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Full text of "Frank before Vicksburg"

THE UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

LIBRARY 




THE WILMER COLLECTION 

OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS 

PRESENTED BY 

RICHARD H. WILMER, JR. 



/fiifc^ 




THE GUN-BOAT SERIES. 



FRANK, THE YOUNG NATURALIST, 
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT, 



FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG, 
FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPL 



Price, $1.25 per volume, or $^6.25 per set, in a neat box, 

forming a most excellent and interesting 

Library for Young Folks. 



THE GUN- BO AT SERIES. 



Jranli 



BEFOEE VICKSBURG 



BY 
H. C. CASTLEMON, 

" THE GUN-BOAT BOY." 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS. 



CINCINNATI: 
K. W. CARROLL & CO., Publishers, 

OPERA-UOUSE BUILDING, 

73 West Fourth Street. 

1866. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, 

Bv R. W. CARROLL & CO., 

In the Clerk's OflBce of the District Court of the United States for the 

Southern District of Ohio. 



6TEKE0TTPED AT THE 

TEA N KLIN TTPE FOUNDET, 

CINCINNATI, 0. 



Cfltttents. 



CHAPTER I. PAGB 
Home Again 

CHAPTER II. 

23 
Habry on a Scout 

CHAPTER III. 

38 
On Duty Again 

• CHAPTER IV. 

60 
The Fight in the Woods •■ 

CHAPTER V. 
In the Hands of the " Johnnies " Again 80 

CHAPTER VI. 

96 
An Old Acquaintance 

CHAPTER VII. 
A Close Shave 



CHAPTER VIII. 

N 

CHAPTER IX. 
CHAPTER X. 
CHAPTER XI. 



126 
Taking Down the Captain 



144 
A Pbactical Joke 



153 
New Messmates 



A Good Night's Wobk ■ 

602901 



VI CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XII. PACK 
In the Trenches 183 

CHAPTER XIII. 
The Scout's Story 194 

CHAPTER XIV. 
Running the Batteries 206 

CHAPTER XV. 
A Race fob the Old Flag 213 

CHAPTER XVI. 
The Rival Shabp-Shooteks 227 

CHAPTER XVII. 
The SjiTTCGtEB's Cave— Conclusion 243 



FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG, 



CHAPTER I. 

,FTER all the tragic adventures 
which Frank Nelson had passed 
through, since entering the service 
of his country, which we have at- 
tempted to describe in the preceding 
volume of this series, he found him- 
self surrounded by his relatives and 
friends, petted and feted, enjoying all the com- 
forts of his old and well-beloved home. 

Only those who have been in similar circum- 
stances can imagine how pleasant that quiet little 
cottage seemed to Frank, after the scenes of dan- 
ger Through which he had passed. He looked 
back to the memorable struggle between the 

(7) 




8 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

lines; the scene in the turret during the first 
day's fight at Fort Pemberton ; the privations he 
had undergone -while confined in the prison at 
Shreveport; his almost miraculous escape; and 
they seemed to him like a dream. All his suffer- 
ings were forgotten in the joy he felt at finding 
himself once more at home. But sorrow was 
mingled with his joy when he looked upon the 
weeds which his mother wore, and when he saw 
the look of sadness which had taken the place of 
her once happy smile. She seemed ten years 
older than she looked on that pleasant morn- 
ing, just fifteen months before, when, standing in 
the door, she had strained her son to her bosom, 
and uttered those words which had rung in 
Frank's ears whenever he felt himself about to 
give away to his feelings of terror : 

"Good-by, my son; I may never see you again, 
but I hope I shall never hear that you shrank 
from your duty." 

Frank shuddered when he thought how intense 
must have been the suffering that could work so 
great a change. But now that he was safe at 
home again, there was no cause but for rejoicing. 
Ilis presence there aff'orded abundant proof that 



HOME AGAIN. 



he had not been shot while attempting to run the 
guards at Shrcvcport, as had been reported. 

And how great must have been the joy which 
that mother felt at beholding him once more! 
Although he did not move about the house in his 
accustomed noisy, boyish way, and although his 
cheek had been paled by his recent sickness, from 
which he had not yet wholly recovered, he was 
still the same lively, generous Frank whom she 
had so freely given up to the service of his coun- 
try. During the short time that they had been 
separated, he had been placed in situations where 
his courage and determination had been severely 
tested, and had come safely through, never forget- 
ting his mother's advice; and that mother could 
not suppress the emotions of pride that arose in 
her heart, for she knew that her son had done his 
duty. 

Numerous were the questions that were asked 
and answered, on both sides. Frank was obhged 
to relate, over and over again, the story of his 
capture and escape, until Aunt Hannah thrust her 
head into the room, with the announcement that 
supper was ready. 

When the meal was finished, Frank removed his 



10 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

trunk into his study. Every thing there was just 
as he left it: the fore-and-aft schooner, and the 
box inclosing the scene at sea, still stood upon 
the bureau; his sporting cabinet hung on the 
frame at the foot of the bed; the Httle clock on 
the mantel-piece ticked as musically as in days 
of yore ; and the limb of the rose-bush that cov- 
ered his window flapped against the house just as 
it did the night when it was broken oflf by the 
storm. 

After he had taken a fond, lingering look at 
each familiar object, he went into the museum, ac- 
companied by his mother and sister, while Brave 
ran on before. Julia opened the door, and there 
stood the wild-cat, just as he looked when the 
young naturalist had encountered him in the 
woods. Frank remembered how the cold sweat 
had started out from every pore in his body when 
he first found himself face to face with this "ugly 
customer," and he could not help smiUng when he 
thought how terrified he was. As he walked 
slowly around the museum, examining all the 
specimens, as though he had never seen them be- 
fore, he thought over the little history of each. 
There was the buck that he and Archie had killed 



HOME AGAIN. 11 

in the lake, when they lost their guns, and the 
latter had wished they " had never seen the deer." 
Then came the owl, which Frank had shot on that 
rainy morning when Archie had felt so certain of 
his prize. Then there was the white buck, which 
the boys had rescued from the wolves only to 
have him killed by a panther. Next came the 
moose with which Frank had struggled so des- 
perately in the woods, and from which he had 
been rescued by the trapper and his dog. The 
skin of the bear, which he had trapped, and fol- 
lowed to the cave, and that of the panther that 
killed the white buck, still hung on a nail behind 
the door, where he had left them after his return 
from the woods. 

After examining every thing to his satisfaction, 
he went into the shanty behind the museum, 
where he kept his pets. The raccoons, which had 
become so tame that Julia allowed them to run 
about, started away at his approach; but the 
squirrels and otter recognized him at once ; and 
while one ran down into his pockets in search for 
nuts, the other came toward him, uttering a faint 
whine, and looked up as if expecting the piece of 
cracker which Frank, in former days, had always 



12 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

taken especial care to provide for him. While 
Frank was caressing the little animal, the king- 
birds and crow flew into the shanty. The former 
were now five in number, the old birds having: 
raised a nestful of young ones, which were no less 
efficient in driving every bird from the orchard, or 
less lenient to the crow, than their parents. The 
old king-birds lit on Frank's shoulders, while Daw 
seemed to prefer his master's uniform cap, and 
was about to take possession of it, when his ene- 
mies straightway commenced a fight, and the poor 
crow, after a desperate resistance, was driven from 
the shanty. 

Perhaps the reader would like to know what 
has become of the young moose and the cubs 
which Frank captured during his visit at the 
trapper's cabin. Well, they have good quarters, 
and are well provided for at Uncle Mike's, the 
same who assisted the young naturalist on the 
morning when we saw him trying to get his scow 
up to his work-shop. The moose has about an 
acre of pasture allowed him. He is as tame and 
gentle as ever, never attempting to escape. Uncle 
Mike has put this entirely out of his power, for 
he is surrounded by a ten-rail fence. The animal 



HOME AGAIN. 13 

more than pays for his keeping, and many a load 
of wood has he drawn up to Mike's door for the 
use of his family. 

The cubs, which are considerably larger than 
"when we last saw them, are a source of a great 
deal of annoyance to the honest Irishman. They 
are still as playful as ever, and amuse themselves 
all day long in turning somersaults and wrestling 
with each other ; but Mike has learned to " stand 
from under." He can gen-erally defend himself 
against the attacks of one of the cubs, but the 
other is always ready to lend assistance, and the 
L'ishman is invariably worsted. He keeps them 
confined in a building that once served as a 
smoke-house; and not daring to trust himself 
within reach of their paws, he gives them their 
food through the window. 

It was dark before Frank had seen and heard 
enough to satisfy him to return to the cottage. 
The evening was spent in listening to his stories 
of gun-boat life on the Mississippi, and it was 
midnight before he retired to his room. The 
Newfoundlander, which had been close at his mas- 
ter's side ever since he returned, scarcely leaving 
him for a moment, followed him into his study, 



14 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURO. 

and took possession of the rug before the door. 
After winding up the clock that stood on the 
mantel, and setting the alarm, Frank put out the 
light, and tumbled into bed. Although he was 
pretty well tired-out, he did not hesitate a moment 
to answer the summons of the little bell that rang 
at four o'clock, but was out on the floor almost 
before the notes of the alarm had ceased. In a 
few moments he was dressed ; and taking his fish- 
pole and basket, which hung on the rack at the 
foot of the bed, accompanied by Brave, set out 
with the intention of paying a visit to the lake in 
the swamp, which had been the scene of the fight 
with the buck. 

As he walked along up the road, the associa- 
tions connected with each locality were recalled to 
his mind. Here was the place where the black 
fox, which had so long held possession of Rey- 
nard's Island, had crossed the creek with Sport — 
"the doo; that had never lost a fox" — followinoj 
close on his trail. There was the tree leaning 
out over the creek, behind which Archie had 
crept for concealment when in pursuit of the 
canvas-backs ; and a little further on was the 
bridge which they had crossed on that rainy 



HOME AGAIN. 15 

morning that the geese had taken refuge in the 
swamp. 

Frank feasted his eyes on each familiar object 
as he walked along, until he arrived at the end 
of the road, where stood Uncle Mike's rustic 
cottage. As he approached, that individual ap- 
peared at the door, shaded his eyes with his hand, 
gazed at our hero for a moment, and then sprang 
out, and greeted him with — 

''Arrah, Master Frank! is this you, me boy?" 
"Yes, Uncle Mike, it's I," answered Frank, 
extending his hand to the man, who shook it 
heartily, while tears of genuine joy rolled down 
his cheeks. " I 'm back again, safe and sound." 
"It's me ownsilf that's glad to see you," 
said Mike. "I heered you was kilt intirely by 
the rebels ; bad luck to the likes o' them. But 
come with me, Master Frank ; ye 's been fightin' 
rebels, but I've been fighting them varmints ye 
ketched in the woods." 

The Irishman led the way to the building in 
which the cubs were confined, and opened the 
blind which protected the window, to allow Frank 
to look in. He could scarcely recognize in the 
large, shaggy forms that were tumbling about 



16 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

over the floor, the small, weak cubs which he had 
carried for twenty miles in the pocket of his over- 
coat. 

As soon as the window was opened, they raised 
themselves on their haunches, and endeavored to 
reach Uncle Mike's red-flannel cap, an article he 
had worn ever since Frank could remember. 

"Aisy, aisy, there, you blackguards!" ex- 
claimed Mike, endeavoring to ward ofi" the blows 
which the cubs aimed at him. "Can't yees be 
aisy, I say? That's the way they always do, 
Master Frank ; me old cap seems to give 'em a 
deal of throuble." 

After amusing himself for some time in watch- 
ing the motions of the clumsy animals, Frank fol- 
lowed Uncle Mike to the pen in which the moose 
was kept. He had grown finely, was nearly as 
large as a horse, and his head was furnished with 
a pair of wide-spreading antlers, the sight of 
which made Frank shudder, and recall to mind 
that desperate fight in the woods, and his narrow 
escape from death. The moose was very gentle, 
and allowed his young master to lead him about 
the yard, and would come at his call as readily 
as a dog. 



HOME AGAIN. 17 

After seeing the animal "shown off" to his 
best advantages, Frank got into Uncle Mike's 
skiif, and pulled up the creek toward the lake. 
Half an hour's rowing brought him to the point 
behind which he and his cousin had captured the 
eider-ducks, and where they had first caught sight 
of the buck. After making his skiff fast to a 
tree on the bank, he rigged his pole, baited his 
hook, and dropped it into the water. Almost 
instantly a sudden jerk showed him that the " old 
perch-hole " had still plenty of occupants, and in 
a moment more a fish lay floundering in the 
bottom of the boat. 

We need not say that Frank enjoyed himself 
hugely during the hour and a half that he re- 
mained in the lake. The fish bit voraciously, and 
the sport was exciting, especially as it had been 
so long since Frank had had an opportunity to 
engacre in his favorite recreation. But his con- 
science would not allow him to " wantonly waste 
the good things of God," and, when he had caught 
enough for his breakfast, he unfastened his skifi" 
and pulled toward home. 

Frank spent the forenoon in recounting some 
of his adventures to his mother and Julia, of 
2 



18 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

which they seemed never to grow weary. When 
Aunt Hannah announced that dinner was ready, 
he hngered for a moment on the portico to watch 
the movements of a flock of ducks, which, in 
company with the old ones, the same that he and 
Archie had captured in the lake, were swimming 
about in the creek in front of the house; but, as 
he was about to follow his mother into the dining- 
room, he heard a loud scream, which seemed 
to come from above him, and looked up just in 
time to see a bald eagle swoop down upon the 
ducks. The old ones uttered their notes of alarm, 
and, rising from the water, flew over the cottage 
toward the barn, while the ducklings darted under 
the leaves of the lilies. But one was too late; 
for, as the eagle arose in the air, he bore off his 
prize. 

Frank immediately ran into the house for 
his gun, determined that the life of the eagle 
should pay for that of the duck ; but on his re- 
turn he found that the robber was already being 
severely punished for the mischief he had done. 
Daw and the king-birds, which seemed to have an 
idea that something unusual was going on, had 
attacked him with a fury that Frank had never 



HOME AGAIN. 19 

before "witnessed. The eagle was flying, zigzag, 
through the air, but was met at every point by his 
tormentors. Frank, who dared not fire for fear 
of wounding his pets, ran down the walk, sprang 
over the fence, and awaited the issue of the fiirht, 
hoping that the eagle would be compelled to take 
refuge in one of the trees that grew on the bank 
of the creek. Nor was he mistaken ; for the rob- 
ber, finding that he could not escape his ene- 
tnies, settled down on a limb but a short distance 
off, and, after deliberately folding his wings, 
snapped his beak, as if defying them to keep up 
the contest. The king-birds seated themselves on 
the branches above his head, and commenced their 
angry twittering, and Daw joined in with a loud 
" caw, caw." 

This seemed to be the first intimation that the 
king-birds had received of his presence, for they 
straightway flew at him, and Daw, although he had 
lent efi'ective assistance in fighting the eagle, did 
not stop to resist, but beat a Ifasty retreat toward 
the cottage. This seemed a favorable moment for 
the eagle ; he leaped from his perch, and was fly- 
ing off* with his booty, when the report of Frank's 
gun brought him to the ground. The young nat- 



20 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

uralist shouldered his prize, and was starting 
toward the house, when a voice called out : 

" Halloo, there ! At your old tricks again so 
Boon?" 

Frank looked up, and saw Harry Butler coming 
toward him. Neither had dreamed of the presence 
of the other in the village, and the cordial manner 
in which the two friends gi'eeted each other proved 
that their long separation had not lessened their 
affection. But Frank noticed at once that his 
friend was greatly changed. He looked haggard 
and careworn; he was no longer the wild, impet- 
uous Harry ; he had grown more sedate ; and his 
face, which had once beamed with a smile for 
every one, now wore a look of sorrow, for which 
Frank could not account. It is true that he no- 
ticed that Harry carried his arm in a sling, but he 
knew that it was not bodily suffering that had 
caused that look of sadness. 

"Harry, what is the matter with you?" was 
his first question. " You look completely worn 
out." 

" So I am," was the answer. " Let us sit down 
on this log, and I '11 tell you all about it. I 've 
often been here to visit your folks," he continued, 



HOME AGAIN. 21 

" never expecting to see you again, as I learned 
that you had been captured, and afterward shot, 
while trying to escape. You say I look worn out; 
so would you if your only brother was a prisoner 
in the hands of the rebels, held as a hostage, 
and every moment expecting to be hung. George 
is in that situation, and I look upon his death, not 
only as a possible, but a very probable thing. It 
has been a hard task for me to convince myself 
that, if I should live to return home after the 
war, I should be alone, as I certainly thought I 
should be when I heard that you had been shot, 
and that George was not much better off. I had 
made up my mind to pass my furlough in the 
house, for I did n't want to have any one near 
me; but, now that you are here, I want to visit 
all our old haunts again. Let us take a walk in 
the woods. Bring your dinner along with you ; I 
have n't had mine yet." 

In accordance with Harry's suggestion, a bas- 
ket was filled with eatables, and the boys bent 
their steps through the orchard toward the 
meadow that lay between the cottage and the 
woods. As they walked along, Frank related 
some of the interesting incidents of his life in the 



22 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

service, and Harry finally began to recover his 
usual spirits. At length they reached the cabin 
in the woods, that had been the scene of the camp 
on the day of the raccoon hunt, and here they 
stopped to rest and eat their dinner. 



HARRY ON A SCOUT. 



23 



CHAPTER II. 




^^...^-.^.^HEN they had finished every thing 
V ¥ Ay/S ^^ *^® basket, the boys threw them- 
Wy/m^ifi selves on the grass in front of the 
. C*^ J?^!tl\ cabin, and Harry said : 

"I shall never forget the last 
time we made our camp here — on 
the day we had that 'coon-hunt, and 
Archie fell into the creek. I 've thought of it a 
great many times since I left home to go into the 
service, and it makes me feel sad to see how 
things have changed. From school-boys and 
amateur hunters, who started and turned pale 
when we heard the howl of a wolf or the hooting 
of an owl, you and I have grown pretty well on 
toward manhood; have become experienced in 
scenes of danger, and have had more narrow es- 
capes than when we climbed up that tree to get 



24 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

out of the reach of the wolves that were in pur- 
suit of the white buck. But there are some who 
have not been as fortunate as ourselves. There has 
been a thinning out of our ranks, and two good 
fellows who have hunted with us in these woods, 
and slept under the same blankets with us in this 
cabin, we shall never see again ; and the proba- 
bihties are, that, if we live to return home again, 
after peace has been restored, and w.e go tramp- 
ing around through these woods, to visit all our 
old hunting and fishing-grounds, we shall miss a 
third. Ben Lake and William Johnson are dead ; 
my brother is suffering in a rebel prison, and, from 
what I have seen and heard of the manner in 
which Union prisoners are treated at the South, 
I never expect to see him again, even if he is not 
executed. Ben Lake, you know, was a quiet, 
good-natured fellow, scarcely ever saying any 
thing unless he was first spoken to, and I had an 
idea that he would be a little cowardly when he 
heard the bullets whisthng around him ; but I was 
never more mistaken in my life, for he won his 
promotion in the very first battle in which our 
regiment was engaged. When I was made cap- 
tain of our company, he received the appoint- 



HARRY ON A SCOUT. 25 

ment of first lieutenant, and an excellent officer 

he made. He ^Yas a'spl^^^^^ ^'^*^^®^' ^^^'^ ^^'^'^'^ 
mounted on his horse— 'Thunderbolt' he called 
him— he made a fine appearance. He was no 
band-box officer, however, for he never shrank 
from his duty, and he was above ordering one of 
his men to do what he was afraid to undertake 
himself. He and I were prisoners once for about 
forty-eight hours, and the way it happened was 

this: 

"Our regiment, after the battle of Pittsburg 
Landing, was detached from the Western army 
and ordered to the Potomac. We had scarcely 
been there a week before we were sent out on a 
Bcout, with orders to capture Mosby, who was 
constantly harassing us, and scatter his command. 
We were out about ten days, without accomplish- 
ing our object. Not a single glimpse did we get 
of a reb, and finally we turned our faces toward 
the camp. Our horses, as well as ourselves, were 
nearly jaded, and the way we do there, when a 
horse gives out, is to put a bullet through his 
head, shoulder our saddles, and trudge along 
after the column on foot, until we can find an- 
other animal to ride. I had command of the rear 



26 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

guard ; and when we had arrived within a day's 
march of camp, my horse suddenly gave out — laid 
right down in the middle of the road, and could n't 
go a step further. I was in something of a fix, 
and my feelings were none of the pleasantest 
when I found myself sprawling in the dusty road, 
and saw that my horse was used up. It was 
something of an undertaking to find my way back 
to camp, through a country infested with guer- 
rillas, and with which I was entirely unacquainted. 
It is true that I could have had a horse, as sev- 
eral were at once ofi'ered me by my men; but I 
could not be mean enough to save my own bacon 
by leaving one of those brave fellows behind; so 
I toldJBen to go ahead with the company, keep- 
ing a good look-out for a horse, and if he could 
find one, to send it back to me. I then shot my 
animal ; and it was a job I hated to do, I tell you, 
for he was as fine a horse as ever stepped; he 
had carried me many a long mile, and being my 
constant companion for almost a year and a half, 
I had become very much attached to him. But 
there was no help for it ; our orders were strict : 
and I shouldered my saddle, and marched after 
the column, which was soon out of sight. 



HARRY ON A SCOUT. 27 

" I walked along at a pretty lively pace, keep- 
ing a good look-out on each side of the road 
for horses, and now and then looking behind, half 
expecting to see a squad of Mosby's cavalry in 
pursuit, until I was startled by the report of a 
pistol directly in front of me, and, coming sud- 
denly around a bend in the road, I found Ben sit- 
ting beside his horse, which had also given out, 
waiting for me to come up. As I approached, 
glad enough that I was not left to find my way 
back to camp alone, Ben picked up his saddle, and 
glancing sorrowfully at the work he had done, 
said : 

"'There's an end of poor Thunderbolt — the 
best horse in the regiment. It has no doubt saved 
him many a long scout, but I never felt so sorry 
for any thing in my life.' 

"It was hard work, walking along that dusty 
road, carrying our heavy saddles, and we anxiously 
scanned every field which we passed, in hopes 
that we should find some stray horse ; but without 
success. About three o'clock in the afternoon 
we reached a cross-road, and then we knew where 
we were. We had frequently been there on short 
scouts; so, without stopping to keep any further 



28 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

look-out for horses, we quickened our pace, and 
about two miles further on, arrived at the house 
of a lady with whom we were well acquainted, 
and who, as we had always considered her loyal, 
had been allowed to remain in undisturbed posses- 
sion of her property, which our regiment had once 
defended against Mosby's men. Here we halted, 
and asked the lady if she could furnish us with 
some dinner. She replied in the affirmative, and 
we deposited our saddles in one corner of the 
room, while the woman began to bustle about. 
In half an hour as good a dinner as I ever tasted 
in that part of the country was served up, and 
Ben and I sat down to it with most ravenous 
appetites. Before sitting down, I should men- 
tion, we took oft* our belts, to which were fastened 
our sabers and revolvers, and laid them in the 
corner with our saddles ; a very foolish trick, 
as it afterward proved; but, as we were within 
fifteen miles of camp, we did not apprehend any 
danger. 

"After our hostess had seen us fairly started, 
she said: 

" ' You will excuse me for a few moments, gentle- 
men, as I would hke to run over to see my sister, 



HARRY ON A BCOUT. 29 

■who is very sick. Will you keep an eye on the 
baby?' she continued, pointing to the small speci- 
men of humanity in question, which lay fast asleep 
in the cradle. 

" ' Yes,' answered Ben, ' I '11 see to him ; ' and 
the woman started off, leaving us to finish our din- 
ner and attend to the child. 

" She had n't been gone two minutes before the 
young one awoke, and, of course, began to yell. 
We didn't know what to do, for it was new 
business to us. After trying in vain to make it 
hush, Ben took it out of the cradle, and began to 
trot it up and down on his knee. But it was no 
use, and he finally put it back, determined to let 
it cry until it got ready to stop, when I happened 
to think of the sugar-bowL That was just the 
thing. Ben took good care to keep its mouth so 
full of sugar that it couldn't yell, and we suc- 
ceeded in keeping it pretty still. 

" In about half an hour the woman returned, 
and, in reply to our inquiries, informed us that 
her sister was considerably better, and she hoped 
would be well in a few days. She then commenced 
talking on indifferent subjects ; and we finally 
finished every thing on the table, and were think- 



30 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

ing about starting for camp, -when some one sud- 
denly called out : 

" * Here ! here ! Get up, you Yanks. Get up 
from that table.' 

" We looked up, and there, standing in the 
door-way, -with their revolvers leveled at our 
heads, were two rebels — Colonel Mosby and a 
corporal. 

" ' I 've fixed you ! ' exclaimed the woman, tri- 
umphantly. ' You did n't think that while you 
were stealing my chickens, and abusing me, that 
I would ever have the power on my side.' 

" The old hag had betrayed us. She had invented 
the story of her sick sister, in order that her 
absence might not cause us any suspicions, and 
had left the child for us to take care of, so that 
we should be'obliged to remain until she returned. 
The story of stealing her chickens, and abusing 
her, was a mere pretext ; for our orders to respect 
her property were strict, and we had not dared to 
disobey them. 

" ' There 's only one thing that I am sorry for, 
madam,' said Ben, coolly, 'and that is, that I 
didn't choke that young one of yours.' 

" ' Come, come, there ! ' interrupted the colonel. 



HARRY ON A SCOUT. 31 

'Get up from beliiiid that table at once, or you 
are dead men ! ' 

" * "We 're gobbled easy enougli, Harry,' said 
Ben, in his usual careless manner, as we arose 
from our chairs. 'Well, I suppose there's no 
help for it, seeing that we have no weapons. What 
do 3'ou intend to do with a fellow, Johnny ? ' 

" * Take you direct to Richmond,' was the en- 
couraging answer, made by the corporal, as he 
walked across the room and took possession of 
our arms. 'Come out here!' 

"We had no other alternative; so we marched 
out in front of the house, our captors mounted 
their horses, and we trudged along before them 
on foot toward Centerville. 

"You have been a prisoner, and can easily im- 
agine the thoughts that passed through our minds. 
We saw before us a long, fatiguing march, with 
hard fare, and harder treatment, and the dreaded 
Libby looming up in the background. But we 
were not allowed much time to commune with our 
own thoughts, for Mosby immediately began to 
question us in relation to the forces we had in 
different parts of the country. Of course we told 
him some of the most outrageous stories, but he 



6Z FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

seemed to put some fJaith in them ; and when we 
reached the cross-road he left us, after ordering 
the corporal to take us to Culpepper. 

"As soon as the colonel had got out of sight, 
the corporal began to abuse us in the worst kind 
of a manner, swearing at us, and calling us Abo- 
litionists and the like ; and said that if he could 
have his own way he would hang us on the near- 
est tree. We told him that it was a mean trick 
to treat prisoners in that way, and advised him 
to keep a civil tongue in his head, as the tables 
might be turned on him some day ; but he paid no 
attention to us, and kept on jawing, until finally, 
just before night, we reached Centerville. 

"We stopped at a house near the middle of the 
town, where we were treated very kindly by the 
people, who gave us plenty to eat, but told us 
that we were fighting on the wrong side. After 
supper, the corporal took us out to the barn, 
where he proceeded to ^go through' us pretty 
thoroughly. He robbed me of twenty dollars in 
greenbacks, a watch, comb, several letters — in 
short, he did not leave me any thing. After 
overhauling Ben's pockets, he ordered him to 
* come out of his coat,' which he did without 



HARRY ON A SCOUT. 33 

a grumble; and after cutting off the shoulder- 
straps — because Ben ^wouldn't need *em any 
more,' he said — he put the coat on his own back, 
locked the barn, and left us to our meditations. 
As soon as the sound of his footsteps had died 
away, I said : 

" ' Ben, I 'm going to get out of here, if I 
can.' 

" * All right,' said he ; * feel around on the floor 
and see if you can't find something to force that 
door open with. How I wish I had that young 
one here! I wouldn't feed it with sugar, I tell 
you.' 

" We commenced groping about in the darkness, 
but not a thing in the shape of a club could 
be found. Then we placed our shoulders against 
the door, and pressed with all our strength ; but 
it was too strong to be forced from its hinges, 
and the floor was so securely fastened down, that 
it could not be pulled up ; so, after working until 
we were completely exhausted, we sat down on 
the floor to rest. 

*' ' We 're in for it,' said Ben. 

*' ^ But I 'm not going to Libby, now I tell you,' 
I answered. * To-morrow we shall probably start 
3 



34 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

for Culpepper, under guard of that corporal; and 
the very first chance, I 'm going to mizzle.' 

"Ben made no reply, but I -well knew what he 
was thinking about. After a few more ineffectual 
attempts, we then lay down on the hard boards, 
and tried to go to sleep ; but that was, for a long 
time, out of the question. 

" Our situation was not one calculated to quiet 
our feelings much, and as we rolled about the 
floor, trying to find a comfortable position, I could 
hear Ben venting his spite against ' that brat.' 
He did not seem to think of the woman who had 
betrayed us. 

"We passed a most miserable night, and at 
daylight were awakened with : 

" ' Come out here, you Yanks. It 's high time 
you were moving toward Libby.' 

"That rascally corporal seemed to delight in 
tormenting us ; but there was only one thing we 
could do, and that was to ^grin and bear it.' 
After a hasty breakfast, we again set out, the 
corporal following close behind us on his horse, 
with a revolver in his hand, ready to shoot the 
first one that made an attempt at escape. We 
kept on, stopping only once or twice for water, 



HARRY ON A SCOUT. 35 

until wc reached the Bull Run bridge. Here the 
corporal stopped, and called out : 

" ' Come here, one of you fellers, and hold my 
horse.' 

"I did as he ordered, and the rebel dismounted, 
bent down on one knee, and commenced fixing 
his spur. My mind was made up in an instant. 
It was now or never. Giving a yell to attract 
Ben's attention, I sprang at the rebel, caught him 
around the neck, and rolled him over on his back. 
He kicked and swore furiously, and if I had been 
alone, he would most likely have got the better of 
me ; but Ben, being close at hand, caught up the 
revolver, which the rebel had laid on the ground 
beside him, and in a moment more I had secured 
his saber. He saw that further resistance was 
useless, and bawled out : 

" * Do n't shoot, Yank. Do n't shoot me, for 
mercy's sake ! ' 

"'Nobody's going to hurt you if you behave 
yourself,' said Ben. * Get up.' 

" The rebel raised himself to his feet, and I at 
once began to 'sound' him, as we call it. I got 
back my watch, money, and every thing else he 
had taken from us the night before. We then 



36 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURa. 

ordered him to travel on ahead of us, and, as 
Ben's feet were so badly swollen that he could 
scarcely move, I told him to get on the horse, 
while I walked along by his side. We passed 
back through Centerville, keeping a good look-out 
for rebel scouts, which we knew were in the vi- 
cinity, but we did not meet with any of them 
until along toward night, when we heard a yell, 
and, looking up, saw half a dozen cavalry charg- 
ing across the field toward us. 

" ' I guess we 're gobbled again, captain,' said 
Ben. 

" ' Not if our legs hold out,' I answered. ' Get 
down off that horse, quick. We must foot it, 
now.' 

"Ben hastily dismounted, and, catching our 
prisoner by the arm, we pulled him over a fence, 
through the woods, and into a swamp, where we 
fastened him to a tree. We then tied a hand- 
kerchief over his mouth, to prevent him from 
making his whereabouts known to his friends, and 
made the best of our way to the camp, which we 
reached about daylight. We at once reported to 
the colonel, who sent us back with our company 
after the prisoner ; but he was gone. His friends 



HARRY ON A SCOUT. 37 

had doubtless discovered him, and released him 
from his unpleasant situation. The woman who 
betrayed us paid the penalty of her treachery. 
Her house Avas burned over her head, and her 
husband, whom she had reported to us as dead, 
but who was found concealed in the barn, was 
taken back to the camp a prisoner." 



38 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 




CHAPTER in. 

Y the time Harry had finished his 
i>^^ story, it was ahnost sundown. 
iii^ Putting the cabin in order, and 
fastening the door, the boys then 
started for home. After a hearty sup- 
per at the cottage, different plans for 
their amusement were discussed and determined 
upon. If time would allow, we might relate many 
interesting incidents that transpired during the 
month they spent together; how, one day, the 
young moose ran away with Uncle Mike's wood' 
wagon and upset the boys in the road. "\Ye might, 
among others, tell of the hunting and fishing ex- 
peditions that came off, and the trials of speed 
that took place on the river, when the Speedwell 
showed that she had lost none of her sailing 
qualities during the year and a half that she had 



ON DUTY AGAIN. 39 

remained idle in the shop ; but one incident that 
liappened will suffice. 

It was on the morning of the last day tluit they 
were to pass together, as Frank's sick-leave had 
expired, and he must soon bid adieu to home and 
friends again, perhaps forever. This day had 
been set apart for a fishing excursion; and, 
bright and early, Frank was at Captain Butler's 
boat-house, where he found Harry w^aiting for 
him. When the bait and every thing else neces- 
sary for the trip had been stowed away in the 
Bkiff, the boys pulled into the river, and after 
spending an hour in rowing about the bass-ground, 
during which time they secured half a dozen fine 
fish, they started toward the perch-bed, and an- 
chored outside the weeds. 

Although they were remarkably successful, they 
did not seem to enjoy the sport. Frank's thoughts 
were constantly dweUing on the parting that must 
come on the morrow. It could not be avoided, 
for duty called him; and although the idea of 
disregarding the summons never once entered 
into his head, he could not help condemning the 
circumstances that rendered that call necessary. 
Harry, on the other hand, was impatient to re- 



40 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURa. 

cover his health, as he wished to rejoin his com- 
mand. While he was free, and enjoying the de- 
lights of home, his brother was languishing in a 
Southern dungeon — held as a hostage for a notori- 
ous guerrilla, who had been sentenced to death — 
not knowing at what moment he might be led forth 
to execution. Often, during the time that he and 
Frank had been together, living over the scenes 
of their school-days, had Harry's thoughts wan- 
dered to that brother, and it had done much to 
mar the pleasure he would otherwise have enjoyed. 
He imagined he could see him, seated in his loath- 
some cell, loaded with chains, pale and weak, (in 
consequence of the systematic plan of starvation 
adopted by the brutal authorities at Richmond to 
render our brave fellows unfit for further service, 
if they should chance to live until they were ex- 
changed,) but firm in the behef that he had done 
his duty, and ready at any moment — for George 
was far from being a coward — to be sacrificed. 
Harry's thoughts, we repeat, often wandered to 
the dreaded Libby, and especially did they on this 
morning. And as he pictured to himself the 
treatment that his brother was daily receiving at 
the hands of the enemies of the government, is it 



ON DUTY AGAIN. 41 

to be wondered if he indulp;cd in feelings of the 
deepest malice toward the inhuman wretches who 
could be guilty of such barbarity ? 

" There 's only this about it, Frank," he said, 
suddenly breaking the silence that had continued 
for half an hour ; " there 's only this about it : if 
one hair of George's head is injured, Company 
' M ' of our regiment never takes any more pris- 
oners; and if I have no friendship for a traitor, 
neither have I for such men as these who are now 
approaching." 

Frank looked up, and saw Charles Morgan and 
William Gage rowing toward them. 

"Here is the very spot," continued Harry, 
"where we met Morgan when you first became 
acquainted with him, on the morning when he 
told such outrageous stories about the fishing 
there was in New York harbor, and about his 
fighting Indians in the Adirondack Mountains, in 
the northern part of Michigan. William Gage, 
you know, used to be first heutenant of the " Mid- 
nio;ht Ranorers." 

" Yes, I remember them both," answered Frank. 
"But it seems to me that I heard some one say 
that Mr. Morgan is a rebel sympathizer; and 



42 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

Charley, of course, not having brains enough to 
think for himself, is following in his father's 
lead." 

*' So I have heard ; but he has never said a 
word against the government, and he 'd better not, 
for I feel just like choking somebody this morn- 
ing; and if I hate a rebel, I hold a domestic 
traitor in the most profound abhorrence." 

^' Hullo, boys ! " exclaimed Charles, at this mo- 
ment, coming alongside and stretching out a hand 
to each of them, ^' how are you ? I 'm glad to 
see you back again, Frank. But why have n't 
you been around to see a fellow ? You 've kept 
yourselves very close since your return." 

"Yes, Harry and I have spent most of our 
time in the woods," answ^ered Frank. "But we 
part again to-morrow." 

" Going back to your ship, eh ? "Well, when do 
you suppose you will be home again for good?" 

" I don't know. If I live, however, I 'm groino: 
to see this war settled before I come back to civil 
life again." 

" You 've had some pretty hard times since you 
have been in the service, from what I hear." 

" Rather tough," answered Harry. 



ON DUTY An ATX. 43 

"Well now, you see Bill and I were too sharp 
to go into any such business as that," said Charles, 
knowingly. " The old man said, from the start, 
that you never could whip the South." 

""Well, your father was never more mistaken in 
his life," answered Frank. "We are going to 
bring back the seceded States, if it takes every 
man and every dollar at the North. But I don't 
see why you do n't volunteer. How can you stay 
at home?" 

"0, it is the easiest thing in the world," an- 
swered Charles, with a laugh. " In the first place, 
I think too much of my life; and then again, I 
don't care a snap which whips. I am not inter- 
ested either way — I'm neutral." 

" You 're no such thing," answered Harry, an- 
grily. "You never saw two dogs fight in the 
street, without wanting one or the other of them 
to whip, and your sympathies are either one way 
or the other. There 's no such thing as a neutral 
in this war." 

" Besides," said Frank, " if I were in your place, 
I should be ashamed to say that I was neutral. 
But I hope that you will be compelled to go into 
the army. Since you have neither the intelligence 



44 FRANK BEFORE YICKSBURG. 

to determine -which side is in the right, nor the 
courage to fight for that side, I hope that you will 
be drafted, and that jo\i can't find a substitute." 

"Thank you," replied Charles, sneeringly. 
" You are very kind. But I, of course, know 
that this is a free country, and a man has a right 
to talk as he pleases." 

" You have no right to utter treasonable senti- 
ments," said Harry; '' and another thing, I am not 
going to sit here and listen to them." 

" You are not, indeed ! I do n't see how you 
can hinder it," replied Charles. " I say now, and 
it makes no difference who hears me, that I hope 
the South will whip, unless the North will allow 
her to go out of the Union peaceably. I have n't 
any thing against the South." 

" Well, I have," answered Harry, scarcely able 
to control himself. " My brother is now starving 
in a rebel prison." 

"I can't help it. I have not the least sympa- 
thy for him. The South said, at the commence- 
ment, that they only wanted to be let alone ; and 
if George has n't any more sense than to meddle 
with them, I say, let him take the consequences;" 
and, as Charles ceased speaking, he dropped the 



ON DUTY AGAIN. 45 

oars into the water, and was about to row off, 
when Frank seized the gunwale of his boat. 

" Avast heaving, there, for a moment," he said, 
quietly. "Charley, take back what you have 

said." 

"No, sir; I sha'n't do it. I mean what I have 
said, and I won't take back any thing. Let go of 
that boat, or I '11 hit you," and he raised his oar 
as if about to strike Frank. 

But Harry was too quick for him. Springing 
lightly into Charles's skiff, he easily wrested the 
oar from him, and then, seizing him by the collar, 
exclaimed : 

" Take back every word you have said, or I '11 
wash some of the vile rebel sentiment out of you. 
I'll dump you overboard. Come, take it all 
back — quick." 

" Help ! help ! Bill," whined Charles, writhing 
like an eel in Harry's strong grasp, " are you go- 
ing to sit there and see me abused in this manner? 
Help, I tell you." 

William looked first at Harry, then at Frank, 
who had grown exceedingly tall and muscular 
since the last time he had measured strength with 
him in friendly contest, and made no reply. 



46 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURO. 

" Come, take it back," urged Harry. 

" No, I won't," replied Charles, who, finding 
that he was left to fight his own battles alone, 
now began to struggle desperately. " I tell j^ou I 
won't take back any thing." 

" Then overboard you go," said Harry. " I '11 
see what effect cold water will have on you ; " 
and, easily lifting Charles from his feet, in spite 
of his struggles, he threw him headlong into the 
water. 

" How is it now ? " he coolly inquired, as 
Charles appeared at the surface, looking very 
forlorn, indeed. "Any more rebel sentiment in 
you that wants washing out? Come in here, 
you young traitor;" and, as he -spoke, he again 
seized him by the collar, and drew him into the 
boat. 

" Unhand me," shouted Charles, as soon as he 
could regain his feet ; " I '11 fix you for this." 

" Are you ready to take back what you said ? " 
demanded Harry, tightening his grasp. 

" No ; nor shall I ever be," was the stubborn 
answer. 

"Well, then, down you go again." 

" No^ no 1 do n'tj" screamed Charles^ who now 



ON DUTY AGAT37. 47 

began to be really frightened; "I take it all 
back." 

" What do you take back ? " asked Harry. 
" I do n't want to see the Northern prisoners 
all starved." 

"Well, what else?" 

" I do n't want to see the Union destroyed." 
"Go on; what next?" 

"But I do wish the South could be whipped 
to-morrow, and be made to stay in the Union." 

"Well, now you are talking sense," said Harry, 
releasing his hold of Charles's collar. " Of course, 
I know you do n't mean what you say, but I was 
bound to make you say a good word for the 
Union before I let you off. I have one more 
favor to ask of you, and then I am done. Will 
you oblige me by giving three cheers for the boys 
who are fighting our battles— every day risking 
their lives in defense of the old flag ? " 
Charles hesitated. 

"I sha'n't ask you but once more, then," and 
here Harry pointed to the water, in a very sig- 
nificant manner. 

Charles, knowing that he was in earnest, and 
that there iras no escape, gave the required 



48 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

cheers with as good a grace as he could com- 
mand. 

" That 's right," said Harry, approvingly. 
"Now I have done with you, and you can 
thank your lucky stars that you have got off so 
easily. If you had been in the army when you 
said what you did a few moments since, the boys 
would have hung you to the very first tree they 
could have found. Now, take my advice, and 
do n't let me hear of your uttering any more 
such sentiments as long as I remain in the vil- 
lage ; if you do, I '11 duck you as often as I can 
get my hands on you." 

Harry then sprang into his own skiif, and 
Charles sullenly picked up his oars, and pulled 
toward home. 

"There," exclaimed Harry, "I feel better 
now. I worked off a little of my indignation 
on that fellow. The rascal ! to tell us that 
George ought to be starved for helping to main- 
tain the government, and that he did n't care 
whether the Union went to ruin or not. Now 
that I think of it, I 'm sorry that I let him off so 
easily." 

"He was pretty well punished, after all," said 



ON DUTY AdAIN. 49 

Frank. '^ It will have tlic oflfect of making; liiin a 
little more careful." 

At noon, the fish stopped biting, and the hoys 
started for home. They parted at the boat-house, 
after Frank had promised to call and say " good- 
by" before he left in the morning. 

When the latter reached home he found his 
trunk packed, and every thing in readiness for the 
start, so that he had nothing to do but roam about 
the premises, and take a last look at every thing, 
as he had done on a former occasion. Ilis mother 
and sister tried to look cheerful, but it was a sorry 
fiiilure, for Frank could easily read what was 
passing in their minds. 

Morning came at length, and at eight o'clock, 
to Frank's great relief — for he wished the parting 
over as soon as possible — he saw the carriage ap- 
proaching which was to take him to the steamer. 
A few embraces and hastily-spoken farewells, and 
Frank was whirling away from his home. At 
Captain Butler's he stopped for Harry, who met 
him at the gate with an open letter in his hand ; 
and, as he sprang into the carriage, he exclaimed, 
joyfully : 

" It 's all right, Frank. Here 's a letter from 
4 



60 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

George. He has been exchanged, and is now in 
the hospital at Washington. The rebels, he sajs, 
tried to starve him to death, but couldn't make 
it. He is only waiting until he gets strong 
enough to travel, and then he's coming home. 
He 's pretty well used up. When I get back to 
the army, with Company ^ M ' to back me up, 
I '11 make somebody smart for it." 

By the time Harry had finished venting his 
anger against the enemies of the government, 
the carriage reached the wharf, as the steamer 
was moving out into the river. Frank had just 
time to get on board, and a few moments after- 
ward the Julia Burton carried him out of sight 
of the village. He stopped only a short time at 
Portland ; and, four days after leaving that place, 
found Archie waiting for him as he sprang off 
the train at Cairo. He reported to the fleet 
captain, who ordered him to " take passage down 
the river on the United States dispatch steamer 
General Lyon," which was to sail at four o'clock 
that afternoon. The cousins passed the day 
together. When four o'clock came, Archie re- 
turned to his high stool with a sorrowful coun- 
tenance, and Frank waived his adieu from the 



ON DUTY AGAIN. 61 

steamer that was to carry liim back — to what? 
It is well that the future is hidden from us, for 
Frank would not have trod that deck with so 
light a heart had he known what was in store for 
him. 

In a few days he arrived at his vessel, which 
he found anchored at White River. Time makes 
changes in every thing, and Frank saw many new 
faces among the ship's company. The old mate 
was still on board, and greeted him in his hearty 
sailor style as he came over the side. After he 
had reported to the captain, and had seen his 
luggage taken to his room, he was joined by one 
of his old messmates, whose name was Keys ; 
and who, in answer to Frank's inquiry, '' How is 
every thing?" proceeded to give him a statement 
of the condition of affairs. 

" The ship still floats on an even keel," said 
he, pulling off his boots, and taking possession of 
Frank's bed. " The old man is as eccentric and 
good-natured as ever, sometimes flying off into 
one of his double-reefed topsail hurricanes, which 
do n't mean any thing. All goes right about 
decks, but you will find some things changed in 
the steerage. There are only five officers left in 



52 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

our mess that were here when you went away, 
and we have three new Johnny master's mates. 
They all came down in the same box; and the 
express man must have left them out in the damp 
over night, for they are the softest fellows I ever 
saw. They must have been brought up in some 
country where such a thing as a steamboat is un- 
known, for they don't know the starboard from 
the port side of the ship, call on deck ' up stairs, 
and the captain's cabin goes by the name of the 
* parlor.' It would n't be so bad if they would 
only try to learn something, but they are very 
indignant if any one undertakes to volunteer ad- 
vice ; and, besides, they stand on their rank." 

At this moment supper was announced, and 
Frank and his friend repaired to the steerage, 
where they found the mates of whom the latter 
had spoken. While they were eating, the whistle 
of a steamer was heard, and one of the new 
mates (whose name was French, but who was 
known as "Extra," from the fact that he wa3 
perfectly useless as an officer,) ordered the waiter 
to " go up stairs and see what boat it was." The 
boy did not move, for it was a regulation of the 
mess that when there was only one waiter in the 



ON DUTY AGAIN. 53 

room to attend to the table, he was not to be sent 
away. Besides, the mate had no right to give 
such an order without first obtaining tlie permis- 
sion of the caterer. 

" Do you hear what I tell you ? " he inquired, 
in a rage. 

<' Mr. French," said the caterer, quietly, " you 
can find out the name of that boat after supper, 
by asking the officer of the deck, or the quarter- 
master on watch." 

" But I choose to send this boy to find out for 
me," rephed Mr. French. " Come, go on, there, 
and do as I tell you, or I will see if you can 
not be made to obey the orders of your supe- 
riors." 

"Stay where you are," said the caterer, ad- 
dressing the waiter, "and don't start until I tell 
you to." Then, turning to the mate, he con- 
tinued, " You have no right to order him to do 
any thing in this mess-room without first consult- 
ing me." 

" I have n't, eh ? I wonder if this darkey 
ranks me ? My appointment reads that I * am 
to be obeyed by all persons under me in this 
squadron.' " 



54 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

" That boy is not subject to your orders, as 
long as I am in the mess-room." 

"Well, I shall take pains to inform myself on 
that point. I '11 ask the captain." 

" Do so," said the caterer, quietly ; " and if 
you don't get the worst raking-down that you 
have had since you have been on board this ves- 
sel, then I am greatly mistaken." 

The mate made no reply, but, after he had fin- 
ished his supper, went on deck. 

"Now, Frank," whispered Keys, "just come 
with me, and I will show you some fun." 

Frank, always ready for any mischief, followed 
his companion on deck, where they found Mr. 
French in animated conversation with his two 
friends. 

" See here, French," said Keys, approaching 
the latter in a confidential manner, " are you 
going to put up with such abuse as you received 
from that caterer ? " 

"I'd see, if I were in your place, whether or 
not I had authority to command my inferiors," 
chimed in Frank. 

"Certainly, so would I," said Keys. "Go and 
report the matter to the old man." 



ON DUTY AGAIN. 56 

" That caterer ought to be brought down a peg 
or two," said Frank. 

" Well," said the mate, " I know that I have got 
the right on my side ; but I 'm afraid, if I report 
the matter, the captain will give me a blowing 
up." 

"0, that's only one of that caterer's stories," 
said Keys, contemptuously. " You see he 's afraid 
you will report him, and he told you what he did 
to frighten you. Every body on board the ship is 
trying to run down us mates ; they don't seem to 
care a fig for our orders ; even the men laugh at 
us, and the sooner they find out that we have 
some authority here, the better it will be for us. 
I wish I had as good a chance as you have ; I 'd 
report the whole matter." 

"I believe I will report it," said the mate, en- 
couraged by the sincere manner in which Mr. 
Keys and Frank spoke. "I can't have a man 
trample on my authority, when it comes from the 
admiral. Is the captain in the parlor?" 

"Yes," answered Frank, making use of his 
handkerchief to conceal his laughter; "I saw him 
go in there just a moment since." 

The mate accordingly walked aft, and without 



56 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

Traiting to speak to the orderly, who stood at the 
gangway, he opened the door without knocking, 
and entered the cabin. 

As soon as he had disappeared, Frank and his 
companion ran on to the quarter-deck, and took 
a position at a grating directly over the captain's 
cabin, where they could hear all that went on 
below. 

''My eyes!" whispered Keys; "I wouldn't be 
in Extra's boots for the whole squadron. Won't 
he get his rations stuffed into him ? " 

The captain, who was at supper, looked up in 
surprise, as Mr. French entered unannounced; 
and, after regarding him sharply for a moment, 
said: 

"Well, sir!" 

"I came here, sir," began the mate, "to tell 
you" 

"Take off your cap, sir!" vociferated the cap- 
tain. 

The mate, not in the least embarrassed, did as 
he was ordered, and again commenced : 

"I came here, sir" 

"Do you know what that marine is standing out 
there for ? " again interrupted the captain. " If 



ON DUTY AOAIN. 57 

you don't, your first hard work will be to go to 
the executive officer and find out. Now, don't you 
attain ever come into my cabin in this abrupt man- 
ner. Always send in your name by the orderly. 
It seems impossible to teach you any thing. But 
what were you going to say?" 

"I came here, sir," began the mate again, "to 
see if I have any authority to command my infe- 
riors in rank. My appointment says" 

" 0, hang your appointment ! " shouted the cap- 
tain. "Come to the point at once." 

"Well, sir, while at supper, I ordered our stew- 
ard to go up stairs and execute a commission for 
me, and he would n't go." 

" Are you caterer of your mess ? " 
"No, sir." 

"Then sir, allow me to inform you that you 
have no more authority over those waiters in that 
mess-room than you have to break open my 
trunk and take out my money. If you should 
need the services of one of the boys, go to the 
caterer and get his consent. But I wish you 
would try and learn something. You have been 
on board this ship now three weeks, and are of no 
more use than an extra boiler. Go to somebody 



58 FRAXK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

else in future with your foolish complaints. You 
may go, sir." 

The mate left the cabin, feeling very cheap, and 
wondering what was the use of having any rank, 
if he could n't use it, and more than half inclined 
to believe that the captain had no right to address 
him in so rude a manner. 

"Well, what did the old man say?" inquired 
Keys, who, with Frank, had hurried forward to 
meet him at the gangway. 

"He says he will fix it all right," replied Mr. 
French, averting his face, for he knew that he was 
uttering a falsehood. " I knew I would get satis- 
faction." 

So saying, he walked off, shaking his head in 
a very knowing manner, while the two friends re- 
treated to the steerage, where they gave full vent 
to their feelings. The circumstance was related 
to the caterer, who came in a few moments after- 
ward, and after enjoying a hearty laugh at the 
mate's expense, Frank retired to his room and 
turned in. 

About two o'clock in the morning a steamer 
came down and reported that a regiment of rebels 
had posted themselves behind the levee at Cy- 



ON DUTY AGAIN. 



59 



press Bend, and were holding the position in spito 
of the efforts of three gun-boats to dislodge them, 
rendering navigation impossible. The matter was 
reported to the captain, who, after making him- 
self acquainted with the facts, ordered the Ticon- 
deroga to be got under way and headed up the 
river. 



60 



FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 



CHAPTER IV. 



Mioki ta 






^^^^ 




,..^N the next day they arrived at Cy- 
s/^ press Bend, where they found three 
" tin-clads " anchored, paying no at- 
tention to the perfect storm of bullets 
which the concealed rebels rained upon 
their decks from behind the levee. As 
soon as the Ticonderoga came within 
range, the guerrillas directed a volley against her; 
but, although her decks were crowded with men, 
the fire was without efi'ect. The boatswain's 
whistle, and the order, " All hands under cover," 
rang sharply through the ship, and the decks were 
instantly deserted. The second division — the one 
which Frank commanded — was at once called to 
quarters, and as soon as the gun could be cast 
loose and pointed, an eleven-inch shell went 
shrieking into the woods. It burst far beyond 



THE Fir.nT IN THE WOODS. 61 

the Icvcc. The rebels sent back a tauntinfj lau^b, 
and their bullets fell faster than ever. 

The levee which lines both banks of the Mis- 
sissippi forms a most excellent breastwork ; and 
behind this, a party of determined men can easily 
hold twice their number at bay, unless a position 
can be obtained where they can be brought under 
a cross-fire. The formation of the river rendered 
it impossible for such a position to be taken, and 
it was evident that to anchor before the levee and 
attempt to dislodge them with big guns, was worse 
than useless ; neither could they be beaten back 
with their own weapons, for the rebels were very ex- 
pert in ''bushwhacking," exposing but a very small 
portion of their persons, and the best marksman 
would stand but a poor chance of hitting one of 
them. Some more decisive steps must be taken. 

So thought the captain of the Ticonderoga, as 
he paced up and down the turret, while Frank, 
divested of his coat, was issuing his commands 
with his usual coolness, now and then catching 
hold of a rope and giving a pull at the gun, all 
the while sendinor the shells into the levee, makinoj 
the dirt fly in every direction. 

*' Cease firing, Mr. Nelson/' said the captain, at 



62 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

length. "It is useless to think of driving them 
off in this manner." 

"Cease firing, sir," repeated Frank, showing 
that he understood the order. "Run the gun in, 
lads, and close those ports." 

The captain then ordered his vessel to be run 
alongside of the Rover, (one of the tin-clads,) and, 
after a few moments' consultation with her com- 
mander, some plan seemed to have been determ- 
ined upon, for Frank was again ordered to open 
a hot fire on the levee. Under cover of this, 
signal was made for the other two vessels to get 
under way, and proceed down the river. 

"Mr. Nelson," said the captain, as soon as he 
had seen the signal obeyed, " give the command 
of your division to the executive officer, and come 
down into the cabin for orders." 

As soon as the executive could be found, Frank 
gave up the command to him, and as he entered 
the cabin, the captain said to him ; 

"I have ordered the tin-clads to go down the 
river and land as many men as they can spare, to 
get around in the rear of those rebels, and get 
them out from behind that levee. They must be 
got out of that, if possible, for navigation is vir- 



THE FIOnT IN THE WOODS. 63 

tually closed as long as they remain there. I 
shall also send our two howitzers and forty men, 
of which you will take command. I need not tell 
you to do your best." 

The captain then went on deck, selected the 
men, and Frank succeeded in getting them and 
the howitzers safely on board the Rover, which 
still lay alongside. The smoke from the gun of 
the Ticonderoga completely concealed their move- 
ments, and the rebels were entirely ignorant of 
what was going on. As soon as the men were all 
on board, the Rover steamed down the river and 
joined the other vessels, which were waiting for 
her to come up. 

About five miles below was a point which com- 
pletely concealed them from the view of the rebels, 
and behind this point the vessels landed; the crews 
disembarked, and commenced marching through 
the woods toward the place where the rebels were 
posted. They numbered tw^o hundred and fifty 
men, and were commanded by the captain of the 
Rover, who, although a very brave man and an 
excellent sailor, knew nothing of infantry tactics. 
The second in command was Mr. Howe, an ensign 
belonging to the same vessel. He had never been 



64 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

in a fight ; and vrhon lie first entered the navy he 
knew no more about a vessel than he did about 
the moon. His appointment had been obtained 
through some influential friends at home. He had 
served in a company of state militia, however, be- 
fore the breaking out of the war, and considered 
himself quite a military genius. 

The sailors marched in line of battle — with 
skirmishers in front and on each flank, and Frank, 
with his battery, was in the center. In this man- 
ner they marched for about an hour, and then a 
halt was ordered, and the captain, with several of 
his officers, went forward to reconnoiter, while 
Mr. Howe, who was left in command, ordered 
the men to " stack arms." Frank was astounded 
when he heard this command, and, approaching 
the oflacer, saluted him, and said: 

"I object to this, Mr. Howe. I think it would 
be much better, sir, to keep the men under 
arms; for it is by no means certain that all the 
rebels we shall be obliged to fight, are in front 
of us." 

"I believe you were put in command of that 
battery, sir," replied Mr. Howe, haughtily, " wliile 
I was left in charge of these men. I would thank 



THE FKSllT IX THE WuODS. 65 

you, then, to attend to your own business, and to 
let me alone." 

"Very good, sir," answered Frank. "I did 
not intend to give any offense, sir, but merely to 
offer a suggestion. But if I command that bat- 
tery, I intend to have it in readiness for any 
emergency. Cut loose those guns, lads, and stand 
to your quarters ! " 

The reports of muskets in their front proved 
that the rebels were yet keeping a hot fire di- 
rected against the Ticonderoga. But still Frank 
was not deceived ; he knew that all the fiojhtins: 
would not be done at the front. Scarcely had 
these thoughts passed through his mind, when 
there was a rapid discharge of fire-arms in their 
rear, and two of the men fell. As Frank had ex- 
pected, the rebels had been informed of what was 
going on, and had sent part of their force to cut 
the sailors off from the river. For a moment the 
greatest confusion prevailed. The men, who had 
been lying about in the shade of the trees, made 
a general rush for their weapons, and after deliv- 
ering a straggling and ineffectual fire, hastily re- 
treated, with the exception of Frank's men, and 
a few of the more courageous of the infantry. 
5 



Q6 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

The latter concealed themselves behind trees and 
logs, and deliberately returned the fire of the reb- 
els, "while the former, who were old seamen, and 
had long been accustomed to the discipline of the 
service, stood at their guns awaiting orders. Mr. 
Howe, for a moment, stood pale and trembhng, 
and then, without waiting to give any orders, dis- 
appeared in the bushes. Frank, who was left 
alone with but sixty men, was astounded when he 
witnessed this cowardly conduct of his superior, 
and he had hardly time to recover from his sur- 
prise, when the rebels, after firing another volley, 
broke from their concealments, with loud yells, and 
charged toward the guns. This brought Frank to 
his senses. With the handful of men he had left, 
he could at least cover the retreat of his timid 
support. 

"Steady there, lads!" he shouted. "Aim 
low— fire ! " 

The howitzers belched forth their contents, and, 
as Frank had taken the precaution to have them 
loaded with canister, the slaughter was awful. 
The muskets had also done considerable execution, 
and the rebels recoiled when they witnessed the 
havoc made in their ranks. Frank, who was al- 



THE FIGHT IX THE WOODS. G7 

•ways ready to take advantage of such an op- 
portunity, immediately ordered a counter-charge. 
The sailors sprang at the word, with a yell, and, 
led by Frank, who fixed his bayonet as he ran, 
threw themselves upon the rebels, who at once 
fled precipitately, leaving their dead and wounded 
on the field. 

" Back to your guns, lads," shouted Frank, 
" and give 'em a shot before they get out of 
range." 

The men worked with a yell, sending the shells 
rapidly in the direction in which the rebels had 
retreated, until a loud roar of musketry at the 
front told them that they had other enemies with 
which to deal. 

"While this fight at the rear had been going on, 
the sailors who had retreated had been met by 
the captain and his officers, who were returning 
from their reconnoissance, and, as soon as order 
could be restored, an attack had been made on 
the rebels who were still posted behind the levee. 
In a few moments Mr. Howe came running up, 
and addressing himself to Frank, exclaimed : 

" What are you doing here, sir — shooting into 
the woods where there are no rebels ? Why are 



68 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

you not at the front, where you belong? If yon 
are afraid to go there, you had better give up the 
command of that battery." 

Frank thought this was a nice way for Mr. 
Howe to talk, after the manner in which he had 
behaved a few moments before, but, without stop- 
ping to reply, he ordered the guns to be secured, 
and the men, catching up the trail-ropes, com- 
menced dragging the battery toward the place 
where the fight was raging, while Mr. Howe 
again suddenly disappeared. 

When Frank arrived at the front, he found the 
rebels were still behind the levee, where they 
were exposed to a galling fire from the sailors 
who were concealed among the trees, evidently 
preferring to run the risk of being driven out by 
the musketry than to brave the shells from the 
Ticonderoga, which now began to fall into the 
woods just behind them, and bursting, threw dirt 
and branches in every direction. Without wait- 
ing for orders, Frank immediately took up a 
sheltered position, and straightway opened upon 
the rebels a hot fire of canister. By the exer- 
tions of the ofiicers, the stragglers were all col- 
lected, and, while the line was being formed for a 



THE FianT IN THE WOODS. 69 

charge, Frank was ordered to move his hattery out 
of the woods, into the open field. The young of- 
ficer's blood ran cold when he heard this command, 
for the rebels, who greatly outnumbered the sail- 
ors, and who were deterred from making a charge 
and overpowering them only through fear of the 
shells from the Ticonderoga, were sending a per- 
fect shower of bullets into the bushes where the 
howitzers were stationed. Even in his present 
protected position, Frank had lost five of his 
men, and when he thought what a slaughter there 
would be when he should move out of his conceal- 
ment, it made him shudder. But he had always 
been taught that the success of the navy was 
owing to "strict discipline;" and once, when he 
had been reported to the captain for disobeying 
an order Avhich he had considered as unjust, that 
gentleman had told him — "Always obey whatever 
orders you may receive from your superiors, and, 
if you are aggrieved, you can seek redress after- 
ward." In the present instance, this seemed 
very poor policy; for what good would it do to 
make objections to the order after his men had 
been sacrificed? He had no alternative, however, 
but ij obey. The men, too, were well aware of 



70 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

the danger they were about to incur, but hesi- 
tated not a moment when Frank repeated the 
order to advance. They at once pushed the guns 
out into the open ground, and the effect was as 
they had expected. The whole fire of the rebels 
was directed against them, and every volley left 
Frank with less men to handle his battery. In 
fact, it soon became impossible to load the guns ; 
for, as fast as the men picked up a rammer or 
sponge, they were shot down. It was evident 
that they could not remain there. 

"Jack," said Frank at length, turning to the 
old boatswain's mate, "go and ask the captain if 
I can't be allowed to move back to my old posi- 
tion. I can do more execution there. Besides, 
we '11 all be dead men in less than five minutes, 
if we remain here." 

The man bounded off to execute the order, and 
just then the captain of one of the guns was 
killed. Frank immediately seized the priming- 
wire which had fallen from his hand, and worked 
with the rest. His fear had given place to a 
reckless determination to do his duty, for, let the 
consequences be what they might, no blame could 
be attached to him. Impatiently, however, he 



THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS. 71 

"Waited for the return of the mate, and Iiis impa- 
tience increased when word was brought him that 
the ammunition was failing. At length, after a 
delay which seemed extraordinary, a charge was 
ordered. 

The rebels seemed to have an idea of what was 
going on, for, a few moments before the order was 
given, their fire slackened considerably ; but, as 
soon as the sailors, in obedience to the command, 
issued from the woods, they were met with a ter- 
rific fire, which threw them into confusion. In 
vain their officers urged and commanded; the 
men refused to advance, but remained standing 
in full view of the rebels, while every moment 
their comrades were falling around them. At 
length the enemy made a counter-charge, and the 
sailors, without waiting to resist, broke and fled in 
every direction. Frank and his men remained at 
their posts until the last moment ; but they soon 
found themselves completely deserted, and were 
obliged to fall back into the woods. 

By the exertions of the officers, a few of the 
men were rallied in the edge of the timber, and, 
bravely standing their ground, the rebels were met 
with a murderous fire, and the shells from the 



72 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

Ticonderoga, which now began to burst in their 
very midst, completed their confusion, and they, in 
turn, were compelled to retreat. 

In an instant, Frank and several of his men 
sprang out and attempted to recover the howitz- 
ers, which had been left between the lines, but 
the rebels were on the watch, and, after the loss 
of three of his men, he was obliged to order a 
retreat. For two hours a severe a fight was 
maintained, the rebels making several charges, 
which were easily repulsed by the sailors ; and 
each time Frank made unsuccessful attempts to 
recover his battery, but was as often compelled 
to retreat, leaving some of his men dead on the 
field, or prisoners in the hands of the enemy. 

The left of the line rested on the bank of the 
river, where a full view of the Ticonderoga could 
be obtained. After the fif'ht had raged nearly 
three hours, without any advantage being gained 
on either side, one of the men reported that 
the ship was making signals. The commander 
of the expedition hurried along the line, call- 
ing out — 

" Mr. Howe ! "Where 's the signal officer, Mr. 
Howe?" But he received no answer. No one 



THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS. 73 

had seen Mr. Howe since he had so ingloriously 
retreated at the commencement of the fight. 

" Pass the word along the line for Mr. Howe 1" 
shouted the captain. 

The order was obeyed, and finally a faint voice, 
some distance in the rear, repUed, " Here, sir." 

"What are you doing there, sir?" demanded 
the captain, in a voice of thunder. " Why are 
you not at your post? Get out there with your 
flag, and answer the Ticonderoga's signals." And 
the captain began to consult his signal-book. 

Mr. Howe looked first at the rebels, then at the 
captain, then down at the flag which he held in 
his hand, but he did not move. It was a danger- 
ous undertaking; for, in answering the signals, 
he would be obhged to stand on the bank of 
the river, where there was nothing but bushes to 
protect him, and where the rebels would be cer- 
tain to see him; but the rattling of the mus- 
ketry, the sharp whistle of the bullets as they 
flew thickly about among the trees, and the roar 
of the Ticonderoga's guns— sounds which he had 
never before heard— so worked upon the imagina- 
tion of the terrified man, that the danger seemed 
tenfold worse than it really was. 



74 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURO. 

In a few moments the captain had made out 
the signal, which was, " How do you succeed ? " 
and exclaimed : 

" Mr. Howe, make the answer that we do n't 
succeed at all — no advantage on either side ; that 

our ammunition is getting scarce ; and that . 

Why don't you start, sir?" he shouted, seeing 
that Mr. Howe did not move. 

*' Captain," faltered the man, in a scarcely 
audible voice, " I should be very happy, sir ; 
very glad, indeed, sir; but — , but — " 

"No remarks, sir, but do as you are ordered, 
instantly." 

" Really, captain, I—, I—" 

The man could go no further, but stood trem- 
bling like a leaf, with the utmost terror depicted 
in every feature. 

" You 're a coward, sir ! " shouted the captain, 
in a terrible rage — " a mean, contemptible cow- 
ard." 

'' I know it, sir," replied the man, so terrified 
that he scarcely knew what he was saying ; but 
the fact is" 

" Go to rear ! " shouted the captain, " and stay 
there. Here, sir," he continued, turning to Frank, 



THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS. 7o 

who happened to be the nearest officer, ^^ can you 
make those signals?'* 

*' Yes, sir," answered Frank, promptly. Ilis 
face was very pale, for, accustomed as he was to 
the noise and confusion of battle, he well knew 
there was danger in the step he was about to take. 
But his features expressed determination instead 
of betraying terror. Ilis duty must be done, what- 
ever the consequences might be ; and hastily pick- 
ing up the flag which Mr. Howe, in his fright, had 
dropped, he sprang out in view of the Ticonder- 
oga, made the required signals, and retreated in 
safety. The rebels had seen the flag waving above 
the bushes, and had directed a hot flre against it, 
but, although his frail protection was riddled with 
bullets, Frank escaped unhurt. 

In a quarter of an hour, during which time the 
fire was warmly sustained by both parties, the 
Ticonderoga again made signals, ordering the cap- 
tain of the expedition to make the best of his way 
back to his vessels. Frank answered the signal, 
and again retreated in safety. 

The word had already been passed along the 
line to fall back slowly, when Frank, approaching 
the captain, said : 



76 FRANK BEFORE VICKSCURG. 

"I do not wish to go back to the ship without 
my battery, sir. Will you give me men enough 
to recover it?" 

" No, sir ; I can't send any one out there to be 
shot at. It is certain death, sir." 

Frank, who thought that the captain had sud- 
denly grown very careful of his men, made no 
reply, but hastened back to the spot where he had 
left his battery. To his joy and surprise he found 
one of the howitzers safe in the hands of his men; 
and, as he came up, a shell went crashing toward 
the rebel line, followed by a triumphant shout 
from the sailors. The boatswain's mate, who had 
managed to secure the gun, by throwing a rope 
around the trail-wheel, was endeavoring, in the 
same manner, to obtain possession of the other. 
After a few ineffectual attempts, he succeeded, and 
the gun was pulled back safely into the bushes. 
When they had secured the remainder of the 
ammunition, the men caught up the trail-ropes, 
and, without delay, Frank took his old position 
in the center of the retreating line. The rebels 
followed them so closely that the sailors were 
frequently compelled to halt and drive them back. 
During one of these halts, the captain of the ex- 



THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS. 77 

peclltion was killed. As if by magic, Mr. Howe 
appeared on the scene, and, without waiting to 
recover the body of his officer, gave the command 
to fall back more rapidly. At length, just before 
they reached the bank where they had disem- 
barked, the ammunition for the howitzers being 
exhausted, Frank requested permission to retreat 
Btill more rapidly, and get his guns on board 
the nearest vessel. 

" That request is in perfect keeping with your 
conduct during the fight," returned Mr. Howe, 
snceringly. ^'The plea of saving your battery is 
a very handy one ; but if you are afraid to re- 
main here with us, you may run as fast as you 
wish. I 'd be ashamed to hold up my head after 
this, if I were in your place." 

"I am not afraid to remain here, sir," answered 
Frank, with a good deal of spirit; ''and if you 
say that I have acted the part of a coward dur- 
ing this fight, I defy you to prove the charge. 
The idea that I am afraid, because I wish to re- 
treat in order to save my battery, is absurd. Run 
those guns along lively, lads." 

Frank succeeded in getting his howitzers on 
board one of the tin-clads, which still lay along- 



78 FRANK BEFORE YICKSBURQ. 

side of the bank, without the loss of another man. 
A moment afterward the sailors came pouring 
down the bank. As soon as they were all on 
board, the vessels moved out into the stream, and 
commenced shelling the woods. "While thus en- 
gaged, the Ticonderoga came down the river, and, 
after dropping her anchor, signaled for the officer 
in command of the expedition to repair on board. 
Mr. Howe at once put off in a boat to obey the 
order, while the vessel in which Frank had taken 
refuge ran alongside of the Ticonderoga, and as 
soon as the battery had been taken off, the men, 
covered with dust and blood, and their faces be- 
grimed with powder, stood silently around the 
guns, while the remainder of the crew gathered on 
the opposite side of the deck, and regarded their 
comrades with sorrow depicted in every feature of 
their sun-burnt faces. Frank knew that the fight 
had been a most desperate one, and that he had 
lost many of his men; but he could scarcely be- 
lieve his eyes, when he found that out of the forty 
brave fellows who had started out with him in the 
morning, but fifteen remained — more than half 
had been left dead on the field, or prisoners in the 
hands of the rebels. 



THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS. 79 

In a scarcely amlible voice he called the roll, 
and his emotion increased ^vhen, at almost every 
third name, some one ans\Yered : 

"Not here, sir." 

In a few moments the captain appeared on 
deck. The report of the commander of the expe- 
dition had, of course, been unfavorable, and the 
captain's face wore a look of trouble. Hastily 
running his eye over the line of dusty, bleed- 
ing men that stood before him, he said, in a low 
voice, as if talking to himself: 

" Only fifteen left. I could ill afford to lose so 
many men. You may go below, lads. Doctor, 
see that the very best care is taken of the 
wounded." 

After delivering this order, the captain, who 
was evidently ill at ease, turned and walked down 
into his cabin. 



80 



FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 



CHAPTER V. 

S soon as the men had disappeared, 
"^fN Frank, -with a heavy heart, re- 
paired to his room to dress for sup- 
per. He thought over all the little 
incidents of the day, and frequently 
detected himself in saying : '' Only 
fifteen men left ; fifteen out of forty ! *' 
What a slaughter — a useless slaughter — there 
had been! And all had been occasioned by the 
ignorance of the commanding ofiicer of the expe- 
dition. Had Frank been allovred to retain the 
sheltered position which he had at first taken up, 
the result would have been far difi'erent. And 
how had he escaped without even a scratch ? He 
had stood beside his men during the whole of the 
fight — freely exposing himself, and, rendered con- 
spicuous by his uniform, had signaled the vessel 




IN THE HANDS OF THE " JOHNNIES " AGAIN. 81 

twice; and each time the flag had been riddled 
by bullets, but not a shot had touched him ! It 
seemed but little short of a miracle that he had 
come off unscathed, when so many men had fallen 
around him. 

He was interrupted in his meditations by the 
entrance of the orderly, who informed him that his 
presence was wanted in the cabin. Frank hastily 
pulled on his coat and repaired thither. As he 
entered, the captain said : 

" Take a chair, Mr. Nelson. I wish to have a 
few moments' serious conversation with you." 

Frank, surprised at the captain's tone and man- 
ner, seated himself, and the latter continued : 

"Are you aware, sir, that you have this day 
destroyed all the confidence I have hitherto placed 
in you, and have rendered yourself liable to severe 
punishment ? " 

The effect of this question, so abruptly put, was 
astounding, and Frank could only falter — 

"Sir? I — I — don't understand you, su-." 

"Mr. Nelson, I am surprised at you, sir," said 

the captain, sternly. " I shall have to refresh your 

memory, then. You have this day been guilty 

of misdemeanors, any one of which renders you 

6 



82 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

liable to a court-martial, and to a disgraceful dis- 
missal from the service. In the first place, you 
have shown gross disrespect to your superior 
officer, and'' 

"I guilty of disrespect, sir!" repeated Frank, 
scarcely believing his ears. " There must be some 
mistake, sir, for" 

" Do n't interrupt me, sir. I repeat, you have 
been guilty of disrespect to your superior officer, 
and of cowardice, having been found with your 
battery far in the rear at a time when your serv- 
ices were very much needed at the front; and 
then, after the fight had fairly commenced, as if 
waking up to a sense of your duty, and, no doubt, 
wishing to make amends for what you had done, 
you, contrary to orders, recklessly exposed your 
men, and, as a consequence, out of forty of the 
bravest fellows that ever trod a ship^s deck — 
which were placed under your command this morn- 
ing — you had but fifteen left when you returned 
on board. The energy displayed by you in work- 
ing your battery, and the manner in which you 
obtained possession of it, after you moved out 
from your sheltered position, and had been com- 
pelled to retreat, were feats of which any officer 



might be justly proud, and which I should have 
been most happy to reward with your promotion, 
had you not spoiled every thing by your infamous 
conduct at the commencement of the fight. Hith- 
erto, since you have been on board this ship, you 
have been a good officer, have always attended to 
your duties, and it pains me to be obliged to talk 
to you in this manner. I never thought that you, 
after what you did at Cypress Bend, while you 
were on board of the Milwaukee, w^ould ever have 
been guilty of such misdemeanors. However, as 
your conduct heretofore has always been such as I 
could approve, I shall see that no charges are made 
against you; and I sincerely hope that what you 
have learned to-day will be a lesson that you will 
never forget. I shall give you sufficient opportu- 
nities to make amends for what you have done, 
and I shall commence by sending you ashore with 
a flag of truce, to ask permission of the rebels to 
bury our dead. You may start at once, sir." 

This was a hint that his presence in the cabin 
was no longer desirable, and Frank, who, in his 
confusion and bewilderment scarcely knew what 
he was doing, made his best bow and retired. 

What his feelings were as he listened to this 



84 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

reprimand, administered by the captain, who never 
before had spoken a harsh word to him, it is im- 
possible to describe. He again thought over 
every thing he had done during the fight; how he 
had, at the commencement of the action, beaten 
back the rebels, with a mere handful of men ; how 
he had, in obedience to orders, taken the exposed 
position where he had lost so many of his gun's 
crew, and which he had held in spite of the storm 
of bullets that rained around him, until the whole 
line had been compelled to retreat, and he was left 
unsupported ; how he had twice risked his hfe in 
signaling the ship ; and how, when the retreat was 
ordered he had brought back his guns in safety: 
he thought of all these things, and wondered where 
the charge of cowardice could be brouf^jht in. 
And then, when and how had he been guilty of 
disrespect to his superior officer? Certainly not 
in remonstrating against ordering the men to 
stack their arms, for that was a privilege to which 
he, as one of the commanding officers of the expe- 
dition, was entitled. In regard to recklessly ex- 
posing his men, the case was not quite so clear. 
It was true that, in the beginning of the fight, 
he had ordered a charge upon the rebels, who 



IN THE HANDS OF TUE " JOHNNIES " AGAIN. 85 

greatly outnumbered his own men, and had easily 
driven them, -without loss to himself: perhaps it 
was there that the third charge had been brought 
in. But although he was conscious that he had 
endeavored to do his whole duty, the words of the 
captain had cut him to the quick. It had been an 
unlucky day for him. The expedition had proved 
a failure, and he had been accused of misde- 
meanors of which he had never dreamed. It 
seemed as if fate was against him. 

" I believe, as Archie used to say," he solilo- 
quized, "that I am the unluckiest dog in exist- 
ence. Troubles never come singly." 

" The captain wishes to see you, sir," said one 
of the men, stepping up and interrupting his 
meditations. 

"All right," answered Frank, who was so com- 
pletely absorbed in his reverie that he was en- 
tirely unconscious of what was going on around 
him ; " call all hands to quarters immediately." 

"Sir — I — I don't mean — sir — the captain 
wishes to speak with you, sir," repeated the 
sailor, half inclined to believe that Frank was 
getting crazy. This aroused the young officer to 
a sense of his situation ; as he approached the 



86 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

quarter-deck, where the captain was standing, the 
latter said : 

"Mr. Nelson, do jou intend to go ashore with 
that flag of truce, sir ? " 

"I beg your pardon, sir," faltered Frank, ''I 
forgot all about that. Will you have the kind- 
ness to call away the first cutter ? " he continued, 
approaching the quarter-master, and saluting him 
as the officer of the deck. 

" Mr. Nelson," shouted the captain, " what are 
you doing? Are you crazy, sir?" 

"I believe I am, captain, or pretty near it," 
answered Frank. " The charges that have been 
brought against me have well-nigh upset me. 
They are false, sir, and I do n't deserve the rep- 
rimand I have received." 

In his next attempt to find the officer of the 
deck Frank met with more success. "While the 
cutter was being manned, he ran down into the 
steerage, and seizmg a pen, hastily dashed olF 
the following : 

UxiTED States Steamer Ticoxderoga, | 
Off Cypress Bexd, Oct. 30, 1863. j 
Sir: 

Having been reported, by the officer in command of an 
expedition — sent ashore this day for the purpose of dislodg- 



IN THE HANDS OF THE " JOHNNIES " AGAIN. 87 

ing a body of rebels posted behind the levee — for cowardice, 
disrespect to my superior officer, and for recklessly exposing 
my men to the tire of the rebels, and knowing, sir, that these 
charges are utterly groundless, I respectfully request that a 
Court of Inquiry may be convened to examine into my be- 
havior while under the enemy's fire. 
I am, sir, very respectfully 

Your obedient servant, 

Frank Nelson, 
Acting Master's Mate. 
Acting Rear-Admiral D. D. Pobter, U. S. N., 
Commanding Miss. Sqttadron. 

While he was sealing the envelope the mes- 
senger boy entered and reported the cutter ready. 
Frank ran on deck, and, after giving the commu- 
nication to the captain, with a request that it 
might be approved and forwarded to the Admiral, 
he sprang into the boat, and gave the order to 
shove off. 

The old boatswain's mate, who was acting as 
the coxswain of the cutter, had rigged up a flag 
of truce. As they pulled toward the shore, 
Frank waved this above his head until he elicited 
a similar response from the bank ; then, throwing 
down the flag, he seated himself in the stern 
sheets, and covered his face with his hands. The 
old mate, mistaking his emotion for sorrow at the 
death of so many of his men, said : 



88 FRANK BEFORE YICKSBURG. 

" Yes, it is a hard case. Not a few of us are 
left without our chums ; but we all know it was n't 
your fault. There would have been more of us 
left if you had been allowed to have your own 
way." 

/' Then I did not expose you needlessly, did I, 
Jack?" 

" Why, bless you, no, sir. "Who says you did, 
sir?" inquired one of the crew. 

"But tell me one thing, Jack," said Frank, 
his ftice still covered with his hands, "Am I a 
coward?" 

" No, sir," answered the mate, indignantly ; 
" 'cause if you was, you would n't have held on 
to them guns as long as you did, and you would 
not have pitched into that rebel atween the lines, 
as you did about a year ago, at this very place. 
In course you ain't no coward." 

This was some consolation. The men whom he 
commanded, and who had always cheerfully fol- 
lowed where he had dared to lead, thought very 
differently from the man who had retreated almost 
before the fight had commenced, and who, to screen 
himself, had brought those charges against one 
whose conduct had always been above reproach. 



IN THE HANDS OF THE 

" Yes, as you say, it is a hard case, Jack," said 
Frank, uncovering his face, and glancing toward 
the rebels who thronged the levee. " It is a hard 
case, indeed, but I will come out at the top of the 
heap yet." 

" What 's the matter, sir ? " inquired the mate. 
"Any one been wrongin' you, sir? He'd better 
not show his ugly figure-head when what 's left of 
the first division has shore liberty. "We '11 douse 
his top-lights for him." 

By this time the cutter had reached the shore, 
and Frank, taking the flag of truce, sprang out, 
and walked up the bank to where a group of offi- 
cers was standing. 

" Wal, Yank, what do you want now?" inquired 
a man dressed in the uniform of a colonel. 

IIow Frank started when he heard that voice. 
Could he be mistaken? He had certainly heard 
it before, and he remembered the time when it 
had given an order which still rang in his ears : 
" Stiles, you stay here until this man dies." He 
looked at the men, some of whom were lying 
on the ground about the levee, and others stand- 
ing at a little distance, waiting to hear what 
was going to be the result of the interview, and 



90 FRANK BEFORE VICKSRURG. 

-svhat had at first appeared a vague suspicion, i)0»v 
forced itself upon Frank as a dread reality, lie 
"was in the presence of Colonel Harrison and the 
Louisiana Wild-cats. Nothing but a bold front 
could save him, for he knew that these men paid 
very little respect to a flag of truce, unless it was 
likely to further their own interests ; and if he 
should be recognized, his recapture was certain, 
and then, what would be liis fate? "Would not 
summary vengeance be taken upon him, in retalia- 
tion for the manner in which he had treated the 
sentinel on the night of his escape, and the way 
he had served the man who had overtaken him in 
the woods? Brave as Frank was, and accustomed 
as he had become to look danger in the face, he 
could not but regard his situation as critical in 
the extreme. 

" What did you say your business was, Yank ? " 
inquired the colonel again. 

"I wish to see the commanding officer," said 
Frank, steadily meeting the rebel's searching 
glance. "I wish permission to bury our dead." 

*'Well, that's a fair request," said the colonel, 
carelessly. " I do n't know as I have any objec- 
tion to it. Want your prisoners also ? " 



IN THE HANDS OF THE "JOHXNTES" AGAIN. 01 

"Yes, sir," answered Frank, with a smile. "I 
should hke to take them back to the ship with me. 
But you know that I have none to exchange for 

them." 

" That 's what I thought. I could n't afford to 
give your men back for nothing." 

"I didn't suppose you would. But have we 
your permission to come ashore and bury our 
dead?" inquired Frank, who was anxious to bring 
the interview to an end. 

"Yes," answered the colonel, "and we will 
leave the field in your possession. You will send 
that message by one of your men, for I don't 
think, youngster, that you can go back. If I am 
not very much mistaken, I've got a better right 
to you than any one else." 

"Yes, colonel," shouted one of the men, "I'll 
be dog-gone if I didn't think he was the chap 
that give us the slip at Shreveport." 

"I didn't think I could be mistaken," said the 
colonel. "So, youngster, just consider yourself 
a prisoner." 

"What do you mean, sir? l^ou have no claim 
whatever upon me, and never had!" exclaimed 
Frank, indignantly. " I am acting in obedience to 



92 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

orders, and am under the protection of this flag 
of truce." 

"Very well spoken. But what do you suppose 
we care for that dish-rag? Besides, I say we 
liave a good claim upon you, for you have never 
been exchanged. Here, Jim ! " he shouted to one 
of his men, "put this little Yank with the rest, 
and do n't give him a chance to get away this 
time." 

The man advanced to obey the order, and when 
he came up to the place where Frank was stand- 
ing, he seized him by the hair and shook him until 
every tooth in his head rattled. 

"Avast heavin' there, you land-lubber ! " shouted 
the mate, who until this time had remained in the 
boat with the crew; and, springing ashore, he ran 
up the bank, and with one blow of his fist felled 
the rebel to the ground. 

"Here we have it," said the colonel, who, in- 
stead of defending Frank, seemed to consider the 
manner in which he was treated a good joke. 
"Boys, secure this blue-jacket also." 

"Xo you don't, Johnny!" exclaimed the mate, 
as one of the men sprang forward to seize him. 
"If you think that one of you is as good as five 



IN THE HANDS OF THE '^ JOHNNIES " AGAIN. 93 

Yankee sailors, now is your cliance to try it on. 
It '11 take more 'n one of you to put the bracelets 
on me ; " and, as he spoke, he planted another of 
his tremendous blows in the face of the advancino- 

o 

rebel, wliicli lifted him completely off his feet. 
But before he had time to repeat it, he was over- 
powered by half a dozen rebels, who had run to 
the assistance of their comrade. After a hard 
struggle, he was secured, and his hands were 
bound behind his back. 

"Now, you fellows," said the colonel, address- 
mg himself to the men in the boat, " get back to 
your vessel; tell the captain how matters stand, 
and also that he may come ashore and bury his 
dead as soon as he chooses." 

"Tell the first division," said the mate, "that 
the next time they go into action they must give 
one shot for Jack Waters. If you fellers do n't 
pay for this," he continued, turning to the rebels, 
"then blast my to'-gallant top-lights." 

"Tell the captain," chimed in Frank, "that he 
had better not trust these men again, for they are 
not sufficiently civilized to know what a flag of 
truce is." 

"You are very complimentary, young man, to 



94 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

say the least," said a rebel, who was standing near 
the colonel. 

" I am telling the plain truth," answered 
Frank, " and you w ill find that your barbarous 
mode of Avartare will never succeed; and that 
the crew of that vessel will never allow the mean 
action of which you have been guilty to pass un- 
noticed." 

^' Douse my top-lights but that 's the truth," said 
the mate, making an effort with his confined hands 
to salute his oflficer. 

"See that these prisoners are well secured," 
said the colonel, "and be sure and take special 
care of that youngster, for if you allow him the 
least chance, he '11 escape," and the colonel turned 
on his heel and walked away. 

In obedience to these instructions, Frank and 
the mate were delivered into the charge of a ser- 
geant, who at once conducted them toward the 
place where the prisoners which had been taken 
during the fight were confined under guard. As 
they passed along through the rebels, they were 
insulted at every step, and finally a man drew 
his ramrod out of his gun, and seizing Frank by 
the collar, proceeded to give him a severe thrash- 



IN THE HANDS OF THE " JOHNNIES " AGAIN. 95 

ing. Fniiik immediately appealed to the sergeant, 
■who, instead of oflering to defend him, stood at a 
little distance, watching the operation, as if not at 
all concerned. The mate was fairly beside him- 
self with rage, and struggled desperately to free 
his hands, all the while venting his anger by 
"dousing" his "top-lights" and "shivering" his 
own "timbers." The rebel continued his punish- 
ment amid the cheers of his companions, and at 
every stroke of his ramrod he exclaimed: "Shot 
the best blood-hound in Louisiana, did ye ! Stick 
a bayonet into young Davis, wo n't ye ! " until 
Frank, smarting with the pain, determined to de- 
fend himself. 

" Unhand me, you scoundrel ! " he shouted ; 
"I've had just about enough of this." Turn- 
ing fiercely upon his persecutor, he snatched the 
ramrod from his hand, and commenced laying it 
over his head and shoulders. The rebel, after 
trying in vain to defend himself, retreated precipi- 
tately, amid the jeers of his comrades, and shouts 
of derision from the mate. The sergeant here 
thought it time to interfere, and Frank and the 
mate were not again molested. 



96 



FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 




CHAPTER YI. 

HEY found that the rebels Lad cap- 
!^j tured nearly twenty of their men, 
several of them badly wounded, 
and, as there was no surgeon with the 
enemy, the poor fellows were suffering 
intensely. Frank shuddered when he 
thought of the inhuman treatment to 
which his wounded companions had been subjected 
by the very men in whose power they now were, 
on the march from Yicksburg to Shreveport ; and 
he knew, from the scenes through which he had 
just passed, that the Wild-cats had not grown 
more lenient in their treatment of those who were 
so unfortunate as to fall into their power. As 
soon as they were placed under guard. Jack's 
hands were unbound, and he seated himself on the 
ground beside his officer, in no very amiable mood. 



AX OLD ACQUAINTANCE. 97 

" It is n't for myself that I care, sir," said he ; 
"but I am afraid that the treatment you will re- 
ceive will be a heap worse nor keel-haulin' on a 
cold Avinter's mornin'." 

"Don't talk so loud, Jack," whispered Frank, 
glancing toward the guard, who was walking his 
beat but a short distance from them. "I've been 
in just such scrapes as this before, and I'm not 
going to be strung up. If they give me the 
least chance for life, I 'm going to take advantage 
of it." 

"There comes a boat from the ship, sir," said 
the mate. "If we could only give them the sUp 
now." 

"No, sit still; we are watched too closely; wait 
until to-night." 

In a short time the cutter reached the shore, 
and an officer, whom they recognized as the gun- 
ner, sprang out with a flag of truce in his hand. 
He walked straight up to Colonel Harrison. 
After a short conversation with that individual, 
he handed him a letter, and, accompanied by a 
rebel officer, approached the place where Frank 
was sitting. 

"Well, old fellow," he said, as he came up, 
7 



98 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURO. 

*'I'm sorry to see you in this fix. But I've got 
good news for you. The colonel has given me 
permission to inform you that you will be well 
treated as long as you remain a prisoner. You 
see, we happen to have a prisoner who belongs to 
this regiment on board the flag-ship, and the cap- 
tain is going to ask the admiral to exchange him 
for you. So keep a stiff upper lip. Do n't think 
of trying to escape, and we shall see you on board 
of the ship again in less than a week. Good-by." 

"Frank and the mate shook hands with the 
gunner, who walked back to the place where he 
had left his men, and set them to work collecting 
and burying the dead. 

After considerable trouble, an agreement was 
entered into between Captain Wilson and the col- 
onel, and all the prisoners, with the exception of 
Frank and the mate, were paroled and allowed to 
return on board the vessel, after which the Wild- 
cats mounted their horses and commenced march- 
ing back into the country. While the fight had 
been raging, their horses were safely hidden in the 
woods, out of range of the Ticonderoga's guns ; 
and when they were brought out, Frank, although 
he had not seen either a dead or wounded rebel, 



AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE. 99 

was al)lc to judge pretty accurately of the number 
that had been disabled in the struggle, by count- 
ing the empty saddles. What had been done with 
the dead and wounded he could not ascertain ; 
but the probability was, that the latter had been 
carried on in advance of the main body of the 
regiment, and the former hastily buried on the 
field. The prisoners were each given a horse, 
and Frank was a good deal surprised to find that 
although the mate was closely watched, scarcely 
any attention was paid to himself; his captors, no 
doubt, thinking that he would prefer waiting to be 
exchanged, rather than run the risk of the pun- 
ishment that had been threatened in case he was 
detected in any attempt at escape. He was given 
to understand that it was useless to think of flight, 
for he would certainly be recaptured, even if he 
succeeded in getting outside of the pickets, and 
that he would be shot down without mercy. But 
Frank, who well knew that the rebels would not 
willingly lose an opportunity of regaining one of 
their officers, was not at all intimidated by these 
threats ; and, as he had not bound himself to 
remain a passive prisoner, he commenced laying 
his plans for escape, intending to put them into 



100 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

operation at the very first opportunity which 
offered. 

Just before dark the column halted in front of a 
plantation, and commenced making its camp on 
each side of the road. While the men were mak- 
ing their preparations for the night, the colonel, 
who evidently preferred more comfortable quarters 
than could be found in the open air, repaired to 
the house, where he was cordially greeted by its 
inmates. 

Frank and the mate lay down on the ground by 
the side of the road, and were talking over the in- 
cidents of the day, when a dashing young lieuten- 
ant stepped up, and inquired : 

" Yanks, do n't you want something to eat ? 
Come into our mess ; we want to talk to you. I "11 
hold myself responsible for their safe return," he 
continued, turning to the guard. 

This individual, after a few moments' consider- 
ation, concluded that the "Yanks could pass," 
and the prisoners followed the lieutenant to the 
place where the members of the mess to which he 
belonged were seated on the ground, eating their 
suppers. 

" Sit down, Yanks, at the very first good place 



AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE. 101 

you can find," said their host. '' Our chairs have 
been sent on board one of your gun-boats to be 
repaired, and the sofa has n't come in yet. Do 
you ever have as good a supper as this on board 
your men-o'-war?" 

" yes," repUed Frank, glancing at the dif- 
ferent dishes that were scattered about over the 
ground, which contained corn-bread just raked out 
from the ashes, salt pork, onions, and boiled 
chicken, the latter evidently the fruits of a raid 
on some well-stocked hen-roost. "0 yes, we live 
very well on board our boats. There is nothing 
to hinder us, if we have a caterer worth a cent." 

"Where do you get your grub?" asked the 
lieutenant. "We steal every thing along the 
shore that we can lay our hands on, just to keep 
it away from you, and there are no provisions at 
the North." 

"Well, you need not believe any such story as 
that," answered Frank, who could not help laugh- 
ing outright at the idea of the people at the North 
having no provisions to spare. " I never knew a 
gun-boat to be short of rations, except down the 
Yazoo Pass." 

" Well, then, some of our folks tell what is not 



102 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

the truth/' said one of the officers, who had not 
yet spoken. "But, to change the subject, how 
many men did you lose in the action to-day ? " 

" I am not able to tell," replied Frank. " I see 
that you have taken good care to hide your loss. 
I have n't seen a single wounded man since I have 
been with you, and I know I saw several drop 
during the fight." 

"Yes, we did lose a few men," said the lieu- 
tenant; "how many, you will never know. But, 
to change the subject again, what did you come 
down here to fight us for ? " 

"Now, see here," said Frank, setting down his 
plate, which had been plentifully supplied by the 
lieutenant, "you were kind enough to ask me 
here to get some supper, and I do n't want to 
spoil a good meal by entering into a political dis- 
cussion ; for, if I answer your question, I shall 
tell you some pretty plain things, and I know you 
will get provoked at me." 

"0 no, we are not as unreasonable as that," re- 
plied the man. " Answer my question." 

"Well, then," said Frank, "I will make the 
same reply as I once did to that question in the 
prison at Shreveport. It is this : I believe that if 



AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE. 103 

ever there was a lot of men in the world who need 
a good, sound thrashing, you rebels do." 

"That's the truth, sir," said Jack, talking as 
plainly as a mouthful of salt pork would permit. 
" Stand up for the old flag, sir.' 

The discussion thus commenced was maintained 
for an hour, the rebels evincing the utmost igno- 
rance in regard to the principles for which they 
were fi^htinoj ; and the manner in which Frank 
knocked their flimsy arguments right and left, and 
the fearlessness with which he upheld the course 
the government has pursued, and predicted the 
speedy overthrow of the rebellion, excited their 
respect and admiration. 

At length bedtime came, and, just as Frank 
and the mate were about to be conducted back to 
the guard. Colonel Harrison, accompanied by two 
ladies and a strange officer, walked up. 

" Here, Yank," he exclaimed, addressing Frank, 
" here 's an old acquaintance of yours. Come 
here." 

As Frank obeyed the order, the strange officer 
advanced to meet him, and he recognized Lieu- 
tenant Somers. He was not at all pleased to see 
him, for the lieutenant, doubtless, had not forgot- 



104 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

ten the circumstances connected with his capture, 
and although he could not remember of ever hav- 
ing treated him badly, still he feared he might 
harbor some feelings of malice, and might see fit 
to take a summary revenge upon him. To his 
surprise, however, the rebel eagerly advanced to 
meet him, and, extending his hand, greeted him 
with : 

" How are you, Nelson ? You 're in a fix, I 
see. I am the free man now, and you the pris- 
oner." 

" Yes," answered Frank, " I 'm in for it again, 
Although I was captured in violation of all the 
rules of war, I suppose I must submit to it for 
awhile." 

The lieutenant passed nearly an hour in con- 
versation with him, talking over all the little inci- 
dents that had happened while he was a prisoner 
in the hands of Frank and his fellow-fugitives, 
and was compelled to pilot them through the 
country, and ended by saying : 

"Although you were sometimes obliged to use 
me rather roughly, you did the best you could 
•under the circumstances, and I shall let you see 
that I do n't forget favors. I '11 speak to the 



AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE. 105 

colonel, and get him to furnish you with quarters 
at the plantation to-night." 

The lieutenant then left them, and shortly 
afterward a corporal and his guard came up, and 
conducted Frank and the mate to the plantation, 
where they were confined in a deserted negro 
cabin. A few blankets had been spread out on 
the floor to serve as a bed, and, had they been 
among friends, they could have passed a very 
comfortable night. 

As soon as the corporal had locked the door 
and retired, the mate, who had been examining 
their quarters, said : 

" I wish, sir, that lieutenant had n't taken so 
much interest in you, 'cause we 're in Darby now, 
sure." 

"We are much better ofi* than we would be out 
in the camp," answered Frank. " Try that win- 
dow-shutter — carefully, now." 

The mate did as he was ordered, and, to 
Frank's joy, reported that it was unfastened. 

" Now," said the latter, " the next thing is to 
ascertain where the sentries are posted." 

" There 's one out aft here," replied the mate, 
" 'cause I can see him : and there 's one at the 



106 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

gangway for'ard, 'cause I heered the corporal tell 
him to keep a good look-out." 

*' "VVe must wait until the camp is still," said 
Frank, " and then we will make the attempt." 

For two long hours the prisoners sat on their 
rough bed — the mate, in accordance with the dis- 
cipline to which he had been accustomed from 
boyhood, Waiting for his officer to speak, and 
Frank listening for the advent of that silence 
which should proclaim that the time for action 
had arrived. 

Eleven o'clock came at length, when, just after 
the sentry's cry of "All's well," Frank arose 
to his feet, and cautiously approaching the win- 
dow, pushed open the shutter and looked out. 
The sentry was seated on the ground at the cor- 
ner of the cabin, holding his musket across his 
knees, now and then stretching his arms, and 
yawning. Jack remained seated on the bed, 
while Frank debated long and earnestly with 
himself as to what course it was best to pursue. 
Should they spring out and overpower the sentry 
where he sat? This could not be accomplished 
without a fight, for the sentry was a large, power- 
ful-looking man, and, without doubt, possessed of 



AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE. 107 

• 

great strength ; besides, if a struggle did ensue, 
the noise Avoukl attract the attention of the guard 
at the other side of the cabin, who would lend 
prompt assistance, and, with these two men op- 
posed to them, escape would be impossible. Still, 
there seemed to be no other course for them to 
pursue, and Frank had already proposed the plan 
to the mate, and was about to push open the 
shutter and make the attempt, when he noticed 
that the sentinel had leaned his head against the 
cabin, and was sleeping soundly. 

"Jack," he whispered, ''get out of this win- 
dow quickly, and make the best of your way into 
those bushes," pointing to a thicket that stood 
about twenty feet from the cabin. "As soon as 
I see you safe, I will follow. Do n't make any 
noise now." 

The mate touched his cap, lingered for an 
instant to press Frank's hand, then mounted 
lightly into the window, reached the ground 
without arousing the rebel, and, in a moment 
more, disappeared in the bushes. Frank was 
about to follow when the sentry suddenly awak- 
ened, rubbed his eyes, gazed vacantly about him, 
and then sank back to his former position. As 



108 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

soon as Frank felt certain that he was asleep, 
he again opened the shutter, descended noiselessly 
to the ground, and, after carefully closing tho 
"window, sprang into the bushes. 

" Shiver my timbers, sir," whispered Jack, 
seizing his officer's hand, " that was well done. 
Won't the Johnnies be surprised when they call 
all hands in the morning, and find us missin'?" 

But the fugitives were by no means safe, neither 
had their escape been accomplished. They were 
still inside of the lines, and might, at any moment, 
stumble upon a picket. But it was necessary 
that they should get as far away from the camp 
as possible before their escape became discov- 
ered, and Frank, without waiting to receive the 
congratulations of the mate, who now looked upon 
their escape as a certain thing, threw himself on 
his hands and knees, and moved slowly across 
a field that extended a mile back of the cabin, 
and which must be crossed before they could 
reach the woods. Their progress was slow and 
laborious, and it was two hours before they 
reached a road which ran in the direction in 
which they supposed the river to lie. Not hav- 
ing seen any pickets, and now feeling quite certain 



AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE. 109 

that tliey were outside of tlie lines, they arose 
to their feet, and commenced running at the top 
of their speed. The road ran through a thick 
woods, but they had no difficulty in following 
it, a3 the moon was shining brightly. Just be- 
fore daylight, they arrived at the Mississippi. 
It was a pleasant sight to their eyes, and both 
uttered a shout of joy when they found them- 
selves standing on its banks. But their spiints 
fell again, when, on glancing up and down the 
river as far as their eyes could reach, they could 
BOt see a vessel of any kind in sight. They were 
not yet at their journey's end. There might be 
a gun-boat close by, hid behind one of the numer- 
ous points that stretched out into the river, or 
there might not be one within a hundred miles. 
They must not linger, however, for they were not 
free from pursuit until they were safe on board 
some vessel. 

Sorrowfully they bent their steps down the 
river, listening for sounds of pursuit, and eagerly 
watching for signs of an approacliing steamer; 
but the day wore away, and the fugitives, who 
began to feel the effects of hunger, halted, and 
were debating upon the means to be used in 



110 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

procuring food, when, to their joy, they discov- 
ered smoke around a bend, and, in half an hour, 
a transport, loaded with soldiers, appeared in 
sight. They at once commenced waving their 
hats, to attract the attention of these on board, 
who evidently saw them, but being suspicious that 
it was a plan of the rebels to decoy them into 
shore, turned ofif toward the opposite bank. 

" I should think they ought to see us," said 
Frank, and he commenced shouting at the top of 
his lungs. A moment afterward a puff of smoke 
arose from the forecastle, and a twelve-pounder 
shot plowed through the water, and lodged in the 
bank at their very feet. It was then evident to 
them that they had been taken for rebels. After 
watching the boat until it disappeared, they again 
turned their faces down the river. Night over- 
taking them without bringing any relief, the fugi- 
tives, hungry and foot-sore, lay down in the woods 
and slept. 



A CLOSE SHAVE. 



Ill 



CHAPTER VII 



im$ Bhubt. 




^^- -^ HEN the morning came they bent 
their steps clown the bank, keep- 
ing in the edge of the woods to pre- 
vent surprise, but not far enough 
from the river to allow any boat 
that might chance to pass to escape 
their observation. They again be- 
gan to feel the fierce pangs of hunger, which 
they endeavored to alleviate by chewing twigs 
and roots. But this affording them no relief, 
the mate finally proposed that they should turn 
back into the country and ask for food at the 
first house they could find. Recapture was 
preferable to starving to death. Frank easily 
turned him from his purpose by assuring him that 
they would certainly be picked up during the 
afternoon, or on the following morning. But 



112 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

night came, without bringing them any relief, and 
the tired and hungry fugitives again lay do^yn 
in the woods and slept. 

About noon, on the next day, they found 
themselves on the banks of a wide and deep 
ravine, that ran across their path. To climb 
up and down those steep banks was impossi- 
ble; their wasted strength was not equal to the 
task. Their only course was to follow the ravine 
back into the woods until they could find some 
means of crossing it. After wearily dragging 
themselves for two hours over fallen logs, and 
throuo;h thick, tanMed bushes and cane-brakes 
that lay in their path, they emerged from the 
woods, and found before them a small log-hut, 
standing close to a bridge that spanned the ra- 
vine. Hastily drawing back into the bushes, they 
closely examined the premises, which seemed to 
be deserted, with the exception of a negro, whom 
they saw hitching a mule to a tree at the back 
of the cabin. 

" I do n't see any white men there. Jack," said 
Frank. " I think we may safely ask- that negro 
for something to eat. I hardly think there is any 
danger, for, if he should attempt mischief, w^e 



A. CLOSE SHAVE. 113 

could soon overpower him. "What do you say ? 
Shall we go up?" 

"Just as you say, sir," answered the mate. 
" But let us first get something to use as a be- 
laying-pin, in case any body should run foul of 
our hawse." 

The fugitives procured two short clubs, and 
moved out of the woods toward the cabin. The 
negro immediately discovered them. At first, 
he rolled up his eyes in surprise, and acted very 
much as if he was about to retreat ; but, after 
findins that the two sailors were alone, his face 
assumed a broad grin, which the fugitives took for 
a smile of welcome. 

When they had approached within speaking 
distance, Frank inquired : 

" Well, uncle, is there any chance for a hungry 
man to get any thing to eat in here ? " 

"Plenty ob it, massa," answered the negro. 
" Go right in de house." 

The fugitives, far from suspecting any treach- 
ery, were about to comply ; but Frank, who was 
in advance, had scarcely put his foot on the 
threshold, when two rebel soldiers sprang out of 
the cabin, and one of them, seizing him by the 
8 



114 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

collar, flourished a huge bowie-knife above his 
head and demanded his surrender. So sudden 
was the assault that Frank, for a moment, was 
deprived of all power of action. But not so with 
the mate, who, retaining his presence of mind, 
swung his club about him with a dexterity truly- 
surprising, and brought it down with all the 
force of his sturdy arms upon the head of the 
rebel, who, instantly releasing his hold, sank to 
the ground with a low groan. But before he 
could repeat the blow, three more soldiers sprang 
from the cabin, and, in spite of their struggles, 
overpowered them ; not, however, until the mate 
had been stunned by a blow from the butt of a 
pistol. 

" "Wal, I '11 be dog-gone ! " exclaimed one of the 
rebels, ^'but this is a lucky haul of Yankees. 
Tom, get some water and throw it into the cap- 
tain's face," pointing to theii* prostrate compan- 
ion, " an' fetch liim to. The rest of you, get 
some ropes an' tie these fellers' hands behind 
them." 

While the men were executing these orders. 
Frank had time to scan the countenances of his 
captors. They evidently did not belong to the 



A CLOSE SHAVE. 115 

Wild-cats, for, although that regiment was com- 
posed of most ferocious-looking men, thoy ap- 
peared like gentlemen compared with those in 
whose power he now found himself. These were 
a dirty, ragged, blood-thirsty looking set of men, 
and, unless their countenances belied them, they 
were capable of any atrocity. 

Presently, the men who had gone into the ca])in 
returned with some pieces of cord, with which 
they proceeded to confine the hands of their 
prisoners, who ofiered no resistance. By the 
time this was accomplished, the man whom the 
mate had handled so roughly had been restored 
to consciousness, and supported himself against 
the cabin to collect his thoughts, while the others 
stood silently by, as if awaiting his orders. 

" Get every thing ready," he said, at length, 
"and let the job be done at once. It needs no 
judge or jury to decide the fate of these men, 
knowing, as we do, what has befallen those of our 
number who were so unfortunate as to fall into 
the hands of the Federals." 

The rebels, in obedience to the order, brought 
out of the cabin two pieces of rope, which they 
took to a tree that stood close b}^, and, coiling 



116 FRANK BEFORE VICKSCURQ. 

them up in their hands, threw one end over a 
limb that stretched out about six feet from the 
ground, and fastened them there. 

"Douse my top-hghts," exclaimed the mate, as 
he witnessed these proceedings, " but it is all up 
with us, sir. They 're going to swing us to the 
yard-arm." 

The horrid truth was too apparent, and Frank 
was so completely unnerved that he was com- 
pelled to lean against the cabin for support. He 
was soon aroused by the voice of the leader of 
the rebels, who said : 

" This is to be done in retaliation for an order 
issued by Admiral Porter, stating that he would 
hang all 'guerrillas,' as he termed them, who 
might be caught firing into transports along the 
river. You can see the effect of that order right 
here. Out of a company of a hundred of us who 
entered the army at the commencement of the 
war, you see all that are left. The remainder 
have been killed or captured by you gun-boat 
men. Those captured have suffered the penalty 
of that order. They were no more guerrillas, 
however, than you are, but were regularly sworn 
into the service, and were detailed to harass the 



A CLOSE SHAVE. 117 

enemy in every possible manner; and, for obeying 
our orders, some of us Lave been strung up like 
dogs. We shall continue to retaliate on you un- 
til our government receives notice that the order 
has been countermanded. I will give you an 
hour, and at the end of that time you must 
swing." 

" If you must execute us," said Frank, in a 
husky voice, "why not let us die like men, and 
not like criminals ? " 

"My men would have preferred to be shot," 
Baid the rebel, "but were not allowed the privi- 
lege of choosing." So saying, the captain turned 
on his heel and walked away, while Frank seated 
himself on the threshold of the cabin, and re- 
peated his sentence with a calmness that made 
him think his senses were leaving him. Could 
it be possible that he had heard aright, and 
that he was in reality a condemned man? When 
he had entered the service, the thought that 
he should be killed had never once occurred to 
him. He had fully and confidently expected that 
he would be permitted to live to see the end of 
the war, and to return home to enjoy the society 
of his friends once more. Could it be possible, 



118 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

then, that, after indulging in such bright anticipa- 
tions, he must end his life in that desolate place, 
away from home and friends, in so terrible a man- 
ner? He could not convince himself that it was 
a reality. But there was the tree, with thfe ropes, 
and the fatal noose at the end, dangling from the 
limb; and there were those blood-thirsty looking 
men lounging in the shade, and only waiting until 
the hour granted by their leader should expire to 
begin their horrid work. 0, the agony of that 
moment, when he could look forward and count 
the very seconds he had to live ! An hour ! IIow 
often and how lightly had he spoken of it ! For 
an hour in the life of one moving about at free- 
dom in the world, not knowing when death will 
come, and, as is too often the case, scarcely giv- 
ing the matter a moment's thought, is a space of 
time of very little importance ; is carelessly spoken 
of, and, when passed, no notice is taken of its 
flight. But an hour to a person condemned to 
die, who has heard his sentence, and who is bound, 
and watched over by armed men, that he may not 
escape from that sentence; who is in the full pos- 
session of all his faculties ; who can look abroad 
upon the beauties of nature, and feel the soft 



A CLOSE SHAVE. 119 

breeze of heaven fanning his cheek, but who 
knows that, at the end of that time, he will be 
deprived of all these faculties; that his life will 
be suddenly and terribly terminated — in the case 
of such a person, who can describe the thoughts 
that "make up the sum of his heart's fevered 
existence ? " 

It seemed to Frank that scarcely five minutes 
of the allotted time had passed, when the leader 
of the guerrillas arose from the ground where he 
had been sitting. The signal was understood by 
his men, two of whom approached the prisoners, 
and conducted them toward the scaffold. The 
mate had been encouraged by the example set 
him by his officer, and both walked with firm 
steps; their faces, although pale as death itself, 
being as expressionless as marble, and bearing not 
the slightest trace of the struggle that was going 
on within them. Without the least hesitation they 
took their stand on a log under the tree, and the 
fiital ropes were adjusted. Their farewells had 
been said, and the leader of the rebels had made 
a signal for the log to be removed from under 
their feet, when suddenly there was a sound of 
approaching horsemen, and the next moment a 



120 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

party of the Wild-cats galloped up, headed by 
Colonel HaiTison and Lieutenant Somers. A few 
harshly-spoken orders rung in Frank's ears; he 
saw the leader of the guerrillas fall, pierced by a 
dozen bullets, and then all was blank to him. 

* * jfi ;}c ^ Jlc :{? 

Let us now return to the Wild-cats, whom Frank 
and the mate had so unceremoniously deserted. 

The escape was not discovered until morning, 
when the orderly sergeant went to the cabin to 
call them. It was scarcely dayhght, and quite 
dark inside of the cabin, and as the sergeant 
opened the door, he vociferated : 

" Come, Yanks ! get out of this and get your 
grub!" 

The echo of his own voice was the only reply 
he receiv^ed. After waiting a moment, he re- 
peated the summons in a louder tone, and still 
received no answer. 

^' I '11 be dog-gone if them ar Yanks do n't sleep 
at the rate of more 'n forty miles an hour," said 
the sergeant to himself, as he entered the cabin 
and commenced feeling around in the dark to 
find his prisoners. "Come now, Yanks!" he ex- 
claimed, " none of your tricks. I know you 



A CLOSE SUAVE. 121 

heorcd me. Get up, I say, and get your grub, 
for it is high time we were movin'." 

Still no answer. The rebel finally threw open 
the window-shutter, and by the straggling rays of 
light that came in, he found, to his utter amaze- 
ment, that his prisoners were gone. With one 
bound he reached the open air, and without pay- 
ing any attention to the inquiries of the guard as 
to what was the cause of his strange behavior, he 
started for the house, where he hurriedly asked 
for the colonel. 

""What's the matter now, sergeant?" inquired 
that gentleman, appearing at the door with his 
boots in his hand. 

"The prisoners, sir," began the sergeant 

""Well, what's the trouble with them?" asked 
the colonel, who was very far from guessing the 
facts of the case. " "Won't the lazy Yankees get 
up ? Punch 'cm with your bayonet a little if they 
get unruly; that will put life into them, and keep 
them civil at the same time." 

" I could manage them easy enough, sir, if 
they were here," answered the sergeant ; " but, 
sir, they" 

" If they were here,'' repeated the colonel, who 



122 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

now began to suspect the truth. " If they were 
here ! Have you allowed them to escape ? " 

" No, sir, we did n't let them ; they went with- 
out asking us ! " 

" A plague on you lazy scoundrels," shouted 
the colonel, in a rage. " Let loose that blood- 
hound at once, and pursue them. No ; stop ! 
Tell the officer of the day that I want to see 
him." 

The sergeant started off to execute the order; 
and the colonel, after pulhng on his boots, entered 
the house, where Lieutenant Somers and the 
people of the plantation were assembled, awaiting 
breakfast. 

"What's the matter, colonel?" inquired the 
lieutenant. "Any thing wrong?" 

" Do n't bother me with your foolish questions 
now," replied the colonel roughly, pacing up and 
down the floor with angry strides. " It 's enough 
to upset any one's patience. That little Yankee 
has escaped again." 

" Escaped ! " repeated all in the room, holding 
up their hands in astonishment. 

" Yes ; escaped — gone — mizzled — cleared out," 
said the colonel, frantically flourishing his arms 



A CLOSE SHAVE. 123 

above his head ; " and unless I catch him, which 
I don't expect to do, I'm short a captain, for 
he Tvas to have been exchanged for one of my 
officers." 

At this moment the officer of the day entered, 
and the colonel, turning to him, continued : 

" That rascally little Yankee has escaped again. 
I thought I had him safe this time, but he has 
succeeded in giving me the slip when I least ex- 
pected it. That sailor that we captured with him 
has gone too. Send a squad in pursuit of them 
at once. Use the blood-hound, but hold him in 
the leash, and do n't injure either of the prisoners 
if you can avoid it." 

The officer bowed, and left the room ; and the 
colonel, after giving orders that the case should 
be investigated, in order to see who was to blame 
in allowing the prisoners to escape, mounted his 
horse, and, accompanied by Lieutenant Somers, 
set out in pursuit of the squad, which had already 
started and was following the trail of the fugi- 
tives, led by a large blood-hound, wdiich was kept 
in check by a chain held by one of the men. In 
a couple of hours they arrived at tlie place where 
Frank and the mate had been fired upon by the 



12-4 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

steamer, and here the trail was lost. After sev- 
eral hours spent in unavailing search, the squad 
separated, and, for two days, scoured the country 
every-where, looking in vain for traces of the 
fugitives. 

At the end of that time, the colonel, com- 
pletely disheartened, collected his forces, and was 
returning to the plantation, when they were met 
by a negro, in a great state of excitement, who 
anxiously inquired for the commanding officer. 

" Get away from me, boy," shouted the colonel, 
impatiently, " and do n't bother me now." 

" But, sar," persisted the negro, '' Massa 
Thorne done kotched two white gemman, an' be 
gwine to kill 'em, shore." 

"Bill Thorne in this part of the country 
again!" said the colonel. "He'd better keep 
clear of me. He and his pack of horse-thieves 
are more injury to us than a Yankee gun-boat ; ' 
and the colonel, without waiting to hear any more, 
put spurs to his horse, and galloped off. 

" These two white men he caught," said Lieu- 
tenant Somers, "what were they? Yankees?" 

The negro replied in the affirmative, and then 
proceeded to give a full and complete description 



A CLOSE SHAVE. 125 

of the prisoners, so that the lieutenant knew in 
a moment that they were Frank and the mate. 
After questioning him as tojhe locality where the 
execution was to take place, he galloped down the 
road, and soon overtook the colonel, to whom he 
related the circumstance. The latter at once or- 
dered part of his men to follow him, (directing 
the others to keep on the trail, so that, in case 
the negro was misleading them, no time would 
be lost.) As we have seen, he arrived just in 
time to save his prisoners; one moment more, 
and he would have been too late. 

The guerrillas were so completely surprised 
at the approach of the cavalry, and so dismayed 
at the death of their leader, that they did not 
think of retreat until it was too late. The Wild- 
cats had surrounded them, and the sight of half 
a dozen revolvers leveled at their heads caused 
them to throw down their weapons and cry for 
quarter. 



126 FRANK BEFOPtE VICKSBUUG. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

?^fe.:5^^IIEN Frank's consciousness returned, 
he found himself lying on the floor 
of the cabin, where the fight had 
taken place -which resulted in his 
capture by the guerrillas, his head 
supported by a dirty blanket, rolled 
up to serve as a pillow, and the 
mate sitting on a three-legged chair beside him. 
Through the open door could be seen a squad 
of the "Wild-cats, lounging under the shade of the 
trees. 

Slowly the recollection of the scenes through 
which he had passed, the sentence he had heard 
pronounced, the preparations he had seen made 
for his execution, came to his mind, and he in- 
stinctively put his hand to his throat, as if expect- 
ing to find it encircled by the fatal rope. 




TAKING DOWN THE CAPTAIN. 127 

"Are you on an even keel now, my hearty?" 
asked the mate. 

" Where are the guerrillas, Jack ? " asked Frank. 
"Are we safe?" 

" yes, we 're safe from them, but we are still 
prisoners." 

At this moment a shaggy head, nearly covered 
irp with a slouch hat, was thrust in at the door, 
and a voice inquired : 

"Are you all right now, Yank? If you are, 
come out here, for we must be off." 

Frank, although very weak, was able, with the 
assistance of the mate, to walk out of the cabin, 
where they found several of the rebels mounted, 
and waiting for them. They were each given a 
horse, after which the Wild-cats closed about 
their prisoners, as if to put all further attempts 
at escape out of the question, and conducted 
them down the road at a rapid gallop. 

As soon as Frank's ideas had fairly returned, 
he began to make inquiries in regard to the sin- 
gular manner in which he and the mate had been 
rescued, and learned that the men by whom they 
had been captured were guerrillas, in spite of 
what they had said to the contrary; that they 



128 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

made war on rebel as well as Union people, and 
being especially obnoxious to Colonel Harrison — 
from whom they had stolen several horses — they 
had been summarily disposed of. At first Frank 
could scarcely credit the statement that they had 
been rescued through the agency of the very 
negro to whom they owed their capture ; but, 
after being assured that such was the case, it 
occurred to them that their approach had first 
been discovered by the rebels in the cabin, and 
that the negro, to save his own life, had acted 
in obedience to their orders ; and then, to make 
amends for what had at first appeared to be an 
act of treachery, he had conveyed the news of 
their capture to Colonel Harrison. 

As soon as they had fairly started, the orderly 
sergeant galloped up beside Frank, and inquired : 

" Yank, how did you get out of that cabin that 
night ? Nobody do n't seem to know nothing 
about it." 

" I have already told him, sir," said the mate, 
"that we walked by the sentinel when he was 
asleep ; but he do n't believe it." 

Frank then proceeded to give an account of the 
manner in which their escape had been effected, 



TAKING DOWN THE CAPTAIN. 129 

and as it corresponded with the mate's story, the 
sergeant was compelled to believe it. 

" Piirty well done," said he. ^' But, mind you, 
do n't go to tryin' it on agin, 'cause, if you do, 
it 's the colonel's orders that you both go in double 
irons." 

Having delivered this piece of information, the 
sergeant rode up to the head of the column. The 
prisoners did not again attempt to escape, for 
they knew that it would be an impossibility. 
They were closely watched, not a single move- 
ment escaping observation. Wherever they went, 
two stalwart rebels were at their heels; and when 
tliey slept, their guards stood over them with 
loaded muskets. That same evening they over- 
took the main body of the regiment, and on the 
sixth day after their rescue from the guerrillas, 
tliey arrived opposite the village of Napoleon, 
where the exchange was to take place. The Ti- 
conderoga was not there, but two days afterward 
she made her appearance; and, as soon as she 
had dropped her anchor, a boat was seen ap- 
proaching the shore with a flag of truce flying in 
the bow. The colonel waved his handkerchief in 
reply. As the boat drew near, Frank saw two 
9 



130 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

men in rebel uniform seated in the stern-sheets, 
and he knew, from the remarks made by the 
Wild-cats, that one of them was the oflBcer for 
whom he was to be exchanged. 

As soon as the boat touched the shore, the 
executive officer sprang out, followed by the two 
rebels. After a moment's conversation with the 
colonel, the former advanced toward Frank and 
the mate, and, after greeting them cordially, ex- 
claimed : 

" Come aboard the ship, boys ; you belong to 
Uncle Sam once more." 

The mate could scarcely believe that he, too, 
was exchanged. He had expected nothing less 
than a long confinement in Yicksburg, or per- 
haps a march to Shreveport ; but, as it hap- 
pened, the captain of the Ticonderoga had found 
a rebel soldier on board the flag-ship, and had ob- 
tained permission from the admiral to exchange 
him for the mate. 

" Yes, Yanks," said the colonel, " you are at 
liberty to make yourselves scarce as soon as you 
choose." 

The prisoners lingered only to shake hands 
with Lieutenant Somers, who had treated them 



TAKING DOWN THE CAPTAIN. 131 

very kindly, and had often found means to pro- 
cure tliem many little privileges and comforts, 
and then ran down the bank and sprang into the 
boat, which at once pushed from the shore and 
started toward the Ticonderoga. As Frank came 
over the side, the officers crowded around him, 
asking innumerable questions in relation to the 
treatment he had received while in the hands of 
the rebels ; but he was scarcely allowed time to 
answer one-half of their inquiries before he was 
summoned into the presence of the captain. 

That gentleman greeted him in the most cordial 
manner, requesting him to be seated and relate 
his adventures. Frank gave a minute description 
of the manner in which he had transacted the 
business intrusted to him with the flag of truce, 
his recapture by the Wild-cats, and the circum- 
stances that had led to the retention of the boat- 
swain's mate ; recounted the plans he had laid for 
their escape, their reception by the guerrillas, 
and, finally, the rescue from a horrible death, to 
all of which the captain hstened attentively. 
After Frank had finished, the captain said : 

" It is, of course, needless to say that I am 
overjoyed to see you safe on board the ship 



132 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

again, Mr. Nelson, and that you have returned 
none the worse for your sojourn among the rebels. 
I am especially glad, because I wish to make you 
an explanation. You have been misrepresented 
to me, and I was very hasty in reprimanding you 
as I did on the day that you behaved so gallantly 
in the fight at Cypress Bend. It was on account 
of the report of Mr. Howe, who assumed command 
of the expedition 'after the captain had been killed. 
His report showed that we had been severely 
whipped ; and when I learned what a slaughter 
there had been of the men I placed under your 
command, and which I find, upon inquiry, was 
caused by the ignorance of your superior officer, 
and not by any fault of your own — I say, when 
I heard of this, I was so completely disheartened 
that I scarcely knew what I was about. It was 
the first time that ever an expedition that I had 
planned failed, and also the first time in my life 
that 'I ever gave the order to retreat; and as I 
had every reason to hope for success, you can 
have some idea of how I felt. After you had 
gone, many facts came to light, of which no men- 
tion was made in Mr. Howe's report, and with 
•which I was, of course, unacquainted, and I find 



TAKING DOWN THE CAPTAIN. 133 

that I have done you a great injustice. If ever 
a man earned a shoulder-strap, you did at that 
fight. I have, however, sent in your application 
for a court of inquiry, and have also represented 
the case to the admiral. As soon as wo arrive 
at the flag-ship, you will report to him, and he 
will investigate the case." 

Frank, as can easily be imagined, listened to 
this statement with a much lighter heart than 
when he had received that unjust reprimand. 
After the captain had finished questioning him 
in relation to incidents that had transpired during 
his captivity, he left the cabin, and went forward 
into the steerage, where he found his mess just 
sitting down to dinner. 

" Well, Frank," exclaimed Keys, as the former 
entered and took his place at the table, " was the 
captain glad to see you ? " 

" Yes, he appeared to be," rephed Frank. 

"I thought as much. He has been as uneasy 
as a fish out of water ever since you were cap- 
tured. He told the executive officer that if there 
was any thing he had ever done that he regretted, 
it was that he had given you that blowing up. 
He said that he had no right to talk to you as he 



134 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

did, and that he ■would make amends for it at the 
very first opportunity." 

" Did he ? " inquired Mr. French, eagerly. " I 
"was certain that the navy regulations state dis- 
tinctly that the captain of a vessel has no right 
to reprimand an officer, and that, if he does do it, 
he can be made to apologize. He once gave me 
a blowing up, and said that I was of no more ac- 
count on this ship than an extra boiler ; and, if 
he has apologized to Mr. Nelson, he must do the 
same by me. I '11 go and see him immediately 
after dinner." 

The effect of this speech on the older members 
of the mess can be easily imagined. They looked 
at Mr. French for a moment, to see if he was 
really in earnest, and then burst into a fit of the 
most uproarious laughter. The idea of forcing 
the captain of a gun-boat to apologize to one of 
his subordinate officers for administering a repri- 
mand that he really deserved, was ludicrous in 
the extreme. Mr. Keys was the only one who 
could keep a straight face. He, with his ready 
wit, at once saw that here was a capital chance 
to satisfy his love of mischief. He dropped his 
knife and fork, looked first at one, then at an- 



TAKING DOWN THE CAPTAIN. 135 

other, and, wlien the noise had subsided, said, 
quietly : 

" I do n't sec where the laugh comes in. Per- 
haps some of you gentlemen think that an ofificer 
has no right to demand an apology from a supe- 
rior ! Then I can tell you that you are very 
much mistaken, for I have got the whole thing in 
black and white, copied from the navy regula- 
tions ; and, if I was in Mr. French's place, I 
would make the captain take back what he said, 
or I would report him." 

"We must pause here, for a moment, to say that 
the result of Mr. French's interview with the 
captain, when the former had complained that his 
rank was not respected, had become known. Mr. 
Keys, who had overheard every word of it, and 
who was one of those uneasy, mischief-loving 
fellows who always liked to see some one in 
hot water, considered the joke as too good to be 
kept, and had told it, confidentially of course, 
first to this oflicer, then to that one, until every 
person on board the ship had become acquainted 
with the particulars ; and thus far Mr. French had 
been compelled to bear the jokes of his mess- 
mates without any chance of obtaining redress. 



136 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

However, he had discovered it at last. The cap- 
tain had apologized to Frank, and he must do the 
same by him, if he wished to keep out of trou- 
ble. He was certain that he should succeed this 
time, for he knew that Keys had been in the serv- 
ice long enough to become well acquainted with its 
rules and regulations, and there was such apparent 
truthfulness and sincerity in what he said, that 
Mr. French was certain of bringing the captain 
to terms. 

"Yes, sir," repeated Keys; "if my superior 
officer abuses me, I shall seek redress. Because 
a man wears three or four stripes of gold lace 
around his arms, he has no right to impose upon 
me." 

"I shall see the captain about it as soon as 1 
have finished my dinner," said Mr. French, de- 
cidedly. 

"You had better let that job out," said the 
caterer, who, being a very quiet, staid sort of a 
person, did not wish to see any disturbance. 
"You will remember that you got a blowing up 
once for not taking my advice. I have been in 
the navy longer than you, and you had better 
listen to me." 



TAKING DOWN THE CAPTAIN. 137 

**I know that you have more experience than 
myself," answered French ; " but that experience 
doesn't tell you that a captain can use me as 
he pleases. I have rank as well as he has. 
Besides, you see, I have the advantage this 
time." 

" Yes, sir," chimed in Keys, winking at Frank, 
who struggled hard to suppress a laugh, ^'and, 
if you will only push the matter, you will see 
some fun on this ship." 

Here the subject was di'opped. Immediately 
after dinner was finished, as usual, the officers 
all congregated under the awning on -the main- 
deck. Mr. French walked up and down the deck, 
conversing earnestly with his two friends, who, 
entirely ignorant of what might be the conse- 
quences of such a step, were urging him to seek 
an interview with the captain, to demand an apol- 
ogy, which would certainly be given, and would 
show the ship's company that they had rank, and 
that it must be respected. 

Frank had for some time missed Keys, and 
was wondering what had become of him, when he 
discovered that individual on his hands and knees 
behind the pilot-house, beckoning eagerly. Frank 



138 FRANK BEFORE YICKSBURG. 

walked toward him carelessly, so as not to attract 
the attention of Mr. French and his friends, and, 
as he came up. Keys said, in a hurried ^Yhisper : 

" See here, Nelson ; you know I told French 
that I had the rules and regulations all copied 
down in my order-book. Now, it has just oc- 
curred to me that he might want to see them ; so 
I want to write something to show him. I can't 
get to my room without his seeing me, so I wish 
you would lend me your key." 

Frank accordingly produced it ; but his con- 
science reproved him when he thought in what an 
unpleasant position his friend was endeavoring to 
place Mr. French. 

"Look here. Keys," said he, "I propose that 
you do n't carry this joke any further. It will get 
the poor greenhorn in a bad fix." 

" I can't help it," returned Keys. " I have 
often volunteered to give him advice, and have 
tried to convince him that if he ever wants to un- 
derstand his business he must make use of some- 
body's experience besides his own. But he has 
always snapped me up very short. Now, if he 
wants to learn by experience, I '11 help him all I 
can." 



TAKING DOWN THE CAPTAIN. 139 

So saying, Keys crawled off on his hands and 
knees toward Frank's room, where he locked him- 
self in, and the latter returned to the main-deck. 
About an hour afterward Keys made his appear- 
ance, walking rapidly across the deck, as if 
searching for something that he was in a great 
hurry to find, and thus attracted the attention of 
Mr. French and his two friends, who took him 
familiarly by the arm and led him forward, out of 
ear-shot of the other officers, who were still seated 
on the main-deck. 

" See here. Keys," said French, " I understood 
you to say that you had the regulations in re- 
lation to the treatment of subordinate officers, 
copied in your order-book. Will you allow me 
to look at them?" 

"Ah, yes," said Keys, "I remember. Here's 
something that relates to it;" and he produced 
his memorandum-book, and pointed to an article 
hastily written in lead pencil, which ran as fol- 
lows : 

^^And be it further enacted: That, as in the maintenance 
of his authority over his officers on shipboard, it is ren- 
dered necessary that the commanding officer should, in all 
. cases, treat his subordinates as gentlemen, all harsh words 
from a commanding officer to an officer of lower grade are 



140 FRANK BEFORE YICKSBURG. 

hereby strictly prohibited ; and in all cases where the com- 
mander is guilty of a violation of this act, the person 
aggrieved shall be, and is hereby, authorized to seek re- 
dress.'' 



"There, gentlemen," exclaimed Mr. French, 
after he had carefully read the article, " is an 
act of the American Congress, which authorizes 
me to seek redress. All harsh words in the navy- 
are strictly forbidden ; and if the captain does 
not apologize for what he said to me, I '11 re- 
port him." 

"You will please excuse me, gentlemen, for the 
present," said Keys, who was finding it exceed- 
ingly difficult to control himself. " The turret 
must be got ready for inspection at sundown;" 
and, thrusting the book in his pocket, he walked 
rapidly below. 

Mr. French immediately moved aft, and, draw- 
ing himself up very stiffly, said to the orderly: 

" Tell the captain that I have business with 
him." 

The marine disappeared, and soon returned 
with a request that he would walk into the cabin. 
The captain was seated at his table, writing ; but, 
as the mate entered, he di'opped his pen, turned 



TAKEsO, DOWN TUE CAPTAIN. 141 

in his cliair, and waited for liim to make known 
his wants 

" Captain," began Mr. French, hesitatingly, 
for he scarcely knew how to commence the con- 
versation, " I — I — I — have been reading the 
navy regulations, and I find that I have been 
abused." 

"Who has abused you, sir?" 

""Well, you see, sir," began the mate 

" I asked you who had been abusing you, sir," 
interrupted the captain. "Answer my question, 
and make your explanations afterward." 

"Well, sir, to come to the point, you have 
abused me, sir." 

The captain started back in surprise, and 
looked at the mate for several moments, as if to 
make sure that he was in his right mind, and 
then quietly asked : 

"How have I abused you, sir?" 

"In reprimanding me, sir. The navy regula- 
tions distinctly state that a commanding officer 
has no right to use harsh words to his subordi- 
nates ; and I demand an apology." 

" Can you furnish me with a copy of those 
regulations ? " 



142 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

"Yes, sir; Mr. Keys has them," replied the 
mate; and he left the cabin, and commenced 
searching for that individual. 

"We should remark that Mr. Keys was pretty 
well aware that he would be likely to get him- 
self into hot water. Wishing to delay the inter- 
view between himself and the captain as long as 
possible, he had retreated to the hold, where he 
appeared to be very busily engaged ; but, as soon 
as Mr. French made known his errand, he readily 
produced his book, glad indeed that he was to 
be let off without seeing the captain. The mate 
carried it into the cabin. The captain read over 
the article several times, and then arose from 
his seat, and, going to one of the after-ports, 
appeared to be busily engaged with his own 
thoughts. Mr. French stood watching him with 
a smile of triumph, certain that the captain had 
been worsted, and that he would soon receive the 
required apology; but, had he been a keen ob- 
server, he would have seen that the captain was 
convulsed with laughter, which he was vainly en- 
deavoring to conceal. He easily saw through the 
trick, and it reminded him of the days when he 



TAKING DOWN TILE CAPTAIN 143 

was a midshipman, and had been implicated in 
similar jokes 

"Mr. French," said he, at length, "you may- 
retire for a few moments. I will send for you 
presently. Orderly, tell Mr. Keys that I wish to 
Bee him." 



lU 



FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 



CHAPTER IX. 

jR. KEYS, who began to be really 
afraid that the plan he had adopted 
for assisting his green messmate 
to " learn by experience " was about 
to rebound with redoubled force on 
his own head, was found by the or- 
derly in earnest conversation with 
Frank, to whom he always went for advice. 

"It's gettmg hot, Nelson," said he. "What 
shall I do ? I 'm in for my share of the rations 
this time, sure." 

"Make a clean breast of it," replied Frank. 
"You will only get yourself in trouble if you do 
not, for the captain knows exactly how the matter 
stands." 

The mate had already determined to make a 
full confession; but, nevertheless, his feelings, as 




A TRACTICAL JOKE. 145 

he entered the cabin, were not of the most pleas- 
ant nature. His reception, however, was far dif- 
ferent from what he had expected. The captain, 
as we have seen, was one of the most reasonable 
men in the world, if approached in the proper 
manner, and if he saw that an officer endeavored 
to do his duty, he was very patient with him ; 
if he found that a reprimand was necessary, it 
was administered in the most friendly manner ; 
but if he once took it into his head that an of- 
ficer had willfully, or through neghgence, omitted 
a portion of his duty, then, as the ship's company 
used to remark, it was " stand from under." Mr. 
Keys was a great favorite with the captain, as he 
was with all his brother officers, who admired his 
dashing style and his good-natured disposition. 
He was never idle, but was always hurrying about 
the ship, as if the well-being of every person on 
board depended upon himself, and, as a conse- 
quence, his duty was always done, and the deck of 
which he had charge was kept in the nicest order. 
As he entered the cabin the captain greeted 
him with a smile. Pointing to a chair, he in- 
quired, as he commenced turning over the leaves 
of the memorandum-book : 
10 



146 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

" Mr. Keys, is this some of your work ? " 

"Yes, sir," answered the mate. 

"Well, what in the world possessed you to 
hoodwink Mr. French in this manner?" 

"Because, sir, he has often informed me, when 
I have undertaken to instruct him, that he wishes 
to learn every thing by experience, sir. I have 
been assisting him." 

" Do you think he has improved any with your 
help?' 

"Yes, sir; he has learned that his authority in 
the mess-room is not equal to that of the caterer." 

" Well, I thought you had a hand in that affair," 
said the captain, "and now I wish to give you a 
piece of advice. I, myself, have often been in 
such scrapes as this, and have been brought up 
with a round turn. This reminds me of a little 
incident that happened while I was a midshipman 
on the Colorado. The story has grown old by 
this time, but it will he considered a good one as 
long as the navy shall exist. There were eight of 
us in the mess, and wliile we were lying at the 
navy-yard we had nothing to do but to play tricks 
upon each other, and upon every one who came in 
our way. Our ship was commanded by a commo- 



A PRACTICAL JOKE. 147 

dore who never bothered his head about us so \onrr 

o 

as we remained within bounds. As is always tlie 
case, we abused our privileges, grow's bolder by 
degrees, until finally the commodore taught us a 
lesson that we never forgot. 

"One pleasant afternoon, as we were lounging 
about the decks, waiting for something to turn 
up, we saw a green-looking specimen of humanity 
come over the side, and, in an instant, were on 
the alert. He, probably, had never been on board 
of a man-o'-war before, for he stared with open 
mouth at every thing he saw. Here was a chance 
for us, and as soon as the officer of the deck had 
walked aft, out of sight, w^e collared the country- 
man, and led him back to our mess-room. 

" ' By gum, but you have got every thing nice 
here,' said he. ^I'd like this. better than workin' 
on a farm.' 

"^Ah, you ought to go up in the commodore's 
cabin if you want to see something nice,' said a 
midshipman, who was our leader in all sorts of 
mischief. ^ But, look here, my friend, if you wish 
to remain with us, you must have on a uniform. 
No civilians are allowed to stay here.' 

** We all took this as a hint, and commenced 



148 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

rigging the Yankee out in our clothes. One fur- 
nished him -vN'ith a coat, another a pair of pants, 
another a cap, and I gave him a sword that had 
just been presented to me. 

"*Now,' said our leader, ^do you want a good 
dinner — one of the very best?' 

" * Sartin,' replied the countryman. ' Got any ? ' 

"'No; but the commodore has, and it is just 
about his dinner time.' 

" We then explained to him that he must go up 
to the cabin and tell the commodore that he had 
just been ordered to the ship; and, in accordance 
with his usual custom, the old gentleman would be 
certain to invite him to dinner. 

"'He is very cross sometimes,' said we, 'but 
do n't be at all afraid of him — he does n't mean 
any thing. Talk to him as though he was your 
father.' 

" ' By gum, I kin do that,' said the Yankee, 
and off he walked, while we took up a position 
where we could hear and see all that passed. 

" The commodore was seated at his desk, 
writing, and the countryman at once walked up 
to him, slapped hira familiarly on the shoulder, 
and shouted: 



A PRACTICAL JOKE. 149 

"^ Hullo, ole hoss! how dc do? Shake hands 
with a feller, won't ye ? ' 

"The commodore looked up in surprise, and 
ejaculated : 

" ^ Eh ! What do you want here ? Get out of 
this. Away you go.' 

" < no, ole hoss , not by a long shot,' replied 
the Yankee, coolly seating himself in the nearest 
chair. 'Them ar young fellers down stairs told 
me to come up here and git some dinner ; and, by 
gravy, I ain't goin' till I git it ; so fetch it on.' 

" Of course, it was as plain as daylight to the 
commodore that we were at the bottom of the 
whole affair, for the countryman never would 
have had the audacity to act in such a manner, 
unless some one had put him up to it, and he de- 
termined to punish us in a manner that we had 
not thought of.' 

"'Look here, my man,' said he, * do you see 
that soldier out there ? ' pointing to a marine that 
was pacing back and forth before the gangway. 
*Well, he has got a loaded musket, and unless 
you get off this ship instantly, he will shoot you. 
Now, away you go, you land-lubber, and don't 
stop to talk to any body.' 



150 FRANX BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

"We saw our victim moving off, and were con- 
vulsed with laughter at what we considered to be 
the best joke we had ever perpetrated. ^Ye sup- 
posed, of course, that he would return with our 
clothes, but you can imagine our astonishment 
when we saw him walk down the gang-plank and 
out on to the wharf. We held a hurried consulta- 
tion, and then I started for the cabin, and, mak- 
ing my best bow, asked permission to step ashore 
for a moment. 

"'Ko, sir,' replied the commodore; 'no shore 
liberty is to be granted to-day.' 

" In short, we all lost our clothing — every thing 
that we had loaned the countryman — and a more 
crest-fallen set of midshipmen one never saw. 
We endeavored to keep the affair a secret, but 
the commodore told it to the first lieutenant, and 
from him it soon spread, until the entire ship's 
company were acquainted with the particulars. 
We were very careful after that, and never under- 
took to play any more jokes on the commodore. 
There are many things objectionable in this cus- 
tom — for I can call it nothing else — which is so 
general among young officers, of playing off tricks 
upon each other; and your jokes are getting a 



A PRACTICAL JOKE. 151 

little too practical. If you must iudul^^e in them, 
I Avish you would endeavor to keep them out of 
the cabin, for I don't like to be bothered. That 
YfiW do, sir." 

Mr. Keys retired, highly pleased with the re- 
sult of his interview with the captain, and went 
straight to Frank, to whom he related every thing, 
and showed him the sham '' regulation " in his 
memorandum-book, which had been the cause of 
so much merriment. 

Mr. French was soon afterward seen to emerge 
from the cabin, where he had listened to a lengthy 
lecture, containing advice which, if followed, would 
in future prevent all difficulty. Of course, all the 
officers were soon made acquainted with the affair, 
and many were the inquiries, in Mr. French's 
hearing, as to what kind of an apology the cap- 
tain had made. It is needless to say that he was 
fully convinced that " experience is a hard task- 
master," and that it is well enough, especially on 
shipboard, to take advice. 

A few days after the events which we have 
just been relating transpired, the Ticonderoga 
arrived at Yazoo River. In obedience to his 
orders, Frank reported on board the flag-ship. 



152 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

Owing to a press of business, it was nearly a 
yfeek before the court of inquiry was convened. 
Scarcely an hour was passed in the examination 
of the witnesses, during which time the main 
facts of the case were developed, Frank com- 
pletely vindicated, and Mr. Howe, who had re- 
ported him, was sent on board of ship in disgrace. 
The same evening the former received his promo- 
tion as acting ensign, accompanied by orders to 
report on board of the Trenton for duty. 

"I am very glad, for your sake, Mr. Nelson," 
said the captain, "to be able to give you this 
promotion, but very sorry for my own. I regret 
exceedingly that you are detached from this vessel, 
but it is something over which I have no control. 
I am perfectly satisfied with your conduct since 
you have been with me. If you will attend to 
your duties in future as well as you have since 
you have been here, I will answer for your rapid 
advancement." 



NEW MESSMATES. 153 




CHAPTER X. 

HE next morning, immediately after 

l^J quarters, the second cutter was 

B;2^ called away : and Frank, after see- 



ing his luggage safely stowed away in 
her, shook hands with his brother offi- 
cers, who had gathered on the quarter- 
deck to see him off, and started toward 
his new vessel. 

The cutter had made, perhaps, a dozen yards 
from the Ticonderoga, when Frank observed a 
commotion among the crew assembled on the 
main-deck, and the old mate, mounting one of the 
boat-davits, shouted : 

" Three cheers for Mr. Nelson ! " 
The cheers were given with a will, and Frank 
answered them by taking off his cap. It was one 
of the happiest moments of his life. He knew 



154 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

that -while attached to the Ticonderoga he had en- 
deavored to do his whole duty. The shoulder- 
straps which he wore showed that his services had 
been appreciated by the captain, and the hearty 
expression of good feeling which had just been 
exhibited by the men, afforded abundant proof 
that he had left no enemies among them. 

When he arrived alongside of the Rover, he 
found the officer of the deck, boatswain's mate, 
and side-bovs standino; on the after-oruard, and 

I/O O / 

Frank was "piped over the side" with all the 
ceremony due his rank. It made him feel a httle 
embarrassed at first, for never before had so much 
respect been shown him. But he knew that he 
had won the uniform he wore by hard knocks, 
and was more entitled to this honor than those 
who sported ensign's shoulder-straps which had 
been obtained, not by any skill or bravery of their 
own, but by the influence of friends at home. 

Frank made known his business, and was im- 
mediately shown down into the cabin. The cap- 
tain, who had often met him on board of the 
Ticonderoga, and who had heard of his exploits, 
greeted him cordially, and was glad to learn that 
he had received such an acquisition to his crew. 



NEW MESSMATES. 155 

When lie had indorsed Frank's orders, he sent for 
the chief engineer, to whom he introduced him, 
with a request that he might be made acquainted 
with the other officers of his mess ; after which 
Frank was shown to his room, whither his lug- 
gage was soon conveyed. 

Just before supper he was introduced to the 
officers belonging to the ward-room mess; but 
when he had seated himself at the table, and list- 
ened a few moments to the conversation that fol- 
lowed, he found that some of his iiew messmates 
went by names very different from those by which 
they had been introduced. One of the ensigns, 
whose name was Andrews, was known as Count 
Timbertoes, from the very dignified manner in 
which he always conducted himself, and from his 
wooden-leg style of progression. 

The executive officer, whose name was Short, 
answered to its opposite — Long ; and sometimes, 
behind his back, he was called " Windy." Frank 
was not long in discovering why it was that such 
a name had been given him, for he was certainly 
the most talkative man he had ever met; and 
when asked the most simple question, instead of 
answering it by a plain Yes or No, he would " beat 



156 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURO. 

about the bush," and deliver a regular oration on 
the subject. He had a great command of lan- 
guage, and seemed desirous of making every one 
whom he met acquainted with the fact. 

The paymaster went by the name of Young 
Methuselah. He was a man about twenty-seven 
years of age, but the account kept by one of the 
engineers, who messed in the steerage, made him 
about two hundred and eighty years old. There 
was scarcely a trade or profession in the world 
that, according to his own account, he had not fol- 
lowed for five or ten years. He had been a shoe- 
maker, a painter, a grocer, a horse-jockey, and an 
editor; had practiced medicine, traveled in Eu- 
rope, and, when a mere boy, had been master of 
as fine a vessel as ever sailed out of Boston. He 
was a " self-made man," he said, and early in life 
had started out with the intention of seeino: the 
world. This was the reason he gave for following 
so many difi'erent occupations. 

Unlike the rest of the officers, he disliked very 
much the name they had given him, and had often 
complained to the caterer of the mess, and finally 
to the captain. The former took no measures to 
correct it, and the latter " did n"t want to be 



NEW MESSMATES. 157 

troubled with mess affiiirs," and so the paymaster 
was compelled to bear his troubles, which he did 
with a very bad grace, that only made matters 
tenfold worse. It was a noticeable fact, however, 
that, whenever any of the officers were in need of 
money, he was always addressed as Mr. Harris, 
but as soon as the money had been obtained, or 
the safe was empty, he was plain Methuselah 
again. 

The chief-engineer's name was Cobbs, but he 
went by the name of Gentleman Cobbs, from the 
fact that he was always dressed in the bight of 
fashion, sported his gold-headed cane and patent- 
leather boots about decks, and had never been 
known to "do a stitch of work" since he had been 
on board the vessel. 

These names were, of course, applied only in 
the mess-room, for the captain was a regular 
naval officer, a very strict disciplinarian, and any 
such famiharity on deck would have brought cer- 
tain and speedy punishment on the offender. On 
the whole, Frank was very well pleased with his 
new messmates ; they seemed to be a set of gen- 
erous, good-natured men, and, aside from the 
grumbhng of the paymaster, which was kept up 



158 FRANK BEFORE YICKSBURG. 

Tvithout intermission from morning until night, but 
which received no attention from the other mem- 
bers of the mess, every thing passed off smoothly. 
The ward-room was kept scrupulously clean and 
neat, and the manner in -which all the delicacies 
of the season were served up bore testimony to 
the fact that, although Gentleman Cobbs was very 
much averse to work, he well understood the 
business of catering, and was fond of good living. 

After dinner, the officers belonging to both the 
steerage and ward-room messes congregated on 
the main-deck, under the awning, to smoke. Dur- 
ing the conversation the carpenter, who went by 
the name of " Chips," remarked, as he wiped the 
big drops of perspiration from his forehead : 

" This boat is intolerable. I would like to be 
where I was six years ago this summer." 

"Where was that?" 

" I was in a whale-ship, off the coast of Green- 
land. I was tired enough of it then, but now 
I 'd like to have just one breath of air off those 
icebergs." 

" So would I," said the paymaster. " It would 
be so refreshing." 

At this, a little, dumpy man, who had sat lolling 



NEW MESSMATES. 159 

back in his chair, with his hat pushed down over 
his eyes, and his cigar, which he had allowed to go 
out, pointing upward toward his left cheek, started 
up, and carelessly inquired: 

" "Were you ever there, sir ? " 

"Yes, when I was a youngster. I went up 
there just to see the country. I spent five years 
on the voyage." 

The dumpy man made no answer, but tliere was 
a roguish twinkle in his eye, as he drew a little 
memorandum -book from his pocket, and, after de- 
liberately placing it on his knee, proceeded to 
make the following entry, on a page which was 
headed "Chronological Tables," and which was 
covered on one side with writing, and on the other 
by a long column of figures : 

Paymaster spent on voyage to Greenland 5 years. 

After adding up the column of figures, he closed 
the book and returned it to his pocket. Then, 
turning to the paymaster, he quietly remarked : 

" Four hundred and eighty-five years old ! 
That 's doing well — extremely well. You do n't 
look as old as that, sir. You won't find one man 
in five hundred hold his age as well as you do." 



160 FRANK BEFORE VICKSCURG. 

The effect of this speech on the officers sitting 
around was ludicrous in the extreme, and hud the 
party been in the mess-room the dumpy man 
might possibly have been obliged to "run a race" 
"with a boot-jack, or any other missile that came 
handy to the paymaster; but as it was, the latter 
was compelled to choke down his wrath, and leave 
the deck. 

Frank also found that these strange cognomens 
were common in the steerage ; one, in particular, 
he noticed. It was a master's mate, who went by 
the name of "Nuisance." He was as "green" 
as he could possibly be, and, although he seemed 
to try hard to leai-n his duty, was continually 
getting himself into trouble. He had a room off 
the quarter-deck, (the same that Frank was to 
occupy,) but seemed to prefer any other room 
than his own ; for, when off' watch, he would take 
possession of the first bunk that suited his fancy; 
and, not unfrequently, boots, neck-ties, collars, 
etc., which had been missed, were found upon his 
person. It was not his intention to steal them, 
for the articles were always returned after he had 
worn them to his satisfaction. If an officer went 
into his room to write, or to engage in any other 



NEW MESSMATES. 161 

business at wliicli lie did not wish to be disturbed, 
the mate Avas sure to be on hand, and hints were 
of no avail ; nothing but a direct " Clear out — I 
do n't want you in here," would have the desired 
effect. It was this habit that had given him the 
name he bore. One would suppose that after re- 
ceiving so many rebuffs he would cease to trouble 
his brother officers ; but he seemed to be very dull 
of comprehension. The executive officer scolded 
him continually. Finding that it did no good, 
the officers were obliged, as a last resort, to keep 
their rooms locked. Had the mate been of a 
surly, unaccommodating disposition, he would not 
have got off so easily; but no one could have the 
heart to report him, for every one liked him. 
He was always cheerful, ready to do any one a 
favor, and was generous to a fault. Frank at 
once took a liking to his new room-mate, but, 
having been duly instructed by the others, he 
took particular pains to keep all his wearing ap- 
parel, when not in use, safely locked in his trunk. 
11 



162 



FRANK BEFORE VICKSCURG. 




CHAPTER XI. 

RANK'S past history soon "be- 
came known to every one on 
board the Trenton, for several of the 
crew had acquaintances on board of 
the Ticonderoga, and when they were 
allowed liberty, had taken pains to in- 
quire into the character of their new 
officer. He was scarcely allowed time to become 
settled down in his new quarters, before he was 
given an opportunity to establish his reputation 
amonor his messmates. Information was received 

o 

that the rebels were intending to cross a large 
body of cavalry about twenty miles above the 
Yazoo River, and the Trenton was ordered up 
the Mississippi to prevent it, if possible. 

For several days they patroled the river near 
the suspected point, but nothing unusual was 



A GOOD night's WORK. 1G3 

peon; neither could any intelligence of tlie con- 
templated move be obtained from the people on 
shore. There were several houses on the beat, 
and in one of them lived a Frenchman, who, as he 
said, having claimed the protection of his own 
country, was not compelled to bear arms ; neither 
was he at all interested in the war. It was near 
his house, however, that the crossing of the cav- 
alry was to take place, and the captain of the 
Trenton thought that this neutral Frenchman 
would bear watching. 

Although there were several white women on 
the premises, he was the only man who had been 
seen; and he seemed to be in constant anxiety 
lest the rebels should confiscate a large drove of 
cattle he had at a pasture back in the country, 
and was in the habit of riding out twice each week 
to "see to them," as he said. There was some- 
thing suspicious in this, for persons as much in 
want of provisions as the rebels were reported to 
be — as they had gathered up all the stock in the 
country for miles around Vicksburg — would not 
be likely to respect such property, although it did 
belong to a neutral. 

The captain and his officers mmgled freely with 



164 FRANK BEFORE TICKSBURG. 

the people, Avho appeared to be eager to com- 
municate all the plans of the rebels with Avhich 
they had become acquainted. Frank, as usual, 
was on the watch; and if he sometimes paid a 
visit to the house, he was more frequently seen 
questioning the negroes — of whom there were 
about half a dozen on the plantation, the others 
having been compelled to leave their master to 
work on the fortifications — who were either pro- 
foundly ignorant of what was going on, or else 
were true rebels. There was one negro, in par- 
ticular, in whom the young officer was interested. 
He was a tall, muscular fellow, black as midnight, 
about whom there was a kind of sneaking, hang- 
dog look that Frank did not hke. lie always 
accompanied his master on his trips to attend his 
cattle, and Frank felt confident that if any one 
about the plantation knew of any thing suspicious 
going on, it was this negro; but, in spite of his 
efforts, he could not find an opportunity to talk 
with him, for the negro was generally in the com- 
pany of his master, and, when alone, seemed to 
take particular pains to avoid the young officer. 
This was enough to arouse his suspicions, and he 
determined to watch him closely. He reported 



1G5 



the matter to the captain, who readily granted his 
request that he might be allowed to spend his time, 
when off watch, on shore. 

A week passed, but nothing had been devel- 
oped. At length, one morning the Frenchman 
prepared to pay his usual visit to the country. 
The negro was to accompany him, and as Frank 
saw them about to move off, he inquired, care- 
lessly : 

"Haven't you got another horse? If you 
have, I should like to go with you." 

"0, no," answered the man, quickly, "I have 
no other horse ; and if I had, it would n't do for 
you to go, for you would certainly get captured." 

This set Frank to thinking. The Frenchman 
had often told him that there were no rebels in 
that section of the country, and now his excuse 
for not wanting company was that Frank would be 
captured. There was something suspicious in this. 
After seeing the man depart, he hailed the ship 
for a boat, and as soon as he arrived on board, 
sought an interview with the captain. 

"I do not believe, sir," said he, "that this 
Frenchman owns any stock in the country. It 
is my opinion that he goes out there to hold com- 



166 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

munication with the rebels. He's a sort of spy 
and messenger-boy, and relies on his nationality 
to protect him from suspicion." 

Frank then related the particulars of what had 
transpired at the house, and the captain readily 
agreed with him. But the question was, how to 
proceed, in order to ascertain what was going on, 
and what kind of information was furnished the 
rebels. It was impossible to follow the men on 
their trips without being discovered; neither was 
it policy to seize the man, accuse him of treachery, 
and compel him to confess the truth, for the plot, 
whatever it was, might not be completed, and it 
might be necessary to keep the Frenchman in ig- 
norance of the fact that his complicity with the 
rebels had become known, in order that, when the 
work was completed, it might be finished up en- 
tirely. 

"Well, to tell the truth," said the captain, 
rising from his chair and pacing up and down the 
cabin, "I really don't know how to act. That 
something is wrong, I have long been satisfied; 
but I don't know how to go to work to find out 
what it is." 

"I believe I can find it out, sir," said Frank, 



A GOOD night's WORK. 167 

who, with his usual promptness, had determined 
upon a phin. " They will return this afternoon 
about three o'clock, and, with your permission, I "11 
see what I can do." 

"Very well," replied the captain, in a tone 
which showed that he did not anticipate his suc- 
cess. "Go ahead; but be careful not to excite 
their suspicions." 

Such a commission as this — something requir- 
ing skill and judgment — was just what suited 
Frank, and, having laid his plans, he felt confident 
of success. At half-past two a boat was called 
away, and he, in company with the mate — both 
armed with revolvers — went on shore. Frank 
walked up to the house and seated himself on 
the portico, while the mate, previously instructed, 
strolled off toward the barn. 

There were two officers in the house belonging 
to the vessel, and Frank had spent but a few 
moments in conversation with them, when the 
Frenchman and the negro rode up. The former 
dismounted and greeted the officers with apparent 
cordiahty, but Frank scarcely noticed him, for his 
eyes were upon the negro, who rode off toward 
the barn to put up the horses. Frank arose from 



168 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

his seat and followed slowly after him. As the 
officers were accustomed to roam wherever they 
pleased about the plantation, no notice was taken 
of his movements. When he reached the barn 
where the negro was unsaddling the horses, he 
entered and closed the door behind him. The 
negro became terrified when he found himself thus 
confronted, for suspicions that he and his master 
had been discovered instantly flashed across his 
mind. 

" Ah, I know that you are guilty, you rascal," 
said Frank, triumphantly, as he noticed the man's 
trepidation. " Come here ; I want to have a few 
moments' conversation with you on a very import- 
ant subject. Come here." 

The negro dropped the saddle which he had 
just taken from one of the horses, and stood for 
a moment undecided how to act ; then springing 
forward like a tiger, he thrust the officer aside, 
and endeavored to open the door. Quick as 
thought, Frank grappled with him, but the negro 
was a most powerful fellow, and would no doubt 
have succeeded in escaping, had not the mate 
sprang from a manger, where he had lain con- 
cealed, and felled him to the floor with a blow 



A GOOD night's work. 169 

from the butt of his revolver. For some time he 
lay insensible, in spite of the buckets of water 
•which were dashed over him ; but at length he 
began to recover. "When he was able to sit up, 
the mate stationed himself at the door to guard 
against surprise, and Frank proceeded to inter- 
rogate the ne<T;ro. 

" In the first place," said he, " I guess you have 
found that we are in earnest, have n't you ? " 

The negro felt of his head, but made no reply. 

" Now,-' continued Frank, " unless you answer 
every question I ask you, I '11 take you on board 
the ship as a prisoner. What do you and your 
master go out into the country for, twice every 
week?" 

The negro still remained silent, and Frank, 
finally growing impatient, exclaimed, ^' Here, Jack, 
take this scoundrel on board the ship; I guess we 
can find means to make him open his mouth." 

" 0, my master will kill me," whimpered the 
negro, trembhng violently. " If I do n't tell you 
every thing, you will kill me ; and if I do, my 
master will kill me, too; so I shall die any way." 

"No you won't; just tell me the truth, and I'll 
see that no one harms you. Your master need 



170 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBl'Ra. 

know nothing about it ; we shall not be likely to 
tell him. Now, what is there out in the country 
that you go to see so often?" 

" Torpedoes," replied the negro, in a low voice, 
gazing about the barn with a frightened air, as if 
he expected to see his master appear before him 
in some magical manner. 

" Torpedoes ! " repeated Frank. " Where are 
they?" 

^'In a little creek about six miles from here." 

"Who is making them? Are there any rebels 
there?" 

"Yes; there is a colonel, major, and lieutenant 
there; but my master's black men are doing the 
work." 

By adroit questioning — for the negro. was very 
careful to answer no further than he was asked — 
Frank finally gleaned the whole particulars. One 
piece of information troubled him not a little, and 
that was, an attempt was soon to be made to blow 
up the Trenton. He also learned the number of 
the torpedoes, the manner of operating with them, 
and other particulars that will soon appear. lie 
was then as much puzzled as ever, and paced the 
floor of the barn, undecided how to act. The time 



171 

Bet for tlic sinking of the Trenton was Friday 
night, (it was then Thursday), and as information 
of her movements was every day conveyed to the 
rebels, the question was, how to keep them in 
ignorance that their plot had been discovered, 
so that the work might be carried on as usual. 
There was, apparently, but one way, and that was 
to hold out inducements to the negro. 

" See here,'' Frank suddenly exclaimed, "you 
are between two fires now." 

" I know that," replied the negro, well aware 
that he was in a most precarious situation ; " I 
know that. But what am I to do ? " 

*'\Yell, this is what you must do," answered 
Frank ; " go off and attend to your business, just 
as you did before. Of course you won't be fool- 
ish enough to say a word about this meeting to 
any one around the plantation; but if every thing 
does not transpire to-morrow night just as you 
said it would, I shall think that you have been 
telling some one, and that the plot is discovered, 
and then you're a goner. But if you will assist 
me, I will take care of you ; I will take you on 
board the ship, and make a free man of you." 

The negro, who had been worked up to the 



172 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

highest pitch of terror at the turn affairs were 
taking, brightened up \Nhen the words *'free man" 
struck his ear, and Frank, who was a pretty good 
judge of human nature, could easily read what 
was passing in his mind, and knew that in the 
negro he had a faithful coadjutor. 

" Now, if you are certain that you understand 
what I mean," said he, "be off. Go out the back 
door, so that no one will see you from the house ; 
and remember that your freedom depends upon 
the manner in which you behave yourself." 

The negro arose from the floor, and speedily 
made his exit. After waiting long enough to 
allow him to reach the house, Frank and the 
mate slipped out of the front door. Giving the 
negro quarters a wide berth, they approached the 
house in a different direction from that in which 
they had left it. 

The mate had been instructed to keep the affair 
a profound secret, for, now that they had suc- 
ceeded in working out so much of the plot, they 
wished to have the honor of completing it. 

After a few moments' conversation with the 
Frenchman at the house, they repaired on board 
the vessel. 



A GOOD night's work. 173 

"I have returned, sir," said Frank, as he en- 
tered the cabin. 

"So I see," replied the captain, good-humor- 
edlj, " and have, I suppose, accomplished noth- 
ing." 

'•No, sir; I can't say that," answered Frank, 
guardedly. "I have accomplished considerable. 
I know that the Frenchman is a spy ; that he has 
daily communication with the rebels, and that his 
story of visiting his stock m the country is non- 
sense. He has about as many cattle there as I 
have." 

"Have you indeed succeeded?" inquired the 
captain, in surprise. 

"Well, no, sir, not entirely," replied Frank, 
who did not know how much it was best to tell 
the captain. "I have learned more than that, 
but it takes time to complete the work. Before I 
go further, sir, I should like authority to manage 
the affair myself. After I have gone as far as I 
have, I should n't like to be superseded." 

" That was not my intention. No one shall be 
placed over you. If you can accomplish any 
thing more, do it. But what else did you hear ? " 

Frank then related the result of the interview 



174 FRANK BEFORE YICKSBURG. 

between himself and the negro, and then left the 
cabin, -with repeated assurances that his plans for 
capturing the rebels should not be interfered 
with. 

The next day, it seemed to Frank, moved on 
laariiard winfjjs ; but afternoon came at lenp;th. He 
then went on shore, and after having learned from 
the negro that every thing was working as nicely 
as • could be wished, returned, and commenced 
making his preparations for the night's work. At 
eij^ht o'clock he again left the vessel in a small 
skiff, with two negroes for a crew, and the mate 
shortly followed in the cutter, with twenty men, all 
well armed. The former held up the river, and 
the cutter pulled in an opposite direction. The 
officers of the ship were, of course, very much 
surprised at these movements. As they had not 
been informed of what was going on, they thronged 
the forward part of the deck, watcliing the ex- 
pedition as long as it remained in sight. 

The night was dark as pitch, but it could not 
have been better for their purpose ; and Frank 
was highly delighted at the handsome manner in 
which all his plans vrere working, and which 
promised complete success. He held his course 



A ciooD night's work. 175 

up the river until he arrived at a small creek 
whose mouth was almost concealed by thick 
bushes and trees. He boldly entered this creek, 
but had not proceeded fur when a voice hailed : 

"Who comes there?" 

"Death to the Yankees," promptly replied 
Frank. 

" Why, you 're half an hour ahead of time," 
said the voice. " Did n't the Yanks see you as 
you came up ? " 

"I '11 wager a good deal they did," said another 
voice. " It would be just our luck to have the 
whole affair knocked in the head. But we'll 
make the attempt, any way. Come up here." 

It was so dark in the creek that Frank could 
scarcely see his hand before him ; but he knew 
pretty well who it was addressing him. Pulling 
up the creek, in obedience to the order, he came 
in sight of a boat lying close to the bank, in the 
shade of the bushes that hung out over the water. 
In this boat were seated three men, two of whom 
were holding in their hands several ropes that led 
to a dark object that lay in the water astern of 
the skiff. 

" Here 's the torpedo," said one of the men, as 



176 FRANK BEFOUE YICKSBURG. 

Frank came alongside, and as he spoke he passed 
the ropes over to the young officer. ^' Just drop 
silently down the river as far as you can without 
being discovered, and then cast off the torpedo, 
and let it float down on to the Trenton. We '11 
go up on the bank and watch the experiment." 

"Gentlemen," said Frank, suddenly pulling a 
brace of revolvers from his pocket, " you are my 
prisoners." 

As he spoke, the negroes threw down their oars 
and sprang into the skiff. Before the rebels could 
draw a weapon, they were powerless in the strong 
grasp of Frank's sable coadjutors. The prisoners 
were the colonel and major of whom the negro at 
the plantation had spoken. The third person in 
the boat was one of the Frenchman's slaves, who 
had rowed the boat down the creek for the rebels. 
He had jumped to his feet as if about to escape, 
but had been collared by one of Frank's negroes, 
and thrown into the bottom of the boat, where 
the fear of the revolvers kept him quiet. 

"What's the meaning of all this?" asked the 
colonel, as he struggled furiously to free himself. 

" It means," replied Frank, coolly, " that you 
are prisoners in the hands of those you sought to 



A GOOD night's work. 177 

destroy. So surrender yourselves without any 
more fuss. Make their hands fast, boys." 

The negroes, who seemed to be well prepared, 
drew from their pockets several pieces of stout 
cord, with which they proceeded to tie the arms 
of the rebels, who, finding that escape was impos- 
sible, submitted to the operation without any fur- 
ther resistance. As soon as they were secured, 
Frank made the torpedo fast to the bank, after 
which he and his men, with the prisoners, dis- 
embarked, and commenced marching toward the 
house. They had proceeded but a short distance 
when they received a challenge, to which Frank 
replied, when they were joined by three of the 
crew, who had been stationed on the bank by 
the mate, to capture the rebels, in case they 
should escape from his officer. The prisoners 
were given into their charge, and Frank continued 
his march toward the house, congratulating him- 
self that, although his work was but half done, 
he had succeeded beyond his expectations. 

The field about the house was silent as death, 

but he knew that the mate had neglected none of 

his instructions, and that trusty men were hidden 

all around him, ready at any moment to lend 

12 



178 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

effective assistance. Arriving at the door, he 
pounded loudly upon it with the butt of his re- 
volver. The summons was answered- by the 
Frenchman, who gazed upon our hero with sur- 
prise, not unmingled with a feeling of alarm. 

"I'm glad to see you," said Frank. "You're 
just the chap I want." 

The Frenchman comprehended at once that he 
had been betrayed. Drawing a pistol, he leveled 
it full at Frank's head, but before he had time to 
fire, a blow from a saber in the hands of one of 
the negroes, who had followed close behind Frank, 
knocked the weapon from his grasp. The next 
moment the back door of the room was suddenly 
opened, and the Frenchman was clasped in the 
sturdy arms of the mate. 

" Give him to some of the men. Jack," said 
Frank, "and then follow me quick, or we may be 
too late." 

The order was obeyed, and the mate, accom- 
panied by the two negroes, followed Frank, who 
led the way back to the creek where the torpedo 
had been captured. They were just in the "nick 
of time," for, as they approached, they distinctly 
heard a voice inquire : 



A GOOD night's WORK. 179 

"Where's the colonel? Here's the torpedo, 
made fast to the bank. I wonder if there is any 
thin<]: wronf]j?" 

Frank and the mate at once became more cau- 
tious in their movements, but their approach had 
already been discovered, for the lieutenant called 
out: 

^'AVho goes there?" 

"Yankees," replied Frank, stepping out from 
the bushes, with a revolver in each hand. " Come 
out here, and surrender!" 

The rebel was taken so completely by surprise 
that he seemed deprived of all power of action, 
lie could hardly realize that he was a prisoner, 
until Frank repeated his order in a more decided 
manner, adding, "I'm a good shot at that dis- 
tance." The lieutenant evidently did not doubt 
this, for he arose to his feet, and sprang out upon 
the bank. The prisoners having now all been se- 
cured, Frank collected his men and returned on 
board his vessel. 

We will now pause to explain. Frank, as we 
have seen, had learned from the negro that one 
of the torpedoes would be finished by Friday 
night; that it was to be towed down the creek to 



180 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

the river by the colonel and major, who were to 
put it in working order, and deliver it to the lieu- 
tenant, who, with two negroes to row his boat, was 
to leave the plantation at half-past eight o'clock, 
to note the exact position of the Trenton, so that, 
after getting the torpedo into position, he could 
allow it to float down upon the vessel. The 
Frenchman was to be on board, and, with the as- 
sistance of the negroes, was to capture any who 
might escape the explosion. Frank had laid his 
plans to capture the lieutenant first; but, through 
fear of creating a disturbance, or being seen from 
the house, he had been compelled to abandon the 
idea, and had started half an hour earlier, that he 
might secure the Heutenant after the capture of 
the others had been effected, and before he would 
have time to discover that any thing was wrong. 
His plans had all worked so admirably, that he 
was not a little elated with his success. It was 
a happy moment for him when he brought his 
prisoners over the side of the vessel, and con- 
ducted them to the quarter-deck, where the cap- 
tain and all the officers were waiting to receive 
them. The necessary explanations were soon 
given, after which the prisoners were ordered 



A GOOD night's WORK. 181 

below, and Frank retired to his room, well satis- 
fied with his night's work. 

The next morning an expedition went ashore, 
accompanied by the captain. After destroying 
the torpedo which had been captured the night 
before, they were conducted by the negro to the 
phice where several more were in process of com- 
pletion. These also were demolished. While 
thus encased, one of the sentinels, which Frank 
had posted a short distance up the road, fired his 
gun, and commenced retreating. Frank at once 
formed his men in line, in readiness for an attack. 
Shortly afterward a company of cavalry came gal- 
loping around a bend in the road, and fired their 
carbines at the sentinel, who ran for dear life. 
They halted, however, on seeing the preparations 
made to receive them, and the captain, taking ad- 
vantage of this, ordered Frank to fire. The mus- 
kets cracked in rapid succession, and, when the 
smoke cleared away, the sailors saw several rider- 
less horses galloping about, showing that their fire 
had been effective. 

The rebels scattered in all directions, and, dis- 
mounting, concealed themselves behind logs and 
bushes, and commenced fighting in their regular 



182 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

Indian fashion. The captain, knowing that such 
an action would not result advantageously to him, 
and having accomplished the work for which he 
had set out, ordered the sailors to fall back slowly. 
As they obeyed, the rebels commenced pursuing ; 
but the expedition reached the river without the 
loss of a single man. The officer in command of 
the vessel, hearing the firing, commenced shelling 
the woods, and under cover of this fire the sailors 
reached the ship in safety. 

The work which had been assigned the Trenton 
had not been accomplished, but as the time allotted 
for her stay had expired, she started the next 
morning to join the fleet at Yazoo River. The 
prisoners were delivered over to the commanding 
naval officer — the admiral being below the bat- 
teries — to whom a flattering mention was made of 
Frank, and the skillful manner in which he had 
performed his work. The young officer received 
the assurance that his gallant exploit should not 
be overlooked. 



IN THE TRENCHES. 183 




CHAPTER XII. 

HE day after their arrival at Yazoo 
River an officer from the flag-ship 
came on board. After holding a 
short consultation with the captain, tlie 
•der was given to get the ship under 
ay, when, as soon as the anchor was 
weighed, they steamed down the river. 
What could be the meaning of this new move ? 
"Were their services needed below Vicksburg, and 
were they about to imitate the Queen of the 
West, and run by the batteries in broad dayhght ? 
That hardly seemed to be the case, for the men 
were not called to quarters, and the officers were 
allowed to remain on deck. Every one was ex- 
cited, and many were the speculations indulged in 
as to what was to be the next duty the Trenton 
would be called on to perform. To the impatient 



184 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

men, the seven miles that lay between Yazoo 
River and Yicksburg seemed lengthened into a 
hundred; but at length they rounded the point 
above the mouth of the canal, and saw before them 
the Sebastopol of the Rebellion. It was the first 
time Frank had ever seen the city, and it was a 
sight that he would not have missed for a good 
deal. On the liights above the city, and even in 
the streets, the little mounds of earth thrown up 
showed where rebel cannon were mounted, and 
now and then a puff of smoke would rise from 
one of these mounds, and a shell would go shriek- 
ing toward the solid hues of the besiegers, which 
now completely inclosed the rebels, while an oc- 
casional roar of heavy guns told them that the 
iron-clads still kept close watch on the movements 
of the enemy below. 

The right of the army rested on the river, above 
the city, and here the Trenton landed, just out 
of range of the batteries. Preparations were at 
once ^ade to move some of the guns on shore. 
The ones selected were those belonging to Frank's 
division, and they were to be mounted in the 
batteries above the city, and about a quarter of 
a mile from the river. It was sometliing of a 



IN TUE TRENCHES. 185 

task to move the battery that distance, but Frank 
and his men worked incessantly, and on the sec- 
ond night the guns were brought to the place 
"vvhere it was proposed to mount them. The 
sailors, although almost exhausted, at once com- 
menced throwing up a battery ; but as soon as 
the day dawned, a couple of shells, whistling over 
their heads, admonished them that it was time to 
cease. After a hearty breakfast on the rations 
they had brought with them, the men lay down 
in the trenches, and, wearied with their night's 
work, slept soundly, in spite of the roar of can- 
non and the rattling of musketry that had com- 
menced as soon as it became light enough for the 
combatants to distinguish each other. But life in 
the trenches was a new thing to Frank, and he 
walked through the rifle-pits, every-where cor- 
dially greeted by the soldiers, who liked the looks 
of these big guns, with which they knew he had 
something to do, and who made their boasts that, 
as soon as the ^'beauties" were mounted an^ in 
position, they would "square accounts" with the 
rebels. There was one gun in particular that 
annoyed the soldiers exceedingly, and prevented 
them from working on the trenches. Every time a 



186 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

shell flew over their heads, they would exclaim, 
"Shoot away there, for this is your last day;" 
and Frank was obliged to promise, over and over 
again, that his fii'st care should be to dismount 
that gun. 

Frank found that, the further he went, the 
nearer the rifle-pits approached to the city ; and 
finally he came to a group of soldiers who ap- 
peared to be conversing with some invisible per- 
sons. As he approached, he heard a voice, 
which seemed to come from the ground, almost 
at his side, exclaim: 

"I say, Yank, throw over your plug of to- 
bacco, won't you? " 

" Can't see it, Johnny," replied one of the sol- 
diers. "You wouldn't throw it back again." 

" Y^es, I will, honor bright," answered the 
rebel. 

"Why," exclaimed Frank, in surprise, "I 
didn't know that you had pushed your lines so 
close to the enemy's works ! " 

"Yes," said a lieutenant, who at this moment 
came up, "there's a rebel rifle-pit not four feet 
from you." 

" Here," said a soldier, handing Frank his gun, 



IN THE TRENCHES. 187 

"put your cap on tins bayonet and hold it up, 
and you'll soon sec how far off they are." 

Frank did as the soldier suggested. The mo- 
ment he raised his cap above the rifle-pit, a bay- 
onet was suddenly thrust out, and when it was 
di'awn in, his cap went with it. 

"Now, look at that! " exclaimed Frank. "It's 
very provoking ! " 

" Aha, Yank ! you 're minus that head-piece," 
shouted a voice, which was followed by a roar of 
laughter from the rebels, and from all the soldiers 
in the rifle-pit who had witnessed the performance. 

" I 'm sorry, sir," said the soldier. " I did not 
want you to lose your cap." Then, raising his 
voice, he shouted — " Johnny, throw that cap back 
here ! " 

"0, no," answered the rebel ; " but I '11 trade 
with you. A fair exchange is no robbery, you 
know," and as he spoke a hat came sailing through 
the air, and fell into the rifle-pit. It was a very 
dilapidated looking aff'air, bearing unmistakable 
proofs of long service and hard usage. 

" Say, Yank," continued the rebel, " do you see 
a hole in the crown of that hat ? " 

"Do you call this thing a hat?" asked Frank, 



188 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

lifting the article in question on the point of his 
Bword, and holding it up to the view of the sol- 
diers. "It bears about as much resemblance to 
a hat as it does to a coffee-pot." 

"I don't care what jou call it," returned the 
rebel ; " I know it has seen two years' hard serv- 
ice. That hole you see in the crown was made 
by one of your bullets, and my head was in the 
hat at the time, too." 

"Well, throw me my cap," said Frank; "I 
don't want to trade." 

" AVhat will you give ? " 

"We will return your hat, and give you a big 
chew of tobacco to boot," said the lieutenant. 

"That's a bargain," said the rebel. "Let's 
have it." 

"We are not doing a credit business on this 
side of the house," answered Frank. "You throw 
over my cap first." 

"You're sure you don't intend to swindle a 
fellow? Upon your honor, now." 

" Try me and see," replied Frank, with a laugh. 

"Here you are, then;" and the missing cap was 
thrown into the rifle-pit, and a soldier restored it 
to its owner. It was rather the worse for its 



IN THE TRENCHES. 189 

short sojourn in the rebel hands, for there was a 
bayonet hole clear through it. 

"Say, you rebel," exclaimed Frank, "why 
did n't you tell me that you had stuck a bayonet 
into my cap?" 

"Couldn't help it, Yank," was the answer. 
"Come now, I've filled my part of the contract, 
so live up to your promise. Remember, you said 
honor bright." 

"Well here's your hat," replied Frank; and he 
threw the article in question over to its rebel 
owner. 

"And here's your tobacco, Johnny," chimed 
in a soldier, who cut off a huge piece of the weed, 
and threw it after the hat." 

"Yank, you're a gentleman," said the rebel, 
speaking in a thick tone, which showed that the 
much coveted article had already found its way 
into his mouth. "If I've got any thing you 
want, just say so, and you can have it; any thing 
except my weapons." 

Frank, who was so much amused at what had 
just taken place that he laughed until his jaws 
ached, returned his mutilated cap to his head, 
and, in company with the lieutenant, continued his 



190 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

ramble among the rifle-pits, the latter explaining 
the operations of the siege, and the various inci- 
dents that had transpired since it commenced. 
The rifle-pits, the entire length of General Sher- 
man's command, were close upon those of the 
rebels, and the soldiers of both sides were com- 
pelled to suspend operations almost entirely. If 
a man raised his head to select a mark for his 
rifle, he would find a rebel, almost within reach, 
on the watch for him. The soldiers were very 
communicative, and all along the line Frank saw 
groups of men holding conversation with their in- 
visible enemies. 

After viewing the works to his satisfaction, 
Frank accompanied the lieutenant to his quar- 
ters — a rude hut, which had been hastily built of 
logs and branches, situated in a deep hollow, out 
of reach of the enemy's shells. Here he ate an 
excellent dinner, and then retraced his steps, 
through the rifle-pits, back to the place where his 
battery was to be mounted. Throwing himself 
upon a blanket, he slept soundly until night. 

As soon as it became dark, the work of mount- 
ing the guns commenced, and was completed in 
time to allow the weary men two hours' rest before 



IN THE TREXCUES. 191 

daylight. Frank had charge of one of the guns, 
and an ensign attached to one of the iron-clads 
commanded the other. The whole was under the 
command of the captain of the Trenton. As soon 
as the enemy's lines could be discerned, Frank, 
in accordance with the promises made the day be- 
fore, prepared to commence the work of dismount- 
ing the battery which had given the soldiers so 
much trouble. He pointed his gun himself, and 
gave the order to fire. With the exception of 
now and then a musket-shot, or the occasional 
shriek of a shell as it went whistling into the 
rebel lines, the night had been remarkably quiet, 
and the roar that followed Frank's order awoke 
the echoes far and near, causing many a soldier 
to start from his blanket in alarm. A shell from 
the other gun quickly followed, and the soldiers, 
as soon as they learned that the "gun-boat bat- 
tery" had opened upon the rebel works, broke 
out into deafening cheers. They had great con- 
fidence in the "beauties," as they called the mon- 
ster guns, for they had often witnessed the effect 
of their shells, and knew that those who worked 
them well understood their business. Frank had 
opened the ball, and in less than half an hour the 



192 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

firing became general all along the line. The gun 
against which their fire Avas directed replied briskly ; 
but after a few rounds the battery got its exact 
range — an eight- inch shell struck it, and it disap- 
peared from sight. Cheers, or, rather, regular 
" soldier-yells " — a noise that is different from 
every other sound, and which can not be uttered 
except by those who have "served their time" in 
the army — arose the whole length of the line, as 
the soldiers witnessed the effect of the shot, and 
knew that their old enemy would trouble them no 
more. 

In obedience to the captain's order, the fire of 
the battery was then directed toward difi'erent 
parts of the rebel works. The "beauties" per- 
formed all that the soldiers had expected of them, 
for they were well handled, and the huge shells 
always went straight to the mark. At dark the 
firing ceased, and Frank, tired with his day's work, 
ate a hearty supper, and threw himself upon his 
blanket to obtain a few moments' rest. 

The soldiers from all parts of the line at length 
began to crowd into the battery, examining every 
part of the guns, and listening to the explanations 
given by the old quarter-gunner, who, although 



IN THE TRENCHES. 193 

almost tired out, was busy cleaning the guns, and 
could not think of rest until the battery had been 
put in readiness for use on the morrow. At 
length a man approached the spot where Frank 
was reposing, and, seating himself at his side, 
commenced an interesting conversation. Frank 
soon learned that his visitor was one of the most 
noted scouts in the Union army. He was a tall, 
broad-shouldered man, straight as an arrow, and 
evidently possessed a great deal of muscular power. 
Though ragged and dirty, like his companions, 
there was something about him that at once at- 
tracted Frank. His actions were easy and grace- 
ful, and he had an air of refinement, which was 
observed by every one with whom he came in 
contact. He was serving as a private in his regi- 
ment, and, although frequently urged to accept 
a command, always declined, for he despised the 
inactivity of camp life, and delighted in any thing 
in which there was danger and excitement. It was 
hinted that he had seen some hard times during his 
career as a scout. At length, when the conversa- 
tion began to flag, one of the soldiers asked for a 
story, and the scout, after lighting his pipe, set- 
tled back on his elbow, and began as follows : 
13 



194 FRANK BEFORE VICKSEURQ. 




CHAPTER XIII. 

^^^^^^^) OYS, the life of a scout is the most 
CS^.M^feffci^- fascinatinii, as Tvell as the most 
& dangerous one that I know of. It 
is a responsible one, too, for not un- 
frequently the safety and -well-being 
■^^/^ of the entire army depends upon our 
reports. If, while we are roaming about the 
enemy's camp, we are deceived in regard to their 
numbers and position, and our commanding officer, 
judging by our reports, thinks himself able to 
surprise and defeat them, and if, upon making 
the attack, he finds that he has been misled, we 
are responsible ; at least that is the way I have 
always looked at the matter; and many a time I 
have misrepresented cases, and have, no doubt, 
been the cause of allowing the rebels to escape, 
"when they might easily have been beaten, know- 



THE scout's story. 195 

ing that our hot-headed commander would order 
an attack, no matter how small the chance for 
for success might be. 

"Just before we started on the campaign that 
resulted in the capture of Fort Donelson, I was 
detailed to scout for head-quarters; and one day, 
while lying in my tent, heartily wishing that a 
move would be made which would put an end to 
the lazy life I was compelled to lead, one of the 
general's staff-officers entered, accompanied by a 
youth, whom he introduced to me as Mr. Hender- 
son, and informed me that he was to be my 
^partner.' 

"^He my partner!' I ejaculated. ^Is he a 
scout? What does he know about soldiering?' 

"The new-comer was rather below the medium 
hight, very slimly built, with soft, white hands, 
that looked as though they had never been ac- 
customed to hard work, and a smooth, beardless 
face. lie seemed very much out of place among 
our rough soldiers. 

"'I don't know much about scouting, that's a 
fact,' said he, with a laugh. ^But I know every 
inch of the country, and can use a rifle. I have 
been knocked about considerably since the war 



196 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

commencerl, and my fiither was hanged in Tennes- 
see for being a Union man, and I suffered all 
sorts of hardships before I succeeded in making 
my escape.' 

"The officer left us together, and, in spite of 
the chagrin I felt that a mere stripling had been 
sent to me for an associate, I was soon deeply 
interested in him, for with his almost cliildlike 
simphcity there was mingled an air of confidence 
in his own powers which drew me irresistibly 
toward him. He told me his history, and when 
he dwelt on the cruelty with which the rebels had 
treated Union men in Tennessee, and related, in 
a subdued voice, the particulars of his father's 
death, his slight frame quivered with excitement, 
and his fingers twitched convulsively, as if he felt 
the perpetrators of the deed in his grasp. He 
seemed to have the real grit in him, and I finally 
came to the conclusion that I had mistaken my 
man. I soon learned it was so, for, the very 
first time we got on a scout together, I found that 
he was made of the rio^ht stuff, and I beo^an to 
have a great deal of confidence in my youthful 
companion. I don't believe he knew what fear 
was. He was a splendid shot and an excellent 



THE scout's story. 197 

rider; in fact, he seemed to be out of his element 
unless he was in the saddle. 

"The first time that Sam (for that was my 
companion's name) had a chance to show his 
qualities was after the battle of Pittsburg Land- 
ing. One night, just after dark, we set out on 
horseback to watch the movements of the enemy. 
We were dressed in our rebel uniform, and pro- 
vided with passes which would carry us through 
our lines. The night was dark and cloudy, but 
Sam, who knew the road like a book, took the 
lead. "VVe had proceeded in this manner about 
four miles, scarcely saying a word to each other, 
when suddenly, as we came around a bend in the 
road, we found ourselves close upon a picket sta- 
tion. Several men were lying around a fire, eat- 
ing their supper; and the reason why we had not 
discovered them sooner was on account of the 
thick trees and bushes, which completely concealed 
the glare of the fire from any one coming down 
the road. How we had succeeded in passing the 
sentries, which were posted some distance from the 
station, is still a mystery to me. Either our ad- 
vance had been so still that they had not heard 
us, or else the sentries were asleep ; at any rate, 



198 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

Tve were in tlie enemy's lines before Tve knew it, 
and in something of a scrape. If we undertook 
to retreat, besides running the risk of being shot 
by the men at the fire, we should be obliged to 
pass the sentries, and we might not succeed, for 
the clatter of our horses' hoofs would certainly 
alarm them. The only way was to ride up to the 
fire and put a bold face on the matter, which we 
did, the rebels supposing that, as we had passed 
the sentries, we were all right. They at once 
took us for some of their scouts, and one of them 
inquired : 

"^How are the Yanks?' 

" ' They 're there,' I replied. * And you '11 have 
to haul in these picket posts before long, or I am 
mistaken.' 

"'How is that sentry out there?' asked the 
lieutenant in command. 

"'0, he's all right,' I answered, and seating 
myself at the fire, began to pitch into the eata- 
bles. Sam followed my example, and we enjoyed 
a very good meal, after which we smoked a pipe, 
and talked with our companions about the proba- 
bility of soon thrashing the Yankees soundly, and 
wishing that we were in the Eastern army, that 



199 

we might have the honor of carrying the secesh 
rag into Philadelphia and all the other large cities 
at the North. We also received some very valu- 
able information in regard to the rebels and their 
intended movements ; and finally, concluding that 
the general must be looking for us, we bade the 
pickets good-by, mounted our horses, and galloped 
down the road toward the rebel camp. As soon 
as we thought we had gone far enough to deceive 
the pickets, we turned off from the road and 
started through the woods, intending to take a 
wide circuit, pass the pickets, and start back for 
our own camp. We stumbled about through the 
woods for nearly an hour, and finally struck a 
road that appeared to run at right angles with 
the one we had just left. This we followed at a 
rapid gallop for about a mile, when Sam pointed 
out a light that appeared to be shining in the 
window of a house ahead of us. We at once de- 
termined to reconnoiter, and rode slowly forward 
for that purpose, walking our horses on the grass 
at the side of the road, so that our advance would 
be noiseless. We had gone but a short distance 
when we were halted. To the challenge, 'Who 
cornea there ? ' Sam replied, ' Scouts,' and throw- 



200 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

ing me his rein, he swung himself from his saddle, 
"whispering : 

"'Hold on a minute, Bill! Let me manage 
that fellow ; ' and before I could say a word he 
had disappeared in the darkness. 

" Several moments passed, when I again heard 
his voice, and riding forward, wondering how he 
had ' managed ' the sentinel, I was surprised to 
see him with a musket in his hand, pacing back 
and forth across the road. I instantly understood 
what had transpired, and leading the horses cau- 
tiously into the bushes at the side of the road, I 
fastened them there, and then returned to Sam. 

" ' I could 'nt help it, Bill,' he whispered, as I 
came up. ' I meant to capture him, and compel 
him to give us some information ; but he fought 
so desperately that I had to settle him to save 
myself.' 

"'It can't be helped; such things are not un- 
common in war times. Now you play the part 
of sentry here until some one passes, and you can 
find out what the countersign is. Then I '11 go 
up to the house and reconnoiter.' 

" I then lay down by the side of the road, and 
in a few moments Sam whispered : 



THE scout's story. 201 

"*Bill, I wonder what's the number of this 
post?' 

"*I'm sure I don't know,' I replied. 

*"Well, how am I going to find out?' he in- 
quired. * If some one should happen to come 
along without the countersign, and I should want 
to call the corporal, I would be in a nice fix, 
wouldn't I?' 

"Sam said this in such a perfectly cool and 
unconcerned manner, that I could not help admir- 
ing him. 

" Just then I heard a faint shout : 

"* Twelve o'clock! Number one. All's well.' 

" ^ There,' I whispered; 'the sentries are passing 
the call. Now look sharp.' 

"The call passed the round of the sentinels, 
until number eight was called, but a short distance 
from us. Then came a pause. 

" Sam, you 're number nine,' I hurriedly whis- 
pered. 

"'Number nine; and all's well!' shouted Sam 
at the top of his lungs. ' So far, so good,' he 
continued, in a low voice. ' Now I guess we 're 
all right. Halt!' he shouted, hearing the sound 
of horses' hoofs rapidly advancing. The horse- 



202 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. . 

man at once drew rein, and at Sam's challenge, 
ansAvered : 

"'Colonel Peckham." 

" ' Dismount, Colonel Peckham, and give the 
countersign/ 

" ' Look here, mj man, just let me pass, will 
you ? Do n't detain me, for I am on important 
business, and am in a great hurry.' 

" 'Halt,' shouted Sam again ; ' dismount.' 

"'I tell you I am Colonel Peckham, command- 
ing ' 

"'I don't care what you command. Just 
climb down off that horse instantly, or I '11 fire on 
you. You should n't go by me if you were Presi- 
dent Davis himself.' 

" The colonel, seeing that entreaty was in vain, 
reluctantly dismounted and gave the countersign, 
* Virginia.' 

"'The countersign is correct. Pass, Colonel 
Peckham,' said Sam, bringing his musket promptly 
to a shoulder arms. 

"After the rebel had mounted and disappeared, 
I whispered : 

"'Now, Sam, I'm going up to that house. 
Keep a sharp look-out.' 



THE scout's story. 203 

"After shaking his hand I started toward the 
place where I had seen the light. Walking care- 
lessly up toward a group of soldiers who were 
lounging about on the ground, I glanced in at the 
window, and saw several officers seated around a 
table, apparently engaged in earnest debate. I 
listened for a few moments to the conversation of 
the men, and found that I was two miles inside of 
the rebel lines. This knowledge was something 
that would not have pleased me had I been alone, 
for I was wholly unacquainted with the country, 
but, knowing that I had a friend on whom I could 
rely, I looked upon it as merely a little difficulty, 
from which I could extricate myself as soon and 
as easily as I pleased. 

"I lounged about, picking up a good deal of 
information, until I heard the relief called, and 
knowing that, unless we beat a hasty retreat, we 
would be discovered, I hastened back to the place 
where I had left Sam, and found him industriously 
pacing his beat. I was about to bring out the 
horses, when Ave heard the clatter of hoofs coming 
up the road from toward the house, and I at once 
concealed myself. The answer to the challenge 
was Colonel Peckham, who was returning to his 



204 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

command. As he was about to pass, I, tliinking 
that it would not look well to go back to the camp 
emptj-handed, sprang out of mj concealment and 
seized his reins, while Sam, who instantly com- 
prehended what was going on, placed his bayonet 
against his breast. 

"^What means this?' asked the colonel. 

" ^Do n't talk so much,' replied Sam. * A blind 
man could see that you are a prisoner. So hand 
over your weapons, and do n't make any fuss.' 

"As Sam spoke, he proceeded to 'sound' the 
colonel, and the search resulted in the transfer of 
two revolvers to his belt. Then, throwing away 
his musket and cartridge-box, he sprang upon his 
horse, which I had by this time brought out, and, 
seizing the colonel's reins, we started down the 
road at a full gallop. 

"We had proceeded scarcely a quarter of a mile 
when we heard several musket-shots behind us, 
and we knew that the reUef had found No. 9 post 
vacant, and were alarming the camp. Sam, still 
holding fast to the colonel's horse, at once turned 
off into the woods, thi'ough which we with diffi- 
culty worked our way. At length, however, we 
reached an open field, which we crossed at a 



THE scout's story. 205 

gallop, anrl, leaping our horses over the fence, 
found ourselves in the road again. \Ye had 
struck it just outside of the rebel pickets, who, 
hearing us gallop away, fired at us ; but the bullets 
all went wide of the mark, and in less than an 
hour we reached our own camp, and the prisoner 
was delivered over to the general." 

" I could relate many other adventures to you, 
but, as I have to go on guard at midnight, I must 
bid you good-night." 

So saying, he arose from the ground, where he 
had been lying, and walked off toward his quar- 
ters. One by one the soldiers, who had gathered 
about to listen to his story, followed his example, 
and finally Frank and the ensign who had assisted 
him in managing the battery, were left alone. Al- 
though they had been together but two days, they 
were on excellent terms with each other; and as 
Frank had learned that his companion had run 
by the batteries at Yicksburg, he was naturally 
anxious to hear the details. The ensign, at his 
urgent solicitation, then told the story of his 
thrilling adventures, which here follows. 



206 



FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 




CHAPTER XIV. 

)^^^-^ls obedience to orders from the ad- 
miral," began the ensign, '' the Concord, 
with the iron-clads, commenced making 
preparations to run the batteries, by 
greasing the casemates to glance shot, 
and by protecting the machinery with 
heavy timbers and bales of hay. "When 
every thing was ready, the long-looked-for signal 
was made. The vessels took their stations in ac- 
cordance with a general order that had been issued 
a few days previous — the Concord, with a coal- 
barge in tow, being the fourth in advance. 

^' As soon as the anchors were weighed, all 
hands were called to quarters, the ports closed, 
and every light on board the ship, except those in 
the magazine and shell-rooms, was extinguished. 
I took my station beside my men, who stood at 



RUXXIXG THE BATTERIES. 207 

their guns as motionless as so many statues, and 
ill that darkness awaited the issue of events, with 
feelings that can not be described. The moment 
I had so long been dreading was fast approaching. 
Would I survive the experiment? 

*' As soon as the vessels were fairly under way, 
the engines were stopped, and we drifted along 
with the current. Not a sound was heard, except 
the creaking of the wheel as the pilot guided the 
vessel down stream. I became more and more 
excited each moment, until finally my suspense 
seemed greater than I could bear. That awful 
silence was worse than the fight itself. I became 
impatient, and strode up and down the deck, anx- 
iously waiting for the first roar of a gun that 
should announce that our approach had been dis- 
covered. How I longed to look out and see what 
progress we were making! But the ports had been 
closed, with imperative orders that they must not 
be opened without the captain's command, and I 
was obliged to remain in ignorance of what was 
going on outside. 

"At length, after remaining at our quarters 
for nearly an hour — to me it seemed an a<rQ — 

o 

the loud roar of a gun bui'st upon our ears. The 



208 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

pilot at once rang the bell to ^go ahead strong/ 
and the puffing of the engines told us that we 
were rapidly nearing the city. Soon, from an- 
other direction, came a second report, accompa- 
nied by a shell from 'Whistling Dick,' which went 
directly over our heads, and exploded far behind 
us. This was followed, not by the report of a 
single cannon, but by a crash, as if all the artil- 
lery of heaven had been let loose at once, and 
shells and solid shot, with a noise that was almost 
deafening. It did not seem possible that we 
could succeed in running by the batteries ; be- 
sides, I was very much averse to being shut up 
in that manner, without the privilege of returning 
shot for shot. The idea of allowing my vessel 
to be made a target of, when so many brave hearts 
were waiting impatiently to give as good as they 
received, did not at all suit me. 

"Until we reached the city, the Concord es- 
caped unhurt, and I began to think that our dan- 
ger was not so great as I had at first supposed, 
when, just as we arrived opposite the upper bat- 
teries, a shot came crashing through the sides of 
the vessel. The deck was hghted up for an in- 
stant with a flash, and the groans and shrieks 



RUNNING THE BATTKIUES. 209 

that followed told that it had been too well di- 
rected. Confined as the men were, in total dark- 
ness, where it was impossible for a person to 
distinguish those who stood next to him, such an 
occurrence was well calculated to throw them into 
confusion. I believe that every one on deck was 
frightened, but the order, 'Stand to your guns, 
lads!' delivered in a firm voice by the executive 
officer, at once put an end to the confusion. 

" * On deck, there ! ' came thundering through 
the trumpet. 'Open the ports, and return their 
fire I' 

"How my heart bounded when I heard that 
order! And the men, too, anxious to be on more 
equal terms with the enemy, sprang at the word, 
the port-shutters flew open with a crash, and the 
city of Vicksburg burst upon our astonished 
view. 

" The rebels had profited by their experience, 
and instead of finding the city shrouded in total 
darkness, as I had expected, a glare equal to the 
noonday sun lighted up both the river and the 
city, the latter seeming one blaze of fire. The 
vessels in advance of us were rapidly answering 
the fire of the batteries, and the Avaters of the 
14 



210 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

river, usually so quiet and smooth, were plowed 
in every direction by the shrieking, hissing shells. 
It was a magnificent sight, one upon which I 
could have gazed with rapture, had I been a dis- 
interested person; but, as it was, I had no time 
to dwell upon it. 

"^Out with those guns — lively!' shouted the 
captain. ' Give the rascals as good as they send.' 

" For half an hour the fight continued, the 
rebels sending their shells thick and fast about 
our devoted vessel, and we directing our fire 
against the water-batteries, which lined the shore 
as far as the eye could reach, when suddenly the 
pilot rung the bell to stop, which was followed 
by a command shouted down through the trumpet 
to 'Back her — quick!' I scarcely noticed the 
cii'cum stance, until one of my men exclaimed, in 
a frightened voice, 'We are drifting into the bank, 
sii', right under the batteries !' 

" The appalling fact was too evident. We were 
fast approaching the shore, and the engines ap- 
peared to be working in vain against the strong 
current. A cry of horror burst from the lips of 
the men, who deserted theii' guns, and made a 
general rush for the after part of the vessel. I 



RUNNING THE BATTERIES. 211 

was astounded. Had the Concord been disabled, 
and "was the captain about to run her ashore and 
surrender? But I was not allowed much time to 
ask questions. The conduct of the men recalled 
me to my senses, and, after considerable difficulty, 
I succeeded in bringing them all back to their 
quarters. 

"'The vessel must have been surrendered, sir,' 
said one of the men. 

"'I can't help that. I've received no orders 
to cease firing. Let them have it. Powder-boy, 
bring two eight-inch canister as soon as possible. 
Run away Hvely, now.' 

"The vessel still continued to approach the 
bank, and several of the nearest batteries ceased 
firing, while the rebels, supposing that she was 
about to surrender, came running down the bank 
in crowds, calling out: 

" * Have you struck your flag ? ' 

"'No!' came the answer, in a clear, ringing 
voice, which I knew belonged to the captain. 
'That flag floats as long as one plank of this 
vessel remains above water ! ' 

"This reply was followed by a shell from one 
of our broadside guns, which burst in the very 



212 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

midst of a crowd that was preparing to board 
the vessel the moment we touched the bank; and 
by this time the Concord began to mind her 
hehn, and commenced moving from the bank. 
The astonished rebels hastily retreated to the 
cover of their breastworks, and I succeeded in 
getting my guns loaded in time to use the canis- 
ter upon them. The vessel soon got headed down 
the river a^ain, and at two o'clock in the morninoj 
we rounded to, out of reach of the batteries. The 
passage had been effected without material dam- 
age to us, and it was with a light heart that I 
repeated the order, 'Secure your guns, lads!' 
The battle was over, and after the decks had been 
cleared, and the wounded taken care of, the dead 
were laid out in the engine-room, and covered 
with the flag in defense of which they had de- 
livered up their lives. The weary sailors then 
gladly answered to the order, 'All hands stand 
by your hammocks,' and I retired to my room 
almost exhausted, but highly elated at our glo- 
rious success." 



A RACE FOR THE OLD FLAG. 



213 



CHAPTER XV, 




uu &x il}2 mil Mh$. 



HE next day," continued the ensign, 
i^J " ^^^6 squadron again got under 
way and steamed down the river, 
and came to anchor above, and almost 
within range of, the hights of Grand 
Gulf. A casual observer would hardly 
have thought that the bluffs which arose 
so majestically, like grim sentinels watching over 
the lesser hights around them, were bristling with 
hostile batteries, ready to dispute the further ad- 
vance of the Union fleet; for, so carefully had 
they been concealed, that nothing suspicious 
could be discovered. But we were not deceived. 
We knew that the trees which covered the bluffs, 
and waved so gently back and forth in the 
breeze, concealed fortifications of the most formi- 
dable kind, and that Union blood must be shed 



214 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG 

before they could be wrested from the traitorous 
hands that had constructed them. 

"During the week of inactivity that followed, 
many an impatient eye was directed toward the 
bights which, now so quiet, were soon to be dis- 
turbed by the noise and confusion of battle. At 
length the flag-ship was seen approaching, and 
every one was on the alert. Two more days of 
inactivity passed, however; but on the third morn- 
ing, just after the crews had finished theii' break- 
fast, signal was made to commence the attack. 
The anchors were weighed, the men called to 
quarters, and the fleet bore down upon the rebel 
stronghold, which was soon enveloped in the 
smoke of battle. 

" The Concord led the advance. For two hours 
the battle raged with great fury on both sides, 
the rebels stubbornly holding their ground, in 
spite of the storm of shells that thinned their 
ranks and tore up the ground about them. Dur- 
inof this time the Concord had aofain become un- 
manageable, on account of the strong eddies in 
the river, and had worked into a position scarcely 
two hundred yards from the batteries, from which 
she could not be extricated. It was impossible 



A RACE FOR THE OLD FLAG. 215 

eitlicr to advance or retreat Avitliout running into 
the bank, and it* she attempted to round-to, her 
destruction was certain. Of course, we below, 
being busy fighting our guns, knew nothing of our 
danger ; but the captain, although as brave a man 
as ever trod a ship's deck, was not a little dis- 
mayed when he found himself in this perilous 
situation. He did not expect to bring his vessel 
safely out of the action, but he stood in the pilot- 
house and issued his orders with as much coolness 
as though he were going through the regular 
daily exercise, instead of being under the hottest 
fire the enemy could rain upon his vessel. 

"In the mean time, I had been sending my 
shells as rapidly as possible toward the rebel 
gunners, whom I could see moving about in the 
batteries. Up to this time not one of my men 
had been injured; but, just as I was in the act 
of sighting one of my guns, there was a stunning 
crash, and a vivid light shone for an instant in my 
eyes, accompanied by a terrific explosion. I saw 
the air filled with smoke and splinters, heard ap- 
palling cries of terror and anguish, and then all 
was blank. A shell had entered the casemate 
above the port, killing and wounding several of 



216 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

my crew, and a piece of heavy timber, "wliich had 
been detached from the bulk-head by the explo- 
sion, struck me on the head, and laid me out 
senseless on the deck. 

"When I was restored to consciousness I was 
lying on a mattress in the engine-room, and anx- 
ious faces were bending over me. I remember of 
mistaking the doctor and his attendants for the 
men belonging to my gun's crew, and imagining 
myself still in battle, I gave the order to 'Train 
that No. 2 gun a little further to the left, and 
fire;' then I became insensible again. 

"About the middle of the afternoon I awoke 
from a refreshing slumber, but, of course, could 
not imagine how I came to be in that situation. I 
felt of my head, which was covered with bandages, 
nnd of my arm, which was done up in a sling, and 
finally the remembrance of the scenes through 
which I had passed came back to me like a 
dream. 

"AYliile I was wondering how the fight had 
terminated, and who had come out victorious, a 
sailor, who had been appointed to act as my nurse, 
entered the engine-room, and approached the bed 
on tip-toe. From him I learned that the Concord 



A RACE FOR THE OLD FLAG. 217 

had been under fire for five hours and thirty-five 
minutes ; that we had been only partially success- 
ful, not having silenced all the batteries ; that 
the fleet, ^vith the exception of one vessel, -which 
TS'as lying a short distance above the bluff, and 
occasionally sending a shell into the batteries to 
prevent the rebels from repairing the damage 
which they had suffered, were at their old an- 
chorage again ; that the Concord had been struck 
thirty-five times by heavy shot, but, although 
quite badly cut up, was not permanently in- 
jured; and that our vessel would soon be ready 
for action again, the entire crew being busily 
engaged in repairing the damages she had sus- 
tained. 

'^My head and arm pained me considerably; 
but, being under the influence of some powerful 
medicine which the doctor had administered, I soon 
fell asleep, from which I was awakened by the 
rolling of a drum. Hastily starting up, I found the 
engineers at their stations, and I knew, by the 
tramping of feet on the deck above me, that the 
men were hurrying to their quarters. The ^rul- 
ing passion' was strong with me. I had grown 
so accustomed to yield prompt obedience to the 



218 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

call to quarters, that I quite forgot I was wounded. 
Springing up, I at once pulled on my clothes — an 
operation which I found rather difficult on account 
of my wounded arm — seized my sword, which lay 
at the head of the bed, sprang up the stairs that 
led to the main-deck, and ran forward to take 
command of my division. As I passed the door 
of the dispensatory, I was confronted by the sur- 
geon, who, holding up his hands in dismay, ex- 
claimed : 

"'Mr. Morton! Do you know what you are 
about ? Where are you going ? ' 

"'Going to quarters, doctor. Didn't you hear 
that drum?' 

"'Get below, sir, instantly,' was the doctor's 
answer. 'Get below! and don't let me catch 
you on deck again until I give you permission. 
Get below, I tell you, sir!' he continued, in a 
louder tone, seeing that I hesitated. 'Haven't 
you got sense enough to know that you are dan- 
gerously wounded? I am surgeon of this ship, 
and have authority to enforce my commands.' 

" Of this I was well aware, and I was obliged to 
retrace my steps to the engine-room, where I lay 
down upon the bed. 



A RACE FOR THE OLD FLAG. 219 

"The morning's fight having convinced the ad- 
miral tliat, although the batteries had been par- 
tially silenced, they could not be completely 
reduced, without the co-operation of the land 
forces, he returned to his old anchorage, for the 
purpose of convoying the transports which were 
to run by the batteries and ferry the troops across 
the river below. The latter followed close in the 
wake of the gun-boats, on which the batteries 
opened quite as briskly as in the morning. The 
iron-clads replied, and under cover of their fire 
the transports passed the batteries in safety, after 
which the gun-boats also ran by, and assisted in 
carrying the troops across the river. In this fight 
the Concord was struck but twice, and no one was 
injured. As soon as she had been brought to an 
anchor, the doctor entered the engine-room, and, 
after regarding me for a moment with an expres- 
sion that I could not understand, said: 
"'You're a nice one, ain't you?' 
"'Why, doctor, what's the matter?' I asked. 
"'You don't wish to get well, I guess.' 
" ' 0, yes, I do ! But I am not badly hurt ; there 
was nothing to hinder me from taking my station.' 
*"You will allow me to be the judge of that, if 



220 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

you please,' returned the doctor. ^But I have 
got a room fixed up for you on deck. Do you 
feel able to "walk up there?' 

"^Certainly. I am not hurt, I tell you, doctor,' 
I repeated. 'I can outrun, outjump, or outlift 
you; and yet you take as much care of me as 
though I was badly wounded.' 

" ' Well, you've got a big hole in your head any- 
how,' said the doctor, as he took my arm, and 
assisted me up the stairs, in spite of my asser- 
tions that I was 'able to walk alone.' 'It's an 
ugly -looking wound. Just take my advice now; 
let me put you on the sick-list for a day or two, 
and you will be all right.' 

"'Well, don't keep me on the list any longer 
than is necessary,' I answered, knowing that I 
would be compelled to submit to the doctor's re- 
quirements, whether I wanted to or not. 'I do 
detest a life of inactivity. I want to be doing 
something.' 

"I was furnished with a bed in the ward-room, 
for my own quarters had been almost demolished 
during the late fights, and during the two days 
that followed, I passed the time miserably enough. 
Every able-bodied man on board the ship was en- 



A RACE FOR THE OLD FLAG. 221 

gaged in repairing damages, while I, being closely 
■watched by the doctor, was obliged to remain 
quiet. My wounds troubled me very little. On 
the third day after the fight, to my immense re- 
lief, my name was taken off the sick-list, and I 
was allowed to return to duty. 

^'The next morning after this, signal was made 
from the flag-ship to get under way, and resume 
the attack upon the batteries at Grand Gulf. As 
we approached the bights, a column of smoke, 
which was seen arising over the trees, told us 
that the rebels had abandoned their fortifications. 
The gun-boats touched the bank at the foot of 
the hill at about the same moment; and, as the 
Concord's bows touched the shore, the captain 
thrust his head from the pilot-house, and shouted: 

" * Get ashore there, you sea-cooks ! Get ashore 
there, and hoist the Concord's flag over that fort 
on the top of the hill! Off you go — run like 
quarter horses!' 

" The sailors did not need a second bidding, but, 
leaving their quarters, they made a general rush 
for the place where the boat-ensigns were stowed, 
and if one of the men succeeded in securing a 
flag, he was instantly seized by half a dozen 



222 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

others, Tvho desperately struggled to wrest it from 
him, that they might have the honor of planting 
it upon the rebel hights, while he struggled as 
furiously to retain it. All discipline was at an 
end. The sailors, wild with excitement, were 
struggling and shouting below, while the captain 
stood on the quarter-deck, almost beside himself, 
for fear that his men would be behind, for the 
crews of each vessel were jumping ashore, bearing 
in their hands the flags which they had determ- 
ined to plant upon the deserted fortifications. 

"I stood at the hatchway, looking down upon 
the struggling crew beneath, regretting that my 
wounded arm — which still continued to pain me at 
intervals — prevented me from entering as a com- 
petitor, when I was aroused by : 

" ' Mr. Morton ! I know you want this, sir.' 

" I turned, and found one of the quarter-masters 
holding out a flag to me. 

" ' Certainly I want it,' I answered. ^ Thank 
you ; ' and seizing the flag, I sprang upon the ham- 
mock-nettings. At this moment the doctor dis- 
covered me, and shouted : 

"'Mr. Morton, what are you about, sir? Re- 
member, I only put you on light duty. It will 



A RACE FOR THE OLD FLAG. 223 

be the death of jou, if joii attempt to run up 
that hill." 

"But I was excited, and, without waiting to an- 
swer, sprang overboard. I was so anxious to be 
first, that I could not waste time to go below, and 
leave the ship in a proper manner. The moment 
I touched the water, I struck out for the shore, 
and as I clambered up the bank, I found crowds 
of men from each vessel running at the top of 
their speed toward the hill, all bent on planting 
the glorious old flag on the pinnacle, for the pos- 
session of which they had fought so long and 
desperately. But far in advance of all of them 
I saw one of the engineers of the Concord. I 
was both pleased and annoyed at this — pleased 
that the ship to which I belonged should have the 
honor of hoisting the Stars and Stripes over the 
rebel stronghold, and annoyed that I could not 
be the person who was to raise it. But it was 
not my disposition to be discouraged. As I had 
few equals in running, I determined to overtake 
the engineer, and, if possible, to beat him. 

"As soon as I reached the top of the bank, I 
commenced running, and was soon ahead of many 
of those who were far in advance of me when I 



224 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

Started. The engineer, in the mean time, also 
proved that he was no mean runner ; and the little 
flag which he carried over his shoulder moved 
far up the mountain, dancing about among the 
rocks and bushes like a will-o'-the-wisp, seeming 
to recede as I advanced. Soon I had passed all 
of my competitors with the exception of this one, 
and the race was now between us. Up, up we 
ran. I soon discovered that I was gaining at 
every step. Presently I was so close to him that 
I could hear his quick, heavy breathing. We 
were rapidly nearing the fort that crowned the 
crest of the hill, and I redoubled my exertions. ^ 
The engineer did likewise. It seemed as though 
the siirht of those battered fortifications had in- 
fused new life into him, for he ran at a rate that 
astonished me; and when I reached the top of 
the hill the little banner had been planted on the 
breastworks, and my rival lay on the ground, 
panting and exhausted. Cheers, long and loud, 
burst from the gallant band standing at the foot 
of the hill, who had been interested spectators of 
our movements, and their shouts were answered - 
with redoubled energy by the crew of the Con- 
cord, who, in their joy at seeing their own flag 



A RACE FOR THE OLD FLAG. 225 

planted on the fort bj one of their own officers, 
forgot all the sacrifices they had made to accom- 
plish that end. 

"*^In a short time the hights were covered with 
men, who busied themselves in completing the de- 
struction which the rebels had commenced. At 
dark all returned on board their respective vessels, 
which moved out into the stream a short distance, 
and anchored. I paid dearly for my foolishness 
in jumping overboard, and then running that dis- 
tance in the hot sun ; for two days after that I 
was confined to my bed, and finally, at the doc- 
tor's suggestion, I was dumped into an ambulance 
and sent by land to the hospital-ship. I was well 
again in two weeks, and learning that a naval 
battery was to be mounted on shore, volunteered 
to assist in working it, received permission, and 
am ready to face any new dangers for the sake 
of the old flag." 

The next day, while Frank and his compan- 
ion were fighting the battery, the former was sur- 
prised by the appearance of a strange officer, who 
brought orders for him to report on board his 
vessel without delay. He obeyed the summons, 
15 



226 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

and found that the Trenton had been ordered up 
the Yazoo River, and that he had been sent for 
to take charge of a division whose commanding 
officer had been sent to the hospital. As soon as 
he arrived on board, the vessel was got under 
way, and, in company with the flag-ship and sev- 
eral gun-boats, which they found waiting for them 
at the mouth of the Yazoo River, they started 
toward Haines' Bluff. The report was, the attack 
was to be a 'feigned' one, but Frank thought, 
from the pounding the Trenton received, that it 
might as well have been a real one. 

The fight was continued until dark, when the 
vessels dropped down out of range of the bat* 
teries and anchored. 



TUE RIVAL SHAllP-SIIOOTERS. 



227 



CHAPTER XVI. 



^<i^1i^-j^B0UT half-past four o'clock, on 
-V^f^^f^ the succeeding morning, just after 
il^Sf^i^ Frank had come off watch, and was 
dozing in his berth, he was awakened 
by a loud crash. Starting up, he 
discovered his looking-glass in frag- 
ments, and the pieces scattered about 
over the floor. While he was wondering what 
could have been the cause of the accident, he 
happened to discover that the bulk-head behind 
the looking-glass was splintered, which looked 
very much as though it had been done by a 
musket-shot ; and, at the same instant, he heard 
a shrill whistle, with which he was perfectly fa- 
miliar. He also heard a rustling in the bunk 
above him, and Mr. Williams, his room-mate, 
sprang suddenly upon the floor, exclaiming : 



228 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

" My goodness, Mr. Nelson ! the rebels are 
shooting at t<-s." 

" I see they are," answered Frank, coolly, as 
he slowly arose from his berth and commenced 
drawing on his pants; "just see our looking- 
glass ! But where are you going ? " he asked, 
finding that his room-mate was frantically gath- 
ering up his clothing. 

" I 'm going to get below as soon as I can," 
was the answer. " Do n't you know that this 
room is n't iron-clad ? " 

" Yes, I know that. But what 's your hurry ? " 

Mr. "Williams did not stop to reply, but, having 
collected all his clothing, opened the door and 
sprang out on deck. One bound carried him to 
the gangway that led to the main-deck, and in a 
moment more he had disappeared. Frank was 
laughing heartily at the comical figure his timid 
room-mate had cut, when another shot came 
crashing through the bulk-head, and lodged in the 
mattress in the berth above him, showing how 
narrow had been Mr. Williams's escape. This 
made him think that he also had better be get- 
ting below. He waited, however, until he was en- 
tirely dressed, and then walked slowly out on the 



THE RIVAL SHARP-SHOOTERS. 229 

quarter-deck, and took refuge behind the wheel- 
house, intending to make himself acquainted with 
the nature of the attack before going below. The 
officer of the deck and the quarter-master on 
watch were the only persons in sight, and they, 
too, were standing behind the wheel-house for 
protection. 

*'"\Vhat seems to be the matter, Mr. Martin? 
Are we likely to have a brush?" 

" no," answered the latter ; " a few rebels 
have taken possession of the battery from which 
we drove them yesterday, and are trying to pick 
some of us off. Did you see 'Nuisance' when he 
came out of his room ? He ran like a streak, but 
came very near being winged, for a ball struck 
the deck not six inches from him." 

At this moment the captain appeared, and went 
into the pilot-house, that he might investigate mat- 
ters without running the risk of being struck by 
the bullets. lie had scarcely closed the door, 
when a ball carried away the latch. Had he been 
a moment later, he would certainly have been killed. 

" A close shave," said he, with a laugh. Then 
raising one of the windows of the pilot-house, he 
shouted, " On deck, there ! " 



230 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

"Aj, ay, sir," answered Mr. Martin. 

" Get under cover as quickly as possible ; and, 
Mr. Nelson, see if you can throw a few shells 
among those fellows, and drive them out of there." 

It was not an easy task to get under cover, for, 
the moment they showed themselves, the bullets 
whistled about them like hail-stones. But, after 
dodging from one stanchion to another, using even 
the sky-lights for concealment, they succeeded 
in reaching the main-deck, where they were safe. 
Frank ran into the turret, while Mr. Martin and 
the quarter-master dived down the hatchway, and 
ran up into the pilot-house. 

^'Turn out, you first division, and cast loose 
that No. 2 gun," shouted Frank, as he reached 
the gun-deck, where the crew were still sleeping 
soundly in their hammocks. " Turn out lively, 
lads." 

The men at once sprang out of their comfortable 
beds, and, as soon as the deck was cleared of the 
hammocks, the gun was cast loose. A moment 
afterward, a hundred-pound shot plunged into the 
battery, raising a cloud of dust ; but the rebels 
had seen the flash of the gun in time to throw 
themselves behind the embankment and escape. 



TnE RIVAL SHARP-SHOOTERS. 231 

" On deck, there," shouted the captain, through 
the trumpet. "That was very well done. Try 
them again, and fire a little higher, and a trifle 
further to the left." 

"Very good, sir," shouted Frank, in reply; and 
the gun was again pointed, and another breach 
was made in the battery, but a loud, derisive shout 
was sent back in reply, showing that the shot had 
been without effect. 

For nearly an hour the fight was kept up, 
Frank using his gun as rapidly as possible, and 
the rebels replying with their bullets, which rat- 
tled harmlessly against the Trenton's iron mail, 
until the captain, finding that it was impossible to 
dislodge them, gave the order to cease firing. 

As soon as Frank had seen the gun secured, he 
left the deck and went into the ward-room. It was 
filled with oflScers, who had been awakened by the 
firing, and were engaged in an animated conversa- 
tion on the probabilities of having breakfast. 

" If the rebels continue to shoot at us, I do n't 
know what you can do, gentlemen," said the ca- 
terer. " You know that the galley is on deck, and 
I can't send the cook up there, where he will be in 
danger of his life. When you get hungry you 



232 FRANK BEFOUE VICKSBURG. 

"will find plenty of hard-tack and pickles in tlie 
paymaster's store-rooms." 

" no," said the executive officer, " I am not 
going without my breakfast. There's no danger." 

"If you will go on deck, and remain there five 
minutes," said the caterer, " I '11 agree to cook 
some breakfast for you." 

The proposition was accepted by the executive 
officer, and the two men went on deck, and walked 
toward the galley. They reached it in safety, 
when the executive said, triumphantly: 

""What do you think now? I told you there 
was no danger." 

A loud crash cut short his words, and a bullet 
entered the galley, and glancing from the stove, 
struck the opposite bulk-head, where it remained 
firmly imbedded in the wood. 

"That will do, I guess," said the executive, 
hastily retreating toward the hatchway. "You 
needn't mind about sending the boys up here to 
cook breakfast." 

The two officers made the best of their way 
back to the ward-room, where they enjoyed a very 
good meal on some provisions that had been 
brought up out of the paymaster's store-rooms. 



THE RIVAL SIIARP-SIIOOTERS. 233 

They then went into the pilot-house to watch the 
movements of the rebels in the battery. The lat- 
ter, finding that their fire was no longer returned, 
took no precautions to conceal themselves, but 
arose to their full hight when they fired their 
muskets, and even stood on the battery, waving 
their hats, as if inviting a shot. Frank watched 
them until he could stand it no longer, and then 
ran down below, to ask the captain's permission to 
return the fire. 

*'Look out there!" exclaimed that gentleman, 
as Frank entered the cabin. "The first thin^ 
you know" 

He was interrupted by the report of a musket, 
so loud that it seemed scarcely a stone's throw 
distant. A bullet came whistling into one of the 
ports, barely missing Frank, and lodged in the cap- 
tain's pantry, where a crashing among the crockery 
told that the ball had not been altogether thrown 
away. Another shot followed close after it, but 
Frank had dodged behind the bulk-head, and was 
safe. 

The captain was emphatically in a state of 
siege. His cabin was in the extreme after-part 
of the vessel, and in it were two port-holes, which 



234 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURQ. 

were open. Two sharp-shooters had taken up a 
position on the bank, where they coukl see into 
the cabin, and had compelled the captain to leave 
the desk where he had been writing, and take 
refuge behind the bulk-head. He was taking mat- 
ters very coolly, however, being stretched out on 
a sofa, engaged in reading a newspaper. 

"Mr. Nelson," said he, with a laugh, "if 
many more of you officers enter this cabin, I shall 
be a ruined man. Every shot that comes in here 
goes slap into that pantry, and I don't suppose I 
have a whole piece of crockery left. What did 
you wish ? " 

"I came, sir, to ask permission to take one of 
your Spencer rifles," answered Frank. "I be- 
lieve I can drive those rascals away from there," 
he added, glancing through the port. 

"Very well, you may try. But I don't bother 
my head about them. They can't shoot through 
this bulk head, that's certain. However, it makes 
me feel rather uncomfortable to know that I can't 
get out of here without running the risk of being 
shot;" and the captain stretched himself on the 
sofa again, and resumed his reading. 

After considerable dodging, during which two 



THE RIVAL SnARP-SIIOOTERS. 235 

more bullets were lodged in the captain's pantry, to 
the no small disgust of that gentleman, Frank suc- 
ceeded in securing a rifle and cartridge-box from 
one of the racks in the cabin, and concealing him- 
self behind the bulk-head, thrust his gun carefully 
out of the port, and waited for a shot. 

The bank was scarcely fifty feet distant, but 
for a long time not a rebel showed himself, and 
Frank had about come to the conclusion that they 
had triven up the fight, when he noticed a small 
gully, scarcely a foot wide, that ran down to the 
water's edge, and in that gully he saw the top 
of a head, and afterward discerned a pair of eyes 
that were looking straight into the port. It Avas 
a small mark to shoot at, but Frank had killed 
squirrels at that distance many a time; so, care- 
fully raising his rifle, he took a quick aim, and 
fired, confident that there was one rebel less in 
the world. The ball landed in the bank, and 
raised a cloud of dust that for a moment concealed 
the efi'ect of the shot ; but it had scarcely cleared 
away, when a puflf of smoke arose from the gully, 
and another bullet whizzed past Frank's head, and 
landed among the captain's crockery, showing that 
the rebel still maintained his position. Frank 



236 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

cautiously looked out, and saw the rebel hastily 
reloading his gun ; but, before he could give him 
another shot, the deadly ritle was thrust over the 
bank, in readiness for another trial. 

'' 0, I 'm here yet, Yank ! " shouted the rebel, 
as he savv^ Frank regarding him as if he could 
scarcely believe his eyes. "I'm here! and you 
want to keep close, or down comes your meat- 
house. This 'ere rifle shoots right smart." 

As he ceased speaking, Frank again fired at 
him, but with no better success than before, for 
the rebel answered the shot, and dodged back into 
the gully to reload. For two hours this singular 
contest was maintained, and Frank was both as- 
tonished and provoked at his poor workmanship; 
still he would have continued the fight, had not the 
rebel coolly announced — "It's grub-time, Yank. 
"We'll try it again this afternoon." 

The fellow's impudence was a source of a great 
deal of merriment on the part of the captain, who 
laughed heartily at his remarks, and forgot the 
loss he had sustained in his crockery. 

"Captain," said Frank, as soon as he was cer- 
tain that the rebel had gone, "it's a good time to 
close those ports now." 



THE RIVAL SIIARP-SIIOOTERS. 237 

"Don't go near them. I won't trust the vil- 
lains. Tell the officers that they are at liberty 
to return the fire, but that they must not waste 
too much ammunition." 

Frank went into the ward-room, and, after de- 
livering the captain's order, deposited his gun in 
the corner. AVhile making a hearty dinner on 
hard-tack and salt pork, he related the incidents 
of his fight with the rebel, which was listened to 
with interest by all the officers present. After 
finishing his meal he went on deck to get a letter 
which he had commenced writing to his cousin, 
intending, as soon as the firing recommenced, to 
renew the battle. Not a shot had been fired 
since the rebel left the gully, and when Frank 
walked across the deck and entered his room, not 
a rebel was in sight. He took the letter from 
his trunk, and was preparing to return below, 
when a bullet crashed through the bulk-head, and, 
striking his wash-bowl, shivered it into fragments. 
This seemed to be a signal for a renewal of tho 
fight, for the bullets whistled over the ship in a 
perfect shower. Frank sprang to his feet, and' 
waited rather impatiently for an opportunity to 
make his way below; but none ofi'ered. As he 



238 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

opened the door of his room, he heard a sharp 
report, that he could easily distinguish from the 
rest, accompanied by a familiar whistle, and a 
bullet, which seemed to come from the stern of 
the vessel, sped past him, striking the pilot-house, 
and glancing up^Yard with a loud shriek; at the 
same instant several more from the battery whis- 
tled by, too close for comfort. 

It was evident that the rebels had seen him 
enter his room, and knowing that his only chance 
for escape was across the deck, had determined to 
keep him a close prisoner. But why did they not 
fire through the bulk-head ? Perhaps they thought 
that it, like the rest of the ship, was ii'on-clad, 
and preferred waiting for him to come out, rather 
than to waste their lead. But Frank, who knew 
that the sides of his room were only thin boards, 
which could afiord him no protection whatever 
from the bullets of his enemies, was not blessed 
with the most comfortable thoughts. To go out 
was almost certain death, for, although he might 
escape the bullets of the rebels in the battery, 
■ there was his rival of the morning in the gully, 
who handled his rifle with remarkable skill. To 
remain was hardly less dangerous, for a bullet 



THE RIVAL SIIARP-SIIOOTERS. 239 

mi'Tlit at any time enter his room and put an end 
to his existence. 

"Well, I'm in a nice fix," he soliloquized; 
*' I 've often heard of treeing bears, raccoons, and 
other animals, but I never before heard of an 
officer being treed in his own room, and on board 
his own ship. I don't like to go out on deck, 
and have those bullets whizzing by my head and 
Ciilling me 'cousin;' besides, I shall certainly be 
Siiot, for there's that fellow in the gully, and I 
know he's an excellent marksman. I've got to 
stay here for awhile, that's evident. If I ever 
get out, I'll make somebody sweat for this. I 
wish I had my gun; but, as I am here unarmed, 
I must find some kind of a protection." So say- 
ino-, he snatched the mattresses from the beds, 
and, lying on the floor, placed one on each side 
of him as a barricade. He remained in this po- 
sition until almost night, the bullets all the while 
shrieking over the deck, and making music most 
unpleasant to his ears. At length the firing 
be<^an to slacken, and Frank determined to make 
another effort to get below. It was not a long 
distance to the gangway that led to the main-deck, 
but there was that fellow in the gully who still 



240 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

maintained the fight, as an occasional crash in the 
pantry nroved, and Frank had a wholesome fear 
of him. He resolved, however, to make the at- 
tempt, and, waiting until the rebel had fired his 
gun, he threw open the door, when a few hasty 
steps carried him below. He heard a loud shout 
as he ran, and knew that the rebel had seen him. 

At dark the firing ceased altogether; and after 
supper — the only cooked meal they had had dur- 
ino- the day — the officers assembled on deck to 
enjoy the cool breeze, for the heat below had been 
almost intolerable. It was late when they retired, 
but it is needless to say that those who had rooms 
on the quarter-deck slept in the mess-rooms. 

The next morning, just as every one had ex- 
pected, the firing was again renewed by the rebels 
in the battery, and it was at once answered by 
some of the younger officers of the ship, who 
cracked away, whether an enemy was in sight or 
not. Frank had not been able to get the thought 
of that rebel sharp-shooter out of his mind. The 
audacity he had displayed in taking up a position 
so close to the vessel, and the skill with which he 
handled his rifle, excited his admiration, and he 
determined that, should he again take up the same 



THE RIVAL SIIARP-SIIOOTERS. 241 

position, ho would renew his attempt to dislodge 
him. He, however, took no part in the fight until 
he came ofi' watch at noon. He then provided 
himself with a rifle, and, after considerable trouble, 
succeeded in getting into the wheel-house, the 
lower part of which, being built of thick timbers, 
would easily resist a bullet, and here he settled 
down, determined to fight his enemy as long as 
he had a charge of powder left. 

The rebel was in his old position, concealed 
as usual, and, as the cabin ports had been closed, 
he was directing his fire toward the pilot-house. 
He was, of course, not aware that Frank had 
changed his base of operations; but he did not 
long remain ignorant of the fact, for the latter 
commenced the fight without ceremony. 

As nearly every officer on board the vessel 
was engaged in fighting the rebels, the one in 
question could not determine whence the shot 
came. He drew back for a moment, and then 
thrust his head carefully out, to reconnoiter. 
Frank, who could fire seven shots without stop- 
ping to reload, was ready for him, and another 
bullet sped toward the mark, but, as usual, with 
no more effect than throwing up a cloud of dust. 
16 



242 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

This time, however, the rebel saw where it came 
from, and a moment afterward a ball was buried 
in the thick timbers, scarcely an inch from the 
place where Frank was cautiously looking out, 
watching the motions of his rival. 

From his new position, Frank found that the 
rebel, after he had fired his gun, was obliged to 
tuiTi over on his back to reload, and he determined 
that, if he could not dislodge him, he would at 
least put it out of his power to do any further 
miscliief. So, when the rebel exposed his arm, 
as he was in the act of ramming down the charge, 
he fired at him again. The latter, ignorant of the 
fact that his opponent had a seven-shooter, now 
redoubled his eiforts, and made all haste to re- 
load his gun; but again did a bullet strike in the 
bank close beside him, and cover him with a 
shower of dust. This seemed to puzzle the rebel, 
for he raised his head and gazed intently toward 
the place where his enemy was concealed. That 
move was fatal to him. Scarcely three inches of 
his head was exposed ; but the bullet went straight 
to the mark — the rebel rolled down the bank, and 
the deadly rifle fell from his hands. 



THE SMUGGLERS CAVE. 



243 



CHAPTER XVII. 



m\t S'm3j|5l:£:irs' §ub$ — 6 




'-' -«'^ 



OM," said Frank, addressing himself 
i^^J to the quarter-master, as the two 
were standing their watch that 
evening, "how came you to go to sea?" 
"I was born a sailor, sir," answered 
the man. " My father, and my grand- 
father before him, followed the sea for 
a livelihood. They were smugglers, living among 
the rocks and crags on the southern coast of 
England. 

" My home was not such a one as would have 
suited you, sir ; but it was a pleasant place to me, 
and I often look back to the days of my boy- 
hood, although passed amid scenes of danger, as 
the happiest ones of my life. Our house, as we 
called it, was a cave in the side of a high mount- 
ain, at the foot of which was a long, narrow, and 



244 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

rocky passage, that led to the ocean. At the 
end of this passage, next to the mountain, was a 
small but deep bay, where a vessel could ride at 
anchor in safety without being seen by any one 
outside. In front of the cave was a small grass 
plat, which overlooked a vast extent of sea and 
land, and from which the distant shores of France 
could be seen. This was my post, where I sat 
many a night, watching for the return of my 
father, who was the captain of the smugglers. It 
was my business to watch for revenue-cutters, 
and to give the signal of danger in case any ap- 
peared off the coast at the time father was ex- 
pected to return. 

"It would have been a lonely watch in that 
cave for one who was not accustomed to it, for I 
never had a companion ; but, having been brought 
up to that kind of a life, I was never at a loss to 
know how to pass away the time. The fishing in 
the basin was excellent, and I had a small boat, the 
exact model of my father's little schooner, with 
which I sometimes amused myself for hours to- 
gether in running in and out of the channel, which, 
owing to its rocky nature, was very difficult of 
passage. It was here that the cutters were always 



THE smugglers' CAVE. 245 

given the slip. Father never approached the 
coast except during the night, and many a time 
have I seen the swift Httle schooner come bound- 
ing over the waves, with every stitch of her can- 
vas stretched, followed close in her wake by a 
cutter. The latter would be certain of his prize 
when he saw the schooner heading straight toward 
the rocks; but, the first thing he knew, the smug- 
gler would be out of sight in the channel. No 
light was necessary, for father knew every inch of 
the ground, and before the man-o'-war could lower 
his boats and discover the place where his prize 
had so mysteriously disappeared, father would 
have his goods landed, and, ere the cutter was 
aware of it, he would run out of the channel under 
his very nose, and make all sail for France. No 
one outside of the band was ever known to enter 
the channel ; for, even in broad daylight, a person 
would have declined making the trial, as the waves 
dashed and roared among the rocks in a manner 
that seemed to threaten destruction to any thing 
that came within their reach. 

" The schooner was several times overhauled 
and boarded while at sea, but father never lost a 
cargo. He always succeeded in fooling the reve- 



246 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

nue chaps in some manner. I remember one time 
in particular, when I made a trip on board the 
schooner as mate. We made the run in our usual 
time, easily eluding the cutters that were watching 
us, and arrived ofi* the coast of France with every 
thinor in order. One dark nio^ht we landed our 
goods, and, after receiving our money, we ran 
down to a little town, to purchase some necessary 
articles, and to take in our return supply. A lot 
of jabbering French policemen sprang on board 
of us, almost before we had touched the wharf, 
and commenced rummaging the hold ; but they, of 
course, went away disappointed in their hopes of 
finding something to condemn us. "We lay in port 
alongside of a little Dutch trading vessel, that was 
our exact model and build in every particular, 
until night, when we received our goods, ran by 
the police, and stood out to sea. We got along 
nicely until just before daylight, when an 'Irish- 
man's hurricane,' as we call a calm, set in, accom- 
panied by a heavy fog, and we lay motionless on 
the water, with the sails flapping idly against the 
the masts. It was provoking, and a more uneasy 
set of men than that schooner's crew I never saw. 
We remained becalmed for nearly an hour, anx- 



247 

iously waiting for the -sviud to spring up, when I 
happened to step for'ard, and heard a noise like 
the washing of the waves against the side of a 
vessel. I hastily ran aft and reported the matter 
to father, who silently stationed his men, and 
walked for'ard, with his speaking-trumpet in his 
hand, while we stood at our posts, almost fearing 
to breathe, lest it should be heard on board of 
the strange vessel, which was still concealed from 
our view by the thick fog. 

"At length, to our inexpressible relief, we felt 
a puff of wind; then came another and another, 
each one increasing in force, until the sails began 
to draw, and the schooner commenced moving 
slowly through the water. We stood off on the 
starboard tack, intending to give our invisible 
neighbor a wide berth ; but he had also caught 
the wind, and we could hear him moving along 
almost in front of us. At length the fog lifted a 
little, and we saw a large revenue-cutter standing 
directly across our bows, scarcely a cable's length 
distant. We luffed, to allow him to pass, when a 
hail came from his deck : 

" ^ Schooner ahoy ! ' 

"'Yah,' shouted father through his trumpet. 



248 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG 

" 'What schooner is that ? ' 

"*Dis? Dis is my schooner. You know it.' 

" We all held our breath in suspense, wonder- 
ing what would be the result of this strange an- 
swer, when we distinctly heard the voice say : 

" * It 's that rascally Dutchman again.' Then, 
in a louder tone, came the question, ^Did you 
keep a good look-out for that smuggler, as we 
requested? ' 

" ' Yah ! But I have n't saw him.' 

" ' 0, shiver your ugly figure-head,' was the 
answer. 'I've a good notion to put a six-pound 
shot into you, you wooden-headed sour-krout 
eater. This makes twice that we have been fooled 
by you. Now off you go, and don't you cross 
our hawse again.' 

" Father made no reply, and the cutter put her 
helm down, and started off. We passed under 
her stern, and in a few moments she disappeared 
in the fog. The next night we entered the chan- 
nel, and landed our goods in safety. We after- 
ward learned that the cutter, which had been 
closely watching our movements, had boarded the 
Dutch schooner, (which I have before mentioned, 
and which sailed about two hours in advance of 



THE smugglers' CAVE. 249 

US,) and so certain -were they that they had at 
last gobbled the smuggler, that they seized the 
vessel, and unceremoniously slapped the captain 
and liis crew in double irons. The skipper was 
so terrified that he forgot his English, and jab- 
bered away in Dutch ; and it was not until the 
ship's papers had been overhauled, that the cutter 
discovered her mistake. When the revenue fel- 
lows ran foul of us, they were again deceived by 
the resemblance between the two vessels, and the 
manner in which father had imitated the Dutch 
skipper's language. About a year after that we 
had a stopper put on our operations, by one of 
our own men. 

"The cave had two entrances — one by a rope 
ladder from the basin below, which we could draw 
up in times of danger, and the other by a path 
through the mountains, which was known only to 
a few of the band whom father thought he could 
trust. But his confidence was abused. There is 
a black sheep in every flock, and we had one 
among us — a man who, tempted by the offer of 
reward that was held out for our apprehension, 
betrayed us, and broke up our harboring-place. 

"It was this man's business to go to Bath, a 



250 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

small town about two miles from the cave, to dis- 
pose of our goods to the merchants in that place, 
and receive the funds. Young as I was, I almost 
knew that the fellow would one day get us into 
trouble. He was a short, powerfully-built man, 
with a most villainous countenance. He was always 
silent and morose; could not bear to have you 
look him in the eye; in short, he was just the 
man that I would have picked out from among a 
hundred as a traitor. Father seemed to repose 
entire confidence in him, and always asked his ad- 
vice in times of danger ; but, as much as I respected 
his judgment, I could not conquer the feeling with 
which I had always regarded the man, and I was 
constantly on the watch. 

" One night the schooner sailed as usual, but 
this man, under pretense of sickness, remained 
behind, with instructions from father, in case he 
got better, to go to the village and collect some 
money due him for goods. 

" ' All right,' answered the mate ; ' I '11 attend 
to it.' Then, as soon as father had got out of 
hearing, he muttered, 'I'll collect something for 
you that you won't expect.' 

"As soon as the schooner had cleared the chan- 



THE smugglers' CAVE. 251 

nel, antl was fairly out to sea, the rapidity with 
which that man got well was astonishing. He 
staid about the cave all day, scarcely saying a 
word to me, and at night departed by the secret 
path for the village. I was very uneasy, for a 
dread of impending evil constantly pressed upon 
me, and I determined to watch the path, and be 
ready for any emergency. 

"On the cliff, at the entrance of the channel 
that led to the bay, was a pile of dry wood, that 
was to be lighted in case of danger. This I re- 
plenished, placing materials for striking a light 
close at hand, and then returned to the cave to 
keep watch of the path. 

"Two days passed without the occurrence of 
any thing unusual, and the night came on which 
the schooner was expected to return. I divided 
my attention between the secret path and the 
offing, and at length a blue light, moving up and 
down in the darkness, told me that the schooner 
was approaching. I answered the signal, and 
stood peering through the darkness to get a 
glimpse of the approaching vessel, when I heard 
a rustling behind me, and looking down the path 
I discovered, to my dismay, a party of armed 



252 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

men approaching, headed by the traitor, who said, 
in a low voice: 

"'It's all right now. Catch tliat brat before 
he has time to light the signal of danger, and let 
the schooner once get into the channel, and we 
have got them fast.' 

" The person spoken of as 'that brat' was my- 
self, and I knew that the salvation of the schooner 
depended upon my exertions. In an instant I 
had determined upon my course, and, springing 
from the cave, I ran toward the rope ladder that 
led to the basin below, and commenced descending. 
A moment afterward the mouth of the cave was 
filled by the burly form of the traitor, who ex- 
claimed : 

'"There he is — shoot him!' and, suiting the 
action to the word, he leveled his pistol and fired. 
I felt a sharp pain shoot through my shoulder ; a 
faintness seized upon me, and, being unable longer 
to retain my hold upon the ladder, I disappeared 
in the basin. My sudden immersion in the cold 
water revived me, and, being an excellent swim- 
mer, I struck out, intending to climb the chfif on 
the opposite side, and fire the pile. I exerted 
myself to the utmost, for I could see by the hghts 



THE smugglers' CAVE. 253 

in the mouth of the cave that the traitor and his 
men were preparing to follow me ; but, it seemed, 
in my hurry and excitement, that I scarcely moved 
through the water. At length, however, I reached 
the opposite shore, and after climbing the cliff, 
(which I did with the utmost difficulty, for my 
wounded arm was hanging almost useless at my 
side, and I had not stopped to look for the path,) 
I ran at the top of my speed toward the pile. 
The schooner having seen my signal, and suppos- 
ing, of course, that all was right, was still stand- 
ing toward the mouth of the channel. A moment 
more, and I would have been too late. 

"I had considerable difficulty in finding my 
flint, and then it seemed impossible to strike a 
light ; but, just as the foremost of my pursuers 
reached the top of the cHff, I succeeded in catch- 
ing a spark ; in a moment more, the whole pile was 
in a blaze. I could not refrain from giving a shout 
of triumph as I saw the flames shooting upward 
toward the sky, lighting up the whole face of the 
rocks, until every object was as clearly defined as 
in broad daylight. I heard an exclamation of sur- 
prise on board the schooner, followed by a few 
hastily-spoken orders ; then I knew that I had sue- 



254 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURa. 

ceeded, and the schooner was safe. But I was not 
a moment too soon, for the httle vessel was rapidly 
nearing the mouth of the channel, and once in- 
closed by those rocky walls, once under the influ- 
ence of those waves that dashed so madly over the 
rocks, retreat would have been impossible. 

" I was allowed scarcely a moment to congratu- 
late myself upon my success, for my pursuers, 
finding themselves foiled, determined to wreak 
their vengeance upon me. They could plainly 
see me by the light of the burning pile, and the 
quick discharge of half a dozen pistols sent the 
bullets thickly around me. It was death to re- 
main where I was, so, taking a last look at the 
cave, I threw myself over the cliS*, and struck out 
for the schooner. 

"My father, having seen me when I took the 
leap, laid the schooner to, and lowered a boat to 
pick me up. I tell you, sir, I was a proud young- 
ster when I stood on that deck, receiving the 
thanks and the congratulations of those I had 
saved. I forgot the pain of my wound, and the 
dangers from which I had escaped, in the joy I 
experienced at finding myself once more safe 
among my friends." 



CONCLUSION. 255 

Their watch ending with Tom's interesting remi- 
niscence, they then turned in for the night. 

The next morning the attack upon the bluffs 
was renewed, without resulting to the advantage 
of either side, and at night the vessels again with- 
drew, and retreated down the river. The Trenton 
returned to her old landing, and Frank, at his re- 
quest, was again placed in command of one of the 
guns of the battery. But he was not destined to 
hold the position long, for, now that the "beau- 
ties" had dismounted that troublesome gun, Gen- 
eral Sherman had advanced his works until he 
could go no further without getting into the ene- 
my's line. At length, one morning, a flag of truce 
was raised within their fortifications, and hostiUties 
were at once suspended. Then came that cele- 
brated interview between the generals, during 
which the soldiers on both sides clambered out 
of the rifle-pits, and conversed face to face with 
the men with whom they had so long been engaged 
in deadly conflict. 

" How are you now, Johnny?" inquired Frank, 
seating himself on one of the guns, and waving his 
hat to a rebel officer who stood in the rifle-pits, 
gazing at the battery with great interest. " What 



256 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. 

does that flag of truce mean? Are you going to 
surrender ? " 

'* Do n't know," replied the rebel; *'but, I say, 
Yank, will jou let a fellow come over there?" 

" Certainly. Come on." 

The rebel accordingly laid aside his weapons, 
and walked over to the battery, where, after ex- 
amining the guns very curiously, he entered into 
conversation with Frank, in the course of which 
he informed him that they were a " played-out 
concern," and could not possibly hold out more 
than a week longer. 

But they did not ''hold out" so long; for, on 
the next day, the fourth of July, the victorious 
army entered the city, and raised the Stars and 
Stripes over the " Sebastopol of the Rebels." 

Here we leave our hero, reposing before Vicks- 
burg on his well-earned reputation as a gallant 
young officer, waiting to be ordered to new scenes 
of excitement and danger further down the Mis- 
sissippi and up her tributary streams. Through 
these scenes we shall conduct our readers in a 
concluding volume, which will close Frank's career 
on our Western waters. 

THE end. 



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Frank before Vicksburg, 
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NEW POEMS BY WM. P. BRANNAN, 



Vagaries of Vandyke Browne, 

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HUMOROUS, PATHETIC, AND DESCRIPTIVE 

INCIDENTS OF THE WAR. 

BY ALP. BURNETT, 

HUMORIST AXD ARMY CORRESPONDENT. 

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