this time, I did not guess the tremendous political 
and popular pressure that would be brought to bear on 
that doomed commander to force him on to the awful 
disaster of Fredericksburg — when, on that dread night 
of the thirteenth of December, had Stonewall Jackson's 
advice been followed Lee would probably have made 
an end of the Army of the Potomac and perhaps the 
American Union also.* 

As it is, my mind chiefly turns to the predicament of 
the honest Irish sergeant. " Poor devil Lommox," I 
mutter. " Lommox ! " What were the words I heard 
Arago whisper that evening to the girl at the corner of 
Thirteenth & E Streets .? " Make sure I shall give the 
despatch to Lo?nmox ■' " The lady on the corner of Thir- 
teenth & E Streets was Miss Eva Ashley ! 

My God, the girl I love ! " 

Then suddenly Mr. Arago 's exquisite Bouquet Espe- 
ciale becomes bitter as gall in my mouth — the room 
grows dark to me ! O powers of Heaven ! what a 
* See Appendix. — Ed. 



l68 BILLY HAMILTON. 

night I spend ! What can I do — if my half-formed 
fears are correct? 

Nothing ! — at all events, nothing for the present. 

I try to sleep but cannot, and the next morning going 
desperately to the Lafayette Square mansion have my 
anxieties practically knocked out of me. 

In answer to my card, Miss Eve floats down to the 
parlor looking beautiful as a Venus, fresh as a wood 
nymph and innocent as an angel. Dressed in some 
light walking dress, for this Indian-summer day is 
warm and balmy, she seems to me a fairy, beneficent 
and charming. " She might carry a little information 
between lines," I reflect as I look her over with lover's 
eyes: "many a Southern maid has done that! But 
block the march of the Army of the Potomac ? — Never ! " 

Comforting myself with this conclusion, I address 
myself to the object of my fears who stands before me, 
a delicately-gloved hand extended cordially, but a 
piquant pout on her coral lips, murmuring reproach- 
fully : " Captain Brown-Study, you haven't said good- 
morning," 

" Haven't I ? " I say, with a start. 

"No, and you haven't told me how you liked my 
dress. I made it myself," she goes on with that most 
charming, subtle, and deadly coquetry to the masculine 
heart — that I-lean-on-you business. — What you think 
is right, goes. — You are so strong and I am so de- 
pendent. 

Ah, the power of woman through her very weakness ! 

Thus adjured I give the little hand a tender squeeze, 
cast my eyes over the garment, and taking advantage 
of my opportunity enjoy a beauty feast. 

But perchance lingering too long over this, my en- 
chantress bursts out laughing: "What do you know 
about hoops, ruffles and flounces ? Oh, mercy, the 
dragoon is trying to talk like Monsieur Worth, that 
man-milliner in Paris." 

Suddenly she brings to bear upon me another most 
artful, yet potent feminine witchery. She shows she 
takes a profound personal interest in me; she cries : 
"Good Heavens, Billy ! You look as if you had been 
up all night." 

"No, I went home straight from you." 

"Well, you look fearfully dissipated any way — I — " 



BILLY HAMILTON. 169 

here she grows bashful and diffidently suggests : "I 
hope you haven't been gambling at your own rooms," 
then sighs, "So many young men ruin themselves in 
that way." 

Catching a glimpse of my face in a neighboring 
mirror, I perceive that a sleepless and intensely anxious 
night has given me a decidedly roue appearance this 
morning. 

I can't tell her what caused it — at all events not until 
I have to speak to her to save her — so I mutter, with 
a little yellow laugh, "Well, take me to church. Miss 
Angel, and let the minister, exhort the dissipation out 
of me." 

"Come!" and the girl leads the way out of the 
house towards St. John's. 

It is scarcely a step, but in that moment Eva Ashley 
changes. Before, the bright girl of earth, she now be- 
comes the protege'e of Heaven. 

As we enter the portals of the house of God, I know 
I love a truly good girl ; one who believes in her relig- 
ion — one who loves her Redeemer. As the soft strains 
of the organ come to our ears, the beautiful eyes beam 
devoutly, the exquisite face grows more lovely because 
it grows more holy. Eva Ashley sinks down kneeling 
in the pew and whispers her petition to heaven and 
seems to pass away from earth's troubles and earth's 
passions. Throughout both service and sermon, I, and 
all other temporal things, seem apart from her. What 
sinner could fail to be impressed with such a saint ? 
And I — rough-riding cavalryman, curiously careless of 
spiritual things, as most of us were in those days, when 
death was so near to us — can't help praying with her 
and feeling in my heart I am not worthy of her. As 
most men do in the presence of women who are truly 
good. 

But once in all that holy ceremonial I notice that a 
thought of the passions of the awful struggle of the 
outside world come to her and I observe her very 
closely. Though I pray with my devotee, I can't keep 
my eyes off her earthly loveliness. I note the graceful 
head crowned with its clustering curls, the superb con- 
tours of her gracefully developed figure ; every move- 
ment, as she kneels, displaying new beauty lines. 

As I do this, my glance catches a little foot, high- 



1 7© BILLY HAMILTON. 

instepped and perfect in outline and proportion, that 
has stolen out in its tight-fitting boot from beneath the 
crinolined skirt. For the life of me I can't keep my 
eyes off its beauties. The rector is praying for the 
success of the Union arms. Suddenly the little foot, 
that has been quiescent, for one moment taps nervously 
upon the church floor — then with a sudden shiver grows 
quiet again ; but Eva's body has drawn itself up from 
very force of emotion. I can see each beauty curve, 
extend itself, and her clasped hands clench themselves, 
— the girl is praying with all her heart and all her soul 
to the God of Battles, Do her petitions ascend to 
heaven in unison with her pastor's — or is she imploring 
heaven for victory of the Boys in Gray over the Boys 
in Blue, as many another Southern maiden prays this 
November Sunday ? 

She rises, and there is a new look in the beautiful 
face. The corners of the eyes have become drawn — 
the curves of the chiselled mouth are rigid — an un- 
earthly self-devotion is in those delicate features. 

Where have I seen that inspired radiance before? 
A shiver runs through me as I remember it was in an 
old picture of the Maid of Orleans. 

That day, as we come out in the whispering crowd 
from the portals of the House of the God of Peace and 
Loveinto the presence of cruel war and the emblems of 
mighty contest — never absent in those dread days from 
the nation's capital, for orderlies are holding officer's 
chargers at the entrance of St. John's Church, and 
ambulances are waiting for the wives and daughters of 
generals in the field, and across the square an infantry 
regiment is tramping to the front, its band playing 
"John Brown's Body" — I catch a little nervous flutter 
of the graceful hands that hold the prayer-book. 

Gazing on the beauty at my side, I meditate : " My 
Heaven ! Is Eva Ashley a ' Joan of Arc ? ' My mind 
suddenly opens. I see that here is a girl who has the 
soul to do great things. 

A platoon of cavalry comes galloping up as we 
descend the steps. They halt, the lieutenant springs 
off his horse and advances toward us. 

My fears for her make me a coward. I think it is a 
Provost guard. The little hand on my arm seems to 
clench itself, but the face is calm as a martyr's. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



171 



Dashing Molly Bent comes laughing down the steps 
behind us. She speaks to Eva. I give a start. My 
Maid of Orleans is discussing with her friend the latest 
fashions. 

The Lieutenant has just saluted a Major-General, 
The cavalry is only the escort of some corps or division 
commander, to guard him on his ride to histroops in 
Virginia. 

For the first time in my life I feel I have nerves. 
But I must know — for her safety I viust know. 

After a few salutations to some legation chaps and 
one or two young officers who will have word with 
her, Miss Ashley, getting out of the throng, walks 
blithely by my side. We are near Senator Bream's 
front door, the girl remarks casually : " Not so many 
gentlemen at church as ladies ? " 

"No," I reply. " Were it not for you women the 
minister might shut up shop." 

"That indicates you would 7iot have come, had I 
not invited you, Billy." 

"Certainly not 1 This is the first time I have been 
to church for a year. Have you made many other 
other proselytes 1 " 

"A few," she half laughs. " Mr. Finnaker and Mr. 
Arago come sometimes at my solicitation.'' 

"Ah, yes ; but the Quartermaster-General's Office is 
too busy to-day." 

"Indeed .? " 

"Yes ! " I see my chance and play my card des- 
perately. "You know they got off that great pon- 
toon train last night and this morning." 

As my lie strikes the girl ; for one instant, a shivery 
shudder runs through her limbs ; her face grows pale 
and drawn, she passes her hand over her eyes as if the 
sun blinded them. Then drawing herself up as if to 
bear a blow, Eve, for one second, looks me straight in 
the face. What she sees there, I don't know — but her 
lips and cheeks regain their color, her eyes grow sunny, 
she innocently asks: "What pontoons.?" then not 
waiting for my answer, laughs: "You military men 
always think women are interested in your tactics. 
Are they going to build a bridge over in Virginia ? " 

Great powers ! Am I so poor a liar ? — or is her 
glance into my heart deeper than I have guessed .? — or 



172 BILLY HAMILTON. 

is her information so sure on the subject, that she knows 
I haven't told the truth ? 

I don't have much time to speculate on this, we are 
already at Mrs. Bream's door. 

"Can I take you out walking this afternoon," I ven- 
ture. 

For a moment the young lady looks as if she would 
accept, then says, slightly embarrassed : "I — I would, 
but unfortunately I — I have a prior engagement." 

"With Mr. Arago.?" I ask, both fear and jealousy 
flying up in me. 

" Y-e-s-^I'm sorry." Then she gives me a crumb of 
consolation. " You are going to Mrs. Judge Burton's 
dance on Tuesday, I presume ? " she asks, smiling at 
me. 

"No — I have not heard of it ! " 

" If I get you an invitation, will you take me } " 

" With pleasure. Does Mrs. Bream go .'' " 

"Perhaps yes — will you take me anyway.?" 

"Won't I \" 

"Thank you." She extends her hand to bid me 
good-bye, but I seize it and hold it, and whisper words 
to her that I can't control as I look into the dear face. 
" For God's sake, take good care of yourself." 

' ' What do you mean P " Her cheeks are pale and 
eyes inquiring. 

" What dofi'/ I mean ! " 

" And why ? " A spasm of agony runs over her deli- 
cate features. Perhaps I am squeezing her little fingers 
too hard. 

"Because you're so dear to me — darling — ! For- 
give me — I can't help it — I wouldrtt if I could — I cotildn'l 
if I would." 

"Oh mercy, what an ambiguous creature you are, 
Billy ! " laughs my enchantress mockingly, pulling her 
hand away. "Goodness gracious, every one is look- 
at you ; the street is crowded. Tuesday evening, nine 
o'clock : I will get Mrs. Burton's invitation card for 
you. Good-bye. " 

Then she frightens me. 

I have made two steps down the vestibule stairs. A 
hand is suddenly laid upon my arm, light as a feather. 
A soft voice whispers in my ear very sadly, very ten- 
derly : "You wouldn't care loo much if anything 



BILLY HAMILTON. I73 

happened? You would forgive me — wouldn't you, 
Billy ? " 

I turn and catch the eyes, laden with unshed tears. 
Joy and rapture — in them is love •' Despair and misery 
— in them is agony! But she flies from me ; the door 
closes on the figure of my divinity. 

I stagger down the steps and mutter: " God help 
me — I'm half sure now ! What shall I do to save 
her ? " 



BOOK IV. 

THE BATTLE FOR HER LIFE. 
CHAPTER XVIL 

THE TOUCH OF THE MOUCHARD. 

I KNOW I won't get the facts out of her. God bless 
her dear heart, she wouldn't tell me ; that would im- 
plicate me. 

My one chance is Arago, and from what I have dis- 
covered of this gentleman's coolness, it would take the 
torture to open his lips. Still I will further investigate 
him. 

All the afternoon I do this, though not effectively, 
for I dare not ask directly ; everything must be insinu- 
tion, suggestion. I can only discover the Quartermas- 
ter-General's clerk has lots of money, which he says 
comes to him in gold drafts sent from England. This 
is perfectly in accord with his connection with the cot- 
ton syndicate ; the market for that commodity is Eng- 
land ; there they are paying enormous prices for the 
white fleece to keep their Manchester operatives from 
starving. Naturally Arago's profits would come from 
England. In addition I learn his luck at faro has lately 
been very bad. 

Suddenly — it is astonishing what slight things a 
man grasps at when he is falling into an abyss — I 
am smoking gloomily — suddenly into my throbbing 
head flies a name, "Quashie.?" Something connects 
"Quashie" with the girl I love. 

"Quashie" gave me the light for the first of these 
Bouquets Especiahs I am smoking. Quashie, whose 
face had been half kicked off by a government mule ; 
Quashie who — I have it ! Quashie — that's the name of 
the darky servant who rode by Miss Ashley's side that 
night on the Potomac. It's a common enough cog- 

174 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



I7S 



nomen among plantation darkies ; still, I'll investigate 
Quashie. 

Though it is evening, I tramp over to Bermudas's 
cigar-store and buy another box of the famed weeds. 
Casually inquiring, I find that Quashie iinished up his 
boot-blacking early in the afternoon, and can discover 
nothing more about him. 

Returning gloomily to my room, but slight comfort 
is brought to me by Mr. Finnaker. That little hero 
comes bustling in, closes my door mysteriously, locks 
it, sits down by my side and says : " I've stopped here 
to smoke a cigar and talk things over with you." He 
lights up one of my Bouquets Espiciales. " You know, 
you're the only one we d(7re consult. We haven't got 
any further in that altered special order No. 14 lo busi- 
ness." 

"Oh, the pontoons?" I remark, affecting a noncha- 
lance I do not feel. "What are you doing about 
it ? " 

"Well," he says, "we're shoving the work on 'em 
day and night. We'll have the trains ready to start by 
Thursday, the 20th ; we may get 'em to Burnside in 
time, and — we're keeping the matter very dark. You 
see, we're afraid of the infernal newspapers. If the 
New York Herald knew of it, wouldn't Stanton tear his 
beard — oh, my ! " The little patriot gives a grimace of 
disgust. 

" Have you found the traitor who forged the false 
requisition.?" I ask, with apparent unconcern, though 
my teeth meet in the end of my cigar. 

"No, we have put that into Baker's hands; the 
Secret Service is nosing that out," he whispered. " Let 
Baker alone ; he'll smash the infernal rebel spy like a 
mosquito." 

"Yes, Baker is very acute," I mutter, with a shiver, 
as Finnaker, having finished my cigar, leaves me. 

"Too infernally acute!" I think, an hour after- 
wards, as I still smoke and ponder. 

"No. 1410 — special requisition — altered or forged 
while passing from the Quartermaster-General's office 
to the Depot-Quartermaster — the envelope in charge of 
a trusty and true cavalry sergeant — and delivered over 
five long city blocks in six minutes ! By heaven, 
Lommox couldn't have got drunk and sober again in 



176 BILLY HAMILTON. 

that time ! It was no art of liquor that did this. Pish ! 
no delicate girl could have executed such superb strat- 
egy. Arago must be the guilty one ! " I laugh to my- 
self half hysterically. "Still, why her anguish, her 
anxiety ? " 

I cannot sleep ; it is no use to go to bed. I step out 
and pace the streets, and my steps will lead me towards 
one house in Washington. As I stride past on the op- 
posite side of the street, there are lights in the parlors 
of Senator Bream's mansion. It is too late to call, 
otherwise I would go in. Round Lafayette Square I 
go half a dozen times. 

On my sixth circuit, on Fifteenth Street, somewhere 
between H and G, I think it is, I encounter Arago. 
He is apparently on his way from Eva ^shley ; he has 
doubtless heard her voice within the minute. Jeal- 
ousy, hatred and distrust flame up in me. 

"Taking a walk. Captain?" he says, after a few 
words of polite greeting. 

" Yes," I reply. 

"Where are you going, this fine night.?" 

" Anywhere." 

" Oh, very well, come with me, and we'll have sup- 
per at Chamberlin's and a dash of faro." 

" I'm your man ! " I answer. 

Perhaps in his company some of my vague, yet tor- 
turing, suspicions will take more definite form. Any- 
way, in the excitement of play, I may forget — for a 
minute. 

We stroll towards Chamberlin's together. "Are 
you going to Mrs. Judge Burton's hop on Tuesday 
evening.? " I ask for want of other topics. 

' * I think so, " he remarks nonchalantly. ' ' And you ? " 

"Oh, certainly. I have the pleasure of escorting 
Miss Eva Ashley." 

This touches him ! He has not heard this before, I 
can see by the angry expression of his face. He is 
about to burst out — perhaps I shall get a better hint 
from his rage than his suavity — but he suddenly checks 
himself, and murmurs, in rather sarcastic tones : "Then 
I congratulate you upon the prospect of a very pleas- 
ant evening." 

"Will you try a cigar?" I say, in equally polite 
voice. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 177 

' ' No ! Diahle, yes •' That is what I have been want- 
ing. Thank you. I see you are smoking my brand." 

"Yes; I took your hint." Then some despairingr 
inspiration flying into me, I continue: "I went to 
Bermudas's and selected my cigars yesterday. By-the- 
bye, they've got a darky boot-black over there who, I 
should think, was a terrible fighter." 

" Indeed ?" 

"Yes, Mr. Quashie has got the most fearful eye I 
ever saw on any nigger. Curious name too : I don't 
suppose I should remember it, if I hadn't met a darky 
of the same cognomen, one September night on the 
Potomac under rather peculiar circumstances." 

Have I struck a rift in his armor .'' The Creole's 
hands tremble as he lights his cigar. But he steadies 
himself, and remarks nonchalantly: "Yes, Quashie 
is rather a common name among our contrabands, I 
believe." 

We are at the door of the great gambling-house. 
" On second thoughts I don't think I'll go in," I say. 

" Ah, changed your mind about playing ? " 

"Yes, I feel a little done up to-day." 

"Very well; good-bye. I wish you a pleasant 
evening at Mrs. Judge Burton's." There is a nasty 
and sarcastic sneer on his face as he says this and 
steps into the brilliantly lighted rooms. I turn away, 
walk home and think of "Quashie " — and her danger. 

I go to bed and try to sleep, to keep my mind calm 
for the morrow. But when I sleep, I dream horrible 
things. 

Early the next morning, rising unrefreshed, I bolt a 
hasty meal and walk over to Bermudas's cigar-store, 
thinking to find the darky, but Quashie is no more 
blacking boots, in fact his stand is gone. I am told 
Quashie has got tired of his job and gone off and joined 
an army sutler. To hunt for him, among the hundred 
thousand contrabands that loaf about the forts and 
camps and thoroughfares of the capital is a practical 
impossibility. 

Early in the day I receive Mrs. Judge Burton's card 
of invitation. I think I will go up and thank Eva for 
it. That's the idea ! Perhaps in her extremity she may 
confide in me. 

To my concern Miss Ashley is not in, though I find 



178 BILLY HAMILTON. 

IMrs. Bream looking fresh and pretty, notwithstanding 
there is an air of latent anxiety about her. 

"Eva's gone to visit Mrs. Rignold, " she remarks, 

" Ah ! Far from here ? " 

"Yes, quite a distance, over towards the capitol, 
Massachusetts Avenue, near E Street." 

" Don't you think I might stroll over and bring Miss 
Eve home ? " 

"Yes, if she'll let you?" smiles Lucy; then sud- 
denly she breaks out on me: "What is the matter 
with the girl .? T>ojyou know ? " 

"No," I reply, summoning the arts of a diplomat. 
" Nothing serious, I hope. She — she isn't sick .? " 

" No, but there's some gimcrack on her mind." 

" Since when? " 

"Since last evening." 

" What makes you think so } " 

"She walked the floor of her chamber half the night. 
You've had nothing to do Avith it ? You have not been 
playing fast and loose with her again ? " 

"On the contrary, she's been playing fast and loose 
wdth me," I say bitterly. 

"Yes, you don't look over chipper yourself?" re- 
marks the matron contemplatively. Then she makes 
my heart jump by saying : "These lover's quarrels ! " 

" O God, if that were all ! " I think. 

"Very well, run off and find her!" laughs Lucy. 
"I see you're anxious to bring her home. 

With this I walk off; but at Mrs. Rignold's on Mas- 
sachusetts Avenue, discover to my concern that Miss 
Ashley is not there and furthermore has not been there. 
At least, so the servant states at the door. My peace 
of mind is not added to by learning my sweetheart has 
some appointment she does not wish her aunt to know 
of — something she will even deceive her about. 

I go back to Senator Bream's ; Lucy has gone out; 
the young lady has not returned. 

I call later in the evening. The Senator, his wife 
and niece, are away at dinner. I wander about aim- 
lessly, but can do nothing. 

The strain is commencing to tell upon me. Finna- 
ker remarks it, as he strolls into my rooms late in the 
evening, when I am pacing the floor. 

"You look seedy, my cavalryman," he observes. 



BILLV HAMILTON. I79 

"What you and I need is to be at thef^-ont. This ab- 
sence from whizzing Minie balls and bursting shells is 
killing both of us ; " then he suddenly breaks out : " By 
Bunker Hill, are you in love ? I hear from Arago 
you took Miss Ashley to church yesterday. Very 
fetchy girl — very patriotic — very susceptible to the 
Quartermaster-General's office. If you don't believe 
me ask Arago." 

" That's the first witness you have cited who hasn't 
been dead" I mutter savagely. 

"Well, Arago may be soon — if work can do it; we're 
being ragged to death. That damned order ! " 

"Anything more about its miscarriage.-*" 

"Nothing! Only we keep it close, sir: close as a 
percussion on the nipple of an Enfield. We've even 
released Lommox." 

" Has the sergeant said anything further.?" 

"Not a word, I understand; simply sticks to his 
story — received the order at 6:45 ^"^ delivered it 6:51 
p. M. as per receipts. Sometimes I think the Depot- 
quartermaster must be the disloyal villain. There's a 
traitor somewhere, but Baker'll have him — Baker'll 
have him ! " With this he goes away, leaving me more 
miserable than ever. Jealousy is in my mind, as well 
as love and anxiety. 

The next morning I discover that Baker is engaged 
in the matter. 

A note is brought to me, directing my immediate 
presence at the Secret Service office. I go there; 
fortunately, my nerves are already braced for any 
blow. 

I get one ! 

" I haven't got much time to give you, Captain 
Hamilton," says the head of Uncle Sam's spies. "But 
I thought I'd ask you if you had seen anywhere in 
Washington the young woman for whom I told you 
to keep your eye peeled." 

" No," I reply ; "I don't think she is here. At all 
events, not in fashionable society." 

" All right ; but there's been hell raised here lately." 

" How.?" 

" That's my business. However, I think if the 
girl's here we'll surely find her ; though I reckon she 
didn't have anything to do with this ; this is a little too 



l8o BILLY HAMILTON. 

gigantic for a woman. But still we want to see that 
girl ; if she should be mixed up in this accursed trea- 
son, there's ten thousand dollars for all of us. So we've 
another society buck looking up things also. By-the- 
bye, it might be as well to consult with him ; he's 
already landed sub rosa one or two lady Rebels in 
the Old Capitol prison. He may give you a point." 

" Of course," I mutter. "We — we might hunt in 
couples." 

" Quite right ! I think you know him already." 

Then the words that come to me from the chief of 
the Secret Service make my head buzz, " He is Henri 
Dubois Arago, one of the head-clerks in the Quarter- 
master General's office, " says the detective. ' ' By your 
face I see you know him." 

" Don't 1 1 " I contrive to stammer. " He — he plays 
a devil of a game of poker." 

" Yes ; too much for you, I can see by your phiz, 
Captain Hamilton." 

" All right ; I'll — I'll meet him at Mrs. Judge Burton's 
dance to-night, if not earlier." 

" Very well ; only look alive." 

Then I walk out. The sun was shining as I stepped 
in — it seems dark as an eclipse now. 

Ten thousand dollars for the life of my love ! Arago 
an agent of the Secret Service ! He has already de- 
livered up to Uncle Sam's Justice some fair culprits ! 
Good God, why is he sparing her? Anyway, he has 
me in his grip. He knows I have seen the girl for 
whom they are looking and recognized her ; he knows 
that I have not reported my discovery to the Secret 
Service Bureau — furthermore, I have denied having seen 
her. But what do I care for myself P It is she for 
whom I tremble. 

Still, in my confused mind struggles one ray of hope. 
Evidently the War Department wishes to keep this 
awful mistake, or accident, or blunder about the pon- 
toons as quiet as possible for the present : that may 
be one element of her safety. 

I look around the great city. I think of its en- 
circling forts, its vast garrison, each bridge patrolled, 
every avenue of escape guarded with military discipline 
and martial rigidity, and mutter to myself: "Oh 
God, I am helpless ! " 



BILLY HAMILTON. l8l 

My almost aimless steps have taken me back to my 
boarding-house. Here another pang, another surprise 
of that awful day, comes to me. A letter in an un- 
known lady's hand is delivered. 

I open it, and turn at once to the signature ; it is 
from Miss Ashley : then I read, in rather trembling 
characters : 



" My dear Billy : 

" Pray heaven you don't misjudge me I "When I asked you to take 
me to Mrs. Burton's dance this evening, I had forgetton that I had 
made a previous engagement for the escort of Mr. Arago. He 
insists that I fulfil it ; therefore I beg you don't come to my house 
for me. 

" Still, for the love of heaven, don't let any pique, indignation or 
just anger at my inexcusable forgetfulness keep you from being at 
Mrs. Burton's to-night. Come, if you only come to quarrel with me 
— but come! It is vital to both of us, if you meant your few wild 
words when you last clasped my hand ! Come if yoii mean them I 

" Yours, 

" Eva. 

" Don't try to see me this afternoon ; but come to-niqht P^ 

First, rage fills me. What hold has this cursed 
Creole that he should compel the girl I love to cancel 
her own request to me. By the Lord, is he threaten- 
ing her.? Why does she beg me not to come to her 
this afternoon t I clench my fist in jealous rage, as I 
reflect these are Arago's off-duty hours. 

Then suddenly comes — over all my doubt and mis- 
ery — one great joy. If the last part of Eva Ashley's 
letter means anything, it means she loves me. Can I 
be faithless to her in her extremity .-' Shall I prove to 
her that I am dastard, that I was liar, when I whispered 
in her ear last Sunday morning.? 

The climax is approaching. To save her I must be 
ready to act like lightning. What are the sinews of 
war — of love.? Money! I overhaul my funds avail- 
able ; then go down to my bankers, and by pledg- 
ing certain securities, have placed to my credit cash 
sufficient for almost any emergency. 

This done, feeling I must regard my sweetheart's 
request and, fighting with myself, I keep away from 
Mrs. Bream's big house on Lafayette Square but write 
Eve, asking her to give me her confidence, her love, 
— to renew the engagement of our youth — telling her 



l82 BILLY HAMILTON. 

I adore her — telling her I know she is in trouble- 
begging her to let me bear it for her. 

This despatched, I go down to Willard's and try and 
kill time knocking the billiard balls about ; but time 
won't be killed, and goes very slowly. I stride to my 
F Street boarding-house. Here I pack a valise. In a 
campaign always be ready for quick movement. 

This done, Finnaker comes bustling in from his 
clerical duties. 

' ' By-the-bye, here's a note for you, I got in the hall," 
he says. 

I tear it open. It is only a line from Durant, the 
colonel of my regiment, to say he has come in on 
some regimental business and asking me to call on 
him at Willard's. "Anything new?" I ask, as I hand 
him a cigar. Finnaker always tells me more when he 
is smoking. 

"Nothing ; only ive've released Lommox from arrest, 
though we haven't put him on duty. We're keeping 
this thing bottled up, sir — bottled up like champagne ! * 
Wait till the cork pops — then I pity the traitor." 

" Have a bottle with me — this evening." 

" Won't I— Munn's Extra-Dry ! " 

With him I go down to Mrs. Lorimer's tea, and eat 
nothing, but drink something to strengthen me for my 
fate. Finally, I make my toilet and walk to Mrs. Bur- 
ton's dance about ten o'clock this evening. Fortu- 
nately, Finnaker is busy with War Department duties, 
and I am relieved from that little hero's chatter on the 
way. 

In Mrs. Burton's parlors I find my advent has been 
deftly heralded. My hostess greeting me, says : "I'm 
sorry that you were prevented from coming with Mrs. 

* It is a curious fact that the War Department have never ex- 
plained that, though Burnside sent his order for pontoons on the 
9th of November originally and both Halleck and Meigs telegraphed 
about them on the nth and 12th of November, still the Depot 
Quartermaster at Washington never heard of the pontoon order 
until the 14th of November. Vide Burnside's testimony. Appendix. 

No elucidation of this matter was attempted even after Fredericks- 
burg vi^as fought and lost, though the press of the country were 
denouncing Stanton and Lincoln for the disaster : See Appendix ; 
Editorials, New York Herald, etc., and Harper's Weekly Cartoon, 
January 3d, 1863 — Columbia demanding her 15000 sons murdered at 
Fredericksburg from Lincoln, Stanton, and Halleck. — Ed. 



BILLY HAMILTON, 1 83 

Senator Bream and her party ; but better late than 
never, Captain Hamilton." 

Therefore I know Miss Ashley must be here. 

At first opportunity I look about for her. She is not 
in the parlor where Mrs. Burton is receiving ; but I see 
Lucy Bream, looking- very pretty and placid, a few 
chairs away. 

As I greet her she says: "You missed Eva at 
Mrs. Rignold's the other afternoon ; she returned al- 
most immediately after you had left." 

" How is she.? " I ask uneasily. "Any more gim- 
cracks on the mind and all-night se'ances with her- 
self.?" 

" Oh, no ; entirely normal once more. Look ! " 

I follow her glance, through the folding doors. And 
what a picture ! 

Amid the crowd of circling dancers, brave men, and 
lovely girls in rohes de hal, each one meant to be se- 
ductive to masculine eyes ; their white arms flashing 
and shining shoulders gleaming, I see but one ! 

A goddess of beauty, in a toilette made to pull the 
heart out of a man, is floating with fairy steps to the 
soft " Dream of the Ocean " waltz. 

Floating ; that's what she is doing ! for all this night 
the loveliness of Eva Ashley seems to me more of the 
air than of the earth. 

From the white camellia stuck in her waving curls 
to the light tulle skirts, flounces and furbelows that 
wave like billows over her swaying crinoline, beneath 
which scintillate and gleam superb ankles and petite 
feet, she has no speck of color, save hot burning 
blushes vibrating over cheeks that grow pale as lilies 
as she looks on me. 

Then suddenly into her eyes fly two sparks of emo- 
tion. In them I see what makes me happy — in all my 
anxiety— ay — even though the arm of that accursed 
Creole tyrant circles that lithe waist and presses her to 
him. 

I know he is her fyra?ii now ! For catching her 
glance at me, Arago whispers to her. Eve turns her eyes 
from me — the beautiful orbs grow dim with tears behind 
them, her proud head droops. I can see her white, 
sculptured bosom throb tumultuously with the short, 
rapid beats of some supreme emotion. In my soul I 



184 BILLY HAMILTON. 

know it is fear, not love that causes Eva Vernon Ash- 
ley to accept the attentions of Henri Dubois Arago. 

What immense motive, what intense strain makes 
this high-bred Virginia girl, a descendant of one of 
Rupert's cavaliers, tremble as she looks into the face 
of the New Orleans drift-away ? Her ancestors were 
not wont to have their hearts beat in panic-terror 
as they faced Frenchmen at Crecy, Poitiers or Azin- 
court. And from the way Stuart's cavalry are fighting 
across the Potomac now, their blood doesn't seem to 
have deteriorated. 

Is it the terror of the victim for the mouchard? 
Shades of Vidocq ! give me a mouchard's cunning to 
defeat him ! 

No ! better still, give me American pluck to save my 
love from his two-faced clutch. For if she is guilty in 
this thing — he must be guilty also. 

Made strong by this idea, I step towards Eve. The 
dance has ended — she is escorted by another cavalier 
now — for in all this evening I note Arago treats Miss 
Ashley, in public, with the punctilio of a Creole and 
the etiquette of a gentleman. 

The girl, though she is on the arm of one officer is 
chatting to several others. Into this coterie I insinuate 
myself. A moment later I am bowing before her and 
asking for a dance. She extends her programme ; I per- 
ceive Arago has confiscated half her dances, and the 
cotillion also. 

" I have come ! " I whisper. " You know what that 
means. You received my note ? '' 

Her eyes answer mine, then droop, and despite a strug- 
gle, for I can see Eva is fighting to keep down emotion, 
her heart throbs wildly. A blush, beginning gradually 
with pale pink, that makes her face like chiselled coral, 
grows into a flaming, ruby glow. 

" For heaven's sake, take only one," she falters in 
my ear. "The one marked with a big cross — yes, that 
one just before supper — quick, don't linger, he is watch- 
ing me. Thank you — God bless you." 

I bow and move away, swearing for this humiliation 
of my love to reckon, at proper time, with him who 
causes it. 

Then I try to act as other men at fetes and revels. I 
dance, I flirt, I even laugh. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 185 

The dances drift away. 

Ours comes at last ! 

As she puts her hand upon my arm, Eva Ashley's 
words startle me. "Waltz with me," she whispers. 
"Don't talk to me. He's watching-." 

This I do, clutching her to my heart in a desperate 
way, for I know the crisis of our fate is upon us. 

"The dance is ending. I have not had one word 
with you," I mutter. 

"Wait!" 

Then I see with what subtle feminine art Miss Ash- 
ley has arranged her manoeuvre. By very force of 
being the escort of their party, Mr. Arago is compelled 
by ballroom etiquette and courtesy to take Mrs. Bream 
to supper. The refreshment-room is in the basement 
of the house, reached by a somewhat narrow stairway. 
Though he looks back lingeringly, longingly, even I 
think threateningly at the girl, the Creole is compelled 
to offer his arm and escort Mrs. Bream down, among 
the first hungry ones, in company with her hostess 
and several passee dowagers. 

A moment after comes the rush to supper. The 
stairs are blocked with a crowd of eager matrons, hur- 
rying girls and their escorts, civil and military; shoulder- 
straps elbow dress-coats, and gilded spurs play havoc 
with lace flounces. Henri Arago is cut off from us by 
the living crush. 

The supper-room not being large enough, the over- 
flow now seat themselves on the stairway, in one solid 
phalanx. 

Politeness would keep any gentleman from tramping 
over silk dresses, deHcate feet, extended crinolines and 
flounces, if the other cavaliers would permit him. 

The dancing-salons are empty ; though the musicians 
are still fiddling the march to supper. 

" Come ! " directs my enchantress hurriedly, nerv- 
ously, bashfully. 

At her word I follow her, to endure the most as- 
tounding interview perchance woman has ever given 
to man. 

In a little room of boudoir effects, cut off from the 
main salons of the house, the girl turns desperately to 
me and says : "I received your letter, Billy." 

There is a directness in her tones that makes me 



l86 BILLY HAMILTON, 

start. Her beautiful face, clear-cut as a cameo, is very 
pale, though the nostrils are dilated and the eyes of 
unnatural brightness. There is a shrinking modesty 
about her attitude that makes me pity her though 
they add to her ethereal beauty. 

"Ah! You understood what I wrote.? — that I love 
you ? " I murmur. 

"Y-e-s!" 

"That I wish you to revive our engagement.? " 

Her answer disheartens me. 

"Yes ; but I do not think it wise to renew it at this 
time — under these circumstances." 

" You don't love me ? " 

"I do ! — with my heart — my soul ! " This is sighed 
out with bashful voice and averted head. 

" Prove it ! " I say desperately. 

"I will! I will marry you to-morrow morning — 
quietly, secretly." 

"Why not openly.?" 

"I— I dare not." 

"Anyway, I marry you ! " There is unutterable joy 
in my face. I am taking her into my arms to seize a 
lover's recompense from the lips that have kept me 
waiting so long. 

But she, retreating a step, whispers: "Not yet; 
there is one condition ! " 

"With any condition, I marry you ■' " 

"Then don't look me in the face. Turn your head 
away, — Billy, please turn your head away." 

Half sulkily, I do so. I hate to take my eyes from 
off the loveliness that now I feel is mine. 

Is it.? 

To my ears, that can't believe them as I listen, dazed 
and petrified, come these words, faltered out to me in 
lowest whisper, as if each fibre of Eve's maiden heart 
rebelled against them, — as if each word was an agony 
of virgin modesty, as if she were ashamed the air should 
catch them : "You — you must promise me — dear one, 
you must promise me — on your word of honor as a 
gentleman — nay, on your oath as a man — not to con- 
sider me your — your — absolute wife until one week has 
passed from the day I take your name and ring." 

" What do you mean .? " I turn upon her. 

She has faced me desperately. Our eyes meet. She 



BILLY HAMILTON. I§7 

gasps-. "You know what I mean! For God's sake, 
don't make nie explain again ! " and turns away. Wave 
after wave of blushes flies over her face, each deeper 
than before. That lovely neck, those shining shoul- 
ders, that gleaming bosom, grow crimson. 

The beautiful head droops. 

She convulsively hides her eyes with her hands. She 
is sighing : " You — you make it too hard for me. You 
do not love me ! " 

Flesh and blood cannot withstand such despairing 
loveliness. ' ' By the oath you wish me to take — by my 
word of honor as a gentleman, and a man and an officer, 
I take it!" I mutter, "Good God, I love you well 
enough to endure even this torture, this degradation ! 
But for only one week ! " I have got her in my arms 
now. "Remember that! One week, then my wile, 
my true wife 1 " 

"Your tnie wife, Billy." Our lips meet in one long 
clinging kiss. Then she struggles from me and whis- 
pers rapidly and anxiously : " Meet me at the fountain 
in Franklin Square at ten o'clock to-morrow morning. 
I cannot get away before. Have everything ready." 

"You mean the minister and the ring and the 
license } " 

"Yes, everything. I will meet you." 

"And after the ceremony that has made you mine 
in law and honor, I suppose you will give me the cold 
shoulder for Monsieur Arago — for a week," I remark 
grimly. 

' ' I am compelled to. " 

" Ah, for a week you will break my heart with 
jealousy — you will give me no wife's respect and honor 
— because I am dastard enough to make such a'- 
ignoble bargain." 

"No — no. Every wifely respect and honor to a 
gentleman who has aided me in my extremity." 

"Your extremity ? What extremity ? " My fears for 
her make me stern to her. "Tell me, I demand." 

" To — to save my life ! " 

"Impossible ! Explain ! " 

"I cannot now. There is no time. I must go back 
to my jailer." 

' ' Your what P " 

Her words take away my breath. 

"/ — I have been u?ider arrest /or tiventy-four hours." 



1 88 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"Good Lord ! " 

"Yesterday afternoon Mr. Arago exhibited his secret 
service United States Deputy Marshal's badge and 
threatened to handcuff me and take me to the Old 
Capitol Prison at once, if I didn't consent to marry him." 

My muttered curse startles her, but she goes on : 
"I am under my parole now not to leave this house 
without his escort or permission." 

" But your uncle, the great War Senator ! " 

" He daren't help me even if he would. I'm too 
deep in this time." 

"And to-morrow ?" 

" I will break my parole for your sake to-morrow ! " 

But here a soft suave voice comes floating in to us : 
" Have you seen Miss Ashley about. Major Hughes.? 
Mrs. Bream is anxious for her to join us at supper. The 
crowd is so great on the stairs I had to come by the 
front door." 

With finger on her lips, my sweetheart, my love, my 
traitor, my Rebel, my spy, floats out from me to the 
touch of the moiichard ; and I, half believing this is a 
dream, want to go after her and take his Creole throat 
within my hands and wring the life out of his dastard 
body. 



CHAPTER XVHI. 

THE NUPTIALS OF DAMOCLES. 

But brute force is not the weapon to employ against 
finesse. I cannot interfere now, though I have to hold 
myself in my chair ; as I catch his voice speaking com- 
mandingly to her. It may be but a suspicion : I think 
I hear him say : "Be careful ; your fate hangs upon 
your obedience and acquiescence to my rule." 

It dies away ; and sometime after, the parlors begin- 
ning to fill with dancers, I stroll out of the little room 
and see my adoration seated with Mrs. Bream and look- 
ing very sweetly at her Creole captor as he stands before 
the ladies. 

I am compelled to act as other men. If Eve can 
finesse, I must also. 

I stroll up to the party and suggest : "Have you 



BILLY HAMILTON. 189 

had supper enough, Miss Ashley ? " and would offer her 
my arm to take her downstairs. 

But obeying- a look from the Creole, who stands be- 
side her, Eve says to me coldly : " Thank you, Captain 
Hamilton ; Mr. Arago always takes such good care of 
me at supper that I never need a second bite." 

He leads her off to the dance again, and Lucy Bream 
looking at me, sneers sarcastically: "A little harder 
work than you thought, picking up the old love — eh, 
Billy .? " 

" Rather," I reply, and meditate upon the aunt's deep 
insight into human character. "Oh, yes; her niece is 
perfectly normal P " 

But /am not normal. After making pretence of doing 
a cavalier's duty a little while longer this evening, chat- 
ting with Miss Laura Cushing of New York, pretend- 
ing to flirt with dashing Mollie Bent, I getaway from 
this fete scene ; its laugh is bitter, its gayety distracting 
to me. I cannot bear to see my promised bride bullied 
by this damned Creole ; besides, the coming bridegroom 
has lots to do by to-morrow morning at ten o'clock. 

I hurry to my F Street boarding-house. The sleepy 
negro servant-girl who opens the door informs me ; 
"Dere was an Irish soldier to see you twice dis even- 
ing — late at night, sah." 

" Did he leave his name } " 

"'Deed he did, sah; it war Lummox," replies the 
wench. " He said he'd rouse you to-morrow mornin'." 

" Oh, Lommox," I laugh. Then suddenly I want to 
see Lommox ; he may elucidate this matter that is still 
an enigma to me. If my sweetheart is guilty in regard 
to that pontoon order, Arago must be guilty also. 

Slipping a dollar into the girl's hand, I say : "When 
the Irish sergeant calls again, if I'm out, show him to 
my room and tell him to wait for me. It is important 
I see him at once." 

" Yes, sah." 

"If you remember, there's five dollars more for 

you." 

" Den I'se suoo I'll neber miss 'um, sah ! " 
With this I go to my room to think the matter over. 
If Eve is guilty of the pontoons, her only safety is be- 
hind the Rebel lines, or in some far-away country ; for 
I know well enough, in every state of America where 



igo BILLY HAMILTON. 

the Star Spangled Banner floats, Uncle Sam's Secret 
Service sooner or later will get her, and I don't marry 
to become a widower at once. 

But this brings to my mind the infernal oath my com- 
ing bride has exacted from me, and I tramp my room 
with rage in my soul and bitterness in my heart. 

I wake from uneasy slumbers early the next morning. 
It is seven o'clock by my watch when I arise. A 
license is necessary, with two witnesses as to my 
identity. If my nuptials are to be kept secret I can 
ask no intimate friend. "To trust Finnaker is to pro- 
claim it far and wide. Though I can depend on their 
silence, I dare not call upon my two lieutenants : if 
this thing comes to an awful ending, they might be 
ruined as well as I. Some out-of-the-way Treasury 
clerk, some buried-alive attache of the Public Li- 
brary," I think. 

So about half-past eight o'clock I tramp down Penn- 
sylvania Avenue, racking my brains for proper wit- 
nesses. In front of a beer-saloon about Seventh Street, 
yclept Konig Wilhelm, a genial German voice breaks 
in upon my meditations. With a start I wake up, and 
find August Lammersdorff, the sutler, is calling to 
me. 

" Wi'e gehi's, Captain Hamilton ; is your parole lifted 
yet ? Come in und drink a glass of beer mid me. I'm 
shust in from der front, und I'm shust going out 
again." 

Suddenly it flies through me : " Lammersdorff — wit- 
ness number one. Best in the world ; everybody knows 
him. He can get me another." 

"With pleasure," I answer. In the saloon I join 
him in a glass of beer, and over it tell him my 
wishes." 

"Going to be married, eh.? Dat's a fine way of 
spending your parole ; dat will make you vant to be 
von of the home-guards," he laughs, as we sip our lager. 
" Von't I be your vitness } Vill I get you anodder vit- 
ness } I vill get you half a dozen vitnesses. Here's 
mein friend, Herr Schloss, vat is sutler mid Birney's 
division ; he vill step over mid me." 

So, after another glass of beer, in which Lammers- 
dorff winking at me says: "To the health of de 
fust baby," we go down together. The proper declara- 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



191 



tions being made, I receive the necessary license to 
make Miss Evelyn Vernon Ashley my wife. 

Coming- out with this in my pocket, I am still con- 
versing with the genial Lammersdorff. "Have you had 
a good trip ? " I ask. 

"Veil, fifteen t'ousand dollars talks." 

"You'll have a lively time if it rains. It looks 
threatening, too.'' 

" Veil, I dodges Virginia mud dis time. I goes de 
odder way." 

"How's that?" 

"Veil, de army dey goes to Falmouth, opposite 
Fredericksburg. I goes down de Maryland side to 
Port Tobacco, den it's only a few miles ferry across to 
Aquia Creek, und a short haul to Falmouth." 

"Then a pleasant trip to you," I say. "What time 
do you leave? " 

"Sometime dis afternoon. If it look like rains I 
starts early. I goes mid four vagoons. " 

I shake hands with him once more and get on my 
way. I must find some church where our names will 
not excite comment or gossip. St. John's won't do. 
After a little consideration, I select out-of-the-way 
Christ's Church, down towards the Navy Yard. 

Catching the minister at home, I make arrangements 
vi^ith him for half-past ten o'clock. Looking at my 
watch, I find I have no time to lose. I pick up the 
first decent-looking cab I meet, and from a little con- 
versation with the driver, judge that his beat being 
about the Capitol, he has probably never seen Miss 
Ashley. I get in the carriage and pull down the blinds. 
I don't care for outside eyes to see me and my bride on 
our trip about Washington. Inspired by the promise 
of extra fee, my jehu whips up his horses and I reach 
Franklin Square in time ; in fact, I'm five minutes 
ahead of my appointment by my watch. 

Directing the driver to wait for me on I street, I stroll 
into the grounds, almost deserted at this early hour, for 
the sun gets up late these November mornings, and the 
day is threatening. Walking to the fountain, I stand 
beside it, and for five minutes smoke an uneasy cigar. 
Then she comes ! Were it under other circumstances 
and were not my heart full of anxiety and terror for 
her, I would be the happiest man on earth ; for this 



192 BILLY HAMILTON. 

morning my bride is as piquant and lovely a darling 
as ever gave joy to heart of groom. 

Her cheeks are full of maiden blushes. A stray curl 
of hair is floating in the breeze beneath her piquant 
turban. Her eyes are bright with excitement ; her 
bearing brisk with the energy of determined action ; 
her dress captivating audchtc, for the day being threat- 
ening, she wears a gay Balmoral petticoat that is dis- 
played by looped up skirt, after the fashion of that day, 
from beneath which two dainty feet in tight-laced, 
high-heeled bottipes show themselves occasionally. 

For a moment Eve's delicate fingers falter in my grasp 
as she asks eagerly : " Is everything ready? " 

"Quite, darling," I answer. "Come with me." 
And placing her hand in pretty confidence on my arm, 
she trips by my side as I lead her across the square 
to where my jehu is waiting. This worthy I have al- 
ready informed of my destination, charging him to 
avoid the main thoroughfares and crowded streets. 

I deferentially open the door of the cab ; Eve is 
about to get in. 

But even as her foot is on the step she turns flutter- 
ing to me, looks me straight in the face and whispers : 
" It is not too late. Billy, it isn't pity that makes you 
do this ? " 

" It is love ! " I answer, gazing into her eyes. 

She knows I tell the truth. "Thank you!" she 
says, then murmurs : "You do not regret .'* " 

"I regret nothing," I say, "except my unmanly 
promise — my accursed oath." 

" 0-o-oh ! " With a bashful flutter, my bride is in 
the cab, turning from me one of the reddest faces I 
have ever seen. 

Stepping in after her, I close the door. "You have 
every confidence in me ? " I whisper into her ear, which 
seems to me like a ruby-tinted shell. 

"Yes ! " A little hand exquisitely gloved is placed 
in mine trustfully. 

"Then don't you think I deserve a kiss ?" 

"Two of them, Billy." 

Her lips meet mine confidingly, lovingly ; my arm 
goes round the lithe waist that trembles beneath the 
pressure of my hand. I am caressing her as an every- 
day lover does an everyday sweetheart, I take great 



BILLY HAMILTON. I93 

care to say nothing to add to her agitation, though I am 
determined that after the ceremony Eve shall give me 
every explanation it is a wife's duty to accord her 
husband. 

We get to the minister's sooner than I expect. "Oh 
mercy, we are there ! '' flutters the girl piquantly, as I 
assist her out. 

The ceremony takes scarcely a moment. Though 
Eve falters a little when she promises to obey me ; as 
I place the ring upon her finger and look into her dear 
eyes, I know she means to be a loyal wife to me. We 
sign the register; the minister delivers to my bride, the 
certificate that proves Evelyn Vernon Ashley is now 
Evelyn Vernon Hamilton, she folds it up carefully and 
whispers : " Billy, even if you should hate me for this, 
I shall always treasure it." 

" Hate you ^ " I whisper. " Love you ! Zove you ■' 
Love you ! " 

My ardor makes her extremely bashful. She trips 
down the steps, half laughing, half crying, while the 
worthy rector, with a goodly fee in his pocket, looks 
kindly after us as I step down the stairs to the carriage 
in which Eve is already seated. 

" You can drive back to Franklin Square," I say to 
the driver — "slowly." 

" Bedad, I understand, yer honor!" answers the 
hackman cocking his eye at me jovially. Guessing he 
has been on a bridal outing, he evidently expects a hand- 
some douceur. 

Then I turn my eyes on my bride. She is in a 
corner of the carriage, looking as agitatedly diffident 
as her namesake at interview with the serpent and 
holding the forbidden fruit in her hand. 

"But it is /who am forbidden to eat!" I reflect 
grimly. 

Looking on her exquisite loveliness, something in 
my face frightens her as I step in beside her. She 
mutters : " For God's sake, remember, Billy ! " 

" I remember my oalli — you remember your vows\ 
Two kisses,"! say cheerily, "and I'm your obedient 
servant." 

"As many as you want ; I love you." 

" Now," I go on, "at least I can command from you 
wifely obedience and wifely frankness. Tell me your 



194 BILLY HAMILTON. 

exact relations with that cursed villain of the United 
States Secret Service." 

" I — I do not want to give them to you. I will not 
g-ive them to you ! The knowledge might compromise 
you. " 

" You must ! I am compromised already." 

"How.? oh Fleaven, how.?" 

" By my love for you. I am going to save you. If 
not, why did I marry you .? — why did you marry me? " 

"Because — " here the girl frightens me. " Because, 
Billy," she whispers in my ear, " I feared that in some 
weak moment I might become poltroon enough to 
marry him." 

' ' You — you love him ? " 

' ' Love him — that dastard, who sells himself for money 
and then betrays his purchaser.? I loathe — I despise 
him ! But in some weak moment, Billy, I feared I 
might, to save my life, promise to marry him. It is 
not pleasant to die so young, and for what I have done 
they'd hang me high as Haman. I — I bribed him ; I 
sold Bonny Belle to give him the money. He now 
says he did it for love of me." 

"The pontoons for Burnside ? " I whisper, so low she 
catches it only from the formation of my lips. 

"Yes." 

"Then he's as guilty as you are ! " 

"No; Arago only did it to trick me. The forged 
order was never sent. He told me that yesterday after- 
noon, and laughed at me." 

"Then he lies ! That forged order was sent. The 
pontoons have been delayed four days," 

Then, oh the glory that comes into that girl's fac^e ! 
"Have I given my dear country, the Confederacy, 
another chance.?" she whispers. "Have I stayed 
Burnside till Lee has time .? What do I care now if 
they give me a shameful death .? It will be my glory ! " 
Then the sunshine in her eyes seems to fill the car- 
riage with radiance. 

Shuddering for myself — I, the Union officer, who have 
been made faithless to my cause by love, gaze on this 
Rebel girl who can love but can't forget her people's 
battle. 

She has risen in the carriage. But I draw her back to 
me and mutter: "For God's sake, think of me, who 
love you — think of the husband who will save you." 



BILLY HAMILTON. I95 

"Yes, it would be pleasant to live — to see my South 
free ! Pleasant — " She looks at me, puts her arms 
round my neck of her own free will and kisses me. 

"Now tell me everything ! " I mutter. 

' ' I will. When I first came here, anxious to do a little 
for the South ; full of vengeance — General Milroy had 
burned the house over my dear mother's head. From 
some hints I received in Washington, I judged Arago, 
clerk in the Quartermaster-General's Office, was in the 
pay of the Confederacy ; tliat he received his money 
in drafts sent him from England. I met him in society ; 
sounded him : he gave me some secrets, important 
ones, one of which I succeeded in delivering the morn- 
ing after the night you arrested me." 

"Ah ! that was the reason Stonewall Jackson would 
not have paroled me if I had known your name ! " 

"When I returned here, Arago was glad to again 
assist me. He said, my being the niece of the patriotic 
Senator, one of the pillars of the Republican party, 
made it safer for him to be intimate at our house. A 
few days ago, he told me his suspicions that Freder- 
icksburg would be Burnside's route to Richmond. 

' ' Before leaving our Southern lines, I had held consul- 
tation with a General of the Confederate Army, who 
had told me carefully what thing would most cripple 
the Federal advance by the various routes to Rich- 
mond, the Shenandoah, the Peninsula, the line of the 
Rappahannock, either at Fredericksburg or above. At 
Fredericksburg it was the necessity of pontoons, to 
bridge the river. 'Keep them from crossing,' he said 
to me, 'till Lee gets ready for them and if the Yanks 
cross, by Dixie, there won't many of them get back 
again.' And I have done it ! " she ejaculates in triumph, 
then falters : "O Heaven ! what a blow it was to me, 
when that dastard told me I had failed — that he had 
trapped me. It was not the dread of imprisonment, 
though, my gentleman, even as he wooed me, jingled 
the handcuffs — it wasn't the fear of the gallows, though 
I saw it over me ; it was the thought that I had failed 
that crushed me and made me coward with Arago. But 
now ! now! now ! Her eyes blaze up and glow. Sud- 
denly she laughs hysterically : " O Billy ! What a 
Rebel I am ! " and sinks sobbing into my arms while I 
gaze on her with only one thought in my mind — how to 



196 BILLY HAMILTON. 

save her ! That's all I think of now ! How to save 
her ! God help me — I have forgotten my duty to my 
uniform, to my flag, to my country — all but her 
safety ! " 

The scoundrel Arago is equally guilty with her. I 
must spare htm — to shield her. Oh, I am a fine Union 
man on my marriage day ! Ifer safety depends on hts 
— then hts depends on hers. He dare not denounce her. 
He has only tried to frighten her to gain her. He's 
been partially true to his Confederate paymasters — he's 
been somewhat true to his Union employers. He has 
been wholly faithless and pitiless to the girl whose 
beauty has driven him mad to win her — as it has me ? 

As I think, my bride recovers herself and whispers : 
" I should like to live now. You think you can save 
me? Her kisses make me strong enough traitor, to 
swear :" "By Heaven ! No Government spies shall 
ever take my wife ! " 

We are at Franklin Square. Eve, after her nervous 
spasm has grown calm again. Herpretty head is held 
high. She whispers " That is the only break-down 
of my life. And it was because I thought of you." 

"Very well," I answer, as with a last kiss, I help 
her from the carriage, " go quietly to your aunt's. 
But be sure to be at home in an hour from now. By 
that time I shall call on you ; then I shall have deter- 
mined what I shall do with you ! " 

My tone is that of dominant husband. She looks at 
me anxiously but lovingly ; then suddenly whispers : 
"You — you are going to send me from Washing- 
ton ? " 

"Probably ! In any event I shall do what I deem 
best for my wifes safety ! If your only danger came 
from Arago you might stay here forever. Good-bye. 
Are you going to tell Aunt Lucy what we've been 
doing } " 

"Oh, Heaven ! I — I couldn't — I — good-bye, my — 
my — husband .' " 

Whispering this with a blush she runs lightly from 
me and I, following her graceful figure with my eye, 
shudder as I ttiink of the danger that is upon my love 
— not from Arago — but from others who must have 
been connected with the successful execution of this 
plot against our nation. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 197 

Then, dismissing- the hackman with a liberal fee, I 
g-o back to my rooms on F Street, to find another and 
immediate element of danger to her. 

As I enter my parlor, Lommox stands erect before 
me and salutes, his Irish brogue greeting me: " Be- 
dad, Cap., 1 was afraid you were niver coming." 

"Ah, they asked you to wait for me?" I remark, 
attempting nonchalance, though my heart is beating 
wildly, for here is a man who should be able to tell 
me much. "I supposed you were anxious to see me, 
and so instructed the servant to tell you to wait." 

" Faith, an' I do want to see ye. Begob, Cap'n, I'm 
in a divil of a schrape. " 

"Not been drunk again, I hope? " I say severely. 

"Wirrah, if it was only that ! Bad luck to it, if it 
was only that ! But it's a thing I've got to have advice 
upon, so I thought I'd come to ye, me ould captain. 
Tare an' ages, hasn't it been tearing me inside out iver 
since I've been under arrest ! " 

" Ah, you wish to speak to me confidentially, as if 
I were your counsel before a court-martial," I suggest. 

•' Faith, an' I do." 

"Very well; open your heart to me." I close my 
door and lock it. 

"It's about them damned pontoons 1 " says the ser- 
geant in low voice, getting near me. 

' ' What pontoons ? " 

"Sure of course ye don't know anything about 'em. 
Nobody does ; it's a sacret of the War Department. 
Eighty pontoons and two thousan' fate of bridge 
ordered from the Depot-Quartermaster last Wednesday 
evening — ^just a week ago this cursed day. Ye know 
I'm one of the orderlies at the Quartermaster gineral's ? " 

" Certainly." 

" Well, Arago, one of the head clerks, at 6 : 45 in the 
avening — it was dark thin — comes out with a requisi- 
tion, number 1410 they calls it." That bastely Fin- 
naker was with him. He hands it to me and says : 
' Deliver it to the Depot-Quartermaster at once.' " 

"I slip the cursed envelope in my sidebelt. Ye- 
know they niver tell ye the importance of an order ; 
it's all damned official routine ; they send a requisition 
for a box of tacks just the same as if were a requisition 
that'll send a hundred thousand men to the divil — that 



Ig8 BILLY HAMILTON. 

carries the lives of an army in it," the sergeant mutters, 
with tears in his honest eyes. "Bad luck to 'em ! not a 
word did the sons of guns tell me it was any extree im- 
portance ; just handed it and said : ' Take it ! ' 

"With it in my side-belt, I jumps on my horse and 
turns from Seventeenth Strate into F. Down I goes 
straight for Twenty-second Strate, aisy trot. The night 
was as black as a dark-lantern ; there was only a few 
people in the strate ; not so crowded on the rise as it is 
further down. 

"Suddenly, out of the darkness, comes to me the 
swatest voice I iver heard ; a poor girl shrieking, 
'Oh, God, assist me; a man is insulting me!' By 
heaven, I'm a soldier and an Irishman ! Bedad, there 
was a woman, apparently struggling with a niggah. I 
reined up my charger. What did I think of a damned 
quartermaster's order, that might be for a pace of rope 
or a box of tacks. I jumps off me horse to the girl's 
assistance, and as I jumps off, damned if the niggah 
didn't butt me in the stomach ; I thought a battering- 
ram had struck me. Then I up and at him. Biff ! — 
God save us, how he squealed 1 Biff ! — I chased him 
for a block. 

"When I came back the girl was holding my 
charger. 'Thank ye,' she said, 'sergeant.' Sure, how 
did she know I was sergeant .'' * I think you've dropped 
something.' She handed me a cursed official envelope. 

" 'Can I do anything more for you, me darlint?' I 
asked. 

" ' No ; ' and she fled into the darkness. 

"I mounted me horse, and found somehow my side- 
belt had been cut ; the order must have dropped from 
it when the niggah butted me. With the envelope in 
my hand, I gallop down to the Depot-Quartermaster's. 
I wasn't behind time more than a minute, and deliv- 
ered it." 

"Well?" I say. 

"Well, murder! That's what it is — murder! The 
damned order had been changed from eighty pontoons 
to eight pontoons, and from two thousand fate of road- 
way to two hundred fate — damn it ! — hardly enough 
to bridge a trout strame ; and, begob, they meant it 
for the whole Army of the Potomac to cross the Rappa- 
hannock. They didn't find out about it for four days ; 



BILLY HAMILTON, I99 

then, whirr ! — how things ripped, up at the Quarter- 
master-Giniral's. 

"They had me up and questioned me. ' Lommox,* 
said I to meself, ' stick to yer instructions. Ye re- 
ceived it at 6.45, ye deHvered it at 6.51, by yer re- 
ceipts ; not much over time in the crowded strate 
between the Quartermaster-Ginirals office and the 
depot.' So I stuck to that story through thick and 
thin, and that's all I told 'em. They put me under 
arrest. But if they bring me up agin, if they go cross- 
questioning me, if they make make me tell 'em every- 
thing I did from the toime I jumped on me charger in 
front of the Quartermaster-Giniral's office to the toime 
I raiched the Depot-Quartermaster's — tare an' ages, 
they'll hang me ! What do ye advise ? Captain, for 
the love of God, what do ye advise? " 

"Stick to your first story," I answer sharply. 
"Don't say another word, no matter what questions 
they ask you. Received the order at 6.45 p.m., de- 
livered it at 6.51 P.M. 

"You think that's the best way out of a bad affair.? " 

" Yes, I k7ioiv it is ! Besides, the Government won't 
want to make this too public. They don't care about 
army blunders being criticised in the newspapers just 
at present. We make too many of them." 

"Well, then, it's a close mouth I'll have." 

Here I ask anxiously: "What kind of a looking 
creature was the girl who stopped you ?" 

"How could I tell.? She was muffled up; it was 
too dark. Ye know what those gas-lamps down there 
are ; there wasn't one within half a block of us." 

"Billy, Mrs. Bream and I have come to see you," 
strikes my ear through the closed door. 

It is the voice of my wife ; she has come with her aunt. 

But, before I can recollect for what reason, the 
sergeant startles me by whispering: "I said I couldn't 

tell the face, but " He has his hand upon his 

heart ; his eyes are blazing. 

"Billy, are you in.? Open the door! Mrs. Bream 
and I are here." 

"Who is that.?" asks Lommox hoarsely. 

"My sweetheart — my affianced — with her aunt, the 
wife of a United States Senator. Why do you ask.?" 

"Because if that was not the voice of your swate- 



200 BILLY HAMILTON. 

heart, a high-bred Union young lady, Cap'n Hamilton, 
I'd say that was the voice of the girl who called me to 
her help one wake ago and swiped the true order and 
handed the false requisition back to me." 

"Oh, nonsense!" I break out, though my face is 
white. Then I cry : "I'll open the door and be with 
you in a moment. Eve ! " For I must keep her soft 
tones from betraying her again. 

With this I turn to the sergeant and mutter : " Re- 
member, Lommox, as you value your own safety, stick 
to your first story, if you don't want to drag a ball 
and chain all your natural life. 6 : 45 — 6 : 51 ! Chivalry 
wouldn't save you before a court-martial. Good-bye." 
I open the door. " If you want any further advice in 
the matter, call on me ; I'm your friend. If you want 
any money in the matter, call on me ; I'm your cap- 
tain, I stand by you. You're a gallant fellow anyway." 

"God bless you; you give comfort unto me," and 
stepping out, gallant Irishman that he is, Lommox 
doffs his forage cap politely to the two beautiful ladies 
and his eyes light up at the loveliness of the girl who 
has betrayed him — though he knows it not. 

' ' Bedad, Cap. , I wish ye and your young lady joy, " he 
says. "Good luck. God bless your swate face, Miss. 
I've been your captain's sergeant for many a day." 
And with military salute, the sergeant strides down 
the stairs, while I, with the unutterable on my face, 
motion my wife and her aunt into my parlor ; thinking 
grimly: "Verily, these are the nuptials of Damocles 
— to both bride and groom." 



CHAPTER XIX. 

LAMMERSDORFF, THE SUTLER. 

As they come in and I close the door on them ; Lucy 
Bream's speech tells me that she knows at least of our 
wedding. "Billy ! Billy ! how could you do it ? " she 
breaks out. 

"Then Eve has told you that I married her this 
morning? " 

"Yes, you naughty fellow." 



BILLY HAMILTON. 201 

"Well, isn't that excuse enough ? " And I point to 
the beautiful creature who is standing regarding us, 
with blushes upon her face, her eyes very bright, her 
head erect, her nostrils dilated, her pretty nose a little 
in the air. 

" My husband,'" she says, " I thought it best, on ac- 
count of a social complication, to tell my aunt I had 
become your wife. We have come here to consult you 
about this." She hands me a little note. 

"I cannot understand, that wretch Arago's having 
the audacity to write such a nasty note ; " says Lucy 
Bream, savagely. Evidently Eve has told her of noth- 
ing but our marriage. 

I glance over the billet. It is a communication from 
Arago, and demands that Eve promise to marry him 
this evening. To me, reading between the lines, know- 
ing the circumstances, every sentence is a covert threat. 

"He even writes as if he had power over her!" 
cries Lucy, angrily, " William, the impertinent scamp 
should be horsewhipped ! " 

'_' I agree Math you," I say, " and I'm just the man to 
do it — but this is not the proper time. We have a certain 
young lady's name to keep above scandal, above gos- 
sip. Will you help me to do it. Aunt Lucy .? " 

"Aunt Lucy.? — Oh, yes, you have become one of 
the family, haven't you .? " laughs the pretty matron. 
" Of course, I'll do anything to keep a naughty girl like 
Eve, whom I dearly love, out of any trouble what- 
soever." 

Looking at her, I conclude that I dare not trust Lucy 
Bream with the awful nature of the real trouble. In 
justice to her, and her husband, the Senator, I must 
keep them out of this matter, if possible. "Very well," 
I say ; " will you excuse me if I ask you to permit me 
a few minutes' private conversation with my wife, in 
order that we may settle what is best to be done in an 
affair in which I do not wish you to be any more in- 
terested than you can help — being our aunt." 

"Of course," says Lucy. "I'll go into the next 
room." But at the door she turns, and suggests, 
roguishly, "I imagine it's kisses, not words, you want 
with that naughty girl, Billy." 

" Perhaps I'll have a little of both." I reply, as lightly 
as I can. 



202 BILLY HAMILTON 

" Well, I shan't give you too many kisses/' laughs 
Eve, trying to veil her anxiety by piquancy, "if you 
question me too savagely about my anti-nupital beaux 
— Mr. Arago, for instance." 

But as Aunt Lucy closes the door, my heroine's face — 
great jingo, I'm commencing to regard her in that way ! 
— loses its lightness, though it doesn't lose its courage. 

I step towards my bride and whisper : "I have but 
a few hours to save your life ! " 

" Why.?" 

" Lommox ! " 

"Ah ! " her tone tells she understands. 

" If Mr. Stanton questions him, under that lawyer's 
shrewd examination the sergeant may tell a little about 
the beautiful voice he recognized in this room — the 
tones of the girl who substituted a false order for 
Special Requisition No. 14 lo on G Street a week ago." 

"Ah, you know.? " But her face is still corageous. 

" Everything ! Where's Quashie ? " I question hur- 
riedly. 

" Outside the lines, I hope, by this time. Privileged 
contrabands roam everywhere." 

"Yes ; but you — 1 must get you out of Uncle Sam's 
grip in time. I think I shall send you to England or 
Europe." I add contemptalively. 

"I won't go there ! " 

"Ah, rebellious already 1" 

"No, my husband; but I don't want to be too far 
away from my mother in all the trouble this war has 
brought upon Virginia and you! Send me across the 
lines — get me across the lines." 

" That would be almost a miracle now." 

" Yes, I know that. At first it was easy ; then it 
grew difficult ; now it is next to impossible. But still, 
I've had a little experience in this business already. 
And you — your knowledge of the Secret Service as 
provost-marshal should help you." 

" It doesn't ; it only makes me despair. Every con- 
ductor on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is a member 
of Baker's organization. Every ticket-seller at the 
Washington Railroad Offices notes where you are 
going. If you take tickets for Baltimore, and you get 
off at Leonardstown, or any other route to the Lower 
Potomac that might lead you into Virginia, you will be 



UiLLY HAMILTOtJ. 2o3 

shadowed from that moment — perhaps arrested at 
once." 

"Yes, I have reason to think that too," she says, 
poking her pretty foot with the end of her parasol ; 
then breaks out in self-reproach : "1 should never 
have let you marry me ! I was mad — crazy — to permit 
you to wed me and sacrifice yourself Forget I'm your 
wife. I stay here ! I take my chances ! I'm not afraid 
of Arago — now that I have triumphed ! " 

"No; he'll never dare denounce you. But others 

may ; and then " I shudder. " No, you're my wife. 

Never for one moment forget that ; never for one 
moment forget that I will save you." She answers me 
with her eyes and I go on with military promptness : 
"Have everything ready to move within two hours. 
Pack your riding-habit — you've got the dear old gray 
one," I say, a lover's tones in my voice. "Take the 
few things you want for such a trip in a very small 
valise. Be sure to wear a good waterproof and hood ; 
it's going to rain now. Dress very plainly ; the long 
rubber cloak will protect you from the weather and 
serve to hide the beauties of a figure that would attract 
the eves of every one. Will you obey me ? " 

"Yes, Billy !" 

"God bless you ! " 

"That is what I want you to do — take me to 
Viginia ! " She puts her arms around my neck and 
kisses me and murmurs : "Take me to Virginia." 

There seems to be a latent meaning in her words, 
but I don't analyze it ; her lips make me too much in 
love with her to think of aught else but the beautiful 
creature who is my wife. 

I go to the door and opening it say : "Aunt Lucy, 
our interview didn't take as long as you expected." 

" No ; I thought you'd keep me an hour," answers 
the matron, adding laughingly as she enters : "Didn't 
even have a lover's quarrel." 

" No time for that," I reply. "We've made up our 
minds. I'm going to send Eve to her relatives in 
Virginia; that will at least stop any immediate compli- 
cation with Mr. Arago. You can tell him, and it'll be 
best for you to announce to your friends, generally, 
that Miss Ashley has taken a trip North. Have you 
no relatives there she might visit ? " 



204 BILLY HAMILTON. 

" Yes ; the Doubledays, in Southern Illinois ; first 
cousins ; Eve knows them, though they're on my 
husband's side. It's an out-of-the-way place ; hasn't 
got a telegraph station." 

" So much the better. Just quietly circulate this 
among Washington society." 

"Would it not be better that Eve stayed here ? " 

"No," I reply, "for in that case I should have to 
horsewhip Mr. Arago the first time I met him." 

"Very well; anything to avoid scandal." 

"Thank you, dear auntie," I say, and give her a 
nephew's kiss. "To avoid my name being mentioned 
in the matter, Eve had better meet me — not at your 
house but Franklin Square, the place from which we 
eloped this morning. Then I will join her and take 
her away — at two o'clock." 

"And can you get her through the lines ?" queries 
Mrs. Bream doubtfully. 

"I can try." 

"And Eve, what do you say ? " asks the aunt. 

"This morning I — I promised to obej'- him," mutters 
the young lady bashfully. My bride's words give me 
a throb of joy. 

"Very well, then. Take her, Billy, but oh ! if you're 
not good to her — if you're not good to her ! " And the 
Senator's wife shakes a little fist in my face determin- 
edly. 

"Ah, yes; an aunt-inAdiW, instead of a mother-m- 
law," I laugh, and give Lucy another kiss. 

They are at the door. But Eve comes to me once 
again, and putting her arms round my neck, kisses me, 
whispering : "Take me to Virginia ! " There is a fire 
in her eye, there's a latent suggestion in her voice, 
that makes my heart jump. 

Then she leaves me, with the most difficult problem 
of my life on my hands. My very knowledge of pro- 
vost-marshal affairs makes me appreciate the tremen- 
dous obstacles in my path. I might take my bride North 
easily ; but at no point in the United States would she be 
safe from Baker's sleuthhounds. To get through the lines 
has gradually become more and more difficult since the 
beginning of the war ; and now with Secret Service 
officers teeming everywhere, with each ford or ferry 
on the Potomac guarded, from the Cumberland mount- 



BILLY HAMILTON. 205 

ains down to its very mouth, while small gunboats 
and steam launches are patrolling its navigable waters, 
to cross it seems to me well-nigh impossible. 

My first difficulty is to get Eve out of Washington. 
I could take a train to the North M'ith her and run un- 
questioned to New York ; but if we bought tickets for 
Baltimore and got off at any way-point, we should 
certainly be watched, probably apprehended. 

How to get her out of Washington ? 

Suddenly it strikes me. Lammersdorff ! — in a sutler's 
wagon. Then I think of myself : though on waiting 
orders I cannot depart from the city without leave of 
absence. To ask at the provost-marshal's may cause 
questions. 

In a flash I remember the note from my colonel 
that arrived the night before. For seven days' leave 
his signature is perfectly good. I hurry over to my com- 
mander. Fortunately he is still at Willard's. Colonel 
Durant is happy to see me ; I had always been a favor- 
ite of his. 

" I only sent for you, Hamilton, just to sympathize 
with you on your parole and ask if I could do anything 
for you." 

"Only one thing," I reply. "It will save me a 
visit to the Provost-Marshal-General's office. I want 
leave of absence for seven days. My troop is not 
detached from your regiment." 

"To visit your family in Baltimore? I thought 
they had spurned their Union son." 

"Yes, but that's the reason. My sister Birdie has 
fallen in love with a Union officer. Captain Vermilye 
of the artillery, I want to help his suit with her." 

" Oh, a good Union girl in the family.? " 

"No," I laugh ; " but a girl who loves a good Union 
officer." 

"Very well; seven days, with permission to apply 
to the War Department for thirty days more ; you won't 
be exchanged within that time," he says glumly as he 
dashes off the paper. 

"No," I reply ; " I'm afraid not." And with a clasp 
of his hand I leave him, for Durant is in a hurry now ; 
he is going to the front again. 

Now Lammersdorff ! I hurry to the -^i?'?/.?^ Wilhehn. 
The sutler is not there, but I learn where his wagons 



206 BILLY HAMILTON. 

are — at least, where they should be if he has not already 
gone. Springing on my charger, for I have Roderick 
in action now, I gallop off to one of the outlying sut- 
lers' camps of the city, and fortunately find Lammers- 
dorff not yet departed ; though he is very nearly ready 
for the road. 

As I have been riding I have been thinking how to 
approach this man. A sutler's privilege is a very 
valuable concession ; Lammersdorff will hesitate, even 
though he thinks I saved his life, to do anything to 
violate it. 

" Hello, Mein Herr Bridegroom ! Are your running 
away from your wife already.'' " he laughs, as I come 
galloping to him. 

"No," I reply. But I'm running away from my 
mother-in-law ! " 

" Mein Hinimel •' I did dat meinself vonce ! " 

' ' You are a little too smart, " I continue, "not to sus- 
pect that my marriage this morning was a kind of 
secret affair." 

" Ya, I guessed you vas doing it on de sly." 

"Well, my bride's mother is looking for her daughter. 
You see, the young lady's a little under age. Now I 
want to get my wife quietly out of Washington with- 
out going to the railroad depot." 

"Sure ! So you can get on your veddingtour vidout 
having your hair taken out by the roots." 

"Yes, something of that kind. I have the necessary 
leave of absence from my colonel, but I don't want to 
take my wife on my arm and go to the Baltimore & 
Ohio depot, where I think her mother is waiting for 
us. " 

"Just so. Veil, vat can I do mid you .-* " 

' ' You can put me and my vvife in one of your sutler's 
wagons and drive us out of Washington." 

" But dey vill ask me qvestions crossing the Union 
bridge, down mid der Navy Yard. " 

" Well they needn't see us." 

" Dat es so ! Dey needn't see you if I put you in 
ze back of von of dose vhite covered wagons andt'rows 
a tarpaulin over you. You von't mind riding that vay 
mid your pretty wife } " 

On second thoughts, I say, "I will only let my 
wife go with you ; I will ride out on my Charger with 



BILLY HAMILTON. 207 

my leave of absence in my pocket, and who will stop a 
Union officer? " 

"Quite right! Ve'll do eberyting to make ze lady 
commonfortable. " 

" Where shall I put her on board ? " 

" Round back of dat blacksmith's shop. I drive von 
of de vagons round dere to get de mules shoed. I'll 
keep it dere ; no von shall know I put any one in dere ; 
specially as it's getting dark. Good-bye, Captain. 
Don't be ober un hour in bringing your frau down ; 
don't stop too long for kisses on de way. Von't youse 
stop und have anodder drink in Herr Rosen's over dere ? 
De finest beer in Washington — Sutlers' Lager." 

"No," I reply ; "I haven't time for that; though I 
thank you all the same." As I clasp his hand, I am 
thanking him for a good deal more than a glass of beer. 
Then I ride away in much more buoyant spirits than I 
had come to meet the genial German, who seems ut- 
terly unsuspicious of anything but a lovers' escapade. 
I gallop for my stable, and leave Roderick there saddled. 

Taking a cab, I bolt for the bank and draw five hun- 
dred dollars. From there I hurry to my boarding- 
house, slip into a loose undress cavalry uniform, arm 
myself with sabre and revolvers, and write my holo- 
graph will, leaving everything I possess to my wife. 
I hastily tell my landlady I am called to Baltimore, 
jump into my cab and find myself at Franklin Square 
in time. Here I am met by Mrs. Bream and Eve, both 
ladies in waterproofs, as heavy clouds are gathering. 

' ' I came to bid Eva good-bye and see the last of her. " 
Aunt Lucy kisses her niece lovingly then whispers 
anxiously; "You think you can get her through the 
lines.? " 

" Certainly ! " I say confidently. 

"Very well, then; good-bye." 

There are no onlookers this dark day, and Eve giv- 
ing her aunt a tender squeeze and loving kiss, which 
I supplement, my wife puts her hand upon my arm to 
walk out of the square to the cab. 

" Hello ! Where's your valise ? " I ask. 

"I haven't got any." 

"You must take one." 

"Not on this trip. Eve travelled enough between 
the lines to know I can't make this journey with bag- 



208 BILLY HAMILTON. 

gage. We would have to leave my valise somewhere ; 
it might be our ruin, if they tracked us. " 

As Eve speaks I feel she knows her business ; and all 
through this journey I find she is much more an fait at 
the finesse, the arts, the subterfuges of a contraband of 
war, than I. 

"You needn't worry for me," she whispers, "Billy. 
I'm perfectly comfortable. I have on my riding-habit, 
its skirts looped up over my petticoat. See ! " she 
pokes out diffidently an exquisite foot and ankle, and I 
inspecting, find that though prettily shod, she has use- 
ful, high-laced, substantial boots. "If we have to 
ride," she goes on, " it won't take me a minute to pre- 
pare myself for horseback." 

" What else have you got ? " 

"A six-shooting Colt's." 

"Any money .? " 

"Yes; dear Aunt Lucy gave me fifty dollars. She 
wanted to press more upon me, but I wouldn't take 
it." 

By this time I have put Eve in the cab and told the 
hackman where to drive. We have plenty of time, so 
I don't hurry the fellow ; I want to have all of my wife s 
company I can get till I part from her and leave her — 
God help her ! — to the care of Lammersdorff and fate. 

"Here are two hundred dollars more," I whisper. 

"No, no! " 

" You must ! You're my wife : my property is your 
property. Here is my will ; keep it, if anything should 
happen to me." 

"I didn't marry you, Billy, for money or property. 
I married you for " 

" Love } " 

"Yes, dear. Take me to Virginia, " 

"Well, the property and money goes with me," I 
whisper, my heart beating fast ; for I have given her a 
kiss at her sweet v/ords, and I press the greenbacks into 
her hand. " You must ! — you may need them. You 
win need them. I command you to take them." 

"0-o-oh! Yes Billy, of course, I promised to obey 
you, didn't I ? " she remarks, and blushingly tucks away 
the money under her waterproof. 

Then masculine curiosity coming up in me, I ask hur- 
riedly : "Tell me one thing. How did you know the 



BILLY HAMILTON. 209 

exact trip on which the sergeant would carry that or- 
der?" This is under my breath. 

Her answer comes in equally low tones. 

"We knew about the time the requisition ought to 
come from the front. All that afternoon Quashic 
waited in Bermudas's cigar-store. It was understood, 
when Arago went into the place and came out with a 
lighted cigar in his mouth, Lommox would carry the 
requisition the next time he rode down G Street. Arago 
went into the cigar-store and came out with a lighted 
cigar a 6 : 40 p. M. I was in a room near by and Quashie 
and I had just time to get ready." 

" You can trust Quashie .•' " 

"With my life. He fondled me in his arms when I 
was a little girl ; his wife was my mammee. You can 
trust him with your life, if he knows you're my hus- 
band." 

Significant words ; that don't seem to me so signifi- 
cant as I hear them. 

Then she says suddenly : "Tell me how you're go- 
ing to get me out of Washington." 

I hurriedly explain every detail to her. 

" I think you've found the only way," she murmurs. 
"You can trust Lammersdorff.? " 

" Yes ; as long as he thinks I'm only fleeing from my 
mother-in-law." 

At this, even in her anxiety, Eve bursts out laugh- 
ing ; then adds: "I'll — I'll prove your story to the 
sutler, by looking very timid and juvenile, eh?" 

"What do you mean ? " I ask astonished. 

Here to my young husband's eyes comes a very 
beautiful display. Eve throws oft her hat ; with a 
few quick movements she pulls out hairpin after hair- 
pin, then shakes her head vivaciously, and a cloud of 
soft brown hair, in great locks and tresses, descends 
from her pretty head in cascades and waves far below 
her waist. With deft hands she ties a bow of ribbon 
about her tresses. "Now," she laughs, " I'm a school- 
girl, and sweet seventeen ! — and have a stern mother 
from whom I've run away with an eloping trooper," 

" Sixteen, rather," I laugh. For school-girls dressed 
their hair in that way in those days, and the perfumed 
locks that fall all about Eve's fair face give her a most 
juvenile expression. 



210 BILLY HAMILTON, 

"So I look young and timid enough to be frightened 
of my awful mamma — eh, Billy? — and my husband 
too," she murmurs. 

For my arms are around her. I am squeeezing the 
pliant waist that seems to throb under my hand and 
kissing the exquisite lips that appear to return my 
salutes very tenderly. 

We are near the place where we must part. Eve 
throws both arms about me and pleads: "Be very 
careful of yourself. Remember you — you have a wife 
to look after," and blushes very prettily; a mass of 
charming naivete, bashfulness and I think — love. 

A moment after I assist her from the cab, pay the 
driver and he disappears in the gloom, for the day 
is now growing very dark ; a few rain-drops are com- 
ing down. 

We are a short square from the sutler's camp, and 
soon stand beside his big, white-covered wagon, drawn 
by four mules. Inspecting this, I notice that it is well- 
springed and will travel easily. 

" Lammersdorff, let me introduce you to Mrs. Hamil- 
ton," I say to the German sutler, who is waiting for 
us. 

"Ha Ya ! running away from ynudder, eh? Veil, 
mein liddle frau I'll take care she don't catches you." 

"Yes — please — please, Herr Lammersdorff, keep 
mamma from seeing me," falters Eve in pretended 
terror, "She — she might spank me ! " 

"Mein Himmel, your mudder must be a tough old 
woman ! " laughs the sutler. " But I've got eberyting 
very commonfortable now in ze back of ze vagoon ; 
jush step in kevick." 

With a hurried caress I lift Eve in, and she looking 
out says: "Thank you, Herr Lammersdorff; you've 
made everything very nice for me, 

"The heavy covering of the wagon will keep the 
rain and wind from you," I whisper to her ; "I shall 
overtake you on the road in about two hours." Then 
I wring Lammersdorff's hand and question: "Your 
men don't know of this ? " 

"Only the driver of dis team, that is, mein headman 
Fritz, and he's confidential. I has to let him know. 
See? " 

It is beginning to rain very heavily, so I change my 



BILLY HAMILTON. 2ll 

plan somewhat. "I don't want my wife exposed to 
such a storm as this will be, Lammersdorff, " I say. 

" Ya, it vill be a scrouger ! But your \idd\e /ran 
vil! be as cosy in dat vagoon as if she was on her 
Hddle bed ! " 

"I understand that," I answer, "and for that reason 
shall let her go as far as Port Tobacco with you. From 
there — to-morrow morning — it may be fine then — I'll 
drive her back to the railroad. I can hire a buggy 
there ? " 

"Sure! Dere's a hotel der also," he says with a 
grin, "but de Brawner House is not demost common- 
for-table for a veddin' tour — mid a bride." 

"All right. That's settled," I remark and putting 
my head under the covering of the wagon, I hastily 
explain the change to Eve, saying : "Don't expect me 
before Port Tobacco ; that will give me a chance to 
make a longer de'tour, to throw any one off my track 
before I join you ! " 

"Very well, Billy, " whispers Eve, "though if any 
danger comes, I have an idea it will be soon after I 
leave Washington." 

" Pish, nonsense ! Arago's busy in the Quarter-mas- 
ter General's office. He can't suspect. Good bye ! " 
Then two sweet, clinging lips meet mine and, — "Be 
very careful, Billy," is whispered to me. 

I stride off into the gloomy day. In a few minutes 
I am at my livery stable and mounting Roderick whom 
I have prepared for this journey, I ride back towards 
the sutler's camp. I must see she gets out of Wash- 
ington safe. 

Overtaking Lammersdorff's wagons just as they 
reach Union Bridge, with my heart in my mouth I 
watch them cross. They are scarce questioned by 
the guard. 

In the rain I stand and gaze till the last wagon has 
crossed the Eastern Branch, then give a sigh of relief. 
My bride has at least escaped from Washington. 



212 BILLY HAMILTON. 



CHAPTER XX. 

DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES. 

Chirping cheerily to my gallant horse, I turn from 
Union Bridge, the most direct route to Port Tobacco, 
to pass through the city and make my exit by another 
outlet. That will perhaps delay pursuit if we are fol- 
lowed. 

As I ride through the streets, a jeweller's shop 
catches my eye. 

' ' By George ! " I think, ' ' my poor bride never had an 
engagement ring." I dismount, and a few minutes 
after straddle Roderick again with a glittering bauble 
in my pocket. 

Then, coming out of the city to the north on the 
Bladensburg pike, I shortly get past the circle of outly- 
ing forts. 

I keep along this road as far as the little town of 
Bladensburg before I change my direction ; then I 
turn Roderick's head towards the southeast. 

Journeying through country roads, and gradually 
circling more and to the south, I strike the main pike 
to Port Tobacco, near Piscataway. 

I have been delayed at the jeweller's so long and have 
made so extended a detour, that I know my wife must 
be many miles ahead of me, for, like a careful cam- 
paigner I have not pressed my charger. 

Meeting, soon after this, a couple of negroes on the 
road I learn that four sutler's wagons have passed this 
point nearly two hours ago and a single buggy some- 
thing over an hour after them. 

But I don't give much thought to this buggy. I am 
only anxious about the vehicle that carries my bride. 

The rain is falling ; the roads are getting heavy. I 
ride on, gloomily pondering upon what may come to 
me and her, in this debatable land that is before us. 

Southeast of Washington are four fertile counties 
running from the capital to Point Lookout, bounded 
on the west and south by the Potomac on the east by 



BILLY HAMILTON. 2l3 

the Chesapeake Bay, no towns in them of more than a 
few hundred inhabitants ; they are called the Western 
shore of Maryland. 

It is towards this land my face is turned. I know a 
good portion of the country is covered with swamps, 
for as a boy I have hunted over it. I am aware the 
land has been ruined by tobacco-planting, my family 
has owned some of it from the days of Lord Balti- 
more. I am sure most of the inhabitants are Catho- 
lics, that nearly all of them are Rebels , that a good 
portion of its population are of comparatively lit- 
tle education though acute intelligence ; that a great 
many of them, especially at Port Tobacco, had been 
engaged before the war in kidnapping and running 
negro-slaves across the Potomac. But I know they 
are all a hardy, sturdy crew, and nine-tenths of them 
would be willing to risk even their lives to give safety 
to a Confederate spy. 

At this thought my spirits rise. Eve is approaching a 
land of which the inhabitants are the friends, not the 
enemies of her cause. Though the country is overrun 
with Baker's Secret Service detectives, and the river 
between us and Virginia is patrolled day and night by 
armed barges, and sometimes by small gunboats ; 
though even across the Potomac, judging by the move- 
ments of the Federal armies, will be the Union lines, 
not the Rebel outposts ; which we can only hope to 
reach beyond the Rappahannock — I am commencing 
to have hope. 

So, through Maryland mud Roderick plods, the 
rain falling on me. But I am well wrapped up, wearing 
a heavy army coat, and being accustomed to campaig- 
ning, 1 think little of it for myself. My whole concern 
is for my wife ; she may be exposed to the storm 
that is gradually gathering ; still the sutler's wagon 
will give her some protection. I light one of my 
Bouquets Especiales and smoke quite contentedly. 

About nine o'clock in the evening, some miles this 
side of Port Tobacco, I overtake the four white-coated 
suiter's wagons and raise a shout of joyous greeting. 

It is answered by a white-faced, savage-eyed German, 
who comes dashing towards me. " Gott in Himmel, 
Capt'n Hamilton, I didn't egspect such treatment from 
youse ! " cries Lammersdorff. 



2 14 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"What treatment?" 

"Putting- a government spy in main vagoons to get 
her out of Vashington. O giminy crackies, I loses 
mein sutler's certification for dis ! " 

" A government spy ? Nonsense ! A girl escaping 
from her mother. Where is she ? " 

" Dey have taken her away mit demselves. " 

"Taken her away ? Where? How? Tell me ! " 

" Oh veil, I tells you quicker den you likes to hear 
it. I tells you all about it at court-martial, ven dey 
puts de ball and chain on me and takes avay my posi- 
tion as sutler mid Sumner's grand army corps." 

" Damn Sumner's grand army corps ! Tell we where 
is she ! Quick ! " I cry, half crazy with apprehension. 

"Veil, shust about a mile off here, up comes a man 
riding a buggy. He says : ' I vant dot girl hiding in 
your rear behind vagoon.' 

" ' Vat girl? " says I. 

" ' A Rebel spy," shouts he. 

* ' 'You're a liar ! " cries I. ' Datis ausgespielt ! She's 
de wife of mein friend Captain Hamilton of the United 
States cavalry." 

" At dis he gives a shriek of rage and despair, and 
yells: 'You damned disloyal cub of a German, sneak- 
ing out under sutler's privileges contrabands of war, 
look at me ! ' He shows me Baker's Secret Service and 
a United States deputy-marshal's badge, and I faints 
almost — I knows I am sutler mid Sumner no more ! " 

"Bring her out, Dutchy ! " he cries. 

" But I doesn't have to bring dot gal oout ; for at his 
words she jumps from de vagoon, cool as an ice-house 
and lebels a revolver straight for de Secret Service 
man's heart, which has jumped from his buggy. ' You 
dastard, die mit yourself !' she cries, and she'd have 
plumped him sure as Forth of July isn't New Year's. 
"But knowing I vas fighting for my sutler's comish, 
I knocks up her arm ; de bullet goes mid de air, und 
before she has time to do anyd'ings more, de Secret 
Service man jumps at her and claps a pair of handcuffs 
on her lekdle white wrists, and pops her into his buggy, 
und says : ' I arrest you in de name of the United 
States,' and drives avay mid her. She doesn't scream ; 
she only gave one little gasp : * Billy ! ' 

" Oh, yes ; she's de girl vat might have been spanked 



BILLY HAMILTON. 21 5 

by her mudder, she is ! She's de girl vat vas afraid of 
her mumma, she is ! She vas as brave as George 
Vashington himself ven he cut down de cherry tree," 
the German mutters derisively ; then shrieks out: "But 
God help Lammersdorff ! Dat's vat I am crying ! 
God help Lammersdorff vat has secreted a Rebel 
spy ! " 

" God help me!" I moan. Then I whisper to him : 
" Keep a close mouth about this thing. She's not a 
Rebel spy ; she's my wife. That villain is the emissary 
of her mother, though he is a Secret Service man. I 
know this Arago." 

" Oh, you knows his cursed name ? " 

"Yes, I know his damned heart. Which way did 
he go .? " 

"Ahead of us, mid de buggy, towards Port Tobacco. " 

" How far is he in advance I " 

"About a mile or two." 

"Then keep your mouth shut!" And driving the 
rowels into Roderick, I dash through the mud and 
storm. 

As I ride, I think Arago has doubtless watched Eve, 
seen her with her aunt join me, observed us take the 
cab, and noticed her get into the sutler's wagon. We 
didn't think — I didn't think — of being tracked at the 
very outset. Then he has come after her, hoping to 
frighten Eve into listening to his suit. And, if it hadn't 
been for the foolish sutler, would have got his quietus 
from the brave girl. But now Arago has her manacled. 
As I think of the irons on my wife's white wrists I dash 
the spurs into my steed. 

Fortunately I know this part of the country pretty 
well. I have shot over it, and a boy's recollections 
are generally vivid. Besides, I have a horse that in 
this mud will overtake any buggy that ever wheeled. 

But I must be sure of Arago's course. He will hardly 
go through Port Tobacco ; still he may not think that I 
am following at all ; my long detour must have given 
him confidence. Perhaps he believes I am yet in 
Washington ; if so, my task will be easier. 

Three or four sutler's wagons are ahead of me ; these 
I overtake. To my hurried questions one of their 
drivers replies : " Yes, a buggy passed him five minutes 
before." Another half-drunken one jeers : "Hurry up. 



2l6 BILLY HAMILTON. 

Cap, and you'll catch your gal, I heard her squeal as 
she went by me ! " 

By this I know Arago must have gone to Port To- 
bacco ; there are no side-roads from this point on. 
Made desperate by the teamster's last remark, I put the 
steel into Roderick. 

Into the miserable little town I gallop, 'mid numerous 
sutler's teams and provision wagons, on their way to 
be ferried across the Potomac to Aquia Creek and 
Burnside. 

Dashing up to the Brawner House, without dismount- 
ing, I call to the proprietor, who comes upon the por- 
tico in his shirt-sleeves to greet me. "Get me a drink, 
quick ! " I order. 

Over his bad whiskey I pump him. A buggy has 
gone through the town four minutes ago ; it went north 
towards Baltimore, though it may have turned off to- 
wards Allan's Fresh. 

"Damn the scoundrel ! he didn't stop here even for 
a drink," remarks the hotel proprietor. "But he will 
have a lively time getting anywhere in the mud to- 
night." 

"Was any one with him .?" I ask eagerly. 

" How could I know, stranger.? His buggy-top war 
up, his apron war raised, too. 'Taint likely it would be 
down in this ar storm ! " 

" Did you hear any voices.?" I mutter. 

"Well, I thought I heerd a woman's, but what she 
war a-saying I couldn't tell. Seemed to me it was kind 
of plaintive-like." 

This urges me on. "Good-bye," I cry. 

"Aren't ye're a-gowin' to stay to-night.?" 

" Can't ! " I dash the spurs into Roderick. The hotel 
man turns away, and I think I hear him mutter : 
" Some damned Secret Service galoot." 

As 1 plunge on in the mud, I inspect my revolvers. 
The holsters have kept them dry, but to be sure I care- 
fully re-cap them both and put a little powder into 
each nipple of the six-shooting dragoon pistols. Good 
Lord ! I dare not fire at Arago, with my wife beside 
him in the buggy ! As this strikes me, I loosen my 
sabre in its scabbard ; it is ground to a razor-blade, 
like those of the rest of my regiment, for this had now 
come to be a fashion in our cavalry. The blade has 



BILLY HAMILTON. 2l7 

done me true service on the battle-field ; may it not 
do me equal good in private rencontre? 

" Besides " — I am talking to myself now, I am so ex- 
cited — "it is my duty to arrest the fellow. Hang it ! " 
I chuckle, "he's a greater traitor than I! It is my 
duty to kill him ! " With this, into my heart comes 
that awful maxim : "Dead men tell no tales." Dead — 
that will be her safety — that will be my safety ! A 
dead traitor is the glory of a loyal provost-marshal." 

All this time Roderick plunges along the miserable, 
rutty, muddy, unkept road. Suddenly a problem 
meets me, which must be decided on the instant. 
Did Arago turn off to go to Allan's Fresh, or did he 
skirt the great swamps drained by that stream, and 
keep the pike towards the Baltimore and Washington 
railway. I am at the junction of the two roads. 

I spring to the ground. The rain blinds me ; the 
darkness defeats me : I cannot see his buggy tracks. 
Suddenly a dazzling flash of lightning illuminates all ; 
the rickety Virginia rail fence, the low, stunted, swamp 
foliage , the junction of the two roads. 

By its light, thank God ! I see the plain marks of buggy 
wheels going north — towards the railroad — towards 
Baltimore or Washington, whichever way Arago 
chooses to travel. No doubt now ! There are five 
miles in which he can't leave this road, and I will 
have my prey before the end of it. 

I use my spurs again, and Roderick, answering me, 
shows he is a good mud horse by getting OA'^er this 
infernal road at tremendous pace. I speak to him, I 
urge him on : "Good steed," I whisper, "you are rac- 
ing for my love's safety. " 

Isn't there a noise in front of me .-' By heaven ! 
— the sound of wheels and a man lashing a horse. He 
knows he is pursued now. 

Another flash of lightning. By it I see a top-buggy 
but thirty yards ahead of me. 

A moment later I am by its side. "Surrender, you 
dog! I arrest you," I cry. 

To me comes Eve's sweet voice warning me "Look 
out, Billy ; he is going to shoot ! " 

In proof of her words Arago answers only by a pis- 
tol-shot that, in the darkness, goes wide of me. This 
fire I dare not return, for my wife is by his side. 



2l8 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"Jump out, Eve, spring from the buggy, so I dare 
shoot him," I shout. 

Again comes Arago's pistol-shot. His bullet whistles 
close over my head. 

"Hang you, don't knock up my pistol again! " I 
hear him cry to Eve. 

No more chances will I take. In this game Arago has 
the advantage of me, so I put a heavy Colt's dragoon 
bullet through his horse, and the poor creature falling 
down in the mud, leaves my enemy stalled in the road 
— compelled to fight it out with me. 

And on fair terms too. For with a sudden deft move- 
ment, as the horse has fallen prostrate, Eve, manacled 
as she is, has jumped from the buggy. 

Arago has sprung after her, for he would have been 
at my mercy alone in the wagon. So, I leaping from 
my horse in pursuit of him, we meet together in equal 
combat ; the girl standing in the darkness with man- 
acled hands, gazing on the battle for her safety — ay, 
even for her life, — for I know this accursed brute will 
sacrifice her in some way by his subtle arts — because 
she can't marry him — because she is my wife. 

But, thank God, I have a gallant adversary. The 
Creole, turns upon me. "Captain Hamilton, sur- 
render !" he cries. "I believe you to be a traitor." 

^'1 know you are!" I answer grimly. "Your pon- 
toon treachery has been found out. Stanton has sent 
me to catch and hang you ! " For I want to make the 
scoundrel so desperate that, like the trapped fox, he will 
fight me until I kill him. 

With a snarl of rage, Arago flies at me. Our sabres 
cross, for he is armed like me. As our blades meet, I 
know a swordman's steel is crossing mine. 

So we battle, fitful flashes of lightning almost daz- 
zling our eyes. Then the gloom coming on us, we en- 
gage from feel of blade, as masters of the weapon 
fight. 

But at each cut and guard, each lunge and parry, I 
grow confident. Arago has more the art of the rapier 
in his wrist than of the broadsword. Beside, my 
muscles, toughened by actual battle and campaign, 
will last longer than the Creole's, made effete by dainty 
suppers and faro table exercise and playing dandy 
mid Washington's fair ladies. He knows it too, for his 



BILLY HAMILTON, 



219 



attack becomes desperate. He feels he must end the 
contest quickly, or it will end against him. 

But I, growing- cooler with each pass and my West 
Point training coming to me, parry, and parry, and 
guard and guard, with just enough of feint and riposte 
to weary his sword arm. 

As I grow cooler, he grows despairing. My God, 
I fear he'll surrender before I kill him ! 

"Dead men tell no tales," is in my heart. "Dead 
men tell no tales," is in my arm. 

The lightning flashes. Growing desperate now, he 
is making play with blade, not giving point, and at 
that I have him. As he gives full front cut, I turn 
it off quickly, by a firm high guard, disengage my sabre 
and giving point en carte, put it through as black a 
heart as ever beat— straight, strong, full to the hilt— and 
draw it out with a twist, because the lightning shows me 
white wrists that I love, her wrists, with his accursed 
manacles upon them. 

And my bride looking at this dead thing murmurs, 
" It was dancing with me at this time last night," then 
shudders : "O Billy this is a ghastly wedding-day of 
ours ! " and sinks down in the mud, wringing her 
shackled hands. 



CHAPTER XX. 

A NIGHT AT PORT TOBACCO. 

But my bride must be free at once. 

Scarce waiting for his dying quivers, I hurriedly 
search with my hand the dead man's clothes and find 
the key of the little handcuffs that hold the dainty 
wrists. As I release the delicate hands, I kiss and caress 
them, and with a vicious fling throw the bands of steel 
over the fence into the swamp, cursing the dead man's 
indignity to this creature that I love— that now I must 
protect. 

_ " Yes, they were pretty little bracelets, weren't they, 
Billy.?" she sneers. "Mr. Arago was kind enough to 
inform me he had had them made for me." 

"What dse did he tell you.? " I whisper savagely. 

"That if I did not marry him this very night, he'd 



220 BILLY HAMILTON. 

have me in the Old Capitol Prison to-morrow morn- 
ing. " 

"And then?" 

"I showed him my wedding ring, and it seemea to 
drive him half-crazy ; for he swore he'd have you pun- 
ished as a traitor also, for concealing my identity from 
Baker's Secret Service." 
"And after that?" 

"He tried to work upon my fears for you. Arago 
said : 'You were only married this morning; forget the 
ring upon your linger. The vows you made this morn- 
ing are but an empty form.' He promised to spare 
you, my husband, if I would get divorced from you 
and marry him. Arago said you would not dare con- 
test, because he had your life as he had mine within 
his grip. He treated us as if we were both cowards, 
Billy. But I struck him in his cruel face M'ith my 
manacled hands, and you ran your sword through his 
treacherous heart, and — our enemy is gone." By the 
lightning I see Eve shudder, as she gazes on the recum- 
bent form. Then she asks eagerly : "And now what 
are you going to do ? " 

While she has been talking I have hurriedly but 
effectively searched the clothes of my dead adver- 
sary, taking from them a bulky pocket-book, a purse 
full of money, some knick-knacks and a case of his 
beloved Bouquets Especiales. 

I toss his cigars away, but light philosophically 
one of my own, and place the rest of my plunder in 
Arago's overcoat, which I take from him, together 
with his United States Deputy Marshal's badge. In 
the buggy I discover nothing except Arago's pistols. 
Turning to Eve, I would place the overcoat upon 
her. 

But she falters: "No — no! not the dead man's 
coat ! " 

"Then I'll don it myself." This I do; putting my 
army overcoat on the fair form that is standing in the 
unceasing rain. 

" And now ? " she questions. 

" Now ! " I pick up Arago's body and throw it 
over the fence into a dense growth of dogwood and 
alder. "If they find it," I remark grimly, "it won't 
amount to much. Dead men, in this debatable 



BILLY HAMILTON, 221 

Western shore of Maryland, are common enough at 
present." 

Here the girl, who has apparently recovered her- 
self entirely, says sharply: "Give me one of his re- 
volvers. He took mine from me and threw it away. 
If it hadn't been for that foolish German, there would 
have been no need of your killing him, Billy. But 
we must be moving," she exclaims ; then queries 
eagerly: "You think Roderick, if we harnessed him, 
would draw that buggy ? " 

"No; but he will carry you!' 

"Of course he will — the lovely fellow!" and the 
girl goes to my charger, who, bemg well trained, has 
hardly moved from his position in the road, puts 
her arms round his neck and pets him, while I shorten 
one stirrup and sling the other one upon the pommel 
of the saddle. 

"Can you ride that way, darling.'"! ask. 

"I can ride any way; bareback, if necessary," 
returns Eve confidently, "like a boy if you want. I 
did it when I was a little girl in Virginia. But to-night 
your McClellan tree there will do well enough for my 
side-saddle." 

She has turned from me, and with one or two deft 
movements let down the skirt of her riding-habit. 

' ' Now," she says, putting her little foot in my hand. 
Then I swing her to the saddle. 

"Are you comfortable.?" 

''Yes. But you — you will have to walk, my poor, 
dismounted trooper." 

"What do I care, as long asj'ow are by my side.''" 

" Well, you can't trudge very far in this storm." 

" Do you know the country .? " I ask anxiously. 

"Pretty well! We've got to go back to Port To- 
bacco. Were you mounted, we might try Allan's 
Fresh — a disreputable little hole, but I have friends 
there. To-morrow you must take me there," she 
whispers, as I tramp along through the mud and rain 
by her side. "We must leave early in the morning." 

"Yes," I answer. "If Arago hadn't leave of ab- 
sence the Secret Service will be looking for him. His 
disappearance from Washington will be noted ; on his 
failure to return they will suspect him of the pontoon 
business ; they will think he has fled. 



222 BILLY HAMILTON. 

" Arago did that work very well," she says pensively. 

"Yes, lured by your beauty," I mutter savagely; 
for, with man's inconsistency, I am angry at the effect 
of my wife's supreme loveliness, though I would not 
have her lose a tittle of it for all the world. 

"And, perhaps, my coquetry," she returns sadly, 
then breaks out : ' ' But, no ; I don't repent. If he had 
not loved me, he might not have dared. In this storm 
the pontoons will never get to Burnside in time." And 
she would go on in her cursed Rebel style, that makes 
me furious, for it brings my treachery home to me. 

"I forbid you to talk in that way ! " I say sternly. 

" Oho, a husband's commands ! " 

"Yes; you must remember you are the wife of a 
Union officer," 

"I have never forgotten that, Billy, and I never 
will." 

Then I almost curse myself for the words ; for Eve, 
who had been loving to me before, now seems to grow 
colder. But the girl throws this off after a little, and 
goes to discussing hurriedly with me the arrangements 
we must make early in the morning to transfer her 
across the Potomac into Virginia. In this she shows 
herself much more an adept than I. She seems to 
know those who can be trusted in this part of the 
country. "If we can find Wat Bowie," she remarks, 
" he will surely get me across the Potomac. " 

"And me across the Potomac, also." 

"Yes, of course, you are going with me .'' " There is 
a lurking joy in her voice. "Aren't you, Billy?" 

"Certainly, until I put you beyond the reach of con- 
tending armies, until I see you safe among your friends, 
my wife." I whisper determinedly to Eve as we 
tramp into the muddy street of Port Tobacco. 

This seems to make her very tender to me. She 
murmurs : "Take me to Virginia ! I can protect you 
in the Confederate lines. I know that, or I'd go back 
to Stanton's mercy rather than let you pass beyond 
this State." With her words, she suddenly leans down 
from her saddle and puts two dripping arms around 
my neck, faltering : "What an ungrateful wretch you 
must think me, Billy." 

In her tones there is love, there is even reproach 
unto herself ; but they pa^.H? V^Y heart ache. They 



BILLY HAMILTON. 22^ 

show me my bride has not forgotten my accursed oath ; 
they indicate that my wife will hold me to it, when 
I had thought, with Arago dead, she might forego it. 

But I haven't time to dwell on this. Even as I lift 
her from Roderick's back in front of the Brawner 
House, new and embarrassing complications come 
upon us. 

The hotel-keeper, stepping out, says cheerfully : 
"I thought you'd be back, Cap," then pauses, as- 
tonished, and whispers : "You've got the gal, but where 
did you leave him P "' 

Suddenly the query seems to choke in his throat, as 
Eve, lifting the hood from her lips, whispers a few 
words into his whiskey-scented face. 

"By Dixie," he gasps in astonishment — then mutters 
anxiously, "Kin he be trusted?" looking uneasily at 
me. 

"Certainly ! He is my husband." 

"Then I want to warn you both, there are two 
Union deputies inside — Baker's Secret Service men : 
Joe Shook and Rod Gibbon." This last is very much 
under his breath. 

These words carry concern to me. Shook and Gib- 
bon, the detectives who had spoken to me about the 
girl Stanton wanted ! Eve is wearing the same gray 
riding-habit in which they saw her at Frederick. This 
is in plain view for she has already thrown off my 
rain-soaked overcoat and her dripping waterproof. 
What interrogations to me — what complications to her 
— may this not produce } 

I hurriedly whisper to her: "Be careful. Those 
are the two men who followed you that night on the 
Potomac — the night I arrested you. They saw me lift 
you from your horse in front of the hotel at Fred- 
erick. If they recognize you, or think they do, keep 
your wits." 

But her words reassure me. She laughs : "Oh, I've 
been in more difficult places than this before." Then 
suddenly stepping into the lighted hotel hall, she cries 
loud enough for Shook and Gibbon, who are there, to 
hear : "Come along, Billy. Thank goodness, we're 
out of the storm." 

At my entrance, the two detectives springing up, say 
cordially : " Hello, Captain Hamilton !" 'Then Shook, 



224 BILLY HAMILTON. 

placing his eyes upon Eve's beautiful face, chuckles : 
"Crackey ! Who's yer gal ? " 

"My wife, of course," I answer. "I brought her 
down with me as I have to look after some sutlers, 
in whose business I have an interest. We expected to 
drive back to Washington to-night." 

" That's a good long jaunt ! '"' 

" Only thirty miles, but too much in this weather. 
Eve, " I call to me my bride, who is lingering a little 
bashfully in the background. And she coming to me, 
I say : *' Mrs. Hamilton, let me present to you Joe 
Shook and Rod Gibbon, who hunted secesh with me 
when I was Provost Marshal." 

"Pleased to know ye, missus!" remarks Rod, 
and then goes on in hayseed humor: "Ye know at 
fust I kinder reckoned the Cap was taking an outing 
with " 

"No one else, sir, I hope," interjects Eve severely. 
"You don't suppose I'd let my husband go driving 
about the country with any oilier young lady." 

"No — of course not," mutters the detective; then 
laughs, " By gum, Cap'n Hamilton, you've got a 
tight hand over yer. Perhaps she won't even let you 
go down and take a glass with us in the bar-room V 
But in this speech he suddenly pauses and gazes with 
inquisitive eyes at the gray riding-habit. 

"Well, what's the matter.-* " I ask anxiously. 

" By Jove ! " cries Rod Gibbon. "Darned if Mrs. 
Hamilton doesn't look like the gal, as well as I kin tell 
in the darkness, you had with you in Frederick at the 
hotel thar." 

" Had a girl with him at Frederick — at the hotel •' Oh ! 
Billy, Billy ! " shudders Eve, then her eyes flash — she 
cries : "Don't presume to come near me ! " for I have 
approached her. " IMay Heaven forgive you — I never 
will ! " and in a flash she steps to the stairs. " No, no ! 
don't dare to follow me ! " she says in wild and tearful 
indignation, then tlies up to the second story where 
I hear her order : "Give me a private room, hotel- 
keeper ! " while the two detectives do their best to 
conceal their merriment. What henpecked husband 
ever receives sympathy from fellow men } 

" Hang you ! " I say savagely ; "you've put me in 
a devil of a hole. I'll try and make my peace with 



■ BILLY HAMILTON. 225 

her. You swear that girl was only my prisoner, if my 
wife asks you." 

" Great gosh, Cap, we didn't guess your lady was 
such a high-flyer," mutters Shook apologetically, as I 
rush upstairs after Eve. 

I find her standing in an old-fashioned and rather 
dilapidated chamber. 

Going to her I think she is sobbing, but as she 
turns her face to me tears of laughter are running down 
her pretty cheeks. " Didn't I play the jealous wife 
well ? " she asks merrily. 

"By Jove! you nearly frightened me," I chuckle; 
but a moment after whisper tenderly : "You \vouldn't 
laugh, dear, if it had been another girl .? " 

"No!" Her eyes flame up — thank Heaven, with 
real passion. "No, Billy! That would have broken 
my heart." 

" Ah, you love me ! " My arm goes round her lithe 
waist, and I kiss her rapturously. 

"Yes, I love you. God knows how I love you. 
God knows — God knoM'S " and she is crying now. 

"Crying when I love you — when you are my wife — 
w^hen we may be happy ? " 

But here she draws herself away from me, gently 
but uncompromisingly, and says : "Now, you must go 
away. I'm dripping wet and faint with hunger. Send 
me something to eat. Let me see if I can't get some 
dry clothes from some woman about the house." 

" Suppose I sup with you ? " I insinuate. 

"Oh, that will be delightful ! Have the meal sent 
up here." 

"What do you want.''" 

"Anything — everything — I'm awful hungry! It's 
ten o'clock at night. Hurry, Billy, send some woman 
to me quick ! Don't you see I'm dripping wet and you 
are too ? But I'm better provided than you." 

" How ? " I laugh. 

" Well, just as I left Aunt Lucy's house, I suddenly 
remembered I was going to a land minus les modes de 
Paris, so I clapped two pairs of silk stockings in one 
pocket and my best ball slippers in the other." And 
she produces, from under her waterproof, a pair of tiny 
slippers and some dainty hosiery. "Now run away; 
tell them to get a fire built in this room, quick ! Take 



22b BILLY HAMILTON. 

care of your wife," she laughs coquettishly ; "that's 
your duty no7v — take care of your wife." As I turn 
away, two soft arms are thrown lovingly around me, 
and Eve's piquant face is against mine, as she whispers : 
"Hurry the supper, and don't fail to come up with 
it." 

So I run downstairs and give the necessary orders, 
and furthermore see they are executed. 

There is no white woman in the house, but a mu- 
latto girl of pleasant face and willing manner acts as 
chambermaid ; I send her to Mrs. Hamilton. 

Then I go down into the bar-room, and dry myself 
before a rousing fire, in company with Joe Shook ancf 
Rod Gibbon. 

" Got out of your trouble with your high-flyer. Cap ? " 
whispers the first, as we take a glass of whisky 
together. 

"Only partially." My face grows so glum that they 
thoroughly believe me. 

Something like half an hour after this, the mulatto 
girl puts her head in the doorway and says : " I'se got 
some supper for you, sah. " 

"Very well/' I answer ; " I'll go with you," and turn 
to follow her. 

"Comin' down ag'in ? " remarks Rod. 

"I shouldn't wonder," I reply. " If you fellows 
have got any more good stories to tell me, I'll make a 
night with you." 

A moment after I'm upstairs again, and gaze aston- 
ished. The tumble-down room looks cheerful, hickory 
logs are blazing in the old-fashioned fire-place, and E\e 
is flitting about over a supper-table, looking as dainty 
a maiden as ever tripped, in a simple, light, calico dress, 
very clean, but worn so piquantly she seems like a 
nymph. 

" Now keep away, Billy," she flutters, as I approach 
her. "Sit down ! It is our first meal together. How 
many lumps in your cup .-* " for she is presiding over 
the teapot. 

"None at all," I laugh. "Kiss the cup." 

"Now, don't be foolish. My lips are for better pur- 
poses. Oh, I knew you'd kiss me when I said that. 
But, Billy please — please sit down and behave your- 
self." No, not beside me ; opposite me." 



BILLY HAMILTON. 227 

And I, obeying instructions, find myself looking for 
the first time over the family table at my wife. 

There is not much variety to eat ; there's nothing but 
tea to drink ; but we make a merry meal of it. We 
have country sausages and spare ribs and some Mary- 
land biscuits, fresh butter and fresh milk, and a pair of 
wild ducks ; very plentiful in those regions in that day, 
but cooked with onions and baked till a gourmand 
would roll his eyes in horror at them. But of these 
dainties I make a tremendous repast. And for that 
matter. Eve plies her knife and fork quite diligently 
herself. 

This being over, I look at her and produce my cigar- 
case and say : " Can I ? " 

"Why, certainly ! You know, in a\\ /I'Ule things I'm 
going to be awfully obedient to you, Billy." 

So while I smoke, I examine Arago's pocketbook. 
The rest of his articles are of slight consequence : a 
pen-knife, money, some old gold and silver coins ; 
among them, a faro chip shows the gambler. 

But the pocketbook ! In it there are two drafts for 
considerable am mnts upon English bankers, and 
among other endorsements on one of them is that of 
" Frazer, Trenholm & Co.," of Liverpool, a firm noto- 
rious for its dealings with the Rebel government, at 
Richmond, and at one time understood to be its agent 
for putting Confederate bonds and Confederate cotton 
on the English market. Though apparently shielded by 
numerous other endorsements, one of these drafts has 
"Frazer, Trenholm & Co.," upon it. 

" Arago must have been taking big chances," I say, 
as I show these to Eve, and whisper: " INIoney just 
received from England. When Baker investigates, 
he'll find the Rebel gold that bought my enemy ! " 

"You — you are going to show these to the War 
Department ! " she gasps. 

"Certainly ! When I return to Washington. Hang 
it, I shall be the efficient Union officer — who killed the 
Rebel spy — who pursued him. Haifa dozen teamsters 
will swear they saw me riding after him in hot pur- 
suit." 

"No, no, " she mutters. "Leave the dead alone." 
To impress me, Eve has approached me. 

" Nonsense ! "I reply. " He was faithless to both 



228 13ILLY HAMILTON. 

parties, took his money from either side, and would 
have made your beauty, also, part of his bribe. The 
Rebel Government need grieve for him no more than 
the Federal. " Were it not for Lommox and your part 
in this accursed pontoon business, I think I'd dare to 
take you back with me to Washington." 

"Don't talk of that," Eve whispers hurriedly. "I 
dare not. I — I will not go now ! " Her eyes seek mine 
with curious, pathetic, appealing intensity. 

There is some motive aside from terror in her voice, 
that at this moment I cannot fathom, though later on I 
know. 

"I can't bear to lose you. " I speak into the little 
ear: "I woiit be parted from you." I have got my 
arm round her exquisite waist now, that unprotected 
by corset seems to thrill under my embrace. 

"You must — to save my life, Billy," she falters, her 
heart beating wildly, her beauty enchanting enough to 
make a hermit writhe within his cell. 

The sleeves of her dress float back to her dimpled 
elbows, showing arms of fairest form dazzling and 
snowy as she strives to unclasp my hand. 

The light cotton gown outlines a figure superb as 
that of Venus, but bedecked by fairy graces from 
gleaming neck to petite foot and ankle. 

Her face as she turns it to me is covered with maiden 
blushes, but piquant, alluring and lovi?ig, as if she 
would bind me forever to her by a thousand charms ; 
despite the cruelty with which she means to treat me — 
for there is a determination in her eyes that makes my 
heart sink. 

I have drawn her down upon my knee. The pretty 
slippers are flashing as she struggles in piquant rebel- 
lion. "Sit here ; be quiet, you alluring little witch ! " 
I mutter. " You are going to be an obedient wife ? " 

"Yes, yes! Take me to Virginia! Take me to 
Virginia, Billy. Until then, as you are a gentleman, 
remember yonx oath, as I in all my life shall remember 
my vows." Somehow she has slipped from me. Turning 
she gazes at me sadly and, looking as immaculate as a 
Madonna, murmurs: "Now good-night, loved one. 
I shall pray for you this evening." 

"Good-night," I mutter surlily, and turn to the door. 
But her arms are round me and she is sobbing : "What 



BILLY HAMILTON. 229 

an I'ngrate I am. You are risking your honor, your 
life, to save mine ! But don't, don't think me an unre- 
sponsive wife, Billy. Know that I love you." 

" Love vie I Ha, ha ! Ho, ho ! " I laugh, her beauty 
driving me to a sarcastic despair. 

" Love _>'fl?^ ! " Her lips quiver, she murmurs brok- 
enly: "Can't you see! Don't you know, I — I have 
loved you ever since I was a little girl." 

"Pish! I have killed the man you feared would 
betray you if he guessed you were my wife ! And 
yet " 

"And yet I shall hold you to your oath!" she 
whispers. 
• " An oath you'll love me better if I break ! " 

"No, no! " 

She has fled from me, then turned at bay for I have 
followed her. Her eyes shine like stars, her tresses 
that were banded up have come unbound and fall 
about her, the soft light of the room tinting them till 
their brown becomes like floating gold. 

Her beauty makes me forget all else save that I am 
her husband, and she my wife, whose lips have told 
me that she loves me. These lips I seek with mine, 
and to my touch they answer soft, clinging and dewy 
with a passion that from my eyes has flamed into 
hers. 

" My own, my bride." I whisper. 

" Billy ! " she sighs to me. 

My hand caressing her white neck, touches a little 
golden chain from which depends a bauble. I stoop 
to kiss the gleaming bosom on which it lies. In 
rounded maiden beauty it throbs to my caress. 

As my lips touch the bauble, my wife cries, a strange 
triumph in her voice : " Darling, you are kissing the 
Confederate flag! " 

"Not my flag!" I say sternly, starting back, my 
hand half raised to take the traitorous emblem of en- 
amelled gold and diamond stars, from its sweet resting- 
place. 

But now she is pressing the disloyal thing to her lips 
and murmuring what seems like a prayer to it and cry- 
ing : "O happy omen ! " 

" Forget your fetich, dear,'' I whisper, "There are 
other uses for those sweet lips to-night." 



230 BILLY HAMILTON. 

But suddenly Eve seems to become another being, 
some other passion dominates her heart. She draws 
herself up and mutters hoarsely: "Your oath! I 
hold you to it, as you are a gentleman ! Ay — even as 
you are my husband ; for without it I would not have 
wad you — ^dearly as I love you ! No, no ! " 

She tears herself from my arms and stands like a 
priestess making sacrifice, her eyes flash, she cries : 
" I have a ditty to my cause ! " 

Then some kind of martyrdom flies over her face, 
she pleads : " Take me to Virginia, Billy ! take me to 
Virginia ! No, no, please don't kiss me — forgive me — 
let me go — your oath — good-night — go." 

For a moment I gaze indignant, but smite her with: 
" You dare say that to me, your husband.? " 

"Yes — because I love you — because I adore you — 
because I will have you truly mine!'" She wrings 
her hands, but her eyes gleam with indomitable re- 
solve. She throws open the door, and begs : "Remem- 
ber your oath .f You swore it by all that is sacred. I'll 
hold you to it if it breaks my heart ! Then shudders 
pathetically: "Go! — forgive me! GO!" 

Stricken and dazed, yet forced from her by her words, 
I stagger from the room and stride savagely down 
the stairs and join Messrs. Shook and Gibbon, and 
play a game of poker with them and drink whisky 
with them till almost morning. As we rise from the 
gaming table, Shook says : " Haven't got squared yit, 
with your lady, about that Frederick gal, eh Cap ? " 

"No," I mutter, and my tone is so gloomy and my 
face so savage, that the two believe I have the most 
jealous spouse on earth. 

As they go away from me, I think I hear Gibbon 
jeer : "Fired ! " and the two guffaw uproarously. 

But I am too miserable to resent their mirth and sit 
and ponder over the day that has brought to me a wife 
who is not a wife, and a homicide that is not a murder. 
Anyway, I don't repent either. Eve loves me, I'll swear 
to that ! Arago deserved his death at the hands of 
any loyal man, I'll take my oath to that I And what 
do I deserve .? I'm technically a traitor — aiding a Rebel 
spy to escape — but hang me if any man won't save 
the woman he loves — if he don't, he may be Union he 
may be Secesh, but he's not a human being ! 



BILLY HAMILTON. 23 1 



CHAPTER XXII. 

QUASHIE, THE SECESH NEGRO. 

The roosters are crowing ; the morning light is com- 
ing as I think this last. 

Her safety starts me up. Though I first look to her 
comfort. 

Partially dried underclothes will be neither pleasant 
nor healthful for my dainty darling. 

I rack my brain to find Eve others. If there is any 
store in this broken-down village it will hardly be 
open now, and we must be getting on our way very 
quickly. 

The mulatto wench make her appearance — telling 
her my wants she suggests : " Sutlers." 

" Lammersdorff's my man," I think. Telling the 
girl to hurry up breakfast, and rewarding her with a 
dollar for her trouble of the night before, I set out to 
find the German. 

This does not take long in the circumscribed limits 
of Port Tobacco, which looks even more dilapidated 
in the sunlight — for, I thank heaven, for Eve's sake, 
there are indications of clearing in the sky — than the 
night before shrouded by gloom and obscured by 
falling rain. 

Passing from the hotel, I wander by the old Court- 
House in the centre of its unkept square, and in a pad- 
dock some few hundred yards from this, among a lot of 
other sutlers'wagons — these purveyors to the army, for 
their own protection, keeping in this part of the country 
pretty well together — I find LammersdoriT. 

That worthy German who is just making his toilet 
beside one of his own teams, on seeing me, looks very 
mysterious and leading me aside asks cautiously : 

" Did you git her ? " 

" My wife," I answer carelessly. " Of course I did ! 
she's up at the Brawner House now — has been all 
night." 

"Veil, for a bridegroom you is an early riser, young 



232 BILLY HAMILTON. 

man, but in dat Brawner House dey has insects dot 
would make a gobernment mule rise up and shake him- 
self. Now ver did you leave dat U. S. Marshal chap .' 
Ven you left me you looks like assassinating." 

"Oh,'' I answer as lightly as I can, "after I took 
my wife from him, he didn't have any more business 
about here. You put that matter out of your head ; 
you 11 never hear of W/rorn him again. ' 

" So ! Dat is good ! Dat Secret Serbice man won't 
say nutten," remarks the sutler, apparently much re- 
lieved. Then, I telling him my wants, he adds : "Jake 
Conrade is your man. He takes drygoods to de young 
ladies dat follows de army — mid de camp." 

I don't ask what kind of young ladies, but following 
Lammersdorff to Conrade's wagon, soon find myself 
supplied with a few pairs of good, strong, ladies' stock- 
ings and some feminine underclothes that I hope may 
be of service to replace Eve's soaked garments that can 
hardly be more than half dry by this time. 

With these in my hand, I seek the Brawner House, 
and running upstairs knock at the door of my wife's 
bedroom. 

" Who is it .? " comes to me in her sweet voice. 

" Billy, of course ! " 

" Well, ' Billy-of-course, ' run downstairs at once and 
tell them to hurry breakfast." 

"Are you nearly ready .? " 

"Certainly, but I — I don't know what to do for 
stockings. Ball-room hosiery won't suit Maryland 
roads, and the ones I wore on the journey are simply 
caked with mud." 

" Well, open the door and see what hubby sends you. 
I have been out shopping for you." 

" What have you got ? " There is feminine curiosity 
in the voice, and loud rustling in the room ; the door 
is opened a very little, and an arm white as purest 
marble and symmetrical as the lost ones of the Venus 
of Praxiteles, is extended diffidently groping in the air. 
It is the left arm. I seize its wrist, and selecting the 
second finger, press my lips upon the golden circlet 
that binds her to me. 

Then I quickly add to the wedding ring the bauble 
I had purchased in Washington, slipping it upon the 
pretty finger. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 233 

"What — what are you doing?" she whispers. 

"Putting on your engagement-ring," I say. "The 
one we forgot before our hurried nuptials." 

"You — you are killing me with kindness," is faltered 
out to me. 

' ' Then here's some more kindness ! " With this I 
dr;iw the superb limb to me, and despite a bewitching 
little scream and slight struggle, I kiss rapturously the 
dimpled shoulder, and am rewarded by a soft lingering 
sigh from the other side of the door. Next I place in the 
little hand the package I have bought from the sutler, 
and as I run downstairs hear her cry: " You good 
hubby ! you've got just what your wife wanted. 

A few minutes after, as I sit at the Brawner breakfast 
table, a natty maid in gray riding-habit trips in to my 
side. 

Fortunately we are alone, Shook and Gibbon being 
engaged in sleeping off the whisky of the night before, 
and I get as sweet a kiss as ever man received. 

"That's for being a good boy, hubby," she says. 

"Ah, the engagement-ring," I laugh. 

She gazes at the two little circlets upon her finger, 
the one gleaming with a diamond, the other the sim- 
ple symbol of her vows ; then blushes hotly and 
laughs : " You — you can give me another one for that, 
Billy." 

"Certainly! " 

'"■ Now stop making love to me. Quick, let us eat 
our breakfast and get under way. I've spoken to our 
landlord, and a lady's nag and side-saddle will be 
brought round together with Roderick in ten minutes. 
Eat in a hurry. " 

With this we both address ourselves to very in- 
different coffee, but good corn cakes, bacon, and fresh 
fish, my bride explaining hurriedly to me : "I've found 
out where Wat Bowie is. With his assistance, half our 
troubles will be over." 

As we finish the meal, there is a sound of horses' 
hoofs at the door, and settling our bill, I lead my bride 
out to where a darky is holding Roderick and a half- 
bred, rather gaunt, but apparently active mare. This 
nag has upon her back a dilapidated side-saddle. Be- 
hind it I carefully pack Eve's waterproof and my 
soldier overcoat for her use in case the rain should 



234 BILLY HAMILTON. 

come again, though the sun is at present shining 
brightly. 

I arrange the stirrup for her, and a moment after, 
she placing her little foot confidently in my hand, « 
swing her into the saddle. Then giving the dark 
stable boy a dollar, I jump on my charger andweca» 
ter off, passing a platoon of cavalry that have appa> 
ently come down to guard the sutlers' teams. Bi 
these pay little attention to us, the lieutenant in con 
mand simply saluting my shoulder-straps as I pas 
him. 

Returning this, I follow Eve — for she is guide no» 
— along the road over which we had returned the nigl 
before, but after a half mile we turn out of this, follov 
ing the track that leads towards the hamlet calle 
Allan's Fresh. On one side of us are the great swamj 
drained by the waters of Allan's Creek, which ru 
into the Wicomico River, that joins the Potomac I 
the south of us. 

"I'm glad we didn't have to go past that awfi 
place," remarks Eve with a shudder as we take th^ 
turn. Then suddenly she starts and ejaculates : "01 
Billy, how horrible you look ! You haven't washe 
your face nor combed your hair. I'm sure you've n^ 
slept. You've — you've not been thinking of — of th 
man in the road.? " 

"No; that doesn't trouble me very much. I'v 
seen better men than he fall by the thousands in battle, 
I mutter. "I played poker all night to kill time." 

Then perhaps catching some reproach in my faca 
Eve gasps: " How sternly you look at me ; " an* 
shudders : " You're — you're beginning to — to liate me !'' 
Suddenly her eyes fill with tears, her coral lips tremble, 
she begins to cry as if her heart would break. 

What man could resist the sorrow of so beautiful a 
creature.? I swing my horse close to the side of her 
mare, my arm goes round her slight waist. I draw 
the supple figure, in all its rounded beauty, to me, 
and whisper: "No; I love you. Despite your cruelty 
— I love you ! " 

"And it is because you love me, "she whispers, " and 
because / love you, that I feel I am so despicable ! For- 
give me, Billy ! " Then even as she rides, superb horse- 
woman that she is, she throws a soft arm round my neck 



BILLY HAMILTON. 235 

and gives me a kiss that makes my heart throb. Next, 
dashing her hand across her eyes, she calls cheerily : 
"Come on, Billy; let's get to Virginia." 

But during this ride, the young lady seems to require 
a good many little delicate attentions from her cava- 
lier. Soon 1 have to shorten her stirrup. To do this 
I lift her from the saddle, and even as I hold her beauti- 
ful form in my arms she gives me another kiss and 
says : "That's for being so good to me." 

So the all the time she seems to be trying to make 
her peace with me by the delicate arts and subtle fas- 
cinations of a woman who feels that she is doing me a 
wrong. Sometimes, I have thought since, she was 
appealing to me to forgive her for the greater wrong 
she did me afterwards. 

The ride goes along very pleasantly, and a few 
minutes after this Eve draws up her nag sharply, takes 
a quick look about her, as if to be sure other surround- 
ings, then gallops up the road about fifty yards, and 
turning her mare deftly sends her, in fox-hunting style, 
over the snake-rail fence into some swamp land. 

A moment after I put Roderick to his leap, and am 
beside her. "What did you do that for.?" I ask. 
"Why couldn't you let me open that tumble-down 
gate for you .? " I point to some bars about fifty yards 
away. 

"Of course not!" she answers. "To have opened 
the gate would indicate some one had come in here, 
and I don't imagine that Lieutenant Wat Bowie wants 
visitors." 

" Oh, he's in the Confederate service .? " 

"Yes; the partisan service. He was a Maryland 
lawyer ; I think now he is connected with a gentleman 
named Mosby, over in Virginia." 

"Mosby! Who is he.?" I ask. For at that time 
the name of the great guerrilla was just beginning to 
be known. 

"Oh, he's one of our gallant, dashing fellows. If 
this war lasts much longer, you'll hear of Mosby," Eve 
laughs. "A Virginia boy, from Fauquier County. 
He has been riding with Stuart, but lately has been 
detached ; I believe, at his own request. Lieutenant 
Bowie, I presume, has come over for information." 

While she is saying this, we are passing along a 



236 BILLY HAMILTON. 

half effaced trail, the swamp with its low thickets of 
alder and dogwood, its bigger trees of gum and beach, 
and scrub swamp oak, enclosing it. So we go winding 
about. Eve seeming to know the path perfectly. Some 
half a mile further on we emerge into a little clearing 
in which is a Virginia shake cabin, with a chimney of 
mud and stones running up its gable end. 

As we come out of the timber, a couple of curs com- 
mence to bark savagely, a negro flies out yelling, and 
two men, springing from the cabin rifle in hand, 
cover me with their pieces. 

"For God's sake, stop where you are, Billy 1 " cries 
Eve to me, then rides towards the cabin, waving her 
white handkerchief and calling : "Put down your 
guns ! Watt Bowie, Jim Wiltshire, don't you know 
Eva Ashley.?" Suddenly she laughs. "Why, there's 
Quashie also ! " 

And the darky gives a yell of delight : " Missie Ebe — 
Missie Ebe ! You'se got out of de Yanks' clutches. 
Praise de Lawdy ! Praise de Lawdy ! " and fairly dances 
with joy. 

A moment later, at her beckoning, I ride up. The 
two white men look suspiciously at my blue uniform. 
They still have their rifles in their hands, cocked and 
ready for action. The negro turns evil eyes on me, for 
he is one of the curiosities of the war — a Secesh darky ; 
one whose love for his mistress makes him the enemy 
of the army that comes to give him freedom. The 
negro guide who betrayed Ulrick Dahlgren in his raid 
on Richmond, was one ; Quashie was another ; but, 
fortunately for the Union arms, there were very few 
of these black-skinned anomalies. 

"Well, Miss Ashley," remarks the Confederate ap- 
parently in command, "this is a rather curious 
visitor you bring us." 

"No/ Miss Ashley," remarks Eve sharply, "but 
Mrs. Hamilton. The gentleman with me is my 
husband." 

'* Your husband ! " ejaculates one of the men. 

"What ! " cries the other Confederate; as if they 
can hardly believe their ears. 

But the darky mutters: " Qh, golly Goliah ! She's 
married de Yank ; " then astounds us by guffawing : 
* Clar' to goodness, Miss Ebe, I'se been a-fearin' dis. 



BILLY HA!\tn,TON. 



237 



I knovved you was gone on de Yank cap'n eber since 
he captured you at Frederick." 

"You're quite right, Quashie," laughs my bride 
blushing vividly ; and continues : " Captain Plarnilton, 
let me introduce Lieutenant Walter Bowie and Sergeant 
Jim Wiltshire." 

" Then let me congratulate you, sir," remarks Bowie, 
his manner growing cordial, "on being the most for- 
tunate man I know." 

But the other cries out sharply: "Captain Billy 
Hamilton .? " 

"Certainly," I reply. 

" And you come as ci/riendp " 

" I don't come as an enemy." 

"No enemy.?" chuckles Bowie, "when Provost- 
Marshal of Baltimore you hunted me through three 
counties ! " 

"At that time I would have very much liked to see 
you," I reply. 

"And now that you see me, what do you want with 
me .? " 

" Well, my wife is too good a Rebel for me to dare to 
trust her in Washington ; therefore I have brought her 
to you to ask your assistance in getting her through to 
the Confederate lines." 

"You guarantee this to be a fact, IMiss Ashley — I 
mean Mrs. Hamilton ? " queries Bowie earnestly. 

"Certainly! I guarantee that my husband comes 
here as a friend ; and that he will leave you as a friend," 
answers Eve decidedly. 

" All right ; it is a flag of truce till this affair is over," 
laughs the lieutenant pleasantly, "though you could 
never have escaped from me." And Bowie points to 
two men who have just shown themselves in the en- 
trance of the clearing, apparently following behind us 
on the path that we came. 

A moment later these scouts join us, and receiving 
orders from the lieutenant, again glide into the under- 
growth and disappear. "I always like to be sure 
against surprise," remarks this I\Iaryland lawyer, who 
has grown into an enterprising and desperate partisan 

"You think you can get us across the Potomac to- 
night .' " I ask eagerly. 

" That all depends upon the weather. We want to 



238 BILLY HAMILTON. 

cross ourselves. And I believe a storm is blowing up," 
he points to some clouds that are now gathering. " If 
it's a black and nasty night, we'll make the attempt. 
You'll have to leave your horses here ; you can't get 
them across : but we've good nags on the other 
side." 

"Where do you intend to cross ? " I ask. 

"We'll have to go pretty well down the river. Mat- 
tias Point, with two Yankee Army Corps at Aquia Creek 
and Falmouth, wouldn't do. We'd just run into Burn- 
side's whole army." 

The accuracy of his information surprises me, but I 
make no comment upon it. 

"I think we'll have to go as far down as Baynesville 
at least," he continues. "Then we can probably get 
over to the Rappahannock near Leedstown, and across 
that river you'll find your own beloved Dixie's land, 
Mrs. Hamilton." 

During this conversation, Quashie has been looking 
me over ; several affectionate little gestures from his 
loved mistress to me, have gradually changed his 
manner from animosity and suspicion to respect and 
regard. Noting this, I laugh: "Quashie how about 
that black eye ? Was it an In'sh government mule, 
gave it to you .? " 

At this he gazes at me suspiciously again, but Eve 
whispering to him, "You may trust your new master, 
Quashie," the black guffaws ! " Fo' de Lawd, Massa, 
Capt'n ! It was a U. S. army mule wid sergeant stripes 
on him arm." 

Into this colloquy Bowie breaks, saying cordially. 
"Now, just bring your lady. Captain Hamilton, and 
we'll have lunch. I gathered in a sutler two days 
ago, Quashie is a first-rate cook, and we're in the land 
of plenty. Jim and I were just sitting down when the 
dogs announced your arrival." 

So we all go into the cabin, and there find a generous 
meal of canned provisions, fried ham, good coffee 
and some biscuit baked in a Dutch oven, and made of 
United States Army flour, I notice. So, with a bottle 
of whisky of excellent quality, we gentlemen contrive 
to pass the time, I adding to the store of good things 
some of the famous Bouquets Especiaks from the 
pouches on Roderick's saddle. 



BILLY HAMILTON, 239 

"By Jove, these are beautiful cig^ars ! " remarks 
Bowie. " Do you know, Captain, about the only hard- 
ship that I really suffer is the loss of good cigars reg- 
ularly. When I was practising at the Maryland bar 
it was twelve or fifteen a day ; now it is one in twelve 
or fifteen days. " 

Here he is interrupted by the return of the two 
scouts, who come in to their dinner, their places being 
immediately taken by Bowie and Wiltshire. These 
men, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jake Brown, look upon my 
uniform with considerable distrust. 

" It's kinder lucky you had a lady wid ye. Cap," re- 
marks Jake. "I'm a sure shot, and you'd a-never got 
through that ar path a living man, if it hadn't been for 
that ar riding-habit alongside of you uns. '' 

"And I saved your life.?" cries Eve with affrighted 
eyes; then she suddenly mutters: "Some time per- 
haps I will save it again, Billy," and looks at me pa- 
thetically and all this day seems to cling to me as if 
she feared what the morrow might bring to us. For 
Bowie, as he has stepped out, rifle in hand, after scan- 
ning the sky has remarked : "It's pretty nearly certain 
we cross the Potomac, or drown in it to-night." 

Following him from the cabin, I find the clouds are 
gathering fast ; the wind rustling among the swamp 
foliage is growing stronger. 

Here a little hand is placed upon my shoulder, and 
Eve whispers : ' ' It's going to storm ; it's getting blacker 
every minute. They'll never get those pontoons to 
Frederickburgs in time ! " 

While she is making this remark, I look glumly at 
her. Every exclamation on this subject shows she is 
an unrepentant Confederate and the awful political 
gulf there is between my wife and myself. 

But perhaps catching reproach in my glance, she 
says coaxingly, taking my big hand in her two little 
ones: "Forgive me, Billy, for being a Rebel," then 
bursts out in a tone that startles me : "Pray God you 
forgive me to-?norroiv, for being a Rebel ! " 

" What do you mean } " 

"I'll — I'll tell you in Virginia — but — not now," she 
falters ; then begs piteously : " Don't — don't let us part 
twice," and nestles to me in a way that makes me very 
tender to her. 



2 40 BILLY HAMILTON. 

I look round, we are alone, at the back of the cabin ; 
the busy clatter of knives and forks from the scouts in- 
side denotes they will not interrupt us immediately. 

I sit down upon an old settee and draw my bride 
upon my knee. Her plumed hat has fallen off her 
graceful head ; a few stray nut-brown curls blowing 
about, caress my lips ; the tight fitting riding-habit 
outlines a form of superb symmetry and rounded 
beauty ; from beneath the skirt looped up for walking 
peep two little feet and exquisite ankles. I gaze on 
this my bride's beauty sadly and sternly. 

She looks at me archly, coquettishly, but noting my 
glance, her eyes grow full of tears, she murmurs pa- 
thetically "You — you forgive me.? " 

" For what.''" I ask savagely. 

"You know/" and she hides her face bashfully upon 
my breast. 

Suddenly she cries : "Billy, I — I musn't love you too 
much ! " springs from my knee and walking about com- 
mences to chat with me quite merrily, telling me I 
ought to wash my face and hands, if not before din- 
ner, at least after dinner. "Don't look such an awful 
unkempt trooper," she half laughs, half cries. "Why, 
one would think you didn't have a wife to take care of 
you." 

" For God's sake, don't torture me ! " I mutter, and 
stride glumly off ; but taking her advice, wash my 
face, and, borrowing a razor from Bowie, who returns 
about this time and seems to be more of a dandy than 
the rest of his command, I succeed in shaving myself 
before a broken piece of mirror. 

Returning the barber's implement to the Rebel lieu- 
tenant, I suggest: "You're quite a Beau Brummel, 
aren't you .? " 

"Oh, you mean because I keep this shaving tool .? " 
he laughs. "Not at all; though I used to be some- 
tliing of the kind before my trooper days. Three 
times have I saved myself from Federal troops seek- 
ing for me by disguising myself as a nigger-wench, 
and found it convenient to have a clean face on such 
occasions. It's a matter of business with me, not 
beauty. Though I don't mind looking my best when 
we get up a dance in the hills of Fauquier County. 
and the belles of Upperville trip the measure with us 



BILLY HAMILTON. 24I 

cavalry lads. Some handsome girls in Virginia, eh, 
Captain ? " 

"Yes, I think I've shown that I appreciate their 
beauty," I reply, casting a longing glance at my wife, 
who is outside the cabin, apparently in a brown study. 

"She's a little down in the mouth, isn't she, Captain 
Hamilton ? " remarks the Lieutenant sympathetically. 
" But you can be sure that I'll do my best to take care 
of her, and there's no girl more popular in Virginia 
than the young lady you've stolen from us. Why, even 
Carrie Barton of Fredericksburg, to my mind is not 
quite as pretty, and she's the toast of Richmond. You 
— you haven't got another of those cigars ? " he asks 
longingly. 

"Yes, half a dozen of them ! Help yourself. God 
bless you, my generous fellow ! " I say, and shake his 
hand warmly. In fact, all of them now, from enemies 
seem to have become comrades to me — for this trip. 

Stepping out to my wife, I note there are tears in her 
eyes, but she brushes them away as I sit down beside 
her. "You are grieving at leaving the delights and 
comforts of Washington ? " I suggest. 

"Oh, no, for I'm going to my own people." 

"Ah, but my people are now your people," I say. 

"Not yet," she answers; then whispers in sudden 
self-reproach: "What will you think of me, Billy, at 
this time to-morrow ? What?" 

"Always as my wife — my beloved wife." 

"I hope so; and yet " She wrings her hands, 

then murmurs: "Don't let us think of that; let us 
try to be happy now ; " and charms me by her coque- 
tries of manner, her exquisite graces of body, intellect 
and soul, and I love her even more as the storm breaks 
upon us and we have to retreat to the house. 

But now darkness is coming upon Maryland. The 
wind is howling through the trees. The scouts have 
come^ in; Bowie has made all his preparations; 
Quashie has cooked for us another good meal. 

" Eat hearty, everybody," Jake, our guide chuckles, 

" our next feed'll be in ole Virginia, or " he claps 

his big jaws together with a suggestive snap. 

"Yes, be sure and drink lots of strong coffee, Mrs. 
Hamilton, the night will be bitter cold upon the water," 
adds Bowie to my wife. 



242 BILLY HAMILTON. 

As we eat the Lieutenant remarks : " YouVe got to 
leave the horses here. You can perhaps pick them up 
when you come back, Captain. Let's go out and make 
'em comfortable while you're away,'' 

I go with him to a broken-down barn some hundred 
yards from the cabin, where we do everything possible 
for Roderick and the mare, leaving them food and water 
for a week, but not closing the stable door, though 
putting up the bars in the paddock. 

Returning from this, I am met by Eve and her darky 
henchman. "Quashie, " she says to him in pleading 
impressiveness, " remember this gentleman is my 
husband and your master ; that I love him as my life — 
better than my life — obey his words as you would mine ; 
love him, as you do me." 

"I can't do de last, Missie," answers the negro; 
"but I can do de rest, you kin bet yo' life on it. 
Dough I nebber 'spected yo'd say dis of a Yankee 
offisah. Nebber, so help me Gawd ! " 

"Thank you, Quashie," I mutter, and give the black 
my hand. 

A greeting that apparently astounds him, for he 
hesitates to take it ; then suddenly seizes it and mutters: 
" Lawd bless yo' Massa Hamilton ! You do de right 
t'ing by her an' I do de right t'ing by you'. I'se yo' 
man from dis time on ! " and goes off to gather his 
mistress's few belongings. 

"You can trust Quashie now, my Billy," says Eva 
earnestly. " He is yours as he is mine, with every beat 
of his true negro heart.'' 

Little words these, but carrying life and death with 
them, though I know it not. 



CHAPTER XXHL 

•"'l HAVE BEKN TRAITOR ENOUGH ! "' 

"Dear one, you have everything you need for the 
journey ? " I ask anxiously of the beautiful creature at 
my side, for her charge to Quashie about me has made 
me even more tender than before. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



243 



"Everything, my husband, thanks to your purchases 
this morning. Though you made an awful fit of those 
stockings ; three sizes too large for my feet." 

"Well, better luck next time," I say, and give her 
a mighty squeeze. 

Here, Eve starts from me, for Bowie coming out of 
the cabin laughs : " Stop flirting with your wife, Cap- 
tain Hamilton, and tramp along after me. We must 
get under way for Dixie." 

A moment later we follow him, as do the whole 
party. Guided by Jake Brown, we tramp a long mile, 
half of it through a swamp trail, the other portion along 
an unused wood-road ; I supporting Eve and doing 
the best I can for her in this weary part of the journey. 

At the end of the wood-road we come to a little creek 
that at low tide would probably be a mud flat, but is 
now full of water. Moored in this is a light-draught, 
but good-sized skiff or boat. It holds our party easily ; 
in fact, it would hold three or four more. Making my 
wife as comfortable as possible in the stern sheets of 
this, and shielding her with a tarpaulin that is in the 
boat as well as some blankets we have brought for 
her, and every one — God bless them ! — doing as much as 
possible for my darling's comfort, the boat is shoved 
off out on the waters, into the darkness. 

But it is guided by skilful hands and rowed by strong 
arms, and the out-going tide is with us. An hour 
afterwards we have come out of the Wicomico River, 
and are on the bosom of the Potomac, which is several 
miles wide at this point. The night is dark ; the rain 
is falling heavily. 

"If the lightning doesn't show us to them, we're 
pretty safe from Yankee patrol boats," whispers Bowie 
as he steers the craft. 

And the night grows darker, and the rain falls heavier, 
but fortunately there is little lightning. Though the 
wind makes a nasty, choppy sea of the Potomac, which 
is here practically an estuary. 

After dodging one steam launch, the noise of her ma- 
chinery and sparks from her smoke-stack disclosing 
her to us, at four o'clock in the morning, some two 
hours before daylight, we strike the Virginia shore, and 
running carefully and cautiously down it, make landing 
somewhere about six in the morning in a little cove 



244 BILLY HAMILTON. 

M'hich is apparently well known to Bowie, about a 
mile below Baynesville. 

Part of this trip, under the tarpaulin and the blank- 
ets, I think Eve has slept, for she has spoken little to 
me except to assure me that she is perfectly comfort- 
able — that she has made one or two such passages be- 
fore — that she doesn't mind it in the least, except for 
my sake ; snuggling- her little hand into mine. 

Leaving the boat by the first light of the morning, 
we soon reach a farmer's house. 

"One of the right kind!" remarks Wiltshire, and 
we find it very much of the right kind, for everything 
that hospitality can suggest is done for us, the daughter 
of the house giving my wife dry underclothes and 
making a great deal of her. 

Though, did not Eve assure them that I was her hus- 
band, my uniform would probably receive a cold wel- 
come, as the Virginia husbandman and his wife look 
upon it with by no means cordial eyes. 

In fact, at breakfast, the farmer's daughter, a buxom, 
chirpy lassie of about eighteen, remarks laughingly : 
"'Deed I couldn't marry a man dressed in that nasty 
Yankee blue ! You just get Cap'n Hamilton into nice 
Confederate gray, and your fellow'll look twice as 
purty to you — 'deed he will, Miss Ashley ! " 

During the laugh that follows this remark, Eve droops 
her exquisite head, as if ashamed ; though as I lead her 
down to put her on the horse, her manner is coquettishly 
alluring and charmingly tender to me. Still, once or 
twice, as I speak tenderly to her, she hangs her head and 
turns away her glance, as if in some great, though 
latent, distress. "It is the thought that we must part 
soon," I conclude, and that idea makes my heart 
heavy also. 

The party is soon on horseback — for information has 
been brought that there are no Federal forces in the 
neighborhood, all of these having been drawn into the 
Union army some thirty miles above us, and Bowie 
thinks we must start at once. 

So this morning we gallop through Virginia mud 
from the Potomac to the Rappahannock. The sun has 
got out again and is shining, and it seems to be a 
pleasant jaunt to my wife, for the nearer we get to the 
Confederate lines, the brighter becomes her face, the 



BILLY HAMILTON. 245 

more buoyant her air, the more loving her manner to 
me. Though sometimes, as she looks on me, strange 
spasms of agony seem to run over her sensitive feat- 
ures, that ripple with each passion of her enthusiastic 
soul, each thought in her vivacious mind. 

These eccentricities of her face, grow more numerous 
and more vivid as we cross the Rappahannock on a 
flat-boat ferry, near Leedstown landing on the opposite 
bank, a few miles below Port Royal. 

A quarter of an hour after this, we see the Southern 
flag, and are challenged by a scouting party of the 
Fifteenth Virginia Cavalry, and Eve cries, a mighty joy 
in her voice : 

" Here are yny boys in gray ! Hurrah ! the Confe- 
derate colors." 

Then Bowie and Wiltshire answering the challenge, 
after a short conference we are passed through the 
Rebel picket line, and I find myself in the presence of 
Major Robinson, who is in command of a squadron of 
his regiment that are patrolling this bank of the river, 
to see no divisions of the Federals attempt to cross 
unobserved below Fredericksburg. ' 

Gazing on my uniform, this officer orders me under 
guard. But, after a few minutes' conference with Eve 
and Bowie, he returns to me accompanied by my 
wife. 

" Major Robinson," she says, "permit me to intro- 
duce my husband — Captain Hamilton of the United 
States Cavalry." 

" You've not come under a flag of truce, Captain," 
remarks the Virginia major." 

" Not unless my wife is one." 

"Well, sir, she's better than any flag of truce," 
answers the Confederate officer gallantly. " Both sides 
surrender to beauty. As I understand from her, you've 
brought Mrs. Hamilton into our lines to save her from 
a very serious complication in Washington, brought 
about by her devotion to our cause. " 

"Yes, "cries the girl ecstatically. "I have learnt 
that Longstreet's whole division is entrenched on the 
heights at Fredericksburg. I kept the Federals back, 
Billy ; I kept them back ! I did the work of an army 
corps ! " 

" Better than an army corps ! " remarks the Confede- 



246 BILLY HAMILTON. 

rate major. "Before the Yanks can cross, Jackson 
will have time to join." 

" They're beaten ! They're beaten before the battle 
is begun ! " cries Eve in half-delirious joy. 

" Yes ; if Burnside is foolish enough to make the at- 
tempt now," I think gloomily; then look at my wife 
with indignation. For she is commencing to make me 
thoroughly realize that I am a traitor, that in shield- 
ing her I have been false to my army — my comrades. 
For I have saved one who has committed a military 
crime and doomed brave men to death — even though 
she is my bride. 

But the girl doesn't seem to think so. Her manner 
is buoyant, her eye proud, her step elated ; and all 
this tends to make me very firm against the allurements 
of a beauty that now she turns on my sad heart and 
brings to bear upon my senses, with every subtle art a 
girl can use to make a man turn traitor. 

The Confederate officer and my companions of the 
journey between lines, have, with the instincts of gen- 
tlemen, moved away from us and left my bride and me 
alone in a pretty sylvan glade that runs down towards 
the Rappahannock, which is now muddy with coming 
torrent, though the sun is bright in the heavens and 
shines upon the girl, to give her an ethereal loveliness 
for she has thrown off wraps and waterproof and 
stands, her eyes ablaze, her fair hair floating in the soft 
breeze, with every beauty line of her superb figure 
made apparent by the tight-fitting bodice and draping 
folds of her soft, clinging riding-habit — to teinpt me. 

Despite my anger, at her, my tone grows very sad as 
I say ! " We part here ; Eve, we V2usl part here." 

Suddenly, I start and gaze at her astounded ; for 
now, as she speaks to me, I begin to have a glimmer- 
ing of the horrible thing she meant by saying : "Take 
me to Virginia." 

"Part here r''' Do you suppose I could have been 
so cruel to you my loved one, had I ever intended to 
part from you again } " She has come to me and put 
her arms round me : her voice is soft with passion, her 
eyes dewy with love, she puts her sweet lips up to 
mine and kisses me with all her soul and whispers 
bashfully: ''Here is where we hegm to live together 
as husband and wife ! " 



BILLY HAMILTON. 247 

" What do you mean ? " 

" I mean /his f As I told you one night in Wash- 
ington, every girl should give to the cause she loves 
the man she loves. You I want to give to my coun- 
try, for I love you ; it's the greatest sacrifice I can 
make to it. The more I adore you, the grander my 
offering ! The more your heroism, the greater will be 
my glory in you ! " 

"What do you mean ?" I repeat. For even now I 
cannot understand, I wi'/l not understand the devilish 
bribe she is proposing. 

"I mean, here is 77iy flag! The one you kissed 
that night upon my bosom. As you love me, come 
under it, B-wd fight under it, and I will be the most lov- 
ing wife to you that ever blessed a man. You shall 
have my soul, Billy, my soul ! I love you now ! Oh, 
how I love you, or I would not beg you to do this thing 
for me." Then she suddenly screams, " Don't look at 
me that way 1 " for I have tunied awful eyes on her. 

"And this is your price," I whisper to her. "My 
honor, for your love. This is a good wife's maxim ! 
this is a true wife's maxim ! I have risked my life to 
save you — I have tainted my honor to save you — but, 
damn it, I've been traitor enough ! " 

"Ah, you give me up.-' " She is pleading now, her 
blue eyes soft and dark as violets with passion. 

^' Never .''' I say fiercely, as I look upon her beauty. 

"Never ! God bless you for those words Billy ! she 
sighs. 

"Never! I made an oath to you; I have kept it. 
For three torturing days I, your husband, have walked 
by a wife who is not a wife. Every beauty, every 
charm of your manner, every kiss of your lips, has been 
to me a temptation, an agony. I have kept tny vow ; 
you keep yours ! For seven days I swore ; three days 
have passed; only four remain, then do you keep your 
vows ! I go with you into the Confederate lines, but 
not as a Confederate soldier ; I accompany you as 
your husband, to put you in a place of safety. I go 
with you into the Rebel lines as a Confederate prisoner. " 

Running from her, I call out hoarsely to the South- 
ern officer, who is standing some fifty yards away, 
busy with his men : "Major Robinson, I wish to see 
you ! " 



248 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"At your service, captain," he answers, coming 
towards me. 

"You know I've been paroled until exchanged," I 
cry to him. "I demand to rescind my parole. Here 
is my sword and my side-arms. Send me as a prisoner 
to Richmond with my wife." Then looking at Eve, 
who is gasping by my side, I laugh hoarsely : "You, 
my bride, don't escape from me, your husband ! " 

But the Confederate major, stepping to us, says : "I 
hardly understand you. You say you wish to rescind 
your parole, to surrender yourself as my prisoner?" 

"I do!" 

That I refuse to accept, Captain Hamilton. Your 
parole, once given, is sacred. We have enough to 
support in our impoverished country, without taking 
a paroled prisoner there. " 

" You refuse to take me ? " 

"Certainly. A military compact once made is good, 
and cannot be made void at the wish of one party to 
the agreement without the consent of the other. I re- 
fuse to accept the surrender of your parole. You have 
a quarter of an hour here, under your wife's protection, 
which acts as a flag of truce ; after that time. Lieuten- 
ant Bowie and an escort will take you back to the shore 
of the Potomac. Your wife is too high in our esteem 
for me to permit you to take any unnecessary risks in 
escorting her to the safety of our lines." With this the 
Confederate major walks away, and I see him giving 
orders to Bowie and Wiltshire and Brown. 

"You see," whispers Eve desperately, "you can 
come with me in only one way — as a Confederate 
soldier. Think how I love you ! Don't break both our 
hearts. Come ! No wife shall be so loving. Come ! " 
and her soft arms go round me tight and clinging, and 
her dewy lips give kisses unto mine that might be the 
foretaste of a paradise. 

"Never!" I whisper doggedly. "Never! I have 
been traitor enough, and I know it better now than I 
did when I saved you. You have had your way ; you 
will part from me, a wife who has never had a hus- 
band. I will leave you, a husband who is wedded to 
the memory of a beautiful, a noble, girl, in all but one 
thing ; she thinks naught of her husband's honor." 

" My God ! Don't reproach me that way! Others 



BILLY HAMILTON. 249 

have left the United States service for my flag, and 
hold their heads high enough." 

"But not as you propose — not as military outcasts 
and deserters. Besides, 1 am not one of them. Thank 
God, not one of them ! " 

"Then you refuse to accept my obedience as your 
wife.? " 

"No, on the contrary, I hold you to it," I whisper 
firmly. " You are mine, my wife, and whether it takes 
days, or months, or years, you are still mine, my wife ! 
Here ! — you are going to a land of poverty. Take 
what money I have about me — take it all ■' " 

" No — no ! If you won't accept my wifely devotion, 
do you suppose I'm so mean a thing as to take support 
from you. Here ■' " And with this cry she throws the 
money I had given her in Washington down at my 
feet. "I will not accept support from you," she 
says proudly, "though I, for my part, will give you 
honor and obedience and love as my husband. I will 
be your true wife, though parted from you. Your name 
shall be borne and held and honored by me. That is 
the only expiation I can give you for my crime." 
There are tears in her voice. " That's what it is, Billy ; 
I know it now — an awful crime against love, against 
jyoti. Had I adored you less, I would have sinned 
against our love less ! But I wanted you and I to have 
one soul — one heart, dear one ! That my joy would 
be your joy ; my triumph, your triumph ! But now, I 
— O God I've made you hate me. Forgive me — forgive 
me — forgive me ! " 

" No ; love you — love you — love you ; " I whisper ; 
for her beauty, in her despair, in my despair, seems to 
me greater than ever. " I love you — I love you — and 
even the Confederate lines shall not keep me from you." 

" My God, you'll lose your life ! " 

"But I will win your love. When I pluck that ac- 
cursed banner down, I'll clutch you to my heart." 

"No — no. Don't hate that flag." 

" I will ! For it stands between you and me. Re- 
member ! — look on those rings that bind you to me, 
and know that I will have you. Good-bye." I seize 
her in my arms. 

Then how she clings to me ! How she begs, how 
she sobs, how she implores me to forgive her — to love 



250 BILLY HAMILTON. 

her — to go with her. And her caresses are as entranc- 
ing, as if she were the Goddess of love, and her lips 
are sweet as an angel's, and her voice pleading as 
Delilah's, and her witcheries as alluring as a siren's. 

But of a sudden, with a smothered moan, I break 
from her embraces and run from her — for if I stay, I 
know my love will destroy the little honor of a soldier 
that I feel she has left in me. 

Behind me I hear a scream, and soft cries of love ; 
but I dare not look back. 

I hurry to the Confederate picket, and noting my 
haggard eyes, the Rebel major says huskily : "These 
partings with our war-brides are cruel things, Captain 
Hamilton. I have a girl-wife in Richmond," and his 
brown moustache twitches. "But good-bye; she's 
coming after you," he whispers nervously. " Mount 
your horse ! Get away quick ! Don't give her a sec- 
ond agony." 

He salutes me, and Bowie and Wilshire and I pass 
out of the Confederate lines. 

Then I hear Robinson cry : "Good God, she's 
fainted ! " and something seems to crack in my head ; 
but I still go forward I — I dare not turn back. 

Bowie's arm is round me for I am reeling in my 
saddle. 

But I stagger on, benumbed with misery and made 
half comatose by despair, till four hours afterwards I 
find myself and the Rebel lieutenant afloat on the Po- 
tomac. 



BOOK V. 
THE BATTLE FOR HER LOVE. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

"l WILL GO TO THE REBEL CAPITAL." 

Two days after this, I awake in the little cabin in 
the Maryland swamps to which Eve had taken me be- 
fore we crossed to Virginia. Bowie, who is cooking 
his breakfast, remarks to me: "You've been out of 
your head a little, old man ; but you'll pick up soon 
now." 

"Was I delirious.? " I question. 

"Well, if you weren't," he half laughs, "you had an 
exciting wedding-day of it. Yesterday I thought I'd 
see if your delirious notions were/ac/s, and rode over 
to where you raved about killing a United States Dep- 
uty-Marshal, and found if you had not slain him, some- 
body else had done his business just as you described 
it. A straight thrust eji carte, eh, my boy .? " 

" Did I rave of anything else ? " I ask anxiously. 

" Well, rather !" He looks at me grimly. "I'm in- 
clined to think, if some of your hallucinations were 
true, you had a very close call of putting on a gray 
uniform over in Virginia." Then he turns to me, and 
the laugh goes out of his voice as he whispers : " I'll 
take any message, anything you write, anything you 
wish to send to Mrs. Hamilton. And by the Lord 
Harry, if you want to go back to your wife, we'll make 
the trip together ! " 

But I mutter despairingly : " No ; I have been 
traitor enough ! " and try to stagger to my feet. 

But I am scarce able to stand, and it is two days 
after this before I mount Roderick. 

"You won't change your mind and go back to 
Virginia .? " says Bowie in kindly voice to me, as he 
stands by my charger's side. 



252 BILLY HAMILTON. 

" No, — don't tempt me," I whisper hoarsely. 

"You'd better remain here another day. You're 
not very strong yet, old man." 

" No ; I will not put any further danger upon you. 
Besides, my leave of absence expires to-morrow ; I 
must go to Washington." 

"Then this is all you want me to give Mrs. Hamil- 
ton ? " remarks the Confederate. And he holds up a 
note I have written in lead pencil, telling my wife 
to address any letters for me to the care of my sisters in 
Baltimore, that I will be true to my vows to her, as she 
must be true to her vows to me, reminding her of her 
promise and swearing that I will hold her in my arms 
soon, war or no war. 

"Well, we all follow our own lights in this contest," 
says the partisan philosophically ; " and the next time 
you and I meet, I suppose, Captain Hamilton, we'll be 
enemies." 

" Not enemies ! " I return ; "though we may be op- 
posed to each other. For I know what you have done 
for me, Wat Bowie. You have taken care of a man 
unable, from misery, to take care of himself. You've 
got me through the lines, and risked your own life 
again to watch over me as a brother." 

"Don't thank me too much," answers the gallant 
fellow kindly. "There's a girl over in Virginia who 
is a little sweet on you, I imagine ; and we think a 
mighty sight of her. A heap of my philanthropy was 
on your bride's account. So good-bye ; present my 
compliments to Mr. Secretary Stanton and tell him he 
won't get me again in the Old Capitol Prison where he 
once had me." Then he laughs. "By Jove, they 
ought to promote you for slaying that deputy United 
State marshal, if half you said of him was true." 

But the thought of Arago and what I have to tell the 
War Department makes me wish to hurry on ; and so 
one ot those curious partings of Border-State war takes 
place. Men who may have to fight each other in an 
hour, grip hands as friends, and I see the last of genial, 
whole-souled, dashing Wat Bowie — the hate and terror 
of the Secret Service. For the gallant chap falls, six 
months afterwards, in his foolhardy raid into Maryland 
to capture the Union governor of that State, potted 
from the roadside by a farmer with a bird-gun full of 
buckshot. 



BILLY HAMILTON 253 

Five hours afterwards, just as it is getting dark, I 
ride up to my F Street boarding-house in Washington, 
in a most miserable and despairing frame of mind. I 
had left it braced by excitement and buoyant with 
bridegroom's hopes ; I come back to it bereft. 

But I have not much time to meditate on my lost 
love. Little Mr. Finnaker comes in to me: "By 
Yankee Doodle," he cries, "I've been wanting to see 
you for the last day. Where have you been .'' " 

"In Baltimore most of the time — on leave of ab- 
sence." 

"Well, we've got the scoundrel! / found him 1 
Arago was the traitor ! I always said so — you remem- 
ber that. I always said so. For three days I tracked 
the double-dyed Rebel through Maryland swamps. If 
you don't believe me, ask Arago — but of course you 
can't ; he's dead ! '' 

"Didjy'on kill him ?" I ask, a curious smile coming 
over my countenance. 

"Well, not exactly; but I was instrumental in it. 
His body was brought in yesterday. . Two of Baker's 
detectives, Shook and Gibbon, have just claimed the 
ten thousand dollars reward for killing him." 

That evening I call on IMrs. Bream, and whisper to 
her of the safe arrival of her niece in the Confederate 
lines ; telling the aunt that I have placed my wife 
v/here she can easily get to her mother and family. 

"I'm very glad you did send Eve away," remarks 
Lucy to me, "though I suppose her absence is a great 
loss to a suddenly ardent bridegroom ; your face shows 
that, my poor boy. But some rumors the Senator has 
picked up from some of the War Department officials 
make him also glad she's gone. The war will soon be 
over. Burnside is bound to get to Richmond this time ; 
he is already opposite Fredericksburg. And after we 
have whipped our Southern friends again into the 
Union, we'll take young Mrs. Repentant Rebel back to 
our arms, eh, Billy ? " she laughs good-naturedly. 

It would have been wise of me to have thrown 
Arago's pocket-book away and never mentioned the sub- 
ject to any one. But, thinking that some of the data 
of the traitor may be of use to the War Department in 
detecting other spies and traitors, the next morning I 
go up to the War Office and make my report, not to 



2 54 BILLY HAMILTON. 

Mr. Stanton in person but to one of his assistants, and 
deposit the pocket-book with him, telling- of my hav- 
ing, in an investigation put into my hands by Colonel 
Baker, become suspicious of Arago — for I dare not 
mention that I know anything about the pontoon busi- 
ness — and discovering the traitor flying from Washing- 
ton, I had pursued him and overtaken him, and on 
his refusing to surrender, killed him in personal com- 
bat while attempting to make the arrest. 

My pursuit of Arago is not difficult to prove. Upon 
investigation, the War Department discover half a dozen 
teamsters and sutlers who saw me galloping after the 
Quartermaster-General's clerk's buggy on the wild and 
stormy night of the 19th of November. This, together 
with my surrender of the pocket-book and other per- 
sonal belongings of Arago absolutely defeats Messrs. 
Shook and Gibbon's claim for the reward for killing the 
Rebel agent and makes them my eternal and undying 
enemies. 

Joe Shook, meeting me on one of the streets of 
Washington, voices his ideas on this subject in the 
following words : " Darn yer eyes ! Ye've busted us. 
Cap Hamilton, but look out that we don't bust you. 
Rod Gibbon and me knows a thing or two, and we're 
working on it like mice on pie — we are. So look out 
fur us, you cursed, low-lived, henpecked husband." 

" Keep your insolent tongue to yourself," I reply. 
"I simply prevented two scoundrels from robbing the 
Government 1 " 

"And ye'U regret that little biz to yer death — which 
may come sooner than ye reckon. Cap," snarls the 
detective at me, the look of a devil in his cold gray 
eyes. "For Rod Gibbon and I are sworn to do ye ! 
If one of us don't git ye, 'tother will, sure as pickles is 
sour, yer grinning cavalry buck ! " 

For I am laughing in the fellow's face a yellow 
guffaw, his jeer about my wife making me too miser- 
able to care about his rage. 

Besides, just about this time I become so famous as 
a dyed-in-the-wool, loyal-to-the-death Union man, 
that I think a couple of Secret Service detectives, 
already caught in one fraud, can do me little damage. 

For my sister Birdie elopes with gallant Arthur Ver- 
milye of the New York Artillery, and this enlevement of 



BILLY HAMILTON 255 

a high-bred Baltimore '' seccsh " belle of prominent 
Southern family by an officer wearing Uncle Sam's 
uniform is heralded far and wide by the loyal press 
of America and atlrihuled to my staunch Unionism ; 
one article stating that when Provost-Marshal of 
Baltimore I had used my utmost endeavors to bring 
about the nuptials of my beautiful sister to her Northern 
lover. It ends: "Long life and strong arm to the 
most loyal officer, Captain William Fairfax Hamilton, 
who has taught the Rebs a social lesson." 

As I glumly meditate on this veracious statement, I 
receive a telegram. It reads : 

" Baltimore, December 2, 1862. 
"To Capt'n W. F. Hamilton : 

" Meet us at the Baltimore & Ohio depot at 4 p. M., to-day. 

" Birdie and Arthur." 

Arriving at the station on time, an archly beautiful 
and bashfully blushing bride comes tripping to me, 
proudly hanging on the arm of the stalwart artillery 
man. Amid her kisses, my congratulations and 
Arthur's hearty handshaking, I learn the following : 

Papa, acting the old-time father, had locked Birdie 
up. By means of the old-time darky footman, Jonas, 
letters had passed between her and her lover, and the 
elopement had been planned. Miss Birdie had fled 
from her home and had been privately married to the 
man she loves ; who now has her as his war bride. A 
quick wedding, a short honeymoon ; perhaps the bride- 
groom will be hastily ordered to the front, I meditate 
gloomily as I look upon a diamond tear and a ruby 
(Irop of blood sparkling and gleaming in the betrothal 
ring on Birdie's pretty finger. 

Even my sister's enthusiastic and vivacious joy 
doesn't elevate my spirits. When Vermilye, slapping 
me on the back with a brother's hand, whispers, "Bill, 
you should go and do likewise ! Where's that pretty 
Miss Ashley, eh.'* "I only answer him with a hollow 
groan. I don't deem it wise to confide to him my sec- 
ret ; the fewer that know of it, the fewer that can be 
compromised by my having loved, wedded and saved 
a Rebel spy, whose damage to the Union arms is now 
shortly to become awfully apparent. 



256 BILLY HAMILTON. 

But though news of impending operations and battle 
comes from the army scarce fifty miles away, Wash- 
ington society goes on as gayly and as merrily as if 
the Angel of Death were not sharpening his sword 
upon the banks of the Rappahannock. At present, 
well born, aristocratic Vermilye of the Artillery, on 
thirty days' leave of absence, with his beautiful bride, 
is the centre of attraction at fetes and dances. 

Lucy Bream gives a magnificent dinner-party in their 
honor, at which the great War-Senator toasts me as 
the most loj^al Union Border-State man — except him- 
self — in America. 

"By John Brown's body !" he remarks jovially hold- 
ing up his glass of M'ine. " If I could have kept my 
Virginia niece here, I believe Billy Hamilton would 
have completed my conversion of her and made beau- 
tiful Eva Ashley as absolutely Union, as his brother- 
officer has made the pretty little flower he has stolen 
from the ranks of lovely secessionists." 

"Yankee Doodle!" cries Finnaker, who is sitting 
near me with dashing Molly Bent, "that was not nec- 
essary, Senator. / had converted Miss Ashley before 
either of you. I don't like to tell tales ; " he strokes 
his moustache calmly and simpers: "But if it hadn't 
been for her mother in Virginia, she might have been 
here now — and a bride also." 

He looks so very cunning and knowing as he makes 
his soft insinuation that Aunt Lucy catching my savage 
eyes bursts out laughing till she chokes. 

While I glare at him in a way that causes the pretty 
girl at my elbow to giggle: " What makes you look 
so savagely at Mr. Finnaker, Captain Hamilton ? Do 
you want to convert a/l the Rebel maids yourself.? " 

" No," 1 reply gallantly ; " there are enough Union 
beauties near me, without going South for any more." 
And I gaze at Miss Sallie Reynolds's sweet face and 
snowy neck and shoulders ; a society compliment in 
my eyes, though my heart is as heavy as the plum-pud- 
ding which has just been brought on the table. 

But into this whirl of fashion, gayety, frivolity and 
patriotism, suddenly, on the 13th of December, comes 
the report that Burnside has bombarded and captured 
Fredericksburg, and crossed his army to the South side 
of the Rappahannock on four pontoon bridges, these 



BILLY HAMILTON. 257 

having at last arrived at Falmouth. Marvellous to relate, 
this walking- inlo the trap which Lee, Jackson and 
Longstreet have been preparing for him quietly on the 
hills behind the town, for three long weeks, making a 
strong position, practically unassailable, and absolute- 
ly impregnable when manned by sixty-five thousand 
Confederate veterans under their trusted leaders is 
lieralded as a Union victory.'^ 

The next day comes the report that Burnside has 
attacked, and from that officer's telegrams and de- 
spatches, if he has not won, at least he has gained a 
decided advantage over his opponents. And the jour- 
nals are full of happy comment, the capital being deli- 
riously wild with the excitement and joy of victory. 
But I note that one or two high officials of the War 
Office, have decidedly anxious, not to say affrighted, 
faces. 

Then comes the next day. "Disaster " is on every- 
body's lips; "Defeat" on everybody's tongue. "A 
gallant army sent to ruin ! '' is placarded on news- 
paper bulletin boards, and Fredericksburg is known to 
have been, if not a military crime, at least a military 
madness. 

And I, reading the long lists of killed and wounded 
brave men, feel more than ever that I am a traitor ; 
for I have saved the being whose stratagem had de- 
layed the army and caused this holocaust. Impressed 
by this, I long to get to the front and put my life in the 
balance of actual conflict. I mutter, as I clasp my fore- 
Lsad with my hands : "Let me make sacrifice for her ! " 

But my parole still hangs over me, and paralyzes 
my sword-arm. 

About this time suddenly comes the first whisper of 
delayed pontoons ; a little ripple in the press, which, 
gradually growing stronger, bursts into a howl of de- 
nunciation against the War Office, special attention 
being given and special venom poured out upon the 
Secretary of War. "f" 

Under these circumstances, Mr. Stanton is probably 

* Vide, New York Herald, Tribune, and all other Northern news- 
papers of Dec. 13th and 14th of 1862. — Ed. 

t Vide : Editorials of N. Y. Herald, also the celebrated cartoon of 
Columbia demanding her 15.000 sons murdered at Fredericksburg. 
from Lincoln, Stanton and Halleck, in Appendix. — Ed. 



258 BILLY HAMILTON. 

in not the best of spirits or temper. At all events, / 
find it so ; for one morning a provost guard, directed 
by Messrs. Shook and Gibbon, calls on me at F Street 
and I find myself, without explanation, removed from 
the social amenities of my boarding-house to a cell 
in the Old Capitol prison ; one of m.y detective friends 
remarking jovially : "Now, by thunder ! we've got ye 
where we want ye, my meddling captain ! " 

From the seclusion of this government Bastille, I 
write to the proper authorities, asking for the charges 
made against me, but my letter receives no answer. 

Agafin I write, demanding to be tried by court-mar- 
tial on whatever charge is preferred. This appeal pro- 
duces no greater result than my former letter. 

I send for Senator Bream. He comes to see me, 
and gives me very cold comfort by saying: " Fd do 
anything for you, but I can't. Martial law exists, and 
you'd better make a clean breast of it." 

"Of what.?" 

"I don't know; the War Department keep their 
mouths very close on your case. But whatever it is, 
you'd better make a clean breast of it ; then FU see if 
I can't get you pardoned. Anyway, they've got you, 
as they have hundreds of others all over the country ; 
they'll try you when they want to, — or they won't try 
you. But under martial law, some one has to give up 
something, sir, for the salvation of the country. If 
you are a true patriot, you should be willing to suffer 
for the cause." 

All the time Vermilye sticks by me like a brother, 
and brings every social influence to bear in my behalf 
— and he has plenty — but in those days everything 
was answered by the one plea, " Military necessity." 

So the long months drag away. Paroled by the 
Rebels, I am imprisoned by the Federals. 

My incarceration is however not particularly rigid. 
Lucy Bream occasionally, and Birdie quite often, visits 
me, and newspapers are sent to me. I have my meals 
forwarded from a first-class hotel. Physically I am 
comfortable ; mentally I am in Hades ; for I am in an 
agony of fear about my wife — I dread that Eve will 
come to deliver herself to Federal mercy — to make me 
free. And under the circumstances, fear it might even 
mean her life. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



259 



For during the time, a letter has been brought to me 
by my eldest sister, who has come from Baltimore to 
see me. She looks at me and half sneers: "See to 
what your loyalty has brought you — imprisonment from 
the Yankees and the contempt of those who love you ! " 

"Are you here for nothing else except to make me 
more wretched, Virgie ? " I say. 

"No; were it not for a matter of duty, I should 
have never looked upon your face again." Then she 
whispers : "This letter arrived from Richmond." 

With a smothered cry I seize and open it, and for one 
moment my prison becomes a palace ; then I shudder 
as I read ; for it runs thus : 

" My Darling Husband : 

" I have written to you three times, but I suppose my letters have 
gone astray, or been lost in the forwarding. 

" So I again write to you, for lately word has been brought to me 
that you have been imprisoned in Washington, and I fear it is be- 
cause you have loved me and saved me. If it is for me that you have 
lost your liberty, I beg you to say to the War Department of the 
United States that I will come through the lines and surrender my- 
self to them, rather than that you should suffer for loving too much 
" Your wife — your true wife — your devoted wife, 

" Eva Vernon Hamilton." 

Though this puts me into a rapture, it sends a thrill 
of fear through me. I cannot write to my wife from 
the jail, but I tell my sister — in whose honor I can 
trust whether she loves me or doesn't love me — of my 
marriage, and beg her to write my bride for God's 
sake not to come, no matter what happens to me ; that 
my only happiness in life is in knowing that she is safe. 
And Virginia goes away from me with a very white 
and astounded face, though she has promised to do my 
bidding. 

Soon after this Birdie comes to me in the despair of 
many other young brides of that day, to tell me that 
her husband's battery has been detached from Fort 
IMcHenry and ordered to active service. 

"I know he's going to be killed, Billy ! " she sobs 
brokenly. "I know this diamond on my ring means 
my tear — this ruby on my ring means his blood. 
That's what it means, Billy. The awful Rebels are 
marching North ! " for this is just before Gettysburg. 
"They're going to kill my husband!" then she cries 



26o BILLY HAMILTON. 

savagely, clenching her little fist, " Oh, how I hate 
them ! " and goes from me to weep, as Arthur Ver- 
milye's light battery rolls out of Fort McHenry and up 
the long dusty roads to join the crown of artillery that 
at Round Top and Cemetery Ridge checked the highest 
rolling tide of the Confederacy, when Pickett's Division 
made their fatal, yet immortal, charge. 

So the summer of 1863 rolls away, the winter passes, 
and the spring campaign opens, while I am wearing 
my heart out against the bars of the Old Capitol prison. 

About this time comes Grant from the West, and the 
great campaign of 1864 begins with the Wilderness. 
But some three months before this the military hand 
that has seized me relaxes its grasp. One morning, to 
my astonishment, a couple of deputy United States 
marshals — for I have been held by the Secret Service, 
not by the military arm, as that would have been im- 
possible without court-martial — convey me in a carriage 
to the War Department. 

After some formalities and waiting, I am shown into 
Secretary Stanton's private office. 

He looks at me very much as a cat does a mouse, 
stroking his long beard reflectively, and remarks, in 
suave but incisive tones: "Captain Hamilton, I can 
hang you ! " 

"Not without trial, Mr. Secretary," I reply, and then 
ask : " For what .? " 

"You escorted a female Rebel spy out of Washing- 
ton — the very one you were charged to deliver over to 
Baker of the Secret Service." 

"I escorted my wife out of Washington, I will 
admit," I say lirmly. 

"Who.?" 

" My wife ! " 

"But I am referring to Miss Ashley ! " 

"So am I. I married her, the day I escorted her 
out of Washington ! " 

' ' The devil ! " he mutters, and stares at me astonished 
as I add : " 

"You can put me on court-martial for that — if you 
like, Mr. Secretary." 

"But I don't wish to. I don't want any of that 
matter gone over ; it has passed away now. I wish to 
spare you. I desire to promote you," he goes on per- 



BILLY HAMILTON. 26 1 

suasively. " I wish to give you a chance to distinguish 
yourself. / have use for you ■' " 

" How ? " I cry. " Have I been exchanged ? Am 
I free to go to the front ? " 

"You have been exchanged for six months, and I 
want you to go further than the fro7it.'' 

"What do you mean, sir.? " 

" You recollect, nearly two years ago you brought 
me a commission made out to William Fairfax Hamil- 
ton, as major in the Confederate army and signed by 
Jefferson Davis, and his secretary-of-war." 

"Certainly, sir ! " 

" You told me that you had kept it in order that some 
day you might do with it for your country a great 
thing. That time has now come." 

" Please be more explicit, INIr. Secretary." 

"Well, I mean this. I want to know exactly the 
strength of the Rebel garrison of Richmond and its for- 
tifications, and what are the chances of capturing it by 
a coup de main. They are sending every man they can 
spare, and lots they can't spare, to Lee's army to 
oppose Grant's spring campaign. Richmond must soon 
be pretty well denuded of troops. I want to know the 
chances of a quick cavalry command reaching Belle 
Isle prison, releasing the prisoners there and raiding 
Richmond, before I dare order the movement. I am 
very explicit with you. Captain Hamilton, I want to 
know the chances of its success." 

"I will go!" I whisper, with a suddenness and 
eagerness that astounds him. "If in return for my 
risk of life and military honor, you agree to grant me 
the full and free pardon of my wife." 

"The girl that delayed the pont " he checked 

himself and replies sharply. "No, no! Impossible, 
sir.'" 

" Then, Mr. Secretary, I lift no hand to destroy the 
Southern Confederacy and place my wife in your 
power." 

" What's that ! " 

He stares at me savagely, then his blue eyes light up, 
— he mutters considerately. " It does seem hard for a 
man to fight to put a halter on his loved one." Next 
with incisive voice he says quickly : "Though I had 
sworn never to forgive her — you know the awful thing 



262 BTLLV HAMILTON. 

she did — I'll — I'll pardon your wife if she takes the oath 
of allegiance ! — and you succeed." 

"Mr. Secretary, " I cry, "I will go to the Rebel 
Capital ! " 

For into my mind has suddenly sprung : "My wife 
is in Richmond. Though I go there as a spy, Eve 
cannot betray me ; for I saved her when she was in a 
strait as dread and as cruel as mine will be. When 
next I see her — my oath has passed — then she can- 
not deny me the love of a wife." 

And my face, made gaunt and haggard by the misery 
of nearly fourteen months' imprisonment, has such a 
glow of rapture, such a spark of hope in it that the 
Secretary says : "I see you'll go and do your work. 
Major Hamilton." — Noting my start at the title, he 
laughs : "You at least should have Union rank equal 
to your Rebel one, I'll try to get it for you. I now beg 
your pardon for imprisoning you ; for I see in your 
face the fire of patriotism ! " 

But he also sees in my face the flame of love 1 



CHAPTER XXV. 

MAJOR BILLY HAMILTON, C. S. A. 

"You will report to me before you go ; but the 
sooner you make arrangements to start, the better. 
Any money or transportation you may want will be 
furnished you," remarks the head of the Federal War 
Department. 

" I shall require two days to make my preparations," 
I say. 

" So long? " he asks impatiently. 

"Yes ; to transform myself from a Union to a Con- 
federate officer. For I shall take every precaution, as 
no man will go South of the Potomac with a tighter 
noose upon his neck than I will, Mr. Secretary." 

With this idea in my head, I step out of the War 
Office, and make my preparations with corresponding 
care and accuracy, but very secretly and very privately. 

From my papers I get out the old Confederate com- 



BILLY HAMILTON. 263 

mission. Fortunately, time has made its paper slightly 
yellow. I increase this, and give it the appearance of 
having been constantly in my pocketbook by fraying 
its creases, by staining it with water, salt and fresh, by 
even rubbing it with mud in one corner, indorsing 
on its back, in military form, my acceptance of it, 
dating this 1862, and exposing it to long but moderate 
heat to give my writing the appearance of time. 

On the Rebel uniform made for me by my sisters, I 
impress the appearance of having suffered the hardships 
of war. 

My preparations, which have to be made gradually, 
especially those in regard to my uniform and my 
Confederate commission, take me all of two days. It 
is during this time that cruel military disaster over- 
takes Mr. Finnaker, of the United States Quartermaster- 
General's office. 

On my first release from the Old Capitol prison, the 
little patriot had fought shy of me. But learning in 
some way that I am to receive additional rank in the 
Union army, he begins to be chummy once more, 
coming into my room and smoking my cigars and 
prattling vivaciously of "what we are going to do 
with the Rebs. " 

On one of these occasions he is holding forth with 
great patriotic ardor. "By Bunker Hill, sir, we've got 
Grant with us now — that Western hero — and he'll go 
at 'em hammer and tongs ! He doesn't care for a few 
lives ; he puts his men in and fights to a finish, he does ; 
just as I would if I were in command. If ten thousand 
men are slaughtered, what does it matter, when the 
country is at stake .? If ten thousand men more are 
butchered — we've got lots — who counts the cost, so 
long as we save the Union .-* I must go down to the 
front with Grant ; I haven't fought since Gettysburg. 
If you don't believe me, ask Gushing, who died in my 
arms as he fired his last gun into the faces of Pickett's 
Rebs. But then — God help us all — my brother-in-arms, 
poor Gushing, is dead." 

"Well," I reply, "here's something that may interest 
you. It is apparently on military matters, and comes 
from Illinois. The servant-girl gave it me in the 
hall for you. Something from your company, eh, 
Finnaker?" 



264 BILLY HAMILTON, 

"Oh — ah, yes! of course — about my company!" 
he stammers, apparently astounded that he should re- 
ceive a written communication from his command of 
one — which is himself, in Washington. 

Then as Finnaker opens an official envelope, 
stamped with the arms of Illinois, and inspects an of- 
ficial paper bearing the State seal, something horrible 
seems to happen to the patriot; his face grows ashen 
pale ; the paper falls from his grasp ; with a low gasj)- 
ing "Good Lord! I'm drafted!" he sinks half para- 
lyzed upon a sofa. 

Picking it up, I read a short notice stating that he 
not being present, the name of Napoleon Leonidas Fin- 
naker had been drawn by the United States Marshal 
at the last draft ; that he is ordered to report himself 
immediately for active service, he having been as- 
signed to fill up the ranks of the Twenty-Seventh 
Illinois, now serving in McPherson's Army of the 
Tennessee. 

"My God ! You see I— I'm drafted— dra//ed to fill 
the place of a dead man ! By the God of War, Hamil- 
ton, DRAFTED ! And the slaughter is so awful that sub- 
stitutes are only for millionaires. DRAFTED ! O 
Shadow of Death, to be drafted is to be killed ! " 

" Well, you'll have a chance to teach the art of war 
to McPherson. You'll have to go to the front ! " I sug- 
gest grimly. 

"To the front.? We'll see if I have. Not by the 
tears of my widowed mother L Drafted into 'Fighting 
McPherson's ' corps, who leads his men against the 
Rebel guns as if they were so many rats in a trap. 
Drafted ! Call an ambulance ! I — I don't feel quite 
well." 

And really he is awfully sick, and we have to get an 
ambulance and send him to the military hospital, done 
well nigh unto death by a paper pellet, before his first 
engagement. 

But I haven't time to stay in Washington to see the 
outcome of Mr. Finnaker's sufferings for his country, 
and report myself at the War Office, where I state to 
Mr. Stanton my plans. 

"Understand me, Major," says the secretary, "I 
can get all the rubbishy, inaccurate information I 
want. What I wish from you is a military report of 



BILLY HAMILTON. 265 

the defences of Richmond, about what you estimate 
its garrison will probably be when Lee masses his 
whole army to oppose Grant, and what the chances of 
a rapid coup de main will be against that place and 
Belle Isle prison by a quick-moving cavalry force." 

"I understand you, perfectly, Mr. Secretary," I 
reply. 

"Very well, then, you'd better see Baker about the 
details." 

I do so, and obtain orders for transportation, a sup- 
ply of Confederate money and a general letter instruct- 
ing every officer of Federal troops to further my mission 
in any way in his power. 

Armed with this, I take boat from Washington to 
Norfolk, judging it best to journey towards the Confed- 
erate capital as if coming from North Carolina, as less 
questions will be asked me, travelling from that direc- 
tion, than if I approach Richmond from the line of the 
Potomac. 

I have carefully thought over my chances in the 
matter. The risk of detection by Confederates who 
have known me as Captain Billy Hamilton of the 
United States Service has been almost swept away by 
the awful slaughter of the last year. Wat Bowie has 
died in Maryland. George Thornton, who had spent 
the two days with me at Frederick, has fallen gallantly 
in the great cavalry fight at Brandy Station ; and half 
of my old classmates at West Point, who had entered 
the Confederate army, are either dead or disabled. So 
I, early on Wednesday morning, the 3d of February, 
1864, cross from Norfolk to the Navy Yard at Ports- 
mouth, and take the road, escorted by a sergeant and 
squad of cavalry, towards Suffolk, where the Union 
lines end and the Confederacy begins. 

Arriving at this place, and passing the very last 
Federal outpost, in fact journeying some quarter of a 
mile beyond it, the sergeant, having his strict orders, 
salutes me and turns about his squad. 

"Understand me," I remark to him. "An hour 
from now you come here, enter that grove, and take 
away what you find left there." 

" Certainl)^, Major; those are my instructions," re- 
plies the non-commissioned officer, and trots away 
with his troop, along a road whose mud is changing 



266 BILLY HAMILTON. 

into dust, for the weather is mild and little rain has 
fallen lately. 

The squad of cavalry have no sooner got out of sight 
than I leap my horse over a broken-down rail fence 
and ride into the little grove of trees and swamp 
undergrowth. In the seclusion of an alder thicket, I 
make a quick and effective toilet, leaving every ves- 
tige of Unionism behind me, and half an hour after- 
wards, where the Yankee major had ridden in, a Con- 
federate major rides forth and takes his way by country 
roads through the lowland counties of Virginia, arriv- 
ing that evening, by way of the miserable hamlet 
called Washed Holes, at a more important town named 
Jerusalem. 

My journey has been uneventful, for the whole 
country bears the traces of having been foraged over 
by both sides. A few negroes are in the roads, and I 
pass one or two farmers ; but they only return the com- 
pliments of the season. 

I also pass without difficulty a Rebel vidette of 
cavalry, my uniform apparently answering for me, 
the lieutenant in command after a few questions salut- 
ing, and asking pleasantly: "Where are you bound 
for. Major?" 

To this I answer : " Richmond ! " stating I've been 
down towards Gatesville, looking up both cattle and 
timber for army uses. 

The country tavern in Jerusalem also indicates I am 
in a land of war. I pay thirty dollars in Confederate 
currency for a bed (the title to which I have to dis- 
pute with numerous live stock), and two miserable 
meals. 

Fortunately, I get plenty of fodder and corn for my 
horse, whose comfort I look after personally ; for 
Roderick must be kept in good condition ; upon his 
strength and fleetness may depend my life. 

The next morning, getting up betimes, I jog along 
the same kind of country roads to Hicksford, a little 
town on the Petersburg & Weldon Railroad. 

As I have journeyed on, greater evidences of being 
in a nation in its death-struggle have reached me. 
There are even fewer cattle ; nothing but negroes are 
seen in the fields, and the appearance of the railroad 
at this point indicates that it is on its last legs also ; 



BILLY HAMILTON. 267 

that is, if dilapidated rolling-stock and a most execrable 
roadbed with worn-out rails indicate railroad ineffect- 
iveness. 

An hour after my arrival a train comes in with a 
regiment of Confederate troops bound north. Though 
the men are mostly bareheaded and some barefooted, 
and a few of them even say they are hungry, they go 
off as anxious to meet the Yankees as ever. 

While this train is in Hicksford, the problem is forced 
upon me: "Shall I ride Roderick into Richmond, or 
journey there by railroad ; for the conductor tells me 
he can get me a place on one of the cars. 

After a moment's consideration, though it would be 
perhaps safer for me to journey by rail, especially over 
the bridges that cross the James River I conclude to 
endure a two days' delay and ride my horse into the 
Rebel capital — because I may wish to ride him out 
again in a hurry. 

Therefore, after spending a rather sleepless night at 
Hicksford, I press on by country roads and succeed 
in reaching Petersburg late on Friday afternoon. 

I put up at Jarratt's tavern, I think they called it, and 
getting Roderick a good feed, about eight o'clock the 
next morning I say to myself, a quiver in my voice : 
"This afternoon, Richmond!" and my heart gives 
a big jump — as what man's wouldn't ? 

I have experienced no trouble thus far, my military 
appearance making the country people friendly and 
preventing awkward questions. In fact, for a young 
man not to wear a uniform would excite comment ; 
nearly every one seems now to be connected with the 
Coiifederate service, and the nearer I get to Richmond 
the more general this becomes. No better disguise 
could I have on its face than that of a major in the 
Confederate army, especially with a major's commis- 
sion en regie in my pocket to back up my assertions, if 
these were necessary. 

So I ride on ; with every stride of my steed, thinking: 
not " Nearer to the Rebel capital," but "Nearer to — 
my wife ! " I am forgetting I'm a Union spy ; I am 
becoming simply a man journeying to the embraces 
of his loved one and the delights of home and 
spouse. 

Filled with these feelings, quite early in the after- 



268 BILLY HAMILTON. 

noon, I reach the Httle town of Manchester, and look- 
ing across the James River that is pouring over its rocks 
and round its pretty islands, gaze at Richmond, on its 
hills that slope down to the broad stream. 

Here I devote an hour or two to finding out what I 
can of the fortifications south of the river and Belle Isle, 
the prison camp of captured Union troops. This is on 
an island about a mile above the bridges and near the 
Manchester shore. I note that this is guarded only by 
alow earth embankment and wooden stockade and that 
there are, as well as I can discover, only two batteries 
of importance immediately south of Richmond. These 
observations, I make as complete as I dare, and take 
my way across Mayo's bridge. 

A considerable number of people, mostly military, 
though a few of them are civilians, are going in with 
me to the Confederate capital. I have prepared a 
forged leave of absence from General Hardee in 
Tennessee, but it is scarcely glanced at. The guards 
at the bridge, noting my uniform, simply salute me ; 
though I perceive they examine much m.ore closely 
those in the dress of the farmer, the artisan or the 
merchant. 

I have never been in Richmond, therefore in Wash- 
ington I have obtained an accurate map of the city from 
the United States Secret Service, together with a descrip- 
tion of its various hotels, restaurants and principal 
thoroughfares. From this I have memorized the main 
details of the place, so that I can go about without 
asking too many questions. Having mentally pho- 
tographed Richmond, I have then destroyed the 
map. 

In addition to this information, I have also received 
instructions from the United States Secret Service to 
communicate if necessary, with one, Lemuel Isaacs, 
who keeps a small store in a broken-down suburb of 
the city, called "The Rockets." 

"You whisper in Mr. Isaac's ear 'Cotton is twenty 
pence a pound in Manchester, England,'" Baker had 
said to me, "and he will reply to you 'So help me 
gracious, it is only five cents a pound in Wilmington, 
North Carolina.' After that introduction, trust in 
Isaacs as you would in me." 

Fortified with this information and instruction, I put 



BILLY HAMILTON. 269 

up at the old Monumental Hotel, opposite Capital 
Square and on the corner of Grace and Ninth streets, 
not caring to register at the more fashionable and 
better known Spottswood, where too many Confederate 
officers may be lounging about and too many of the 
reporters of the Richmond Bee, Examiner, or Despatch 
may be dropping in for news items ; but still wishing 
to select a place at which a Confederate major might 
creditably live, for all this journey I have kept strictly 
to my rank in that service. 

Therefore, simply stating that I have been on staff 
and recruiting duties in Georgia, I walk up to the office 
of that hostelry and register : Major W. F. Hamilton, 
C. S. A., Atlanta, and find myself living, not luxurious 
ly, but at the rate of nearly fifty dollars a day, Confed- 
erate money. 

My pen trembles slightly as I write my title. For I, 
with every move, am putting the halter tighter and 
tighter around my neck. Once suspected, every man 
and every woman's hand in all this city will be 
against me — save my wife's. She, I hope, will be 
true to one who has shielded her in similar extrem- 
ity. 

But how shall I find her.? How shall I tell her I am 
here ? 

Though Eve is foremost in my mind, I first address 
myself to the commission on which I have been sent 
by Mr. Stanton, and after some consideration conclude 
that to do this effectively it is best for me to see the 
gentleman at "The Rockets." 

Taking my way along Main Street, the sidewalks of 
which are quite filled by an afternoon crowd, which I 
inspect with hungry eyes, always looking for one face, 
one form, my wife's, I am soon tramping through the 
unkempt streets of what is probably the lowest quarter 
of Richmond. 

For "The Rockets" of that day was the home of the 
criminal classes, contrabandists of all degrees made it 
their lurking-place. Federal spies and escapes from 
military conscription found temporary safety in its 
dark and dirty shanties ; thouo-h these were leavened 
by a good many workmen irom big tobacco ware- 
houses and flour mills in the neighborhood and on the 
river. 



270 BILLY HAMILTON. 

It is not a very large suburb of Richmond. I soon 
find the sign of 

LEM ISAACS, 

NOTIONS, PROVISIONS AND CLOTHING. 

Isaacs's is apparently a Cheap John store ; though in 
peaceful days, it would hardly seem to be a bargain 
counter ; for I see placarded up in large letters : 
" Good boots, made of ;T(7/ leather, Dirt Cheap, $175." 
"Genuine Woollen Stockings, just by blockade, $14. 
These we guarantee not to be Yankee shoddy." 
"Corn per bushel $10. Good family hams, I225." 

As I enter confronts me : "Buy quick ! This over- 
coat has just been marked up from $225 to $300. 
Things is RISING ! " 

In the dark interior of the dimly lighted store I 
inquire for Mr. Lemuel Isaacs ; though that seems un- 
necessary, as there are no customers, and only one 
person is in the establishment. He is of big black eyes 
and large hooked nose, and comes to me rubbing his 
oily hands and saying : " Vat can I do for you? Does 
you vant a fust-class army overcoat I've just had dyed. " 
He shows me one of a grizzled black. "Three hun- 
dred and fifty dollars. It was damned Yankee blue 
once ; now it is patriotic gray." 

"No," I reply. " I only want to see Mr, Lemuel 
Isaacs." 

" Dat's my name, mein friend." 

"Very well, Mr. Isaacs, " I whisper to him. "I 
"just dropped in to inform you that cotton is twenty 
pence a pound in Manchester, England." 

At this the Hebrew's eyes grow big and gleam 
affrighted ; his nose, which is large, becomes larger 
and dilated ; his florid complexion grows as white as 
the only sack of flour in his store, which is marked 
"Cheap at $1 a pound." He looks me all over from 
head to foot ; then his voice trembles as he whispers 
in return : "So help me gracious, cotton is only five 
cents in Vilmington, North Carolina ; " next, his eyes 
growing watery with agitation, mutters : " Vat else 
does you want of me ? " 

And he trembles as an aspen leaf, as I whisper to 
l)im, my voice low and trembling also ; "I must knpw 



BILLY HAMILTON. 27 1 

the number of troops here that are permatient in gar- 
rison ; not those that are passing through. Home- 
guards, Boys' Company, Battalion of Department Em- 
ployees, etc. You understand." 

" Holy Moses, I onderstands. You likes to play vid 
a man's life ! " he returns. " But I vill find out for 
you by to-morrow ; and you can bet yer life on what 
I tells you, Major." 

" You can't give it to me sooner .? " 

"Impossible — to be dead right. And I s'pose you 
vant it straight as a trial balance." 

" Yes ; otherwise you'd better never let a mutual 
friend of ours get his hand upon you." 

"Yes, I understand. If de Rebs don't put me 
through, de Yanks vill make it hot for me. Veil, I 
know which side is going to win. To-morrow is 
Sunday ; dis store is closed ; it vouldn't do for you to 
come here. Meet me on the road by the bank of the 
James River Canal below Butcherstown. At three 
p. M. I am dere, vid what you vant — not on paper, but by 
passing visper. Look out for yourself; dat Winder'll 
be hell on you if you's cotched ! " 

I know this. I have heard of the Confederate Pro- 
vost Marshal's mercy to spies before. "All right," I 
answer. "Three p. m., canal bank," and purchase 
from him some clean linen at Shylock's prices, as I 
have brought nothing into Richmond with me, and, in 
addition, think it wise to carry from his store some 
package to give reason for my entering it. Then I go 
away, determined to attempt to obtain by my own 
observation the knowledge of which I am in search. 

It is now quite late in the day. I pick up what in- 
formation I can, in the bar-room of the Monumental, 
as to Home Guards, the Employees' Battalion, the Boys' 
Company, etc., for the Confederacy apparently is rob- 
bing not only the grave, but the cradle, for food for 
powder. So by the time I get to bed I have obtained 
a pretty general idea of the permanent Richmond gar- 
rison ; so much so that I think I have something 
to tell Mr. Stanton that will please that potentate greatly. 

But to encourage gossip I have to gossip myself, 
and am compelled in chatting with my associates of 
the Monumental bar-room, over our whiskey, two dol- 
lars per drink, to give greater detail to my proceedings 



272 BILLY HAMILTON. 

in Georgia than under the circumstances I would wish. 
I have also learned that beautiful Mrs. Hamilton ia 
one of the belles of Richmond. 

"A namesake of yours, Major.?" remarks an old, 
white-headed department clerk who with senile curi- 
osity has read my name in the register. ' 'A relative .-• " 

"Well, yes," I answer. " By marriage, of course." 

Still all the time I feel, even as I take drinks with 
the few lounging Confederate officers and one or two 
clerks of the Rebel War Department who have dropped 
into this tavern, which is cheaper than the Spottswood, 
that I am placing a tighter noose about my neck than 
ever man selected and lived." 

But to-morrow will be Sunday. I know enough of 
Eve's religious devotion to be sure one of the Episcopal 
churches will have her lovely form among its worship- 
pers. To-morrow I shall see my wife ! 

This thought makes the Union spy's heart beat high 
and puts a flush of joy and rapture on his face, even in 
the dangers of the Rebel capital. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

BY DAY IN RICHMOND. 

That night I hardly sleep, and the next morning am 
up betimes. I mount Roderick, and riding about the 
city, take cursory views of its defences, photographing 
them in my mind as I move along, for I dare not 
pause to make any close inspection. As I entered 
Richmond the day before I had noted that there were 
only two forts of importance south of the city on the 
other side of the James, one at Magruder's Hill and the 
other, Battery 18. In all other directions the capital, 
I now find both by personal observation and reports I 
have picked up — the careless conversation of an artil- 
lery officer at the tavern at Petersburg having been of 
aid to me — is much better protected. 

On the east, north and northwest sides of the city 
are sixteen batteries, known by their numbers, some 
of them of great defensive strength, also Forts Jackson 
and Johnston. These, properly manned, make Rich- 
mond pretty safe from armies moving from the Poto- 
mac, the Shenandoah or Fortress Monroe. 



Billy Hamilton. 273 

"South of the James River is their weak point," I 
think. "There they depend too much on Petersburg 
and the batteries down the river, which would be of 
no avail against a quick cavalry raid coming from the 
w^est, but south of the James, if the bridges can be 
seized in lime.'' 

Therefore I turn my attention to the bridges on the 
river and the batteries commanding them. 

My inspection, cursory as it is, takes me till half-past 
ten o'clock — church-time ■' 

I return to the INIonumental, quite confident my ride 
has attracted no unusual notice ; too many other 
Confederate officers are out on horseback, as the city 
seems quite full of troops ; though most of these ap- 
pear to be en route for the north, for even this morning 
three regiments have taken trains on the Richmond & 
Fredericksburg Railroad. 

At the hotel I improve my toilet as well as a clothes- 
brush will dissipate the dust and mud of Virginia roads, 
and looking at my well-worn uniform, am quite con- 
fident I am about as much of a dandy as the most of 
the officers in Richmond ; for the Rebel gray has grown 
gradually shabby since 1861. 

Suddenly the church bells begin to ring. Then oh, 
how my heart begins to beat too ! For they sing 
to me. " Soon I shall see her ! " I am no more the 
skulking spy, with the hand of military justice over 
him ; I am only a lover who is going to a sweetheart's 
kisses — a husband who is nearing his wife's arms. 

I have already determined to what church Eve will 
probably go. It will surely be an Episcopal one. 
Fortunately for my quest, there are not many of 
them. Saint Paul's, which I am informed is the 
fashionable parish, where the Rev. Charles Minne- 
gerod will preach, and Saint John's, the old-fashioned 
one in the Colonial Cemetery, with its quaint grave- 
stones of the last century, upon Church Hill seem the 
only likely ones. 

The first of these is in the heart of the town, just 
across Grace Street from my hotel, and will probably 
be the one in which Eve will worship. If not, I must 
contrive to leave before the end of the service and try 
the other. 

St. Paul's bells are sounding as I step over to it, but 



274 BILLY HAMILTON. 

to me they do not seem as loud as the thumping- of my 
own heart. Still, perchance, no more devout creature 
ever entered that old-time Episcopal Church and bowed 
before its altar than Major Billy Hamilton of the Confed- 
erate service, for no man, even with the guns of battle 
sounding- in his ears — and there were many of those 
who worshipped in Richmond in those days — ever felt 
the Angel of Death was nearer to him. 

The church is just beginning to fill, but at my request 
I am assigned to a seat in one of the rear pews. My 
eyes immediately scan the backs of the ladies who are 
already seated ; Eve certainly is not yet here. 

So I sit and wait, the organ sounding softly to me 
as the congregation gradually enter, quite a number of 
the gentlemen being in civilians' dress, members of the 
Confederate Congress and officials in the State and 
Treasury Departments. 

"Will she never come ? " 

Then an awful doubt seizes me. Perhaps my wife 
is not in Richmond this day. Perchance she is sick.? 
Perhaps — a hundred things may keep her from the 
House of God on this Sunday of all Sundays ! 

So I sit, my heart growing more despondent, for the 
church is now quite full. The President of the Confed- 
eracy and Mrs. Davis have just arrived and gone into 
their pew, I note by a few whispered words that drift 
to me. 

Perhaps I had better walk out before the service be- 
gins, and go to St. John's Church. 

I have half risen in my pew, which is at the very rear 
of the church, to step out ! 

Through swinging doors, I hear a lady in the vestibule 
say: "Good-morning, Mrs. Hamilton; your aunt is 
not here .'' " 

Another voice floats to me, and my heart stops beat- 
ing. I know the silvery tones ; they have whispered 
to me : ' ' Billy, I love you ! " too often for me to forget 
them. Eve is answering : " Thank you, Mrs. Con- 
way ; my aunt is in Petersburg." 

Then she enters ! 

I dare not turn and look her in the face ; but her gar- 
ments brush me as she passes, I devour with my eyes 
the back of her graceful head as she floats up the aisle. 

And then, oh, how I grind my teeth, for an infernally 



BILLY HAMILTON. 275 

handsome, dashing Confederate lieutenant-colonel is 
walking beside her. 

I know I have no right to be jealous. Have I not 
looked at pretty girls in these fifteen months.? Why- 
should not she have a masculine escort — this morn- 
ing.? "Would you make her in her beauty, a nun, you 
fool ? " I growl to myself. But still — still I'd sooner 
some elderly major-general or decrepit statesman were 
crawling by my pretty wife's side, than this youthful, 
erect, dashing, martial figure, who seems so damnably 
familiar with her ; for I notice him select the Sunday's 
service for Eve in her prayer-book and they sit quite 
close together, but that may be because the pew is 
crowded and ladies' hoop-skirts take up as much room 
in Richmond as they do in Washington. 

Though I strain my eyes, I cannot see much of my 
wife ; she being some six pews in front of me, but 
fortunately not in a direct line. 

At last my opportunity arrives. The congregation 
is about to rise for a hymn. Alert with love, I start 
up so as to get view of Eve. She also, inspired by 
devotion, rises quickly. 

Whether it is my gaze that goes straight to the 
back of her head, through curls and waterfall, I know 
not ; but the girl turns slowly. My eager glance 
catches her side-face ; it seems to draw her beloved 
countenance fully round to me. 

I note the same nut-brown, wavy hair, the same 
delicate play of features. The same girl I loved and 
won and lost on the Potomac, is here standing before 
me, on the banks of the James. The same beautiful 
blue eyes that I have dreamed of so often in my cell in 
the Old Capitol prison are looking into mine. 

My glance catches her's. Eye to eye, we gaze upon 
and know each other. I am sure of that, for over 
those radiant features for one instant has come the 
pallid hue of death. The next, they are lighted by the 
sunny rays of love. 

Then probably some quick idea of my military 
danger seems to strike my wife. I note the convul- 
sive quiver — a little hand laid on her heart. She turns 
from me, slowly as if fighting to conceal her emotion, 
half staggers, and convulsively clasping its rail, 
droops over the pew in front of her, Thoae near 



276 BILLY HAMILTON. 

her doubtless think it is devotion, for her attitude is 
willowy as a saint's ; but I am sure it is because she 
knows there is a husband worshipping with her before 
the same altar, and over his head hang danger and 
death. 

After this I hardly note my surroundings. A great 
many of the ladies are in black. This I had expected ; 
too many gallant fellows are falling for women not to 
mourn. The minister's sermon comes to me dreamily, 
though it is impressive, and delivered by a gentleman 
of Grecian features and soft German accent. 

The music from the organ seems to thrill me in a 
general kind of way, but I scarcely hear it, being occu- 
pied in trying to see the loved figure in front of me. 
Once — yes twice — I notice Eve half turns, as if to look 
on me again ; then, apparently by a mighty effort, 
forces herself to the contemplation of her ritual. 

And all the time I am praying, harder than any one 
else in this church — praying to God that he may bless 
our love — that I may have her in my arms — a wife — 
this day in Richmond. 

The service and sermon are over. The organ is 
playing the voluntary, and I step out of the church, 
taking care not to be among the very first, but still de- 
cidedly in advance of my wife. I do not wish to put 
any greater strain or self-repression upon her than pos- 
sible. My nerves have been braced for this — to her it 
must have come suddenly as the crack of doom. 

I pass into the vestibule, which is crowded with 
friends meeting friends, and boys waiting for girls, 
just as if gentle peace were upon the land, and 
the soft strains of "The Bonnie Blue Flag" were 
not floating up the hill from an infantry band on Main 
Street where a Texas regiment is tramping through the 
city to take train for the battle fields on the Rapidan. 

I have already, while in my pew, scribbled my 
address on a leaf of my pocketbook. This folded up 
I hold ready to pass to Eve if possible, — as a single un- 
fortunate word may bring about my undoing. For I 
know each of these devout-looking general officers, 
and every one of these dashing young military men, 
would think he had done a very good Sunday's work 
in driving his sword through the heart of Mr. Stanton's 
agent in the Virginia capital. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 277 

Beautiful girls are passing by me, but to my eyes 
there is only one, the young lady who is coming 
behind them. Her half-parted lips giving out quick 
breaths of repressed joy and fear — her virgin heart 
fluttering — her eyes blazing like stars with quick intel- 
ligence and seeking mine. 

Our glances meet ; a moment later in the crush for 
one instant our hands clasp, and with a squeeze of 
love I leave in my wife's trembling fingers the scrap 
of paper bearing my present title and address. 

In my ear as she passes by I catch a lingering sigh, 
"Billy." 

Suddenly the girl's left hand is held up to her face — 
for some reason it is bereft of glove. On a dainty finger 
I see gleam the diamond of our troth, above the 
golden circlet that has made Eve mine by right of man 
and God — and I am happy. 

But joys are fleeting. A moment later the fixed 
look leaves her exquisite features. Eve seems as 
brightly coquettish to attendant cavalier as she did in 
Washington. "At least," I cogitate, with a curse in 
my heart, " that handsome young fellow stepping so 
debonairly beside her imagines she is — to him.'' 

"God of heaven ! is she flirting with him .? He looks 
so cursedly pleased with himself, she must he ! " 

After greeting a few friends, my wife moves up Ninth 
and turns along Broad Street with her gallant in close 
proximity. Once she turns as if to look back, but 
apparently restrains herself. I follow at some little 
distance, noting her step is as light, her carriage as 
graceful and her figure as rounded as when she first 
enchanted me — that a year has rather added to her 
charms than taken from them, and fondly think : " All 
these beauties this day shall belong to me, her hus- 
band!" 

Suddenly a spasm of rage flies through me. Eve is 
crossing Eighth Street. Her facile hand has slightly 
lifted her skirts to save them from a puddle of red 
Virginia mud, revealing two as pretty little feet as ever 
tripped Richmond's streets. A passing zephyr plays 
pranks with her crinoline, giving me a fleeting glimpse 
of a limb as graceful in its contour, as lovely in its 
superb outlines as Venus's very own. 

"Great Taylor! Did you see that?" is heard be- 



27S BILLY HAMILTON, 

hind me. "Didn't I tell you Eve Hamilton had the 
prettiest ankles in town ? " 

A side-glance shows me this comes from some boy 
department clerk. A young infantry lieutenant, scarcely 
older, is with him. He laughs : "Yes, I saw. She's 
almighty beautiful. It's an infernal shame she has a 
husband. Where is old Hamilton, anyway ? " 

" Darn me if I know ! " says the other. "Though 
he'd better be about. That cavalry buck there is with 
her everywhere. I saw him take her into the dance at 
Mrs. Anderson's last week." 

" Do you know his name.?" 

"No; he's some swell cavalry fellow. He runs 
with the Reeveses, and the Mayos, and that crowd." 

"Which Jakie Suggs doesn't run with," laughs the 
infantry lieutenant ; and he is doubtless right, as his 
companion has mentioned the names of some of the 
most aristocratic Richmond families. 

But these remarks are not comforting to me. Ye 
gods, how ''old Hamilton" wants to chastise these 
young insolents, but dares not ! Ah, it requires a cool 
head to win in this game of love, with the sword above 
the lover's head. 

So I march on in the crowd, a considerable distance 
behind her ; no one particularly noticing me, uniforms 
being the rule, civilian dress the exception, though I 
hear one officer remark to a young lady : "I imagine 
he must be from some of the new troops from the 
Southwest." 

" Why } " she says, half laughing. 

"Well, that major seems over-fed," chuckles the 
gentleman grimly. "He hasn't the gaunt, racing 
look of our boys at the front." 

As the crowd drifts apart, some going off at Eighth 
Street, others disappearing at Seventh, and gradually 
becoming less and less, my following my wife and her 
escort — her gallant, I think now — becomes more diffi- 
cult. 

But, letting them get ahead of me about a block, I 
note they turn down Fourth Street. Then I quicken 
my steps, and, passing the corner of Broad and Fourth, 
look hurriedly down towards Grace Street, and find — to 
my dismay — they have disappeared. 

Eve must live in some one of the houses in the 



BILLY HAMILTON. 279 

block of pretty, old-fashioned Virginia residences, but 
which one? I'hat I cannot immediately determine, as 
I do not like to inquire. She has my address — I'll hear 
from her at my hotel. 

I hurry back to the INIonumental and wait. No let- 
ter ! To my hints, inquiries, and side-remarks, the few 
people whom I succeed in engaging in conversation, 
give me no satisfactory information. Nearly all have 
heard of the beautiful Mrs. Hamilton ; but none know 
exactly where she lives — they are not in her class in 
societ3^ If I dared walk up to the Andersons, the 
Jilayos, or some other of the swells, I could find out in 
a minute. I go in to dinner at the hotel; I can't 
stomach its eternal pork and stringy beef and bean 
coffee, though I know I should eat to keep up my 
strength for the desperate work ahead of me. 

Suddenly, looking at my watch, I see it is three 
o'clock. At half-past I must meet the Jew on the 
banks of the canal below Butchertown. 

Cursing the appointment, I depart for this rendezvous. 
It is not very difficult to find. Walking along Main 
Street in exactly the opposite direction to the one I had 
followed in going to "The Rockets," in the course 
of a little time I arrive at about the place where I think 
Mr. Isaacs should be. 

The canal is busy, even on Sunday. Boats are 
bringing corn, fodder, and a few cattle into the capi- 
tal from the interior of Virginia. Though these last, I 
should imagine are growing scarce, judging by the 
tough beefsteaks wnth which I am furnished at un- 
heard-of prices at my hotel. 

Along the road near the canal, among quite a little 
gathering of people, who, taking advantage of the fine 
day, are strolling up the river, I soon run against Mr. 
Isaacs. That gentleman is talking to some chum of 
his, but drops him at my approach and regards me 
with an anxious eye. As I get close to him I notice 
his lips are trembling, and once or twice he nearly 
gasps for breath. 

I remark to him: "Is the price of cotton in "Wil- 
mington to-day the same as it was yesterday.'' " 

"Ah, so help me, it is always the same, when it is— 
What price is it in Manchester.? " 

"Twenty pence a pound." 



28o BILLY HAMILTON. 

"Yes sir, I t'inks youse all right. Here is the infor- 
mation," he whispers to me : "Armory Battalion six 
hundred. Department clerks enrolled, six hundred and 
fifty effective. Boy company — boys under age for 
military service — one hundred and fifty. Two regi- 
ments of heavy artillery in de forts ; they may be 
drawn on, and there may be a brigade left here, but de 
rest vil all go to the front. Perhaps there'll be a couple 
of regiments of cavalry somewhere around, scouting 
on the outside of the city. That's as veil as I can find 
out. Don't come near me no more." 

This about accords with what information I had ob- 
tained by my own efforts. 

As I turn to go away, consternation comes upon me. 

The man who had been walking with Isaacs, and who 
had moved away from him as I approached, suddenly 
returns to us. 

Our eyes meet. God of heaven ! it is Shook, the 
United States Secret Service officer — the one who had 
cursed me for having caused him to lose his ten thou- 
sand dollars reward — the one who had sworn to "do " 
me to death. 

"By the Eternal!" he mutters, then suddenly 
guffaws: "Oh, Gee Whizz!" as he glances at my 
Confederate uniform. With this a sudden devilish 
lurid glint comes into his gray, unforgiving eyes, and 
I know that, though Joe Shook will not compromise 
himself, in some cunning way he means to betray vie 
to Confederate Military justice, — that Major Billy 
Hamilton of the C. S. A. is a dead man if he doesn't 
save himself, and do it very promptly. 

In a dazed kind of funk, I have moved a few steps 
away ; the Secret Service man is chuckling to himself 
in a low and horrid tone. 

A squad of Confederate cavalry, part of the provost- 
guard, headed by a young lieutenant, is cantering along 
the road. The officer greets my uniform with a 
salute. 

With this salute comes sudden inspiration. I have 
the power of my uniform and rank. " Halt your de- 
tachment, Lieutenant!" I cry. "I have work for 
you." 

The young officer pulls up his horse like a flash, 
touches his hat and says : "Your orders, Major." 



BILLY HAMILTON. 28 1 

"Arrest that man ! " I direct, pointing to my enemy. 
"Arrest that damned Yankee spy !" 

As I speak, the lieutenant's revolver covers the 
astounded Shook. Three or four of his troopers bring 
their carbines to a "ready." Two or three more spring 
off their horses, among them a big, slashing sergeant, 
who produces a pair of handcuffs. 

" By whose order ? " asks the lieutenant hurriedly. 

" By mine ! " I cry. " Major Hamilton, unattached 
and on staff duty. I know that fellow to be one of 
Baker's cursed Secret Service." 

" Seize him at once ! " At their officer's command, 
the sergeant and two troopers pounce upon and man- 
acle Joe Shook, whose chuckle has changed into a 
horrid chatter, and whose face has grown as pallid as 
the dust of the road on which he is tramping. 

"You damned Maryland Union traitor ! " he shrieks 
making a spring at me. " I had you in the Old Capitol 
Prison for fourteen months ! " 

"Oh, you did.?" jeers the Confederate lieutenant. 
"God help the good Southerner who gets in that 
Yankee Bastille." Then he orders sternly : "Gag that 
scoundrel if he makes any more row." 

For Shook is gasping : " He's not a Confederate ofifi- 
cer ! he's a Union officer — a Union spy ! " 

" Pooh ! " I laugh, to the lieutenant who has turned 
inquiring eyes upon me. "My commission — my 
authority." And I produce my paper signed by Jeff 
Davis and his War Secretary. 

Inspecting these and noting the signatures and the 
seal of the Confederate War Department, the officer 
salutes again and remarks : "The Old Capitol Prison 
only contains true Southerners. That Yankee dog had 
you there for fourteen months. Major ; it won't take us 
fourteen days to finish him. You make your formal 
charges against him to-morrow morning, to-day being 
Sunday." 

"Certainly," I reply. "At the Provost-Marshal's. 
At present I am — " I light a cigar ; it is almost the last 
of the Bouquets Esp'eciales I have brought with me, but 
still I offer the lieutenant one, which he accepts as if it 
were a gift from the gods, and continue : " I have been 
away from Richmond on staff duty in Georgia. This 
day I shall devote to my wife, as I have been from her 



282 BILLY HAMILTON. 

for a long time. But keep that cursed Yankee very 
safe. " 

" You damned treacherous turn-coat!" shrieks my 
victim, who has apparently forgotten in his despair 
and rage that he was ordered to be quiet. "Why, 
God help me — as I am a dying man, he was Provost- 
Marshal of — " 

But he gets no further, for with a crack upon his 
jaws that makes them quiver, the sergeant growls : 
"Shut up, you lying dough-face !" and gags the Se- 
cret Service man with a clothespin he takes from his 
saddle-pouch, in a manner that shows he is an expert 
in the art. 

' ' Oh, we know how to take care of his breed. Major," 
the non-commissioned officer laughs, then saluting, 
turns from me, and at a nod from the lieutenant I 
see Mr. Shook, with his face white as death, run along 
by the Confederate detachment and disappear, to be 
shoved into one of the cells of the Provost-Marshal's 
jail. 

I look around ; Mr. Isaacs has disappeared. I have 
shifted the noose that was closing round my neck on to 
that of Joe Shook, my enemy — where it is like to stay. 

But at what a cost ! I give a horrid, half-despairing 
chuckle, for 1 know I have purchased present safety 
by absolute destruction if I remain in Richmond until 
to-morrow. 

To the young lieutenant my commission, my uniform, 
have seemed correct and undoubted ; on investigation 
by the Confederate War Department they will be found 
absolutely false — my commission issued three years 
before and apparently not accepted. A scrutiny of the 
rolls of prisoners will also disclose that Captain William 
Fairfax Hamilton of the First Kentucky Union Cavalry 
had been captured in Maryland in 1862, and then ex- 
changed. 

So far, my commission has been my great safety ; 
but a single doubt of its authenticity once aroused, it 
will be my worst enemy. 

I half moan to myself: "I shall have to leave here 
now — this very day — before darkness adds the usual 
increased military precautions of night as regards 
egress and ingress to any city under martial law. Then 
in a kind of agonized despair I mutter : " Not before I 



BILLY HAMILTON. 283 

speak to her ! Not till I clasp her in my arms ! For 
my one view of Eve in her grace and her beauty as she 
has walked up Broad Street, has made me long even 
more than I did before for the love and kisses of my 
wife. 

Despite all risk I must find and speak to her at once ! 

I hurry back to the Monumental and pay my bill, 
stating that I will probably spend the evening at the 
Westmoreland Club. 

As I am turning away from the hotel office I sudden- 
ly ask, " No letter for me yet ? " 

"Why, yes, a darky brought it an hour ago." 

It is in her dear handwriting. I tear it open. It 
reads — ^joy and rapture ! — it reads : 

"My darling HUSBAND: — 

" Come to me at once. Ask for the residence of Mrs. Sanders, 
my aunt, on Fourth Street, about the middle of the block between 
Grace and Broad; left-hand side going up from Grace. 

" Oh, what effort it was to keep from showing. I recognized 
you in church! But I felt that your safety might depend upon 
my self-control, and I know you came for love of 

" Your devoted wife, 

" Eve." 

Come to herf> Of course I will J 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

BY NIGHT IN RICHMOND. 

Roderick is saddled outside. I mount him, dash 
along Grace Street and up Fourth, and selecting the 
house make a mistake in it. But I soon find the right 
one. 

An old-fashioned colonial residence, bowered in a 
little shrubbery, is in front of me, as well as I can 
discover in the dusk. Lights are flickering through 
the green Venetian blinds of its front parlor. In that 
room she is waiting for me. 

I nervously open the garden gate. My heavy cavalry 
boots crunch the gravel of the walk. I have sprung up 



284 BILLY HAMILTON. 

the steps, and with beating heart have rapped upon 
the entrance to my own hearthstone. 

Even as the knocker reaches the door it is thrown 
open to me, and I, gazing in, see, standing in front of 
me, with eager eyes and panting heart and words of 
love — my wife. Before I am inside the door her kisses 
are on my lips, her sweet voice is sobbing to me : 
" Billy 1 Billy ! At last, my Billy ! " and I know upon 
my breast a wife's heart is resting. 

Then suddenly Eve archly whispers : "Not another 
kiss till you come into the parlor. Quick, before the 
servants see how I adore you." 

For I have not been backward with my caresses, and 
if ever girl got well and thoroughly kissed in short half 
minute. Eve Hamilton is that one. 

A second later we are in the parlor. Suddenly she 
mutters: "Parted fifteen months!" and is in my 
arms again. 

" Now sit down ; make yourself at home, Billy," she 
says archly ; then murmurs, looking delightfully bash- 
ful : " You have a right to ; it is a wife who welcomes 
you." With her word she blushes like a rose, and her 
Garden- of-Eden namesake coming up in her, eagerly 
asks : " How do you think I look ? " 

"Like an angel!" I cry; then correct it to "like a 
bride.'' and holding her before me, as the quick waves 
of color fly over her vivacious features, I jokingly 
query: "This is thy toilet for welcoming coming 
husband, eh?" 

To this she, hiding her head, half sighs, half laughs : 
"It is, Billy !" 

Gazing upon her beauty, I know Miss Diffidence 
means it ; for Eve has made a bride's toilet in my 
honor. In the soft curls that crown her lovely head 
nestle a few bright flowers. She wears, simple in make 
and material, as the sad fortunes of these times of siege 
and war compel, a gown of soft, light muslin, of so 
sheer a texture that it gives entrancing view of shoul- 
ders that gleam with ivory brilliancy, and arms that 
seem like driven snow, and sometimes the quick 
beating of her heart allows delicious glimpses of an 
exquisite maiden bosom rounded like Aphrodite's. 
Girded at the waist by some sash of old, by-gone- 
days brocade, the dress floats down to little feet in 



BILLY HAMILTON. 285 

garb I recognize. Turning lover's glance on these, I 
remark: "Hello! Our best ball slippers and silken 
stockings we smuggled out of Washington." 

" Oh, Billy, what eyes you have ! " she cries ; then 
laughs: "Yes, of course!" adding rather sadly: 
"Our finery must last long here. Once gone, it comes 
not again." 

A moment later she whispers bashfully: "Stop 
kissing me and let me look ixtj'ou/" and gazing on 
the lines imprisonment has set upon my face, mur- 
murs tenderly : " For fne, Billy ! " Suddenly her eyes 
light up; she cries : " In Confederate uniform ! You've 
come to join us ! I have thought that all this day. O 
Heaven and Earth, how happy you make me, my 
husband ! " 

But even in my extremity I cannot lie to her. I an- 
swer : " For your sake alone, I came. Fm still true to 
my flag." 

"But the Yankees imprisoned you." 

"Still true to my flag ! " 

"I — I cannot understand," stammers the girl, pass- 
ing her delicate hand over her fair brow. Then of a 
sudden her face grows deathly white. She gasps : 
"My heaven ! then you are outside the laws of war ! 
You've come here to Richmond, with death upon you 
if discovered." 

"But come for you!" I have her in my arms 
again, and she is weeping now. " For you. Eve ! I 
swore the Confederate flag should not stand between 
us." 

" But you — you cannot remain!" 

" Only till to-morrow ! " I answer brokenly, but de- 
terminedly, for I have made up my mind to take this 
risk, desperate as it is. To-morrow morning I fly ; 
to-night it is my triumph and my love. In this des- 
perate game, some stake I will pull from it : losing my 
existence, I will have gained my wife. 

" You will go away to — to-morrow } " Eve murmurs 
slowly, broken-heartedly. How her arms clutch me ! 

"Yes, early to-morrow morning, taking you with 
me, if I can," I answer. 

" Desert my kindred in their extremity.-' " she shud- 
ders ; then says reproachfully: "Billy, you've seen 
now how we suffer.''" Here, resolution making her 



286 BILLY HAMILTON. 

eyes beam, she springs from me and cries indignantly 
and determinedly : ' 'Never ! " 

" Ah, you do not love me as a wife ! " I falter, de- 
spair in my voice ; then ask sternly, seizing her by her 
w^hite shoulders and making her look me in the face, 
though her eyes droop under my glance : " What was 
the import of your letter to me in Washington ? What 
were the meaning of your kisses to me now?" With 
this, my arm goes round her waist, for she is sighing 
and wringing her hands, and tears that make her eyes 
seem dewy tell me I am winning. 

" I — I love you ! " she falters ; then a sudden deter- 
mination coming into her eye and voice, whispers : 
"You shall not reproach me with that again.'" 

" Then prove it I " 

"I " 

"Prove you are wife to me who have dared so much 
to prove my love for you ! " 

"Billy, I will.'" she cries. Wave after wave of 
blushes fly over her, each stronger than the other, till 
face and neck and ivory shoulders gleam like red coral. 
She is faltering, in so low a voice I scarce can hear : 
"When you go away to-morrow, you shall not say I 
do not adore you as well as wife ever loved husband." 
Her face is hidden upon my breast, and I can feel her 
virgin bosom throb as if it would burst from the dress 
that veils its beauty, while I kiss and caress her and 
thank her for her dear words. 

But here she springs from me ; a startled, affrighted 
look flies into her face. She gasps : "What will they 
think of me .? The servants in the house — my aunt, if 
she learns.-* Your coming here this nighl and going 
away to-morrow viorniyig. '' 

"They'll think a husband risked his life for love of 
you," I answer, my eyes blazing. 

"Yes, true heart! " cries the girl, love, passion and 
devotion in her eyes. "What wife would not dare any- 
thing for a husband who dares so much for her.? " 

"God bless you ! God forever bless you, my bride," 
I whisper in the shell-like ear that is nestling so near 
to me, and, gathering her in my arms, draw on to my 
knee a mass of beauty, faltering with modesty, made 
very rosy by excited love, and bright with sparkling 
t?§r§, These l?,st T soothe by caresses. 



BILLY HAMILTOhf. 287 

Then I grow bolder and kiss the dimples on her 
alluring neck ; but she suddenly springs up and 
laughs : " Have you had any supper, I3illy ? " 

" Lots ! " I reply. 

"Ah, but you must join me in one meal at home," 
she says, archly. "Besides, it will look better. I 
shall tell the servants you are my husband. Then, 
who shall dare to censure me with being your true and 
dutiful and loving wife.'' " 

So, after three or four sweet kisses. Eve who has 
grown strangely bashful and diffident to me, perchance 
because she notes something in my glance which says : 
' ' I a*m your consort ! " runs away from me. 

Soon I can hear her ordering supper, telling the 
servants her husband, Major Hamilton, has just ar- 
rived. But once or twice she flits in to me, as if she 
couldn't bear to have me out of her eyes. On one of 
these trips she takes my hand, and rather astounds me 
by kissing it ; then runs bashfully away. 

A moment after I play a trick on her, for, hearing 
her coming step I open one of the windows, then hide 
behind the door. 

And she, entering, casts frightened eyes about, and 
seeing the casement, her face grows ashen, as she 
sinks down on a chair, gasping : " Bereft ! " 

But my kisses bring color to her cheeks, till she 
whispers: "Billy, behave! What will the servants 
think.?" 

" Only," I whisper grimly, " that hubby has been a 
long time away, and knows a good thing when he's 
got it." 

The last time Eve comes in, she whispers : "A mo- 
ment or two more, my darling, and you shall sit on 
your own hearthstone with the wife of your bosom by 
your side; " and so goes from me with a very red face, 
for I have kissed her pretty dimpled shoulders. 

So sitting there quite confidently, I, look upon my 
modest home, and despite the hand of death which is 
so near to me, emit a laugh of triumph. 

Just about this time there are some steps at the 
front door. I glance out. As well as I can see, it is 
the damned Confederate lieutenant-colonel who had 
escorted Eve from church. 

"A little surprise for you, my buck. It'll rather as- 



aSS BILLY HAMILTON. 

tonish you to know 'old Hamilton ' has come home,'* 
I chuckle. With this, not waiting for the servant, 
with a Don Cesar de Bazan air, I open the door, and 
find my suspicions are correct. "Please walk in, sir," 
I remark in blandest voice. " Mrs. Hamilton will be 
with you in a minute." 

My easy father-of-the-family air apparently astounds 
the gentleman. With a surprised and questioning, yet 
haughty look, he follows me to the parlor. Then 
turning to me he suggests : " You will pardon me, sir, 
but I have not had the pleasure ofmeetingyou before." 

"No ; I have been away in Georgia and Tennessee 
with Hardee and Johnston," I reply. "But permit me 
to introduce myself. Major Hamilton, the husband of 
the lady whom you honor with your attentions. Eve 
will be here in a minute, and I am always pleased to 
entertain her friends." 

" Egad ! " I say to myself " This military cock-a- 
doodle will see how my wife loves me, and take his 
departure with his sword, if not his tail, between his 
cavalry boots." 

For at my words, the gentleman, who has been 
gazing at me in a somewhat supercilious way, sud- 
denly seems dazed and confused, and I hear him mur- 
mur : " Good God ! " 

" By Yankee-Doodle ! he knows he's got into the 
wrong house noiv," I chuckle to myself; and cry out : 
"Eve, come here ; a friend of yours has called upon 
us, dear .' " 

And she flying in, gives a muffled shriek and falters : 
"I should have told you! O Heavens! I should 
have warned you before ! "' 

" Warned me P" 1 say. "It is he you should have 
warned." And the lire of jealousy lights up my hus- 
band eyes. 

But she screams out: "No, no! It is Charley St. 
George ! Billy, don't you remember my half-brother.? " 

At her words, joy comes to me, and 1 laugh. And 
St. George laughs also, and we three get tittering to- 
gether ; for Eve has ejaculated : " He was jealous of 
you before, Charley — at Frederick. You remember : 
your kiss made Billy so miserable." 

But tragedy cruslies comedy. 

Upon our merriment the young Confederate's voice 



BILLY HAMILTON. 289 

breaks sternly in : " You come under a flag of truce, 
Captain Hamilton of the United States Army ? " 

Looking at him, I give a shudder ; for I suddenly 
think: "This is the one man in all Richmond who 
will know my story of the Confederate Major is and 
must be a lie." 

Gazing at me, he suddenly gasps : " Good Heaven ! 
In Confederate uniform-^o« P" 

To us both now comes a low, stifled scream. Eve 
shudders : " My God — Billy ! " and commences to wring 
her hands and mutter : " Sacrificed for love of me ! " 

Then suddenly my wife is before the young officer, 
entreating, begging, sobbing, murmuring: "Charley, 
Charley, Charley ! You know my husband came for 
only one thing — love of me. It is my fault. I kept 
him from my kisses and my arms. That he is here 
now to demand a husband's rights, is my crime ! He 
saved me when he knew I was a spy ; I beg you spare 
him who comes honorably, not as an enemy, not as a 
spy, but simply as a lover whom I adore and a hus- 
band whom I worship." 

To this the Confederate simply mutters in a heart- 
broken way : " Eve ! You forget my duty .'" 

But she bursts out at him: "Charley, you've been 
kind to me. Though only my half-brother, you've 
been a brother to me, and as such you're his brother 
— my husband's brother. Would you doom him to 
death .? You know that's what it will be. Would you 
break my heart } " 

"Heaven help me!" says the young fellow, who 
has a noble face and martial bearing. "Eve, I can 
only do my duty. Think of me — don't put me in a 
false position ; it is not just to me. I have not courted 
it; the blame is on Captain Hamilton, who, knowing 
the laws of the war, came here despite them." Then he 
breaks out half-despairingly : " For God's sake, Billy 
Hamilton, why didn't you wait until you knew who I 
was — that I was the one man in Richmond who would 
know your story was certainly a lie ^ 

"He couldn't wait, Charley, he couldn't v/ait 1 He 
was jealous ; he was terribly jealous. God bless him 
for it, he was jealous ! " And the girl is round my 
neck, with tender kisses, murmuring ; " My husband's 
jealousy proves his love." 



290 BILLY HAMILTON. 

And I seem happy, too. Even the fear of death, 
which is very near, doesn't seem to abate my exalta- 
tion. For Eve's kisses are coming to me as strong with 
love as ever woman's came to man. 

"I — I am very sorry,' says the Confederate officer, 
"but I must report this to the Provost-Marshal." 

"No, no! Mercy! Charley, for me, your sister — 
for him, your brother ■' " 

"Then if Captain Hamilton will swear to me," 
"that he has come for no other purpose, disguised, 
into the Confederate lines, than to claim the love of 
his wife, for twenty-four hours I will forget my honor 
and my duty," reluctantly whispers poor St. George, 
who seems more unhappy than I am. "I will for 
twenty-four hours forget my oath to my government. 
Besides this, your husband. Eve, must give his word 
to communicate nothing he has seen or heard within 
our lines to the cursed Yankee Government at Wash- 
ington." This last is added sternly and decisively. 

"God bless you ! " My wife is round my rival's neck 
now, but I am no more jealous. I know as true a 
spouse as ever this world has seen is mine. 

"Answer!" says St. George to me. "Then I will 
go away. On your honor as a man, Captain Billy 
Hamilton, did you come into the Confederate lines 
with no other object than to see the wife who loves 
you ? " 

Looking into the cavalryman's face which meets 
mine anxiously, entreatingly, I do not answer him, 

"Speak, my husband," pleads the girl — her eyes fixed 
on mine as if they would burn their way into my soul. 
"Tell him you're no spy upon your wife's kindred." 

Still I do not speak. 

And the Confederate mutters : "Good Heavens, I 
am sorry ! " His hand is being stretched for his hat, 
he is turning to go : my wife, white as a statue now, 
has uttered a little gasping moan : "O God, a spy ! " 
Then suddenly Eve is again entreating St. George and 
is holding his arms with her little hands and begging 
with pallid lips that tremble as they plead: "For 
God's sake, think ! — Don't widow me before I'm a 
wife ! Think — /hmk — think ! Charley, think — when I 
was a little girl you used to be kind to me — when I 



BILLY HAMILTON. 29 1 

** You sue for a military outcast ! " says the young 
Confederate sternly. "Eve, I'm ashamed of you!" 
and would stride towards the door. 

But I bar his way ; my cocked revolver looks into 
his face. "Remember, you're unarmed, " I whisper; 
for, in the safety of his capital and to escort a young 
lady to church, Colonel St. George has left even his 
sword behind him. "For your sister's sake, don't 
make me shoot you ! " I plead, for he is still advancing : 
then cry sharply ; "Keep back ! " 

"Not for a damned Yankee spy i" he answers, and 
springs upon me. 

I can't pull trigger upon the brave young fellow ; for 
Eve is shuddering : " Spare him ! " 

So he, dashing my pistol from me, we grapple and 
struggle and fight with nature's weapons : he to im- 
prison me — I to conquer him. Twice I get the best of 
him, from tricks of wrestle learned in West Point gym- 
nasium ; but he will noi be fought down ! His muscles 
have been toughened in a long campaign, while mine 
have grown inert in a prison cell. God of despair, he 
has forced me down upon a sofa, he is whispering : 
"Spy, I have you! " his hands are about my throat 
to throttle me into insensibility. 

But here, a white figure that has cowered in a corner 
watching us, with moans of despair and faint cries of 
misery, suddenly becomes a being of action. She flies 
to where my sabre, thrown from its scabbard, lies on 
the floor, and raising this on high with both her hands 
Eve, with all her strength, with the flat of the blade 
strikes twice upon my conqueror's head. 

With a muttered " Jezebel ! " at the first stroke ; at 
the second, Charley St. George staggers and stumbles, 
and falls senseless upon the floor. 

Dropping the weapon, the girl moans shudderingly : 
"Heaven forgive me ! I have killed my brother ! " 

But I, inspecting his wounds, say : " With the flat of 
the sabre .'' Nonsense ! Charley's only stunned ; in 
half an hour he'll be himself again. Bless you, dar- 
ling, for saving my life ! " and would put arm about 
her. 

But she fights from me and cries savar^ely : "God 
forgive you ! you have made me raise arms against 
my country ; " then mutters, contempt in her bright 



292 BILLY HAMILTON. 

eyes : "Oh, Heaven ! a spy come for the destruction of 
my city and my race ! " Next suddenly starts and 
whispers tremblingly: "Fly in time! There is a 
noise in the next house ; they've heard us. Fly ! " 

" Yes — taking you with me ! " 

" Impossible ! It would be my death ! They'll 
never forgive me Fredericksburg ! " She laughs in a 
ghastly way. 

"For the information I risk my life to gain, my 
government has promised free pardon to my wife ! 

"Ah!" 

"If you take the oath of allegiance." 

" I take the oath of allegiance to that hated flag.!* 
Never-' " cries the girl, her eyes flaming and in- 
spired — then a tender light coming in her face, she 
mutters suddenly : " Fly ! " 

" I will not," I return, doggedly, " I cannot leave 
the Confederate capital without a pass at night." 

"You must, Billy, you must! But how — how — 
HOW } " She wrings her hands, then suddenly whis- 
pers : "I know — one chance !" and runs to the back 
of the house, where the negro servants, who have 
heard the struggle, are standing aghast and astounded. 

A minute later she is beside me. Behind her comes 
a black. 

" Quashie," she speaks low and swift, "you must 
save my husband. You must get him out of Rich- 
mond to-night." 

"'Tain't possible ! " 

" You must ! You can do it ; I know you niggers 
run the blockade whenever you want. Take him by 
the nigger-way ; get him out !" 

" Save a Yank who's killed Massa St. George } 
Neber ! " 

" He hasn't killed him ; I struck him down with my 
own hands; but he's not dead," and she kisses the 
face of the young Confederate, then begs : " Quashie, 
save my husband ! Save him as you love me ! " 

"Den I saves him ! " mutters the black solemnly. 
"Dough I neber fought you'd ask dis for a Yank." 

"God bless you, Quashie ! '' cries the girl, and whis- 
pers to me : "Go !" 

" Not until you say you love me — you forgive me ! " 

"Go — -you haven't time." 



BILLY HAMILTON. 293 

"Not until you say " 

"Oh, is it not proof enough, that I love you, when I 
would strike my brother down, when I would raise my 
arms against the flag I love, iovyou, Billy! " she sobs. 

" I want your kisses ■' " 

"You risked your life, part to gain my pardon, part 
to — ?" in all her anxiety she's blushing like a rose. 

"To make you my own!" I cry inspired. Her 
arms are round me ; her sweet lips cling to mine. 
Her soft voice sighs in awful dread, "Go ! if you love 
me ! — if you would not have me die in your arms, go •' 
You have made me a traitor to my friends, my kindred 
and my cause — but save your life, my husband be- 
cause I ADORE YOU ! " 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

THE DROOPING COLORS. 

"Quick ! " cries Quashie, "or yo'se a gone coon ! " 
He is standing in the hall with a half-filled sack in his 
hand. 

From the house below us women's voices come in 
excited tones. 

Following him hurriedly from the house, I spring 
upon Roderick, and the negro, throwing the sack over 
the pommel of my saddle and running beside me with 
a surprising speed, guides me through Richmond's 
faintly lighted streets. 

A moment after we are up the hill, on Broad Street. 
The black is leading me towards the North, for I note 
we cross the tracks of the Fredericksburg & Richmond 
Railway. 

" Won't come to no guards and pickets yet a while," 
says Quashie to me ; then remarks : " Ef dey gits me 
dey'U raise de deble wid me. An' just to t'ink fo' help- 
ing a damn Yankee out of de hole ! But — " he looks 
at me as he trots beside Roderick—" yo'se safe, sah. 
When my missey said if dey kill yo' dey kill har, yo'se 
safe, if I can make yo'. An' what Quashie ain't up to 
'bout dis country ain't no account, no way," he adds 
confidently. 

This proves to be the fact. How I get out of Rich- 



294 



BILLY HAMILTON. 



mond I don't know ! Were it not for the black, I am 
satisfied I would have fallen half a dozen times into 
the hands of the numerous and alert Rebel patrols, 
which he dodges with darky subtlty. Round piles 
of lumber, by deserted railroad tracks and unused 
freight cars — through a dirty creek m which he wades 
to his waist he leads me. Then the houses growing 
less frequent, he takes to rough places, and trails 
probably unknown to any but the negroes, and once 
or twice conducts me across lots, nosing his way in 
the darkness through the thickets and underbrush in a 
manner that astounds me. 

So we keep on for hours — all traces of the town have 
been left behind us long ago. About daylight in the 
morning Quashie says : " We's got to stop soon, sah. 
Darsn't travel by daylight ; get gobbled up shuah. " 

' ' Where am 1 ? " I ask, looking at my watch. 
" We have been travelling nearly eight hours." 

"Yo'se on Stonewall Jackson's old battle-groun', 
Cold Harbor. Yo' Yanks should 'member dat , dat's 
where yo' got fury," he chuckles savagely. "An 
I hopes yo' get de deble agin." 

But soon after this, getting into what Quashie calls 
"a nice swamp," he remarks : "We stays heah all 
day, sah." 

" Well — but something to eat." 

" I'se looked out for dat. Trust a niggah in the 
woods. Whaugh ! Whaugh I What's in dat sack in 
front of you'se ? " 

As he chuckles, the black produces from the bag 
some bread made of middlings, a few slices of boiled 
bacon and a piece of beef that for lean, gaunt, stringi- 
ness could discount the worst army ration I ever 
encountered. 

" Besides, I'se got some beans to make coffee with." 
remarks Quashie philosophically, as he builds, with 
the art of a negro who has been a coon-hunter, a 
fire that produces little smoke, and producing a tin pan 
from the sack fills it with water from a creek running 
by us and proceeds to make his bean coffee. Over 
this, with the philosophy of an old campaigner, I 
join him, and if we do not make a luxurious meal, 
we at least finish nearly everything in sight, for our 
all-night's travel has made us ravenous. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 295 

Then looking at my horse, I say: "We must do 
something for him. Quashie, you must get Roderick 
some provender." 

"Very well, sah, but I don't want no money," for I 
have produced a roll of Confederate currency. " Dere's 
only one safe way to git it, and dat's to steal it. I'll 
bring you'se some fodder and stuff for yo' nag." 

Leaving me in this place, which is secluded enough, 
though very damp, the darky disappears. 

Heavens and earth ! How helpless I feel, knowing 
practically nothing of the country. For I had intended 
to go down by a more direct route to the Peninsula, 
by the Charles city road, on the South of the Chicka- 
hominy, which would probably — I judge from what 
Quashie had told me on our night-march — have been 
my destruction. So, smoking a corn-cob pipe, for I 
have exhausted my cigars, I wait for the negro. 

Presently I hear the sound of horses' hoofs. Crawl- 
ing to the edge of undergrowth and peering out, I see 
the gleam of arms going round a turn of the road. 
A Confederate vidette must have passed me scarce a 
minute before. 

Then I cogitate : " If Quashie deserts me, what route 
shall I take ? What shall I do ? " and have just about 
cursed the negro for a traitor, when he returns, bring- 
ing with him a sack of corn and fodder for Roderick. 

After feeding the horse, the negro and I go to 
sleep, leaving my nag contentedly munching. 

That evening, under Quashie's guidance, we again 
set forth. By swamp-paths and side-tracks, and 
every round-about way to avoid the main roads of the 
country, that are picketed with Confederate cavalry, 
we travel down the Peninsula. About ten o'clock in 
the evening we pass Tunstal's Station, giving that a 
wide berth, for the negro remarks : " One side or 
t'other am always dere, and it's generally us uns. " 

So, gradually getting nearer Williamsburg and the 
Union lines we journey on until just after daybreak ; 
When Quashie whispers : "Stop ! Dar's rangers ahead 
of us." 

But my answer to this is a cry of joy. A patrol of 
cavalry whose flag floats to the breeze shows me I am 
in front of United States troops. 

"Guess I won't sfo no further. Dose cursed Yanks 



296 BILLV HAMILTON. 

might t'ink I was one of der darned contrabands," 
chuckles the darky. 

"All right," I answer. "But don't go until I've 
rewarded you. " 

*• No, sah ! I saved yo' because I lobe my missey. 
But, so help me Gawd, Cap'n, if yo' come here agin, 
spyin' out on our people, I'll give yo' away myself. 
I'se done a powerful bad t'ing." 

"What ? " I say. " Don't you want to he/ree ?" 

" Not free from har ! Does yo' want to be free from 
har ? " 

"No, Quashie, we're both slaves to the same girl," 
I say. 

"Yes; dat am de only redeeming point 'bout yo', 
sah," chuckles the darky contentedly. 

" But you must take a message for her." 

" Ob course." 

"And this money." 

" I doesn't want yer cash." 

" It is not for you ; it is for her — my wife. You see 
how poor they are in Richmond," And I hurriedly 
force on the black all the money of any kind I have 
with me, except a twenty-dollar bill. 

"Well, sah, I s'poseas Miss Ebe says she's yo' wife, 
it wouldn't be quite right if yo' didn't do a little for har ; 
specially after she's smashed up my poor massa Charlie 
for yo'. Dere's no telling what these gals'U do, sah, 
when they git upish." 

"Quite right, Quashie," I laugh, for I cannot be 
angry with him ; he has done too much for me. 

" Here, take this to my wife," I mutter huskily, 
for on a leaf in my pocket-book I have hastily written : 
"Eve, my darling, the next time I come to Richmond 
it will not be as a spy, but as a conqueror." And 
jotting down words of love and endearment, I sign it 
"Forever your husband. " 

But I have not much time to lose ; the Confederate 
pickets are on the alert. Some half mile away towards 
the west a gray squadron appears in the road, and I 
spur my horse eastward along the pike to meet my ad- 
vancing friends, who seem to be in force, for the Rebels 
retire without firing a shot. 

" Three minutes after, waving a white handkerchief, 
I ride into the Union lines and drawing a long breath, 



BILLY HAMILTON. 297 

for the first time in a week, feel that I am safe from a 
dastard's death. 

Making my report to the officer in command, but 
being unable to show anything that indicates I am not 
a Rebel, for I have dared to carry no Union papers nor 
insignia with me, I am placed under guard and taken 
to Fortress Monroe. Here everything is soon made 
very pleasant for me. My valise that 1 left in Suffolk, 
has arrived there ; the General commanding, having 
instructions about me. 

That afternoon I take boat for Washington, and 
early on Thursday present myself at the War Depart- 
ment. Gazing at me, the Secretary smiles grimly, and 
remarks : "You look as if you had come out of the 
jaws of death." 

For, notwithstanding two days of comparative rest, 
I am still fearfully haggard and gaunt, from the tre- 
mendous strain of my journey to the Rebel capital. 

"I have come from Richmond, sir; that is about 
the same," I answer. 

" Well, I never expected to see you again ! " he 
chuckles ; then suddenly and eagerly asks for my re- 
port. 

This I present to him, giving him an account of the 
various Home Guards' Armory Battalion, Boys' Com- 
pany, etc., likewise a description and sketches from 
memory of the fortifications about Richmond. 

Concluding I say : "The city is susceptible of attack 
by a quick raiding party, if the bridges across the James 
River can be seized m lime. If the expedition is com- 
posed of two cavalry commands, the larger assaulting 
the line of forts north of the capital with sufficient 
vigor to hold the Confederate troops manning these de- 
fences ; a smaller, quick-travelling detachment coming 
from the West, and on the South of, the James River, 
can probably successfully either raid Richmond, or 
capture the Rebel prison at Belle Isle and release the 
Union prisoners there — but cannot do both." 

" Not raid Richmond and release our prisoners at the 
same time.''" remarks the Secretary testily. "Why 
not } " 

"Because by the time the attacking force has re- 
leased the prisoners on Belle Isle, the alarm will surely 
be given in Richmond, and the bridges across the 



298 BILLY HAMILTON. 

James River will certainly be so effectively guarded 
or destroyed, that your raiders will never get into the 
Confederate capital. You can with good luck either 
capture Belle Isle or raid Richmond, Mr. Secretary, but 
to attempt both, will be to fail in both." 

' ' Humph ! " he says contemplatively. 

Into his meditation I break by asking : "Are you 
satisfied with my report, sir?" 

"Perfectly." 

"Then my reward, Mr. Secretary?" I demand 
eagerly. 

"I have sent your name in to the Governor of Ken- 
tucky for promotion in your old cavalry regiment. 
You will find your commission downstairs. Major 
Hamilton." 

"But my reward, Mr. Secretary?" I ask again 
anxiously. 

" To what do you refer, sir ? " 

" The guerdon for which I braved a disgraceful 
death — the pardon for my wife." 

"Ah, that shall be made out. I have not forgotten 
the lady," Mr. Stanton remarks grimly. "I pledge 
myself the President will sign it. He likes to sign par- 
dons. It would have created rather a commotion to 
have hung the niece of our great Border-State War 
Senator, eh ?" A very beautiful girl ; I have seen her 
here in Washington myself I don't wonder that in- 
stead of you catching her, she caught you. Did you 
meet her in Richmond? " 

"Yes," I mutter. 

"Humph ! A little addition to a short honeymoon, 
r presume," he chuckles. "Do you think you've per- 
suaded her to take the oath of allegiance." 

" I fear not," I answer gloomily. 

"Ah, yes ; if we had only the men of the South to 
fight, we'd have an easier time," remarks the Secretary. 
"And you, I suppose — you'd like to go to Richmond 
again ? " he asks. 

"Wouldn't I ? But not as a spy ! " 

"Then I will give you a chance. Your old regiment 
will march under Sheridan. But this raiding business 
I shall put in other hands. No man with a wife in 
Richmond is fitted to burn the Rebel capital. What 
do you want to do now?" 



BILLY HAMILTON. 299 

" I want to sleep for a week. " 

So he sends me away, shuddering in my heart as 
I think, "What may I not have brought upon Eve?" 

Perhaps I should have shuddered more ; for it was 
on my information that that unfortunate Dahlgren raid 
was planned, which came to such a horrible ending, 
and produced so much discussion as to what is civil- 
ized in warfare. 

The next day I see Birdie, who has taken a handsome 
furnished house in Washington and lately added to her 
establishment a prattling goo-goo boy. She is trying 
to play the Roman matron and not doing it very 
well. 

" You're going to the front. That's where Arthur is 
— at the front. He's in Torbert's cavalry division. 
Billy, do what you can to aid my husband when he's 
in battle," pleads Birdie, who only knows one detail 
of war — that gallant men leave their wives' arms and 
never come back to them. 

"You'll try to save him.?" she whimpers to me; 
then suddenly cries : "But I know Arthur isn't coming 
back. Every time I look at this ring he put upon my 
finger I see in the diamond my tears ; in the ruby, his 
drop of blood — oh, if this war were only over ! " 

With this plaint in my ear — a cry that bereft women 
are now raising all over the stricken land, North and 
South — I leave my sister and ride into Virginia to join 
my regiment. 

Then comes Grant's big campaign— when he fights 
and flanks, and fights again and flanks again, from the 
Wilderness to Spottsylvania and North Anna River and 
Cold Harbor, and here swinging south of the James and 
assaulting the Rebel capital from the very point I had 
selected, as weakest, has laid siege to Petersburg. 

So the summer goes and autumn comes, and I find 
myself one of the fifteen thousand sabres that, under 
Sheridan, Torbert and Custer begin to be known as the 
Great Cavalry Corps. 

We have pursued Early into Virginia, and fought up 
and down the Shenandoah, by the light of blazing 
barns and dwellings and old colonial manor-houses, till 
that once blest but now unhappy valley will no more 
support the struggling armies that tramp over its dev- 
astated fields; INIosby's partisans raiding our communi- 



300 BILLY HAMILTON. 

cations and destroying commissary and sutlers' trains 
in our rear, and Bull-dog- Early fighting us at the front. 

But finally we finish him at Cedar Creek, and as we 
go into winter quarters in the devastated valley, my 
regiment, of which I am now Lieutenant-Colonel, both 
my senior majors having been wounded or disabled, 
bears on its battle-flag the names of Opequan, Fisher's 
Hill and Cedar Creek. 

For the last battle I find myself brevetted Brigadier 
General of Volunteers ; though Vermilye still com- 
mands his horse battery. 

During the early winter I once or twice visit Wash- 
ington on leave. From this point, as opportunity has 
offered, I have forwarded to my wife money, by the 
uncertain contraband means of communication be- 
tween Washington and Richmond. Whether she re- 
ceives it, 1 know not, for no letters reach me from her. 

In February, 1865, Durant, my Colonel, being in- 
valided, I get orders to prepare for active service, and 
on the 27th Sheridan begins his celebrated march 
through Virginia from Winchester to City Point. 

The weather is frightful, the rain tremendous. The 
mud is beyond description ; but we tramp on through it, 
and report at City Point, Grant's headquarters, on 
March 26th. An awful ride — a fearful raid ; but Sheri- 
dan's cavalry are now ready to help Grant finish Lee. 

Up the James River is Richmond, and no man in all 
the thirteen thousand sabres that moved out M'ith Little 
Phil to capture the South Side Railway and smash the 
right of that skeleton line of Confederates which is 
now guarding Petersburg is more determined than L 
My comrades are fighting for the Union, but I am 
battling not only for that but also for a wife, from 
whose love the Rebel flag has kept me over two long 
years. 

Then comes Five Forks, and we cut off the last rail- 
road by which provisions reach the Confederate army, 
and force it either to starve, break out or retreat. 

The first it won't do ; the second it can't do; the 
third it does, and Petersburg is evacuated on the night 
of the 2d of April, and Richmond on the same day ; 
though Ewell, in command of the Confederates, leaves 
it blazing. 

Desperately Lee turns uj) the Appomattox, in search 



BILLV HAMILTON. 301 

of safety from our pursuing columns and rations for his 
starving men — but he gets Httle of either. 

So after six more desperate days, at Appomattox Court 
House, Lee's wearied and half-starved columns find 
themselves entirely enveloped. Without provisions, 
without sleep, they have fought, and marched, and 
fallen, and died, and dropped out and been captured, 
to discover Sheridan's cavalry ahead of them and drawn 
up to dispute the Lynchburg road ; their one avenue 
to even temporary safety. 

It is the morning of the ninth of April. My regi- 
ment, after service so hard that we had never seen the 
like before, are at Appomattox Station, the men half 
famished, for, if the Rebels starved, we had no full 
stomachs, all this awful ride, when men went to sleep 
in their saddles ; for what commissariat could keep 
up to our flying columns when it was hub-deep for 
wagons in every Virginia road this pouring April 
weather. 

Suddenly every worn-out, dozing and hungry trooper 
of my regiment becomes as fresh as when he first put 
foot in stirrup — for the word has been passed "At last 
we are ahead of Longstreet. Now we've got 'em sure / " 

But can we hold them — Lee's veterans of four years 
grimmest war — in their despair — till our infantry ar- 
rives ? 

Couriers have been sent to the Fifth Corps ; it must 
be up early this morning, if it has to march all night. 

But, as day breaks, our veteran infantry is not in 
sight. 

Nothing for it but to try and stay infantry by cavalry 
— in these days a military impossibility, and even at that 
time a desperate thing, the mounted man being already 
inferior to the foot-soldier for bruising, pitched battle- 
work. 

For we now see them coming, and know by their 
battle flags we have to do with men who fought and 
won so many times under Jackson. 

"By the god of war! It will be hot-'" ejaculates 
my senior major. "It's the old Stonewall corps — 
what's left of 'em ! " 

By the Lord! how they come on, in their despair, 
starving and few of them, but still for one dread hour 
the old Army of Northern Virginia. 



302 BILLY HAMILTON. 

No sign of the Fifth Corps yet ! We've got to hold 
them ! 

On the little hills just behind us our horse artillery 
unlimber, and their light guns pour shell into them, 
and as they get near, change to grape and canister, 
cutting bloody gaps in Lee's ragged columns. 

Then we open with our carbines — but stay them 
not. 

The Rebel yell is sounding as fierce as it did at 
Chancellorsville. The Rebel musketry is as deadly 
and as incessant as ever flamed from those gray ranks 
at Second Bull Run, where they smashed Pope to 
flinders. 

Our lines give back or are brushed away. Our losses 
are enormous ; both my senior officers are disabled, 
and word is brought me that I command the brigade. 
My regiments, were they not veterans, would be broken, 
but, still keeping their formation and fighting steadily, 
are forced from the road, though I contrive to draw 
them off to our flank and keep my horses within touch 
of my men. 

But our light artillery is still at it. Having mounted 
cannoniers, as the Rebels come dangerously close, 
they limber up, and, darting to new eminences, open 
again — the guns being served with Yankee coolness 
and deathly accuracy. 

So the tide of battle flows against us, for we are 
gradually driven back some half a mile in that last 
effort of a starving army. 

But every moment that w^e cling to that Lynchburg 
road adds to our chances and destroys the Rebel hope ; 
for now blue lines of infantry are coming out of the 
woods. Chamberlain, by an all-night march, has 
reached us and is taking position in our rear. Behind 
him is another brigade. The batteries of the Fifth 
Corps are getting into place on our flank. 

The rebels see it as well as we. Their fire slackens 
as Gordon is forming them for their last charge. Taking 
advantage of the lull I order my brigade to mount — 
so as to be ready to move aside and disclose our infan- 
try 

But the Rebels are coming now ! 

They 7nust break through ! It is now or never .' 

Oh, the wild rush of that ragged, starving column ! 



BILLY HAMILTON. 303 

They're upon us so quickly, so desperately, that one 
battery of ours, its horses shot down, is surely lost. 

Just to the left of me and my troopers it commands 
the Lynchburg pike. If it is held all is won ; if it is 
lost, the Rebel army may break through before our 
infantry can deploy and form line of battle. 

Its guns are served like lightning ! What's danger 
of explosion now ? Cannister and grape, and even 
powder cartridges, are piled beneath the muzzles of the 
flaming pieces ; their gunners working like clockwork 
— in the face of death. 

No time to communicate with the division general. 
Dare I, in this first moment of command, take des- 
perate military chances ? 

Bang ! Bang ! Bang ! 

Then comes the answering musketry, the Southern 
cry, the Southern charge ! 

My Heaven ! Through the blue smoke about it I 
see the battery's guidon, and know Birdie to-night will 
be a widow. 

"Not if I can prevent that diamond tear, that ruby 
drop of blood 1 " I send orders to my brigade to charge 
with the sabre. To my own regiment I cry : " Follow 
me ! " 

As the Rebel line, with its ferocious yell, dashes up 
the low hillside, our squadrons jump the fence that sep- 
arates us from them. Wild riders, these Sheridan cav- 
alry lads ! 

Then Stonewall's ragged veterans surge around the 
doomed battery, whose guns are fired in their very 
faces ; but, as they close over it, my brigade, charging 
with weight of horse and man, strikes them in flank ! 
Fifteen hundred unexpected sabres flash down upon 
them. 

Ah ! How Jackson's old soldiers fight in their de- 
spair, seeming to want to die ! But, worn out from 
long marching, faint from long fasting, my horse 
sweep over them and brush them, struggling and 
deadly to the last, from off that hillside — those that 
are left of them. 

They will 710/ have it ! They are forming once more 1 

Bang! Ba?ig .' Bang! go Vermilye's guns again, but 
that does not phase them ; neither does my carbine fire. 

When suddenly, Crash ! Boom ! Crash ! BOOM ! 
BOOM 1 



304 BILLY HAMILTON. 

The batteries of the Fifth and Twenty-fourth Corps 
are opening a cross-fire from both flanks, some thirty- 
guns scourge them with such an artillery fire they have 
not felt since Malvern Hill and Gettysburg. They 
pause ! they falter ! 

In five minutes, everything of that thin gray line is 
swept away. 

No ! one man I see ; the last fighting Rebel of the 
Army of Virginia, still charging and still firing and all 
alone ■' when, of a sudden, a shell bursts beside him 
and throws his body into the crotch of a near-by tree, 
from which it hangs, the entrails dangling out. 

A moment later, I am beside Vermilye, who, leaning 
against one of his brass Napoleons, has a smoking re- 
volver in one hand, a smoking cigar in the other. A 
pile of dead Rebels mixed with his slain gunners, and 
some wounded battery horses, who are moaning out 
their plaint, are his nearest neighbors. 

"Thank you, old man," says the artillery captain. 
"You just connected; I've only a slight bayonet 
scratch," and he attends to the reloading of his guns. 
Suddenly he asks : ' ' Did you hear that awful shriek 
the Johnnies gave as they surged over us .? " 

"Certainly. Why?" 

"That was the last Rebel yell you'll ever hear. 
See ! " he points. 

Right and left behind us dark and blue columns of the 
old fifth and twenty-fourth corps are in sight. The lead- 
ing brigades are already in position. 

"Lee's last hope is gone," I mutter ; then cry : "By 
Heaven ! there's the white flag ! " 

"The sign of coming peace," remarks Vermilye, 
' ' and I think I hear him sigh : ' ' Birdie ; " next he asks 
me anxiously: "What's the matter. Bill.? Are you 
wounded.? '' 

For there are tears in my eyes. I can hardly see, and 
my gaze is not upon the army we have conquered, but 
towards the North where far away lies the Rebel capi- 
tal ; I am thinking of my dear wife who is in Rich- 
mond. 

So we wait there, one army holding the other in its 
death-grip. 

Suddenly, through the ranks flies " Lee surrenders / " 
Then who can paint the picture ? 



BILLY HAMILTON. 305 

Pandemonium breaks forth. Those who had doubted, 
now are sure. From every fence, from each tree-top, 
from haystacks, from the roofs of near-by farm-houses, 
where men have climbed to get as near to heaven as 
as possible in their ecstatic jubilee, comes the cry : 
" Hosanna ! the war is over I " Officers who have faced 
death without atremor this very day are sobbing like 
little children. Veterans who have tasted fire and blood 
for four long years, are weak as swaddled infants in their 
overpowering joy. 

But — the other army ! From the vanquished host 
across the silvery streamlets of the Appomattox comes 
a noise. I cannot describe it. Some think that it is joy 
also, they are so tired of fighting for a losing cause. 
To me it seems like the long, sighing groan of dissolu- 
tion, for I know, over there, many stout hearts that 
have battled long and gallantly, are breaking now. 

I have always thought their general's did, as he saw 
his colors droop, his battle-flags sink, never to float again 
over the stern array of war — when his starving men 
crowded about him, and gave defeated " Pap Lee" the 
same love, the same reverence they would have, had 
they placed the victor's crown upon his brow this Palm 
Sunday evening on which drooped the colors of the 
dead Confederacy. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

THE ^GIS OF THE DEAD PRESIDENT. 

That evening, sitting in my tent — as army wagons 
have reached us now — one wounded spirit of the other 
host comes to me. For the armies are fraternizing ; 
this evening, we are giving our starving adversaries 
bread, instead of bullets. 

My orderly announces : "A Confederate officer 
would like to see you, General." 

I spring up, and see a haggard face. "Charley St. 
George ! " I cry, my hand outstretched. 

He takes it, but mutters: "You had better have 
pulled trigger on me that night in Richmond, Hamil- 
ton. I would have been happier now." 

"Nonsense ! You're only twenty-seven. Life is 



3o6 BILLY HAMILTON. 

before you. Sit down; have some supper with me." 
And I direct my servant, a bright colored boy, to put 
everything I have on the blanket which acts as table 
and table-cloth. 

" Thank you. I have already eaten of Uncle Sam's 
food," he says gloomily; "but I will take some 
whisky." 

"Now what can I do for you ? " 

*' Nothing. I have come to ask about Eve." 

"About her ? " I cry, my heart in my throat. "She 
is in Richmond." 

"No, she left it two months ago to join her mother, 
somewhere in the valley of Virginia. Our people in 
Richmond were not kind to her, after they knew she 
was the wife of a Union spy. You owe Eve a great 
deal, Colonel, for your visit to her," he says sadly, smit- 
ing his hands together. "She must be very poor. 
She may be in want. I can't even leave here until 
paroled." 

" I'll find her ! " I cry. "God bless you, St. George 
for telling me this. I'll do everything for her and your 
mother." 

At which he give me a grateful look and murmurs, 
in his old time Southern manner: " I thank you sir !" 
and goes away dejectedly as I hurry to my corps 
commander to ask for leave. 

This my corps commander declines to grant on his 
personal responsibility, though he forwards my ap- 
plication to Washington. 

Where can my wife be ? 

I put an advertisement for her in the Richmond Whig; 
which is still being published and forward another to 
the Washington papers. 

From the War Department early in May I receive a 
hasty order to report forthwith in that city. 

Doing this as hurriedly as possible, I enter the 
Federal capital, now tremendously excited over the 
trial of the conspirators for the murder of President 
Lincoln, whose extended hand, bearing peace for the 
suffering South, has been paralyzed by the assassin 
Booth. 

At the War Department, to my astonishment, I am 
ordered to report for duty to General Hancock, whose 
headquarters are at Winchester. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 307 

On the streets, I find the capital enraged and made 
more bitter than before against all who had aided 
the "lost cause," on account of the crime of the 
Northern assassin who had stricken down the Presi- 
dent they had loved. In all the turmoil of passion in 
that capital I have but one thought — tidings of Eve. I 
hurry to Lucy Bream's ; she may be able to tell me 
something about her niece ; and in her parlor, hear 
news that gives me a chill of horror. 

"I'm awfully glad you've come, Billy," says that 
matron eagerly, though her face has a very anxious 
look on it. " You're not a day too soon ! " 

"Too soon for what .-' " 

"Too soon to save your wife and get her out of the 
country." 

" What — do — you — mean ? " I stammer. 

"You know how the public mind is excited ! You 
are aware how Baker's detectives are anxious to make 
a good showing. You know how the assassination of 
our poor martyred President has made the politicians 
so bitter against the South. Even my husband is very 
bloodthirsty now. " 

"Then why didn't he go to the front? He could 
have had all the Southern blood he wanted when we 
were fighting," I remark grimly. 

"Hush! Don't talk that way. One would think 
you were not a Union man, Rufus J. had his patriotic 
duties in the halls of Congress." 

" But what about Eve.?" I break in anxiously. 

"You know she got into an awful scrape when she 
was here in Washington." 

" Nobody knows that better than I." 

"Oh, yes; you were imprisoned for fourteen months 
on account of her, weren't you, and even the Senator's 
influence couldn't get you out. But Rufus is going to 
speak for you when your name is sent in for a brigadier 
generalship of volunteers, so you mustn't say a word 
against him." 

"But Eve?" I ask, impatiently. 

"Well, my husband tells me that — that they could 
hang her for those awful Fredericksburg pontoons," 
whispers Mrs. Bream nervously. 

"Baker's Secret Service people are working her 
gase up," continues the iiiatron. "They hate you, 



3o8 BILLY HAMILTON. 

Rod Gibbon, I believe that's his name, told the Senator 
that you betrayed one of their men, his chum Joe Shook, 
to death in Richmond. They know a blow at your 
wife is a blow at you ! " 

" Yes ; they know I love her," I mutter. 

"They've got an order for her arrest, and " 

"They know where she is.? " I falter. 

"Yes." 

" What ? Where is she ? " 

"In Luray, Virginia." 

" How did they discover this ? " 

"Well, Eve wrote me. I only got her letter yester- 
day morning, it was delayed some days in the post- 
office, I am sure it has been opened. She's Hving with 
her mother there ; they're very poor. She sent for the 
clothes she had left here when you ran away with 
her. " 

" Luray ? " I interject. " God bless you, Aunt Lucy, 
for telling me where she is ! I'm ordered to Winchester 
— near her." 

"You're going?" says Mrs. Bream; for I have 
sprung up. "You have not received Eve's letter.? " 

"What letter.?" 

" The one she writes she sent you .? " Here I break 
out: "The Secret Service — they have intercepted it! 
I must go at once ! " 

And I astonish the plump and pretty matron by 
giving her a nephew's salute, and rush from the house, 
a tremendous anxiety in my mind. But outside I get 
my thoughts together, and suddenly give a cry of joy. 
I clutch a paper that I have carried on my breast 
through a year's battle and know I have the murdered 
President's segis to protect my love, the pardon for 
which I had risked my life as spy in Rebel capital ! 
And I thank God that though dead, the mercy of the 
nation's martyr still survives him to guard my love 
against Uncle Sam's detective agency. 

With Lommox, who is still sergeant in my regiment, 
and has been detailed to accompany me, I hurry to 
Winchester. Here I am very pleasantly received both 
by Hancock, who is in command, and General Torbert, 
under whom I had served in the Valley Campaign. 

"We've orders here to place you, in charge of one of 
the small reconstruction districts in this State ; prob- 



BILLY HAMILTON. 309 

ably because the Government thought your being a 
Border State man would enable you to understand the 
people here better than some more full-fledged Yankee. 
P'or we want to make everything deuced pleasant to 
the Johnnies, now they've laid down their arms and are 
no more Johnnies," remarks the gallant cavalry com- 
mander. "You can have your choice of Upperville, 
Strasburg, Luray, Harrisburg, Charlottesville." 
"Luray ! " I cry, so sharply it startles him. 
"Ay, you know the place," he says, "You've 
ridden through that valley a dozen times, either after 
Fitz Lee or from him. But remember, you don't go 
there to devastate this time ; instead of burning barns, 
you're to serve out rations. Some young lady there 
you've seen as you rode through ? " he queries laugh- 
ingly, "made you choose the place so rapidly.? " 

"Yes — my wife," I answer, and astound him. 

"Oh, then, you'd like to get on your road at once ? " 

"Certainly." 

With my order to take command of the district, 
five hours more and I am in Luray, a pretty little 
hamletin that beautiful valley ; onefortunately that had 
escaped the torch, though the country about it, even 
on this lovely spring day as I approach it still shows 
the hands of war. Burned barns and the standing 
chimneys and charred beams of homesteads marking 
where the armies had marched the year before. 

At the_ Federal headquarters of this Httle town, which 
is occupied now by the wing of an infantry regiment 
and a couple of squadrons of cavalry for patrol duty, 
though their troopers' horses are growing fat, I have 
to give five minutes to business with my second in 
command, Major Wilcox, of the Foot Regiment. 

"You've no idea, Colonel," remarks the major to 
me, "of the amount of destitution." 

"I can guess at it," I say. "I helped to cause it." 

"We're issuing rations to over a hundred families, 
and some of them people of distinction, education and 
former wealth." 

"They are willing to apply to us ?" I ask, knowing 
Old Dominion pride. 

" Some of them don't," he says. "There's a very 
pretty woman, who lives up the main street, haughty 
as a Juno ; you know these Virginia beauties, and her 



310 BILLY HAMILTON. 

mother, an old g-rajide dame a la Martha Washington, 
she hasn't applied, though, I fear, they're nearly 
starving." 

"Can't we do something for them ? " 

" I have," remarks the major. " I have just ordered 
rations to be sent them, and added a few little luxuries 
from our sutler's stores, on my own account. By the 
bye, the lady is a namesake of yours." 

"Mrs. Hamilton.?" 

"Yes. You seem excited ; a relative .? " 

"Only my wife ! God bless you for your charity to 
her, Wilcox ! " I cry and wring the major's hand. 

Suddenly my junior's voice becomes husky. He 
mutters : " Then — I — I fear I have some unpleasant 
news for you." 

"What.?" 

"A Secret Service man — one Rodmond Gibbon — 
wearing a U. S. Deputy Marshal's badge, was here not 
fifteen minutes ago. He has an order for your wife's 
arrest for treason." 

"And you permitted him to execute it.?"- 

"I — I had no other course left open to me." 

"But I have!" I say cheerfully. "I have a free 
pardon for my wife in my pocket." 

" I'm delighted to hear it ! " says the major, briskly. 

"Just order a squad of cavalry for me," I direct 
hastily. " Where do they live .? " 

"Not three hundred yards from here. You can see 
the Secret Service man's and his two assistants' horses 
in front of it." 

Two minutes after, with Lommox and a cavalry 
squad clattering behind me, I ride up to the house and 
dismount. 

It is a little two-story cottage, amid some slight 
shrubbery and unkept flowers. As I inspect it all 
seems quiet inside, though two or three negroes are 
grouped about, looking in curiously. One of them is 
holding the horses of the three government agents, 
who are apparently in the house. 

Throwing Roderick's rein to my orderly, I enter the 
little garden, stride up the path, and rap with my 
knuckles vipon the door, which is minus a knocker. 

Nobody answers my summons. The door is on a 
latch ; I hurriedly open it and stride into the little hall. 



BILLY HAMILTON. 31I 

A voice, sweet and liquid, comes to me from an ad- 
joining room. It is saying calmly, courageously : "I 
will go with you, gentlemen. There is no need of 
using force ; I have no other option." 

My heart jumps to the accents — they are my 
wife's. 

Then I hear Rod Gibbon's nasal tones, snarling and 
savage: " By Gol, you played it on me last time at 
the tavern in Port Tobacco. The jealous wife, eh? — 
jealous of yourself. By the bones of poor Joe Shook, 
we'll make the Colonel's heart shriek through you, my 
beauty. High treason ! They're going to hang one 
woman in Washington now, and perhaps we'll sling 
up another. By gum, I think I'll handcuff you." 

But he gets no further, for throwing open the door 
I see Eve stand, as beautiful as a Venus, as haughty 
as a Juno, her eyes blazing, her nostrils dilated. 
Fronting her is my brutal enemy. Behind her is a lady 
of the old regime, her face white as her hair and draped 
upon the wall of the room an old Confederate flag. 

Into this group I stride, and say in savage calm- 
ness : "You cur, don't dare to touch her ! " 

"By gum! The Colonel!" cries Gibbon, starting 
back; then he chuckles : "I'm glad ye're here, so ye 
kin squirm as I clap my handcuffs on your wife's 
wrists ; " adding triumphantly : "It does me good to 
arrest her under yer very eyes." 

"Put down your hands ! " I command and cover him 
with my revolver. 

As for Eve, she has made one step towards me and 
sighed : "Billy ! " then swayed a little ; but stood still, 
too wise to encumber me with her arms, in case of 
conflict. 

"By whose order.? " mutters the detective. 

" By mine ! — the General commanding this district !" 
I answer. "I have a pardon for this lady in my 
pocket." 

"Great Gosh ! From — from whom ? " 

"From the dead President — Abraham Lincoln." 

"Shucks ! That ain't no good now." 

' ' Good as his noble soul ; and you know it ! Now 
get out of here ! " I have given a signal, and the 
squad, headed by Lommox, has come trooping in. 
" Hustle this fellow and his followers out ! " I order. 



312 BILLY HAMILTON. 

"If they make any trouble, put them in the guard- 
house, for disturbing the peace of the district." 

"Curse you!" cries Gibbon; and would spring at 
me; but Lommox has him by the throat. "Damn 
you ! You murdered my chum, poor Joe Shook, in 
Richmond ! I'll have ye yit ! That pardon aint no 
good unless she takes the oath of allegiance." 

" Take the oath of allegiance ? Never ! " cries Eve, 
who from a marble statue now becomes an indignant 
woman with blazing face. 

"Then I as her husband will take it for her!" I 
proclaim. 

At my words, my wife gives a gasp — looks reproach- 
fully at me and commences to sway and tremble. 

"That won't work ! She's got to take it personally, 
and you know it," cries the disappointed Secret Service 
man, as he is hustled out by Lommox and his 
squad. 

' ' Theii she shall ! " I answer. 

And we are alone together — the girl's mother, my 
wife and I. Standing before them, I fear that I have 
one of the most difficult contests of my life ; for I am 
perfectly aware my wife must take the oath personally, 
to make the pardon of avail ; and she doesn't look like 
taking the oath now. 

Though she has come to me and kissed me, and put 
her arms around me and murmured : " My husband !" 
she has pleaded : " For God's sake, Billy, don't try and 
make me untrue to my cause — to desert it when its 
banner is torn down." 

And the mother has said haughtily : " This comes of 
marrying a Yankee spy." 

"What your daughter and my wife was, Madame — 
only, on the other side," I answer. Then bowing to 
Mrs. Ashley, I say : " Mother ! " at which she gives a 
ghastly laugh, " I beg you to let me settle this matter 
with my wife." 

Eve's glance seconds my request. 

So the Virginia matron, turning away with a stately 
air, leaves me with my bride. 

To her I whisper, my soul in my voice : "Loved 
one, are we to be parted again .? " 

" No, no, Billy ! " " Never again. I — I have been 
unhappy enough." 



BILLY HAMILTON. 313 

Sitting down, I draw the blushing girl on my knee. 
To her I say : ' '■ To be with me, you must do this thing ! 
Not that they'll hang you. I don't fear that ! " I 
mutter with a shudder. "But great trouble will come 
on you and on me, your husband." 

" But, oh, it seems so cowardly ! " She wrings her 
hands, though her eyes blaze. 

"Eve, shall my visit as a spy to Richmond, when I 
braved the fate of a military outcast, to gain one look 
at your dear face, and to obtain your pardon from the 
Union Government, be nothing ?" I ask sternly. 

" Ah, that was the price they paid you ! " cries the 
girl. "My safety for the risk of your life. That was 
why you took the awful risk for me — for me — my hus- 
band ! " and her teary eyes look gratefully at me. 

' ' Yes ! Now, is it a living husband or a dead cause ? " 
I mutter. 

Pressing her to my heart, the throbbing of her bosom 
tells the struggle in it. For one moment she falters, 
then says, her voice clear as a bell, with determina- 
tion : "You — you!" and adds, with sweet docility: 
"Billy, I'll do what you wish ;" but, sinking on her 
knees, buries her head in my lap, almost as if 
ashamed. 

TTien and there, for I believe in taking women in 
their moods, I administer the formal oath of allegiance 
to the United States to my wife, she sobbing it out 
after me. Then rising up slowly, she takes the banner 
of her dead cause from the wall reverently, and fon- 
dles it and cries over it, as I saw Lee's veterans do to 
their battle-flags after he had surrendered. 

I step silently out to let her bury the dead thing she 
had loved. 

On the porch there is a noise of moving impedi- 
me7ita. Lommox, with a squad of men, is bringing 
in not only army rations and provisions, but every 
luxury in the way of eatables that my thoughtful sec- 
ond in command has gathered up for my house- 
keeping ; likewise two trunks, one apparently for- 
warded from Washington. 

" Bedad, I don't know what to do with this ! " re- 
marks the sergeant. 

"Take the provisions to the kitchen," I order. **I 
will arrange for the trunks." 



314 BILLY HAMILTON. 

I step back, and opening the little parlor door, my 
wife's arms close round me, and the Confederate flag 
has disappeared. 

"Now, darling, you are the wife of a Union geji- 
eral," I say briskly. "You can do so much good 
about here. You know your people's necessities. We 
are their friends now." 

"Yes, Billy, I'll show them how we Yanks" — she 
shivers as she speaks — "love these poor surrendered 
Johnnies ! " 

" But here are some trunks," I say. 

"For me?" Eve is out in the hall. "From Lucy 
Bream ! My clothes ! " she cries, and looking at her 
plain, home-spun gown, her face grows joyous at the 
thought of pretty dresses : as what woman's wouldn't 
who had famished for Paris modes and fashions for two 
long years. 

" Hump ! But there's another trunk here," I mutter, 
looking at a small one marked W. F. H. 

"Yours, Billy?" 

"Yes, darling." 

She blushes brightly, then laughs: "I — I'll attend 
to that." 

A few moments after I hear my wife command : 
" Lommox, take the General's trunk upstairs and put it 
beside mine." 

"Faith!" chuckles the Irish sergeant, "that's the 
place I think he has been wanting to get it the last 
thrae years. " 

Some little time after the sergeant salutes me, 
scratches his head, looks curiously at me, and re- 
marks : " Bless yer lady's swate voice, yer honor, she 
knows me name is Lommox. She's a beautiful voice 
that won't go out of my head, and there is a darky 
sawing wood in the back-yard who knows my name is 
Lommox, too. His head's about the size of the one 
that took the wind out of my stomach on G Street. 
Yer lady's going to take the oath of allegiance, I makes 
bould to hope, Gineral ? " 

"She has already done it. But why this rigma- 
role ? " I say severely. 

"Bedad, between ourselves, don't yer think it would 
have been better for us both if her swate voice had 
taken the oath of allegiance thrae years ago — before — 



BILLY HAMILTON. 315 

before that pontoon affair? " suggests the Irishman rue- 
fully. 

"Half an hour afterwards, a girl dressed in white 
muslin, with big ribbon sash and delicate hosiery 
and slippers, flutters down tome. She cries : "Wasn't 
Lucy Bream a darling? She not only sent my old 
clothes, but lots of new ones." Then suggests bash- 
fully : " How do I look? " 

"Like a bride!" I say; "though I've told you 
that on two other occasions. This time, however, it 
goes /" 

"Oh, Bill! " 

" Now come with me. I want to register your oath 
of allegiance." 

"Must I, publicly, to a Federal officer?" 

" Yes, dear." 

" Very well ! I am going to do everything you 
say." Her lovely eyes beam on me. She murmurs : 
" You see I am going to be a very good wife, Billy. I 
have to — to make up for lost time." 

So, going with me, Eve registers her oath unaffect- 
edly, yet tearfully, in Uncle Sam's book of repentant 
Johnnies. 

At the entrance of our home, on our return, I see a 
stern -looking darky gazing at me. 

"By the Lord Harry, it's Quassie ! " I cry. 

"Yes, sah, and I don't regret saving yo' life, sah, 
seeing yo've sent us the best rations in the ole Valley 
of Virginia. Reckon Giner'l Grant won't live no higher 
to-night than my Sally and me. Dar's gwine to be 
champagne on yo' wife's table, sah, to-night. Some- 
thing I haven't heard pop for four years. Praise de 
Lawd, peace, and plenty hath come upon the land." 

But this effusion is interrupted by a stately lady, 
who steps out and says: "William, my son, dinner 
is ready." 

"Mother!" I laugh, and give mamma-in-law a 
hearty kiss. 

"Billy!" cries Eve, "come upstairs and dress for 
supper." 

"Which room?" I ask, running after her. 

"Why, ours, of course. " 

FINIS. 



APPENDIX. 



* General Burtiside'' s Testifnony before Committee of Congress : 

On the nights of the nth and 12th of November, after discover- 
ing my plan fully to them (Generals Halleck and Meigs) there (at 
Warrenton), they sat down and sent telegrams to Washington 
which, as I supposed, fully covered the case and would secure the 
starting of the pontoon trains at once. I could have sent officers of 
my own to Washington to attend to those matters, and perhaps I 
made a mistake in not doing so, as General Halleck afterward told 
me that I ought not to have trusted to them in Washington for the 
details. 

In reply, General Woodbury telegraphed back, the pontoon train 
would start on Sunday morning probably, and certainly on Monday 
morning, which would have been on the i6th and 17th of November, 
which would have been in time. They did not however start until the 
20th, and on that day it commenced raining, which delayed them so 
much, the roads became so bad, that when they came to Dumfries 
they floated the pontoons off the wagons. We then sent to Wash- 
ington for a steamer, and carried them down to Aquia Creek by 
water, sending the wagons round by land. The pontoons did not 
get here until the 22d or 23d of November. * * * * 

On the 15th of November I started the column down the road to 
Fredericksburg, not knowing anything about the delay in the start 
of the pontoons, because the telegram announcing the delay did not 
reach Warrenton Junction until I had left to come down here with 

the troops. 

***** 

By Mr. Gooch : Do I understand you to say that it was your un- 
derstanding that General Halleck and General Meigs, while at your 
headquarters in Warrenton, and before you commenced the move- 
ment of your army, sent orders to Washington for the pontoons to be 
immediately forwarded to Falmouth ? 

Answer : That was my understanding, surely. 

Question: In your judgment, could the pontoons have been for- 
warded to you in time for you to have crossed the Rappahannock 
when you expected, if all possible efforts had been made by those 
charged with that duty ? 

Answer: Yes, sir, if they had received their orders in time. 

Question : Did the non-arrival of these pontoons at the time you 
expected prevent your crossing when you expected to cross, and in- 
terfere with the success of your plans ? 

Answer : Yes, sir. 

New York Herald, December 18, 1862. 

" Radicals of the War Department practically superseded Bum- 
side as they had effectively superseded McClellan, If the army was 

316 



APPENDIX. 317 

delayed before Fredericksburg by the non-arrival of pontoons, the 
radicals were responsible. ... It was the duty of the War Depart- 
ment to have had the pontoon trains on the bank of the river so 
that the army might immediately cross." 

From a second editorial of the same paper and same date : 

" It is not the peril of another advance of the ragged armies of 
Jeff Davis on Washington, nor the danger of foreign intervention ; 
but it is the danger of the total loss of the confidence of our loyal 
people in the success of the war under President Lincoln's adminis- 
tration. . . . Men commanding the confidence of the country must 
take the places of the blundering fanatics and scheming politicians 
who distract the counsels of the cabinet, and the places of the in- 
competent martinets of the War Ofiice. 

In Harper's Weekly of Jany. 3d., 1863, appeared 

The Celebrated Cartoon of Columbia Demanding from 
Lincoln, Stanton and Halleck her 15,000 Sons Murdered 
at Fredericksburg. 

Columbia is depicted as standing in indignant denunciation of 
Lincoln, who is dressed as a Western hoosier, with Stanton and 
Halleck behind him. 

Columbia : "Where are my 15,000 sons, murdered at Fredericks- 
burg ? " 

Old Abe : This reminds me of a little joke — " 

Columbia : "Go tell that joke at Springfield." 

This was followed by the Guillotine cartoon attack- 
ing most violently the President and War Office. 



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