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THE UNIVERSITY OF
THE WILMER COLLECTION
OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS
RICHARD H. WILMER, JR.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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EVERY WORD THEY SPOKE, THOUGH THEIR VOICES WERE AT
FIRST LOW, CAME TO MY EARS DISTINCTLY', page 184.
HENRY SCOTT CLARK /a 4U t n
A STORY OF
THE GREAT RAID
THE BOWEN-MERR1LL COMPANY
THE BOWEN-MERRILL COMPANY
All Rights Reserved
Rraunworth, Munn & Barber.
Printers and Binders,
Brooklyn, N. Y.
" * * * sons of the selfsame race
And blood of the selfsame clan,
Let us speak with each other, face to face,
And answer as man to man,
And loyally love and trust each other as none but
free men can."
What of Virginia i
The Monster War 15
The Placard on the Post 30
Give Me Road, Sirs 46
The Third One at Mandrell's 63
With Face Toward the South 83
Captain Burkley's Gentlemen 92
With the Great Raider 106
On Brandenburg Heights 124
Her Brother's Accuser 145
The Shooting of Bellray 157
The Garb of a Rebel 176
The End of the Horse-Buyer 199
Through the Tunnels 218
A Discredited Spy 233
The Duel in the Cave 248
Word by the Refugee 263
And Some Day— 279
The Coming of the Provost 294
The Ride of the Three Thousand 302
The Help of a Strong Man 313
Corporal Neffitt 326
A Message from the General 340
Friends on the Wall 357
The Escape 369
The Return of Reason 377
WHAT OF VIRGINIA
At middle life my father found himself a poor
man — a poor country gentleman. It is not such
a great misfortune to be a poor city gentleman,
for the latter is only one of many of all sorts and
conditions. He may easily lose himself in the
multitude, or, if he dislike obscurity, he may
conceal from the public gaze the slenderness of
his purse and affect an appearance not justified by
his fortune. But in the country one's goings in
and comings out, if in any sense or degree out of
the common way, are likely to attract attention
and provoke comment of the kind one least de-
In the Virginia county in which my father
was born and had spent nearly all his life, he was
surrounded by old and well-to-do families with
whom and their ancestors he and his ancestors had
2 The Legionaries
mingled for many generations. They knew the
extent of his estate to the acre, and could compute
his income with more than tolerable accuracy. If
he was compelled to part with a portion of the
one or suffered a diminution of the other they
were certain to know it, and likewise the particular
nature of the adversity that moved to the sacrifice.
So, at least, my father found it when a mis-
taken confidence in others led to his financial
undoing. Usually such a blow as the loss of for-
tune is more stunning when it is received than at
any time afterward, but in his case it was not
that way. Not until he began to feel how surely
the loss of money carried with it deprivation, in
some measure, of other things that he valued
more highly than money did he fully understand
the extent of the disaster that had overtaken him.
Being a proud man and perhaps supersensi-
tive, he was cut to the heart when the realization
came that he could no longer hold up his head
with the highest. True, he had not lost all. A
remnant of his once very considerable estate was
left, but it was not sufficient to maintain his es-
tablishment on terms of equality with the best.
Our family continued to be held in regard, for it
was — let me say it — eminently respectable, but
in my father's view our very respectability only
served to aggravate the evils of our condition.
If we had been content to live as many do, and
to drift along from day to day, not caring for the
What of Virginia 3
morrow, overlooking slights and forgetting past
things, it would have been easier for us. Prob-
ably I should not say us, for I was not much at
home during those last melancholy days in Vir-
ginia, being in the military school at West Point,
where the government was doing what it could to
fit me for a soldier. I did not know all that was
going on nor all that my father felt, but his letters
to me betrayed a very uncheerful spirit. His dis-
satisfaction, indeed, constantly augmented, and
he became possessed of a fancy that there was a
lack of the old courteous attention from those
about him. Finally a letter came telling me that
he had accepted an appointment to office in
Washington — this was in the early days of Presi-
dent Buchanan's administration — and that he and
my mother would presently proceed to the Capi-
tal, which they very soon did.
The appointment was accepted as an honorable
means of getting away from the old scenes, upon
which such a different face had been put by his
changed condition, and, while fairly lucrative,
proved irksome. It was not long until he was
ready to relinquish it. Could he have re-
sumed his old place he would gladly have re-
turned to Virginia. As that could not be, he was
looking around, he wrote me. For one situated
as he was the South then afforded few opportuni-
ties for financial recuperation, even if there were
4 The Legionaries
ambition to try; this ambition he had not, hav-
ing lost his spirit and being none too strong.
The storm which a few years later broke with
such fury was brewing. Its mutterings could be
heard by any man who would open his ears and
listen. It was despite this fact and not because
of it that he took a very unexpected step, in
which no doubt he was encouraged by my mother
who, in addition to her most lovable qualities,
was possessed of a strong will and great self-
reliance. This was no less than a removal, with
all his belongings, to Indiana. However influ-
ential my mother may have been in inducing this,
at the time, extraordinary change of residence, she
was not wholly responsible for it. Roger Bell-
ray had much to do with it, but I have since
come to believe that my mother, with her wom-
an's intuition, along with unusual foresight, had
prescience of the terrible events that were to hap-
pen in Virginia and desired to get far away from
the soil that was so soon to be drenched with
A bachelor, a man of affairs, a gentleman
farmer and still young — such and more was
Roger Bellray. Having means and leisure, as
well as natural inclination, he had given a good
deal of attention to politics — not, however, as an
office-seeker or office-holder, for he valued too
highly the freedom and independence of private
citizenship to exchange them for the cares of
What of Virginia 5
place. He had spent some winters in Washington
as a looker-on, interested in the workings of the
complicated government machinery. He met and
greatly impressed my discouraged father by his
vigorous and magnetic personality. Their ac-
quaintance ripened into a sudden and lasting
To him my father confided his determination
to retire to some quiet country place where he
could busy himself with small affairs without dis-
turbance. As it happened, the estate adjoining
Bellray's was then on the market at a price well
within the means still at my father's command.
In the spring he went West, and rinding the place
satisfactory, or at least as nearly satisfactory as
any could be that did not equal that which he had
been forced to relinquish, he bought it. I was
advised of this contemplated purchase, but while
it seemed to me a poor business, there was no
occasion for me to set up my opinion in oppo-
sition to it.
The few years, as it befell, that yet re-
mained to him were passed in peace, if not in
contentment. More by the thrifty management
of my mother, acting under the advice of Bellray,
than by any business skill of his own, his new
possessions yielded returns sufficient to maintain
a respectable establishment without trenching
upon the fund which had been set aside to send
6 The Legionaries
me abroad after my graduation, as every male
Trenham had been sent for a hundred years.
Having a taste for martial things, I was,
through the influence of the American minister,
which we were yet able to invoke, admitted as a
student in a French military institute, and for two
years devoted myself assiduously to the task of
receiving instruction. I was rather a serious-
minded young man and eschewed most of the
follies to which many of those about me were ad-
dicted. While in the main my stay in the insti-
tute was not unpleasant, I was, as a foreigner,
who was there merely by the grace of the French
government, subjected to many annoyances.
At first I was tolerated as a semi-barbarian
and curiosity, but when it was found that I was
disposed to insist upon respectful treatment, al-
though I did so as mildly as the circumstances
would allow, I met with some difficulty at the
hands of a few of the most violently inclined
young Frenchmen. The result was that I was
forced into an encounter with a smart yet reckless
fellow who was put forward as the champion of
those who had determined to make me win my
Swordsmanship was taught there, as in all
high class institutions of the kind, and many of
the students had acquired a degree of expertness
that would have been creditable even in those
long-gone times when skill at fencing was the first
What of Virginia 7
requirement of a gentleman. Fortunately for me
— not only then but later — I knew something of
the art. I had set out early to acquire some
knowledge of the uses of the weapon and be-
came greatly interested in the pursuit. The fenc-
ing master asserted that I had a quickness of eye
and a steadiness of nerve without which the
sword was as useless as a walking stick. Thus
encouraged, and finding that the exercise was
invigorating and healthful, I continued it with
great spirit, not unmixed with a little pride.
So when I was given to understand by my
friends in the institute that my peace, and my
standing in the eyes of my fellows, demanded
that I should not ignore the challenge of the fiery
Venault, I accepted it. Although not really a
bad fellow at heart, Venault had a good many
traits of the bully and had terrorized half the
school into submission to his domination. Not a
few of them desired to see him humiliated ; and
while they did not believe in my ability to accom-
plish his overthrow, they were willing enough that
I should try.
Their ideas of America were dim and uncer-
tain. In the minds of most of them it was
merely a far-away land which their own country
had been principally instrumental in wresting
from the hated English, a land where men ac-
quired wealth by some species of magic and re-
turned to civilized countries to enjoy it, I di(jl
8 The Legionaries
what I could to give them a more favorable un-
derstanding, but I fear that I really accomplished
little before my trouble with Paul Venault, and
not greatly more afterward.
The morning came for our meeting. Dueling
was, of course, prohibited, but under the guise of
a fencing bout, in which, if a wound was received,
it was proclaimed to be an accident, it was never-
theless carried on in very genuine fashion. My
opponent appeared on the ground fresh and con-
fident, his young mustachios daintily waxed and
twisted, and his handsome eyes lively with the
excitement of the occasion. A fine specimen of
the dashing, volatile Latin was Paul Venault. In
size and strength we were a fair match. He was
nearly, if not quite, six feet in height, sinewy,
active and alert. What a swordsman he would
have made had it not been for his hot head and
his proneness always to hold an opponent too
We stripped for the encounter and took our
positions. Venault smiled at first somewhat dis-
dainfully, but at the onset he replaced the smile
with a fierce look which was meant to overawe
me, as I have no doubt it had overawed others.
Fortunately for me, I very well realized that it was
not fierce looks that won battles of this sort, but
good, steady sword-play. Much to the surprise
of all and to the deep humiliation of my opponent,
the contest went in my favor more easily than I
What of Virginia 9
had believed it would, and Venault was retired
with a wound in his arm.
He had the manliness to congratulate me on
my victory, but the heartiness of the acknowledg-
ment was marred by his professed belief that the
thrust which had disabled him was directed by
chance. If this afforded him consolation I was
not the one to deprive him of it, though I knew
the contrary to be the fact. After this I got
along fairly well and received from none more con-
siderate treatment than from Venault.
I have written of this experience in no spirit of
vaunting, but because Paul came once again into
my life on a very different field, and also because
it is the easiest way to explain how I was able to
bear myself with credit in a more serious encoun-
ter under most unusual circumstances.
Only meager information came to me as to what
was happening at home. My father had written
of the great contest for the presidency then going
on with a heat and virulence of faction never be-
fore known, and gave it as his opinion that Lin-
coln's success meant the attempted secession from
the Union of the southern states and then war be-
tween the sections. My ideas as to the causes of
the trouble were, I fancy, at that time hazy and
inaccurate. For two years I had been abroad,
giving more heed to present concerns than to
thoughts of future strife between my countrymen.
In a general way I knew that there had been
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bitter sectional contention at home in which the
question of slavery was in some way involved —
for there had been trouble at West Point between
the northern and southern lads — but I had not
dreamed that the conditions were so acute as my
father's letters indicated. As a southerner born
my sympathies were with the South, so quick are
we to believe that our own people must be right
and everybody else wrong. I eagerly awaited
further intelligence, which had to come by the
slow process of the mails carried by the not too
rapid steamers which then traversed the Atlantic.
Late in December a letter reached me, written
by my mother, conveying the serious tidings
that my father's health, which long had been del-
icate, had taken a sudden turn for the worse and
she had grave fears for his life. She urged me
to return home immediately, and enclosed money
for my journey. A line added at the bottom of
the last page, as if an afterthought, told me that
Lincoln had been elected to the presidency.
Only the bare fact was stated, without comment,
and thus I had no confirmation or otherwise of
my father's misgivings ; but she took little inter-
est in politics at best, and was thinking then, no
doubt, only of her husband's state.
Settling my few affairs as fast as possible, I set
out for Paris to get my passports. From the
papers there, which usually devoted but little at-
tention to the affairs of America, I learned that a
What of Virginia 1 1
crisis was thought to be approaching in the United
States which threatened the integrity of the re-
public. This, if well founded, would be good
news to Louis Napoleon, to whom republics, since
the time of his own treachery to France, were a
constantly menacing nightmare. A January voy-
age across the Atlantic was not what I would
have chosen, but there was no alternative. The
tone of my mother's letter convinced me that
there should be no avoidable delay. It was a ter-
rible journey through gales, driving rains, sleet
and snow, but it was accomplished at last.
On arriving in New York, I found, during my
few hours of necessary detention, that everybody
was in a state of feverish excitement. All around
could be heard the shouts of the newspaper ven-
ders, crying that another state had seceded from
the Union. This, I soon learned, was Georgia,
the fifth to take that momentous and, as it proved,
almost fatal step. There were plenty about to
enlighten me as to what had been done, as well as
to what was being done. Without doubt the
country was on the verge of war. National prop-
erty in all the seceding states had been seized,
including arsenals and forts and the navy-yard at
Pensacola. The authorities at Washington were
bitterly assailed for not putting forth a strong
hand and suppressing the insurrection in its in-
cipiency, and were wildly accused of being in
league with treason.
12 The Legionaries
"What of Virginia?" I asked later of a by-
stander at the railway station.
"Virginia is still true, but she is expected to
go the way of the others," he answered, gloom-
ily. "You are of the North, I suppose?"
"I am a Virginian," said I, proudly, and added,
"but just returned from France."
He looked about him apprehensively, and
then, coming a little nearer, so as not to be over-
heard, he said: "You are safer than I, yet, for
I am a South Carolinian, and my state has led
the procession out of the Union," saying which
he walked quickly away from me and was lost to
my view in the crowd.
Safer ! So it had already become a question of
personal danger. I had told him that I was a
Virginian, which was the truth, yet my home was
in Indiana. The anomalous position in which I
was placed had barely occurred to me before, but
it struck me now with full force. Beyond any
question at all Indiana would standby the Union.
My father had expatriated himself from Virginia,
but had I? Except the short period of three
months that I had spent with my parents just
prior to going abroad I had never been in the
state to which they had removed. I was worried
and perplexed. If war came I ought to bear a
part. Otherwise, why had I been educated in
Two days of continuous travel were required to
What of Virginia 1-3
make the trip from New York to the old capital
town of Corydon, a few miles outside of which,
to the northward, lay my father's new posses-
sions. My route took me through a country in-
tensely hostile to the South. The critical condi-
tion of the republic was almost the sole topic of
conversation among my constantly changing fel-
low-passengers. A few argued in favor of letting
the southern states go, declaring that it would
be a good riddance, but by far the greater num-
ber held that the Union should be preserved at
all hazards. Into these arguments I did not ob-
trude, and I noticed that there were others who,
like myself, did not deem it expedient to put for-
ward their opinions, and, who, when now and then
appealed to, remained steadily non-committal.
It must not be understood that these things,
absorbing as they were, engrossed all of my
thoughts. I was deeply concerned about my
father, always kind and generous, who had
poured out upon me, as the only child, a full
measure of affection. I had been absent a long
time, and how should I find him? And my lov-
ing mother, who had laid everything at my feet
since that day, now twenty-two years gone, when
I first came helpless into her arms, how was she?
There came into my mind, too, a vision of an-
other — a spirited little maid of glorious prom-
ise — Kate, Roger Bellray's young sister. She
must be nearly eighteen by now, and if the flower
14 The Legionaries
was as beautiful as the bud — ah ! I was young ;
how should I find Kate Bellray?
Finally I reached the end of my travel by rail
at Jeffersonville, from which point I took stage for
Corydon, something more than twenty miles
away, arriving there late in the afternoon of a day
of clear sky and sharp north wind. Hastily par-
taking of a little refreshment, I entered the con-
veyance that I had ordered to carry me over the
few miles yet separating me from my father's
house, leaving my baggage to follow on the mor-
row. Darkness had set in by the time we drew
rein in front of the wide porch of southern fash-
ion, from which my mother waved h£r Jiand^ in
farewell on that September day when I sjgr0G on
the journey from which I was now returning.
How should I find them? The rooms Were^Fght
down stairs. Jumping out I discharged (pe cfjwer,
hastened toward the house, up the steps and gave
the old-fashioned bell a pull that coujd^have been
heard from garret to cellar. Tifl€ door <was
opened presently by the well-;remembered
servant Martha, a slave in Virginia, but hei
yet who clung to my family closer than
were still bond.
"Marse John!" she exclaimed, throwing
her hands as if I were an apparition, --..•
And then the good soul began to cry and bth^ed
her face in her gingham apron. I understoo^djvery
well from this that my father was dead.
THE MONSTER WAR
My father's death, of which I was not wholly
unprepared to hear, had occurred two weeks be-
fore my arrival. It was a great shock to me and
an overwhelming grief to my mother, but my
presence went far to comfort her. She now
leaned upon me in all things, and sought advice
which I was poorly prepared to give. But I
went to work diligently to acquire a knowledge
of ogr affairs and found them to be in good con-
dition ; and yet how our present position contrast-
ed with that from which we had been deposed ! —
a bare three hundred acres as against as many
thousands, a modest, but roomy and comfort-
able house as against the imposing mansion
within the walls of which generations of Tren-
hams had been born, and where they had laughed,
and wept, and lived, and died. Where happy
slaves in that still recent time gave willing serv-
ice, now four or five paid servants did all the
work of house and farm. Father had never be-
come reconciled to the change, but mother, pos-
sessing a more elastic temperament and a cheer-
1 6 The Legionaries
fulness of disposition not easily shaken, accepted
it without a murmur. Only on his account and
mine was she ever known to express a regret,
and this, being buoyant and hopeful, I labored to
dispel so far as it concerned myself.
We were a litttle removed from direct commu-
nication with the world, but by means of the
Louisville newspapers were kept tolerably in-
formed as to what was going on. The new pres-
ident was inaugurated in March. His address
on that occasion, while intended to be pacific,
was unsatisfactory to the South and was looked
upon by the leading secessionists as menacing.
Representatives of the seceding states met and
agreed upon a plan of confederation. Both sides
began to arm, and those conservative people
in both sections — there were many of them —
who had hoped for peace, lost heart. And well
they might, as things went from bad to worse
with each passing day. At last, about the mid-
dle of April, came that direful news from Charles-
ton harbor, that open defiance of the national
government which constituted an act of war. It
was so accepted everywhere, and preparations
for that miserable, unhappy family conflict, so
long dreaded, and now, thank God, so long past
and forgiven, were redoubled.
I had but slight acquaintance in our locality,
and aside from occasional trips to Corydon, now
and then extended to Louisville, I stayed mostly at
The Monster War 17
home, doing what I could to mitigate my mother's
sorrow, and to aid in the management of her affairs.
Roger Bellray, who had gone to Washington, as
was his custom, and on to New England, as he told
me, to visit his sister who was there in school, came
home a few weeks after the inauguration. Until
then I had not seen him since my return. He
was gloomy and cast down, and told me then
that all efforts toward compromising the issue
between the sections had come to naught. He
blamed the hot-heads north and south for the
threatened disruption of the Union, which he de-
plored as a calamity, but which, he insisted,
there was no constitutional power to prevent.
The secession of the southern states he held to
be a great political blunder, but to restrain them
by force of arms would be a crime. In his view
each of the states of the Union was sovereign,
and was as free to withdraw its consent to a con-
tinuation of the compact into which it had en-
tered as it had been in the first instance to give it.
"We are going to the devil," he said finally,
"and when the crash comes, as it will come, every
man must look out for himself."
The constitutional phases of the question did
not interest me, and so I did not allow myself to
be troubled by them. What I saw was that that
portion of the country with which my family so
long had been identified was arraying itself against
2 — Legionaries.
1 8 The Legionaries
that other portion which my father, mild man as
he was, always asserted had been guilty of un-
just encroachments. Virginia did not join the
Confederacy at once, but did so in May, and not
long afterward the people of the South looked
over the border toward the people of the North,
and the faces of both were as flint. Presently
they clashed and struck fire. Gods! beneath the
flint there was blood and it ran red and fast.
My graduation from the academy at West Point
entitled me to a lieutenant's commission, but this
I had resigned in order to continue my studies
abroad, and was thus free to take such course
as I saw fit. Many officers of southern birth had
already sent in their resignations from the army
and hurried back to their states to accept com-
mands in the forces of the new Confederacy. No
doubt I should have followed their example had
not my previous action made such a step unneces-
sary ; but I was glad then, and am now, that I was
not put to such a choice.
What should I do ? I had grown up with my
full share of prejudices against the North, which
my four years at West Point had not removed.
The northern and southern youths were, as I
have said, at arm's length during the last half of
my stay at the academy, and quarrels led in sev-
eral instances to personal collisions, in which
each contestant was given satisfactory proof of
the metal of his opponent. In all affairs of this
The Monster War 19
kind that came under my observation, I enacted
the ungrateful and always difficult role of peace-
maker whenever possible. In one unfortunate
instance I not only had my trouble for my pains,
but later was compelled to defend myself against
a classmate from Georgia, who imagined that I
had offended him. But for the most part I sided
with my fellow-southerners in the imperfect argu-
ments by which the cadets sought with feeble suc-
cess to convince each other of error.
My stay abroad had done much to nationalize
my feelings, and heaven knows that had it not
been for that ill-starred and deplorable division,
the iniquity of which I did not see until long
afterward, I should have returned to America
with an intensified love of my native land. But
in my youthful eyes then Virginia was my native
land more surely than the wide republic of united
commonwealths, and the new home of my pa-
rents was scarcely better than alien territory. In-
deed, as I viewed it, it was alien in truth from
the moment Virginia adopted the ordinance of
separation, and cast her fortunes with the other
seceding states. Try as I would, and did, for
my mother's sake, to think otherwise, I could not
rise above the feeling that I was merely a so-
journer in Indiana, with no tie to bind me there
save that of filial duty to a loved one so newly
and sorely bereft.
As the war progressed, I became more and
20 The Legionaries
more restless, and with the unreckoning ardor of
youth longed to throw myself into the conflict.
To remove one obstacle I tried to persuade my
mother to dispose of the farm and go to Rich-
mond- — the chosen capital of the new Confederacy
— where she had relatives, but she steadfastly
answered that she would stay where she was,
near the grave of my father, and that when her
time came, in God's providence, she would be
buried there by his side. No words could meet
that simple argument, and I attempted none
nor did I yet have the heart to leave her in her
loneliness. She clung to me now as all that re-
mained to her, and felt — though she did not say it
in words — that I should not ask her to make so
great a sacrifice.
To her, war was merely a many-headed mon-
ster, with tremendous capabilities for death and
heart-break. Was there ever a woman, unless,
indeed, she were carried beyond herself by some
overwhelming zeal or frenzy, who, without hesi-
tation, gave up a son to battle? If there were
ever such it was not my mother. She begged and
implored me to wait — wait. I know that she hoped
and tried to make herself believe that the war would
be brought to a speedy end, as millions of others
did ; but it grew and spread and became increas-
ingly more bitter and implacable. It was soon
evident that it was to be a struggle to the very
death, and that the end would only come when
The Monster War 21
the resources of one or the other of the contest-
ants were exhausted.
One evening, late in July, I rode over to Bell-
ray's house, scarcely more than a mile away,
which gleamed large and white in a grove of
maple and elm trees. As I approached I heard
a girl's voice singing a new northern song. Look-
ing about me I saw the singer, simply dressed in
some white material, coming along the orchard
path toward the house. Her face was partly con-
cealed by a wide-brimmed "sundown" of straw,
held in place by pale blue ribbons tied beneath
her chin. Seeing me, the song was suddenly
suspended, but the girl came on. I secured my
horse at the gate and went up the walk. A turn
in the path had thrown the house between us for
a moment and I stopped and waited for her to re-
appear, for this must be Kate Bellray whose
home-coming had been expected for some days.
Presently she turned the corner of the building.
It was she, only the promising child had come
to be a woman. I essayed to speak.
"Miss Bellray, I believe?" was the best I could
do. And how weak it sounded, as if there were
the least question in my mind as to who she was '
"Have I changed so much that you are in
doubt?" she asked, smiling. "Or had you for-
"You have changed, certainly, and just as cer-
22 The Legionaries
tainly I had not forgotten you. A victim rarely
forgets the one who put him on the rack."
"Is it because of that that you remember me ? ' '
she said, the old mischievous sparkle in her eyes.
"I must have been worse than I thought."
"The memory has been a pleasant one," I re-
turned, "so pleasant that time and distance have
not effaced it."
And so we began very much as we had left off
three years before, but she soon became serious
enough, as, seated in the shade of the wide porch,
we talked of many things. Fresh-faced and
clear-eyed, with the curving beauty of girlhood
just rounding into womanliness, she made the
most attractive picture I had ever seen. In fig-
ure she was neither short nor tall, and as grace-
ful in every movement as the willow when bend-
ing to the kiss of the south wind. Her mouth
showed a line of firmness without obstinacy that
gave a key to her character. Never have I seen
eyes like hers, at once so full of intelligence and
so expressive of her emotions. Whether in mirth,
anger or sadness — and I have seen her in each
state — the beholder must perforce yield to their
spell, for her very soul seemed to look out upon
him. I am not skilled in the art of describ-
ing physical perfections, but did I possess it in
superlative degree I could lavish it all, without
degrading it, upon Kate Bellray as she then was.
She had temper, and was given to moods — what
The Monster War 23
man or woman is not ? — and I have felt them all,
and sometimes writhed under them, but I never-
theless aver — but why should I aver anything? So
partial a witness might be doubted.
Roger, who had gone to Cory don, came back
while I was still there, bringing word of the first
battle at Manassas, in which the Union forces
were not only defeated, but had fled in panic back
upon Washington, which city was believed to be
in danger of capture. I had a feeling of exulta-
tion over the fact that the invading army had
been driven from Virginia, which must uncon-
sciously have shown in my face.
"This news pleases you, sir," said Miss Bell-
Somewhat taken aback, I hardly knew what
answer to make, so direct and unexpected was
the attack. "One naturally sides with his kith
and kin," I returned haltingly, with a feeling
that my face had grown suddenly red.
"One should not do so unless sure that they
are right, and it can never be right to make war
upon one's country," she exclaimed, with fine
"It depends on the point of view," said I.
"Don't argue with her, John," said Roger,
laughing. "She is as contentious as ever; in
fact, a regular firebrand, and wholly incorrigible."
"Mr. Trenham was educated for a soldier, and
he certainly will not run away from a girl's argu-
24 The Legionaries
ments," she retorted, but in such plain good
humor that it carried no sting.
"He would rather face a battery no doubt; at
least I should. A girl's argument is like her hair
— she arranges it to suit herself, and not always
in proper fashion," her brother returned, helping
me out of what seemed to him an awkward situa-
tion, but which, indeed, I did not find unpleasant,
as I watched the girl's animated face.
"But, Sir Roger de Coverley, you forget that
I have studied logic as well as hair dressing."
"Come, Kate, drop the de Coverley, as I did long
ago; and also drop logic. Don't you know that
it has been said over and over again that there is
nothing quite so unwomanly as logic?"
"Is it so?" she cried, tossing her head in mock
seriousness. "Then allow me to ask a question ;
that, at least, is one thing that women will not be
denied : Was the loss very great in this miserable
"The number of killed and wounded on both
sides is large, and, as for the missing — well, the
whole Union army is missing," Roger answered
"Terrible!" she exclaimed. Then looking at
her brother keenly she added: "You seem dis-
posed to make light of the misfortune of your
The thrust was sharp, but he was prepared
to parry it. " Perhaps it is not a misfortune,
The Monster War 25
my sister. This disaster may teach lessons much
more valuable than would have been the win-
ning of the victory. And, at any rate, it will be
safe to wager that every raw lad who tried to
out-foot his comrades to Washington will, when
put to another test, die in his tracks before he runs
again. That is human nature, and he will never
be on good terms with himself until he has been
given another trial at his enemy."
She looked at him gratefully, her ruffled feel-
ings being smoothed by his diplomacy. The
conversation was soon turned into a less danger-
Kate was an ardent patriot. She had been for
more than three years at school in a city that had
been a hotbed of Abolition sentiment. The south
had there been pilloried in the public eye for a
generation and more, and she had been deeply im-
pressed with what she believed to be the sinful
transgressions of the southern people. There was
nothing personal or individual in her antipathy,
for she had thought well of my father, and looked
upon my mother with open affection. During
her vacations, which she spent at home, she had
been much at our house, I was told, and bright-
ened it with her young and cheerful presence. It
was there that I first met her, a rosy maiden of
fifteen joyous years, somewhat given to romping.
At the beginning she had been a little shy of
me, but on a better acquaintance this feeling van-
26 The Legionaries
ished and she indulged in the delightful pastime
of vexing me in every way that a quick wit could
suggest. I had sense enough to see the utter lack
of malice in her behavior, and soon came to have
a thorough enjoyment of her most elaborate
schemes of torture. She had come into my mind
very often in the three years that had elapsed since,
not seriously, however, but as an interesting recol-
lection. For, be it understood, I then held my-
self to be a man and she a mere slip of a girl, des-
tined, no doubt, to grow into a lovely woman. In
a physical way, certainly, this destiny was fulfilled
in even larger degree than I had imagined, and as
to her other attributes there never had been room
for the least question. The old inclination to
place thorns in my pathway, knowing that I
would stumble upon them and furnish her amuse-
ment in extricating myself, was held in check,
but not entirely subdued. Now and then it was
given liberty during the next year, in which we
were much together.
Her intense Unionism — which I was not in-
clined to regard as serious in a woman — and my
anomalous and wholly unsatisfactory position
gave her opportunities of which, in the main, I
will say to her credit, she availed herself sparingly.
Being naturally kind of heart, she very soon
learned that here was the vulnerable point through
which my feelings could be most sorely harassed.
But even toward this tender spot she would at
The Monster War 27
times, when I had been so unfortunate as to irri-
tate her by some reference to the South, direct
her sharpest javelins, and I, helpless to pluck
them out, would smother the pain they caused
me as best I could.
Sometimes for days I would avoid her, so
keenly did I feel the humiliation of my position
of inaction in the great struggle now going on
almost at our doors, about which she frequently
rallied me. But as the needle responds to the
magnet without reasoning why, so would I turn
again toward this fair star of the north who at-
tracted me so powerfully. I think she clearly
understood on these occasions that in keeping
away from her I was not moved by childish
pique. Had she thought otherwise she could
not, with her qualities, have treated me with
the respect, and a something bordering on con-
trition, that she took no pains to conceal when
we would again come together. For this I was
grateful, and for a time we would get along
smoothly enough, laughing off the old trouble
and vowing to avoid further offense.
What made my lot the harder to endure was
the knowledge that very many of the best young
men in the county had gone to the war. By far
the greater number, of course, went into the na-
tional army, but it was more than suspected that
some, for one reason or another, had slipped
quietly across the Ohio river to join the Confed-
28 The Legionaries
erate forces. Roger Bellray himself told me of
instances of this kind, and no man was better in-
formed than he as to what was going on in our
locality. The loss to the North in this manner
was, it was clearly apparent, fully made up by the
accessions to its strength which came from the
South. Nothing can more effectively illustrate
the lack of unanimity of sentiment in both sec-
tions, unless it be those numerous and fully ac-
credited instances of persecution and door-to-
door warfare for opinion's sake, which raged
then and later in many states on both sides of the
Among those who had joined the national army
was young Philip Deverny, a member of an in-
fluential family living not far beyond the Bell-
ray place. He had recently been at home suffer-
ing from a disabling wound received in the battle
at Shiloh, and wore the uniform of a lieutenant of
cavalry. I saw him last at Bellray's one evening
just before he departed to rejoin his regiment,
then at Corinth. Self-contained and handsome,
with the prestige of a soldier who had been in
battle, I felt that in his presence I was over-
shadowed. And yet nothing could have been
more considerate and circumspect than his con-
duct; it was exemplary, and in all respects
above reproach. We talked about our differing
views, but we did it as gentlemen, and at parting
he expressed the hope that one day we might
The Monster War 29
meet in the field, though not in personal strife;
a hope that I gladly seconded, but which nearly-
failed of realization.
For some time afterward Kate treated me with
a reserve and curtness of manner which, while
largely unconscious and not intended to offend,
wounded me deeply. I could not but attribute
it to the contrast that she must have drawn in her
mind, to my very great disadvantage, between
myself and the lieutenant. I had no cause to be
jealous of him — even if I were disposed to en-
tertain so base a feeling — for Kate herself had
told me that he had long paid court to Betty
West, her one intimate girl friend. So far as
that matter is concerned, nothing had passed
between Kate and me that gave me a claim upon
her to the exclusion of any one else, and I made
no pretense of asserting any.
But she must know why I, educated for a mil-
itary career, apparently dawdled at home while
others hastened to the front where courageous
men fought and died for what they believed to be
the right. If she did not know I could not tell
her. I could not put forward my lonely mother
and her appeals to me to tarry yet awhile, to
shield me from the criticism that my non-action
seemed to merit.
THE PLACARD ON THE POST
One day a small party of us were returning
from a visit to the great Wyandotte cavern.
While living only a few miles away, I had never
before seen its many wonders, and for my benefit
Roger Bellray and his sister had arranged the
expedition. Bellray, with my mother and Mrs.
Willing, an elderly aunt, who for years had
looked after his household, went in a carriage,
but Kate and I had preferred to go on horseback.
It was while returning homeward from this ex-
cursion that I suffered the sharpest vexation
of spirit at her hands, followed by the swiftest
amends. We rode in advance of the others, and
being able to make better speed, even without
haste, we soon left them out of sight. She had
behaved well throughout the day, but now an
unlucky reference of mine to some caverns of the
South opened up the old difficulty.
"They are, of course, vastly superior to the
Wyandotte," she said, with a sudden change of
"I had not said so," I returned, propitiatingly.
The Placard on the Post 31
"I never saw them, but am told that they are
"Certainly they are; they must be," she ex-
claimed, tossing her head scornfully. "As the
South surpasses us in everything else, it natur-
ally excels in caves."
Putting whip to her horse, she galloped furi-
ously ahead, as if determined to get as far as
possible away from my unfortunate South, and
from myself, its no less luckless son. How she
tried my patience ! But I was resolved to keep
my temper. She presently slowed her pace, and
allowed me to come up with her. I waited for
her to speak, but she remained silent.
She did not look at me at once, but leaning
forward she stroked with one small gloved hand
the arched neck of her thoroughbred Kentuckian.
Her back was to the low-lying September sun,
which tangled its rays of fire with the golden
brown tints of her hair. I could not see her face,
but the cheek toward me was aflame. After a
little time she turned her head, and I saw that
the threatened storm had not completely passed
"It seems to me a little strange, Mr. Trenham,
that you should remain in such a commonplace
country as this after having experienced the de-
lights of your southern paradise," she said
This was too much. "God knows that I have
32 The Legionaries
been ready to leave it for many long months, not
because it is commonplace, but because it is not
mine," I broke out with some bitterness, forget-
ting, in the face of this new provocation, my good
"What restrains you?" she asked, with har-
rowing coolness. "Other men have gone who
would have liked to stay."
"You know very well what has kept me," said
I, in a voice that sounded hard and unnatural to
my own ears. "I wonder that you can ask such
She looked a little alarmed, and some of the
color left her face. I was exasperated and hurt,
and restrained my anger with difficulty. I fancy
that she saw the wound she had inflicted, and that
it was deep. She changed about completely.
"I have again offended you," she said, with
an air of contrition, "and, while I have many pre-
vious transgressions against your good nature to
reproach myself for, I must now admit renewed
guilt, and ask your pardon."
"To be offended I must feel," I returned, my
inward wrath not wholly appeased; "and to feel
I must be made of blood and bone, tissue and
nerves like other men. Does it just now occur to
you, Kate, that I am not wood or iron, or baker's
"Don't be foolish, John," she said, looking
straight down the road. It was the first time
The Placard on the Post 33
she had called me by this name since she had
come home, and I was at once disarmed. She
turned her face to mine and continued : "I have
no disposition, really and truly, as you ought to
know, to hurt you in any way, and I am sorry
for having done so. Indeed, I must confess my
surprise that you have all along taken my poor
opinions so seriously. Nobody else does, except
Betty West. When I talk at home about the war
and such things Aunt Sarah is inclined to go to
sleep and Roger busies himself with something,
smiles and says 'yes' and 'no' without any rele-
vancy whatever. No doubt I have imposed on
you, and you have borne it all like a gentleman —
a real southern gentleman, too — and there are
such, I know, for you and your father have
proved it. But I have liked you for it, even
when I must have seemed to you most unfeeling,
if not actually barbarous."
"So," said I, wholly mollified, "you and Betty
"Perfectly. And she is a sensible girl, too. Of
course she is only a girl, but may not a girl know
"Yes; something, certainly." To the word
"something" I gave a decided emphasis, for I
did not know to what extent the wisdom of Betty
West might be appealed to.
"She doesn't know everything, as the men do,"
3 — Legionaries.
34 The Legionaries
she retorted with equally definite meaning, al-
ways ready for battle, "but what she does know
she knows as well as any one."
This statement of the proposition was so con-
clusive and irrefutable as to leave no ground for
argument "Both of you think that I should
pattern after Philip Deverny, I suppose."
Kate started a little and made haste to answer.
"No, John; I have not talked to her about you
— that is, not in connection with the war." A
tell-tale blush, which I was quick to see, deepened
the color of her cheeks. "Lieutenant Deverny
has made a good soldier, but you are capable of
making a better one. Betty thinks of him, and
weeps for him and prays for him. Had the need
been, she would have urged him to go, and if
necessary she would beg him to stay to the end.
And yet she would give her heart's blood to have
him with her again. She looks to see his name
in every list of killed in battle, yet she glories in
his danger, for she knows that he is fighting for
"It is proper for Betty to think and feel these
things respecting Deverny since he is acting in a
way that pleases her. But suppose he had gone
out to fight against the North?"
"Oh, that would have made a very different
case," she responded quickly. "If he had done
that she would detest him."
The Placard on the Post 35
"Well, suppose I should conclude to do it;
how would you regard me?"
I realized as soon as I had uttered the words
that I had put to her an unfair question. She
flushed and began to flick in confusion at some
thistledown that had lodged on her riding skirt.
I made haste to relieve her.
"Don't you see my position here?" I asked.
"I have seen that you were troubled," she
said, evading a direct answer. "You have shown
your feelings plainly."
"I am troubled, ' ' I exclaimed, all the misery of
my position rushing upon me; "I have fretted
until my brain has burned and my heart has be-
come at times as dry as a puff-ball. I have
waited, hesitating, chafing until almost beside
myself. Were it a mere question of saving the
Union I would fight for its integrity, and fight to
extend its borders if the chance offered. But this
is a mere fanatics' war, a sort of new crusade
waged against my Christian kin of the South.
The northern men have already made a charnel-
house of my native state. Its soil has been red-
dened with the blood of my relatives, poured out
at their very doorsteps. You must imagine, for I
can not tell you, how much I have suffered and
endured, how many wakeful nights and bitter days
I have passed while struggling between loyalty to
the old flag and duty to the people among whom
I was born."
36 The Legionaries
She turned her eyes now full upon me, and in
her face I read an encouraging sympathy. But
she did not speak, and I, determined to make as
good a defense for myself as I could, went on:
"Ah, Kate, if my poor father had been content
after the break in his fortunes to remain in Vir-
ginia my course would have been easier to choose.
But such was his pride that he could not endure
his fallen state in the company of those who had
known him in prosperity. So he came here, lived
a few quiet years and died, thank God, before
this unhappy conflict began. But he foresaw it,
and his heart remained true to the Old Dominion.
Notwithstanding that his dust is mingled with
the soil of your country, I would, in my selfish-
ness, for the pain it has caused me, curse the
day when he came to the North if it were not —
I may as well say it — if it were not for you."
"John, John," she cried impulsively. "You
say this, when I have added so much to your
burden, and perhaps may add still more, for I am
very unruly. ' ' She nervously fingered the handle
of her riding whip.
"Yes; if you had done many times as much,
I would still say it," I declared. "You could
not understand all of the difficulties of my situa-
tion, and so you have blamed me for not espous-
ing the cause of the North. But do you not
know that many who are native here are not
The Placard on the Post 37
even now clear as to the course that they should
"It is true," she returned slowly, a shadow
upon her fair face. "And how presumptuous
you must think me for putting my girl's opinions
against yours and that of my own brother. But
Roger talks about the constitution, and reasons
and doubts; you argue and hold back; while I,
being a woman, feel and believe that I know.
That is a woman's way and privilege, but being
a woman, I must perforce stay at home and
dream of things I would do if I could, or which,
at least, I think I would do. Roger greatly pro-
vokes me, though he is the best of brothers."
I could easily understand how Roger's conduct
affected her, for at this time his relations with
neighboring ultra Unionists were far from being
amicable. He was suspected of being disloyal,
and I, on two occasions, had gone with him to
the house of Colonel Mandrell, in Louisville, who
was known to have favored the secession of Ken-
tucky. The making of this statement involves no
violation of confidence, as will be seen.
What transpired between them the first time I
do not know, for shortly after our arrival they
withdrew to the Colonel's library for private con-
verse while I was engaged socially with Mrs.
Mandrell and her daughters. Before our depart-
ure I was called into the library, and there re-
ceived most extraordinary proof of the old gen-
38 The Legionaries
tleman's favor. For this, later, I was thankful,
as it enabled me to extricate myself from a very
disagreeable situation. As to the second occa-
sion, that also will appear.
"Pardon me, Kate," said I, seeing that in my
eagerness to excuse myself I had made a mistake.
"I had no intention to drag your brother into
our little discussion. He is an honorable man;
his views, whatever they are, are conscientious
and he is entitled to maintain them. I merely
referred to a class. As for Roger and me, it
has been hard for us both, much harder than you
can guess. Your New England schooling has
made it difficult for you to bear with us patiently,
I accompanied this statement with a smile
which I meant to be conciliatory, but which she
perversely misconstrued. "You laugh at me,
sir," she said with spirit, lifting her head defi-
"Oh, it is not so bad as that," I hastened to
say. "But the air of Massachusetts, so long
breathed by the Phillipses and the Garrisons and
other fomenters of sectional ill will is not the at-
mosphere in which tolerance and charity ripen."
This only made the matter worse, and con-
vinced me that I was a poor diplomat. There
had been times when I had purposely aroused
her, so keenly did I enjoy the flashing of her fine
eyes when the subject under discussion was not
The Placard on the Post 39
too tender. But the present occasion did not
warrant such questionable indulgence. To her
the men named by me were little short of dem-
"Do not concern yourself as to how it happens
that I think as I do," said she, with nettled tem-
per. "I surely have proved to you that I have
convictions, whatever their source. You may
laugh at them, if you please, and at my boast as
to what I should do if I were a man. But I know,
Mr. Trenham, that your 'Christian kin of the
South,' as you call them, are seeking to tear
down the best government in the world in order
that they may continue to hold their fellow-creat-
ures in bondage, and that to this end they have
driven the country into a terrible war. If I were
a man," she cried, "I would openly take one side
or the other. I would take to the field and fight
my enemy face to face, and not ally myself with
traitors at home, and fight from ambush."
My face burned hot at the thought that she
could consider me capable of such perfidious ac-
tion as her last words implied, but by an effort I
answered her calmly.
"I do not know why you should speak to me
of joining traitors at home and fighting from am-
bush. Nor can I believe that you want to wound
me beyond recovery. I take my full measure of
blame for all that you have said and implied.
Now let us drop this unhappy and profitless topic.
40 The Legionaries
Between us it is like a knife that cuts in the hand-
ling, whether we will or no. If we pursue it
further it may leave scars that we can never en-
tirely conceal from each other. Besides, we are
Always ready for truce as she was for battle,
she became suddenly pacific. "You are right,
John; sometimes you can be right, can't you?"
— this with a glance of the eye that set my heart
thumping. "I am a silly goose, and you are a
great big, wise, good-natured man. Otherwise
how could you suffer my many impertinences, for
such they must have appeared to you, although
they were actually not so intended. There, now,
I am good again; but I really must say -things
"So I have learned," said I, laughing, "and
you know how to say them, too."
She laughed also, a merry, ringing laugh, as
if she were glad of the chance. We had been pro-
ceeding slowly, and had come by now to the
arched entrance of the maple-shaded lane leading
from the highway to her brother's house, which
from the top of the knoll looked upon the sur-
rounding country with an air of confident pros-
perity. There was no gate, only two wide
planked posts surmounted by the segment of a
circle with a large letter B in the center. Nailed
to one of the posts was a fresh, flaring placard,
which I could read very well without dismounting.
The Placard on the Post 41
"What have we here?" I said, drawing rein to
inspect the placard.
The first line, in bold type, caught my eyes
and held them to the paper, as well it might. It
ran thus: "A Military Order." Then came
"In order to repel invasion and insure the pub-
lic safety, it is hereby ordered, that all able-bodied
white male citizens, between the ages of eighteen
and forty-five, who reside in the counties border-
ing on the Ohio river, in this State, immediately
upon receiving notice of this order shall meet at
their respective places of holding elections in their
respective townships, towns or wards, and form
themselves into companies for military duty. The
members of said companies will immediately arm
and equip themselves with such arms and equip-
ments as they can procure, and will prepare them-
selves, by discipline and drill, for active service
with the least possible delay. All persons liable
to do military duty, as above provided, will be
held to a strict observance of these orders, and the
colonel or other officer of the Legion who may be
in command in each of said border counties is
charged with their faithful execution."
The order was signed by the governor, as com-
mander-in-chief. It contained some other mat-
ters of detail, but the provisions which I have
quoted were the ones that concerned me.
"What does it mean ?" asked Kate, doubt-
fully. She had looked it over, but did not seem
to have fully grasped its import.
"Very much," said I, with a great sense of
42 The Legionaries
personal relief. "To me it means freedom and
absence; it is the cast of the die. I can not obey
this order. To do so would be a wicked stulti-
fication of my opinions and conscience. But it
makes me free and determines my course, and for
that I am thankful."
"And Roger ?" she asked, beginning to see.
"He will find a way," I answered, yet I knew
that to him this order, if I understood his opin-
ions and character, meant annoyances and possi-
My answer did not seem to satisfy her, and for
a little time as we walked our horses toward the
house she was silent. Presently she asked: "Is
there such great necessity for this extraordinary
command ? One would think from reading it
that the rebels were at our doors redhanded."
"The governor must believe that an emergency
exists," I responded. "And perhaps he is right.
A Confederate army has started toward the
North. It is in Kentucky, and it is said that
Louisville is to be taken. From that city Indi-
ana is just across the river. Who knows what
"Oh, the traitors !" she exclaimed, raising a
clenched hand aloft
"Pardon me," said I deprecatingly ; "traitors
if they lose their cause. If they win, they will
not be so recorded. Historians judge of such
things by the result. "
The Placard on the Post 43
"Win or lose, they are traitors just the same.
A crime is no less a crime because it is success-
fully perpetrated," she rejoined firmly.
"And I ?"
"And you; you are yet innocent, and I only
accuse the guilty," she returned sadly.
Here we came to the gate, from which ran a
graveled walk to the house. Dismounting, I
reached up my hands and assisted her to alight.
I did not mean to delay my departure, and would
take my leave of her at once. But it was more
difficult than I had thought when contemplating
the probability that now faced me as fact.
The war had lasted more than a year, and dur-
ing all that time I had been living in the border-
land of hell and paradise. The dearest creatures
on earth to me were here. For their sakes I
would make any sacrifice short of my honor. I
had honestly tried to convince myself that I
should help to uphold the flag and the govern-
ment under which I was born, but in the opinion
of my people that government had become a
tyranny, and its flag an emblem of oppression.
They were arrayed against it, struggling for
what they believed to be right; and, right or
wrong, their fortune must be mine. It was a
time of blood and passion and unreason. It was
hard to see and think clearly, and if I erred it
was not strange.
"Kate," said I, "very soon, I fear, I shall be
44 The Legionaries
equally guilty in your eyes with those others. I
can not stay here longer. For my honor's sake
it would have been better to do before this order
what must now be done in the face of it. It looks
too much like holding back until forced to
make a choice of armies in which to fight, and
that were things otherwise I would not go at all.
But my mother and you and Roger will know the
truth, and I care nothing about what others may
think. No man knows what will be the end, or
when it will come, but I must play a part in this
great tragedy. What fortune or fate has in store
for me, and for us all, time will tell. I will not
see you again, as I shall leave to-night or to-mor-
row morning at the latest. Good-bye."
I took her unresisting hand and looking into
her face saw that she was deeply moved by some
emotion. When she spoke her voice trembled and
was very low and soft.
"I am glad, and sorry, too; glad that at last
you have settled a question that has vexed you so
greatly, and sorry that you have settled it wrongly.
Overlook my vanity in assuming that I am right
and you wrong, for Roger said truly when he
told you that I was incorrigible," she added, at-
tempting a smile, but it was a poor counterfeit of
the natural one that had so many times in my
presence glorified her countenance and warmed
me with its sunshine. "Wherever you are, God
be with you . Good-bye . ' ;
The Placard on the Post 45
She turned from me, but not before I had seen
that her eyes were suffused with tears. Mount-
ing my horse I rode away. Looking back as I
turned into the highway I saw her standing by
the gate, and a white handerchief fluttered from
her upraised hand. A truce, indeed.
A little further along I passed Roger, but did
not stop. Turning again presently, I saw that he
was apparently reading the placard on the post.
Then came a sweeping motion of his arm, and he
cut it down with his carriage whip.
GIVE ME ROAD, SIRS
As I made my way home I felt elated and al-
most happy, but as one from whose limbs shack-
les had just been removed, leaving them galled
and sore from long chafing. No doubt as to my
mother's consent to my going now troubled me.
She could see as clearly as I that there was no
other manly course open to me. But the only
anxiety that disquieted me concerned her. How
would she be treated by the extreme loyalists
when it became known that her son had at last
cast his fortunes with the people of the South
whom they held to be rebels and traitors? That
seemed to me to be a serious question ; yet as
she was a woman of tact and lived quietly, giving
offense to none, she would probably suffer no
Besides, she would have the protection of Roger
Bellray, if she should at any time be threatened.
He had given me to understand that if ever I
should make up my mind to leave I could do so
without fearing in the least for her welfare. So
strong and masterful was his personality, and so
Give Me Road, Sirs 47
numerous and powerful were his friends, that the
most rabid would hesitate before provoking an
open breach with him.
These considerations reassured me, and I en-
tered my mother's house with all doubts and
anxieties dissipated. I found her in her room,
where she had gone to rest from the day's fatigue
before coming down to the evening meal which
she had ordered to wait my return. I had always
been very proud of my mother, who retained so
much of the good looks of her younger days.
She had never cared much for society, and so
was not greatly disturbed by her present isolation
from the old familiar scenes and places.
Latterly the bright young faces of Kate Bellray
and Betty West had appeared often in our house,
greatly relieving its somberness, if, in truth, that
quietness which had rested within its walls since
father's death can properly be called somber.
The liveliness of their spirits greatly revived her
own, and I felt that I could trust them to continue
their ministrations. Indeed, my absence, I felt
sure, would serve to encourage one of these girls
to increase the frequency of her visits.
The war was a topic that my mother avoided in
my presence as much as possible, hardly ever
broaching it herself, and tactfully getting away from
it when I brought it up, as I did very often. Not
that she lacked interest in it — for I knew that it
must be otherwise ; her seeming indifference was
48 The Legionaries
on my account. While meaning to be dutiful
and affectionate, as I felt that I was in all re-
spects, I was assertive and impetuous, and in-
clined to rebel against the restraints that de-
tained me from the activities of the field.
Of course I did not put it that way before her,
or rave and tear my hair and accuse her of self-
ishness or a lack of regard for my feelings. Very
far from it; but she understood, and aimed only
at drawing me away as much as she could from
the evident cause of my distress. I think, after
she became convinced that the war was to be pro-
longed, she never really believed that she could
do more than postpone the day of our separation.
And now, when I told her how matters stood,
she did not make my lot harder by giving way to
tears and protestation. On the contrary, after
the first shock had spent its force, she affected a
cheerfulness that I knew she did not feel, and at
once set about the task of arranging the few neces-
sary belongings that I would take with me.
That night, while in my room making prepara-
tions for my departure, there came a knock at the
door. Supposing it to be Peter come to take
orders as to getting my horse ready I called out
that he should come in, not suspending my work
or looking around. The latch clicked, a step
sounded on the carpeted floor, and then a hand
slapped me on the back. Annoyed, I turned
Give Me Road, Sirs 49
about to rebuke the familiarity, when I saw that
the visitor was Roger Bellray.
"I beg your pardon, Mr. Bellray; I thought
it was Peter," I said in excuse of my apparent
"It is for me to apologize for intruding upon
your privacy," he said; "but I thought we
could talk while you worked, and I could not let
you go away without seeing you."
He took a seat by the open window that
looked out toward the road, and I explained to
him that I was glad he had come as I intended to
be on my way at midnight.
"Your resolution is somewhat suddenly taken,
is it not ?" he asked.
"The balance tipped against me and I have no
honorable alternative," I answered, yet in a mo-
ment regretting that I expressed it that way, for
his face colored with offense.
"You refer to the order commanding all able-
bodied men to join the Legion," he said curtly,
and with something like a sneer.
"The same that I saw you strike from your
post," I returned.
"That was my legal privilege, the post being
my property and situated on my ground. I will
teach even the legionaries that I still control
what is my own, and that my consent to its use
must still be sought."
4 — Legionaries.
50 The Legionaries
"Of course, "said I, smiling in spite of my-
self, for his manner was earnest to the point of
intensity, "you took no exceptions to the placard
"I have no right to do so," he answered,
fairly. "It gives notice of an order that is
proper for the governor to issue, and one which
should be obeyed by all who feel that they can
conscientiously obey it. When one acts within
his rights, be he a private citizen or public offi-
cial, I have no quarrel with him. No man shall
ever accuse me of denying to another what I claim
I had missed my point. There was no room
to doubt his sincerity, and as I looked into his
steady blue eyes, I saw behind them a resolute
and daring spirit, which would defy the world if
need be, and ask neither favor nor odds.
"But, damn them, they can't use my posts
without asking my permission," he continued
hotly, and then he added, as if quickly repenting
of his outburst: "Don't mind me, Trenham ; I
am an impatient man, at the best, and just now
I am entirely upset. Everything is going wrong
about here. Like a man walking on ice, I can't
tell when my feet will slip from under me."
"Lucky you'll be if there is nothing tied to
your neck when they do slip," said I, encourag-
He looked at me, half smiling. "You think
Give Me Road, Sirs 51
I stand a chance to be hanged, do you? Well,
don't worry about that; the rope is not made
that will hang Roger Bellray," he said, without
"Possibly not; but they are making ropes
every day, and some of these stay-at-homes are
itching to use them."
"Look here, my lad, what's the matter with
you? Why do you talk so grewsomely? Are
"Why should I be afraid?" I answered. "I
will presently be well out of this if there is no bad
luck lying in wait for me. And as to you, my
friend, for heaven's sake be careful. I am not
old enough or experienced enough to give you
advice, but somehow I have felt for some time,
and now more strongly than ever, that dangers
here are increasing."
"Tush! You have heard the barking of a lot
of coon hounds who only fill the air with their
yelping. And then, what do I care for danger?"
he cried. "It only gives relish to life, which is
dull and commonplace without it. You prefer
the field as I did at your age, but now I would
rather be a conspirator, quietly contriving with
others to uphold a principle or defend a right,
with the halter as the penalty for failure. It gives
to your actions a keener zest, and sharpens every
waking hour, aye, and most of your sleeping ones,
with the possibility of discovery before you are
52 The Legionaries
ready to act. You can not be certain of friend
or foe, and the man on whom you most rely may
be the first to betray you."
"Indeed," said I, "it is a game not at all to
" Compared with it," he rejoined, "yourshoot-
ing and carving is but a vulgar sport. Mind you,
I do not say that I am a conspirator; I do not
hold myself to be such, but people give different
names to the same thing. One who marks out a
course for himself counter to that pursued by the
majority, as I have, must proceed cautiously to
avoid conflict, and very often he is driven to do
in secret what he would much prefer to do openly
and above board."
"And hence," said I, "the institution of the
knightly Order of the Acorn."
"Which you refused to join, even after I had
explained its purposes. I do not blame you for
that. Every man must act according to his
view." He sighed a little disappointedly.
"Whatever may be your purposes, your organ-
ization, when it is known, will be held treasona-
ble. I remember who is governor here, and I
do not care to put my head in this lion's mouth.
He may do no roaring, but he will strike. Besides,
you and these others and myself are on a differ-
ent footing altogether. You belong here and I
can not feel that I do, and so refuse to mix in
your local disagreements. As I understand it,
Give Me Road, Sirs 53
you do not favor the war from any standpoint,
while I, upon the issue as I see it, am with the
South and can't help it. I am going to join Mor-
gan, if I can reach him, and he will give me at
least plenty of exercise."
"Yes, and plenty of fighting, too, and luck be
with you; I knew him in Mexico, then a young
dare-devil of a lieutenant of cavalry," said he,
warmly. "As for me and my friends, we mean
to look out for ourselves and aid those who, in
these terrible times, will need aid such as we
hope to give, that's all. We are just as much
entitled to our opinions as anybody else, and the
fact that, without hope of glory, we hazard
everything, life and home and honor, in defense
of these opinions should be a sufficient guaranty
of their sincerity."
He stopped for a minute while he lighted a
cigar ; then he went on :
"This is a fanatics' war, as you have often de-
clared to me, but the fanatics are not all in the
North — not by a long shot. In common with
thousands of others, I had hoped a conflict would
be averted, but the fools in the North and the
fools in the South dug the pit and expect us, who
had no hand in the digging, to throw ourselves
into it so that they can ride over us to glory.
Fourteen years ago, when a boy of twenty-two, I
carried a musket into the City of Mexico. One of
Santa Anna's bullets is still in my body. And
54 The Legionaries
here," he said, raising the long mustache that
drooped over his left cheek, hiding a short, rag-
ged scar, "is where a Mexican bayonet enlarged
my mouth. I don't speak of these things to ex-
onerate myself from a suspicion of cowardice, but
merely to show that a man may be willing to fight
a foreign enemy, yet remain a non-combatant in
a strife between his own countrymen. At any rate,
I shall be responsible for my own conduct ; what-
ever risks I take are my risks, and whatever end I
may come to is my end. In all the wide world
there is only one person who will long care what
may happen to me, and that is my sister. You
know howl love that girl, John. Since the death
of our mother, ten years ago, I have guarded her
as the very apple of my eye. She was but eight
then, and while I suppose she is a woman now,
she is still a child to me."
While speaking of Kate his voice softened, and
both words and manner indicated profound affec-
tion and solicitude.
"She is thoroughly loyal to the government,
and if she were of our sex I verily believe there
would be no keeping her out of the army. At
times she makes it rather uncomfortable for me."
He paused for a moment, and then continued,
reflectively: "I wonder how she will act when
she comes to know the whole truth about me?
That is what worries me, John. The only thing
that makes me hesitate to pursue the course I
Give Me Road, Sirs 55
have chosen is the fear of her reproaches. When
I think about that it almost makes a coward of
"And what will she think of me?" I asked,
making a pretense of unconcern by taking up and
examining one of the pistols that I had laid
upon the table. But I could not as easily disguise
my feelings, and was conscious that my voice
carried a tone of uneasiness. As he did not make
immediate answer I lifted my eyes and found him
looking at me intently. Then I could not wait
for him to speak.
"Mr. Bellray," said I, with shaking voice, and
not as connectedly, I fear, as I here set down
my words, "since I may not see you again — and,
at best, will not see you soon — it is just as well
that I tell you how matters stand with me. I love
Kate; I have never told her so, and now may
never have an opportunity to tell her, but I love
her with all my heart. If the time ever comes
when I can say this to her she will doubtless
spurn me as unworthy. She will readily forgive
you, her brother, but not another, I fear. No
one knows better than I how she feels, and that
has prevented me from telling her what I have
just told you. If I survive, it may be that she
will not be too hard on me; if I do not — well,
tell her how I tried to persuade myself to do as
she wanted me to do."
I turned away my face to hide its burning, af-
56 The Legionaries
fecting some excuse, for I was young and not
practiced in such avowals.
"You know that I have always thought well of
you, John," he said. "If I did not think so now
I would be quick enough to tell you. You say
you have never spoken to Kate, but I can easily
guess how she feels toward you. And I very
much mistake her spirit if it does not happen that
she will think in the end vastly more of you for
following your convictions than she would if you
should for any reason, least of all to satisfy her,
act the part of a sneak and hypocrite by believing
one thing and doing another."
I took his hand, and, pressing it fervently,
thanked him for what he had said, for it had
done me good. He looked at his watch and rose
"Now, my boy, since you have determined to
leave so summarily I must not detain you, as you
will have to make your farewells to your mother.
As to her — and it is one reason why I came to-
night — her safety shall be my responsibility.
Honestly, however, I believe that you need fear
nothing on her account. There are plenty of fel-
lows about here who would get after you or me,
but they are not likely to war with a woman. I
think I am justified in putting that to their credit
I followed him out of the house, and saw him
mount his horse and ride away in the moonlight,
Give Me Road, Sirs 57
alert and confident. He was the sort of man who
would flinch from no danger, if, through the
peril, lay the road to an object which he was bent
His courage fed on antagonism, and the more
he was opposed the more aggressive he became.
An opinion entertained at first in a casual way
became, if combated, a settled conviction which
he would thenceforth maintain at all hazards so
long as it was made the subject of dispute.
Stern and uncompromising as to those things
in which he believed, he was yet tolerant of the
rights of others, and had acquired a wide influ-
ence in all the surrounding country, which, while
it afforded him a sort of protection, was also
destined to be the cause of his undoing.
Returning into the house, I finished my prepa-
rations, aided by my mother, who, dear woman,
acted most nobly. And when at last Peter
brought around my horse, a splendid animal of
great speed and endurance, which I depended
upon to carry me into the Confederate lines, and
to serve me afterward, she smiled as she kissed
me, as if she could conceal from me the knowl-
edge that her poor heart was on the point of
But it was not in her nature to part from me
thus. She overestimated her strength of will,
and at the last minute broke down and wept
and clung to me as if she would not give me up.
58 The Legionaries
After a time she controlled her feelings and bade
me good-bye with composure, but the picture of
her distress was in my mind for many a day.
My calculation was, by easy traveling, to reach
Louisville early on the following morning, my
further progress to be guided by circumstances,
and by such information as I could there procure
from Colonel Mandrell. I apprehended no dan-
ger in making the twenty-five miles that lay be-
tween my mother's house and the Kentucky me-
Yet I did not forget that the whole country
was aroused over the reported proximity of the
Confederate army. Many of the country peo-
ple believed that it was even then besieging
Louisville, while still others, equally ill-informed
but more fearful, had it that that city had al-
ready fallen before the rebel assault, and that In-
diana was to be immediately invaded and laid
waste. Such rumors as these were already cur-
rent, and the governor's order assembling the le-
gionaries, and commanding all of military age to
prepare for active duty in repelling invasion would
add fuel to the fire of unrest and alarm that was
consuming all the borderland.
By traveling at night I might be saved the an-
noyance of many awkward questions, even if I
should subject myself to suspicion from such as I
might, by chance, pass or overtake on the road.
But these I reckoned would be few, since the
Give Me Road, Sirs 59
country was not yet regularly patrolled as it was
very soon afterward. No doubt, however, as to
my ability to satisfy all inquiries and disarm the
over-curious possessed me.
I exulted in my new freedom, and as I rode
along, expanding my chest with the sweet night
air, the spirit of adventure rose within me, and I
felt equal to any fate. Excepting my pistols, I was
unarmed, for I did not yet desire to assume too
much of a war-like appearance, my purpose be-
ing to make my way as quietly as possible, as
any citizen might do whose mission was peaceful.
I had covered the first few miles of my
journey without any kind of interruption, and
was congratulating myself on the good fortune
that this fact seemed to augur, when, far down
the road ahead of me, I heard badly-attuned
voices of men raised in song. At first I could
not tell whether the singers were going from or
coming toward me, but very soon I knew that
they were approaching. Now and then one
would withdraw his attention from the chorus
long enough to shout long and loud, without any
other apparent object than that of testing the
power of his lungs. Presently they came close
enough for me to make out the words of the
"We'll hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple tree,"
60 The Legionaries
ran the line of the chorus, which was three times
repeated; then came the roaring final line,
"As we go marching on."
After this there was a brief period of loud talk-
ing, a little more shouting, and then the singing
of the following improvisation, to the same tune:
"We're going down to Louisville to meet old Gen-
And in the fight, if he wants one, you'll see none of
And we'll drive him back to Tennessee, behind his
As we go marching on."
We approached each other rapidly, but so in-
terested were they in their singing and shouting that
they did not observe me until I had started to turn
aside to give them the road. There were three
of them, roystering young farmers returning home
from drill with the legionaries, I conjectured, and
half intoxicated. Seeing me they checked their
horses, and one of them called out tipsily in his
newly acquired military phrase :
' * Halt ! Who goes there ? ' '
"A friend," said I, falling into his humor.
"Why," said another of the three, "damned if
it ain't the young Virginny fellow, boys, who
lives over there by Roger Bellray, the butternut;
the one that I was telling you about."
Give Me Road, Sirs 61
"Mebbe you can trade horses with him, Spel-
ker," said the first speaker, laughing good na-
They blocked the road, and as I was anxious
to proceed and did not like the voice of the one
called Spelker, who was much older in appear-
ance than his two companions, I determined to
make the interview a short one.
"Give me road, gentlemen, and allow me to
pass," I said.
But Spelker was not through yet. I recog-
nized in him a horse buyer who was said to prac-
tice swindling operations at the expense of the
government, and he appeared bent on extending
"I believe you are running off to join the se-
cesh," he said, riding his horse up to mine
"I am pursuing my way peacefully," I an-
swered, though my temper was rising at his inso-
lence, "and desire to be allowed to proceed."
"Well, there's no hurry, I guess; I want to
ask you a few questions first, and then mebbe we
will let you go on, and mebbe we won't."
Reaching out his hand he caught hold of my
bridle rein. I restrained an impulse to strike the
fellow, and asked: "By what authority do you
"Just because I want to; that's authority
enough for me."
62 The Legionaries
"But it is not for me," said I, by this time
having, without attracting his attention, possessed
myself of one of my pistols, "and I decline to be
questioned. Take your hand from my rein, sir."
"My young rooster, I'll have to clip your comb
for you," he cried, raising the butt of his heavy
riding whip threateningly.
Before it could descend I leaned quickly out
and struck him full on the side of the head with
the heavy pistol, at the same instant driving home
my spurs. My horse sprung forward, and as I
raced along I heard the curses of Spelker, which
were answered by the derisive laughter of his
companions, from which I judged that they were
not sorry for his discomfiture.
I STRUCK. HIM FULL ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD WITH
THE HEAVY PISTOL." page 62.
THE THIRD ONE AT MANDRELL'S
Without further incident I reached about
daybreak the town of New Albany, a few miles
down the river from Louisville. Here the heights
were ominous with heavy cannon, which frowned
over the fords and lowlands from hastily con-
structed fortifications, and told of the prepara-
tions that were being made to receive the in-
vader and hurl him back if he should attempt
to cross the river. Many citizens were already
stirring, but little attention was bestowed upon
me. In response to an inquiry for news, I was
told that the rebel general, Bragg, was expected
before Louisville at any hour, as he had, my in-
formant understood, the evening before sent for-
ward a message demanding the surrender of that
Following the road leading eastward, parallel
with the north bank of the Ohio but separated
from it by some hundreds of yards, I saw, as I
went along, groups of armed men here and there
gazing anxiously southward. Scattered among
them and occupying positions of vantage for
64 The Legionaries
sight-seeing were early-risen residents of the
locality, who, if less warlike in appearance than
the others, were no less concerned.
I could see them excitedly talking and gestic-
ulating and pointing frequently across the broad
river that lay between them and the yet unseen
rebel host, its bosom alive with every kind of
craft capable of carrying guns. But it was in
front of them, and not behind, that the danger
lay, so I passed on and reached the Louisville
ferry without molestation or question. Hav-
ing marked out my course, I proceeded boldly,
with no hesitation or visible timidity, though I
confess to a feeling of disquietude.
When the boat had tied up on the Kentucky
side an officer with two or three men came aboard
before any were allowed to land. The passengers
were not many, consisting principally of garden-
ers and hucksters bringing provisions into the
beleagured city who were vouched for by the
ferryman as regular patrons. I observed that the
officer performed his duty somewhat perfunctorily
as though it were a useless formality, and felt re-
lieved. My turn to be questioned came, the
officer first demanding to know my name.
"John Trenham, sir," said I, looking him in
the face. There was a sudden, almost imper-
ceptible contracting of his eyelids, but no other
change in his features.
The Third One at Mandrell's 65
"From where do you come, Mr. Trenham?"
he next asked, placidly.
"From my mother's home, near Corydon." If
I had said that I came from the moon his coun-
tenance would, I am certain, have given no sign
"Why are you coming to Louisville?"
"To right, sir," I said, "if I get a chance,"
meaning to satisfy and yet deceive my interrog-
ator by telling him the simple truth. In both
of these respects I felt that I had succeeded, for
he told me without further ado that I could go on
my way, which I lost no time in doing.
Once within the city I found that even at this
early hour great activity and excitement pre-
vailed in the streets and public places. It seemed
that all of the inhabitants had been abroad for
hours, if indeed they had sought their beds at all
during the previous night. The shops and stores
were closed and shuttered, and business of all
kinds was suspended. Upon every face there
was a look of expectancy, and many hot eyes
showed dread as of an impending calamity.
At places where there was open ground, squads
of men in citizens' clothes were marching and
maneuvering at the command of drill-masters,
who were in most instances in uniform, while
standing about watching them, silent and lower-
ing, were still other citizens.
5 — Legionaries.
66 The Legionaries
Between the drillers and the on-lookers there
was, I knew, a wide and bitter difference of opin-
ion, and but for the restraining presence of the sol-
diery with which the city was filled they would
willingly have flown at each other's throats. For
this was a border metropolis which embraced
within its walls a population sharply divided be-
tween loyalists and disunionists, but now it was
in control of the national authorities who were
preparing to hold it against the threatened at-
tack of the Confederate general.
I sought a hotel, and stabling my horse near by,
determined to spend the day quietly, and did so,
for the most part staying in my room and getting
sleep and rest that might stand me well. Not
knowing how matters might be with him, I made
no effort throughout the day to communicate with
Colonel Mandrell, who, be it understood, was not
now a military officer as his title might imply.
He had commanded a regiment with distinc-
tion in the last war. Now he was not only out of
favor with the national government but was be-
lieved, with reason, to hold intimate relations
with the secessionists. So far no act justifying
his arrest had been traced to him, and he had
gone in and out unhampered and defiant. I
deemed it wise, however, to take no unnecessary
chances, and did not set out for his house until
well after darkness had fallen.
A walk of a half a mile or thereabout carried
The Third One at Mandrell's 67
me beyond the blocks of business houses and into
a residence district, upon which the needs of trade
had not then encroached. Turning into the street
upon which the Mandrell residence was situated,
I quickened my steps and soon reached an iron
gate opening upon the lawn surrounding a large
brick mansion of old fashion, standing well back
from the street. Lifting the latch I went in, and,
observing nothing unusual, strode confidently up
to the door and rang the bell loudly.
I was not kept waiting long, for the reverbera-
tions of the bell had not died away when the door
was opened and a young man of attractive visage,
standing within the glare of the hall lamp, bade
me enter. This surprised me not a little, as I had
expected to see the face of a negro servant of the
house, but I accepted the invitation and entered.
Following the young man into the parlor, I asked
if I could see Colonel Mandrell.
"I fear not," he responded, smiling pleasantly.
"Colonel Mandrell has felt, let us say, obliged,
temporarily to depart from his comfortable
house." Here he waved his hand about as if di-
recting my attention to the luxurious appoint-
ments of the room.
"Indeed," said I, still more surprised; "you
are a friend of the family, I suppose?"
"Well, not exactly so ; to tell the truth — and
no good can come from deceiving you — I have no
68 The Legionaries
acquaintance with the Colonel's family, which I
understand to be a very estimable one."
"Then, pray, sir, may I ask in what capacity I
am to address you in making my further inquir-
ies?" said I, feeling nettled, and yet conscious
that no cause for offense had been given.
"In the capacity, I should say," he returned,
still smiling, "of an unwelcome guest who, in
pursuance of orders, has been compelled to intrude
himself into a house upon which he has no claims
I must have looked the amazement I felt upon
hearing this confession, smoothly made and ac-
companied by a bow as graceful as that of a
"This is most extraordinary, sir," I exclaimed,
"and as a friend of Colonel Mandrell, as well as
of his wife and daughters, I must demand of you
an explanation of this very unusual state of af-
The young man was not in the least ruffled or
abashed by my vehemence, and politely asked me
to be seated, for I had so far remained standing.
"I can not accept courtesies from you," I
said, impatiently, "which should come from
those who rightfully belong here. Perhaps you
can tell me whether any member of Colonel Man-
drell's family is in the house?"
"Believe me, sir," he made answer, "I sin-
cerely regret to tell you that neither Mrs. Man-
The Third One at Mandrell's 69
drell nor either of the Misses Mandrell — for I
understand there are two — is present to greet
you. In their absence I must do the best I can,
and what I lack in grace and cordiality I shall en-
deavor to make up in other qualities which will
doubtless commend me to my superiors."
"Then," I said, with a feeling of danger which,
though vague at first, was rapidly taking definite
form, "in the absence of the persons whom I
came to see there is nothing for me to do but to
take my departure."
I turned as if to go, with the almost certain
knowledge that I should not be allowed to do so.
To test the situation I took a step across the floor
in the direction of the door.
"You will pardon me, sir," said the unbidden
guest in the same pleasant tones that he had used
from the beginning of the interview, "but a duty
which I owe to those who are taking an interest
in Colonel Mandrell's friends while he is away re-
quires me to detain you."
It was clear to me that I was a prisoner in the
house in which I had expected to be welcomed in
quite different fashion.
"You mean to say that I am now under ar-
rest," I returned quietly enough but in a voice
hard and grating with the anger I was trying to
repress. "You have first driven out, or possibly
imprisoned, the owner of this house and his fam-
70 The Legionaries
ily, and then hidden yourself here to entrap his
"I did not say that you were under arrest," he
protested, deprecatingly ; "what I said, was, that
my duty required me to detain you. Possibly
you can satisfy Captain Bracken that your deten-
tion is unjust; if so, it will give me great pleas-
ure to show you to the door and bid you good-
"And where may I find this Captain Bracken?"
I asked, curiosity now keeping company with my
fears, for though I had not seen the Captain, I
had heard much about him from Roger Bellray.
"If you will do me the honor to follow me,"
said he, with unshaken imperturbability, "I will
take you to him at once. There is no disposi-
tion to delay you longer than may be necessary."
He walked out of the room into the hall, where
I saw that, as I had suspected, the door was
guarded by a man with a musket, who was no
doubt there when I entered, but concealed from
my view by the heavy curtain of the vestibule
window. My guide led me down the corridor to
a room that I distinctly remembered as having
been Colonel Mandrell's library.
The door was opened, and I went in in ad-
vance of my conductor. The only change that I
noticed in the room was in the occupant. In the
place of the tall form and iron-gray head of the
owner of the house there was a sun-browned
The Third One at Mandrell's 71
man of medium size, with a stubby, dark mus-
tache. He was possibly forty years old and had
more the appearance and manner of a sergeant of
police than of a military man. This man was
sitting in an easy chair by a table and seemed
to be enjoying his comfortable surroundings. As
I was ushered into his presence he looked up
"The third one, McGrane," he said, inspect-
ing me but addressing his subordinate. "They
are coming early, and quite regularly, too. Thank
you, lieutenant; you need not stay. Now, sir,"
speaking to me, "you may be seated, if you
"I prefer to stand until I know the nature of
the business you have with me," I answered,
"As you please, of course," he returned, "but
I rather like to sit down when I get a chance, and
that's not often in these days." He eyed me
closely and then added : "I don't believe I have
seen you recently, Mr. Trenham."
"And I, although you have my name, have no
recollection of ever having seen you at all until
now," I said, annoyed by his manner, "and my
pleasure in meeting you is one that I should will-
ingly have foregone."
"Which proves how little we are appreciated
by those upon whom we bestow even our choicest
attentions," he rejoined, smiling grimly,
7 2 The Legionaries
Although both Lieutenant McGrane and Cap-
tain Bracken had so far treated me with great
civility, my position was becoming more and
"Captain Bracken," I demanded somewhat
warmly, putting on a bold front, "I desire to be
informed why I, a friend of Colonel Mandrell, am
thus detained in his house by strangers?"
"I think it is very likely because you are a
friend of the Colonel," he answered. "You
may or may not know that he has suddenly left
his house — I should judge from your conduct
that you did not know until told by Lieutenant
McGrane — but such appears to be the fact. As
to the cause of his leaving, why, you may possi-
bly have a suspicion."
As I was in a fair way at last to be enlight-
ened I maintained silence, and he went on:
"Where he is now I do not know, but should
like to. He probably has not left the city, for
that would be a very difficult thing for him to do ;
and if I or any of my men lay hands on him his
stay here will be — well, at least indefinite.
Now, sir, what have you to say for yourself ?"
His manner changed abruptly, and I knew he
had come to the point at last.
"Of what am I accused ?" I asked. "Until I
know that, I can say nothing."
"That is a proper question for you to ask,
and perhaps you could also answer it easier
The Third One at Mandrell's 73
than I. But let me state the charge this way:
As Colonel Mandrell's friend by your own ad-
mission you visit his house on the evening ap-
pointed for the gathering of a few friends of the
Confederacy, their purpose being to devise ways
and means to assist General Bragg in getting into
the city. Such a meeting, you will acknowl-
edge, could not be overlooked by those who arc
interested in keeping General Bragg out."
"I know nothing of this gathering," said I,
truthfully. "I arrived in Louisville this day, and
have not seen Colonel Mandrell since — ' '
"Since the night of the 14th day of August,"
he said, interrupting me; "that being a Sun-
day night when many good people were at
church. But our friend had quite a good con-
gregation of his own, eh ? Among this congre-
gation, as you will doubtless remember, were
representatives from at least two societies, one of
them called the Corps de Belgiquc, or some such
nonsense, and the other that somewhat more ex-
tensive and not less pestiferous organization with
which your friend — for so I take him to be —
Roger Bellray, is unfortunately supposed to be
too actively connected. You see that I am open-
ing my mind to you in a most unofficial way.
"Well ?" said I, as he paused.
"Is that all the defense you desire to make ?"
"In all that you have said there is yet no ac-
74 The Legionaries
cusation against me of violating any law," I re-
sponded, "and I demand that I be allowed to
"You are exceedingly hard to satisfy, my
young friend, and are either very innocent or
very deep; hang me if I know which, to be
honest with you," he said, showing some per-
plexity. "But it is my duty to send you to
headquarters on a charge of conspiring against
the government. That will suffice to detain you,
for you can see how impossible it is, Mr. Tren-
ham, that you should be released to-night. Be
pleased to remain where you are while I call
McGrane. The windows ? Yes, since you ob-
serve them, I may say that they are guarded.
Your life will be in less peril, for the present, by
staying where you are."
He went out, closing the door behind him
and locking it. Then something happened that
he plainly did not expect. I stood in my
tracks until satisfied that he had gone away from
the door; then, losing not an instant of time,
I stepped softly to the side of the room where
several cases filled with books occupied all of the
wall save a space of three or four inches that for
some reason had been left between them.
Stopping before the second case, counting from
the left hand wall, I thrust one hand between it
and the next case on the right and found a groove
into which I inserted my ringers. Pulling stoutly,
The Third One at Mandrell's 75
the case moved outward at that side until there
was room enough forme to get behind it. There
I found a door opening into a space within as I
had been advised. Opening the door, I hurried
through and pulled the bookcase into its former
position, taking pains to adjust a stout hook by
which the case would be held securely in place
against the wall.
I was now in Stygian blackness, standing, as I
knew, in a small closet built between the walls.
From this closet led a narrow flight of steps stop-
ping in a little passage at the bottom which had
originally afforded an entrance to the cellar. But
more than that, it gave access to another sub-
surface passage made of thick timbers in the long
gone days when the pioneers resorted to secret
devices in order to escape, in a last extremity,
the torch and the tomahawk of the Indian.
A frontier blockhouse once stood on this spot,
and from beneath it had run this road to possible
liberty and life. Here Colonel Mandrell's father,
when he came to erect the present house, had
found it, and here he had allowed it to remain
through respect for the hardy settlers who had
made it, and gratitude for a service it had ren-
dered. For it was a matter of family history that
by this means his own mother, among others, had
found safety while howling savages danced around
the burning building overhead.
But while the elder Mandrell suffered the un-
76 The Legionaries
derground way to remain he did not leave it en-
tirely undisturbed. It pleased his somewhat ec-
centric fancy to connect it with that part of the
new house most frequented by himself — the
library, — where were his books, and the cellar,
where was his choice store of liquors, and also
with the substantial stable that he had erected
upon his premises for the accommodation of the
fine horses which, next to his family, his books
and his liquors, gave him his chief delight. I
did not know how much it had been used, but
this I did know, that the cellar entrance had been
bricked up and effectually concealed, as had also
the entrance to the lower part of the stable.
Being thus secure for the time, and hidden
from observation, I determined to await the re*
turn to the room of my would-be captors, with
the view of possibly acquiring information that
might be of use to me.
The man called Captain Bracken was an officer
in the national secret service with a wide repu-
tation. It was known that he was keen and re-
lentless in the discharge of his duties, but it was
also said of him that he need be feared only
by the guilty. And while I was not yet, at least,
one of that class — my guilt so far being limited
to a purpose to join the enemies of the govern-
ment under which he was working — I did not
want to have my plans interrupted by submitting
to a detention that might be prolonged.
The Third One at Mandrell's 77
How much he really knew of me I did not care ;
that he knew less than he professed was beyond
question. On the Sunday night to which he had
referred I had visited Colonel Mandrell, but I
had done so at the request of Bellray without ex-
pectation of meeting any person other than the
Colonel and his family. And what is more, I
had no knowledge of designs which might not
be honorably entertained in time of war by men
whose convictions were opposed to one of the
parties to the contest, even though that party be
the Washington government.
A charge of conspiracy against that govern-
ment was one, however, that I did not desire to
face. It was a charge now frequently made, as I
had heard, and many men were being held in
prison to answer it, with still larger numbers in
this department under the surveillance of Captain
Bracken and his agents. It would at least serve
to deprive me of my liberty for a time, and
might do more. As I was not a resident of the
city, but had come into it when the military, and
not the civil, law was in force, and had at once
under cover of darkness visited a known enemy
of the North who was no doubt in friendly com-
munication with the invading army, my position
would be compromising, if not serious.
Several minutes elapsed before anybody came
into the room I had just left. Then I heard
the voices of Bracken and McGrane lifted in ex-
78 The Legionaries
clamations of surprise upon making the discovery
of my absence, both speaking at once, which ren-
dered it difficult for me to understand their pre-
cise words. A moment of bewildered silence
followed, during which, I suppose, they were al-
ternately looking at each other, and taking a sur-
vey of the room after the manner of human kind.
Then came the voice of McGrane, as suave and
care-free as if the most pleasing thing in the world
"Ah, Captain, our wingless bird has flown,
sure enough — and such an interesting bird."
"And to think, McGrane, that he came to
fight if he got a chance — isn't that what Tapper
reported this morning? We meant to deprive
him of the chance, but perhaps it will come to
him yet. Now, where did he get out ? Look
sharp ! ' '
I heard them walking about moving articles of
furniture and otherwise making search for the
place of my egress. Presently they stopped near
my hiding place.
"McGrane," said the Captain, "he didn't
leave by the windows, for the guard is without and
they are still fastened on the inside. Nor did he
go through these walls, which appear to be solid
enough; besides, we don't have houses now-
adays with hidden staircases, secret passages,
doors opening in impossible places on touching
concealed springs, and ah that folcjerol. Old
The Third One at Mandrell's 79
Mandrell is the kind of a duck who would like to
fool us that way, but bosh ! You and I, Mc-
Grane, know a thing or two. This young man
went out through the door, to which doubtless he
has a duplicate key, and is yet somewhere in the
house. Have it searched. And he really wanted
a chance to fight; well, he looks as if he could
do it, and acted so, too."
"Too bad to spoil his chance, Captain, isn't
it ?" McGrane said, as he left the room.
It was now time for me to act, as I could ac-
complish nothing more by staying longer.
Going noiselessly down the steps, trusting
more to feeling than knowledge, I carefully made
my way along the passage until I came to the
brick wall at its end. Here, on the left, reach-
ing out my hands, I found a stout wooden door,
which I succeeded in opening without any diffi-
culty, for it was not locked, and seemed to serve the
single purpose of shutting off from the house the
drafts and damps of the outer passage into which
it opened. Before closing the door I paused and
listened. Sounds from above came to me muffled
and indistinct, but they were not of a character
to tell me anything more.
Without waiting longer I went into the outer
passage and . groped along between the damp
wooden walls some fifty paces or more to a point
where it turned abruptly to the right. A little
further on I stumbled upon a stairway leading
8.o The Legionaries
upward. I now knew that I was near the end of
my underground journey.
A few steps upward brought me into contact
with what proved to be a trap-door which I judged
to be on a level with the ground's surface. It was
fastened on its under side, thus showing that the
secret way was last arranged for use from the
house alone. To loosen the door was but the work
of a moment, and pushing it aside I went cau-
Although I had never before attempted to
thread this hidden pathway I had been told by
Colonel Mandrell, when he made me acquainted
with its existence, that it could be followed with-
out fear to the end. So, feeling about me from
where I stood, my hands fell upon a ladder which
I at once climbed until again stopped by plank-
ing overhead. Here was a second trap-door
which, like the other, was also fastened on the
I tried the heavy bolt, but it did not yield
readily. Exerting more strength it finally gave
way, and lifting the door a little there came an
inrush of fresh air laden with the grateful odor of
hay. It was like incense to my nostrils after
breathing the foul atmosphere through which I
had been journeying. Through a window at the
side of a spacious loft near me the moonlight
streamed in and enabled me to get a tolerable
The Third One at Mandrell's 81
view of my surroundings, and see that there was
nothing to cause alarm.
Holding the trap-door only partly lifted, I
listened, and, hearing no sound save that made
by a horse crunching hay somewhere below, I
raised it and stepped out into the loft. For a
few moments I stood looking about me. The
opening by which I had entered was in one cor-
ner, and all around was scattered loose hay, the
great bulk of the feed being a little removed.
Stooping to close the trap I saw something
shining near the top of the ladder, which a closer
inspection showed to be the hilt of a scab-
barded sword hanging on the wall of the secret
chamber ; near by was a pair of holstered pis-
tols. Of these I lost no time in possessing myself,
for my own weapons I had left in my room at the
hotel and I had no intention of returning there
to claim them. Then replacing the door and
spreading the hay as it had probably been before
I disturbed it so as to leave no trace of my forth-
coming, I made ready to go below. But I first
assured myself as well as I could that the stable
was not watched, which being done I descended
to the ground floor.
I looked around for the horse that I had heard,
having no fancy for walking and still less dis-
position to take the risk of seizure involved in re-
covering my own animal, though I regretted to
82 The Legionaries
abandon him, for I had taught him to know me
and come at my call wherever he might be. The
horse which I was determined to take in place of
it was the only one remaining in the stalls, and
seemed to me, as nearly as I could form an opin-
ion of it in the shadows of the stable, to be a fine
one. Without a moment's hesitation, but quietly,
I equipped it with saddle and bridle, and, again
satisfying myself that the way was clear, led it out
into the alley.
WITH FACE TOWARD THE SOUTH
I DID not mount at once, but taking the horse
by the bit I led it some distance along the nar-
row alley, being careful to keep on the side where
the shadows of the buildings would most protect
me from observation. When I had in this way
removed myself so far that there was no longer
immediate danger to be feared from those who
had made so free with Mandrell's house, and
who had so nearly succeeded in playing a sorry
joke upon me, I stopped and inspected a bundle
that was attached to the saddle. It proved to
be a long weather coat. This I shook out and
put on, considering myself fortunate in the dis-
covery, for it concealed the arms of which I had
so summarily possessed myself, and enabled me
to retain the appearance of a civilian traveler,
which I was not yet prepared to throw aside.
Up to this time my adventure had not turned
out badly, save in the matter of the information
of which I was deprived, and which I had intended
to be the guide of my further movements. I was
left to my own resources, which, perforce, were
84 The Legionaries
not reassuring. In all this city, filled to over-
flowing with citizens and soldiers, I did not know
where to put my hand this night upon a friend.
The one thing that stood out clear in my mind
was that I must leave without delay and try
to reach the invading army, which was some-
where to the southward but how close nobody
seemed to know.
It was not the kind of a night that I would have
preferred for my undertaking, but my necessities
left me no choice. And, as luck attends upon
audacity as often as it favors the carefully laid
plans of the timorous, I felt that my chances for
escaping from the city were worth putting to the
test if boldness accompanied the trial.
Once in the saddle and astride the fine horse so
providentially supplied, a disposition to dare took
control of me and drove out all wavering. As I
rode along, seeking out the quiet streets yet
avoiding any appearance of stealth, and pursuing
a direction tending toward the southwesterly
part of the city, I saw and heard on all sides evi-
dences of strain. The hour was yet early —
probably not more than ten o'clock. The popu-
lace, uncertain as to what was in store, was all
astir, and filled with excitement.
All day long troops for the defense of the city
had poured in from the north ; these were all new
levies — mostly raw and ill-equipped militia and
legionaries, the latter not uniformed and variously
With Face Toward the South 85
armed. Upon these untried men must the com-
mandant depend to assist his meager garrison in
holding the expected assailants in check until the
disciplined soldiers of Buell, then on Bragg's
heels, should come to the rescue.
From my window at the hotel I had seen many
of the new arrivals as they straggled down the
street, making a brave pretense at form but show-
ing their woeful lack of training, and in my heart
I pitied them if it was to be their fate to meet
Bragg's old and experienced campaigners. They
reminded me of nothing so much as the inhabi-
tants of a village suddenly called from their beds
in the middle of the night by alarm bells to sub-
due a threatening conflagration — startled, fever-
ish from excitement, and not knowing what to
do, but brave and resolute when the way was
There would, it was plain, be little sleep that
night in this city. Horsemen passed me going in
one direction or another at furious speed, as
though upon missions that would admit of no
delay. A murmur of general unrest everywhere
filled the air and mingled with more specific
sounds that fell upon my ears.
Groups of men and women and clinging chil-
dren were gathered about the doors of houses,
neighbor could be heard calling to neighbor, and
from here and there came angry voices and sounds
86 The Legionaries
of quarrels whose overheard phrases showed the
cause of contention to be political.
I neared the outskirts of the city without inter-
ruption, and coming to a street leading southward
between rows of straggling houses toward the
open country that could not be far distant, I
turned into it, urging my willing horse to a faster
pace. I had barely done so when a thick cloud
obscured the moon and darkened the way before
me, but I pressed on.
Presently the cloud lifted and disclosed abridge
directly before me, and into the added light of a
street lamp near its entrance walked a sentry
with gun held awkwardly in hand. He called
out a challenge, in obedience to which I brought
my horse to such a sudden stand — not being yet
familiar with his qualities — that he reared dan-
gerously as the bit cut into his tender mouth.
With amazement not unmixed with chagrin, I
discovered in the sentry no less a personage than
the legionary, Spelker, who had been so quick to
recognize me the night before. To meet him
again so soon and under such circumstances was
an ill fortune of which I had not dreamed. His
uniform consisted of an infantry cap and belt,
which, along with his gun and cartridge box, con-
stituted the extent of his military accoutrement.
I fancied that he felt ill at ease in his unusual
situation, and that he would be happier were he
well out of it and back at his horse-buying. My
With Face Toward the South 87
hat was down far over my face, and as I wore now
the long weather coat and was riding a gray horse,
whereas my own was a bay, I think he did not at
once suspect my identity.
"What do you want?" I demanded of him
He stepped back a pace, manifesting a nervous-
ness which, as his ringer was upon the trigger of
a cocked musket, was somewhat disconcerting.
When I spoke he seemed to prick up his ears as
if in recognition of my voice. As he did not im-
mediately answer my question and I felt that it
would be better for him to believe that I was not
affecting a disguise, I rode up against the very
point of his bayonet and throwing back my hat
renewed my demand with confident front.
"So it's you, is it ?" he asked, less heroic-
ally than he had accosted me on the highway
with a courage then stiffened by liquor and the
presence of his fellows, but yet with a dogged
obstinacy that boded me no good. "It goes
against the grain to let you pass at all, my buck,
but if you have the word I suppose I'll have to.
Give the countersign."
As far as my knowledge went the countersign
might be alpha or omega, or anything between,
but I could not waste much time in parley, though
it would best suit my purpose to make the con-
"Easy, my friend, easy," said I, intent upon
88 The Legionaries
beguiling him into lowering the point of his gun.
"There is plenty of time. I think you treated
me shabbily last night, and in very unneighborly
spirit. Had you ever thought that one who sus-
pects quickly may himself be suspected ?"
"Well, you've got nothing to complain of,
It's me that's got a very pretty bump, and not
your head that's cracked," he responded, drop-
ping his musket butt down, that he might have
a free hand to rub his contusion. I saw my op-
portunity, which had come much quicker than
I had reason to hope.
"I am sorry," said I, as sympathetically as I
could, "that I am compelled to make it a pair,"
and thereupon flashed my sword quickly above
his head and let it descend flat upon the thick top
of his cap.
He staggered and fell to the ground, dropping
his gun as he did so, and I lost no time in con-
tinuing on my way. No sound came from
Spelker and if his wits returned in five minutes
he would do well ; more serious injury he was not
likely to suffer.
A little beyond the bridge, at the side of the
street — which here was not more than a country
road — I had, while talking with Spelker, observed
a camp fire about which men were gathered ; how
many I could not tell. They were no doubt de-
tailed to watch the bridge. Reasoning that as I
had passed the sentry they would conclude that I
With Face Toward the South 89
was entitled to go on, I went ahead at a smart
gallop and was not stopped.
Not being at all certain as to my course, but
realizing the dangers of that locality, I made
haste to leave it and turned into the first intersect-
ing road leading westward. Such houses as were
here were mere shanties, and far between, and I
knew that in truth I was at the city's limits. Fur-
thermore, I knew that mounted patrols guarded
every highway for miles around.
Fires at picket and vidette posts showed dully
before me and to the right and to the left. It
would have been difficult even for one with a per-
fect understanding of the country to get through
the encircling line without detection, but for me,
of necessity going at a venture, how much less
my chance. Yet I must take it, and fortune soon
The night suddenly became intensely dark from
quickly risen and threatening clouds which gave
promise of a storm. I prayed that the promise
might be speedily fulfilled, and drawing aside into
a common covered with trees I stopped and
waited. A roll of thunder in the southwest con-
firmed my hopes. The wind arose and began
shaking down upon me the dead leaves in a
shower and whirling them about. A cloud of
dust picked up from the dry highway swept over
me, filling my eyes and nostrils and grating in my
teeth. Soon the rain came, first in timid, uncer-
go The Legionaries
tain waves which pattered musically upon the
baked leaves, and then in a steady, driving down-
Regaining the road I now put spurs to my
horse and keeping far within the circle of lights
neared a road running again southward, as I
could see in the vivid flashes of the lightning. In
the same way I saw a mounted sentry cross it.
He was going in the direction opposite to the one
I wished to take, with his head pulled down into
the collar of his coat and the rim of his rain-
soaked hat beaten down upon his cheeks, giving
him a woe-begone and far from vigilant appear-
ance. Reaching the cross-road before the sol-
dier turned back upon his beat I turned into
it. The way was seemingly a mere dirt road,
but little traveled, I judged, already sloppy with
water, and not regarded as of much importance
— a fact which might benefit me.
A fire that I had at first seen, apparently di-
rectly in my path, disappeared under the torrents
of rain, and I faced only blackness, pierced at
long intervals by the lightning. The noise made
by the elements, while deadening the sounds of
my approach also made it impossible for me to
hear, but I knew that I must be near where the
light had been.
Just then my horse swerved slightly to the left,
and the sound made by his rapid feet as they
struck the ground showed that he was upon the
With Face Toward the South 91
hard smooth surface of a macadamized highway.
The wind was directly in my face and now swept
to my ears the voices of men in my front and
carried behind me the sounds of my own move-
ments. Believing that I could, unless my pres-
ence was revealed by the lightning, now flash-
ing less frequently, come abreast of the men
without warning, I urged my horse into a run,
determined to take the chances of the way before
me, and like a shot sped past the point where
I conceived the danger to lie. Through the rush-
ing wind that filled my ears with a roar, came
faintly a smothered cry of alarm, a quick and futile
command to halt, several shots, and then shouts
growing fainter. Checking my horse after awhile
I listened but detected no sounds of pursuit.
CAPTAIN BURKLEY'S GENTLEMEN
By grace of a rare good fortune, little short of
accidental, I now found myself in the open coun-
try outside of the Federal picket lines. There
was only one thing to do and that was to go on,
whatsoever might befall, and go on I did. The
storm passed over and the sky cleared rapidly.
The moon, circling high and bright in the heavens,
made objects plain before me save here and there
where the turnpike was shadowed by trees or en-
croaching hills. Not knowing the exact location
of Bragg's forces I expected every moment to come
upon his outer picket line, for I had no other idea
than that he had control of all the approaches to
the city. So I was not surprised when, rounding
the base of a hill skirted by the turnpike, I came
suddenly face to face with a party of mounted
men who brought me to a stand with levelled
carbines. One of them, riding out a little in front
of the others, accosted me:
"Which way, comrade?"
"To General Bragg's army," I returned, be-
lieving these to be a part of the investing force.
Captain Burkley's Gentlemen 93
"And where are you from?"
"Louisville," said I.
"Well," said he, "you won't be likely to reach
old Bragg to-night. He's flunked and turned
tail for Bardstown. If you are a fighting man
steer clear of Bragg."
The information that General Bragg had turned
back came as a great surprise to me, and there
was so much of anger and disappointment, as
well as positive disrespect toward the Confederate
commander, in the speaker's tones that for a mo-
ment the fear assailed me that I had stumbled
upon a Federal scouting party and had been too
free in declaring myself. But this suspicion I
could hardly credit, as the leader and all of the
men that I could see wore the color of the Con-
"And are you not Confederate soldiers?" I
asked, to relieve my suspense.
"Oh, we are Johnny Rebs right enough. But
we are disgusted, that's all. My hundred men
can't take Louisville, much as we should like to,
so we are going south, too. Just been taking a
little rest. If you like you can ride with me at
the head of the column. Come on."
Getting me in front of him he turned his horse
and ordered the men in the road, consisting of a
half dozen or more, to proceed in advance of us;
then gave a command that brought from the
shadow of the trees on both sides of the road the
94 The Legionaries
remainder of his company, whom I had not be-
Soon we were going southward at a good
swinging trot, the leader doing me the honor to
ride at my side. It developed that his purpose
was to have further conversation with me, and he
asked my name and put many other questions,
excusing himself on the ground that he must set-
tle in his own mind what to do with me — whether
to carry me along as a prisoner or to let me fol-
low my own will. He protested that the latter
course would suit him better, as he did not care
to bother with prisoners. I think that without
being too free about myself I succeeded, at least
partially, in satisfying him of my good faith, if
not in removing all question as to my character.
He was a talkative man and had a deep-seated
grievance against General Bragg, at which he had
already hinted, and which, with some other things,
he exploited in detail at intervals as we went
along. It fell out that the company under his
command was an independent one, or a "free
Aside from some voluntary contributions from
friends of the South in Louisville, it furnished its
own equipment and subsistence, except where —
as was not infrequently the case, I conjectured —
they found it convenient to levy tribute. He in-
sisted that they were neither freebooters nor guer-
rillas, but that under orders from the constituted
Captain Burkley's Gentlemen 95
authorities they undertook the accomplishment of
enterprises believed to be helpful to the South.
A species of moss-trooper they might be, he ad-
mitted with a laugh, but claimed that they denied
themselves the usual pleasures of brigandage
while submitting to more than its customary ex-
actions and hazards.
"And yet," he said, angrily, "the Unionist
commander of this district ordered that we should
be shot if caught, and not held as prisoners. If
General Bragg had been quick enough and bold
enough he could have driven this vaunting tyrant
into the river along with all his rag-tag and bob-
tail, and have taught him a lesson in shooting that
he would have remembered."
Thus he went on, alternately railing at the
Unionist district commander and abusing the
Confederate general, bestowing expletives in both
directions with an admirable impartiality. Now
and again recurring to his own followers, he
spoke of them with pride and called them his
gentlemen. He seemed delighted to dwell upon
the sacrifices that they were making without
compensation or hope of reward other than such
trifles as incidentally fell to their lot when they
had the good luck to cut off a convoy, or were
driven by stress of fortune to negotiate loans from
the most accessible friend or foe.
I could only dimly make out what manner of
man he was in appearance, but otherwise could
96 The Legionaries
form a tolerable estimate of his qualities, and this,
aside from the conviction that he was, perhaps,
too free of tongue, was not unfavorable
Two or three hours before daybreak we came
up with the scouts, no doubt at a prearranged
rendezvous. A halt was called, pickets thrown
out and sentries posted, and the men, including
the leader himself, were quickly scattered about
on the ground sound asleep, except one sta-
tioned not far away who was probably detailed
to keep his eyes on me. At any rate, he very
faithfully did so during the remainder of the
night as I can attest, for sleep resolutely refused
to visit me.
The camp was not astir until the sun was nearly
an hour high, and thirty minutes later we were
again ready for the saddle. I could now see the
character of the company I was keeping. The
leader, who had shared his breakfast with me,
was not greatly my senior, and was of prepossess-
ing appearance, with fair hair, a face much tanned
by sun and weather, and blue eyes that looked
determined but not ungentle. A well propor-
tioned man he was, too, and made a fine figure
His followers did not all impress me as having
an unquestioned claim to the honorable title that
their commander had given them. But if bold-
ness of bearing, a rollicking humor and a pro-
ficiency in the use of oaths, to which I may add,
Captain Burkley's Gentlemen 97
from subsequent observation, good horsemanship
and dare-devil spirit, completed the definition of
the term, then they were gentlemen, every one.
They gave little heed to me. Most of them
seemed not to notice my presence at all. A few
of them looked me over casually but maintained
a strict and respectful silence as to their impres-
sions. My horse, however, appeared to meet
with the unqualified approval of all, judging from
the looks that were directed toward him and not
from what was said, and he, for his part, acted as
if he were very well satisfied with the company
he was in.
I had intentionally deferred making inquiries as
to the purposes of the captain with respect to my-
self until by some means I could make sure of my
standing, or until he voluntarily revealed them to
me. For the time I was contented that I was
making some headway with my own plans, which,
I felt assured, were in a fair way to be ultimately
Just as we were on the point of taking up our
march — only waiting for the return of two men
who had been sent scouting in our rear — three
horsemen came into view on the crest of the hill
behind us. Two of them were the scouts but the
other's identity was not disclosed until they drew
near, and then, to my great relief and gratifica-
tion, I recognized Colonel Mandrell, weary and
7 — Legionaries.
98 The Legionaries
mud-spattered, and showing other signs of a hard
night's journey. As he came up the captain stood
out to meet him and friendly greetings were ex-
changed, proving a previous acquaintance.
"Burkley, I am mighty glad to see you for I
have had a regular Tarn O'Shanter ride this past
night. Have you a flask handy ? Thanks — ex-
cuse me a moment. There, my boy, that will
chase some of the stiffness out of my joints."
Here he looked about him, and his eyes fell
upon me, comfortably astride one of his favorite
"Why, Trenham, how are you ? How in the
world did you get here ?"
"Somewhat after your own fashion, I should
think," I returned, "and I desire to acknowledge
the debt I owe to your horse, which I was com-
pelled to appropriate."
At the suggestion of Colonel Mandrell, who
dismounted and stretched himself at his ease on
the grass in the warm sunshine, Captain Burkley
delayed his departure for an hour, during which
time explanations were made to him by my friend
that brought an offer of any assistance that he
might be able to render.
Not only did the captain show marked re-
spect for the new arrival, but every member of
the company seemed to understand that he was a
person of importance whose wishes as to their
movements were equal to commands. Indeed,
Captain Burkley's Gentlemen 99
from the moment when Colonel Mandrell had ap-
peared among us Burkley had addressed him
more as a superior officer than as a chance guest,
and the men gave evidence of similar regard.
At this I wondered a little, but attributed it to
nothing more than simple recognition of his high
standing as a known and daring friend of the
Confederacy. When after a while we were on the
Bardstown road and riding in the rear of the col-
umn, as he had arranged it, he opened a con-
versation with me that increased my wonder.
First, he had told of his escape from Louisville,
which, having received a friendly warning of his
contemplated arrest, he had accomplished with
difficulty after some hours of concealment in the
city. After I had told him about my own ad-
venture I spoke of my desire to join Morgan's
cavalry. At this he exclaimed :
"Why did you not tell me of your purpose
long ago? Perhaps I could have done something
for you." He looked at me for a moment and
then added, reflectively: "And perhaps I can
yet. I suppose you would be satisfied with any-
thing from trooper up to major-general?"
"Anything," I made answer.
"Well, now, this is serious. Morgan wants
men, as I happen to know, and recruiting is being
done for him even now in Kentucky. With your
training you ought to have a captaincy to begin
ioo The Legionaries
with, but that you are not likely to get unless you
can take your own company into his camp."
"Which is impossible," said I, "and so I must
be satisfied to go into the ranks."
"I don't know that it is impossible," he re-
sponded, speaking slowly as if he were turning
something over in his mind. "What do you
think of those fellows?' ' — nodding his head toward
the men in front of us, who sat in their saddles
with a negligent ease that bespoke their horse-
"They look like good material," said I, not at
all comprehending his meaning, "and it is a pity
they are not in a more regular service."
"I have no doubt that they have served a pur-
pose in their chosen field — in truth, my informa-
tion enables me to assert positively that they
have — but I believe that they can now be dis-
pensed with in that line."
He stopped and again seemed to reflect. After
awhile he went on: "Burkley has been a good
bushwhacker and has in him the making of a
good officer. He is loyal and faithful, but a little
too eager and impatient and a trifle reckless. I
have heard a good deal about his company, which
has been given a variety of unpleasant names,
and know that the Federals have been especially
anxious to lay violent hands on its commander."
He laughed a little in a grim sort of way, adding:
"But Burkley has always eluded them most
Captain Burkley's Gentlemen 101
cleverly. What's the matter with your horse,
That was what I did not know. Since we had
started he had been pulling at his bit and giving
me trouble to hold him in check.
"Perhaps, Colonel, as he is not really mine,
but yours, you can answer your question better
than I," said I.
He gave me a keen look and responded :
"Have you tried him at the head of the col-
"That is where I rode last night, and, since
you mention it, I remember that he gave me no
trouble at all."
"Have you ever considered the strength of
habit in both man and beast?" he asked. "We
easily, almost unconsciously, fall into the place
to which we have accustomed ourselves, and if by
chance or design we are crowded into another
we are instantly ready for rebellion ; the same
thing may be true of horses. But I was talking
of Burkley. For some time he has been fairly
aching to join the artillery service. I think he
told me that once, before the war, he belonged to
a battery which, when hostilities broke out, went
almost unanimously over to the Unionists. If his
ambition still leads him in that direction, per-
haps, as I said, something can be done for you.
Those men there will be happy to join Morgan's
102 The Legionaries
force, and, with Burkley provided for more to his
taste elsewhere, they will need a new captain."
I was greatly moved by this manifest evidence
of his good will and his desire to help me in
a way agreeable to my feelings, but far in ex-
cess of my expectations, which had not been ex-
treme. At first I was much perplexed to deter-
mine how he might bring about the result which
he had suggested, but little by little light broke
in upon my understanding and I saw the truth as
clearly as if he had himself explicitly narrated it.
The troop was his, maintained and used hereto-
fore for his own purposes, or purposes for which
he stood sponsor, and he was its real head and
leader at such times as he chose to be so. He
was a strong and vigorous man of adventurous
spirit — one who delighted in mixing action with
craft, and who, for powerful reasons, did not care
to be publicly identified with the band of irregu-
lars ostensibly led by Larkin Burkley.
Now, by some shifting of plans, he found it
convenient to sever his own connection with the
company and let it engage in other service.
Whether he had thought of the matter prior to his
meeting with me this day was not material, but I
was certain that after it had once entered his
mind he would work it out for my advantage
and accommodation if possible, and with him I
felt that it would be possible.
A little before noon we reached Bardstown,
Captain Burkley's Gentlemen 103
near which place General Bragg's army of forty
thousand men was temporarily encamped, and
stopped on suitable ground somewhat removed
from that occupied by the others.
Not far from us several batteries of field artil-
lery were stationed. They at once caught and
held the eyes of Burkley and set him talking at a
great rate, showing that his old enthusiasm had in
no degree abated. Through the small field glass
which he carried at his side he looked the grim
monsters over, praising here, criticising there, and
withholding judgment elsewhere. He even began
to speak in more friendly spirit of the Confeder-
ate commander. While in this temper Colonel
Mandrell took him apart and held a conversation
with him, the purport of which I could only guess.
Afterward the two men rode away together,
leaving me, as the colonel told me privately, to
get on the best terms I could with the men.
As it happened, no better time for the realiza-
tion of Burkley's ambition could have been seized
upon, as General Bragg, by the surrender to him
of the Union forces at Munfordsville a few days
before, had come into possession of a quantity of
cannon, and his chief of artillery was even then
engaged in forming new batteries.
The next day Burkley announced to the troop
his appointment as lieutenant of artillery. He
was popular with the men, and that they regretted
his proposed departure from among them was
104 The Legionaries
shown by their sober faces. When he had fin-
ished, Colonel Mandrell addressed them and told
them that the old days were over, but that a more
glorious career awaited them in the service of
the South if they availed themselves of their op-
I will not attempt to set down all he said,
least of all will I dwell upon the overpraise that
he bestowed upon me in urging upon them my
fitness to be their captain. But so adroitly did
he appeal to them — not forgetting to state that I
had not pushed myself forward, and that he alone
was responsible for the proposal — that when he
called for an expression of their opinions, I was
assured of their support and favor. I immedi-
ately went about the task of making arrangements
to carry the new scheme into execution, and to
that end called into consultation with me all who
had acted in the capacity of subordinate officers
in the troop. These men I found to be happy at
the prospect of engaging in a more satisfactory
service than that which had previously occupied
their time, and they exhibited a willingness to
aid me that drove from my mind every lingering
doubt as to my welcome among them.
I have thus written of these things, not because
they are in themselves interesting or important,
but to show how it happened that I acquired rank
so quickly without first winning it by hard service.
But that I earned it afterward, in following the
Captain Burkley's Gentlemen 105
standard of the man to whose fortunes I was pres-
ently to be attached during the most brilliant
period of his career, and near to the time of its
unfortunate close, will be admitted, I think, by
all of those whose dangers I shared in those wild
WITH THE GREAT RAIDER
The camp at Bardstown was maintained for
several days, and leaving the matter to the man-
agement of Colonel Mandrell, I had the satisfac-
tion of seeing my company duly enrolled and ac-
cepted into the regular service and assigned to
the command of General Morgan. Its members
would not have been content to be placed else-
where, and their enthusiasm and delight knew no
bounds when they learned that our project had
been successfully accomplished and that they
would be soon riding up and down with the great
cavalier at their head.
Then there were days of delay and impatience,
followed at last by a movement to Harrodsburg,
where came our future leader to whose fortunes
we were thenceforth committed. I carried to
him a personal letter from the man to whom I
already owed so great a debt, and it was the
circumstance of presenting it that brought me first
into the presence of this bold partisan chieftain of
whom I had heard so much.
He was at this time probably thirty-five years
With the Great Raider 107
old, and there was that about him which at once
marked him as a man of distinction. A soldierly
presence, in truth, with his six feet of strength and
grace still unmarred by the hardships to which he
was constantly exposed. His eyes, of a grayish
blue, were lively with intelligence and purpose;
his features handsome, and his address as pleas-
ing as his manners were gentle and consid-
erate. But above all else there was about him
that air of self-reliance, determination and utter
fearlessness that characterized his career as a sol-
dier and made him renowned above his fellows
for a boldness and daring that, in one less capa-
ble, would have approached foolhardiness. This
is saying much, for the time which brought forth
his activities produced many resolute leaders,
North and South, whose deeds have made their
names justly conspicuous in the history of their
country. Often had my youthful blood been
aroused by reading of the glamorous achieve-
ments of the first Richard and other heroes of
chivalry, but the man I was henceforth to follow
was as stout of heart as any of these, though his
accomplishments are less famed.
The semi-independence of Morgan's command
and the opportunities which it afforded for advent-
urous service attracted to him the daring from
all walks of life, and in his ranks the educated
sons of the high and wealthy rode stirrup to stir-
rup with the illiterate and lowly.
108 The Legionaries
That all those who flocked to his standard were
impelled thereto by patriotism I do not believe.
Many were no doubt moved by a love of adven-
ture and a reckless desire to gratify it; but this I
do affirm, that however it chanced that a man
found himself under the authority of this courage-
ous leader, he was held in fealty by a love of the
man himself. For he won men's hearts with sin-
gular ease, and at his word they would fight and
dare and die, more, I believe, for him than for the
cause which he represented.
He received me at his headquarters in a most
kindly manner that at once put me at my ease.
I looked to see him worn by the tremendous strain
of a recently finished campaign in which in a lit-
tle over twenty days he had, to the amazement of
the whole country, successfully covered more
than a thousand perilous miles, everywhere beset
by his enemies. But of this there was no indica-
tion, and his freshness and elasticity of bearing
gave proof of his wonderful powers of endurance.
This man, always eager and resourceful, even to
the pitiful end, never ceased to be a marvel to me.
After he had inquired concerning Colonel Man-
drell he questioned me a little about myself and my
men, but assured me — tapping the letter with his
finger — that he had no misgivings about either
since reading that. The interview was not pro-
longed, as a summons came while I was present
calling him into council w|th_ General Bragg, but
With the Great Raider 109
as I left he promised that he would in person
speedily inspect my troop. This he did the next
day, and from that time forth there was not a man
among them all who was not willing to follow him
to the ends of the earth.
Scant time for rest was ever allowed this sleep-
less warrior, and he was soon in the field again,
my gallant gentlemen bearing him company.
How well they rode, and how well they fought,
and how bravely many of them died before that
last headlong raid northward, need not be told.
Summer was in full tide again, when, with
three thousand horsemen and a battery of six
guns, our faces were turned toward the Ohio.
There were many conjectures as to our destination
and object, but aside from the General himself,
none knew and none questioned. Here and
there as we progressed small forces of the enemy
fell upon our flanks or snapped at our heels.
These were brushed aside or driven back. On
every side indications grew that the Federals,
aware of our movement, and knowing the in-
trepid character of our General, were hastening
the concentration of a sufficient force to bar his
way and thwart his purpose.
Whatever the nature of his mission, it soon be-
came evident that he was resolved to elude his
foes when he could, and only fight them when
they got in his way. And this was often enough,
God knows, as not a day passed in which the
no The Legionaries
charge was not sounded that sent some of his
men full drive against obstinate Federal guns, and
stretched many of our brave fellows on the
ground not to rise again; among these last was
the General's own young brother, a lad loved
by all. Nor did I escape my share of the fight-
ing, for it had long since come to be known that
the once irregulars never stood back where any
dared go forward.
One day my company was detached from the
main command with instructions to feel the coun •
try to the east of our route and rejoin the column
the next day at Bardstown, which was for the
second time to be conspicuous in my itinerary.
After nightfall we had, on information obtained
from a friendly citizen, surprised and captured
the Federal Colonel Crespy at the moment when
he was enjoying a much relished dinner at the
house of a Unionist situated on the outskirts of
a town in which his regiment of cavalry had been
halted for the night.
His escort, which he had left on guard about
the premises, had unfortunately escaped into the
town, thus making it necessary for us to hasten
from the locality unless we cared to measure our
strength against vastly superior numbers. Guided
by the same citizen we had ridden far into the
night, bearing gradually toward the place of the
morrow's rendezvous. It lacked only a few hours
of daylight when I considered it safe to stop and
With the Great Raider 1 1 1
dispose my weary but uncomplaining troopers for
a little rest. As for myself, I had barely touched
the ground before I was sound asleep.
My next conscious sensation was one of being
shaken violently, and the shaking, as I have al-
ways since believed, was supplemented by a kick,
still more potential in opening my heavy eyes.
Aroused and startled, and not a little ruffled by
the latter indignity — though I quieted my feel-
ings by thinking that it was not intended as
such, but born of the fancied urgency of the sit-
uation — I jumped to my feet, thoroughly awake,
to find that every man was up and standing to
horse in the early morning sun ready to take my
commands. Before me stood Neffitt, the corpo-
ral of the guard, a good soldier, but a wild fellow
with little reverence for rank save in his obedi-
ence to orders. He saluted, but I detected a
mischievous twinkle in his eyes which confirmed
my suspicion as to his manner of getting me up.
"What's the trouble?" I demanded sharply,
showing my disapproval.
"The enemy, coming over the hill," he said,
saluting again, this time more seriously and point-
ing toward the east.
Looking that way I saw a group of bluecoated
horsemen coming down the decline Without a
doubt they were the advance guard of Crespy's
cavalry, now close on our heels. My men occu-
pied an elevated position in an open wood a little
1 1 2 The Legionaries
off the road, but near the edge of the wood there
was enough underbrush to make it unlikely that
we had been yet observed. The hill was nearly
a mile away, and between us stretched level
ground only broken on the south of the road by
a long ridge.
I determined to wait and make sure as to the
numbers of the Federals Colonel Crespy him-
self stood near, outwardly calm and unmoved,
but in his eyes there was unmistakable trace of
inward excitement. The moment was an anxious
one, not less for him than for us all. At close
quarters my men, numbering less than one hun-
dred, would have small chance against my pris-
oner's whole regiment of eight hundred which I
believed to be coming upon me.
I was resolved not to risk the hazards of a com-
bat if my surmises as to the strength of my op-
ponents proved to be correct. Of this fact I was
not long in doubt, for presently the head of a col-
umn appeared on the hill top, and I was on the
point of ordering my men into the road for a race
when my eyes fell upon a sight that caused me to
withhold the command.
About one-third of the distance between my
position and the Federals was a road, which,
coming from the north, crossed the other at right
angles and disappeared into a small wooded val-
ley two or three hundred yards or so beyond.
The elevation constituting the eastern slope of
With the Great Raider 1 1 3
the little valley extended farther toward the cross-
ing of the roads than did the western, thus allow-
ing us to see persons traveling the valley road
northward before they became visible to our
Emerging upon this road were horsemen in
gray clothes going at a smart trot. My glass
showed them to belong to Morgan's command,
but how many of them I could not yet tell, as
the General had a habit of dividing his force in
sweeping through the enemy's country and reunit-
ing it at points agreed upon, always being in per-
sonal command of the column with which he
Before I could possibly have given warning to
my comrades of the near presence of the Feder-
als, the advance guards of the forces were face to
face. Unslinging their carbines they fired and
fell back, while the main column of Federals
broke into a gallop, and at the same time file
upon file of gray coats came charging up from
Without waiting to see more, I detached two
men to guard Colonel Crespy, whose cheeks were
now aflush with feeling, and placing myself at the
head of my eager men shouted a command that
took us into the highway and started us flying
The Confederate leader was, I saw with keen
8 — Legionaries.
ii4 The Legionaries
satisfaction, Morgan himself, and he appeared to
take in the situation in which he was placed at a
glance. A quick maneuvering of his force showed
that he was preparing for a struggle ; and it was
the kind of a fight that he liked, in the open,
with plenty of room for men and horses.
The Federals, on their part, did not wait to see
whether the enemy fronting them consisted of a
few or many, -but came onward with great dash
and courage, deploying a column to the right and
to the left with incredible rapidity and skill. It
seemed to me at the moment — though I had little
time to study the strategical qualities of the field
— that the lay of the ground was favorable to the
Confederates, and so it should have been, seeing
that our General's following was made up of only
four or five troops and was not much better than a
scouting party. The elevation to the east,
which extended well out toward the highway,
protected them in a measure against attack on the
flank, I thought, thus giving them an opportunity
to strike the enemy's center to greater advan-
tage, with little to fear from a counter side blow.
That was the way it looked to me, but the Gen-
eral took no chances. Deploying his whole force
quickly well back in the field beyond the angle of
the roads, he arranged it so that he could get
headway from whatever direction he was likely to
be assailed. It was well that he did, for pres-
ently, almost abreast of their comrades on the
With the Great Raider 1 1 5
low ground and in the highway, there came a
rush of horse over the brow of the ridge. The
roads were only unimproved ways worn by travel
across the unfenced ground, and furnished no ob-
struction to the movements of the cavalry.
It was my intention to take care of that part of
the enemy — which did not greatly outnumber my
command — to the north of the main road and
prevent them from falling upon the General's
flank. To that end I swerved to the left, straight-
ened out in column of eights, then dashed at
speed toward the noses of their horses.
Before reaching them I took a glance at the
other part of the field and saw that every shod
hoof was in motion and beating the earth in uni-
son with its fellows to the right and to the left,
before and behind. The General was a good
hundred yards ahead of me, and almost upon
the foe who had been compelled to turn slightly
to face him. A hundred feet — fifty! God! how
my blood tingled and how my muscles drew un-
der the double strain — often as similar scenes
had spread before my eyes — until I felt that I
was being fairly pulled from my saddle. And
then the combatants crashed into each other's
I caught a glimpse of rearing horses and flash-
ing sabers, and heard the rattle of revolver shots
and the shouts of the fighters. It was only a
glimpse, for in a moment I was myself striking
n6 The Legionaries
out lustily, and about me was a confusion of blue
and gray coats, a struggling mass of speaking
and dumb animals, a clashing of metal, and
hoarse words of defiance.
Just as I began to feel that I was safely through
our adversary's line, my horse stumbled beneath
me and went down in spite of my efforts to get
it to its feet, and over and around me flashed the
trampling heels of my followers' horses as they
thundered by with rattling scabbards and clanking
harness. It was one of the fortunes of war and
I expected to be crushed where I lay, but they
passed by leaving me untouched.
I had risen to my feet when a bearded young
Federal officer, wearing the straps of a lieutenant,
who had been unhorsed in the charge, came run-
ning up and with drawn sword demanded my sur-
render. My own blade was still in my hand, and
presenting it I demanded that he himself should
yield. Instantly we were fighting as though the
issue of the battle depended upon the strength of
our arms. Presently my opponent, who had ex-
hibited a skill not anticipated by me, called out
my name in a loud tone of surprise and withheld
his hand. Taking it that he desired to yield, al-
though he was far from being overcome, and be-
ing surprised that he knew me, I also withheld
Before either had time to speak a horseman
dashed up and aimed a blow at the officer with
With the Great Raider 1 1 7
his saber. I thrust out my sword just in time to
turn the weapon aside, and looking up saw that
it was my unceremonious corporal. Without wait-
ing to hear the rebuke that was rolling hot from
my lips, he jumped down, and, with a salute,
"They are forming for the return charge; take
my horse, sir," and then the rascal, pushing the
rein into my hand, scampered off after a loose
animal that was standing, bewildered and snort-
ing, a little distance away.
"Thank you, Captain Trenham. My beard
has grown, but your old friend, Paul Venault, sa-
With that he started after the corporal, for the
horse was no doubt his. My astonishment was
so great that I could not utter a word, nor indeed
did I have time, for, as the corporal had said,
my men had checked up a couple of hundred
yards further on and had already faced about.
Spurring toward them I looked to see how our
comrades were faring south of the road, and saw
the tall form of the General at the head of his
column ready for another blow. And while I
watched, that column started back, compact and
steady, and like a human wedge it drove itself
into and through the line of the enemy. At the
very front, as the keen edge of the wedge, rode
the General himself as it plunged into the moving
1 1 8 The Legionaries
mass of blue and cleft its way where resistance
seemed the most determined.
On rejoining my men I looked back to see
what my late opponents were doing, and observed
that they seemed to be in doubt as to their further
course. While they wavered it occurred to me to
get into the greater fight where I thought I saw
a chance to achieve a more conclusive result.
Scarce a hundred yards lay between my present
position and the main body of the enemy, now
already in confusion, and I had it in mind to fol-
low my General. But this we were not allowed to
do, for our opponents suddenly started toward us
So, giving the command, we set out to meet
them in a final struggle for the mastery. Gath-
ering quick speed, with sabers gripped firmly and
feet well stirruped for the shock, we went ham-
mering back over the green turf. Cheers broke
from the throats of Burkley's gentlemen as we
struck the foe, hesitated, then grappled for an in-
stant, while the morning sun glinted from rising
and falling blades.
A participant sees few things clearly in a charge
of cavalry against cavalry. It means action, mo-
tion, set jaws, flaming eyes, the curses of the
reckless, and uproar indescribable. So it was in
this fierce onset, now so stubbornly resisted. A
glancing blow upon the shoulder nearly unseated
me once, but the charge wore itself out at last and
With the Great Raider 1 1 9
the contestants tore themselves apart piecemeal
and roared onward like a rock-broken torrent.
Many riderless horses galloped about the field,
confused, and with heads held high in frightened
liberty. A noble bay which went neighing by
near me bore such a striking resemblance to
the animal I had been compelled to abandon at
Louisville that I shouted its name, whereat it
stopped suddenly as if in doubt. Again I called
and it came bounding to my side and followed
me along. Its superior trappings showed that it
had been ridden by an officer. Turning in my
saddle I saw that the Federals were withdrawing,
for the time seemingly demoralized, and I won-
dered if the result would have been different had
the gallant Crespy been at their head, and thought
of the pain in his soldier heart as he watched the
fight going against them.
But this was not all that I saw. Across the field
on foot came my corporal bearing along with him
as a prisoner the luckless Venault, who was limping
dreadfully and looked chagrined and dispirited. I
learned afterward that in running after the cor-
poral he had become entangled with his scabbard
and fallen, wrenching his knee and breaking his
sword He had then become the easy victim of
his foe, who thenceforward devoted his time to
bringing him into our lines.
Venault's misfortune upset him sadly, and
the humiliation of it seemed to grind him more
120 The Legionaries
than his injury, though the agony caused by the
wrenched ligaments must have been very great.
He had been in the Federal army almost a year,
he told me. His restless spirit craved excite-
ment, and, as his own country was at peace, he
had followed the example of the Count of Paris
and come* to America. Enlisting the good offices
of the French minister, he got a commission after
a time, and had seen a good deal of hard service.
"Well done, Captain Trenham," called out
the General, as I neared the spot where he was
resting his panting horses. "That finished them,
I think, but I believe we had better not tie our-
Praise from the General was always generous
when deserved, and strengthened the attachment
of his followers. But it was never recklessly be-
stowed, and there was honest striving for his ap-
proval It was not the first time that good for-
tune had brought me to his attention and elicited
commendation. Our good services had been
pledged in advance and we had felt obliged on
every occasion to do our best, which, I may as-
sert, we would have done had no pledge been
After a few minutes our march was resumed on
the westward road, and we picked up my two men
and Colonel Crespy on the way. An hour's travel
brought us to the Bardstown turnpike, and about
eleven o'clock we appeared before that town to
With the Great Raider 121
find that a small force there was hotly resisting
the entrance of our comrades who had arrived on
the evening before. The General was informed
of the situation; how the Federals, consisting, as
we afterward learned, of a single troop, stationed
in a building commanding the principal street, had
held off a portion of his command for the better
part of a day, were still unconquered and stub-
bornly refused to surrender. Then it was that,
for the first and last time, I saw our leader furious
with anger and impatience.
"Great God! sir," he exclaimed to the senior
officer, who had all forenoon worried over the
problem of how to dislodge the foe without yet
being able to solve it, "do you mean to spend the
summer here? We shall have all the Unionists in
the Kentucky department about our ears at this
rate. Get your guns in position, send another
flag and then if they do not surrender shell them
out. It is well enough to be brave, but they
need not be fools."
After that the affair came to an end as quickly
as could be desired even by the General himself,
for when the little band of defenders saw that can-
non were trained upon their improvised fortress at
a range that would tear the building to pieces and
them along with it they laid down their arms and
came out. The General, his wrath appeased,
complimented their courage and let them go upon
their paroles, releasing at the same time and in
122 The Legionaries
the same way Colonel Crespy and my friend Paul.
I never saw the latter afterward, but in that dread-
ful war between his own country and Prussia a
few years later he was a colonel of hussars, and
was killed while leading a charge at Gravelotte.
We had enough to bother us without carrying
along a lot of prisoners to hamper our move-
ments. Our scouts were constantly bringing in
reports of the tremendous activities of the Fed-
erals, whom Morgan was doing all in his power
to mislead. For that purpose he had heretofore
divided his force, and for that purpose, also, he
had, through his private operator, tapped the tel-
egraph wires in secluded places, and intercepted
the enemy's messages, thus learning many of the
things that were being proposed and done to cir-
cumvent him. And there are grave reasons for
doubting the authenticity as well as the accuracy
of answers to some of these messages that were
sent flying back to the Unionist headquarters.
There may be those who do not admit the
justness of strategy such as this. But in the mat-
ter of military diplomacy I have always observed
that the principal thing is to win, and that one
who is determined to follow strictly moral and
straightforward lines in all relations has no busi-
ness at the head of an army situated as ours was.
Not a man among us doubted the ability of
our General to extricate himself from the difficul-
ties that were being thrown around him. The
With the Great Raider 1 23
word had been given, as we all knew, that his
command should be pursued to the last ditch and
destroyed. But he had hitherto avoided so many
traps and fought his way through so much oppo-
sition that his men had come to believe in his
invincibility, and were eager to follow him any-
where. That he believed thus strongly in him-
self I will not affirm, but I do declare the fact
— for fact it is — that he was undaunted to the
ON BRANDENBURG HEIGHTS
On the morning of the second day after this,
the date being the 8th of July, 1863, the Gener-
al's combined force reached the small town of
Brandenburg, situated on the Kentucky shore of
the Ohio river.
We had been without knowledge as to our des-
tination, our duty being only to follow and obey.
It was rumored among the men — who sometimes
guessed closely to the truth — and believed by
some of the officers, that General Morgan had set
out to accomplish at Louisville a part of what
General Bragg had failed to do in the previous
year. There was talk that the city was poorly
garrisoned, which, if true, was no doubt because
it was not thought that any Confederate com-
mander would be so audacious as to undertake its
seizure. To do so, it would be necessary to
traverse more than two hundred miles of country
then in possession of the Unionists.
But if that had really been our General's object
— as I am now certain that it was not, whatever his
orders may have been from his superiors — he had
at least temporarily abandoned it, for we had
( I2 4)
On Brandenburg Heights 125
borne off to the westward, and were now more
than two score miles below that city. There were
not wanting among the officers some who be-
lieved that he was following a plan of his own.
Just what it was had caused a great deal of con-
jecture, since the original surmises had to be dis-
All knew that the armies of Bragg and Buck-
ner were dangerously beset by the Federal forces,
which were gradually tightening the lines about
them, and that unless these lines could be loos-
ened by some astounding diversion they were
Likely to be speedily overwhelmed. If that were
actually the General's purpose, it had been suc-
cessful thus far, as important bodies of soldiery
had been withdrawn from other affairs and set
upon our track.
We had ridden like the wind for two weeks,
every day of which we had been compelled either
to dodge or fight as best suited the mood of our
commander, for he could be as discreet as any
when he chose, and also as rash as any. I have
said before that he eluded the enemy when he
could, but it must not be understood that he ever
relinquished a path that he seriously desired to
pursue without a contest for the right of way.
And now Brandenburg, with the Ohio river in
a fog at our feet! Are we to turn back or goon?
If to go on, what is there for us beyond the fog?
We are to cross, so the order has been given.
126 The Legionaries
To that end the troops of Captains Taylor and
Merriwether had been sent pellmell in advance of
us the day previous to look after ferriage. By
good fortune two large steamboats had fallen
easily into their hands and these were now at the
wharf ready to carry us over.
We had been in the saddle since midnight, with
only a few hours' rest before, but these were iron
men and they showed little sign of weariness.
They laughed and seemed happy. Most of them
were young and full of the fire and daring of
youth, fit followers for such a leader. No enter-
prise to which he could put his hand would be
too desperate to suit them, and the more reckless
it seemed that much more was it likely to stir
their enthusiasm and entice them onward. They
asked only to know his will.
As they looked down from the heights to the
river and across it toward the Indiana border,
now faintly visible through the slowly lifting fog,
they were filled with an almost childish joy and
eagerness. In truth it was a fair and rich field,
unswept by war. No hostile army had trod its
soil or disturbed the tranquillity of its inhabitants.
The General, sitting his horse a little way off,
did not appear to be less sanguine and eager than
his men. What thoughts were in his mind as he
looked at that inviting shore line through the dis-
solving mist? Did he think of easy conquest or
of the amazing sensation that he was about to
On Brandenburg Heights 127
cause? A smile rested upon his strong, sun-
bronzed face as he watched his men making ready
for a journey that was destined to try their very
souls. While he paused thus, now and then ex-
changing words with Colonel Duke, a shrewd
officer for whom he had the highest regard, and
who just now did not seem to be in a very good
humor, a man walked up and saluted.
"Why, it is Captain Hines," exclaimed Duke.
"So it is," said the General, "and I am glad
to see you, Captain. Where is your company?"
"Here," said the officer — though at that mo-
ment he looked little like one — striking himself
on the breast, a grim smile playing about his res-
"But your men, sir," persisted the General.
"There," returned the captain, pointing to-
ward the river and then at the green shore be-
yond. "Some of them were captured and some
of them were drowned, like the brave fellows they
were, in trying to get out of that hornet's nest.
I report for duty, General. My experience over
there has not been to my liking, but I am ready
to go back."
The commander's face clouded. "It will do
no good to complain of the loss of so many good
men, even though they are needed badly," he
said, with a motion of his hand as if he were
throwing the whole matter aside, "but I do not
understand how you happened to be there."
128 The Legionaries
"I was given permission to operate north oi
the Cumberland, General. ' '
"So you were; but heavens, man, did you
construe your orders to authorize you to invade
a hostile state with your single troop? The next
time I send a corporal out with a squad I shall
expect to hear of him marching on to Washing-
ton with a demand for its surrender in his mouth
ready framed. But never mind, Hines; you are
a man after my own heart, and gave them a merry
dance, I'll be bound."'
"Indeed I did, sir, and they gave me a merrier.
I thought I might be able to stir up the copper-
heads, but the legionaries allowed me no time for
any such diplomatic diversion."
They moved away presently, the General and
Colonel Duke going down to the landing while
Captain Hines started off to look up the quarter-
master to whom he was directed to report his need
of equipment. The latter stopped long enough
by my side to give me a shake of the hand and
to hear my hearty expression of satisfaction at his
personal safety, then went on, waving his hand
right and left in salutation and exchanging greet-
ings with his comrades.
For this man was as chivalrous a soul as ever
bestrode a horse, and the ill-success of his bit of
knight-errantry was not counted against him when
it became known how gallantly he had borne
himself. With the enemy in overwhelming num-
On Brandenburg Heights 129
bers pressing upon him he had taken to the wa-
ter, and with a remnant of his company had suc-
ceeded in reaching an island. Beyond this the
channel was swift and deep and was patrolled by
a gunboat that inflicted great damage. Yet he
boldly plunged in, and with two men out of the
sixty who had followed him got safely to the
more friendly southern shore, where be became
separated from the others and by mere chance was
enabled to rejoin our forces at the moment of our
embarkation for the scene of his disaster.
Probably I alone of all the adventurous band
about me — so eager to reach the coveted land
and so careless of the consequences of a project so
daring — looked with dismay and regret upon the
prospect that confronted us. I drew a little apart
from the others while awaiting orders, but did
not dismount, and gazed northward with a heavy
heart. Less than a score of miles away, over the
green hills, I saw, in my fancy, a little valley in
which were two houses that held those who were
dearest to me in life — my mother, and that other
one, who, though neither kith nor kin, still filled
It was months since I had last looked upon that
peaceful scene — months of danger, of foray and bat-
tle, of victory and defeat, of wild charges and pre-
cipitate retreats. I had become, to all outward
seeming, much as the other men, reveling in peril
9 — Legionaries.
130 The Legionaries
and dare-devil divertisement, yet often in the
thick of conflict staying my uplifted sword as
there would flash before my mental vision the fair
face and appealing eyes of her who, I felt sure, de-
sired my welfare but prayed for the defeat of my
cause. Not that I shirked my duty as I had under-
taken to perform it — God forbid that my manhood
should be open to a suspicion so recreant ! — but at
such times, in spite of myself, my will would fail
and my muscles lose their tension. And even
now I would have turned back these invaders had
the power been mine and breasted them against
the thousands thundering behind us. But I could
neither do that nor withdraw myself from partici'
pation in the raid.
So much for a sentiment which I am not ashamed
to avow, and if it be considered evidence of weak-
ness, then I was weak. I am not criticising any
one, General Morgan least of all. This was war
and he was a soldier, and none more gallant ever
lived, to my mind. The Northland was not more
sacred than the not less fair fields of the South.
And this man, called marauder, guerrilla and
bandit by the hasty and inconsiderate, after all
pursued his ill-starred way with a moderation that
gave the lie to his accusers and marked him a
While I remained thus, burdened with my re-
flections, a man, who, judging from his dress,
was neither officer nor private, came toward me
On Brandenburg Heights 131
on foot. He was in appearance near thirty years
of age, fair and little weather-stained, in the
latter respect contrasting strongly with the rough
riders through whom he had made his way. He
was of good figure and handsome features, but
bore a countenance unmistakably sinister in its
expression. A certain sort of courage seemed to
shine from his light blue eyes, yet there was
something unsteady and shifting in the manner of
his gaze that seemed to give warning of insincer-
ity, if not of downright treachery. I did not par-
ticularly note these things at the time, for I barely
observed him until he spoke.
"Well, Captain Trenham, what do you think
of the prospect?" he said familiarly, a disagreea-
ble smile curling his lips.
I turned my head and looked at him fairly ;
looked, but did not answer at once, for I could
not recognize in my questioner an acquaintance,
or in truth one that I had seen before. When I
did speak, it was to say sharply — for the manner
of his interruption nettled me :
"You have my name, sir, but I have not
"A name is of little consequence these days,
and sits lightly on many men," he returned, un-
ruffled. "I am not always particular as to my
own, but since you suggest it, I give the name of
Dallas Vawter, which, as it happens, is the one
that my parents gave to me."
132 The Legionaries
"And why is my opinion important to you,
Mr. Vawter? Why don't you question the Gen-
eral as to what he thinks?" I asked with scant
courtesy. I felt an instinctive dislike of this
stranger, who, for some cause, had picked me out
as a target for his tongue.
"You are abrupt, Mr. Captain, but I do not
mind answering your query if you are not dis-
posed to answer mine," Vawter said with a sneer.
"As you formerly lived in the neighborhood of
Corydon, which place no doubt you will presently
see, I thought that you might be peculiarly inter-
"You seem to have put yourself out to learn
my history, sir," I responded, my curiosity
awakening in spite of me, for I had entered the
service of the South as from Virginia, and so far as
I was aware not a man, from the General down,
knew that I had ever resided elsewhere.
"Not at all, I assure you, Captain," he said
with an irritating half laugh intended to discom-
fort me, for he was quick enough to see that he
had made an impression and meant to strengthen
it. "I have recently been a resident of that
delightful locality and heard somewhat of one
John Trenham who went off to join the rebels.
So keen was he to show his prowess that he en-
gaged a party of the legionaries on the highway
before he had fairly warmed his saddle. Oh, it
was no trouble to hear of you if one were inclined
Op. Brandenburg Heights 133
to listen. You will be received with befitting
hospitality if by chance they learn that you are
with General Morgan. If you were a stranger like
these others you would fare better, I think."
"If you are a resident of Corydon, how does
it come that you are here?" I inquired suspi-
ciously, overlooking his offensive tone.
"I might retort by putting the same interroga-
tory to you, but I will not. A residence is like
a name — it may be changed as one's convenience
or necessities demands. Your General has done
me the honor to accept my services in a capacity
that may be useful to him in the first stages of
his expedition. I joined you at Garnettsville last
night. I am a man of peace, you understand,"
he went on with a leer, "but I do not object to
doing a little thing like this for my friends. I am
a Kentuckian, like most of these sturdy fellows
about us, but not given to turmoil, so I moved
across the river. It is more quiet over there."
"To be plain about it," said I, bluntly, "it is
your trade to betray and not to fight."
His face reddened and he flashed upward an
ugly look. "That is putting the case rather
baldly, sir," he cried, with heat, moving a step or
two further away; "but you yourself have heard
that all is fair in love and war, and I now desire
a slight taste of the latter since I have so lately
succeeded in the other field ; and I pledge you my
134 The Legionaries
word that the fair Kate Bellray is well worth the
winning, rank Unionist though she is."
With one bound of my horse I was by his side,
and leaning over the saddle horn I seized him by
"Scoundrel!" said I, fiercely, not accustomed
to being played with, and believing that the man
was lying in his teeth. "Speak that lady's name
again in my presence and I will wring your slan-
derous neck," and I flung him from me with
such violence that he was sent rolling upon the
He got up white with passion. "Oho! I was
not mistaken in guessing which way the wind
blows with you," he cried, glaring at me wick-
edly. "May the devil be a saint if I don't make
you pay dearly for this pleasantry of yours, Mas-
ter Trenham ! ' '
And then muttering to himself in his fury he
turned and walked toward the river, brushing the
dust from his clothes and feeling of his bruised
neck as he went. No time was allowed me to
entertain disquieting thoughts concerning this
man who had taken such pains to hunt me out and
make himself obnoxious — getting the worst of
the transaction, however, as I viewed it. A seri-
ous present business now claimed my attention.
"Boom!" The fog had already cleared away
and on the far side of the river — here more
than half a mile wide — rose a great puff of white
On' Brandenburg Heights 135
smoke. It was the challenge of the legionaries.
Instantly afterward the men on one of the steam-
ers began to disembark hurriedly. A solid shot
had carried away part of the vessel's smokestack.
"Boom!" There was another puff of smoke
on the Indiana shore, and another shot caused a
hasty evacuation of the wharf. A third and a
fourth followed, and the cavalry then on the river
front fell further back, laughing and chattering
among themselves with an abandon that showed
how little they recked of danger.
Presently from the Brandenburg heights there
was a flash and a roar, as our guns answered the
seemingly solitary but audacious cannon oppo-
site. Another discharge, and then the little force
of rural artillerymen who had sought to sweep
back the tide of invasion was seen to withdraw
quickly into the interior, whereupon the com-
mander of the battery turned his attention to a
company of legionaries that had been posted
along the bank to resist our passage, and soon
sent them flying after their artillery.
The way now being open, a part of the troops,
leaving their horses behind, were sent across the
river to prevent further interruptions from the
But we were not to be allowed to effect a pass-
age until a new and greater difficulty was over-
come. Hardly had the detachment accomplished
a landing when a Federal gunboat, came rapidly
136 The Legionaries
down the river and began firing with all its might
and main, first at the enemy on one side and then
at the force on the other. The guns on the heights
answered shot for shot. The duel continued for
an hour, when the boat withdrew from the una-
vailing combat and steamed away again as quickly
as it had come.
The work of crossing was resumed with all haste,
but before it was finished the gunboat reappeared
with two transports loaded with troops and
mounting guns. Again there was much fruitless
cannonading and again did the foe depart, leav-
ing us to our devices. The transferring of all the
remaining men and horses was carried on without
By six o'clock in the evening the last man and
the last gun had left the Kentucky shore, and the
vessels that had so well served our purpose were
destroyed in order that they might not perform a
like duty for the army that was pursuing us with
grim and unflagging determination, as our Gen-
eral very well knew.
Marching a few miles inland, orders were given
to encamp for the night. On all sides the fright-
ened inhabitants had fled from their homes, tak-
ing refuge in such places of concealment as they
could find as if they held us to be common cut-
throats ; and indeed I have no doubt that many
of them did honestly so hold us, seeing that
the character of these valorous men had been
On Brandenburg Heights 137
grossly misunderstood and defamed. That there
were appropriations of private property for which
our General was unable to make adequate recom-
pense, I can not deny; but it will now be admit-
ted, even by those who were then his opposers,
that, having the power to do so much, the fact
that he did so little that was unjustified by the
rules of war, proves that he essayed to limit his
purveyors as far as he was able to the necessities
of his command.
The war-beaten districts to which we had been
accustomed were desert wastes compared with
the untouched country into which we had now
come, and the abundance surrounding them,
added to the knowledge that they were in the
enemy's country, sufficed to persuade many of our
thoughtless fellows to regard looting for suste-
nance as a virtue. Thus it happened that unde-
fended household stores fell as easy and much-
relished spoils into their hands ; thence speedily
into their not over-filled stomachs.
It was yet early in the night — probably an hour
after darkness had fallen — when an orderly from
headquarters brought to me a message command-
ing my presence before the General. I went at
once and found him alone, busy with a map that
was spread out before him. As I entered he
looked up, then, seeing who it was, said without
any preliminaries :
138 The Legionaries
"Captain Trenham, I am told that you are fa-
miliar with this country."
"Not familiar with it, sir, but somewhat ac-
quainted with it," I responded, knowing well the
source of his information.
"How does it happen that you have not your-
self told me of the fact of your former residence
here?" he asked, but not unkindly.
"I leave you to judge if my silence has affected
my qualities as a soldier," said I. "Not until
this morning did I certainly know you were com-
ing here, and since then I have had no conven-
ient opportunity, though I should have told you
this night in any event."
'I know your worth and appreciate your serv-
ices, Captain Trenham, but it is possible that you
might have given me information that would have
aided my plans had I known. However, it is
time enough. I have been told by one Vaw-
"Pardon me, sir, but the man is plainly a ras-
cal," said I, unable to restrain my tongue, which
ordinarily was discreet enough.
The General laughed. "No doubt he is all
that and more ; but he tells me that you have a
much better knowledge of this country than he
has and that is why I have sent for you. Tre-
mendous efforts will be made to capture or kill us
— and at all hazards to prevent my command
from recrossing the Ohio. The dice are thrown;
Oil Brandenburg Heights 139
we are in the enemy's country, with no hope of
support from the South, and must depend upon our
own resources. And I say to you, Captain, that
I am resolved to give them a lively chase. We
can scatter the legionaries and homeguards like so
much chaff, but we will have more than these un-
tasseled cornstalks to contend with before many
days have gone by. Therefore I must know all I
can, and shall look to you for such information
respecting my situation as you can give."
"Such as an honorable soldier may give, who,
by the fortunes of war, finds himself treading as
an enemy the soil in which his father is buried, is
at your service, General," said I, feeling safe in
making the statement, for I did not believe that
he would ask more of me than this.
"I think I understand you," he said quickly,
smiling, for my language must have sounded to
him a trifle grandiloquent "I shall not expect
you to be either guide or spy in your own baili-
wick, as Colonel Duke would say in his lawyer's
flummery. What I want to know is not which
road to take but whether we have any friends
among the inhabitants."
"I believe that there are many who, if not
friends, are at least not enemies, but I have no
recent knowledge of them, and, I fear, can not
much enlighten you," I returned, with a suspi-
cion that he knew a great deal more of the matter
140 The Legionaries
"I h?ve been told," the General resumed, after
a moment of silence, "that there is a certain or-
ganization widespread throughout this State whose
members are friendly to the South. It has been
said — and even promised by some in authority, or
at least claiming authority in the organization —
that these men would rally to the assistance of
any considerable Confederate force that should
cross the Ohio. Now, my force is not large, but
it is respectable and capable of giving an account
of itself. Its presence here is unexpected by these
people and is actually due to a plan which, if long
premeditated, was somewhat suddenly resolved
upon. So, perhaps we shall not find them ready.
Hines, of course, did not know that I was coming
here, and besides, he claims that he was kept so
busy with his military somersaults which finally
landed him in the river that he had time for noth-
Then I thought of Roger Bellray and of things
he had talked about. Beyond that I knew little
and could only give the result of the inferences that
I had drawn.
"Doubtless there is an organization," I said,
"but I do not believe triat its members will aid
you actively, if at all. Possibly there are some
among them who sympathize with our cause,
and these might be disposed, if the necessity
should come and the opportunity offer, to help
us get out of this country. We can not hope for
On Brandenburg Heights 141
aid beyond that. These malcontents, as I have
heard, are mostly men who look upon the war
as fratricidal and unjustified. Outside of a few
of the leaders in the movement they are content
to be let alone by both sides. If they fight at all
it will be against us rather than with us. And, if
you will pardon me, I fear the effect upon them
if they are given cause to consider us free-
"You are free of speech, Captain," returned
the General, laughing; "but you have been a
bold soldier and we will not quarrel over trifles,
for in war this thing of which you speak is a trifle.
We have many times in a pinch enforced assist-
ance from our friends, and there is no reason
why we should not compel it from our enemies,
who seem, by the way, to be bountifully supplied.
Three thousand hungry cavalrymen in a strange
country, with no provision train following, are
not expected to observe strictly the distinction
between mine and thine, as Colonel Duke ob-
served a while ago. Now, as to these other peo-
ple — these knights of something or other — it is
really no great matter after all, as I have not de-
pended upon them in the least. I shall consider
what you have said, and may consult you further.
Thus dismissing me and the subject he turned
again to his map, pulling at his heavy mustache.
Accustomed to trust to his own resources, with
142 The Legionaries
unshaken confidence in his troopers and in his
own ability to overcome or evade any obstacle, his
face was as serene as if he had at his back an army
of a hundred thousand instead of a mere hand-
ful. He knew the metal of his men and laughed
at the storm his presence would provoke. That
storm, alas, rose quickly and was more violent
than this bold spirit dreamed it would be.
I was not quite ready to take my leave, how-
ever, as I had a request to prefer. So, in a few
words, I told him about my mother and how it .
came that she was there, and asked permission to
leave the camp for a few hours to visit her. He
was tracing a line on the map with a pencil and
did not, apparently, give heed to what I was say-
ing until he had made a heavy cross on the paper.
Then he looked up quickly and said :
' ' So your mother lives hereabouts ? Well , God
forbid that I should prevent your seeing her. How
far is it?"
"A distance of ten or twelve miles."
"Look out for the legionary fellows and don't
scare them off; we shall want some amusement
to-morrow," he said, jocularly.
Then taking up a piece of paper he wrote and
signed a leave of absence until four o'clock in the
morning. After receiving this writing from his
hand another matter that had been painfully in
my mind at times during the day recurred to me.
I hesitated to mention it, but making a supreme
On Brandenburg Heights 143
effort it at last came out, while I felt my face grow
hot and flushed with my embarrassment.
"General, you know whether or not I have
ever shirked any duty or danger since I have
been a member of your command?"
"What now, Captain," the great raider ex-
claimed, in wonder. "I bear willing witness that
you have been a true soldier and have even ex-
ceeded the high anticipations of our friend Man-
"Place me in the rear of the column to-mor-
row. Let the hands of others who are wholly
strangers to these people be lifted against them.
I bear them no grudge ; many of them have be-
friended those who are dear to me, and my heart
fails me here."
" I respect your feelings," the General re-
sponded, considerately, "and it shall be as you
wish. Furthermore, I will guarantee special pro-
tection to any for whom you may desire it. But
I do not intend to fight these citizens unless they
With this he bade me good night again, and I
returned to my quarters to make ready for my
journey. How different was this home coming
from that other one ! Then I came alone and
openly; now I returned with a hostile army and
must slip into my mother's presence past watch-
ful foes like a thief in the night. Again I was
asking myself how should I find her — and that
144 The Legionaries
other one. I had not written nor had they, but
once or twice we had heard indirectly of each
other. A strangely uncomfortable feeling pos-
sessed me. Surely, as I had told the General, my
heart was failing me in this unusual situation.
HER BROTHER'S ACCUSER
OTHER things had happened on the fateful July
day that witnessed our crossing of the Ohio. At
noonday the wide, two-storied house of Roger
Bellray held the attention of a small company of
mounted men just then approaching the foot of
the lane leading to the house.
To the dust-soiled travelers who fixed their hot
eyes upon it as its white surface shimmered
through the trees, it must have looked cool and
inviting. For so well was it shaded by the sur-
rounding maples and elms that the broiling sun
could only reach it momentarily here and there
as the leaves shifted in the light breeze. Arriv-
ing at the entrance to the lane, a man riding in
advance of the others, and who appeared to be
the leader of the party which consisted of about
a score of men, checked his horse. This move-
ment seemed to be taken by his companions as a
signal to do likewise, and the cavalcade came to
"If I am not mistaken, this is the place," said
io — Legionaries. (145/
146 The Legionaries
the leader, directing his remark to no particular
person, as if certain of his ground. Several of
the men, assuming that an answer was expected,
either in affirmation or denial, spoke up at once,
and assured him that he was right.
"He is the rankest copperhead in the whole
country," asserted one, "and absolutely refuses
to fight for the government."
"Well, you haven't done much fighting your-
self, Spelker," said a strong-faced man, appar-
ently of middle age. "I know Roger Eellray as
well as any of you and better than most, and I
haven't any use for a copperhead, either, any
more than the rest of you, but even Beelzebub is
entitled to his due. Joe Barth's farm — you know
Joe was killed at Stone River — lies over there a
matter of a mile or so. When he enlisted more
than a year ago he left nobody to look after things
at home but his wife and three small children, the
oldest a girl of fourteen There were plenty of
Union folks all around them, but who was it that
cut their wheat, and gathered their corn, and dug
their potatoes, and such like, without letting it
cost them a cent? Why, Roger Bellray's hired
hands. And who sowed their wheat and planted
their corn for this year's crop, and who cut the
wheat last week? Why, Roger Bellray's men."
There was a touch of resentment and indigna-
tion in the speaker's tones that turned all eyes
upon him — except those of the leader, who was
Her Brother's Accuser 147
giving no attention to the talk — and some of them
were not of friendly look. This was notably so
with Spelker, who was quick to perceive the
covert but unmistakable reflection on his own
fighting qualities. He was a much younger man
than the other and, unlike most of his compan-
ions, did not have the appearance of a man who
followed rural pursuits.
"I know something of Roger Bellray, too,"
he said, hotly, "and if he had his just deserts he
would be strung up as a warning to others of his
"He hasn't interfered with your business of
selling undersized mules to the government, has
he?" asked the older man, adding relevantly:
"I should think a man in your business would
want the war to go on as long as possible."
"Dry up, men," the leader broke in sharply,
with unmilitary phrase, lifting his eyes from mem-
oranda that he had been scanning, and noting the
growing ill-humor of the disputants. "All of you
but Markle, Breezner and Thompson ride into
the shade over there and rest your horses."
With the three men named he then turned into
the lane and galloped toward the house, soon
reaching the gate which separated the lane from
the grounds surrounding the buildings. One of
the men opened it without dismounting, and,
with little regard for the graveled path, all rode
their horses up to the broad veranda that ran
148 The Legionaries
along the front of the residence and around its
Here the leader leaped to the ground and
started to mount the steps. As he did so a girl
came through the open door. It was Kate Bell-
ray. She had been watching the horsemen for
some time ; had seen them stop in the road and
point toward the house, and had waited the
coming of the four who now faced her. Her
eyes were steady and fearless, but they showed
traces of anxiety as she surveyed her unceremo-
On her appearance the leader stopped upon the
porch steps, from which position he now ad-
dressed her, without taking the pains to lift his
"This is Roger Bellray's place, is it not?"
"It is," said the girl tersely.
"My name is Bracken — Captain Bracken,"
said the man, now removing his hat as if in his
own honor, and bowing stiffly, "and I desire an
interview with Mr. Bellray."
"I am sorry that you must be disappointed,
sir, but unfortunately my brother is not at home, "
said Kate, her uneasiness deepening.
"Will it avail me anything to ask where he is,
and when he is expected to return?" asked the
visitor with growing politeness.
"He rode away this morning and left no word
when he would come back. If you desire to
Her Brother's Accuser 149
leave any message for him I will deliver it," she
"Thank you," said he, "but it is entirely a
personal matter. You are certain are you, Miss
Bellray, that your brother has left the house?"
His words and manner both expressed suspi-
cion of her truthfulness and doubt as to the accu-
racy of the information she had given. Raising
her eyes and looking toward the highway she
saw the other members of his party standing by
their horses under the trees. She was filled with
alarm, but kept her self-possession, and the soft
lines of her mouth showed a trifle more of firm-
"You are the first man, Captain Bracken, if
that be your name and your title, who has ever
dared to question my word," she said with dig-
nity. "While I do not know your mission or
purpose, you are at liberty to enter the house and
satisfy yourself. My brother does not hide from
For a few moments the visitor was silent, as if
uncertain about the way he should act. Then he
"I beg your pardon, Miss Bellray, if I have
unintentionally offended you. I see clearly that
my words were unwarranted. And, after all, the
matter is of small consequence' ' — here he coughed
a little in an affected way that did not escape her
— "only a little information which I was told he
150 The Legionaries
could give me better than any other. We can
get along, I suppose, by inquiring elsewhere —
possibly at the next house. May I trouble you
to tell me who lives there?"
He pointed through the trees to a large gray
house with tall red chimneys, a mile away, which,
with its substantial outbuildings, occupied a slight
elevation in the midst of a wide sweep of fine
grounds. Next to the Bellray place it was the
most conspicuous one in the neighborhood, and
belonged to my mother.
"That place belongs to Mrs. Trenham," Kate
said. "I am ignorant of the character of the in-
formation you are seeking, but perhaps I can give
it as well as she or my brother."
"Mrs. Trenham, did you say, Miss?" the Cap-
tain inquired keenly, apparently heedless of what
else she had said. "Possibly she has a son?"
Kate felt that she had inadvertently given tes-
timony that this man regarded as valuable, but she
answered calmly :
"She has a son somewhere."
"Who is not at home?" said the inquisitor.
"Not only that, but he has not been there for
"Oh!" The exclamation showed disappoint-
ment of a hope that had been suddenly aroused.
Then he added with a smile that to her quick wits
needed no interpretation: "He is in the army,
of course, fighting for his country — -no doubt a
Her Brother's Accuser 151
fine young man. Thank you for your trouble,
Miss Bellray. Good-day."
He went quickly down the steps, climbed into
his saddle and the quartet trotted their horses out
of the yard, leaving the gate open as they went,
and cantered down the lane. Kate walked to the
gate and closed it, then stood there until Captain
Bracken and his companions had joined the men
in the highway, and until they all started away
together. Nor did she leave her post until the
cloud of dust following the riders rose far beyond
the entrance to my mother's farm and showed
that her late questioner had not stopped there.
Then with a deep sigh she went back to the ve-
randa and sat down.
"Oh, will it never end?" she said, half aloud.
"Was there ever another situated as I am? Oh,
Roger; oh, John."
She buried her face in her hands, pressing it
tightly, as if she would hide from herself some
frightful spectacle or a no less shocking truth.
She did not wish to think just then ; her thoughts
of late had kept her awake at night and weighed
heavily upon her spirits by day. As she sat there,
feeling that tears were near, but resolved that she
would not shed them, an elderly woman, wear-
ing a frilled white cap on her gray hair, and a
large white handkerchief, folded crosswise, pinned
loosely about her throat, came and stood in the
152 The Legionaries
doorway. Her eyes fell upon the bent figure of
"What is the trouble, my dear?" she asked
anxiously, going forward and stroking affection-
ately the wavy hair and smoothing it away from
the rounded neck, throbbing with the hot young
blood that coursed through it.
Reaching up and taking in her own the hand
that rested so lovingly on her head, Kate sprang
to her feet
"Aunt Sarah," she exclaimed, fiercely, "they
are going to arrest Roger."
"They — who? And why should he be ar-
rested?" asked the aunt, in trembling alarm, her
"Some awful men; I don't know who they
are, only one of them said his name was Captain
Bracken. He didn't say he was going to arrest
him, but I know it, I feel it." She shuddered,
as if stricken with a chill.
For a little time the elder woman was dumb.
She had not seen what had taken place, and
could not understand the cause of this startling
outburst. Her lips moved as if she were trying
to frame words into speech, but it was a full
minute before she could do so.
"Why should they want to arrest Roger,
Kate?" she said at last, repeating her former
question. "What has he done that is unlawful?
Her Brother's Accuser 153
I think you have been frightened into nervous-
ness, my dear."
"Oh, don't you know? Can't you guess? It
is because they think he belongs to a terrible se-
cret society that means to help the rebels, and is
a traitor and renegade."
"Hush, child, hush," said her aunt in a
hoarse, excited whisper, looking about her ap-
prehensively. "It is impossible."
"I wish it were, but it is not; it is true."
"Girl," cried the old lady, moving away a lit-
tle distance, and speaking in a terrible voice, not
loud, but tense with strong feeling, "you forget
yourself when you thus accuse your brother ; you
don't know what you say."
Kate shook her head mournfully. "But he
is," she said firmly, her face pale with suppressed
emotion. "I have tried not to believe it, to dis-
guise it, to call it by another name, but it is of
no use. And yet I will die for him, if by doing
so I can save him from the shame of it."
She led her aunt to a chair and forced her into
it, for she was trembling and weak. Then Kate
knelt by her side and became the comforter.
With a sudden revulsion of feeling she said pa-
"Do not think of the awful things I said, aunty.
Let us keep our hearts strong. Whatever he is
we will fight for him, won't we?" Her voice was
child-like and pleading.
154 The Legionaries
"There, there, my dear," returned the aunt,
soothingly, looking down into the troubled eyes
that were turned toward her's, blind with gather-
ing tears. "It can not be as bad as you think.
You have misunderstood and have been fright-
ened. Roger is a brave, true man. He went to
war to fight the Mexicans. I have heard it told
how daring he was — always at the place where
there was the most danger, always the first of his
company in every charge. You know he en-
listed in Mississippi while there visiting your poor
mother's brother, and there is a letter in the house
written by his colonel — "
"Yes, aunty; I know," Kate broke out, "but
that colonel is now the arch traitor of them all,
and that letter should be destroyed."
"Do not forget that the writer was then fight-
ing for his country, my dear."
"No; nor that he is now trying to rend it
asunder," said Kate, with undiminished spirit.
Aunt Sarah was silent She was as patriotic
as her niece, but age had cooled her blood.
After an interval she spoke again :
"At all events, my child, remember that Roger
Bellray is the kindest and gentlest of men. He
has been both father and brother to you and as
good as a son to me, a woman to whom children
have been denied. He has his own reasons for
anything that he may do, and we must give him
Her Brother's Accuser 155
credit for honesty and courage, wherever his
opinions may lead him. Other people have their
troubles in these terrible times as well as we.
There is Mrs. Trenham, poor lady, whose boy is
in the rebel army."
A flush spread over Kate's face as she respond-
ed: "Yes, Aunt Sarah, but he was born in the
South and his father and all of his people were
southerners. These things make a great differ-
ence, and I admire him because he has gone out
to fight, though he is wrong, oh, so wrong."
She confessed it all to me afterward ; at first lit-
tle by little, with much of the old playful per-
versity, then in detail and connectedly, withhold-
"Oh, my dear," said Aunt Sarah, placing her
hand on the fair head resting face downward on
the chair arm, "you admire him for reasons be-
yond that — reasons that come from your heart, if
such a thing can be. I saw how it was before he
went away, and — forgive me, child — I heard you
crying your poor eyes out that night in your
room when you knew he was going. And when
the war is over, my dear — "
"Oh, when the war is over — "
"And peace has come and everything is for-
given and forgotten, there will be happiness for
you and for us all. Let us pray that never again
in this land will a strife come that will divide
i 56 The Legionaries
families and bring the heartaches that this has
brought. Be patient, my dear, and strong, and
whatever happens to your brother be true to him
as he has been true to you."
They rose and went into the house.
THE SHOOTING OF BELLRAY
It was late that afternoon when Roger Bellray
came home. To the anxious eyes of his sister,
who had awaited his coming in great suspense,
he seemed singularly gloomy and preoccupied.
He greeted her with accustomed affection and
then went to his working room at a corner of the
house, where he shut himself in and remained
until summoned to the evening meal.
Having eaten sparingly, as if without appe-
tite, he again repaired to his room, and, as had
lately been his habit, turned the bolt behind
him. For weeks he had carried the key to the
one door in his pocket, and had forbidden en-
trance in his absence. At table he had been
mostly silent; and when to inquiries or state-
ments addressed to him he would either make
no response, or else answer with an irrelevance
that showed overwhelming abstraction, attempts
at conversation ceased altogether.
Kate found no opportunity to speak to him of
Captain Bracken's visit, although she was burn-
ing with eagerness to do so. She was filled with
158 The Legionaries
a dread which approached terror, and had an
intuitive conviction that he was threatened with
some great danger. Much of the talk of the
country concerning her brother had reached her.
The sentiment was divided, some speaking for
him and others bitterly denouncing him. Among
the former class were those who shared his polit-
ical opinions, and they were considerable in num-
ber. Many of these, however, did not approve
of conduct of which she had heard only vague
hints, but which his enemies summed up in the
one word — treason ; the majority desiring peace
for themselves, did not see fit to be too assertive
in behalf of another.
Their timid, half-hearted apologies were taken
as proof of all that was charged, and did far more
harm than good. In his own conversations with
her he had frankly admitted enough to con-
firm a great deal of the suspicion directed against
him. His many long and unexplained ab-
sences, meetings behind a locked door sometimes
with his friends, often with strangers, together
with recent mysterious night rides from which he
would not return oftentimes till daybreak, in her
mind could not be reconciled with good citizenship.
What did they mean? These and other things
filled her with foreboding and apprehension and
caused her to believe that he was engaged in
some secret undertaking or conspiracy. The
latter word forced itself into her unwilling mind,
The Shooting of Bellray 159
and called up visions of all that was sinister, hid-
eous and repellent.
Was the storm that he had provoked now ready
to break about his misguided but undaunted head?
Kate hesitated long before disturbing him, and
consulted with her aunt about the matter. The
latter agreed with her as to the importance of ac-
quainting him with what had taken place, al-
though she still affected, with poor success, to
treat the incident lightly. When Kate had once
made up her mind she acted promptly.
Going to the door behind which Roger sat she
rapped smartly upon its oaken panelling. In a
moment she heard the bolt slip back, the door
was opened an inch or two, and behind the crack
appeared her brother's face. There was some-
thing so furtive and unnatural in the eyes that
met hers that she involuntarily recoiled. The
curtains had been drawn though it was yet day-
light, and the room was in semi-darkness.
"What is it, Kate?" he asked. His voice had
in it a quality that she had heard before on only
one occasion, and that was when he had started
out to find and chastise a drunken boor who had
insulted her on the highway ; it was cold and
steely, like the clink of a sword.
"Roger, I must speak with you," she said, her
face now close to his own.
"Put it off until to-morrow, dear; I am very
160 The Legionaries
busy," he returned more softly, making a mo-
tion as if to close the door.
"But I can not, Roger," she persisted appeal-
ingly, quickly thrusting her hand in the aperture
that he might not shut her out. "I must speak
to you to-night — now ; your own safety is con-
cerned, my brother. Even in an hour it may be
Her words and manner plainly made an im-
pression upon him and convinced him that it was
not an ordinary communication that she wanted
to make. He looked at her intently for a moment,
then turned his head and seemed to survey the
room. Facing her again he said hastily:
"Wait a moment and you may come in here."
He closed and fastened the door, and while she
stood waiting for it to be opened again she heard
him moving about, and sounds that seemed to
indicate that he was putting the contents of the
room in order. Presently he came and admitted
"Now, what is it that troubles you?" he said
quickly. "Don't mind my manner, little girl,"
he added, instantly conscious that the abrupt,
almost savage inquiry had startled her. "I have
much on my mind to-night."
Much on his mind ! She knew it without the
telling and had come to add still more, but only
to save him from a worse fate.
"Roger, you are in danger of arrest," she said.
The Shooting of Bellray 1 6 1
"Oh, is that all you have to tell me?" he ex-
claimed, with a dry laugh. "My arrest has been
many times threatened, but I will not be intimi-
dated and have so warned them. They will not
dare do it."
He had seated himself at a narrow table occu-
pying the center of the room, and had placed a
chair for her near his own.
"This is different, brother; they have been
here to-day looking for you."
"Who?" The word was uttered contemptu-
"Several mounted men — strangers — headed
by one who called himself Captain Bracken."
"Captain Bracken ! ' ' Roger rose to his feet, all
indifference gone, and his eyes blazing through
the shadows that were rapidly gathering. One
of the curtains fluttering at an open window at-
tracted his attention, and he walked quickly across
the room and pulled down and fastened the sash,
a service that he likewise performed at the sole
remaining window, though the room was already
hot and close. Then he came back and resumed
"How many men did he have?" he asked.
All traces of his sudden excitement had gone
save the fire that smouldered in his eyes, and the
question was asked in a matter of fact way, as if
he took little interest in the occurrence but
ii — Legionaries.
1 62 The Legionaries
merely desired to gratify an idle curiosity. Kate
was not deceived, however; she knew that he
regarded the information as of vital importance.
"Three were with him at the house and I
counted fifteen more in the road. The three
looked as if they might be military men of some
sort, but most of the others, I think, were home-
guards; some of them appeared to be farmers.
I thought I recognized the government horse-
"Kate, you are right, I am in danger," Roger
said gently, but with a certain tenseness that
deepened her alarm. "If this Bracken contem-
plates my arrest — as he no doubt does — he will
leave no stone unturned to accomplish it. He
is a persistent and implacable man-hunter who
takes his orders and pursues them unremittingly
and to the letter. I find no fault with him for
that; he is only doing his duty. My quarrel is
with those who have set the hounds on my track,
and I shall not give them the satisfaction they
seek if I can help it. Because my opinions have
differed from theirs they have annoyed and
threatened me, and now, it seems, have deter-
mined to run me down. Military law has taken
the place of the civil law, and trials by court-
martial have been substituted for trials by jury
even in this state, where the courts are open and
the civil authorities capable of fulfilling their
functions. If I am taken by the minions of the
The Shooting of Bellray 163
provost I have no assurance of a fair hearing, nor
even of a trial itself. Constitutional government
in this country is at an end and partisan hate and
drum-head injustice are running riot to the dis-
traction of the people."
He spoke at first with calmness and self-re-
straint, but as he proceeded his sister perceived
a growing rancor. She had heard him talk some-
what in this strain before, but not in the same man-
ner. Every word dropped from his lips white-
hot, like sparks from the anvil under the hammer
of the smith, and she trembled as she thought of
what might happen if those whom he considered
his enemies should now come suddenly upon him.
He had indulged her antagonistic views as child-
ish and harmless, while she, in her patriotic in-
nocence, had considered him affected by a mania
peculiar to troublous times and intensified by a
narrow intolerance on the part of some of his
neighbors. But there was something so deadly
in his manner now that she was dumb.
"These friends of yours, my sister," he contin-
ued, not unkindly yet with a faint touch of irony,
"purpose to ruin me and possibly to have my life.
I do not intend to allow the one nor to yield the
other. Listen: Within two hours I could have
enough men here to rid the country of Captain
Bracken and his force ; within six hours I could
have an army. That sounds like bragging, you
think, but it is not so. General Morgan crossed
164 The Legionaries
the river to-day at Brandenburg with three thou-
It was so dark in the room that he could not
see how this statement affected Kate, but she felt
her face grow cold as the blood left it, then hot
and flushed as it came back again — partly, as
she admitted in recounting these facts, because a
certain captain of horse, if alive, was with Gen-
eral Morgan, but more on account of the impu-
dence of the fearless raider himself. She had
heard much of his remarkable exploits, but did
not believe that he would dare attempt to ride the
highways of the North as he had those of the
South, clanking defiance to his foes.
Roger without pausing went on: "I knew
this rebel chieftain in Mexico, as I have told you.
We were in the hospital together. If I should say
the word he would make quick work of my ene-
mies. He would ride them down as grass under
his horse's feet."
"But you will not say it, will you, Roger?
You will find some other way." Her voice had
come to her again, and once started she continued
vehemently: "This dreadful man should be
driven back into the river and John Trenham with
"They are hard men to drive; they have been
in the habit of driving others. As to asking help
from General Morgan, I shall not do so if I can
avoid it. Only in the last extremity could I
The Shooting of Bellray 1 65
think of so wild a thing. I am sorry he has come
here and hope he will speedily depart, for his
coming only intensifies local prejudice and adds
to the difficulties of men like myself."
There was a ring of genuine regret in his tones,
and something else that she could not define but
that made her heart ache. He arose and walked
up and down the floor, his head bent forward,
his hands opening and closing nervously. Pres-
ently he resumed his seat.
"Kate," he said, "this is my house and I have
a right to stay here and a right to defend it. In
the eyes of the law I swear that I have committed
no crime, but there is no longer any law. To
disagree with the opinions held by the majority
has now become the greatest offense, and no pun-
ishment, however atrocious or malignant, is too
severe to be meted out to the culprit. But I
shall not run or hide; instead, I will stay here
and defy them all, and fight them if they push
me to it — yes, fight them, by God!" He lifted
his clenched hand high above his head in a gest-
ure of profound anger and determination.
"Roger, think of what you say and of what
you would do — the consequences, the ruin of it.
Think of yourself and — me."
"You?" He paused and his arm fell nerve-
less on the table. "Heaven forgive me, child,
for I had only myself in mind. You — our dead
mother's last born."
1 66 The Legionaries
He uttered the final words slowly, huskily, and
there was something strangely like a half-sup-
pressed sob following them.
"No, no; don't think of me," she cried,
brokenly, deeply affected by his emotion. "I was
selfish to say it. You must act as you believe
right ; only avoid a conflict, for the odds against
you are so many."
"I don't care for the odds, and would not if
they were still greater," he said, again getting
up. Taking her hands in his own he raised her
to her feet. "What I see now, is, that if the
calamity of which I spoke should come, you
would suffer more than I. There will be a day
of reckoning, but it need not be this day or to-
morrow. For your sake — for the sake of your
peace of mind and happiness — I am going to do
a thing that I would do for no one else on earth.
I will leave home for a time and possibly the
storm will pass over. If I stay here I must
either submit to be deprived of my liberty and
subjected to indignity and insult, or make of this
house a fortress and maintain it by force of arms.
This I had thought of doing, had even planned to
do as against your guerrilla homeguards, but I
have no purpose to array myself against the
power of the United States government, and it is
that power which this Bracken represents. They
call me a traitor. Pah!"
He released her hands and going to the end of
The Shooting of Bellray 167
the room where there was a mantel above a wide
fire-place struck a match and lighted a lamp.
Then, stooping, he threw aside a corner of the
heavy drugget that covered the floor and in a
moment had made a narrow opening through the
planking. She watched him in amazement.
"Come here, Kate," he called, and she went
to his side. "Do you think I am prepared to
make a defense?" he asked, holding the lamp so
that its light shone into the cavity.
The opening into which she looked with start-
led eyes — the presence of which she had not before
even suspected — was of unknown dimensions, but
what she could see of it was heaped with rifles
and revolvers. One glance at the deadly store,
then she drew back, her face pale and quivering.
Roger, quickly making things as they were,
placed the lamp upon the mantel and turned
toward his sister, who had not for a second re-
moved her gaze from his face after lifting it from
the hurried inspection of the concealed vault.
"I can trust you, Kate," he said, not attempt-
ing to avoid her eyes, in which he read pity as
well as condemnation. "I had not intended to
tell you about this, but it is best that you should
know. As for me, it will be the worse if these
things are discovered here, for they will be evi-
dence against me. If the house is searched and
they are found, tell the truth; do not try to
shield me. There is no time for me to have them
1 68 The Legionaries
removed now, but I will speak to Sutton about
it, and he can dispose of them if they give him
Sutton was his farm manager, and while he
was quiet and close of mouth, Kate suspected
that his opinions were the same as her brother's,
for he was in the latter's confidence and was de-
voted to him.
"Oh, Roger, I did not guess that it had come
to this," she said, her voice strained and husky,
as if she were on the point of giving way to tears.
The reproach that her words implied seemed to
touch him keenly. A momentary resentment
flashed across his face but instantly died out, and
the only answer he made was to say gently :
"You do not know all, little girl. Someday
I may tell you what I have been compelled to
submit to and why these arms are here. Now
don't say anything more; you can not under-
stand, but until you do, keep your heart open to
me, for you are all I have. Send Sutton to me
here — he must be about the house — and tell
Williams to saddle my horse at once and take
him to the back lane and wait for me. Good-
bye, child. Do not fret about me. Everything
is in order except that" — pointing at the floor —
"for I have foreseen some such emergency as this
and planned against it. There — good-bye; now
go to Sutton and Williams."
While he was speaking he was walking toward
The Shooting of Bellray 169
the door, one arm around her shoulders, and
when he reached it he kissed her affectionately
and let her pass out.
As soon as she was out of the room Kate has-
tened to execute her brother's commands, for any
further delay might endanger his safety. Having
done this she went out upon the porch and sat
down, a self-appointed sentinel.
The sun had long since vanished behind the
low western hills, above which hung the moon in
its first quarter, and twilight was deepening into
darkness. The air was sweet and balmy and the
peacefulness of earth and sky made her troubles
seem all the greater by contrast. The fire-flies
flashed their yellow lights here and there through
the shrubbery, and far up in the sky, sounded the
cry of the whippoorwill as it circled through the
dusk. From distant pasture fields came the faint,
occasional tinkle of sheep bells and the lowing of
cattle. A boy was whistling vigorously in the
barn-lot, his evening tasks accomplished, and she
noticed that the tune which had struck his fancy
was that of a new patriotic song.
But presently there came to her ears through
the night another sound, dull, thumping and om-
inous. It came from somewhere far down the
highway, and was made by the galloping feet of
many horses. There was no mistaking th<J: sound
— Captain Bracken was coming back, as she had
known he would. What troubled her was that
170 The Legionaries
the noise seemed to be divided and to come
from different places in the road, as if the ap-
proaching horsemen were separated. Almost as
soon as she realized this fact she dimly saw sev-
eral rapidly-moving shadows at the mouth of the
lane, reaching which they appeared to change
form and to become stationary. But it was not
so ; they were turning into the lane and were
coming toward her.
All doubt removed, she ran into the house and
to her brother's door upon which she beat fran-
tically with her hands, calling out that he should
make haste. But there was no answer to her
blows or cries. She grasped the knob and shook
it violently. To her great astonishment the door
opened and she fell upon the threshold. Getting
to her feet, she entered the room, only to find it
empty and dark. Roger had gone.
A great load seemed to be lifted from her. In-
stantly she became calm and prepared herself to
meet the unwelcome visitors, who could now be
heard at the gate. By the time she had reached
the hall heavy steps sounded on the porch, then
loud knocking on the casing of the open door.
A servant entered the hall in response to the
knocking, but Kate walked before her toward the
man who was standing impatiently just within
the entrance; it was Captain Bracken. He
greeted her civilly and inquired abruptly for her
The Shooting of Bellray 1 7 1
"Mr. Bellray is not at home," she answered,
"Look here, my young lady," said the officer
incisively, "you must tell me where he is or I
shall be obliged to take it upon myself to find
"What do you want with him?" she asked,
with the wish to gain time, for she felt that every
minute might be valuable to Roger.
"I want nothing with him; I want him," he
said with a grim but poor attempt at humor. ' ' He
will understand my business quick enough if he is
as smart as they say he is, and, mind you, I have
no time to waste. One of my men that I left in
the neighborhood for that purpose saw him re-
turn home this afternoon, and knows that he had
not left this house up to thirty minutes ago.
Excuse me, Miss Bellray, but he can not escape;
my men are everywhere about the place, and ev-
ery road, lane and by-way is watched."
Without further parley he called from the door
and three men came to him — the same who had
been with him on his previous appearance.
"Search the house, and be quick about it," he
commanded, and they scattered in obedience.
"Pardon the liberty I am taking, Miss Bellray.
My duty requires of me many unpleasant serv-
ices," the captain explained, apologetically.
Kate, who had seated herself, made no re-
sponse, but listened composedly to the noise made
172 The Legionaries
by the searchers, as they, having possessed them-
selves with lights, went through the house from
room to room. By the time they had returned
to their leader to report their search fruitless, the
hall was filled with the members of the household,
gaping and staring, and in a high state of excite-
ment and alarm, which the calm face of the
young mistress tended greatly to allay.
"You see, sir," she said satirically, address-
ing the officer, "that you would have saved your-
self much unnecessary trouble if you had been dis-
posed to believe me. But I felt assured that you
would not, though you merely desired a little in-
formation from my brother which you believed
he could give better than any other."
While she spoke lightly she was apprehensive
over Captain Bracken's statement that all the
ways leading from the place were watched, and
feared that Roger's escape was impossible. The
captain, on his part, was in very bad humor over
his defeat, and with mutterings of anger, in which
could be heard half-suppressed oaths, hurriedly
left the house with his men, Kate following as far
as the porch.
They were in the act of mounting their horses
when the dull sound of shots, fired irregularly
and seemingly far away, disturbed the quiet of the
night. Jumping into their saddles, with an ex-
clamation that froze the blood in the veins of
Kate and others of the household who had trooped
The Shooting of Bellray 1 73
out upon the porch after her in their anxiety, the
men dashed down the lane as if eager to have a
hand in the hunt.
"They are after him!" That was what they
Checking all attempts at talking, Kate, every
sense strained and acute, ran down to the gate at
the end of the graveled path and stood there
filled with terror. After the first shots the silence
had been broken for a time only by the rapid
thumping of the fleeing horses' feet on the hard
ground. But now came another shot, and another,
and yet a third much clearer than the others had
been, showing that those who had fired them were
moving toward the house. And this time, too,
they sounded across the fields and were accom-
panied by the hoarse cries of men. Not a moan
escaped the lips of the girl, but her teeth were
tightly clenched and her hands gripped each other
wildly in the agony of her emotion.
The noises came nearer — the shouting, the curs-
ing, the intermittent shooting ; then the patter of
running feet coming from the direction of the
orchard to her left. Suddenly a man leaped the
fence separating the orchard from the yard and
came running toward the house, bareheaded, his
clothes torn and disarranged and with a smoking
revolver in his hand ; it was Roger. He had
nearly reached the place where she stood, when
another shot rang out sharply and he pitched
174 The Legionaries
wildly forward and fell face downward almost at
Kate ran forward and endeavored to help him
to rise, but no answering movement rewarded her
effort, and as she released the motionless form her
hands were wet with his life's blood. Just then
the pursuers dashed into the yard, breathless and
panting, and foremost among them was Spelker,
the horse-buyer. He stooped and turned the
body over roughly, as if it were the carcass of a
"A mighty good riddance," exclaimed he,
with heartless brutality, "and I think I am en-
titled to the credit for it. "
"Did you kill my brother?" cried Kate, break-
ing away from her aunt and the others who had
come about her, and moving quickly toward the
speaker. Her eyes blazed through the deathly
pallor of her face, and she looked the very em-
bodiment of vengeance.
Spelker drew back, but assumed a defiant air:
"I wasn't talking to you, Miss, but since you
ask the question I'll say I think I did. We had
orders to ketch him."
"It is murder — murder, and you will pay for
his life; remember it, you worse than monster!"
she cried, in a voice that made his soul shrink.
As she was led away from the terrible scene,
Captain Bracken pushed his way into the crowd,
throwing men aside, right and left. When he
The Shooting of Bellray 1 75
saw what had been done he was furious, de-
manded to know who had committed the deed,
and swore that his orders had been exceeded.
Spelker slunk into the background, and when
the men went away it was remarked that he was
shunned by many of his companions and walked
by himself to the place where those who were
dismounted had left their horses. One man lin-
gered a little behind, and stooping quickly took
one of the lifeless hands reverently in his, pressed
it tenderly, and then hastened on after the oth-
ers. It was the elderly man who had spoken in
Roger's favor at the entrance to the lane. Even
among his enemies he had friends.
THE GARB OF A REBEL
The news that Roger Bellray, "the butternut, ' '
had been shot traveled slowly that night in the
district where the violence had been committed.
Many who heard the firing knew that Morgan's
raiders had come into the county that day and
attributed it to marauding bands from his force
seeking to terrorize the inhabitants. Thus believ-
ing, and considering that they had no business
abroad while these reckless men were about, they
took counsel of their fears and shut themselves up
in their homes, there to stay until daylight, but
not to sleep.
My mother, however, not far from whose house
the first shots had been fired, knew better. The
Bellray land extended to within a few hundred
yards of her residence, and what was known as
the back lane furnished a more private and con-
venient communication between the two places
than the public road.
One of her servants, a negro, returning that
evening from Corydon at nightfall, had been over-
taken by a party of mounted men and questioned
The Garb of a Rebel 177
by one as to the existence of any private means
of access to the Bellray premises. Before he could
answer, another of the party, in whom he recog-
nized a horse-buyer who had tried in vain to
persuade my mother to part with some of her
stock, spoke up and said that he knew of the
back lane, adding that it ought to be watched as
"he" would most likely try to escape by it.
The negro remembered this man particularly
because of his former insolent bearing. He had
gone so far as to accuse my mother of saving her
animals for the use of the rebels when they should
come, and had otherwise caused her to be sub-
jected to petty annoyances. The servant, there-
fore, hastened to tell her of these mysterious
things, and they certainly lost nothing of their
strangeness in the recital.
From this my mother surmised that something
seriously affecting her neighbor was afoot. Not
long after, she heard the firing and shouting,
which noises rapidly receded toward Bellray 's.
After an interval came the final shot, smothered
by the distance, and then silence, which was
broken later by the clatter of many hoofs gallop-
ing in the direction of the town. These unex-
plained and extraordinary things were so dis-
quieting that she became highly nervous and
agitated, starting at harmless noises and half far-
ing an attack upon her own home.
12 — Legionaries.
178 The Legionaries
So great had been the effect of these neighbor-
hood events upon the servant that the wonderful
and terrifying news of the rebel invasion, which
was being talked of in the town to the exclusion
of every other topic, and which had brought out
and armed the inhabitants for resistance, was for
the time driven from his mind, and was not com-
municated by him to my mother along with the
fresher happening. When the information did
reach her it came from the kitchen, where the
black bearer of ill tidings had told it to Martha,
the cook, under the stimulating effects of his be-
lated supper, and she related it to the mistress of
The impression it made upon her was pro-
found and for a while she was nearly overwhelmed
by this additional shock. For the news brought
with it both hope and dread — hope that she
might be permitted to see her son, and dread
of the consequences of the bold step that my
commander had taken. But in the end the hope
overbore all other considerations, and by it her
spirits were rallied. She believed that I would
come to her if it were possible — it might be that
night — and so resolved to remain awake and wait.
For a time she made an effort to read, but
could not; she tried to engage her mind at some
light sewing with which she was wont to beguile
herself, but threw it aside. Again and again she
The Garb of a Rebel 179
went to her open window, looked out into the
night and listened.
It was at the window, about an hour before
midnight, that I saw her. The light in her room
threw her figure into bold relief. I had already
dismounted and tied my horse and was at the
gate, where I paused a moment to make sure of
my surroundings. Then I hurried toward the
house and placed myself beneath her window.
"Mother," said I. She gasped with joy and
"Is it you, my boy?" she called down to me,
"Yes, mother; it is John."
In a moment, almost, she was downstairs at
the door, and had opened it and thrown her-
self into my arms. And when she had got me
into the house she sat by my chair, stroking my
brown cheeks and smoothing my hair as in the
days of my childhood. A son returning to his
mother from the wars is like one coming back
from the grave, and for a time she can do no
more than look at him and hear his voice and
lavish upon him those little loving attentions
which only a mother can bestow.
So it was now; but presently she bethought
herself and ordered that supper be prepared for
me. When it was ready and I was at the t^ble I
asked her about the Bellrays. In the joy of hav-
ing me with her again she had forgotten all else,
180 The Legionaries
but my question brought forth a recital of the
startling happenings of the early evening. She
told me, also, of other things concerning these
"I must know what that shooting means,
mother," I said, greatly troubled and guessing
the truth. "I will ride over there at once."
Without doing that much I could not have re-
turned to camp satisfied While finishing the
meal, which I did hastily after that, I asked many
questions and learned that Roger Bellray was in
very bad repute with those people of the county
who favored a vigorous prosecution of the war
against the seceding states, and who held that any
belief which did not rise to the full height of their
own was treasonable.
He was also suspected — not without reason, as
I knew — of holding relations of some sort with
friends of the Confederacy, and of giving infor-
mation and rendering other assistance to the gov-
ernment of the Secessionists. As to the latter
suspicion, I did not believe it justified. But
Bellray was a daring man of deep feeling and
many extreme views, and capable of doing or un-
dertaking to do the thing that was most vio-
lently opposed by others, even though it did not
commend itself wholly to his judgment.
I did not know, therefore, how far local antag-
onism and proscription had driven him, nor to
what perverse conduct he had been provoked.
The Garb of a Rebel 1 8 1
But this I did know, then and afterward, that he
refused to open his mind in recognition of the
spirit of the times. He believed that he might
still assert his independence as a man, and that
the right to think and talk as he pleased should
not be denied to him any more than to those
whose views upon public questions differed from
his own. His trouble lay in failing to realize
that traits of character which may be given full
sway with impunity in time of peace are, in time
of civil war, dangerous possessions in a locality
where the people maintain a conflicting and un-
To my great relief I found that my mother had
lived quietly and without notable disturbance.
True, she felt that she had been socially isolated
and discountenanced since it became known that
I had "joined the rebels." But it had also come
to her in a roundabout way that the people had
not expected me to do anything else, considering
my southern birth and connection.
She had remained mostly at home, seeing few
visitors, and had maintained intimate relations
with none excepting the Bellray household, which
was, as everybody knew, divided in opinion upon
the questions of the day, though still united in
the love and confidence that had distinguished
the family life. How it would be with her from
this time on if it became generally known that I
was an officer under the great raider I hardly
1 82 The Legionaries
dared to think. And yet I felt that she would
remain free from serious annoyance unless, by
some unlucky deed, the populace should be
aroused to a resentment so violent that it would
injure the innocent if the guilty were not at
It was long past midnight when I rode away
from my mother's gate. A few minutes brought
me to the familiar path called the back lane,
which ran between the fields to the Bellray house.
Save the steady thumping of my horse's feet on
the dry turf few sounds broke the stillness of the
night. The rasping song of the katydid, and here
and there the heavy breathing of a cow by the
roadside, the distant bark of a dog, the fluttering
of a bird awakened from its nap in the hedge —
these I heard, and nothing besides.
Many times before I had ridden through these
fields, so fragrant this night with the breath of
clover, but how different the circumstances, how
widely different my thoughts ! How was it now
with Roger Bellray? Why were armed men seek-
ing an obscure way to his house? And what was
the cause and the result of the commotion of
which my mother had told?
Quickening my speed, I soon reached the
well-remembered bars separating the lane from the
driveway that ran from there along the edge of
the peach orchard and toward the side of the house
where there was a small garden gate ; this opened
The Garb of a Rebel 1 83
into a shaded walk winding to the front of the
house. Securing my horse at the bars I hurried
forward. It seemed years instead of months since
I had been there, so full of events had my recent
life been crowded.
When the house came into view amidst the slum-
bering trees I saw that a bright light was burning
in the upper room that Roger had formerly occu-
pied ; lights glowing also from the living rooms
showed that the household was astir. I went
through the little gateway, which I found open,
and moved up the walk through the deep
The evidences of wakefulness at this hour did
not in themselves alarm me, for there would be
little sleep that night wherever the news of the
coming of the raiders penetrated, so wild and in-
accurate were the opinions held concerning my
gallant General and his men. But these signs of
unrest added to the other things of which I had
heard intensified the fear that already oppressed
I had just reached the black shade of a gigantic
syringa standing a little way from the house when
two persons, a man and a woman, came through
the open door and walked to the edge of the
porch, where they stood in the flood of light
pouring through the doorway and windows.
Within the hall was Mrs. Willing, who stood ir-
184 The Legionaries
resolute for a moment and then turned and as-
cended the stairs.
The man was Dallas Vawter, the woman,
Kate Bellray. It was with difficulty that I re-
strained an ejaculation of angry surprise. Had
this man after all told me the truth at Branden-
burg? I would have moved away, but to do so
was impossible without revealing my presence,
and this was the last thing I desired to do while
Vawter remained. I was within ten feet of them,
and every word they spoke, though their voices
were at first low, came to my ears distinctly.
Vawter was the first to speak, and from his words
it was plain that they had as yet held little con-
"I could not rest without coming to offer my
sympathy, Miss Bellray," he said, with well sim-
ulated feeling. "It was reported in town that
your brother was killed, and I am gratified to
learn that the scoundrels failed. "
"Yes, thank God, they failed," she returned,
fervently. "And you are very kind to trouble
yourself so much about our poor affairs, when
you must be needed so badly elsewhere this
"A wretched night, indeed, rilled with dangers
and alarms ; but you ought to know that I would
do anything in the world for you." He moved
a little nearer to her, and reaching out endeav-
ored to take her hand. She drew back from
The Garb of a Rebel 1 85
him, but he went on: "Kate, I love you; you
must already have known it."
"Please do not speak of such a thing, Mr.
Vawter," she exclaimed, moving away as he ad-
vanced. "I did not suspect you of thinking that
way about me ; I supposed you came here only
to see my brother."
Vawter's manner changed quickly.
"Indeed," he returned, with a sneer that re-
vealed to her the nature of the man more clearly
than any words. "But I will speak of it, if it is
the very last thing I ever do. You made me be-
lieve that my presence here was agreeable to you,
and I really thought that I had made a deep im-
pression upon your innocent heart. As for your
fool of a brother — "
"Stop, sir!" cried Kate in a voice that it did
me good to hear. "I thought you were a gen-
tleman and treated you civilly. I am sorry now
that I did so, and hope you will take yourself
away and not again offend us. Since you so sadly
misconstrue your reception here it is necessary to
"You are quite tragic, upon my soul you are,"
Vawter said, with a laugh hard and malicious.
"How would you treat me if I were one John
Trenham, the bold moss-trooper who, with the
raider Morgan's other bandits and red-hands,
will come to cut all our throats to-morrow?"
At this my anger rose afresh, and before I could
1 86 The Legionaries
recollect myself I had slipped my sword from its
scabbard, though without serious thought as to
what I should do with it. Kate was facing the place
where I stood, but Vawter's back was toward me.
In my excitement I had momentarily brought my
face into the light, and in that moment her eyes
met mine. She turned as pale as death and put
her hand on the porch railing as if for support,
but retained her presence of mind.
"Ah! That touches you, does it?" Vawter
added, seeing her emotion and supposing that it
was caused by his last remarks.
"Go!" said Kate, straightening herself and
pointing toward the gate.
"Oh, you order me away as though I were a
contraband nigger. I will go, of course, but let
me first tell you — "
"Go, go, as you value your life," she said
again, for she saw the gleaming of a naked sword
blade through the syringa leaves.
He moved slowly toward the steps. "I don't
appreciate the force of your threat, Miss Bellray,
since that copperhead brother of yours has suffi-
cient reason for keeping to his bed."
He paused, and removing his hat, bowed
low with mock civility. "I was just going to say
when you interrupted me, that Captain Trenham
will doubtless dangle from a limb in the court-
house yard at Corydon before another twelve
The Garb of a Rebel 187
hours have passed. Take that for a night-cap,
my imperious lady."
Kate fell back as from a blow, and clutched
one of the supporting pillars where she stood
with wide eyes and heaving breast, while Vaw-
ter, having delivered himself of his cowardly
speech, went deliberately down the steps. Reach-
ing the bottom, he half turned about as if to say
more, and his eyes fell upon me. I had stepped
out into the light from the darkness that had
concealed me, for I could endure his insolence to
this unprotected girl no longer.
"Hound!" said I, forgetting myself and strik-
ing him smartly across the face with my open
hand, "so I must chastise you twice within the
hours of a day. Now do as Miss Bellray bade
you — begone ! ' '
He took a step backward, looking at me wick-
"'Hound,' and 'begone,' is it, Captain Tren-
ham? Those are words used with dogs, but do
not forget that dogs can bite."
Then without another word, but with a malig-
nant scowl on his face, he went down the walk.
When he reached the shadows he stopped and
half drew from his pocket a pistol, but, reconsid-
ering, went on.
When Vawter had gone away I put him en-
tirely out of my mind and turned toward Kate,
who gave me her hand when I got to her at the
1 88 The Legionaries
door where she was now standing. The welcome
she gave me was not formal, for the unusual
circumstances of our meeting forbade that, but
there was a constraint of manner that made me
uncomfortable. And when we went into the
house, as we did immediately, neither of us
seemed to know precisely what to say to the
I held my broad cavalry hat in my hand and
was conscious of feeling awkward and out of place.
Kate appeared to be a little in fear of me, and in
spite of herself moved a step or two further away
when, in the full light of the room, her eyes rested
on my gray, travel-stained uniform — the unmis-
takable badge of a rebel in arms. As I saw this
action I could not help smiling, and said, for
want of something better :
"I am not dangerous, Kate, nor did I garb
myself to offend you ; my visit to you to-night
was not long considered."
Realizing what she had done she came up to
me and again held out her hand, looking now
only into my face.
"Forgive me," she said, simply; "you are the
first real rebel that I have seen, and I was trying
hard to persuade myself to be frightened, which
was very ridiculous in me, of course, seeing that it
is only you. But you know what I have always
"I have never for a moment forgotten it, but
The Garb of a Rebel 189
we will not let that trouble us now," said I, de-
siring to get away from this old, dangerous ground.
"Tell me about Roger."
"Then you have heard about it?"
"Only that something very strange had taken
place. I came to see my mother and found her
uneasy and disturbed about your family on ac-
count of things that she had heard over this way.
She herself will see you in the morning. What
She briefly, and with some agitation as the
events of the past hours were recalled, narrated
the story that I have already outlined.
"They thought he was dead, and so did we all
until he was carried into the house. Then it was
discovered that he was breathing, and he soon re-
turned to consciousness but showed traces of de-
lirium. We sent for Dr. White who found that
the bullet that struck him in the head had made
only a glancing wound. He has two other inju-
ries but they also, thank'God, are superficial. He
is sleeping now. Dr. White thinks he may be
able to travel, but says that he should remain at
home, which under the circumstances is impossi-
ble. Information that he is alive will get abroad
and his enemies will finish the work they have
begun if he does not go away. Oh, it is all so
dreadful, so dreadful!"
She went to the window and looked out into
190 The Legionaries
the darkness through the blurring tears that filled
her eyes. I went over and stood beside her, my
heart swelling with a great pity and tenderness —
aye, and much more than that. For a little
time we were both silent, then she turned her
face toward mine, hastily wiping away the tears.
"What shall I do?" she asked chokingly. "I
have no one to advise me. Roger is utterly with-
out friends here who would aid him excepting
those who hold views like his own, and I will
never call upon them — never ! ' '
"I am only a rebel, Kate, with a leave of ab-
sence from my command that will expire in two
hours, but I will help you if I can. Roger must
not stay here; if he is able let him go with me."
"Oh, no, no!" she exclaimed. "He must
not do that — he never, I am sure, thought of go-
ing so far. It is enough that — " She stopped
suddenly, confused and disconcerted.
"It is enough that I am a rebel," said I, fin-
ishing her sentence. "I am glad to hear you
say that, for it shows that you have thought of
me, even though you have done it reproachfully.
But I did not mean that he should link himself
to the precarious fortunes of the Confederate sol-
diery, as I have done. Show me the way and
we will go and talk with him about it. We need
disturb him only a moment."
No definite plan whereby I could aid her
brother had occurred to me; but an idea that he
The Garb of a Rebel 191
might be carried along with our forces as an os-
tensible prisoner or something of the kind had
partially formed itself in my mind. Beyond that
I could see no way just then, and the scheme was
so poor and weak that I did not mention it to
Kate, hoping that after consulting with Roger
some better arrangement might be suggested.
In the matter of taking and giving blows I
could bear my share, but to get this man away
from the reach of his enemies without compro-
mising him still more in their sight required a
delicate strategy in which I felt that I would be
little better than a blunderer. And yet if the sit-
uation was as bad as his sister believed it to be he
must be taken away, whatever might befall.
We went up the stairs, Kate's arm through
mine, her hand resting confidingly on the traitor-
ous cloth of which my sleeve was made. At the
head of the stairs we met Mrs. Willing, who, on
seeing me, started back with an exclamation of
fright, as if I had been some horrible specter.
"It is only Captain Trenham, Aunt Sarah,"
said Kate, reassuringly.
"And I thank heaven that it is only you, Mr.
Trenham," she returned, her face lighting up in
recognition. "Whatever else you may be you
are our friend — that we know — and we are in
great fear and distress." Then she turned to
Kate. "Oh, my poor, poor child, how tired
192 The Legionaries
After a word or two she passed on down the
stairs, and we entered Roger's room, where we
found him reclining on a couch, fully dressed
but looking pale and inert. He had had no warn-
ing of my presence in the house, but showed
no surprise on seeing me. As I entered, he got
upon his feet from instinctive courtesy, and came
forward to meet me, moving unsteadily. In the
middle of the room he reeled as from dizziness
or weakness, and would have fallen had I not hur-
ried to his support and led him back to the couch.
"I am all right, John," he said, smiling va-
cantly. "I rose too quickly and it made my
head swim a little, that's all. I think I fell from
my horse coming from town, didn't I, Kate?
He must have shied at something. I heard in the
town that Lincoln had been elected. If that is
true it will make a lot of trouble, John — maybe
bring war. Douglas should have been chosen."
I turned from Roger and looked at Kate. A
deep pallor was on her face and the hand that lay
in her lap trembled. This was not delirium; it
was different from the vagaries of fever and had
root in a deeper cause. I remembered hearing
it told how, coming from the town where he had
gone to learn the result of the last presidential
election, he had received an injury that was sup-
posed to have been caused by a fall from his horse,
and was brought home senseless. He had speed-
ily recovered, however, and his sister, then at
The Garb of a Rebel 1 93
school, was not sent for. But now he was living in
that period again, and all subsequent things, as it
turned out, were to him as if they had never been.
"They need not have sent for you, Kate; it is
nothing at all serious — why, child, how you have
grown ! You are almost a woman now — strange
that I didn't notice it before — and you look so
much like our mother. Well, now that you are
here you can stay until after the holidays. And,
John, I hadn't heard that you had come home.
You look strong and rugged — French living has
agreed with you, boy, but if that is the kind of
uniform they dressed you in over there they have
poor taste ; there is nothing to equal American
blue. I have not seen your father since I was
hurt; how is he?"
My father, who was ill at the time of Roger's
former injury, had been dead for nearly three
years, but I could not bring myself to say so.
Before I could formulate a satisfactory answer he
"The election will sorely disappoint him. He
favored Breckinridge, you know. The people
ought to have chosen Douglas — a man in no
sense a radical — and he would have found a way
to avert the trouble that is threatening us. Par-
don me, but I feel tired and think I can sleep a
little. Ride over to-morrow. Good-night "
He lay back wearily on his pillow, closed his
13 — Legionaries.
194 The Legionaries
eyes and seemed to be oblivious of his surround-
ings. But in a moment he roused and spoke his
sister's name. She bent over him, putting her
hand on his troubled head.
"I find that I am very weak; have I been ill
Kate hesitated about her answer and looked at
me. I nodded my head affirmatively, thinking
that he might be comforted.
"Yes, my brother; you have been ill a long
time," she said.
"I thought it must be so," he returned faintly.
And thus we left him, as completely separated
from recent events as if the shot fired by the
horse-buyer had taken fatal effect. Only time
could tell how long the affliction would last, but
while it endured he was safe from the troubles
that had beset him. No need to think now of
removing him or of devising other schemes for
his safety, and while it grieved me much to see
him so, I felt relieved of a disagreeble and deli-
As we went down, the tall clock in the angle
of the stairs marked the quarter before three.
The short night was nearly at an end, and I had
a good twelve miles to ride. I should have gone
at once, but could not do so without stopping to
speak to Kate some words of encouragement
about her brother.
Then Vawter came again into my mind and I
The Garb of a Rebel 195
inquired as to his relations with Roger, learning
that he had been frequently at the house, some-
times coming with Roger's friends and some-
times alone. Kate said that her brother had
latterly spoken of the man as if suspicious of him.
Beyond this she knew nothing of him or his
purposes and I did not enlighten her as to the
little that I knew. For it was little to be sure,
yet sufficient, taken with what she had told me,
to satisfy me that he had in some way been in-
volved in Roger's misfortune.
On her part, Kate steadily refrained from ask-
ing questions concerning myself. I was alive and
well — that she could see — and if she were inter-
ested in anything else that had happened to me
since I had last seen her she did not indicate it by
words. But her manner, I thought, told as much
as language could.
In the presence of the night's increasing ter-
rors she now saw only individuals and effects;
principles and causes were put out of sight, if not
forgotten. Her spirit was not broken, only de-
pressed. She seemed not to think whether my coat
was gray or blue, nor to care whether it was em-
blematic of the cause of the North or of the
Mrs. Willing, after a little time, had gone and
left us together. She had said that I was a friend,
whatever else I might be. And when she had
taken herself away I confessed to the one who re-
196 The Legionaries
mained how it was with me — how much more
than a friend I would be to her if she would let
me. Her distress, her appeal to me for aid, her
manifest disposition to overlook, at least for the
time, my part in the invasion (for she had not yet
once referred to it) all conspired to drive me on
to a declaration of my feelings.
Then it was that she seemed to awaken as if
from a benumbing dream. Her figure straight-
ened, her face flushed and her eyes were alight
with the old fire. I felt my heart sink like lead
in my bosom before she had uttered a word, and
I inwardly cursed the haste that had seemingly
ruined my hope.
"Sir, in my troubles I had forgotten who you
were and thought of you only as one in whom
I might trust. Now I remember that you came
as an enemy, with an army about you, to trample
upon us and drive us from our homes under the lead
of your desperate chief. Return to him and tell
him that we are defenseless, and pray him to finish
his work of fire and blood quickly. Oh ! why did
you bring him here? Why didn't you take him
"In God's name, stop, Kate," said I, wounded
to the heart. "If I could laugh now, I would
laugh at your questions. / bring my General
here or take him elsewhere? He goes where he
pleases, and I am only a humble follower of as
brave and knightly a soldier as ever drew sword.
The Garb of a Rebel 197
He makes war only upon those who oppose him
with arms, and he comes here with as good a
right as that which sends your Sheridan and his
men through the southern country."
"Perhaps it is so; I understand little about
such things, and this general of yours is held in
terror, justly or unjustly. I do not want to hurt
you, for you have always been good and kind to
me. But I am so miserable and unhappy. I
have borne so much." She took a tottering step
toward me. "Oh, John, had you come under
any other circumstances I might have talked dif-
ferently. When you come again — "
" — If I ever do," I interrupted, bitterly, feel-
ing that I did not care if I should never come
'What do you mean by that?" she asked,
gaspingly, her eyes wide and staring.
"My life is full of perils and they will now
thicken about me. Our way lies through our
enemies' country and we can have no support
from our friends. Overwhelming numbers will
be thrown against us, but we shall not flinch nor
turn back. Pardon me, Kate, for opening my
heart to you ; the things that I told you have
burdened me long. I couldn't help it. But
I realize now, when it is too late, that I made a
mistake, and it only remains for me to leave." I
said a word of farewell and turned to go.
"Wait, John," she cried; "you must not go
198 The Legionaries
without knowing. I can not deceive you longer —
I am not strong enough. Oh, don't you see that
I love you, my dear, and that my heart, which
has followed you longingly all these awful months,
is breaking for you now?"
In a moment she was in my arms, and though
I were a thousand times a rebel it would, she
presently admitted, have been the same.
THE END OF THE HORSE-BUYER
For a time, in my happiness, I forgot every-
thing else, and small wonder it was. But the
flight of the clock's hands around the dial plate
did not cease, and time, which had stood still
while the favored Joshua fought a battle, did not
wait upon my love-making. I was startled at
last by hearing the hour of four strike, and by
observing that dawn had come. I had over-
stayed my leave and would be held remiss in my
duty, but I did not doubt that I could make sat-
isfactory excuses to the General. With quickly
spoken words of farewell I took my departure.
As upon the preceding morning a heavy fog
hung over the face of the earth, and the hour being
early it was almost impenetrable to the sight.
Objects a hundred feet away were hidden as ef-
fectually as if they did not exist. It was a good
half hour before sunrise, and the fog would last
sometime after that. Without a knowledge of
the country the task before me would be both
difficult and dangerous. But, knowing the direc-
tions well and having a fair acquaintance with the
200 The Legionaries
roads, I had little to fear unless I encountered the
enemy's scouts or belated companies of legion-
aries hastening to repel the invader. As an ex-
tra precaution I made a wide detour to the west-
ward, riding along at a hard gallop.
Voices coming through the mist at intervals on
both sides of the road, where I judged houses to
be, proved that the populace was awake. Now
and then I would hear the rumble of wheels and the
hammering of horses' feet and would presently
come upon a wagon carrying a family fleeing
from the path of the raider. Past these I would
dash at speed, and, if hailed, make no response.
Nearly half of my journey had been accom-
plished when the increased light showed that the
sun was rising. Objects were discernible at a
greater distance, and it became clear that the
mist would be rapidly evaporated. I pushed
ahead with accelerated speed, the horse — a fresh
one that I had obtained from my mother's stable
— responding with spirit to every unaccustomed
touch of my heavy war spurs.
So far, my course had been taken along a route
which subjected me to slight chance of interrup-
tion. And after a while, believing that I was
beyond any possible outposts of the legionaries,
who had been reported to us the night before as
concentrating at Corydon, I cut boldly across
toward the Mauckport road by which I knew it
was the General's purpose to move upon the town.
The End of the Horse-Buyer 201
A brisk ride of a quarter of an hour brought
me to this road, and I turned south. The Con-
federate advance, if it had maintained its posi-
tion, was less than four miles away. The light
in the east had changed from a grayish white to a
golden yellow, and the tops of the trees were
gleaming in the sun's rays. A thin veil of mist
still clung sullenly to the ground, as if determined
to oppose to the last the batteries of its powerful
I had pursued the Mauckport road a mile or
more when several horsemen broke suddenly from
concealment behind some willows at the roadside,
and barred my progress. I was moving at a
gait that carried me into the midst of the party
before I could check and turn my horse, or draw
a weapon to defend myself. One of the men
seized my bridle rein near the bit and clung on,
while the others presented their pistols and com-
manded me to yield. Resistance was folly un-
less I was tired of living — and I had more cause
for wanting to live now than ever before — so
I submitted with the best grace possible, which
was poor enough. I was at once deprived of my
pistols, but my sword was not taken from me.
At the first onset I had recognized Vawter as
one of my captors, and the face of the man who
seemed to be the leader among them had a fa-
miliar look. Like a flash it came to me that this
was the man of Colonel Mandrell's house — he of
202 The Legionaries
the stubby mustache and the manner of a sergeant
of police — the renowned Captain Bracken himself.
That there was no mistake about it was proved
when he presently addressed me.
"I am glad to see you again, Captain Trenham
— for I understand that you have achieved such a
distinction since our last meeting," said he, in
high good humor.
"I can not say as much of you, sir," I re-
Bracken laughed. "You are excused, under
the circumstances, from returning the compli-
ment," he said. "A considerable indebtedness
is owing to this gentleman" — indicating Vawter —
"for your company this morning, Captain, though
the debt should be reduced by half because of the
devil of a wait we have had, expecting every min-
ute to have some of your fellows down upon us.
It will take many a mile out of this to make me
feel right and drive the chills from my back."
What was intended for a tantalizing smile dis-
figured Vawter' s face as he looked at me.
' 'The captain no doubt found excellent enter-
tainment where he was," he said with an insinu-
ating smirk that made my blood boil ; but I said
nothing, feeling that I could not trust myself to
make a rejoinder.
Bracken gave the word to move on, and the
party started toward the south, two men besides
the leader and Vawter, riding in front, and two
The End of the Horse-Buyer 203
more, completing the number, bringing up the
rear. In a short time we reached a road run-
ning to the right, and into it we turned, except-
ing Vawtcr, who went straight ahead as if his
part of the work had been accomplished. We
had traveled the westerly road several minutes at
a rapid pace when it seemed to occur to Bracken
to hold further conversation with me ; he dropped
back and thudded along by my side, checking the
pace in order that he might talk more at his ease.
"I really don 't know that there is anything
against you, Captain, other than being a rebel,"
he began. "When you fell into my hands at
Louisville — the time you gave me the slip, you
remember — you had entered a trap that was not
baited for you, and I detained you, or rather it
was my purpose to detain you, on suspicion.
And now, as I do not want to return empty-
handed and can't very well take along a dead
man, I jumped at the chance that fellow gave me
to get you. It was a slim chance, though, for
you might have taken some other road."
I had already condemned myself for not taking
another road, but I cast the subject from my mind
as vain punishment. What struck me sharply
was the other's belief that Roger Bellray was
really dead, and I wondered what purpose Vaw-
ter could have in withholding the truth. Let ft be
what it might, I put that one thing to his credit.
"Why do you take me?" I asked.
204 The Legionaries
"It is always in order to capture the enemy,
especially when he is one of Morgan's men, who
make no end of trouble and are as slippery as
eels," Bracken answered, easily. "Besides, I
have never forgotten how you fooled me that
other time, and I don't quite understand yet how
you did it. You no doubt think I should have
let you take your chances with the legionaries
and that I have gone out of my line of service,
but I am glad to have something to show for two
days of hellishly disagreeable work."
"But I will certainly be exchanged soon, at
any rate; is it not so?"
"No, I think not; you see our folks got so
many rebs when Pemberton surrendered Vicks-
burg and when Lee got licked at Gettysburg that
the government will be compelled to suspend
the cartel providing for exchanges. Quite likely
you'll not get out till the war is over."
This was very gloomy news, but if a military
prison was to be my fate I must of necessity bear
it. Yet my mind, which had already been busy
with thoughts of escape, must be kept wide awake
to any opportunity that might offer to such end.
I determined that for the present it would be best
to appear to accept my misfortune in good spirit.
"That is a hard situation for an active man to
face," I said, "but if it comes to me I will try to
endure it. By the way, how does it come that
you let Vawter go back to General Morgan?"
The End of the Horse-Buyer 205
"Vawter? His name is Vawter, is it? Well,
he maybe useful to the General," and he laughed.
"Or to his Unionist employers," I added, to
which observation the other made no reply save
by a shrug of his muscular shoulders. Seeing
that he was disinclined to continue the subject I
let it drop without further comment.
Up to this time I had given no particular atten-
tion to any of the party excepting the two princi-
pals. I had seen enough of the two men in front
to know that they were entire strangers to mc,
and I now turned to look at the remaining two,
trailing a hundred feet or more behind. One of
them was unknown, but I was astonished to see
that the other was the horse-buyer, whose feat-
ures I had overlooked in the excitement attend-
ing my capture. Without intimating that I rec-
ognized the man, I asked Captain Bracken, who
seemed inclined to be talkative in non-essentials :
"Who is the man behind, to the left?"
Bracken glanced backward. "That is a great
coward and blunderer," he answered, a frown
settling on his face. "His name is Spilker, or
some such thing as that."
"Why do you say he is a coward and blun-
' ' Because there are times when it is actually a
pleasure to speak the truth. That fellow diso-
beyed my orders and killed the man I wanted to
arrest. Now he's afraid to stay and face, the
206 The Legionaries
music; swears the man's friends will hunt him
out and kill him. And I have no doubt they
would, but it would be small loss."
He spoke coolly and with an entire lack of feel-
ing, beyond disappointment at his failure to get
"Does he belong to your party?"
"Him? Not much; he belonged to a small
company of what he called independent home-
guards who mostly deserted him after he killed
the man, and I believe wouldn't have much to do
with him before. I am merely giving him a
chance to get out of the country."
"Who was the man that was killed?" I asked,
for his blunt way of answering my questions in-
The captain evidently believed that he had
said enough, for instead of making any response
he put spurs to his horse and resumed his place
in front. When a half hour afterward the dis-
tant report of a cannon was heard over Corydon
way he turned in his saddle and shouted back
"Your friends are beginning operations early
"So it seems," said I. For the first time that
sound saddened me, and struck upon my ears
more as a knell than as a gage of battle.
An hour's ride from the Mauckport road brought
our party to the Qhj.Q river somewhat to the norths
The End of the Horse-Buyer 207
of the village of New Amsterdam. At this point
the great water-course runs to the north for a
distance of several miles, then strikes off to the
northwest, passing the river town of Leavenworth,
and shortly beyond that makes a sharp bend and
abruptly turns back upon itself, flowing southeast-
ward many miles before it resumes its general
course toward the mighty Mississippi.
Thus a sharp Kentucky peninsula, in shape like
a gigantic thumb, was created by the boundary
makers and sandwiched between two Indiana
shore lines. Half way between the two towns
mentioned, on the northern side, was an obscure
and little used landing, where steamboats, pass-
ing up or down the river, would stop for passen-
gers or freight only on being signaled to do so.
For some reason Captain Bracken preferred this
landing to the more public stopping places, and
our small cavalcade headed northward, following
the stream as closely as was possible.
Whether the news of the invasion had frightened
the inhabitants of the region away, or whether
other causes kept them out of sight, could not
be told. But certain it is that the few houses
which we passed showed no signs of human oc-
cupancy. Here and there a dog had run out and
barked at our heels, but his master's presence
was not disclosed. Domestic fowls cackled and
quacked about the door-yards, and cows, un-
milked and discontented, were heard mooing at
208 The Legionaries
pasture bars, but neither housewife nor milkmaid
nor barefoot urchin came into view.
I noted the difference between this condition
and that which existed in the country further
north as I passed through it earlier in the morn-
ing. These people had surely fled the day before
and had not yet returned, while the voices heard
through the matin fog were, as I had already
concluded, of those actually deserting or making
early and hurried preparations to desert their
homes before the onward march of my General.
But these things occupied less of my thoughts
than did plans for escaping from my captors,
chances to do which had so far seemed slim and
discouraging. Bracken's statement about the
suspension of exchanges filled me with dismay.
It meant confinement, possibly, as he had said,
until the close of the war, even if I should be
compelled to face no more serious charge than
that of being a soldier of the enemy. Except
for this disheartening prospect, and a feeling of
chagrin that I had stumbled so readily into the
net that Vawter had spread for me, I was not
sorry to be relieved from any participation in the
morning's work, of which that thunder of the
cannon had given warning.
Our progress was made slow by the rough nat-
ure of the country we were traversing, but by
eight o'clock we had reached a bluff overlooking
the landing. Here we drew rein and scanned the
The End of the Horse-Buyer 209
river. No boats were plying its waters in the
immediate vicinity, but the smoke of steamers was
distinctly visible toward Leavenworth. Whether
they were going down or coming up the stream
was for a time doubtful.
Presently, however, we made out that a white-
hulled little vessel was coming fussily our way,
with much churning of the water and a display of
smoke out of all proportion to the size of the
craft. Captain Bracken brought forth from some-
where a small glass and after leveling it on the
boat appeared to be greatly pleased with the re-
sult of his inspection.
"We are in luck; that is a Louisville packet,
and it seems to be in a nasty hurry, too," he said,
lowering the glass. "Now, how do we get down
to that accursed landing?"
He looked about him for the road and discov-
ered it winding down from the heights more than
half a mile away. Its distance put him in some-
thing of a temper.
"Damnation! If we go that way we'll miss
the boat. Here, Spiker," he called out to the
fugitive. "You ought to know this place, and are
interested in getting away from it. How can we
get down without going the road?"
"My name is not Spiker," said the horse-
buyer, with a flash of spirit.
"Who cares what it is? Catch that boat for us
14 — Legionaries.
210 The Legionaries
and I'll willingly call you Napoleon Bonaparte or
anything you choose."
"I've never tried it," said Spelker, sullenly,
"but I know a place where I think it can be
done," and he started off, the rest of us follow-
Soon he stopped at a point almost opposite
the coveted landing — coveted by the others, not
by me — where there was a break in the limestone
bluff constituting a steep, irregular ravine, through
which, in wet seasons, surface water no doubt
found its way to the river. Judging from signs,
a considerable torrent more than once had rushed
and roared between these jagged walls, but at
this time the gorge was perfectly dry. It seem-
ingly was no great undertaking for men on foot
to attempt a descent here, but it was not so with
horses, being for a part of the way uneven and
in places almost precipitous.
A third of the way down the stone walls fell
away, and a little further on was what appeared
to be a rumpled bank of earth evidently caused by
washings from the high ground. At that point the
occasional torrent was turned to the right by this
obstruction, running in a narrow channel between
overhanging ledges of rock on one side and the
dangerous-looking bank of clay on the other.
What was beyond that I could not see. I have
been thus particular in description because of the
extraordinary thing that happened to me there.
The End of the Horse-Buyer 2 1 1
"Here we are," said Spelker. "Once through
that cut down there and it will be smooth enough . ' '
Bracken surveyed the ground dubiously, but he
was in a hurry and apparently resolved to risk
breaking all of our necks and those of the horses
as well rather than to miss the packet. Ordering
everybody to dismount, he put all the animals
except Spelker 's in charge of two of the men
and started them down the gorge ; Spelker was
expected to look after his own horse.
"You are next, Mr. Spiker, and Captain Tren-
ham will follow you," said Bracken, who with
one of his men, was to come behind.
In that order the start was made. The men
with the horses had almost reached the turn
when we began our descent, and soon disap-
peared. On getting to the turn I saw them mak-
ing good progress ahead of us where the channel
seemed to end on a gently sloping plateau.
Captain Bracken and the others were stumbling
along as much as thirty feet behind me.
Spelker and I had made the turn, I close upon
his heels, and gone some yards, when suddenly
his horse, which he was leading by the bit, gave
a snort of fright and with a bound broke away
from him. Instantly the earth seemed to open
under his feet, and he went downward and out of
sight. I had no time to take a step backward or
even to utter a cry before I also went down.
Then came a crushing, thunderous noise above,
212 The Legionaries
The fall was not to a great depth, and was dead-
ened by the earth that had given way under me.
On striking, I felt a shower of earth and gravel
falling upon and around me, and then had a mo-
mentary sensation of trying to balance my body
and failing. I rolled to one side, and over and
over down a smooth incline for a distance that
seemed unending until I reached another level
that enabled me to stop my uncomfortable flight.
A rattling noise as of pebbles bounding along a
hard surface had accompanied me to the bottom,
and they still came down as I rose to my feet,
bruised, half-stunned, but not seriously injured.
I was in pitch blackness, and could only tell
the direction from which I had come by the occa-
sional falling of the pebbles, and by hearing far
above the awful creeping and sifting sound of set-
tling earth. Feeling my way cautiously to the
foot of the incline I looked upward, but no ray of
light greeted my eyes. I stepped upon some-
thing soft, and putting my hand down found that
it was a hat, still warm from the head of the
wearer. I put it on.
Where was Spelker? I spoke the man's name
but there was no answer save the echo of my
own voice, which repeated and reiterated the
name from hollow, immeasurable distances. Sit-
ting down on the stony floor I rested for a little
time, and then on my hands and knees began to
ascend the incline. The work was slow and ex-
The End of the Horse-Buyer 213
hausting. In places where water had seeped
through from above the stones were slimy with
the drip, and afforded no hold either for hand or
foot. Many times I slipped back a part of the
way, but finding a drier spot would go on again.
At last I reached a ledge barely wide enough
to give me comfortable sitting room. Drawing
myself up on this that I might recover the breath
which my labors had well-nigh deprived me of, I
realized that it was here where I had first fallen.
But now, save where I sat, the place was heaped
with earth and rock. Getting carefully to my feet
and feeling about me, I found that the opening
had been closed by the falling of great masses of
limestone, crowded and wedged tightly together,
with every crack and crevice filled with soil and
Through that terrible pile no sound from the
outer world could penetrate. What folly to try
the strength of my voice against that entombing
heap! I judged that a part of the wall of the
gorge had been loosened by the washing storms of
centuries, and upon the yielding of the cavern's
mouth had tumbled down its countless tons to
hide the secret over which it had so long stood
I again seated myself on the ledge to consider
my situation. And then I remembered that before
leaving my mother's house, she had, along with
other small articles, provided me with a box of
214 The Legionaries
matches, which I had put in my coat pocket. I
began a search for these, suddenly fearful that
I had lost them, but they were still secure.
Lighting one I looked around as far as its blaze
enabled me. Nothing that I had not previously
discovered was revealed — but hold ! Just as it
flickered out something flashed a little further
along the ledge.
Moving toward the spot, I struck another
match, and there, in the circle of light made by
its small flame, lay a large, muscular human
hand, with a gaudy ring on one of its stiffening
fingers. Tons of stone and earth concealed the
arm and body to which that hand belonged, but
I knew that it was Spelker's.
A shudder passed through me, and I became
faint and dizzy. What had saved my life? Spel-
ker had fallen first, and in the natural order of
things it seemed that I, and not the other, would
have been crushed under that mighty weight.
Only the providence which had thrown me over
the ledge and sent me rolling down the incline in
the very nick of time had saved me from the
horrible fate that had overtaken the horse-buyer.
I had seen many men killed and maimed in
battle, but that was in the open air, with the sky
above and the fever of conflict rioting in my veins,
and with life and motion as well as death every-
where about. Here I was alone, in darkness as
absolute and stillness as complete as that of the
The End of the Horse-Buyer 215
grave, and shut off from everything human save
that ghastly hand, which seemed to reach out to
me for help that I could not give.
What wonder then, that, strong as I was, and
brave as I held myself to be, for a little time I
was like one undone. But at last I pulled myself
together and set to work to determine the extent
of my difficulties. It was not worth while to make
further investigation where I was. If there was
another way by which I could regain the outer
world, it must be found before death or madness
robbed me of the power of trying.
Feeling around, my hand came into contact
with a large tuft of dry grass that had fallen from
the surface. Applying a match to this, a light
was made that revealed a slightly arching roof
eight or ten feet above my head and extending
out over the blackness below. The incline I
judged to be as much as twenty feet wide, with
natural stone walls on each side.
What surprised me greatly, at the same time
giving me a feeling of hope, was to see, next to
the wall on my right, a regular flight of steps
leading downward, and apparently cut into the
solid rock. Moving nearer, my astonishment was
increased, for this could be no accidental stair-
way. It was designed by human brains and
worked out by human hands. But when were
these brains active and when had these hands
chiseled and wrought? Everything served to
216 The Legionaries
show that it must have been ages upon ages be-
The steps were worn as if by the long-contin-
ued passage of feet through unnumbered centu-
ries, and the wall, at the height of four or five feet
from each step, was smooth, as if here human
hands had been put to steady the descent of those
who had made use of the regions below. Either
the stairway had been used moderately for thou-
sands of years, or else mighty and unremittent
hosts for a lesser period had gone down this stony
way and up again.
I had barely time to observe these things —
which I did in a small fraction of the time taken
to relate them — when the grass burned out to
the last root and left me again in the darkness.
Following the steps downward, counting them as
I went, and steadying myself against the wall, I at
last reached the level bottom where I had stood
before. There were eighty-six steps, each of
them apparently nearly a foot high, but the de-
clination was so gradual as to make my descent
What was now before me? What lay beyond
this silent pall that covered me? I struck a
match and held it out at arm's length when I
had reached what, to the touch of my feet, ap-
peared to be the end of the flight. The wall
against which I stood terminated a few feet
further on, but, except that and the smooth
The End of the Horse-Buyer 217
ground extending about me, the feeble rays dis-
closed nothing. If I could not find a substantial
light I might as well stay where I was and let
that be the end of it. What had the former oc-
cupants used? In the hope that they might have
left behind something that would serve me, I
moved to the edge of the wall and lighted another
match, holding it toward the floor.
To my inexpressible joy I saw a heap of
twisted canes a yard or so beyond the angle of
the wall, and near by were some bunches which
were partly burned at one end, showing the use
to which they had been put. Picking up one of
these I soon had a brilliant blaze that illumined
the cavern for many yards in all directions. The
first thing I did was to examine my treasure,
which just then was greater to me than tons of
Each torch was about three feet long, and the
sticks of cane of which it was composed were so
wrapped and twisted together as to best fit them
for the purpose for which they were designed. I
observed that the torch in my hand, while giving
a fine light, was consumed very slowly. I had
never seen this species of cane, which was
strongly resinous, and concluded that, like those
who had brought it here, it was extinct in the
locality, or, what was more likely, that it had
been transported from another, and probably far
THROUGH THE TUNNELS
With a torch in each hand and another one
lighted and left propped against the wall near the
stairway, I started to explore my immediate sur-
roundings. The floor on which I trod was hard
and smooth; the roof was at least seventy feet
above me, and the chamber itself, almost circular
in form, was more than one hundred yards in
diameter. The air was cool and pure.
So vast were the proportions of the room that,
if it had been under the hills of Granada, it might,
according to Moorish legend, have held Boabdil
and his sleeping host. And what of those other
mighty throngs who had rilled it with life and
sound? From whence had they come and whither
had they departed? What scenes had these som-
ber and voiceless walls witnessed, what sounds
had broken upon thio eternal and earless rock?
To what tongue had the encrystalled dome given
In what seemed to be the exact center of the
chamber stood an immense earthenware cauldron,
or bowl, at least ten feet high and twelve across at
Through the Tunnels 219
the top and flat on the floor. On the side toward
the entrance was a series of stone steps reaching
to within three feet of its rim. Going up the
steps I found that it was covered with a lid that
fitted tightly into the wide, grooved inner edge
of its rim. The lid was rounded and elevated
in the middle. What was within this tremen-
dous utensil? What secret was here held and
guarded? Unmindful for the moment that I was
apparently entombed in a more colossal recepta-
cle, of somewhat similar but vastly more durable
structure, I forgot my peril and became eager
to see what had been here so carefully hidden.
An inspection of the lid disclosed a series of
rings running around it, beginning a foot from
the edge and maintaining that distance apart to
the top. Looking closely at these marks, I saw
that the covering of the bowl was not made in
one piece, as had at first seemed to be the fact,
but in many circular pieces, fitting snugly into
each other and set in cement that crumbled un-
der the blade of my pocket knife. The piece
capping the center of the lid was about two feet
in diameter, and if it should be removed the in-
side of the vessel would be at the mercy of my
Drawing myself up, I crawled on my hands
and knees to the rounded, knob-like apex, which
gave me leverage. Laying aside my torches, I
took hold of the knob with both hands, and ex-
220 The Legionaries
erting all of my strength succeeded in raising it a
little. Resting a few minutes, I tried again and
this time lifted the center piece from the groove
in which it was set, and moved it aside.
For a while I lacked the courage to look into
the blackness below, but not long did I hesitate.
Taking up the torches, I leaned over and thrust
one of them through the opening and there held
it. The whole of the interior was lighted up and
a low, involuntary ejaculation of amazement es-
caped me as the golden mass, heaped almost to
my hand, glittered in the flickering torch -light.
Withdrawing the torch, I thrust in my hand
and pulled it out full of the perfect, shelled
grains of maize, as fresh apparently as when first
stored in that secure granary. Here, no doubt,
was kept the seed corn of that far-back people
who had frequented this mighty chamber. About
it they had held their harvest festivals and dances.
With what shouts and laughter had each hus-
bandman climbed to the top and poured in or
taken out his allotted share in harvest and seed
time ! Or if this conjecture be not admitted,
was it here, in this natural temple, that, driven
to some sudden migration, they had deposited
and secured this grain with the hope of some day
returning to reclaim it and take up again their
agricultural pursuits? What language did they
speak, of what appearance were they in form and
face, after what pattern was their dress fashioned?
Through the Tunnels 221
It does not matter ; they were of peaceful and
simple pursuits, and reckoned these yellow grains
as more precious than gold. Whence did they
go on that last journey? What transpired to de-
tain them? Whither did they finally vanish?
Though it involved some expenditure of
strength, of which I might have need before I
was freed from my extraordinary imprisonment —
if, indeed, I should be so fortunate as to attain
that result — I replaced the section of the lid that
I had removed. A great respect for the strange
people whose treasure this had been possessed
me, and it seemed to me that a neglect to do this
simple thing would have been a species of sac-
Regaining the floor of the cavern I looked at
my watch and found that it was past ten o'clock.
I took the precaution to wind the time-piece be-
fore putting it back into my pocket, though day
and night were the same here, and the hours
ticked off by it were frivolous things compared
with the thousands of years marked by the great
urn beside me.
Determined to waste no more time, I began to
make a diligent search of the walls for an open-
ing. I knew enough about caves in such for-
mations as were here shown to think that this
immense chamber was probably connected with
others, though it was inconceivable that I should
find another so vast. The only known entrance
222 The Legionaries
to the now celebrated Wyandotte cave, then but
little explored but since shown to be of wonderful
extent and beauty, was seven miles away. If
there should be connection between the two I
might be able to make my way out, even if no
other opening should be found.
Beginning at the stairway, I followed the wall
without result until I came to a point almost op-
posite, where there was a break in the limestone
several feet wide. From here a passage led.
Without stopping then to investigate its character,
I went on until the circumference of the room was
completed and discovered no other. Then select-
ing from the heap of torches as many as I could
conveniently carry, I made them into a bundle
and tied them with one of my suspenders. Thus
equipped, I started on a pilgrimage the end of
which could not even be guessed.
Crossing the cavern floor, past the great lidded
bowl, I found the passage on the other side and
plunged into it. Its floor was smooth and hard
like that of the great chamber, and, like it, bore
testimony to the wear and pressure of human
feet. For a distance that I judged to be a fur-
long or more it ran straight and true, but widened
a little. Here it opened into another chamber
almost as large as the one I had quitted.
It was empty, save that in the center there
stood what appeared to be an altar made of
blocks of stone. Ashes were upon its top, and to-
Through the Tunnels 223
ward the margins were pieces of wood, with char-
red ends. What kind of rites were here observed?
Were human beings sacrificed here to propitiate
some unknown god? Were captured enemies
slain here to celebrate a victory or to avenge a
wrong? Was it here that the transgressor was
brought to expiate his sins in the flame? Or was
this merely a place to which the innocent dead
were brought for sacred incremation? Raking in
the ashes with one of the sticks, I discovered
nothing that would throw any light on these in-
quiries. At the side of this chamber, at the
mouth of what seemed to be a passage-way, but
which proved to be a small, natural chamber,
was a quantity of wood. Some distance from
this was another small chamber, a trifle larger
than the first, which might have been a retiring
room for the priests.
Only a few minutes were devoted by me to
these things ; a few more spent in examining
the walls of the main chamber showed that there
were two passages close together running from
it. Choosing the larger one at a hazard, I pur-
sued my way. This passage wound in and out,
and in places was a mere tortuous path, scarcely
large enough to give walking room.
For an hour I stumbled through it, and at last,
tired and covered with a cold perspiration, came
out into an immense arcade of great height and
unknown length. A roaring sound, somewhat
224 The Legionaries
resembling continuous thunder subdued by dis-
tance, greeted my ears.
As I went along I saw the bed of an ancient
water-course, its bottom covered with fine yellow
sand. The worn surfaces of its sides showed that
at one time a considerable stream had flowed be-
tween them, but they were now entirely dry.
The sight reminded me that I was thirsty and I
pushed on, following the bank. The roaring
sound increased as I advanced. In that subter-
ranean depth the noise, rapidly becoming more
distinctly thunderous, was less terrifying than the
awful stillness through which I had thus far jour-
I had probably walked almost a mile along the
margin of the vanished river when something
white and high flashed in the rays of my torch.
It was water tumbling over a ledge fifty feet above
where I stood. Going as near as I dared I saw
that the stream fell into a seething pit far below,
where it bubbled and foamed and hissed before
disappearing into still lower depths.
The falling water had seemingly broken through
its original bed and found here a new and sub-
cavernous channel. With some difficulty and
danger I got into a position where I could reach
the edge of the pouring torrent. Removing my
hat I held it out to catch some of the water, but
as it came before my eyes it dropped from my
relaxing fingers into the hammering flood beneath.
Through the Tunnels 225
The hat was not mine; it was the dead horse-
buyer's. I drew back for a moment to steady
myself, but quickly recovering from the shock, I
laid my torch on the rock, and, making a cup of
my two hands, drank my fill of the cold water.
Then I did something extraordinary. I had
for hours felt a desire to speak, but that echo,
which, when I had called Spelker, sent the lat-
ter's name back to me with horrible iteration,
had restrained all succeeding impulses to use my
voice. Now, however, the thunder of this water-
fall in my ears, I opened my mouth and shouted
and sang. Not a word of it all did I hear, but
that made no difference; if I had hea^d, I would
not have sung or shouted.
Greatly refreshed, and with a sense of relief in-
conceivable to one in any other situation, I moved
away from the fall and turned my attention to
my further progress, which might end in freedom
or in a still more obscure tomb in far distant re-
cesses. I did not suffer myself to think of the
latter alternative, but in spite of my will that re-
sult forced itself into my mind from time to time
as the more probable. My only hope was that I
had so far followed unexplored portions of the
Wyandotte cave, and that I should be able to find
the mouth of the latter or possibly some hitherto
undiscovered exit. It was not possible to do more
than conjecture as to the direction in which I had
15 — Legionaries.
226 The Legionaries
traveled. At the start I felt faintly assured that I
was going northward, but after leaving the place
of the altar I had completely abandoned even
that uncertain consolation.
Looking about me, I saw that the arcade ended
abruptly against the high masses of stone over
which the stream dashed into the abyss. My
eyes finally fell on what appeared to be a mere
cleft in the rock in the angle of the two walls.
For a time I hesitated whether to venture into it
or to go back and search for some other opening,
many of which might have been passed without
observation while following the dry water-course.
Casting doubt aside I stepped into the cleft.
At the point of entrance it was hardly three feet
wide, and its rough walls seemed to crowd me and
throw me from one to the other in a grim game
of battledore, myself as the human shuttlecock.
I had felt the same sensation in other places and
was now a little used to it; nevertheless, I was
disturbed when the fissure began to narrow. Pres-
ently I came to a place where, standing still to
test its width, my shoulders touched both walls.
From here on I was forced to move sideways,
dragging my bunch of torches behind me, and
progress was slow and infinitely tiring. I had
not eaten nor slept — for how long I did not dare
to think — and had passed through experiences
which would have been trying enough to a man
fresh and unwearied.
Through the Tunnels 227
And what wonder is it that I felt my strength
leaving me and that something between terror and
despair possessed me? I could not sit down and
rest ; if I should lie down in this terrible place I
might never rise ; if I should go back I might
not find another passage save that by which I had
entered the great arcade. I must go on while it
were possible. After a while the passage again
ended abruptly against the solid rock. Moving
back a little way, 1 threw my light up and down the
face of the obstruction and found that it did not ex-
tend entirely to the ground. At the bottom the
passage continued its way but was reduced in
height to three feet.
Lifting the bundle of unused torches over my
head, I brought it in front and kicked it with my
foot into the opening; then throwing myself at
full length on the bottom, I poked my light into
the hole and dragged my body after it. I pro-
ceeded thus probably twenty feet, when, upon
pushing the bundle ahead of me, it suddenly left
my hand and fell from sight, making a loud, hol-
low, clattering noise as it came in contact with
some obstruction below.
The character of the noise indicated that
another chamber had been reached, and my feel-
ings underwent a sudden and agreeable revulsion.
Quickly drawing myself to the verge over which
the torches fell, a sight greeted my eyes that for
a while made me doubt rny senses. I was look-
228 The Legionaries
ing into what seemed to be thickly falling snow.
The air was filled with glittering flakes, and if the
time had been in winter instead of in the hot
month of July, I would have believed that I had
at last reached the outer world, and would have
shouted for joy.
But what was this ghostly stuff that came down
from an unknown firmament, filling the gloom
with its grace and beauty? Pulling one of the
sticks of cane out of my torch I dropped it, all
aflame, below me. It lit up the ground, which
was not more than six feet distant, and I followed
it with my body. I felt that I could breathe
again, for here at least was room, and I sat down
on the bundle to rest.
The spectral snow was still falling, but in les-
sened quantity, and putting out my hand I gath-
ered some of the flakes in my palm. They were
only crystals of the sulphate of magnesia, which
the concussion of the air produced by the falling
canes had shaken from the drifts with which the
ceiling of the chamber was covered. The room,
I discovered, when, having rested a few minutes,
I had explored it, was not more than a hundred
feet long by fifty or sixty wide, but it was of
wonderful beauty. It was a veritable crystalline
garden, and the cave flowers, in clusters, in gar-
lands and rosettes, with which it was so lavishly
adorned, gleamed and flashed on every hand.
A wide, arched avenue led from this chamber
Through the Tunnels 229
into another two or three furlongs away, more
irregular in outline but larger and more lofty. Its
dome was supported by massive columns. Mag-
nificent stalactites hung from its ceiling and draped
its walls with fantastic tapestry. This chamber
was only one of many of varying shapes and pro-
portions which, within the ensuing hours, passed
in review before my wearied but observant eyes.
Enormous stalactites, like great cones of ice,
made resplendent the vaulted roofs ; gigantic
stalagmites stood about, like cyclopean sentinels,
all adrip ; efflorescent crystals and pillars of ala-
baster flashed across my vision until I was sur-
feited even with their surpassing beauty.
During this portion of my journey I found lit-
tle difficulty in threading the passages that opened
out before me. They were so numerous that my
only trouble was in choosing between them, and
this I did, of necessity, at a venture, trusting to
providence to guide my aching feet.
At last I came to a room of considerable size
from which led a solitary passage. I had fol-
lowed this for a distance that I judged to be a
quarter of a mile, when I observed that it was
tending downward. The fall at first was slight,
but it gradually became more and more slop-
ing as I advanced. After awhile I got to a point
where the fissure — for such it seemed to be — sud-
Before I could scrutinize my surroundings my
230 The Legionaries
feet slipped from under me and I slid down a
smooth incline, fetching up against a dry wall
at the bottom. No harm was done by the un-
premeditated coasting, but I was alarmed on
noticing that the fissure ended there. At one
side there was a well-like opening above me;
with that exception there was no exit save that
by which I had come. Reasoning that as the
other chambers through which I had passed were
seemingly on the same level the shaft might lead
to another, I examined its walls and determined
that it was possible to climb them. The hole was
less than a yard in diameter and numerous pro-
jecting stones furnished tolerable footholds.
Stringing my bundle of torches — now consid-
erably reduced in size — on my back, I began the
ascent. I made even better headway than I had
at first thought possible, for the shaft soon be-
came spiral, thus lessening the danger in falling if
I should lose my hold. To a man fresh and vig-
orous from rest and refreshment the work would
have been laborious ; to me it was a struggle. To-
ward what proved to be the end, the shaft again
became vertical and narrowed to a mere crack
where the stones had been wrenched asunder in
some mighty convulsion. I had to cast about for
openings large enough to admit my body, and
picked my way through spear-like points that
tore my clothes and flesh.
All things must end, and this painful experi
Through the Tunnels 231
ence was no exception to the rule. After many
minutes of alternate climbing, creeping and rest-
ing, I got to a place where there were no more
stony teeth to pierce me and no walls within
the reach of my hands. Throwing myself over
the brink of this terrible crevice, I lay panting
and exhausted on the cool floor of a room so
small that, from where I lay, the whole of it was
lighted by the single torch in my hand. It was, in
truth, but the mere widening of a passage, along
the arching roof of which, ten feet above my
head, ran a continuation of the fissure through
which I had just passed.
For a long time I rested thus, and then, pur-
suing my way and making many turnings in
and out, and up and down, and at last crawling
through a hole barely large enough to allow me
to proceed, I presently emerged into a part of
the cavern where the dome-like roof lifted up, and
up, to a height far beyond the reach of the rays of
the fresh torch that I brought into use.
But what was this mountainous mass piercing
the blackness above me? I began to shake as
with a fit of the ague, and tremblingly, and with
a haste born of a sudden great hope, I detached
and lighted another torch from my bundle and
held the two aloft in my unsteady hands.
"Thank God!" I cried aloud.
It was the first time I had spoken since I sat
beside the falling river. A subterranean moun-
232 The Legionaries
tain towered above to a height of nearly one hun-
dred and fifty feet, and yet I knew that the dome
of this immense chamber was still fifty feet above
that. I was in a known part of the great cavern
at last, and stood beside the solemn walls of the
"Cathedral," where I had stood on a former oc-
casion. Whereas I had begun my underground
pilgrimage seven miles in a straight line to the
south of the entrance to this stupendous tunnel, I
was now more than a mile to the north of it. But
what an immeasurably greater distance had I trav-
eled ! From here onward I knew the way, and
could follow it at my leisure.
The great strain that my situation had put
upon me relaxed, and I felt the weakness that my
exertions and the lack of food and sleep had pro-
duced. Putting my hand in my pocket for my
watch to ascertain the time, I found that it was
gone. Ah, well, that was a trifle now. I would
rest a little and then go on. Seeking a spot near
the cavern wall, I lay down and slept.
A DISCREDITED SPY
I WAS awakened by something striking me
sharply on the face, and sat up, startled and alert.
The light had burned out and I was in total dark-
ness. A great whirring sound rilled the impene-
trable gloom, and, as I listened, the near flutter of
wings and little fanning puffs of air told of the
zig-zag flight of the cave bats. I felt that I had
slept an hour, but it might have been much more
or less than that. So accustomed had I become
to irregular hours since being in the field that a
little sleep sufficed to refresh me. Excepting an
uncomfortable hunger, and a stiffness caused by
my bruises, I felt that I was none the worse for
my extraordinary adventures.
While preparing to light a fresh torch, my at-
tention was attracted by a perpendicular streak
of light that suddenly flashed upon the side of
the great underground mountain. Once there,
it remained stationary, save for a faintly vibrating
motion observable at its edges. I watched it for
several minutes, and then saw it rapidly widen
and disappear in a general glow that filled the
234 The Legionaries
part of the cavern on that side of the mountain
with a misty yellow light.
Turning my head, I saw through the mist, at a
height of twenty feet or more up the cavern's
wall, a powerful lantern, which was at once the
cause and the center of the display. The lantern
was held in a man's hand, and the man, standing
in a crevice in the wall which was barely wide
enough to give him room, was talking with some-
body behind him.
They were too far away for me to understand
what was said ; but presently a ladder was pushed
through edgewise and lowered to the ground, and
the man with the lantern came down. He then
turned the light upon the ladder, and a second
man descended ; then another followed and three
stood on the floor. Not one of them had spoken
since the ladder was lowered. But these were
clearly not all who were expected, for the light
still rested on the ladder and the three men
were looking upward toward the opening. There
seemed to be a commotion up there and angry
voices, in the midst of which could be distin-
guished another voice lifted up apparently in ap-
Finally a man was pushed out and began to
back down the rungs of the ladder; a rope was
around his neck and the rope reached up to the
hands of a stalwart fellow standing in the mouth
of the crevice, who was paying it out as the other
A Discredited Spy 235
descended. When the latter reached the ground
the rope was thrown to one of the three who stood
ready to receive it.
Other men bearing lanterns then came down —
how many I did not know, my eyes being upon
the prisoner. That he was a prisoner had been
already shown ; but the binding of his hands be-
hind his back, which two of the men now pro-
ceeded to do, removed any possible doubt. When
all had descended, the party moved to the other
side of the cavern behind the mountain. I fol-
lowed and secured a position where, without be-
ing myself in danger of discovery, I could both
see and hear what was going on.
The prisoner was seated on a fallen stalactite
near the wall, partly in the shadow, but soon one
of the lights was shifted so that its rays fell upon
his face. I started on seeing the pale counte-
nance of Dallas Vawter as he looked in a dull
and hopeless way about him, first at one man
and then at another, as if trying to read the fate
in store for him. Two of the men had drawn a
little apart from the others and were holding a
All of the men whose faces I could see were
unknown to me, but the two leaders I afterward
knew to be Griswold and Wysart, who, with the oth-
ers now about them, were members of one of the
numerous companies that the exigencies of their
border location had brought together for defense.
236 The Legionaries
against marauding bands of outside foes ; also, as it
appeared, for protection against any possible up-
rising at home, rumors of which had been widely
circulated. Where had they found Vavvter and
why had they brought him here? The conversa-
tion between the two men was not prolonged and
presently they went back to the group around
the prisoner. The latter was the first to speak.
"Oak-oun," he said, and repeated it twice
in a sort of refrain, as if bewailing an unhappy
lot, while his eyes were busy searching the coun-
tenances before him.
The men stared at him contemptuously as at
a whimpering coward, all except one, who,
standing farthest back and unobserved by his
companions, suddenly placed one hand on his
breast and lifted the other straight in the air,
as quickly lowering it, at the same time giving a
warning motion of his head. That some sort of
understanding was thereby established between
the two I did not doubt. Vawter's manner at
once seemed to change.
"I hope you have agreed on something pleas-
ant," he said, addressing Griswold in a tone of
now sneering bravado. "Make an end of it; you
have brought me to this pit of hell, now do your
devil's work and do it quickly. I have begged
all I shall."
"We have plenty of time," Griswold returned,
in a voice as grim and cold as th? rock about
A Discredited Spy 237
him. "We are not sure that we may not give
you a chance after all. I don't promise it, and
do not say what kind ; it depends on you."
"Perhaps," said Vawter, with a grimace, "you
will allow me a choice between strangulation and
a broken neck."
Griswold looked at him for a moment before
answering. "It is not exactly that; it is a choice
between certain death and a chance to live."
"Well, go on; I am listening."
"You have been in this country north of the
river for two months — just hanging around with
no business that we could see. A good many
times you've gone to Roger Bellray's house,
and Sumber's and Fisher's and others of their
kind. From your conduct we thought you were
a government agent gathering proofs against sus-
pects. While some of us didn't believe in that
way of trapping a man, we likewise did not see
fit to meddle with the government's business. To-
day you were seen among Morgan's men as bold
as brass and as insolent as any swashbuckling
thief among his three thousand."
As Vawter listened, his face took on a variety
of expressions — surprise, amusement, hope, the
first mentioned being given emphasis by a lifting
of the head, a half-open mouth and a questioning
look in his eyes. If he were acting he did it very
238 The Legionaries
"What are you driving at?" he asked impa-
tiently, as the other stopped.
"Just this; instead of being a Unionist agent
you are a rebel spy," said Griswold.
"And who in Satan's name are you, and these
— these gentlemen?" asked the prisoner.
"We're Unionists, and we've got mighty tired
of Kentucky spies, horse-thieves and guerrillas."
"Unionists!" exclaimed Vawter ; then, assum-
ing an appearance of indignation, he continued:
"You are a pretty pack of patriots, indeed; you
act more like babies or fools. Of course I was
with Morgan's men to-day, but before I was with
them I was with Captain Bracken — a man who
knows what he is up to, doesn't he? This is a fine
turn you have given me. Untie my hands."
"Not so fast," said Griswold, but looking
doubtful, while the men about him began to talk
among themselves in an unsettled way. "If you
are not a rebel spy, what are you?"
"I am what you first thought me — a govern-
ment agent ; none other in fact than one of Cap-
tain Bracken's secret service men," Vawter said
triumphantly, and then added, as he caught the
eyes of the one who had given the signal looking
at him suspiciously, "oak-oun, oak-oun." This
might mean much or little, but to my ears his
voice had in it a ring of appeal as he uttered the
A Discredited Spy 239
Griswold, as well as some of the rest, was
clearly wavering, but he asked another question :
"If you are what you claim to be why didn't
you say so before instead of resisting us and beg-
ging us not to kill you?"
"I might say that I thought it prudent not to
reveal my true character unless it became neces-
sary at the last minute to save my life. But to
tell the truth I was not certain until just now that
you were not Knights of the Acorn. I've been
pretty thick with some of them, and I was afraid
I had been seen reporting to Captain Bracken."
"So you took us for copperheads?" said Gris-
wold in an offended tone.
"Yes, and you thought I was a spy, guerrilla
and horse-thief. I think I have most cause for
offense," Vawter answered, laughing. "Here,
take off this cursed rope and I'll forgive your
blundering — though I'll confess you have given
my nerves a shock — and if I can tell you anything
that you want to know, consistently with my or-
ders, I am at your service. Come, untie me."
The man was either playing a bold game, for
which Griswold had given him an opening, or
else he was in earnest. I believed that he was at
least partly telling the truth.
Griswold turned to the man with whom he had
"What do you think, Wysart?"
"I think we'd better do now what we'd 'a'
240 The Legionaries
done in the beginning if we hadn't been so sure
of our game, and that's search the man, ' ' answered
Vawter's countenance fell and in spite of him-
self he turned pale again, a fact that the men were
quick to observe.
Wysart thrust his hands in the prisoner's pock-
ets and in a little while brought forth a piece of
paper, like a leaf torn from a small memorandum
book; holding it in the light of the lanterns, he
looked it over and then read aloud to his expec-
tant companions a pass, signed by my General, al-
lowing the bearer to pass his lines, in or out, and
bearing date of the night before.
Then turning to Vawter, Wysart said: "Here
is proof that you were in General Morgan's con-
fidence ; now show us your credentials from Cap-
"You fools!" cried Vawter, again making a
pretense of being very furious. "Do you sup-
pose I would have dared to show myself in the
raiders' camp with anything in my possession
showing my true character? General Morgan
would have had me hanged by the roadside in no
time. That writing proves nothing more than I
have already admitted — nothing more than you
knew before I admitted anything."
Without saying anything in return, Wysart
renewed his search of the prisoner's person with
greater care but with no result. As he stepped
A Discredited Spy 241
back his eyes seemed to rest on the peculiar metal
buttons on Vawter's coat. In a moment he had
taken a knife from his pocket and removing the
lower button began twisting at it with the ringers
of his two hands.
"Ah! What's this?" he suddenly exclaimed.
"Seems to me I've heard of this trick before, and
it's a right cute one, too."
The others crowded around so that I could not
see, but presently I heard Wysart's voice read-
"Headquarters, April 15, 1863.
"The bearer is entitled to confidence.
"Bragg, Maj. Gen."
"Do you still say that you are in the United
States secret service?" asked Griswold, when this
damning confirmation of his guilt was read.
Vawter felt that the tide was against him, but
he said, stoutly: "I do. I got the coat I am
wearing in the raiders' camp last night. I never
saw it before, never saw or heard of that paper
until you found it and read it. My name is not
in it; it belongs to somebody else. I did not
know that there was anything peculiar about
these buttons. For aught that I know there may
be a message of some sort in every one of them.
You will not believe me, of course, and I don't
expect you to. Do what you are going to do and
be quick about it."
16 - Legionaries.
242 The Legionaries
Saying this much he leaned back against the
rough cavern wall and looked at them defiantly.
"It's a waste of time to argue the matter fur-
ther," said Griswold, soberly. "We have made
no mistake ; you are all that we suspected and a
good deal more, no doubt. It looks very much
as if you are a traitor to both sides and that is
being about as 'ornery' as a man can get. Yet, in
the face of it all, we are disposed to seek informa-
tion of you on the condition already named. Do
"May it please you, gentlemen, there is noth-
ing else for me to do," said Vawter. "The sit-
uation is your making, and as between the certain
death that is promised on the one hand and a
chance to live that is not promised on the other,
I prefer the latter. Now, good sirs, if you have
made an end of your preliminaries, come to the
"Very well," said Griswold, quickly. "We
want to know about the arms found this afternoon
Vawter did not speak for a minute or two and
seemed to be considering. Seeing his hesitation,
Griswold again spoke: "You do not belong in
this country, and are a stranger to our quarrels.
The people who live hereabout are our neighbors,
and though we do not look at some things alike,
we do not want to suspect any man wrongfully
nor to do any man an injury unless he deserves it
A Discredited Spy 243
But we mean to protect ourselves and to stand up
for what we believe to be right. If you don't
know, say so ; if you do know, if you speak at
all, in heaven's name speak the truth."
"I know all about it," Vawter answered at
last. "And mind you, not as a conspirator, but
in pursuance of my duty as an agent of the gov-
He stopped again and seemed for a moment to
fix his gaze upon the man in the background,
who appeared to be very uneasy about some-
thing, then he went on : ' 'When Morgan went into
camp after crossing the river I was there. I had
attached myself to him as a guide, under instruc-
tions. That night Captain John Trenham — some
of you may know him — superintended the con-
veyance of the arms to Bellray's house. They
were supplied by the rebel government. I know
this because I followed him there and came near
getting murdered for my pains. The arms were
to be used in equipping a lot of Knights of the
Acorn for war — an uprising to assist the invasion.
The wounding of Bellray in the attempt to arrest
him no doubt scared the conspirators and frus-
trated their immediate plans."
1 'Who are the men who were to use the arms ? ' '
"That I don't know. Bellray was almost as
suspicious of me as you are. It was because I
couldn't learn who were conspiring with him that
I communicated some days ago to the proper au-
244 The Legionaries
thorities my belief that it was necessary to arrest
Bellray — who is the leader of them all — and in
that way scare the others. At that time I did not
know how near it was to the hour when they were
to begin cutting your precious throats. It seems
that I would have fared better if I had kept still
and let them go ahead, since you are alive to do
to me what they were preparing to do to you . ' '
"Is that all you know about it?" asked Gris-
"That's all — except as to the girl," answered
Vawter, feeling that he had at last made an im-
pression and hoping to strengthen it.
"Why, none other than that sister of Bellray's,
of course. She's in communication with the
"Is she a spy?"
"Call it what you will; she is in communica-
tion with the enemy. I don't apply the word
'spy' because it doesn't sound well, as I have
learned to-night," Vawter replied.
"It's impossible," said Griswold.
'I don't believe it," said Wysart.
Some of the other men spoke to like effect and
the prisoner saw that he had overstepped himself.
The two leaders again went aside and talked
between themselves for several minutes, while I,
who had heard Vawter's unblushing lies with con-
stantly rising anger, could scarce restrain myself
A Discredited Spy 245
from leaving my concealment and throttling the
rascal where he sat. Mechanically I gripped the
handle of my sword until my fingers ached with
the pain of it. When the two men came back
into the circle of lights, Griswold, as before, was
the first to speak.
"Men," he said, "Wysart and I don't take
any stock in what this fellow says. You know
that it was rumored that John Trenham was with
the raiders, and he was watched for, but nobody
saw him — "
"I forgot to say," broke in Vawter, "that I
assisted Captain Bracken in capturing Trenham
at five o'clock this morning, while he was on his
way from Bellray's to rejoin his troop, and he is
no doubt safe in Louisville long before this."
"This man is talking for his life," said Wysart.
"I myself saw him to-day fire at a loyal citizen
who refused to surrender his property at the com-
mand of one of the raiders. But Griswold thinks,
and so do I, that it is better to give him a chance
to save his worthless life on the condition that he
promises, if he gets out, to leave the country.
What do you say?"
The men all said that they were satisfied, and
Griswold turned to Vawter and said :
"There are three openings from this place.
One of them you can't reach for it is the one we
came through; that is the short way out.
Another is a small opening; that doesn't lead
246 The Legionaries
out at all. The last is a large passage, and by
following it carefully for a mile or so you will get
outside. If you choose to stay here long enough
somebody may come this way and lead you out.
Untie him, Wilson."
Vawter, when his hands were released, got to
his feet. The others, leaving him, went to the
ladder and began to mount it, each man carrying
"Are you going to leave me without a light?"
shouted the miserable man, hurrying behind
They made him no answer.
"How do you expect me to get out of this
hell-hole in the dark?" he screamed after them
as they continued to climb upward.
Wysart stopped half-way up the ladder, all the
others having preceded him, and looking down,
"That is the chance we give you, and it is
much better than the other thing."
"At least leave me a pistol," the wretch
"We think you had better not have a pistol,
but there is a sword up there that belonged to one
of the rebel officers. Do you know how to han-
dle it? If you don't it will serve as a tolerable
"I do; better than anything else," he said
eagerly, all his bravado gone.
A Discredited Spy 247
"Well, we don't. I'll drop it down to you."
So saying, Wysart mounted to the opening and
the ladder was drawn up. Then holding his light
before him so that its rays shone on the upturned,
anxious face of the forsaken man, he leaned out
and let fall the scabbarded weapon into Vawter's
"Now good-bye, you knave. If you get out,
as I think you will, leave the country. Your
skin won't be worth a muskrat's pelt another time,
depend on it."
Flinging down this message, Wysart disap-
peared from the opening, leaving the great "ca-
thedral" in darkness. It seemed to me that
just before he departed a strange sound fell from
his lips very like that which had been uttered by
Vawter, but it was likely in mockery of what he
believed to be the other's cowardice, for he
laughed rather boisterously immediately after-
THE DUEL IN THE CAVE
WHEN Vawter realized that he was actually
abandoned to his fate, he filled the mighty cham-
ber with curses, which he directed against all
who were concerned in bringing upon him his
present trouble. After a time he ceased his im-
potent oaths, and I heard him begin to grope
cautiously about in search of the outlet of which
he had been told. The fellow's character was such
as to justify an honest man in withholding sym-
pathy, and I, who was consumed by a righteous
wrath, was in a humor to adopt an extreme
course. Had it not been for my own experience
within the past twenty-four hours I might have
left him to his own resources.
As I sat, however, listening to the shuffling
steps, and the stumbling, halting progress of
Vawter my heart smote me, and I resolved to
offer myself as guide. And then, when we were
outside, face to face and on an equal footing —
then what? I grasped the handle of my sword,
and my breath came and went through my gritted
teeth. Judging from the faintness of the sounds
The Duel in the Cave 249
now made by Vawter, he had found his way to
the opposite side of the mountain. Lighting one
of my torches, I followed. The rays from the
flaming canes reached a long distance ahead, and
before I had proceeded far there was an excla-
mation, the noise of rapid steps, and Vawter's
voice broke out, before he came into my view,
"And so you were just trying my nerves, were
you, or are you coming back to finish the job?
But whatever you've come for — "and then,
turning the mountain's jutting base, he stood
within a few feet of one of the last persons he
could have expected to see in that place.
"Captain Trenham ! " he cried, springing back
a step. He had flung away the scabbard and
held the naked sword in his hand.
"I am glad you recognize me," said I calmly.
Vawter stood irresolute for several moments,
his face working under the influence of the warring
emotions of fear, hatred and relief, but of all these
that of hatred was the strongest.
"I don't wonder that you had your doubts on
that score," he said at last, recovering from his
surprise. "If you had a mirror handy you could
appreciate the humor of your question. You do
not much resemble the well-groomed officer who
last night struck me in the face in the presence of
"Whether I do or not, I distinctly remember
250 The Legionaries
the circumstance and am willing to give you
satisfaction," I returned as quietly as I could
under his goading. "But first, as you are not
familiar with this place, I offer you the benefit of
my light and my knowledge. The trying posi-
tion in which your friends left you appeals to me."
"Thanks," he said with a snarl. "Save your
sympathy for those who will accept it. I want
neither it nor your aid."
"As you will," I replied, half making ready to
go my way. "I felt it my humane duty to make
the offer but I can not compel you to accept it.
The passages are difficult but not absolutely im-
passable even in the darkness."
"Rather than put myself under any kind of ob-
ligation to you I will rot where I am, for I have
sworn to myself to kill you soon or late."
His manner suddenly became threatening, for
my appearance, I judged, told him that I was
weakened by something that had befallen me.
Or did he, coward-like, take my conduct as a
sign of fear, and look upon the offer of help as
being made in an effort to propitiate a dreaded
"You can kill me as well outside as here,"
said I, controlling myself by a great effort and
speaking without heat, "and have a much better
chance for your own safety."
"What is to prevent me from running you
through where you stand, and by the aid of your
The Duel in the Cave 251
excellent torch — then mine by the right of con-
quest — finding my own way?"
"This," I retorted, striking the hilt of my
"Bah," he cried, a scornful smile curling his
mouth. "You cavalrymen know only how to
hack and hew. The cracking of a head from a
safe seat on a horse's back is not the gentlemanly
way, and it is not mine. I warn you that in the
use of the sword I am your master."
"I am glad to know that you are skillful."
"Why should you be glad? Really, sir, you
are something of a humorist."
"Because I should not fight you if you were
not," said I, answering his question and ignoring
"Oh!" contemptuously. "You take high
ground, my captain ; or do you offer that as a
fair specimen of your wit?"
"There is such a thing as conscience — the in-
formation seems to surprise you — and it has cre-
ated in me an insurmountable prejudice against
doing a murder, for that it would be to kill a
man who is not able to defend himself."
"You make a good plea for yourself , but I am
not always — particularly now, in your case —
troubled by such a flimsy scruple. A man must
be prepared to look out for himself; if you are not
it is not my fault."
"Do not misunderstand me," said I, with
252 The Legionaries
strained seriousness, but feeling my temper rise
under his taunts. "I possess some skill myself.
Whether it is equal to that of which you boast I
do not know, but it is considerable. I am not
bragging of it — only putting you in possession of
the fact before you assail me."
"You are kind, indeed," he said jeeringly,
"but your assertion of excellence amuses rather
than frightens me. The only really serious con-
cern of my life has been to master this weapon —
a sort of fad, you know. And, by the way, this
sword fits nicely to my hand and seems to be of
Saying which, he stepped back a pace and
made several graceful passes and lunges at an
imaginary foe to test the blade and incidentally
to impress me with his proficiency in its use.
"Come," I said, impatiently; "if you will not
accept my guidance, I will leave with you my
last extra torch. With it you can follow me and
I will wait for you on the outside."
"Pardon me, but since thinking the matter
over, I prefer to settle our differences here. The
light might be better, but the room is ample, and
the temperature delightful. It is, I assure you,
too hot for our work in the outer air. Besides,
you might not see fit to wait for me, or we might
be disturbed. When I leave this place I choose
to leave it as quietly as possible. Nobody will
know where you are, and my suit for the hand of
The Duel in the Cave 253
the fair Kate may again prosper — aye, it will
"Stop!" I exclaimed at this. "You will pro-
voke me too far and I shall forget my good pur-
pose." But he went on unheedingly, as if deter-
mined to affront me beyond endurance :
"She acted very well the other night — for it
was acting — when she saw that you were watch-
ing, and concluded that the presence of so fierce a
warrior as- the renowned Captain Trenham might
endanger my safety. She was wrong there, of
course, but your interruption prevented what
would otherwise have been a very tender parting.
We will adjust all our affairs here and now."
"You lying knave," cried I, hoarse with sup-
pressed fury. "If nothing else will do you, so
be it," and drawing the sword, which more than
once I had been on the point of abandoning as
cumbersome, I unbuckled my belt and threw the
Then taking up the last extra torch of canes I
lighted it in the blaze of the other and both were
stuck into cracks in the stone wall, thus brightly
illuminating a space on the cavern's floor having
a diameter more than sufficient for our purpose.
These preparations were made without a word
being spoken by either. When they were com-
pleted, Vawter, who had watched me all the
while, as I could see from the corner of my eye
— for I did not in the least trust him — coolly re-
254 The Legionaries
moved his hat and coat and put them out of the
way. I did likewise with my coat, having no hat.
Then we faced each other in the center of the
lighted circle, no mortal eye upon us, no human
presence to stay our hands. Vawter's lips curled
insolently as he toyed with his weapon, and yet
as he looked into my eyes and noted my earnest-
ness I felt that his confidence failed him a little.
For a moment only did we gaze at each other,
and then throwing himself into position, Vawter
"Come on, Mr. Cavalryman; begin your hack-
Instantly our blades flashed and rang as they
met. For a few seconds they ground together
while each looked into the other's eyes for the
sign of attack. Presently the sudden increase
of pressure against my sword warned me of a
thrust, which followed instantly, but which I easily
parried. After that Vawter made feints, lunges
and thrusts with great rapidity and skill, but I,
being content to let him exhaust himself, met
them all with an art which I was vain enough to
believe was not inferior to his own. And then,
too, I felt that the binding of his arms at the
wrists, from which he was not long freed, was at
least not to my disadvantage, for without a well-
conditioned wrist the highest art may prove of no
avail against even a clumsy but bold opponent.
A man ready in defense should be no less ex-
The Duel in the Cave 255
pert in onset, and as I had so far been successful
in the first, I hoped, for its moral effect, that
Vawter might believe that I would be equally effi-
cient in the latter. A lack of confidence in one's
self is worse than overfaith, and since it may be
produced as well by discovering an enemy's
strength as by knowledge of one's own weakness,
I put forth my powers as far as I could without
wasting my strength, for I found that I was deal-
ing with no mean antagonist.
When, after the lapse of several minutes, Vaw-
ter had tried every stroke and trick in which he
was practiced without breaking through my
guard, I fancied that he was beginning to be less
hopeful of a favorable outcome. Seeming to real-
ize this himself, with a desperation begotten by
the too evident failure of his boasted prowess, he
fell upon me for a while with renewed vigor, ply-
ing his blade in drive and thrust, but still he did
not reach. Then, as he rested for a moment,
the weapons sliding against each other with a
metallic purring sound, I felt that the time had
come for me to abandon the defensive attitude
that I had thus far maintained.
"Guard yourself, sir," cried I.
"Look to your own skin," he flung back.
For a few seconds more the purring continued,
then came a harsher grind of steel, accompanied
by a clicking sound as if the hotly throbbing
blood of both shook the weapons with every
256 The Legionaries
heart-beat. Vawter, in despairing rage, at-
tempted a villainous foul, but knowing his treach-
erous character I foresaw the blow, and evaded it.
Immediately, in pursuance of my warning, I
became the aggressor, and slipped my blade from
one side to the other of my opponent's sword,
executing frequent short thrusts and feints with
an adeptness that seemed to nettle him, and play-
ing over and under his guard in a way calcu-
lated to show him that I was particular where I
should touch. My chief purpose, of course, was
not that, but was to uncover his parades.
As in attack, now in defense Vawter put forth
his utmost skill, exhibiting both a natural and
trained dexterity of a high order, and skillfully
foiling many of my attempted disengagements ;
but I kept my arm moving rapidly in the manner
that I had been taught by the best master in
France, and soon saw in his face signs of distress
beneath the scowl that he had worn all along.
He at last fell to defending himself mechanically,
and appeared to be waiting for the thrust that
should settle the contest.
I did not seek his life, for twice had my point
found an opening and slightly pricked his body,
and once, going over his guard, had flashed be-
neath his frightened eyes to his very throat and
then leaped back again, leaving him shaking and
ghastly. But a quick realization of my forbear-
ance bolstered his spirit and restored strength to
The Duel in the Cave 257
his arm, and for a little time he worked with des-
peration. That he would kill me if he could I was
well satisfied, while I did not desire more than his
I set about to end the combat. Twice I made
a serious effort to touch him and failed, whereat
he spat out vicious taunts to further disconcert
me, which almost made me regret that I had not
run him through. Warned by a growing faintness
that my long fast was telling upon me, and dread-
ing lestVawter should see my plight, I summoned
to my aid all of my reserve strength and, with
set mouth and stern gaze, began pushing my ad-
versary, having a dim, half-bewildered conscious-
ness that the end was near.
For an instant there was light play of the
swords, then once more and for the last time a
tense grating of steel, then the gleam of a
straight blade. With an exclamation of pain
Vawter staggered backward, his weapon falling
from his relaxed hand to the cavern floor with a
loud, resonant clang. His sword arm hung by
his side, and blood stained his white sleeve and
dripped from his fingers.
"I am at your mercy, sir," he said, reeling,
his face very white.
Casting my weapon aside, I threw my arm
about my defeated adversary, and supporting him
to a seat at the base of the mountain, set to
17 — Legionaries.
258 The Legionaries
work to ascertain the character of the wound. A
look sufficed to show that my sword had pierced
the arm through and through a few inches above
the elbow, missing the bone.
"The injury is not serious, Mr. Vawter," I
said when the examination was finished.
"For which I thank you; you could just as
easily have found my heart."
"I never intended to take your life; what I did
was to prevent you from taking mine."
"You are a magnanimous foe, for I would have
killed you if I could, as I told you. And I really
thought I could, but you surprised me."
I made no response to this frank avowal, and
proceeded to bind up the wound as best I could
with strips torn from the injured man's shirt.
Completing this task, I then conducted him to a
near-by spring of which I had knowledge and re-
freshed him with a drink of the cold water ; then
removed from both as far as possible the red signs
of the conflict. This done, I said:
"I renew my offer to act as your guide from
this place. It is impossible that you should
again refuse, for you will presently require the at-
tention of a surgeon."
A look of gratitude came into the man's face
and for the time obscured its evil lines.
"You are the master," he said; "command
and I obey. And, Captain, let me say that I feel
that you have done me good by the wholesome
The Duel in the Cave 259
lessons that you have impressed upon me within
the past half hour. It may not last, for I have
been too long leading a wicked and irresolute life
to change all at once. But just now I feel a new
kind of impulse and sensations to which hereto-
fore I have been a stranger. I say it may not last,
and to-morrow I may be just as eager to cut your
throat as I was thirty minutes ago, and follow
just as recklessly as in the past the straight road
to hell. Somehow I hope these new feelings will
last. Will you take my hand?"
I grasped the extended hand and pressed it
warmly, though it was not, I will confess, with-
out some thought of the sick devil's resolution to
become a monk.
"It is the left one, but that isn't my fault, you
know," he said, smiling weakly.
"The other will soon be sound enough," said
I, and then continued : "There is no reason why
you shouldn't be what you hope; for your own
sake try. As for me I bear you no malice." It
should not be said that I withheld from a peni-
tent enemy the support of my encouragement.
"I have done you grave injuries."
"I have falsely accused you to your old neigh-
bors of doing a dastardly thing."
"I heard it all."
"And I lied about her'*
260 The Legionaries
"I heard that, too, and — once I thought I
would kill you for it."
"I almost wish you had ; my life is worthless."
"We will not discuss these things now," I re-
turned. "We must be off."
Without further words the start was made. As
we went along he told me how, leaving my General's
column late in the afternoon, he turned back, pur-
suing a course far to the westward of that followed
in the morning and intending to reach Leaven-
worth. He did not feel that it would be safe for
him to show himself openly to any of the inhabi-
tants about Corydon, for fear that they had mis-
understood him and his part in the day's adven-
tures. Saying which, he laughed mockingly,
muttering, "the fools, the idiots," and other un-
complimentary terms from which I concluded
that the leopard could not change all of his spots
About nine o'clock he had been set upon by a
party of horsemen who, recognizing him, had
carried him off into the woods a little distance
where they held a council of war, as he phrased it,
in which he heard the words "spy" and "arms"
and "Bellray's." One or two of the men had,
he thought, proposed to hang him at once without
the benefit of clergy. But after a little time they
had taken him to a hole in the ground where lan-
terns were produced, and from thence to the place
where they had left him.
The Duel in the Cave 261
"I prefer to forget what took place there," he
said a little mournfully.
Then he brightened again. "For awhile they
had me going, and my nerves were a little shaky.
But after a time it occurred to me that I had an
arrow which I had not shot, and so I sang a short
ditty that seemed to meet with the approbation
of at least one of the knaves, for he indicated that
I had a friend at court. How he happened to
be in that company — but then I am sometimes in
queer company myself."
An hour's easy progress brought us into the
open air which seemed as good and sweet to me
as the breath of paradise after my long immure-
ment, and a prayer of thankfulness for God's
mercy rose in my heart as I turned my eyes upon
the star-studded sky. Extinguishing my torch,
we went a little aside and sat down to rest be-
fore parting, each to go his way, Vawter toward
Leavenworth, a few miles distant, and I — where?
Presently we heard voices, and soon two men,
one of them bearing a lantern, emerged from the
entrance that we had left a few minutes before.
Reaching the outside, the one with the light
raised it to put it out, in the act disclosing the
faces of the two men.
"It is my friend," whispered Vawter, "and —
hell's fire — "
"AndWysart," I added.
It was indeed the man who had given the sign
262 The Legionaries
from the background in response to Vawter's pe-
culiar refrain, and one of the leaders, who, while
able, no doubt, and willing to answer also was
not in a position to do so with safety. They did
not tarry, but made off, and I heard them as they
went assuring each other that they had at least
done their duty. When they were well out of
sight and hearing, my companion, after re-assert-
ing that he was no longer my enemy, also left
me, his face so white and drawn with the pain of
his wound that I observed it even in the feeble
light afforded by the stars, and pitied the rascal,
for such he had been and was likely to continue.
He had told me nothing further than I have re-
lated, but it was plain enough that he andWysart
and the other, though strangers, were bound by
some sort of tie, of which they could make dem-
onstration. The two men had, after leaving their
companions, returned to give him aid, so artfully
had he thrown in the magic word while pro-
nouncing himself the servant of their enemy. He
was in truth a very accomplished knave,
WORD BY THE REFUGEE
BEING again on top of the ground and not
knowing what better to do just then, I set out for
my mother's house, intending to remain there if
I could until an opportunity offered to get out of
the country. There was no reasonable hope of
being able to rejoin my command, which would be
forced to sweep ahead like a thunder cloud before
the breath of the storm behind it. Once at my
mother's, I could lie quietly by, and undercover
of the following night reach the Ohio and trust
to luck to find some means of recrossing into
With these thoughts in my mind I went along
until I had covered most of the distance to be
traversed, thinking little of my physical state;
but now I began to feel faint and weak from the
lack of food and the reaction from the strain under
which I had labored for so many heart-breaking
hours. My feet were heavy as lead, and my
limbs moved sluggishly and with difficulty. Com-
ing to a large boulder by the side of the road I
sat down upon the ground to rest, my back against;
264 The Legionaries
the rock. My mother's home was not far away,
and if I did not misjudge the hour I still had am-
ple time to reach it before daylight. Nothing
was further from my intention than to allow my-
self to fall asleep, yet such a misadventure over-
I was awakened by hearing my name called. It
was broad daylight, and many horsemen stood in
the road a few feet away, all of them wearing the
garb of my General's soldiers. What had hap-
pened to stop them here? Had they thus early
been defeated and scattered?
"In God's name, Trenham, what's the matter
with you?" called out a familiar voice, none other
than that of Captain Sivad, who had been de-
tached from the main column before we crossed
the river, and had not rejoined us at the time
that event took place.
He had, it subsequently transpired, himself
crossed at Twelve Mile Island, with two troops,
which had been reduced to less than fifty men, the
number now with him. I did not wonder at his
consternation on beholding me, ragged, bare-
headed, and w@e-begone as I certainly looked.
On my part, while my satisfaction was great on
seeing him and his men, I felt a sense of mortifi-
cation at my plight, though there was no need,
considering what had led to it.
"There is enough the matter with me, Sivad,"
I answered, referring to his exclamatory question.
Word by the Refugee 265
"But the thing I need most urgently is some
breakfast, as I have eaten nothing for thirty
Whatever misfortunes these men had suffered,
the want of food was not one, and without more
ado my needs in this respect were quickly sup-
plied. While I was eating, I recounted enough
of my experiences to explain my present situa-
tion. Captain Sivad, on his part, having ac-
quired it from the inhabitants, had more recent
information than I as to the General's move-
ments, and confided to me his purpose to get out
of the country before he was completely de-
It would be the wildest folly, he proclaimed,
to attempt to follow the main body of our fellows.
In this respect we were of one mind, for nothing
was clearer than the fact that we could not now
hope to be of any service to our chief, and that
an attempt to render any, as the situation now
showed itself, would lead to nothing more or less
than our own annihilation.
Sivad told me also that he had heard that
a large force of mounted Federal soldiers had
crossed the river the evening before in pursuit of
the General, and that he thought he would lie by
for a day until the enemy was out of the neigh-
borhood. As it was, he had traveled most of the
night, without a guide and hap-hazard. To this
he was put by much harrying and because of
266 The Legionaries
his belief that his position and strength were
known, and that the legionaries were concentrating
to attack him in such numbers as to leave him
small chance to save the poor remnant of his
A deep wood lay to the south of the road, and
into that we made our way for probably half a
mile until we came to a narrow grassy valley be-
tween two fair-sized hills. Near the middle of
the valley ran a little stream of clear water. It
seemed to be an ideal place for our purpose, as
the forest was dense and extensive in all direc-
Being myself without a horse, I had waited at
the side of the road until all of the men were
well into the wood and then started to follow on
foot. I had not gone far and was still within the
view of persons who might, by chance, pass along
the road, when I heard the clatter of hoofs. I
dropped instinctively to the ground before turn-
ing my eyes in the direction of the sounds. When
I did look, I saw two women on horseback in the
act of checking their horses while they turned
their faces toward where I lay.
To my amazement they proved to be Kate
Bellray and Betty West. I knew that they had
long been accustomed to early morning rides, but
I was greatly surprised to see them at this time in
view of the unsettled condition of the country.
Just now as they gazed in my direction, if not at
Word by the Refugee 267
me — for I felt that I could not be seen where I
lay — I fancied that they looked startled. From
this it was easy to judge that they had either seen
me or some of the cavalrymen straggling further
on through the trees.
Had I been alone I might have revealed my-
self and hailed them, disreputable as my appear-
ance was, but as matters were no such thought en-
tered my mind. They did not stop, but only slowed
their pace, and this but briefly, for in a mo-
ment they turned squarely about and putting
whip to their animals went rapidly back in the
direction from which they came. This action
was sufficient to confirm my already well-founded
conjecture that we had been observed. But there
was no help for it, nor did it greatly increase my
apprehension. I said nothing about it to Sivad,
for I could conceive of no way in which the little
that the girls had seen was likely to prove harm-
ful to us.
During the day the horses grazed contentedly
upon the grass bordering both sides of the stream,
and the men, lying about in the shade of the
trees, secured the sleep of which they, like my-
self, greatly stood in need. Not all day, however,
were they thus idle. Sivad, about noon, sent
three men back to the road, with instruction to
bring in some passer-by from whom information
might be obtained. Two hours later they reap-
peared, one of them leading a horse upon which
268 The Legionaries
sat a boy of sixteen or thereabout, while the other
two walked behind. He was at once taken before
Captain Sivad for questioning, appearing to be
very cool and self-possessed, and exhibiting no
trace of fear.
"Well, my boy, what is your name?" asked
the officer, not unkindly.
"It's Sam Hollen — I don't mind tellin' you as
a name won't ha'm nobody."
"Do you live around here?"
"Yes, suh; I wo'k at Mistah Bellray's — been
theah since last wintah."
"You don't talk like a Hoosier."
"I ain't suh, I'm f'om Geo'gy," said the boy,
looking Sivad calmly in the face. "And I ain't
a rebel, like you'ns."
"Oh, I see; you are a refugee," answered the
officer smiling. "Well, it's no matter; have you
seen any Union soldiers to-day?"
"Hain't seen nothin' else, much, but I've been
lookin' mostly fo' a rebel. 'Spect you kin tell me
wheah he is. I don' know — mebby it's you" —
the latter doubtfully — "no, it's not you, ceh-
tainly not you. You ain't Cap'n Trenham, ah
"I am Captain Trenham," said I stepping for-
ward eagerly. "What do you want with me?"
The boy looked me over critically. "It's a
little mo' like it, but not what I expected f'om
Word by the Refugee 269
what she said. Is theah mo' than one Cap'n
There was now a laugh at my expense and
Sivad wanted to know what I had been up to,
being ignorant, like the others, that I had friends
here. I knew that the lad had come from Kate,
but for what purpose? She had recognized me,
that was clear, but being with Betty had, for
some reason, kept the knowledge to herself.
"There is only one Captain Trenham, and I
am he," said I quickly. "Speak; what is it?"
He slowly put his hand in his trousers' pocket.
"I've got something fo' you — if I hain't lost it.
No, heah it is."
There was a crackling of paper in his pocket as
his fingers clutched something, and he drew out a
small envelope, crumpled and sweat-stained, and
passed it to me. There was no address of any
kind on the outside. I broke the seal and took
out the enclosure, a half sheet of dainty letter
paper. This is what I read, evidently written in
haste and trepidation :
"I saw you this morning; I can't be mistaken.
B — did not see you but she saw the others. I
did not see them. Union soldiers going by all
morning. B — gave information. I tried to pre-
vent her; we quarreled and she called me a rebel.
Oh ! Oh ! Oh ! They will send a large force, no
doubt, for B — says there were hundreds. Save
yourself and do it quickly if this reaches you, as
270 The Legionaries
I pray it may. I am doing something terrible,
but it is for you, not the others."
That was all, no signature, no names, but
Kate's distressed face looked out from every
word. After reading I took out a match and set-
ting fire to the message watched it until it was
consumed, then ground the blackened remnant to
dust between my palms. Until now I had re-
mained silent, while Sivad and the men about
watched me curiously.
"Let the boy go," said I at last, absently,
turning to those who had brought him.
Sivad looked at me, flushing a little. "You
forget, Captain Trenham, that I command here,"
he said, with some irritation.
"Pardon me," I returned, thus recalled to my-
I took him apart from the others and acquaint-
ed him with the character of the information that
had come to me, and his soldier spirit was aroused.
"We will take the road. I have already lost
two-thirds of the brave fellows who crossed the
river with me and can do little with the handful
that is left, but that little shall be done."
Being a careful officer, Captain Sivad upon
going into camp had posted guards, and these
he gave orders to call in, except those in the
direction of the highway, who could be taken up
as we marched out of the wood. The fact that
no alarm had come from them assured; ' us that
Word by the Refugee 271
there had been delay in sending an expedition
against us, but that we should meet our opposers
somewhere neither Sivad nor I had the least
doubt. The boy who had brought the message,
on being further questioned by me while the
men were bringing up their horses, said that he
had left Bellray's about eleven o'clock, but
guessed that he would have started sooner had he
not been gone since early morning on another
"Miss Katewus 'most crazy when I got home,
no otha men folks about and Mistah Rogah
wo'se than nobody. He was wo'ked up that
bad theah's no tellin', seein' the soljah's way off
theah, and declarin' the wah wus begun at last.
He's cehtainly crazy now, shuah nuff ; don't know
any mo' wheah I came f'om, when it's only last
wintah I run away f'om Geo'gy to keep f'om bein'
'scripted some day, and aftah wanderin' 'round
freezin' and sta'vin' 'most to death, he found me
in New Albany, and tuk me home with 'im. He's
not very strong Union, but said I had no call
to fight fo' the rebels ef I didn't b'lieve they
wus right. He gimme money to bring mothah
no'th, fo' we weah very po', but I hain't had no
chance yet. Fathah, he's daid — shot one night
last summah, by some of you'ns, I guess, jes'
like we'uns shot Mistah Bellray. We ah all a
good deal alike, no'th an' south; wheah the
272 The Legionaries
most is, they want to make the res' think jes'
He wiped a tear from his eye when he alluded
to his family, and then proceeded to deliver the
subsequent opinion of human kind with philo-
sophical composure. He had got off the horse
and stood holding it by the bridle. Just now
came an order to take saddles and he turned and
looked at me questioningly.
"Somebody he ah ain't got no hoss," he said.
"How do you know that?" I asked, starting
guiltily at his words.
"I don' know much, but I ken see an' count,
an' I've counted the hosses an' theah's fo'ty-
seven, an' then I counted you'ns an' theah's
fo'ty-eight. She said if Captain Trenham ain't
got no hoss fo' him to tek Prince. He's huh
own an' theah ain't none bettah. Ef it's you,
suh, that's afoot tek Prince, else I wouldn't dah
I felt my face grow red with embarrassment as
I realized that her quick eyes and keen intuition
had correctly interpreted my unfortunate state, of
which I was myself painfully conscious. Several
of the men during the day had offered to surren-
der their mounts to me, and insisted when I re-
fused, but I could not bring myself to accept such
A cavalryman without a horse flounders as
badly as a fish on land and is almost as helpless.
Word by the Refugee 273
They had then proposed to go out and "borrow"
one from some near-by farmer, but this I would
not allow ; nor would Sivad consent if I were will-
ing to pursue so summary a method, for to put it
on no higher ground our position was desperately
precarious and required us to shun observation as
far as possible. So it happened that they had to
be content with providing me with a hat, an extra
one that I could make answer being found some-
where among their furnishings.
And now, if I did not accept the fine animal
at my hand, I must abandon my sorely pressed
comrades. While I was hesitating the captain
came up, already mounted, and with him one of
the men, a young fellow with fair hair, who, as
I had previously noticed, carried one arm in a
sling from a recent wound. It seemed to be a
severe injury, for his manner was feverish and
he appeared to be in a bad way generally. He
had been lying down all day, taking little ac-
count of anything going on about him.
"Smith says he can't go any further," said
Sivad; "swears that he will tumble at the first
gallop, and wants to lie right down here in the
woods and stay."
"That's right; I'm done fo' fo' a time, and
the's no denyin' it," said Smith, as he tottered
off a little way, and stretched himself out on the
grass in the shade of a tree.
18 — Legionaries.
274 The Legionaries
Captain Sivad looked at the boy, whose eyes,
with a strange light in them, had followed the
man on the ground. "Here, you runaway from
Georgia, will you take care of this man and get
him some place where he can have a doctor?"
"Yes, suh, I will, an' I ought to; it's my
brothah, Smith Hollen, the only rebel in the
family," replied the boy, with trembling voice.
He then walked quickly to the side of the sick
man, and kneeling down called his name. The
other looked up, a flash of recognition in his eyes.
"Hello, little Bub; ain't you a long way f'om
home?" Then reaching up his sound arm he put
it across the boy's shoulders, and the latter be-
gan to cry. Stout-hearted lads they were, both
of them, but human.
I went over and laid my hand on the younger's
head and he lifted his face: "Tell her that I
thank her," I said.
"Yes, suh; cehtainly."
Thus we left them and the horse Prince, I rid-
ing the extra animal that had been ridden by the
refugee's brother. We had not proceeded more
than half the distance to the road when we heard
some shots, and presently one of the pickets came
tearing through the timber which on this side
was open enough to admit of fair passage to horse-
men. By reason of a slight rise in the ground
the road was not yet in view and we could not
see the cause of his haste, nor did we need. He
Word by the Refugee 275.
approached and reported to the captain the pres-
ence of a troop of Federal cavalry and some un-
mounted legionaries. The latter were entering
the wood while the cavalry remained in the road.
"That's not as bad as it might be," said Sivad
to me. I was riding with him at the head of his
We went flying forward and soon reached the
summit of the rise. The legionaries who were
scattered about in our front at once opened a fe-
verish fire, which did us no damage as we swept
along in open order. A sound of firing coming
from the direction of the camp we had left told
that the foot soldiers were also marching upon us
through the wood. Our voluntary departure had
deprived them of the satisfaction of driving us.
The legionaries before us, not knowing our
strength and probably believing it to be much
greater than it was, after firing another ineffect-
ual round apparently in increased excitement,
broke from cover and ran pell-mell toward the
road, our fellows hammering after them like mad,
jumping logs, dodging low-hanging limbs and
performing other feats made necessary by the
character of the ground.
Near the road there was less obstruction and
we were able to draw together and assume a more
regular and efficient formation. But after all, the
approaching contest could be little better than a
scampering, happy-go-lucky affair on our side,
276 The Legionaries
with the chances wofully against us. For we
now saw, instead of the single troop standing
grimly off to the eastward, ready to pounce upon
us as soon as we should clear the wood, another
group of horsemen on our left which had hitherto
been concealed from us by a row of wild cherry
trees. The legionaries, now seeing our feeble
numbers and emboldened thereby, stopped and
renewed their fire from behind the bank of a ra-
vine on our right.
Captain Sivad, riding at my bridle, looked
flushed and anxious. The two troops of Federal
cavalry remained motionless in their respective
positions, thus holding the road in both directions
with a force superior to our own.
"Ah!" cried Sivad, and then he shouted an
order to halt that brought us to a stand just at
the margin of the road. "They think they have
The firing had ceased and two officers cantered
toward us from the eastern troop, one of them
bearing a flag of truce. Sivad and I rode out to
meet them and they saluted us with great re-
spect. After asking who was in command one
of the officers, a lieutenant, as his well-worn uni-
form proved, demanded our surrender, asserting
that we were hopelessly beset.
Without a moment's hesitation or wavering,
Sivad refused, bluntly but courteously, declaring
that he still had fifty stout men, and that, though
Word by the Refugee 277
the way was blocked, he would take his chances on
cutting a path for himself. The interview ended
there, and again saluting respectfully, as though
we were not at once to begin cutting each other's
throats, both parties wheeled about and returned
to the head of their respective forces.
Waiting only long enough for the Federal offi-
cers to rejoin their troop and report the futility of
their errand we swung into the highway, but instead
of going to the eastward, we went west, straight
toward the bunch of blue-trousered troopers that
rilled the road to its edges. They got under
way with a shout and came on, much more eager
for the fray, but not more determined than we,
who had been put to a choice of evils and had
taken the most manly and also the most hazard-
ous and hopeless one. Before there was time to
calculate our chances with the foe before us, we
struck with great clash and outcry, our fresher
horses giving us an impetus that sent us far into
their ranks; but these ranks were deep and as
lusty as our own.
The animal I was riding, being spirited but too
light for the work he was put to, was at the onset
struck squarely on the shoulder by a powerful
charger whose gleaming white teeth showed
viciously at my saddle horn. The blow, by rea-
son of superior weight hurled my mount toward
the edge of the line, partly turning him about and
278 The Legionaries
directly in front of an officer whose sword was
lifted to strike me.
The officer was Philip Deverny, and he uttered
my name as he turned his weapon aside. Just
then came a flash and a report seemingly at my
very face, a shock and a sting, and I pitched
headlong from my horse. The animal, evidently
a new acquisition and unused to battle, with no
hand now at his rein, dashed to one side snorting
with fear, and dragged me after him, my shoulders
on the ground and one foot fast in the stirrup.
How far I was drawn along I can not tell, for pres-
ently I received a tremendous thump on the head
and knew no more.
AND SOME DAY
About nine o'clock in the morning of the sec-
ond day after the events last related, two men
rode at a leisurely pace out of the county town
of Corydon. One was a deputy of the district
provost; the other was Griswold.
"And so," said the latter, when they had got
well beyond the town, "proceedings against Bell-
ray have been suspended."
"Yes," answered the deputy, a youngish man
of good presence. "What else could be done?
The doctors declare that he is now 11011 compos
mentis — which means, in plain English, that his
mind is not right — and they furthermore declare
that he will never be any better until his skull is
repaired by some one who understands that sort
of carpentry. It seems that he was hurt three or
four years ago, and their theory is that that bul-
let of Spelker's traveled over the ground covered
by the former injury, and set his mental clock
back to that time, completely wiping out every-
thing that has happened since."
280 The Legionaries
"It may be," said Griswold, thoughtfully,
"that the old hurt explains his recent conduct."
The other laughed. "I don't remember that
all these other people had a knock on the head,
but it is possible. It would at least be a charita-
ble thing to believe."
"What has become of Spelker?" asked Gris-
wold, after a while.
"Why, man, haven't I told you?" was the
counter-query. "It was all simple enough; a
mountain fell on him, or something like that."
"What is the joke? I don't understand it."
"It is no joke at all; at any rate it was not to
Spelker, nor would it be to you or me if the same
thing should happen to us," said the deputy se-
riously. "He thought he had killed Roger Bell-
ray — indeed, he boasted of it that night in Cory-
don — and Bellray, whatever may be said of him,
has many friends. Within an hour or two after
making his boast he got word in some way — and
it must have come to him very straight — that he
had been marked by the brethren of the acorn for
slaughter. Now Spelker, as we all know, was
more discreet than valorous where his personal
safety was concerned. So he put himself under
Captain Bracken's protection and started to leave
the country for a time. That very night Brack-
en's party with Spelker and another" — he paused
for a moment, looking at his companion; "well,
I may as well tell you — it can do no harm now as
And Some Day — 281
his cake is dough here anyway — and another, by
name Vawter, a useful rascal if you don't trust
him too far, left town together, Vawter to rejoin
his latest employer, then uncomfortably near, and
Bracken and the others to take boat somewhere
along the river for Louisville. Early in the morn-
ing they picked up Captain John Trenham, who
had taken the night to visit his mother, and car-
ried him along as prisoner of war. All this, re-
member, came to me last night in a report from
Bracken. Well, separating from Vawter, the
captain pushed toward the river and came upon
it near Kinkle's Landing. He saw a packet com-
ing up, and as the road down was too far away,
he, under Spelker's leadership, undertook to
make a short cut through a break in the bluffs.
All that Bracken knows is that from the side of the
ravine hundreds of tons of limestone and earth
tumbled down on the two unfortunate men, and —
there they are. That is what became of Spelker,
and likewise of poor Trenham. I don't care
much for the horse-trader, for he was constantly
swindling the government that he professed to
love and was an arrant coward to boot. As for
Trenham, we have one enemy the less."
"It was merited and quick retribution in his
case, too," asserted Griswold, solemnly.
"Howso? And why retribution?"
"Because it was he that took the arms to Bell-
ray's. It was for that purpose he was out that
282 The Legionaries
night instead of to pay a visit to his mother,"
exclaimed Griswold, bitterly. "It was to arm
the people that you call 'brethren of the acorn'
to stab us in the back while we faced the raiders. ' '
"Since you speak of that matter," returned
the deputy, facing the other with a suggestive
smile, "I remember that I also have a letter from
Vawter, received yesterday morning at the hands
of a reliable messenger, in which he reports a
narrow escape from a band of desperate char-
acters to whom he attributes some patriotism
but more fear for their own skins. He says these
people carried him off to some underground place,
mistaking him — and not altogether without rea-
son, it must be admitted — for a rebel spy work-
ing in cahoots with the men of the acorn, and
there forced from him, as the price of his life, a
confession as to how the arms came to be at Bell-
ray's. He says he told these men that Captain
Trenham had them conveyed there, and told
them a lot of other stuff, all of which he asserts
positively to be untrue, and writes that he hastens
to tell me, as the responsible man hereabout, so
that no mischief will result from his unwilling
"Is that all he says?" asked Griswold, red-
"Does he not say where these — these desper-
And Some Day — 283
ate people took him and what they did with him
after he confessed?"
"No, the letter is very short, which he ex-
plains by saying that he had to write left-handed,
as he had that same night, after his inquisitors
left him, fallen and seriously injured his right
"I don't wonder that he did," said Griswold,
"What's that?" asked the deputy.
"I don't wonder that he wrote a short letter if
he had to do it left-handed. It's a difficult thing
for a right-handed man to do," responded the
other, escaping from his blunder.
If Vawter had seen fit to hold his tongue — for
he must have heard his name and Wysart's at least
— he, Griswold, would do likewise, for the dep-
uty provost was a trifle jealous of his powers, and
might not countenance independent action, espe-
cially when it was directed against one of the gov-
ernment's information gatherers.
They continued their journey in silence, save
for a remark now and then on matters not con-
nected with this story, until they had traveled
several miles. Then Griswold, pointing to a large
house with red chimneys standing far back from
the road, said :
"I wonder if the widow knows?"
"How could she know?" answered the pro-
vost. "After I have withdrawn the guard from
284 The Legionaries
Bellray's I shall make it my painful duty to stop
and tell her — or I will let you do it."
"Excuse me from that service," said the other,
throwing up his hand protestingly. "Give me a
command to meet a man and I will obey; but
this is a responsibility that I would evade, even
though the family belongs to the secesh."
Coming a mile further on, to the lane running
from the public highway to Roger Bellray's house
they turned their horses into it. As they neared
the house they saw two persons, a man and
a woman, on the shaded veranda. The man was
sitting in a rocking chair, a white bandage about
his head ; the woman was seated on the outer
edge of the floor, her feet resting on the wide
wooden steps. These two persons watched them
as they approached, and were plainly holding a
conversation about them. When they reached
the gate only the provost's deputy dismounted.
The girl — for it was Kate — rose to receive him as
he went up the walk. Roger made an effort to
do likewise, but she put out her hand and re-
"I am well enough to receive my guests," he
said, a little peevishly and yet mildly, more as if
he were stating a fact than protesting.
"Yes, Roger," she returned gently, "but they
know you have been ill, and will take your sitting
as no discourtesy."
And Some Day — 285
The deputy came up to them while she was
speaking, and understood.
"Keep your seat, Mr. Bellray," he said, after
bowing to Kate. "I trust you are improving,
"Thank you; I am very much better, Mr. — ,
Mr. — , pardon me," he stammered weakly ; "my
memory has become very treacherous, it seems,
and your name escapes me."
"Lancross, Francis Lancross."
"Yes, certainly; you are the friend of our
guest, Mr. Shaw — a very entertaining man, that
Mr. Shaw, though he did talk very absurdly at
first about many impossible things, and" — laugh-
ing — "I did him the injustice to think that some-
thing was the matter with his head. That didn't
last long, however, and he explained that he was
a great joker. Like myself he voted for Doug-
las, but he doesn't think there'll be any serious
trouble; I hope he is right, though I don't un-
derstand why so many soldiers were going by
the other day — something very unusual — never
heard of the like before. The outlook is very
bad. But pardon me again; you may not take
such an interest in politics as I do, and my sister,
who is an excellent nurse for one so young, tells
me that I should put it all out of my head until I
am completely recovered."
"It is always better to take the advice of one's
doctor and nurse — particularly that of the nurse,"
286 The Legionaries
said Lancross, good-naturedly. "But we men
make poor patients, Mr. Bellray; we are too
much inclined to have our own way, and it's not
always the best way, either." Then he added:
"If you will excuse me, sir, I should like a word
with Miss Bellray." With that he turned toward
Kate and the two went into the house.
Now the deputy provost was only an official
sojourner at Corydon, to which place he had been
sent to investigate the temper of some of the in-
habitants of that region with respect to proposed
war measures. Rumors had been widely circu-
lated that in many parts of the state there was to
be organized resistance to conscriptions, and there
had been many sporadic outbreaks already. Not
only that, but it was also reported that dissatisfied
persons were preparing to give armed aid at the
first opportunity to the forces of the Confederate
It was known that secret political societies —
always to be condemned in a free country — had
been numerously established in many of the loyal
states, with purposes and aims so obscure to the
uninitiated as to arouse a suspicion which finally
ended in resentment and bitter opposition. The
leaders in these societies asserted their lawful
character, and protested that their object was
merely to conserve the principles of constitutional
government during a period of great excitement;
that they stood between the rebellious destruc-
And Some Day — 287
tionists on the one hand and the loose construc-
tionists on the other; and that, while they de-
nounced and gave no aid to the first, they
reserved the right to criticise any disregard of
the constitution by the latter.
It is no doubt true that the great majority of
those who made up the membership of these as-
sociations in the middle northern states were hon-
est and patriotic according to their view of the
times. But that there were selfish, reckless and
scheming men among them, as well as others so
naturally fond of excitements and intrigues as to
care little for results and give light consideration
to means, is beyond question.
It was not apparent then, however, and has never
been clearly shown since that these societies were
in fact treasonable. That there was here and
there a man among them who was disloyal, and
who held intercourse with the enemies of the gov-
ernment, is no doubt true. The population in
many parts of southern Indiana was made up
largely of families and the descendents of fami-
lies who had emigrated from the seceding states,
where generations of their forefathers had lived
and died, and where they still had numerous kin-
folk. The memories and traditions of the south-
land were still fresh, and gave rise to sentiments
that hampered them in choosing their course in
the great conflict between the sections.
It is not, therefore, strange that men who would
288 The Legionaries
have been the fierce partisans of their government
in a war with a foreign power now held back,
and in their uncertainty of purpose knew not
where to turn. This was one class from which
the ill-advised secret societies were recruited. It
was to this class that Roger Bellray belonged.
These societies were of course known to the
government, which at first gave them little atten-
tion. But as time went on and feeling grew into
a veritable fever of passion, when men disputed
with each other without toleration, when personal
quarrels became neighborhood feuds and these in
turn presaged a nightmare of anarchy, the author-
ities sent agents abroad under instructions to act
as occasion demanded.
Bellray was, as I have already endeavored to
make clear, a man who spoke with great freedom
and fearlessness, and though no honest man
could be found who would depose to any overt
act of his that could be tortured into treasonable
conduct, there were many to denounce his ex-
pressed sentiments. It was soon clearly estab-
lished that he, with others, frequently met in
secret, but for what purpose could only be con-
jectured. That they were well informed as to
each other and did not desire the association of
outsiders was settled by the failure of shrewd se-
cret agents to gain their confidence and obtain
access to their meetings; in some localities, how-
ever, these agents met with better success, as Vaw-
And Some Day — 289
ter had somewhere become a member of the gen-
eral order. Of these men Bellray was the un-
questioned leader — his the guiding and directing
When it became apparent to the provost's dep-
uty that an invasion was imminent, he caused steps
to be taken for the arrest and detention of Bell-
ray as a precautionary measure, governing him-
self by the saying that where there is smoke there
must be fire. Captain Bracken's bungling had
given him great concern, for the death of so pow-
erful a man, with so numerous a following as he
was known to possess, under such circumstances
might provoke a great commotion and increase a
bitterness that good policy should strive to allay
rather than to crush. When it came to him early
the next morning that Bellray was not dead, but
only wounded, the Confederate cavalry was en-
gaged with the legionaries at the town's gates.
Later in the day, when the invaders, after captur-
ing, had left the town and swept on to the north,
he went to Bellray's house and, learning the situ-
ation, left a single guard until he could get word
as to his further course from his superiors.
It was immediately after Lancross went away
that Griswold, Wysart and some others rode up,
they having followed for some time, at a safe dis-
tance, the track of the raiders. The former had
received from some anonymous source informa-
19 — Legionaries.
290 The Legionaries
tion that under the floor, at the corner of the house
where Bellray's workroom was, fire-arms would
be found. The identity of the betrayer was never
disclosed, but when these facts became known to
me my thoughts reverted to what Roger had said
on the night of my departure for the South, to the
effect that those in whom one most confided
might be the first to prove false.
A search revealed that the person who directed
this treacherous blow at the man who had already
paid such a heavy penalty for his mistaken con-
duct was not writing at random, although Wysart
and one or two others, when the matter was first
laid before them, pooh-poohed and declared that
it was preposterous to think that a man of Bell-
ray's sense and standing would do such a thing.
When the discovery was made, Roger, who had
followed the men — for he would go about — was
more genuinely astounded than any other, and
laughed to think that he should have such a treas-
ure without knowing it, while Kate looked on,
pale, tearful and silent. Wysart, it was noticed,
talked a great deal, and as the party rode off
was more violent in his denunciation than any of
his companions. I fancied, when I heard about
it, that possibly he had a thought of himself.
It was not until the next morning that the mat-
ter was reported to Lancross, but he did not see
fit to change his plans as to Bellray, though he
decided to redouble his vigilance in general. And
And Some Day — 291
now he had come to say that he had received
instructions directing him until further orders to
do nothing more in Roger's case. It was about
this that he desired to talk with Kate.
"I am glad to say," he began, when they were
beyond the hearing of Roger, "that proceedings
against your brother have been suspended and I
have come to withdraw the guard."
"I can not tell you how happy it makes me to
hear it," Kate said, overjoyed, and with tears
springing to her eyes. Then she added, sorrow-
fully: "But what worse thing could the govern-
ment do than it has already done? It has robbed
him of his mind, and almost made a rebel of me. ' '
"The shooting was very unfortunate, and none
the less so because done against positive orders,"
returned Lancross. "But the man who boasted of
the deed has dearly paid for it."
"How?" she asked, quickly.
"With his life," was the answer.
"If he has been executed so soon," she said,
dropping her eyes, "then you tried him by court-
martial — or did you give him a trial? Oh, I am
sorry you did not wait, for he did not, after all,
kill my brother."
"He was not tried by any human court or
power; he was killed by accident," explained
"Poor man ! ' ' said Kate.
A few minutes later she stood by her brother's
292 The Legionaries
chair watching the departure of the deputy and
Griswold, now accompanied by the guard, Shaw.
She gave a sigh of relief; at last she could speak
and act freely, for though the surveillance had
been nominal, it was nevertheless irritating.
Roger began to talk to her and she answered
him absently; her gaze was upon the three
horsemen galloping along the highway. In a
little while she cried out in a startled voice :
"Oh, they are going there!"
"Going where?" asked Roger, who had
ceased to think about the men.
"To Trenham's," she answered, her voice
"Well, why shouldn't they? They are gentle-
men, I am sure, and it may be that they have
business with Mr. Trenham," he said, alluding to
my deceased father.
"I pray God that they have not," she returned
forgetfully, thinking of me.
"Why, how strangely you talk, my dear child,"
said Roger, looking at her in amazement and still
speaking from that past in which he now lived.
"One would think from what you say that some-
thing terrible might happen."
"And so it may, oh, so it may," she cried,
still in the moving present.
"Kate, what could happen? Your manner
disturbs me," Roger said, reaching out and tak-
ing her hand, which was trembling.
And Some Day — 293
She came to herself with a start and looked
concernedly at her brother, attempting to smile
"What did I say? I fear that my nerves are
not as strong as I have believed."
"You said something terrible might happen at
"Oh, Roger, you must not tell — remember you
mustnot tell — but young Mr. Trenham is at home,
desperately hurt, and visitors might annoy him ; ' '
then, kneeling by his side, she leaned her head
upon the chair arm and broke into tears.
"There, there; don't cry. He is strong and
will come along all right. He is a fine lad and
some day — " he stopped.
"And some day?" she repeated questioningly,
to draw him on, but he remained silent, the whole
matter having seemingly passed from his mind.
THE COMING OF THE PROVOST
For a strong-willed, self-reliant girl Kate had
greatly given way to fear when she saw the deputy
provost and his companions going toward my
mother's house, where I had found myself on re-
gaining my senses the morning before. But
heaven knows that there had been occurrences
enough in the past four days to unsettle nerves
even stronger than hers. What with the shoot-
ing of her brother, the boisterous passing of my
General's men, the eager pursuit by the Union
soldiery, the damning discovery of Roger's guilty
store, together with the general confusion and
disorder, it was not strange that she should have
been moved more than others by the doubt, dis-
trust and alarm that racked the community. And
now to all these things had been added my own
then unexplained misfortune.
Her situation was so singular, so entirely dif-
ferent from that of any other person, as to be
well-nigh unbearable. Her pride had been
touched but her heart bled; and with it all, mak-
ing her lot harder to endure, was the realization of
her own weakness, and her belief that she must be
The Coming of the Provost 295
dependent upon the mercy of those for whom she
had so often and so resolutely contended.
To high natures the dominant impulse is to
demand ; to such it is torture to entreat, and if
the supplication must be addressed to friends the
sharpness of the pain is increased by an added
humiliation, more keen, I think, than comes from
submission to an over-strong and successful enemy
whom we have opposed to the extent of our
She was in a frame of mind to imagine the
happening of direful things, as indeed she might,
considering the inflamed condition of the people.
Our bold riders had gone like a tornado through
the county, levying quick tribute as they went.
With enemies springing up as thick as leaves
about them, and knowing that relentless pursuers
were at their heels, they did not parley about
terms but helped themselves. The condition
was one of the General's own making and he
might have foreseen the desperate straits to which
he was afterward driven. But confidence in his
men and in himself, and faith in the fortune that
had never before forsaken him led him on.
His undertaking was not inspired by vainglory ;
it was not a mere desperate attempt to win renown
for himself. Of that I am satisfied . He unselfishly
sought to loosen the bands that were strangling
his chief in the South, to give him an opportu-
nity to breathe, a greater freedom and a chance
296 The Legionaries
to save the great army committed to him. In a
measure he succeeded, but at such a pitiful cost
to himself. Nearly a hundred thousand men
were called to arms to oppose him, and a large
part of these were sent into the field. His strug-
gle to save his command, as will be seen, was
heroic, but it ended in tragedy.
Military ethics — if there be such a thing — nat-
urally could find small place in his plans during
the wild ride he had entered upon through the
very heart of a hostile country. It was not
equitable that his men should ask only their own
consent in trading their wearied horses for fresh
ones as they went along, but I reflect that his
Unionist pursuers did likewise. Nor can many
other acts charged and treasured against them be
justified by any known moral principle.
And yet there is a code, recognized in all
times, under the tenets of which they stand ex-
cused — the code of military necessity. I do
not include under this term the appropriation of
skates in July, of birds in cages and of bolts of
red calico, isolated instances of which are recorded
against these troopers, who seemed eager in the
first stages of their march to make a jest of their
What I do hold is that my General had abun-
dant precedent for the gravest acts which can
justly be laid at his door as commander by those
who suffered at his hands. And I ask of them, in
The Coming of the Provost 297
that good spirit which has since come to smooth
away the wrinkles of that time of strife and wipe
out the bitterness then aroused, to consider the
smoking waste along the Shenandoah as more
than compensation for their losses.
But standing in the very presence of the inva-
sion, with the thud of hoofs, the rattle of sabers
and the boom of cannon yet fresh in their ears,
and the earth still damp and yellow over the
graves of valiant defenders, the great mass of the
people in the county where I lay might have little
inclination to search for precedents, whether such
be usual or otherwise.
It was fear of them that filled Kate — fear, not
of Lancross, who represented authority, but of
Griswold, who stood for the right of the people to
act for themselves, independent of authority. Was
it not one of the latter class who had attempted to
slay her brother?
Thus she reasoned, not knowing that Griswold,
with natural moderation, had already done much
to temper the feeling against her poor, bewil-
dered brother; not knowing further, as she could
not, indeed, that he would afterward perform the
same service for myself, whose escape from death
was by such a narrow margin that I take to myself
no credit for living at all.
When I pitched from my horse during the fight
in the road the frightened animal had dashed into
the woods. Young Sam Hollen, returning in
298 The Legionaries
the night with civilian apparel with which to
clothe his wounded brother before taking him to
Sutton's house, who had agreed to harbor him
only on that condition, had heard a groan. In-
vestigation disclosed my body tightly wedged be-
tween the forks of a large log, a position which
had no doubt been instrumental in my escape
from capture as well as from the entangling stir-
rup, which, with a part of the broken strap, was
lying at my feet.
From there, during the night, with help brought
by the refugee, I was conveyed to my mother's
house, where I was found to have not only a dan-
gerous shot wound in the side, but a broken arm
and so many contusions and scratches that it was
not thought profitable to take account of them.
Captain Sivad, with the larger part of his small
force, had got away, but many remained, and of
these some were beyond mortal aid, as were like-
wise some of their opponents. Heaven pity us
for those days ! A young Union officer had
scrutinized every face carefully, the lad said to
me when I was able to hear his story, and
seemed surprised and yet relieved when one for
whom he was apparently looking was not found.
That, thought I, was Philip Deverny.
The provost's deputy, feeling it to be his hu-
mane, if not official, duty to acquaint my mother
with what he supposed to be the fact of her son's
death, went straight to her door in pursuance of
The Coming of the Provost 299
his melancholy mission, and inquiring for her,
was shown in and seated until she could be called.
She was not long in coming, and there was that
in her face which showed that she was in deep
trouble, causing Lancross to think that possibly
she had already heard what he had come to say.
He was unknown to her and introduced himself.
"Madam," he said, "I am Francis Lancross,
deputy provost for this district."
She bowed and was silent, her hand upon her
heart, which began a painful beating when he re-
vealed his official character.
"I have come to speak to you about your son,
and my duty is a most unhappy one," he con-
"Oh, sir," she cried at this, "you certainly
do not mean to disturb him ; he can not be
"I do not understand," said the deputy,
greatly puzzled. "I — I have nothing to do with
removing him ; that is a matter for you to de-
termine. I did not .know that you had heard.
Pardon me for adding to your distress. My sole
purpose was to perform a painful service."
"Nor do I understand," said my mother, her
face showing a deeper perplexity, but determined
to solve the riddle, the relating of which to me
afterward caused an amusement that, I am sure,
did not do my wounds any good. "We are
clearly at cross-purposes. You speak with great
300 The Legionaries
kindness, sir, and I thank you for that. But
what would you tell me about my son?"
"Only of his death, of which sad fact you seem
to be already informed," replied the deputy, ris-
ing. "My intrusion was well meant, madam,
and that must be my excuse for troubling you."
"Stay," she said, with a detaining gesture, as
he was about to go. "My son is dangerously in-
jured but not dead, and he exacted a promise
from me this morning that if one in authority
should come he was to be told of it. I did not
think it wise, but you know that a mother's heart
and a son's head are not always in accord."
Saying nothing, for his amazement was so pro-
found that he could formulate no fitting speech,
and with a strong doubt of Bracken's trustworth-
iness, he waited while my mother, excusing her-
self, came up the stairs to notify me of his pres-
ence. At my request, and only staying long
enough to tell me the nature of his mission, she
returned below and showed the visitor up.
"I am told that you are Mr. Lancross, the
deputy provost," I said, as he took a seat near
my bedside, looking very concerned and serious,
as if half disposed to take me for some strange
kind of ghost.
"I am that person," he answered, as if his
own identity, at least, was not doubtful; "and I
suppose that you are Captain Trenham, lately
The Coming of the Provost 301
with the rebel general who has turned us upside
down around here?"
"The same, and I am glad to see you; the
more so because I am told that you do not visit
us officially. "
"The meeting is very unexpected on my part,"
returned the deputy. "Until a few minutes ago
I had reason to believe that I would never have
the pleasure of looking upon your face. Captain
Bracken's report was very unfavorable, indeed."
In spite of my many pains I was forced to
smile. Bandaged and plastered, and unsightly as
I knew myself to be, his pleasure at seeing me
then could not have been great, and so I told
him, in jest, which set him to laughing and put
us both more at our ease. A bit of humor is often
very useful by way of laying a foundation for se-
rious things, and I had a trouble that I much de-
sired to get rid of. It was about my person. I
could neither get away nor hope to remain long
undiscovered, and so I surrendered to him then
and there and asked that he arrange for my pa-
role. This he agreed to do, and afterward for-
mally executed the agreement. It was the best
I could do, not what I wished. But it took a
great load off the mind of my mother, who for
two days had trembled and turned pale every
time she heard the grind of a wheel or the step of
a horse's foot, and for that much, at least, I was
THE RIDE OF THE THREE THOUSAND.
My active career as a soldier was at an end, as
time proved, but it chanced that I was to play a
part — small though it was — in the closing act of
the ill-starred enterprise by which so many were
undone. Of that I shall speak; but before I do
so I must tell how it fared with those from whom I
had been separated by the treachery of Vawter.
So far as concerned that locality where my
mother lived I had been willing enough to remain
more an on-looker than to be a participant in
events. But once beyond it I can truthfully as-
sert that I would have taken my place with my
fellows without any qualms of conscience, and
with no motive for action other than the com-
mands of my General. As it is, it almost seems
to me — so keen was my interest — that I galloped
with them along the roads by which they made
their desperate progress, and that I participated
in the misfortunes by which they were at last
The advance felt its way toward Corydon that
first morning in Indiana, and well in front were
The Ride of the Three Thousand 303
my own men, contrary to what I had planned for
them. But of that they were ignorant. A few
hundred legionaries, with a courage far greater
than their strength, sought to check this audacious
rebel host. From their rude, hastily constructed
breastworks they sent forth a very gallant fire.
But it was snuffed out like a match in a tempest,
and the men who pulled the triggers were first
enveloped in the cloud of gray, then disarmed
and cast aside. This was the first obstacle since
the invasion was accomplished. And how soon it
came! Though failing to do more, it did cause
a little delay, and delay in such a situation is
everything. Even then the thousands of blue-
garbed pursuers were at Brandenburg.
Onward ! Through the town clattered the
rebel hoofs and rumbled the rebel cannon, and
the great game of "fox and geese" was under
way. What a fluttering of wings there was, what
consternation, and yet what a determination arose
to run this gray fox to earth !
The next morning, Salem, fifty miles inland,
and two hundred removed from any hope of help !
Already thousands had hurried to arms and other
thousands were concentrating for hasty equip-
ment. Behind, the roads shook with the tread
of the cavalry that had followed from the South.
Against this one, a dozen generals were laying
plans, organizing and transporting forces. Half-
frantic telegrams were passing over the hot wires
304 The Legionaries
between Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati,
and countless lesser places. Alarm bells were
ringing in every town and village and hamlet.
The enemy must be cornered. But the gray
fox knew how to turn and to wind in and out,
never losing his direction. And he also knew
how to show his teeth. Reports of his move-
ments conflicted and put him first here and then
there, and the bewildered foes knew not where
to strike. They made ready at many places and
moved according to their information. Coun-
try people and townsmen along the invader's
track were in a state of alarm bordering on panic.
Not accustomed to beholding any considerable
body of soldiers, and none that were hostile, they
vastly overrated the numbers of my General's
men. Besides, they were expecting to have
their throats cut, and an expectation of this
character is not conducive to a calm judgment of
things and events.
On and on, under the blazing summer sun,
with little sleep and little rest ! As by magic, the
whole population knew that three thousand horse-
men were running a race — the most astounding
race in history — with death or captivity the pen-
alty for losing; a race with the telegraph and
steam cars, and the unnumbered foes that growled
about them and behind them and forced them
on. And far ahead other hosts were gathering
The Ride of the Three Thousand 305
to harry them and to drive them this way and
The atmosphere was charged with excitement
and fear, and danger lurked everywhere. Un-
harvested wheat stood over-ripe and neglected in
the fields. Husbandmen had suddenly become
soldiers, and in masses were being rushed here
and there along the invader's track. Never did
pioneers work with such desperate energy clear-
ing the primeval forests as did men now work to
block with felled trees the roads that they had
taken such pains to make. The sound of the
ax, the crash of falling trees, mingled with the
shouts of men, the clatter of shod hoofs and the
crack of guns. Far aloft spread the smoke of
burning bridges, destroyed by the General to
hinder his enemies.
The fox must be hemmed in. But not yet
was it to be. He did not fear the legionaries or
raw recruits, numberless as they were. It was
the foe behind, and those other well-trained sol-
diers hastening up from the war region and rising
like a cloud far in his front, for whom he was on
the lookout. The broad river was on his right
hand, and it was now alive with armed craft ready
to pounce upon him if he should attempt to re-
cross. On his left, for hundreds of miles to the
northward, was a country filled with enemies de-
siring his destruction. In opposition to these con-
ditions was the fertile brain and daring spirit of
306 The Legionaries
one man and the strong arms of his faithful fol-
North Vernon, Versailles and Sunman Station!
It was now Monday morning, and four days since
the river was crossed — days of hard riding and
strategy, with scant time for rest. The beginning
of a new week; what would the end of it be? The
air was filled now with murmurings of rapidly
concentrating foes pouring forward from the mid-
dle North in excited streams like the rising tides
of the sea. The alarm bells had aroused the
people. From shop and store and field, from
office and counting room, they came, eager, un-
tried, and with nerves tremulous with tension.
What way would the fox turn? He did not turn.
Straight ahead he rode, passing the Indiana bor-
der and thundering upon the highways of Ohio.
And now ninety miles in a day and a night he
went, while on his right two Unionist forces, each
in the darkness believing the other to be the in-
vader, fell into furious conflict and drenched the
soil they were there to defend with their own
On and on he swept, brushing aside one foe and
eluding another, defying the telegraph, the steam
cars, the dozen generals, the swarming thousands
— night and day, day and night. His men were of
iron, but iron will break when eaten by rust,
and into these men was eating the rust of tre-
mendous exertion without rest. There was no
The Ride of the Three Thousand 307
time for recuperation, no time to replace the vi-
tality that was being constantly expended.
A few of the weaker dropped from their sad-
dles and were picked up from the wayside by pur-
suers, some of whom were now treading on their
very heels. At halts others fell into the slumber
of exhaustion from which their officers could
arouse them with difficulty. But once in the sad-
dle again, they pressed on with mocking laughter
for their foes and hearts beating high with cour-
age. Their chief was in the van, and what he
could endure they would endure, and where he
led they would follow as long as they could keep
their leaden feet in the stirrups.
On, for six days more, through storm and shine
they rode. It was the first day of a new week,
Sunday. They had drawn toward the river Ohio,
now in unseasonable flood, a yellow, rushing,
foaming barrier between them and the more friend-
ly Kentucky. It seemed that God was against
them. Here was Buffington Island where the
General had thought to cross, but here also his
enemies lay in wait to thwart him, to drive him
back. And here they fought, these wearied men
— these men almost dead in their saddles — with
these others, fought and died. On again, but
there were hundreds of their fellows who could not
Only twelve hundred were left of the three
thousand. But the foe followed, that foe which
308 The Legionaries
crossed at Brandenburg, as determined and hardy as
the quarry he was pursuing. And other opposers
poured forth from every town and village and
middle-west army post, on foot and horseback
and railway train. They patrolled the highways;
they watched from hill and tree top ; and they
waited in wood and field the coming of the pre-
A great roar filled the midsummer air, grow-
ing louder day by day. The earth shook under
the tramp of new legions. All business was sus-
pended. Nothing was thought of but the raider
who for weeks had eluded and baffled his enemies
in three states, and turned upon himself the eyes
of millions. For his splendid courage he was
lauded ; for his blindness he was condemned. He
was foredoomed to failure and disaster, but he
was winning the future admiration of the world,
and the present respect of those who were strain-
ing every nerve and muscle and brain cell to
bring about his overthrow. But not yet was it
The same day, twenty miles above Buffington
Island he came again to the margin of the broad
river. Here he resolved to breast its sweeping
flood. Orders were given and the men rode in
as they would ride upon the green sward or upon
the dusty road, reckless of risk and danger.
Those in advance were far out toward the south-
ern shore when the gunboats of the Federals
The Ride of the Three Thousand 309
suddenly appeared. The General himself was in
midstream, his powerful horse swimming gal-
lantly. Looking back, he saw that it was impos-
sible for the rest of his command to effect a pas-
sage of the stream in the teeth of the enemy's fire
that was now being directed against them, against
him and those about him, against those others
now nearing the green soil of Kentucky. He
guided his horse around and went back in the
hail of shot, to remain with the remnant of his
command to the end.
Only eight hundred were now left to him of the
three thousand, and these eight hundred pressed
on again. The sun went down but still they
pressed on, through the twilight and into the
night to a point off Blennerhasset's Island, where
three score years before Aaron Burr unfolded to
the English scholar his plans for a southwestern
Not so quiet as then were these somber shores.
Coming from all directions, even from the south
where lay the river, its bosom shimmering under
the lights of the armed patrols, were the pursu-
ing hunters, who now believed that the object of
the chase was surrounded and without chance of
escape. They moved in and shut off all means
of egress, save on one side where an abrupt moun-
tain barred the way like a mighty wall which no
man, they thought, would dare attempt to scale.
One man did dare and eight hundred followed, in
10 The Legionaries
single file, in the darkness. Up and up, stum-
bling, falling; up and up, winding around, and
then down and down and away, while the foe
awaited the coming of the dawn to finish the
work of destruction.
On again, toward the east, rode these men so
desperately tired and so desperately beset. For
six days more they moved, sometimes thrown to
the right or to the left, sometimes hurled back,
hampered, harrassed, but forward toward the
east. A cloud of dust marked their march and
revealed their presence, and other clouds of dust
rose to mark the paths of the hunters.
It is incredible that men can endure what these
men suffered. They were in the saddle twenty-
one hours out of each twenty-four. From day to
day they were killed or captured, singly or in
groups. Everywhere they were met by fresh
companies of legionaries which swarmed and
buzzed about them, and often darted upon the
flanks or upon the rear and stung. The uproar
and confusion increased; the shouts of men, the
trampling of hoofs, the rattle of equipment, and
the guns and sabers of the on-rushing thousands
flashed and gleamed in the blistering sun.
But the grim man in gray rode on. Until he was
overthrown there would be no rest for pursuers
or pursued. What mattered it that his force had
been bitten and torn until only a weary fragment
remained? It was the leader who was important,
The Ride of the Three Thousand 31 1
not his followers — this bold chieftain who so often
had ridden far and wide unchecked. And just now
the President of the United States, the great Lin-
coln, was making anxious inquiries as to his where-
Another Sunday dawned, the 26th of July. Far
in eastern Ohio rode three hundred men — three
hundred of the three thousand, and many of these,
feverish almost to delirium from wounds received
in fierce fights on previous days, reeled in their
saddles as they went. They were two miles be-
yond the village of Gavers, the General at the front
of his scant column.
What meant that hurtling cloud of dust ahead?
And what meant that yellow cloud behind and
that other rising over the Highlandtown road?
Nearer and nearer approached these signs of the
enemy. The scant column came to a halt, and,
as it did so, across the fields dashed the Unionist
cavalry. From every direction, it seemed, they
streamed toward these hunted men in such num-
bers that it was folly to resist.
The gray fox was cornered at last in the open,
but he had led a long chase. He surrendered to a
man believed by him to be a captain of militia,
and made quick terms for parole. These terms
the Union general would not allow, whereupon
Morgan demanded that he be put upon the field
again where he was, and avowed that he would
fight them to the end. But this was the end ; the
312 The Legionaries
race had been run. Beneath his horse's feet five
hundred heart-breaking miles had sped. The
telegraph, the steam cars, the dozen generals, the
swarming thousands, had won, and for the losers
who lived there was only the prison.
Was anything accomplished by them save their
own destruction? I will answer, yes; the victory
six weeks later by Bragg' s Confederate army in
the great battle of Chickamauga, when the two
forces there engaged lost more than thirty thou-
THE HELP OF A STRONG MAN
It was these things that were happening, these
and so many more, while I was complaining of
my own poor ills. Even to my ears, secluded as I
was , from time to time came word of the bitter prog-
ress of my comrades. But for many days reports
were so meager and unsatisfactory that I could not
make head or tail of them. When the end came,
however, and the news was flashed from city to
town, and thence to hamlet and farmstead, that
the bold and far-famed raider was a prisoner in
Ohio, the middle North sent forth a shout of re-
joicing that I could understand, but in which I
could not join.
Far and near the heavens were alight with the
bonfires of victory, and cannon and anvil thun-
dered and crashed in very joy over my General's
capture. I did not blame them — these people of
the North — as I am sure he did not. We are all
disposed to make the most of our successes, and
when the war spirit is on us we are likely to give
extravagant expression to our feelings. But I think
I might have been spared the experience — though
314 The Legionaries
I was in a manner responsible for it — to which I
was subjected for being one of the invaders.
During the progress of the raid my short connec-
tion with it had apparently been overlooked.
Now I was to be suddenly remembered and
made disagreeably conspicuous at a time when,
had I been allowed to make a choice, I would
have remained in the retirement to which my
misadventures had consigned me.
Less than two miles away, at the crossing of
the roads, stood, in one angle, a school-house and
in another a blacksmith shop. No other build-
ings were near except the house of the smith, yet
it was the favorite meeting place for the country
folk round about. Here it was that they heard
political speeches, and here it was, also, that they
gathered to consult together about the state of the
war and to celebrate victories achieved by the
At the celebrations the smith's anvils were used
as a substitute for cannon in noise-making, and
these I heard one night as I sat, still bandaged
and sore, on my mother's porch. My broken
arm was useless and would so remain for many a
day, but the wound in my side had healed so
rapidly that I felt no further danger from it. The
night being very warm and dry, I had determined
to stay up as late as I dared rather than endure
the confinement of my room.
The distant explosions under the anvils boomed
The Help of a Strong Man 315
out now and then, showing that much powder
was being burned. Between them, and less dis-
tinctly, came sounds of cheering. To me these
noises aroused melancholy reflections, as may
well be believed, but along with them came a
feeling of relief that the strain was over, and a
satisfaction in knowing that my one arm would
have availed nothing at last.
Presently the sound of wheels coming furiously
up the lane took my attention. A carriage stopped
at the gate and some one sprang out and ran to-
ward the house. It was Kate Bellray.
"Is Roger here?" she asked without ceremony,
pausing at the steps. It was not light enough
where she stood to see her face clearly, but her
voice showed great agitation.
"No," said I, wondering, as I got to my feet
and went forward, "nor has he been to-day."
For a moment she stood hesitating, as if unde-
cided what to do, while I, knowing that Bell-
ray never went forth now unless accompanied by
some one from his household, began to feel deep
"John, what can it mean?" asked his sister,
plainly showing increased distress. "I came
home from the Wests' a little while ago, and
found Roger gone. Aunt had seen him walking
toward the road with another man just before
dark, but thought nothing of that, as he often
goes that far, and, besides, she thought the man
31 6 The Legionaries
might be Sutton. A few minutes later she saw
him clambering into some sort of a conveyance,
which then drove rapidly away. He went off
with no one from our place, we learned, and as
he seldom wants to go anywhere but here, I
thought — oh, I don't know what to think. Where
do you imagine he can have gone? Think for
me, John. He is no more fit to be abroad than
I was in as much doubt as she, and was about
to tell her so, and yet beg her not to feel any
alarm, when, through the silence that had ensued,
came the booming of the anvils.
"Can he be there?" she said, suddenly. "I can
think of no other place. But if he is somebody
took him, and he will not understand it at all. I
will go there." With this, she started off.
"Wait," I exclaimed; "who is out there in
"The young refugee, Sam Hollen."
"I will go with you," I said.
"You must not do anything of the kind," she
returned firmly. "You are not strong yet, and
those people are not your friends. They are re-
joicing over the downfall of your General."
"Nevertheless if you go, so shall I. No harm
will befall me."
Without further ado, I took my hat from the
chair on which I had flung it and walked down
the path, giving no further heed to her contin-
The Help of a Strong Man 317
ued and almost vehement remonstrances. Once
through the gate, she ran forward and sprang
into the vehicle.
"Quick, Sam; drive on," she cried.
But the refugee, not understanding her purpose
to outwit me, and being deliberate at best in his
mental processes, delayed long enough for me to
reach and enter the carriage. Then he started
down the lane, having previously turned about.
Kate had not yet yielded, however, for as we
neared the road she leaned forward and spoke to
"Drive home; you can then return with Cap-
tain Trenham," she said, in despair over my ob-
stinacy, and still bent on having her way.
"Miss Bellray has forgotten," I put in, affect-
ing a laugh, which, however, I did with an effort.
"We go first to the celebration for Mr. Bellray
and then home."
The boy looked over his shoulder at his mis-
tress. She said nothing, and taking her silence
for acquiescence in my amendment he turned the
horses' heads in that direction. In the road he
whipped up smartly and we made very good
speed. A quarter of an hour brought us within
plain view of the illumination. People were mov-
ing about in the glare, men and women, and dart-
ing in and out among them were the smaller
forms of children. Less frequently came the ex-
31 8 The Legionaries
plosions of powder and when we had drawn nearer
they ceased altogether.
The people seemed to be crowding toward one
side of the road, save the children who still played
about the flaming heap which was not allowed to
die out for the want of feeding. The rude plat-
form from which the orators were accustomed to
address their listeners in fair weather was sur-
rounded by a hundred or more persons when we
came upon the scene and stopped a little way off.
A man whom I did not recognize was speaking
from the platform, upon which were seated several
other men. An exclamation of surprise from my
companion drew my eyes to her face, which was
pale and quivering with anger.
"Look!" said she; "there is Roger — on the
platform. They have brought him here to ridi-
Before I could even attempt to restrain her
she had jumped from the vehicle and was push-
ing her way through the crowd. I then heard
Roger's name pronounced by the speaker, who
retired and Roger moved slowly toward 'the front
of the platform, where he stood silent for a mo-
ment. I got out and walked nearer, smothering
with indignation at the cruel joke, for it could be
nothing else, of which the poor man was being
made a butt. Kate was lost in the crowd some-
where, no doubt fighting her way to the plat-
form, and I, powerless to help her, stood in my
The Help of a Strong Man 319
place mortified beyond anything that ever hap-
pened to me.
"My friends," it was Bellray's voice, "I am
told that you are ratifying your great victory. I
don't know just why I should be here, as I voted
for Mr. Douglas, but if Mr. Lincoln can prevent
the coming of war, I shall be satisfied." Here
some of the men laughed, the one who had in-
troduced him the loudest of all ; but the speaker
went on: "Just now, however, I am one of the
defeated." More laughter came from a few,
mingled with groans, and shouts of "copper-
head" and "butternut," but of these words he
did not seem to know the significance, and contin-
ued : ' 'We fought you as hard as we could — ' '
At this point there came a great uproar from
the crowd, with cries of "hang the traitor and be
done with him." Just at that moment Kate
climbed upon the platform and stood beside her
brother, her face as white as the dead. Bellray,
amazed at the strange reception accorded him,
and flushing with anger, did not see her until she
laid her hand on his arm. At the unwonted spec-
tacle the people had become still, and to their
credit I will say that I believe the jest was the
work of a few who, in this monstrous fashion,
sought to humiliate their old enemy. Flashing
a look of scorn and defiance at those below her,
she turned to her brother and said, gently:
"Come, Roger; we will go home."
20 The Legionaries
"Not until I have told these ruffians what I
think of them," he shouted hoarsely. "They
called me a traitor — didn't you hear? — called
your brother a traitor and want to hang him."
A voice was saying something in my ear, but
so strongly did what was before my eyes hold
my attention that I did not realize it until I felt
my shoulder gripped warningly. Looking around
I saw that it was Griswold.
"Listen, man; go back to your conveyance.
I will get Bellray there in a moment. You were
crazy to have come, and wouldn't be here, I
suppose, if it were not for the fools who brought
him. There are wild fellows here. Go; don't
make it too hard for me."
I was unarmed, but had it been otherwise, I
was at least sensible enough to know that Gris-
wold's advice was good. Turning my eyes again
upon the platform I saw that it was deserted,
and the crowd surging this way and that, the
women prudently flying to the outskirts and then
across the road, calling their children as they
went or dragging them along if they could get
them in hand.
Lowering looks were already being thrown to-
ward me as I moved slowly in the direction of the
carriage, and I heard the words "rebel" and
"raider"muttered in tones anything but pleasant
or reassuring. Many men carried revolvers in
their hands as if expecting an outbreak, and the
The Help of a Strong Man 32 1
weapons glistened ominously in the firelight. Some
of the fellows eyed each other suspiciously. In
one group I saw Wysart talking to the man who
had signaled to Vawter in the cave. Truly they
were not all of one mind, or, if so, they were not
well enough acquainted to know.
That one untoward act would precipitate vio-
lence was beyond doubt. This act cool heads
were at work to prevent and none more strenu-
ously or discreetly than Griswold, who was pick-
ing his way through the crowd with Roger,
Kate following closely. Griswold was laughing
and calling out jestingly to one and another. His
assumed good humor and nonchalance seemed to
have a mollifying effect, for some covertly slipped
their weapons into their pockets. Behind him,
however, jostled a large number of men with still
I stood by the carriage until they came up and
then, waiting until Roger and his sister had en-
tered, I climbed into the seat with the refugee
driver, who was entirely collected and impertur-
"Good-night, Bellray, and all of you," said
Griswold, cheerily, "and now, my lad, away you
As we swung round into the road two or three
men ran out and caught the horses, bringing
them suddenly upon their haunches. The boy
21 — Legionaries.
322 The Legionaries
seemed to arouse suddenly and lifted his whip,
and at the same moment several other men rushed
snarling up to the side of the carriage. Before I
knew what they were about I was pulled violently
from my seat just as the whip descended upon
the frightened horses, which, finding their heads
now free, and the way clear before them, sprang
Still feeble and crippled from my former inju-
ries, I could make but a sorry defense against the
assault. But the little that I could do I did.
Wrenching my sound arm free, I seized one of
my assailants by his hairy throat, and gave it
such a squeeze that he pulled and tore at my
wrist while gurgling with fear and suffocation.
In my fury I held on, knowing that I was be-
ing struck at from all sides, and conscious that
some wretch was crying wildly for the others to
give him a chance to shoot me. The powerful
form of Griswold was forcing itself toward me, as
I could see by the swaying of the jammed mass
of men in front, and he presently got to my
side. Shouldering my would-be executioners out
of his way as if they had been so many sacks of
straw, he raised his two hands ; one he held out
warningly, and in the other was a large revolver.
"I will kill the man who strikes the next
blow," he said, in a voice as hard as flint. "Cap-
tain, let go of that man."
Unconsciously I had retained my desperate
The Help of a Strong Man 323
clutch upon the fellow's neck and he was purple
in the face from the effects of the strangling. I
released him at once, being myself half blind
from the blood that was running from a wound in
my scalp. Evidently no one was prepared to
defy the stern man who held his weapon so
steadily, for, as if by common consent, they
crowded backward, leaving a cleared space about
us. All save the one that I had held, and he
merely stood stroking his throat and gasping.
Then for the first time I recognized in this man
the one who had persuaded Roger to speak.
"Serves you just right, Durring; if anything,
you don't get what you deserve," said Griswold,
rebukingly. "If you hadn't been idiot enough
to bring Bellray here Trenham wouldn't have
come. He came with Miss Bellray to take her
brother away and not in foolish defiance of you
fellows. And listen, all of you; he is going home
without another scratch, and myself and my men
— do you understand? — are going to see that he
is let alone as long as he behaves himself. It
shan't be said that any decent man need fear lo
live in Harrison county — not if Dave Griswold
can prevent it. Now clear out, you there in the
road; we are going that way."
Thoroughly cowed by this forceful man, whom
it was clear they all knew and either respected or
feared — possibly both — they made room for us to
pass. A hundred yards down the road the Bell-
324 The Legionaries
ray carriage had been stopped. As we ap-
proached, Kate, who was already upon the
ground in a frenzy of apprehension and anger,
ran forward to meet us, with exclamations of de-
light and relief at my safety, but not forgetting
in the least to thank my companion for his part
in the night's dangers. Roger leaned weakly out
of the vehicle.
"It's all most extraordinary, Griswold ; I don't
understand it," he said. "To treat me like that
when I attended their meeting to ratify Mr. Lin-
coln's election merely through courtesy. You
and I have never agreed, Dave, but you at least
have always been a gentleman."
"That's all right, Roger; I'll fix these fellows.
Just leave them to me," Griswold responded as
he turned and walked rapidly back in the direc-
tion of the now diminishing light of the great bon-
Mounting to my place with the boy we rolled
away, going in silence for some minutes save for
occasional feeble growls from Bellray, who seemed
able to understand that he had been treated with
great disrespect and fretted under it. When we
had covered a mile in this manner I felt a touch
on my shoulder from behind. Looking back I
saw Kate bending toward me.
"You see now that I was right, sir," she said,
"Right or wrong, I am glad I went," I
The Help of a Strong Man 325
answered. "And as good luck would have it, I
throttled the rascal who was the cause of our
"Then I forgive you."
She spoke these four words so decisively as to
leave no room for doubting the depth of her re-
sentment against those who had perpetrated the
outrage. Any personal humiliation that she
might feel on account of the occurrence she
could overlook. But the indignity put upon her
brother, through whose clouded mind pride still
struggled for expression, was an affront too
deadly to be easily forgotten. And in very truth
it was many a long day before she did forget.
HEARING nothing further from the extremists
who, at my first public appearance, had under-
taken to visit punishment upon me, I concluded
that Griswold was able to keep his word. At
least I saw no further signs of violence, though
there were mutterings from the more radical ones.
For many days after the affair at the cross-roads
I was compelled to keep to my bed, for what with
the excitement and the rough handling my wounds
suffered an aggravation that well-nigh proved se-
rious. On this account and for reasons of pru-
dence, it was some weeks before I ventured to ex-
ercise that freedom of movement which should
never be denied to a peaceable man. And such
I now was, God knows, whether I would or not,
and such, it seemed, I was likely to continue so far
as military operations were concerned.
I would probably have remained in this unsat-
isfactory state for a much longer period had it not
been for an event that befell me on the Corydon
road and turned my thoughts elsewhere. The
time was evening. The sun had already dropped
Corporal Neffitt 327
so low that the September dusk was beginning to
settle over the earth. We were driving from the
town — Kate Bellray and I — which I had that day
seen for the first time since my return, and whither
we had gone upon some errand of hers. Upon
nearing the entrance to my mother's place the
gaunt figure of a man, in tattered civilian clothes,
arose from the ground at the margin of the high-
way. Walking into the middle of the road ahead
of us, he stopped and stood awaiting our ap-
proach. He did not move either to the right or
left, even when we were almost upon him, but
seemed determined to bar our way. A slouch
hat was pulled far down over his forehead, and
beneath its limp brim, in a tangle of unkempt hair
and whiskers, lurked two steady eyes.
Having no wish to run him down, though be-
ing far from satisfied as to his purpose, I reined
up quickly, and sharply commanded him to get
out of the way. Instead of doing so he raised
his hand deprecatingly, and stepping a little out
on the side on which I was riding looked me
keenly in the face. There was a quick change in
the glow of his eyes, but what it betokened was
not at once apparent. It struck me that some-
where I had seen the man before, but in the busi-
ness in which I had been engaged I had seen many
faces. And some of them, though appearing
momentarily amid the clash of arms, are in my
memory yet, and more than one with the hot
328 The Legionaries
blood streaming down. Had this man been
friend or foe? Or was he merely a wayside va-
grant bold enough to attempt a robbery?
"Move aside," I repeated impatiently, as he
had not yet cleared the road. "Or if there is
anything you want, speak out." I added the
latter words more softly, for it occurred to me
that the man looked in need, and all my anger
vanished when I observed that one ragged sleeve
hung empty and flapping by his side.
"Beg pardon, Captain, but I wanted to make
sure it was you," he said, in tones hollow and
weak, as he came toward me. "A little while
ago I asked a feller goin' by if he know'd of any-
body named Trenham livin' about here, and he
told me to go to hell, as if you was there or ought
to be, and I felt a little cheered up. You don't
look like you'd had a' easy time yourself and the
boys must be mistakened."
"What boys, and how mistaken?" I asked in
amazement, tempered, however, by a dawning
suspicion of a part of the truth.
"W'y, your boys — once know'd as Burkley's.
A feller told us the day we crossed — " he paused
as at a disagreeable recollection, and drew his
begrimed hand over his eyes — "that your folks
lived round here som'ers and not in Virginny at
all. And when you didn't show up next day,
some of them new fellers — ' '
He stopped in confusion, now looking at Kate
Corporal Neffitt 329
for the first time and instantly taking off his hat,
as though feeling that he had been guilty of grave
disrespect in keeping it on so long. When he
did this, I recognized the unruly corporal who
had captured poor Venault.
"Neffitt!" I exclaimed, reaching out to take
his hand, and glad to see this rapscallion, who,
with his many faults, had been one of the bravest
of my men.
Greatly to my surprise he drew back, rolling
his excuse for a hat awkwardly around his long
"Corporal," said I, "what is the matter? Why
will you not take my hand?"
"I'm a fool to let it stick in my craw, but it
ain't fair to take no man's hand, meanin' to say
a thing like I'm goin' to say. But I can't tell
you about it in front of the lady — it ain't in my
heart to hurt you mor'n I can help. And when
I've told you, instead of offerin' to shake hands,
you'll set the dogs on me."
"In heaven's name, man, what is all this
about? Can't you see that what you have already
said, if unexplained, is worse than anything you
have in your mind to tell me?"
"I guess you're right," he said after a little
hesitation. "The boys thought — some of them
new recruits, mind — when they heard that, that
mebbe you'd — " here he took a step backward,
33° The Legionaries
watching me closely the while — ' 'that mebbe
you'd bolted to the Yanks."
This was so much worse than anything I had
expected to hear, a suspicion so foul and besmirch-
ing and so wounding to the honor of a soldier,
that I, hardly able to believe my ears, could only
sit and stare vacantly at Neffitt as if numbed by a
sudden paralysis. When I turned from him at
last and looked at Kate I beheld her gazing at the
corporal with flaming cheeks and dilated eyes,
before which the poor fellow seemed to shrink
and shrivel pitifully.
"Shame upon you!" she cried indignantly.
"'Twan't me, miss," he said hastily. "I
never really believed it myself. And as I couldn't
soldier no more" — he flirted his sleeve with the
stump of his lost arm by way of emphasis — "and
don't want to nohow since the General's took, I
thought if I'd good luck in findin' him I'd tell the
Captain how it was and get his word for it that
'twan't so. And I hope, Captain, that you won't
be too hard on them new men — for most of 'em
has been killed — and that feller who said your
family lived here said next day that he'd saw you
with the Unionists."
"Neffitt, that man was a scoundrel and a spy,
and this is merely a piece of his villainy," I said.
"But nevertheless it is not the sort of thing one
likes to hear."
I bade him sit down at the mouth of the lane
Corporal Neffitt 331
and wait for me. When I had driven Kate home
and returned to the place where I had told him
to remain, he was sitting on a mounting block in
the gathering darkness in an attitude of great de-
jection and weariness. He got up and I took him
into the vacant seat beside me. Little was said
until we reached the house, and then I observed
how greatly changed the poor fellow was. The old
dare-devil, irreverent spirit appeared to have been
crushed out of him, at least for the time. It had
gone with his arm, the loss of which, I noticed
afterward, filled him with deep humiliation, to
which the calamity that had befallen his General
added a keener sting.
After he had eaten and rested he was some-
what more cheerful, but save in a general way I
held no conversation with him that night. I was
not then in a humor to deal patiently with the
bearer of such a tale as he had told. Neffitt had
often come under my observation, and while rude
and reckless, his blunt nature made him at times
even offensively truthful. Therefore I did not
doubt the story in the least, but was humiliated
to think that such an inference, so sullying to my
honor, should be drawn and believed against me.
Vawter ! He was the man who had crossed
the river with us, and he it was who had seen me
with the Unionists, a prisoner, it is true, but of
that he had not told them in his devilish purpose
to repay me for the blow that I had struck that
332 The Legionaries
night at Bellray's. Had I known of this on the
occasion when he forced me to fight him in the
cavern, I believe I should certainly have put an
end to his career.
It was the next day that I learned all that the
corporal knew, not only as to the story about
myself — by which I was now resolved not to be
troubled — but as to my General and his men. He
appeared clad in a suit of my own clothes, and
with a countenance remarkably improved by a
razor and shears that black Peter had wielded.
He looked a little shame-faced and uneasy, as if
carrying a burden of which he wanted to be
"Captain," he said, attempting a salute with
the hand that was not there, and smiling ruefully
at his mistake, " — I forget sometimes that it's
gone — I oughtn't to 'a' said it before her, though,
bless her pretty face, I don't know who she is or
how much you'd care. 'Twan't right, nohow,
and I wan't bound to obey your orders then. "
"Never mind that, Neffitt; she knows how it
is," I responded, seeing that he was really dis-
tressed about the matter.
"Well, she's spunky, and stood up for you
strong," he said, meditatively stroking his bony
chin, still red from the vigorous scraping admin-
istered by Peter.
"And there's another thing I've never felt just
rightabout it," he added, looking at me curiously,
Corporal Neffitt 333
some of the old mischievous sparkle in his sunken
"Out with it."
"I kicked you onc't," he confessed, repent-
I laughed. "So I have ever since suspected.
But that is no great matter either, now, only I
hope nobody saw you."
"Nobody did; if they had I wouldn't 'a' done
it." Then he continued in explanation: "I al-
wus wanted to kick an officer ; not that I had any-
thing agin 'em, but just for the satisfaction of
knowin' I'd done it. They'd told us and told
us, time and agin, that any feller that struck his
officer would be took out and shot, and the more
I thought about it the more I know'd I just had
to do it — only with me it was to kick and not
strike. At last I got where I must kick an offi-
cer or get out of the service, either by desertin'
or bein' killed, and I didn't want either one of
them things to happen. Don't believe I could 'a'
fought any more if it hadn't been for that chance
you give me. Afterwards I just turned to and
seemed like two men."
The war-worn rascal stopped and laughed se-
pulchrally, as though the memory of the kick he
administered to me afforded him even yet a mel-
ancholy sort of satisfaction.
"Beg pardon, Captain, but it did me a power-
ful sight of good, Over and over I says to my-
334 The Legionaries
self, 'Neffitt, my boy, you're all right; you've
kicked an officer and settled the question of equal-
ity. Now keep your eyes open to do that officer
a favor.' And I've done it. You know what hap-
pened that day when you and that foreign fel-
ler was a havin' it all by yourselves. And before
we'd got out of Indiany I knocked the daylights
out of two of the boys who said they thought you
did it. That was just after the General happened
to speak to me one night and I ups and asks him
if he'd heard from you. He said he hadn't and
know'd you must 'a' been took by them there
cornstalks. And I tells him what the feller said
and that some of the boys said mebbe it was so.
Then you ought 'a' seen the General and heard
him. He took me by the collar like he was
goin' to shut off my wind for onc't and all.
" 'Do you believe it?' he says, fierce as a pain-
" 'No,' says I, 'but I'd like to know for sure.'
" 'If I thought you did,' says he, T'dtwistyour
fool neck like a chicken's. If you ever get a
chance tell your captain that I said so.' "
How my heart rose at that and swelled with
pride and gratitude at this added proof of the
confidence of my unfortunate chief.
"Tvva'n't much time we had to think about
anything except savin' our skins, after that. At
Buffington I got shot, and was nabbed with a lot
more and was took up there to, Jndianapolis.
Corporal Neffitt 335
My arm wa'n't doin' well so they put me in the
hospital and cut it off, and that ended mc. I was
sick and weak but purtended to be a powerful
sight wuss than I was, and I'm ashamed for de-
ceivin' the good women who nursed me as care-
fully as if I'd been a Unionist instead of a rip-
snortin' Confed, and never none too good at
that. After awhile, one night, I give 'em all the
slip somehow, and got out of town. The fust
feller I stumbled acrost at daylight was out feedin'
hogs. I was nearly dead, as I'd gone all night
like a house afire. He wanted to know where I
was goin', and I told him just for a little walk
over to one of the neighbors.
" 'Your neighbors is down south,' he says,
suddent like, 'and you're a run-away rebel.'
"With that I 'most dropped in my tracks.
But after lookin' at me a little bit he says: 'You
ain't any good to nobody but yourself and never
can get in the army agin, so what's the use?'
"And then he told me that our folks had a son
of his in prison at Andersonville, and he would do
for me what he'd want anybody do for him if he
got out. So he slapped me in a haystack and
brought me some victuals and told me to keep
quiet and go to sleep till he come back. He
didn't come back till nearly dark, then he had
some more victuals. And he give me them old
clothes — only they was a little better then— -and
336 The Legionaries
a little money, and told me to hustle as if the
devil was after me.
" 'If they ever get you in Camp Morton prison
you won't get out till the war's over unless it's
on a board.'
" 'And that's what I don't want,' I says.
" 'Then for God's sake, man, use your "r's"
— talk like a white man and not so much like a
damned nigger or yo'll get ketched up for a reb.
Anybody can tell you're a Johnny.'
"That's all he know'd, of course, for it's the
niggers that talks like us — and anyway I'm only
from Kentucky and ain't bad that way. That
night on the road and next day in the woods — just
to obleege that feller, for I didn't need do it at all
— I said over and over every word I could think of
with an 'r' in it and tried it northern style, and
have been doin' it ever since until now I can
'most turn in for a Yank. But there's a pile of
them words ! My tongue aches yet ; I think it
must be twisted a little."
He stopped and put his fingers in his mouth,
feeling about in quest of proof that he had not
irretrievably damaged the vocal appendage, with-
out the free use of which he would have been a
most unhappy man. Having satisfied himself in
this respect, I verily believe he would have talked
all day had I not thereafter confined him by
questions to the subjects upon which I partic-
Corporal Neffitt 337
ularly desired to be informed. As to what hap-
pened after the affair at Buffington, he knew
nothing, of course, save by common report, but
before that it was ride, ride, ride, in general
very much as I have already told it. In matters
of detail and personal incident, he was able, from
his experience, to illustrate the blinding, benumb-
ing hardships of the struggle in a manner beyond
my power to reproduce, even were it my desire
to do so more fully than I have.
"And now," said Neffitt, determinedly, at the
end, "since I've found you, and settled the ques-
tion that troubled them new fellers, and told you
what the General said, I'm goin' to start back."
"Back where?" I asked, uncertain as to his
"W'y, to help the General, where else? Mebbe
'twon't be no use, but leastways I'll try. Can't
tell what I can do till I get where the prison is."
"It is more than two hundred miles away,"
"I know that, but I'll get there. On my way
down here I've been practicin' on bein' a
one-armed Union soldier from old Kentuck —
there's many of 'em down there, you know —
so's if I made slips with them r's and such
'twouldn't make no difference. I've got it all
safe and sound up here," and he tapped his head
with his fingers.
22 — Legionaries.
338 The Legionaries
"We will go together," said I, with sudden
"Cuss that feller who told them things. Cap-
tain, just give me another chance to take your
His face beamed with joy, and he gripped the
hand I held out to him as if bent upon making
amends for an unjust suspicion.
I was rapidly getting strong again in limb and
body, and idleness had begun to irk me. The
old longing for action, which I could not gratify
in the direction that accorded most with my de-
sires, turned my thoughts swiftly toward my luck-
less chief, whom I would aid if possible. Left
in prison he would fret his soul out — this man
of action and deeds. As well cage the eagle
and expect it to thrive and learn to like its cap-
tivity as to tame his restless spirit within confin-
When once this design had entered my mind,
I greatly wished that I possessed Roger Bell-
ray's old keenness in contriving. But after all,
my services and Neffitt's might not be needed;
others might already have under way schemes to
the same end far more effective than any that I
could conceive — being slow witted in such things,
as I have said. The opportunity for adventure,
however, and more than all else, the wish to aid
the man who had so strongly bound himself to
me, aroused my sluggish faculties and presently I
Corporal Neffitt 339
found myself burning with enthusiasm and eager
to be off to Ohio, while, much to my wonder, a
dozen nebulous plans began to jostle each other
in my mind.
A MESSAGE FROM THE GENERAL
Notwithstanding our eagerness to start on
our self-imposed mission we were forced to endure
delay, the chief cause of which was the necessity
for allowing Neffitt time to recover his strength
more fully. Rough and uneducated as he was, he
possessed a readiness of wit and a fertility of re-
source that I would greatly depend upon in any
undertaking in which I might engage. It was
ten days or such a matter before I decided that
he was fit to depart, though he was anxious to
do so much sooner than that. Then, after pro-
viding him with money sufficient for his journey,
I saw him set out, for upon reflection I had de-
termined that it was not best that we should
travel in company as I had at first suggested.
Two days later, having made excuses for my
departure and indefinite absence, I rode away
again toward Jeffersonville. It was in the night,
as that other ride to the same town more than
a year before had been, for now I had as lit-
tle desire to be spied upon as then. Arriving
in the vicinity of the town early in the morning,
A Message from the General 341
I stabled my horse at the house of a man I had
met at Bellray's, and upon whom I knew I could
depend, leaving it to be recovered by Peter. The
two or three miles yet intervening I made on
That night I reached Cincinnati, and the next
night was in Columbus, without other incident
than such as falls to the lot of the ordinary trav-
eler. Seeking out quiet lodgings I slept soundly,
making up in great measure for the enforced
wakefulness of the two previous days. Being a
total stranger in Columbus, and thus having no
expectation of being recognized, I made no pre-
tense at disguise. The most that I had done in
this respect was to provide myself with apparel
that might make me pass as a young tradesman
or a well-garbed mechanic.
When I had breakfasted the next morning I at
once started out to fix the location of the prison,
which I knew to be somewhere upon the border
of the city. I had seen nothing of Neffitt, which
fact disturbed me a little as he had been told of
my route and had promised, providing he met
with no misadventure, to keep a careful watch for
my appearance. This I considered necessary,
seeing that we were both without knowledge of
the town and might, in the absence of such pre-
caution, have some difficulty in meeting save after
I had gone but a block or two when, chancing
342 The Legionaries
to look across the street, I saw a maimed veteran
in a well-worn Federal uniform trudging along
abreast of me, and now and again turning his eyes
in my direction as if keeping me in view. It was
Neffitt. At the next corner he made a motion
indicating that I should follow him down the in-
tersecting street, which I did. He shambled on,
I trailing behind, until the outskirts of the city
were reached and the grim stone prison which
held our General loomed up before us within its
strong, high walls. As he now seemed to be walk-
ing purposely slower I soon overhauled him, but
not until he had turned aside so as to put an ob-
struction between us and the lookouts on the yet
"Well?" said I, questioningly.
"I've made a start; I've hired that house out
there for my family." He pointed toward a lit-
tle house some two hundred yards away to the
right, which seemed sadly in need of repairs.
"It hain't come yet, and won't — for I hain't
got none — but that's what I got it for; leastways
that's what I told the feller I hired it from. It's
clost to the place. I'm goin' to put in a stove
and a bed and then get acquainted with some of
them guards, somehow."
It was plain that the corporal had been going
ahead with his old-time impulsiveness, and while
I felt that he was probably the more capable of
A Message from the General 343
the two in the execution of some parts of the
business in hand, I feared that in his hurry to get
on he might be indiscreet. He evidently guessed
what was in my mind, for he made haste to as-
sure me that he was acting with the utmost cau-
"We've got to know how they are in there,
and what's goin' on," he added. "Without that
we can't move a finger to help 'em, and mebbe
not then. I'm bound to get inside, though,
somehow. I know where you're stayin', and I
won't see you agin till I've got something to
tell. Leave this part of it to me, if you please."
He was so earnest, and spoke with such a
thorough understanding of the situation that I
could do nothing less than accede to this arrange-
ment. Unless we could work in harmony with
the imprisoned General we might as well not work
at all. So, agreeing to Neffitt's proposal and
leaving him to his own devices, I went back to the
Day after day passed until a week had gone by
with no tidings fromNefntt. At last, fearing that
some misfortune had befallen him, and realizing
that without at least a pretense of an occupation
suspicion might be attracted to myself, at a ven-
ture I answered an advertisement for agents. It
turned out that the advertiser wanted solicitors to
take subscriptions for a new war history. I was
on the point of declining this, to me, distasteful
344 The Legionaries
service, but before I had committed myself there
came a providential illumination.
Truly I was dull of wit and memory. For
while my chief desire was to get word with the
General, I had not thought of a method by which
he had once received an important communi-
cation from within the Union lines that en-
abled him to accomplish one of his most daring
exploits. It came from a woman who, notwith-
standing her sex, was known to fame as Lieuten-
ant Rawley, and who did, in fact, bear a commis-
sion as an officer for some time in the command
of General Forrest. Shrewd, of keen intelligence
and forceful character, she was long a purveyor
of information useful to the South. The inter-
mediary in the instance to which I refer was only
a small, harmless book. At the time it came
into the General's hands I was acting temporarily
as his adjutant. After scrutinizing the volume
for a few minutes, he passed it to me with the
look in his face that I always saw there when he
contemplated one of the bold strokes for which
he was renowned.
"Well, sir," said he, "what do you make of
"A nice little book," I answered turning the
leaves ; ' 'but it will probably be awhile before you
get time to read it."
"Read it!" he cried, laughing; "I have read
it within these five minutes, and a very pretty
A Message from the General 345
story it is, too. But let me tell you that the
name of the author of what I have read is not
that on the title page."
An hour later we were in the saddle and carry-
ing a sharp wind in our teeth, so great was our
hurry. He had left the book in my possession
and I placed it in my pocket. Some days later,
after we had accomplished the duty that the se-
cret intelligence had put before us, I returned it
to him, having in the meantime studied it with
great care, and discovered nothing of the "pretty
story" of which the General had spoken. When,
however, he gave me the key to the mystery, it
was a mystery no longer, but as simple a matter
as one would care to know. In very truth its
simplicity was its safeguard, for it hardly ap-
proached the dignity of a cipher.
And here now I had stumbled upon an oppor-
tunity that gave much promise. It at least
aroused a hope that I might bring about the very
thing without which, as Neffitt said, we could
not move a finger to aid those within the formid-
able walls upon which we were at the time gaz-
ing. I succeeded without difficulty in engaging
myself to the advertiser. Not knowing then how
closely the officials guarded their important pris-
oner from even the view of outsiders, I thought
that by prosecuting my new avocation skillfully
I might perhaps be allowed conversation with
General Morgan himself. But I did not intend
346 The Legionaries
to show myself at the prison until I had estab-
lished a sort of footing in the business by secur-
ing a respectable list of subscribers in the city.
For two days I invaded offices, shops and
public buildings, and tramped up and down the
streets and avenues from house to house with a
veritable fire of energy, achieving a success be-
yond anything that I would have believed pos-
sible. I had even obtained the name of the gov-
ernor of Ohio himself — that man who had done
so much to aid in the ruin that had come upon
my comrades. Under other circumstances it
would not have been possible to do these things ;
but in pursuance of my purpose then I would
allow nothing to stand in my way, submitting to
rebuffs, and even to insults for which it would
have been a pleasure to administer heavy chas-
tisement, but at last emerging triumphantly with
the signatures of the offenders.
On the night of the second day I sat in my
room, tired but gloating as over a battle won.
The next day, fortified with the evidence of pre-
vious industry, I would boldly invade the prison
and with lip and tongue fight my way to the Gen-
eral. I had come to understand, as never before,
that the man who swings a sword is not more a
hero after he has overthrown his enemy than
many who engage in the conflicts of peace. Pres-
ently I became aware that some one had stopped
at my door. Not waiting for a knock to be
A Message from the General 347
sounded I went forward and opened it. My late
corporal stepped quickly within. Closing the
door I turned toward him, delight and anger war-
ring for expression, for the failure to hear from
him had greatly provoked me.
"Well, sir, you have given me a pretty wait,"
said I. "I had almost concluded that you had
been caught and hung."
"Very far from it," he answered, pulling a
chair into the center of the room, seating him-
self upon it and by a gesture indicating that I
should do likewise with another. "Now," he
continued, "I've not seen the General, and didn't
get to talk to him. It took me till to-day to find
out that I couldn't. They're all-fired skeery of
him and them officers of his'n that are with him.
Won't even let 'em look out of a winder."
The corporal was greatly cast down, but not
discouraged by his partial failure. It was grad-
ually disclosed that he had learned some things
that might be of benefit to us in the making of
further effort. The General and his fellow-offi-
cers were confined in the wing of the prison called
the East Hall, and occupied cells in that side of it
facing the town. During the day they were al-
lowed to exercise in the corridor upon which
their cells opened. Surrounding the buildings
was a thick wall, twenty- five feet high, upon
which at intervals were the small shelter houses
for the outside guards, who, armed with guns,
348 The Legionaries
were expected to prevent the scaling of the walls
at all hours.
Some of these guards, when off duty, fre-
quented a public house not far removed from the
prison. Of this house Neffitt had become a reg-
ular patron, carefully studying the habits of the
men. In respect to any over-indulgence in drink,
he confessed sadly that, with two exceptions, they
were above reproach. With these two he was
taking pains to become especially friendly, but
with what particular object in view he did not
say and I did not inquire. Indeed, as he after-
ward admitted, this course was taken at a ven-
ture, in the absence of definite information from
within the walls as to what would be expected
As things befell, I am forced to concede that
without this foresight an event that set the coun-
try by the ears might have had a very different
termination. When the corporal left it was with
a promise to report to me on the following night,
for I told him I might have something to say to
him, though not then confiding to him the nature
of my purposes.
It might be that I should fail even more in-
gloriously than Nefntt in my intended attempt to
get speech with the General. This did not now
trouble me so much since there remained the
other method of communication upon which I set
great store. Taking up the volume that I had
A Message from the General 349
been using in my business of the past two days I
went to work to prepare my message. The book
contained a table of contents showing more than
thirty chapters, designated by numeral letters.
Choosing the nineteenth chapter, I made a small
dot with my pencil a little below and midway be-
tween the last two numerals, thus indicating that
the ninth chapter had been selected as the one in
which the message could be found. Turning then
to the figure 2, marking the second page of the
book, I put a short dash above it, indicating that
the second and each succeeding alternate line,
counting from the top of the page, might be
looked to as furnishing the letters and words
composing the message. A dot beneath, and
another some spaces to the left of the figure com-
pleted its ornamentation. These designated the
second letter preceding the one having the mark
beneath it as the letter to which attention was to
be given in spelling out the words. A short dash
to the right of the figure 3, marking the third
page, indicated that the message would begin on
the third page of the chosen chapter, and a cir-
cular mark resembling a small letter "o" beneath
the figure 3 , allowed the use of the third preced-
ing word entire. Let it be understood that the
location of these little marks, all of which were
made lightly, meant a great deal, and that I
might have arrived at the same result by putting
them in very different places.
350 The Legionaries
Being done with this, I found the ninth chap-
ter and on its third page began to make faint but
discernible marks below the proper letters and
words in the designated lines. I had previ-
ously fixed in my mind the communication that
I desired to make, and having marked the last
letter, I then, in like manner, appended my own
name. Then I read it all over to see that I had
made no mistakes. To me it was perfectly legi-
ble, and there was no doubt that it would be as
clear to the General, if it should ever get to him.
' ' Two friends outside — what can we do?"
In the selection and arrangement of these sim-
ple words I had given my brain a serious cudg-
eling. It was necessary that the message should
be short in order to be quickly read, that it
should be composed of letters most frequently
used, so that it would run freely, and that it
should acquaint the receiver with our presence
without compromising him with our outside
efforts if any unfriendly eye should see and de-
cipher the meaning of my marks. A discovery
of my purpose would not only take me out of the
game, but would probably be fatal to any plan
of escape that the General might have in contem-
plation or already on foot.
I was not versed in cryptography — to which,
indeed, as I have said, this simple system bore
little resemblance — and hence was sadly lacking
in confidence in my poor penciling. But as I
A Message from the General 351
only intended to use it — if I could — in the event
that my attempt to reach my chief personally
failed, I determined that I could do nothing less
than take such risk as there was. Another mat-
ter that troubled me greatly was the fear that,
even if my book should reach him, he would
have no opportunity to prepare a return message.
If, as was most reasonable to believe, his inspec-
tion of the volume should be under the eyes of
an official, he would not dare put pencil, if he
should possess one, to its pages. And yet there
were few things that he would not dare where a
point was to be gained. But as to all this I
would see in proper time.
In the afternoon of the next day I set out for
the prison and succeeded in being admitted to the
presence of the warden. It was with much diffi-
culty that I could get him to give me a hearing
for my work. He would certainly have turned me
out with little ceremony had not his attention been
opportunely called to the signature of the digni-
tary under whose appointment he held his office.
For, be it understood, the prison in his charge
was a state and not a national institution, and in
it were held hundreds of malefactors who had
been convicted in courts of justice of all sorts of
crimes against the laws.
Though my General and his officers were con-
fined in a wing of the prison separated from the
parts occupied by the convicts, I felt then and al-
352 The Legionaries
ways have felt since, that the fact of their incar-
ceration there at all was a needless and unworthy
humiliation of proud men, whose valorous deeds
entitled them to better treatment from their foes.
Not, however, until I stood within the portals
that had been so often opened and shut to allow
the incoming and the outgoing of thieves, mur-
derers and the like, did I feel in full measure the
keenness of the shame that had been put upon
them. How much I should have liked then to
pour out upon the head of the blameless warden
the indignation that rose to my throat, God only
knows. But instead of doing that I was forced to
smother my real feelings and assume an entirely
different state of mind and heart.
In deference to the signature of the governor
the warden listened to what I had to say, but at
the end curtly refused to add his own name to
my list and presently turned me over to the mer-
cies of one of the sub-wardens, a kindly-disposed
elderly man, who speedily succumbed to my ar-
guments. And then, after using all the powers
of ingratiation that I could bring to my aid, I
asked to be allowed to show my work to the rebel
officers, who must be, I asserted, peculiarly in-
terested. That I was told could not be permit-
ted, and the manner of the refusal left no doubt
of its finality.
Fearing the effect of persistence in my desire
to see the General personally, I begged the sub-
A Message from the General 353
warden to take the book up, together with my
list and submit it to the General, explaining that I
should like to obtain the autograph of so famous
a rebel. After a brief consultation with the war-
den, followed by a close inspection of the list and
a careful shaking and leafing of the book to see
that no message or other objectionable thing was
concealed in either, the sub-warden made off.
He was gone a long time and I was encouraged
to believe that my ruse might be successful.
Nearly an hour passed before he returned.
"The General says he will take one if he is
still here when you deliver them, but that he
won't sign your list," said the sub-warden. "He
says he hopes to be exchanged soon — which he
won't be, of course — and that your book anyway,
as far as he can see, is only a one-sided affair,
giving the North more than its due and lying
about the South. He'd really like to have it,
though, as a curiosity, he says. He and Colonel
Duke looked it over quite awhile."
"The impudent rebel," cried I, affecting to
be extremely indignant, but really vastly pleased
to know that my leader's spirit was in no wise
curbed by his misfortunes. "But I'm resolved
that he shall have it, and I ask that when I bring
it you give me permission to force it down his
At this brave speech the sub-warden looked at
23 — Legionaries.
354 The Legionaries
me pityingly — or was it contemptuously? Which-
ever it was, I felt that it was born of respect for
my chief, and by that was comforted. But he
was not content with turning me off with a look.
"And Colonel Duke said that, if I pleased, I
might tell the dapper little book-peddler — he
missed it there in your size, and it's a shame you
haven't got grit enough to be a soldier — that if
the warden is willing, he requests the pleasure of
having you kicked out, with his compliments."
The sub-warden laughed, as if this were a pleasant
bit of humor.
"The devil he did," said I. "Suppose you
bring him down here and let him do it himself."
"Oh, don't take it so much to heart," the of-
ficial hastened to say, relentingly. "He saw
something in the book about the Vicksburg sur-
render that made him angry, something about
Pemberton napping within the city while Grant
was running tunnels from the outside to blow up
his fortifications. The Colonel said he knew
Pemberton was the kind of man who would do
everything he could do from the inside to save
himself, even if he did finally march out on a na-
tional holiday. But he did say, as a matter of
fact, that if it had not been for the breach made
in the fortifications by Grant's mines, Vicksburg
would not have changed commanders so soon."
I do not know how much more the loquacious
sub-warden would have said had not a growl from
A Message from the General 355
his chief shut him up abruptly. As it was, it
occurred to me that during his absence he had
been furnished with a verbal entertainment that
was very likely not purposeless, and that the
greater part of it had come from Colonel Duke
was still more evident. Taking myself off in an ap-
parently bad humor which I made a visible effort
to conceal — beginning, by that time, to be a little
vain of my performance — I hastened into the city
and went at once to my room to learn if my mes-
sage had borne fruit.
Turning to the table of contents I scrutinized
the chapter headings, but saw no marks save
those that my own pencil had put there. With
a heart sinking with disappointment I was about
to lay the volume aside when the thought flashed
into my mind that possibly the General had not
chosen to alter the cipher and that an answering
communication might be found immediately fol-
lowing my own. And so it proved.
On the page following that on which I had put
my last mark the paper showed signs of having
been pricked by a pin. No casual eye would
have noticed these signs, perhaps, but to me they
were as clear as my own, though, as it seemed,
made furtively if not in haste. In a little while I
had spelled out these words: "At work — danger
on wall op. E. Hall — ready near thanks day —
watch change commandants." That was all, but
how much it seemed to me then. As I read the
356 The Legionaries
message the prisoners had plans of their own
under way in which I might be able to bear a
part. Ready near Thanksgiving day ! I re-
membered that the Northern President, weeks
before, had issued a proclamation setting apart the
last Thursday in November as a day for national
thanksgiving. It was clear that some plan of
the prisoners was expected to mature then. But
what was this about a change of commandants?
What they feared was evidently a close inspection
of the prison, and discovery of their plot, such as
would likely follow the incoming of a new mili-
tary commandant. A rumor that the present
officer would be superseded I had already heard,
but until then it had made no impression on me.
In the light of it now I read the General's mes-
sage, and saw that Colonel Duke's words concern-
ing the change of commanders at Vicksburg,
which the sub-warden had repeated to me — as
the former, no doubt, believed he would do —
were not meaningless.
FRIENDS ON THE WALL
Could I have seen how my imprisoned fellow-
officers were toiling at that moment for the liber-
ation of their beloved leader, and could I have
known how they had been toiling for weeks and
would toil for weeks yet to come, my concern
would have been even greater than it was. For
it was a precarious undertaking, with many
chances of discovery and failure as against a
mere pitiful hope. Its successful execution, in
the face of the disheartening obstacles that met
them on every hand, would be little less than the
accomplishment of a miracle. But these men of
the free air were accustomed to obstacles and to
overcoming them as well.
With no prospect of release from confinement
in a regular way, they set about to find some other.
Tramping the narrow corridor by day or lying in
their pinching cells by night, they thought of
many plans. It was the resolute Hines who dis-
pelled the chaos of doubt. One day, engaging
in conversation with old Hevay, a sub-warden of
long service, he offered a casual remark as to the
358 The Legionaries
seeming architectural and sanitary perfection of the
prison, calling attention to the unusual dryness of
the floors of the ground cells, one of which he
occupied. If Hevay had a hobby it was that very
thing, as Hines well knew. Straightway he told
of the existence of an air chamber extending the
length of the bottom tier of cells.
Carefully concealing his interest in this impor-
tant revelation, Hines lost little time in testing its
accuracy. With knives secretly obtained from
the table on which their meals were served, he
began to dig and pry in the hard floor. Little
by little he made progress, and finally, after in-
credible labor and pains, penetrated eighteen
inches of cement and brick to the space beneath
of which the sub-warden had spoken. The debris
was surreptitiously carried out in pocket hand-
kerchiefs, and mingled with the ashes in the
large corridor stove or else concealed in his own
bed and in the beds of his fellows, who gave him
such assistance as they could.
Once in the air chamber there was ample room
for work. A tunnel was begun and pushed
through the three-foot stone wall of the cell house,
then under the corridor floor, then through the
wall of the inclosing structure to the prison
yard, but not opened to the air until the time
came for departure. It was the work of weeks
of the most wearing labor, weeks of patience, cau-
tion, constant vigilance, of pouring sweat and
Friends on the Wall 359
pounding hearts. It was guarded by keen eyes
and alert ears, and shared by many eager hands
— the hands of men desiring liberty for another
more than they desired it for themselves, and who
would be content if that one should escape and
they remain. To the aid of the knives — of such
little avail against blocks of stone — was providen-
tially brought a single other tool, a broken
spade skillfully procured, and the light of can-
dles which they had been permitted to buy and
had carefully hoarded.
I did not know of these things until later. The
battle for liberty was in progress, but what form
it was taking could only be conjectured. That it
was a stupendous conflict waged against solid
stone, from a darksome hole in the ground, with
such sorry weapons of offense, I did not dream.
Hence I say, that had I known the truth my con-
cern over the outcome of their struggles would
not have been lessened. As it was, time passed
From evening to evening Neffitt came to re-
port his progress. He was still working on the
guards, he told me, and was getting on close
terms with the two who had an over-fondness for
liquor, asserting that they might prove useful. I
think that the possible help he expected them
to render was more of a negative than a positive
sort, as he did not hint that they were lacking
in either honesty or loyalty. But I did not then
360 The Legionaries
seek enlightenment, and really hoped that our
own ends might be achieved without involving
any innocent person in trouble. He expressed
no surprise on learning that I had fared no bet-
ter than himself in my effort to speak with the
General. The faithful rogue rather seemed to
be pleased than otherwise, not because I had
failed but because he had not been discredited.
When, however, I proceeded to tell him of the
message received, his delight was sincere and un-
"They must be workin' a tunnel," he said
with conviction, "and hope to get over that wall
somehow. By all the smoky ghosts of hell I can
help 'em there."
Much impressed by the enthusiasm displayed
in the utterance of this original oath, I asked him
in what manner he proposed to be of assistance.
"My two friends is on that wall. They lets
down a string, I ties on a bottle or two and they
celebrates the day, that is if it's Thanksgivin'.
But they'll do it most any time for that matter,
as I've already helped 'em that way onc't. Hope
it'll be a nasty bad night, though."
"Is there any place from which we could run a
tunnel from the outside so as to get under that
wall?" I asked, having in my mind Colonel
Duke's statement to the sub-warden about the
counter-mines of Grant and Pemberton at Vicks-
Friends on the Wall 361
"No, there ain't, and it's too risky. They
comes over that wall and not through it or under
it. If you can reach the General agin, for God's
sake tell him to make it Thanksgivin'. It'll be
easier to get them fellers to put on lots of steam
He left me a little later, taking an additional
supply of money, having confessed to me that he
was down to his last copper. We were both elated
over the certainty that we were at last making
definite headway. On the next day and still the
next I continued my canvassing desultorily from
motives of caution. After that I took no more
orders — not being at all content with the unheroic
character of my employment — and from that time
only awaited the arrival of my books in order that
I might have further excuse for visiting the prison.
For these I had to send to Philadelphia.
Three weeks passed, and a vexatious delay in
the coming of the books rilled me with despair.
The change in commandants was about to be
accomplished, and the day of national thanks-
giving was only two days off, when, to my joy,
a heavy box was set down at my lodgings di-
rected to John Clark, that being my own name
in truth, though not all of it.
Being now armed with the authority of my
calling I lost no time in making my way to
the prison, carrying with me three or four of the
books. In the one intended for General Morgan
362 The Legionaries
was a message informing him of the threatened
danger and telling him that on the night of the
ensuing holiday he need not fear the wall. This
I did on the assurance of Neffitt that he would
not fail in the execution of his design. I had
come to rely greatly on the corporal's ability in
his chosen field, and beyond those latent doubts
that always exist until a hazardous undertaking
has been accomplished, I felt no misgiving.
It was in the afternoon and the sky was over-
cast by gray, smudgy clouds, through which
filtered occasional flakes of snow that came hes-
itatingly down as if loath to reach the earth. The
air was chill enough to justify me in turning up
the collar of my overcoat and in taking strides
that carried me quickly to my destination. A
guard at the gate let me in, after consulting a
higher official in pursuance of his duty. Only
the sub-warden, with whom my business had
been conducted when there before, and a clerk,
occupied the office. The absence of the warden
was a hopeful sign. When the sub-warden had
accepted and paid for his own volume, I remind-
ed him of the promise of General Morgan, made
to himself, to take the book if not previously ex-
changed, and asked if he were still a prisoner.
"Yes, he is here," said the official, "and here
he is likely to stay. He is too hard a man to
catch to be turned loose in a hurry. Do you
know that man has cost the government millions
Friends on the Wall 363
upon millions of dollars? Well, it's a fact, and
it's a good deal easier and cheaper to feed him
here than to have to run him down again."
"That's right," I assented. "Give him time
to read a little of the recent history of his coun-
try. It will do him good."
"He'd much rather be making it than reading
it. But I haven't time to bother with your book
now. Leave it here and I will see about it. Come
"Well, there's one for that bloodthirsty col-
onel; maybe he will take it. If they've got any
money I might as well have some of it as any-
The sub-warden threw the books on the desk
at which sat the clerk, and repeated the state-
ment that I should return on the next day, which
closed the interview. Grievously disappointed
at this additional delay, but not daring to be too
urgent I left the prison. I had not proceeded
far on my road until I overtook a man who had
been walking leisurely ahead of me as if he too
had just left the prison, but if such was the case
he had escaped my observation. As I was in the
act of passing him he spoke, and his voice made
me start with apprehension, for it was the voice
of the spy, Vawter.
"So it is you that I find here, Captain Tren-
ham," he said. "Now go a little slower while I
pick up a bit ; walk behind me — they can see us
364 The Legionaries
yet from the walls if they look, and I don't want
them to know that I'm talking to you."
Saying this, he quickened his steps and went
before me, while I, gathering my wits, wondered
what he was about.
"Give it up, Captain," he continued without
looking around. "I don't want to make trouble
for you, but I am here in the interest of the gov-
ernment to look for stray Morgan men. I re-
lieved another agent only yesterday, and here you
stumble upon me — the last one of the lot that I
hoped to see. You have got something going,
and if you don't give it up and leave this very
night it will be my business to find out what it
is, much as I dislike to do it."
He spoke deliberately, his head half turned
that his words might the better fall back to me
over his shoulder. It was already beginning to
grow dark both from the hour and the thickening
clouds, but darker still at this moment were my
thoughts. Not for an instant, however, did I
harbor any notion of abandoning my purpose.
Presently, being out of view of the prison, he
stopped and turned around. I had not yet spoken.
"Well, what do you say? Shall we have
peace or war? Strange as it seems to me, I re-
member that I owe you something and am willing
to do you a good turn."
"I will talk it over with you," said I, at this,
"but we can not do it here. /.There's a place
Friends on the Wall 365
a little way off where we can come to terms.
It's the house of a crippled friend, who is not
likely to be at home. Do you agree?"
He looked at me suspiciously. "How many
more of your friends will be there?'' he asked.
"Not a soul."
He finally assented, though not without hesita-
tion, and felt about his person as if to make sure
that his weapons were in place. As for myself I
was wholly unarmed. I went straight to the little
house that Neffitt had hired for his own use. It
was dark and there was no external sign of occu-
pancy, nor was my knock on the door answered.
Trying the door it yielded and I went in, followed
by Vawter. Striking a match, I found and lighted
an oil lamp that was standing on a table at the
side of the room ; upon the table also was a loose
coil of small cotton rope. Scattered about were
two or three wooden chairs. To satisfy my
companion that, save for us, the house was
empty, I took up the lamp and together we went
into the remaining rooms. In one was a cheap
bed ; in the other a small stove ; nothing more in
either. Returning then to the first room I set
down the lamp. In the meantime my mind had
been working busily.
"Mr. Vawter," said I, "you mean well, no
doubt, and I thank you, but I shall stay."
He had seated himself in one of the chairs with
one elbow resting on the table, the hand of his
366 The Legionaries
other arm — the right one — in his overcoat pocket.
At my words he moved uneasily and his face har-
dened into the old, wicked sneer.
"Then I must take you," he returned sharply,
"and I'll do it before any other person comes.
I think you mean to trap me and I'm a fool not
to see it. Don't resist or I'll kill you. I gave
you a chance and we are quits."
With that he whipped a revolver out of his
pocket and leveled it upon me, but not less quick
was I. Springing upon him I seized his wrist
before he could use the weapon, but he was active
and strong, and then began a fierce struggle for
the mastery. My foot became entangled in the
chair and I fell to the floor, taking my antagonist
with me. Making a desperate effort I succeeded
in pinning him down under the very edge of the
table, the arm holding the revolver outstretched
and still in my grasp and the other held close to his
side by my knees. With my free hand I reached
up for the rope and got a coil of it under his
head, then below his shoulders and drew it tight.
Once more, a little further down, and save for the
weapon he was at my mercy. Gradually work-
ing my fingers outward until they fell upon the
pistol I tore it from his hand and flung it to the
far side of the room. A minute more and he was
helpless ; then I bound him securely and propped
him against the wall. Up to this time not a
word had been uttered by either of us, nor did
Friends on the Wall 367
either have much breath now ; but Vawter was
the first to break the silence.
"You win again," he panted, "and do it fairly
again, too. What are you going to do with
"Keep you close for a few days; nothing
more if you give me your word not to connect
me with this business. For myself I do not
care, but there are others to be considered."
"Another, you mean, eh, Captain?"
"Have it that way if you please; what do you
He looked at me a little while before replying,
and seemed to be considering my proposition.
At last he spoke: "I agree, and will stick to it,
though five months ago I would have been drawn
and quartered first. But I've got over that."
At this point we were interrupted by the en-
trance of Neffitt, who looked profoundly aston-
ished at the unexpected scene. For a moment
his eyes rested upon Vawter, then he turned to
' 'That's the feller, Captain, that crossed with us
at Brandenburg — the one that said them things."
"Never mind that now, Neffitt," I cautioned.
"It's all past and gone, and we have other things
to think of. Can you keep this man here a few
days? He must not be harmed — not in the least,
you understand; just kept close and secure.
Neffitt consented, reluctantly I thought, for he
368 The Legionaries
was the kind of man who cherished a favor or a
grudge with equal intensity, and here before him
was one who had played a scoundrel's part, to
the injury and distress of many people. After sat-
isfying myself that proper arrangements had been
made as to the disposition of our enforced guest,
I returned to my own lodgings.
THE next day when I called at the prison in
obedience to the sub-warden's command it was
with some doubt as to whether I would be suf-
fered to depart, for I was not prepared to place
entire dependence on Vawter's word. But it
was not long until I was reassured. The officials,
so the sub-warden told me, had hesitated about
allowing the prisoners to have my books, but on
examining them had finally concluded that there
was no good reason for denying them the privilege
if they chose to exercise it.
As a result only one of the books was returned
to me, Colonel Duke angrily refusing, upon re-
newed inspection, to have anything to do with the
one designed for him. This did not surprise me ; on
the other hand I should have been greatly discon-
certed if it had been retained, and even hastened
away for fear that at the last moment some other
person about the place might offer to take it.
Once more in my room and secure from ob-
servation, I turned again to the chapter headings
in the table of contents. There was no mark or
24 — Legionaries. (3^9)
370 The Legionaries
sign until I came to Chapter XV, and here to the
right of the numeral V was a puncture made with
the point of a pin. Turning further I saw a sim-
ilar puncture to the right of and another above
the figure I marking the first page of the book.
On the next page, to the right of the figure 2, was
a short horizontal scratch. Above the figure 3 on
the following page was a like scratch. The mes-
sage was therefore in the fifth chapter, beginning
on the third line of the second page, counting
from the top, and continuing on each succeeding
third line until finished. The letters composing
the words of the communication, as shown by
the position of the marks at figure 1 , were those
next following the ones above which the indi-
cating mark would be found. With great eager-
ness I spelled out the seven words constituting
the message which told me that on Thanksgiving
night an effort for freedom would be made and
urged that attention be given to the wall.
The morrow was the day of prayer and feast.
It dawned gray and dull and threatening, and
Neffitt's hope that the night might be a bad one
was likely to be fulfilled. His two convivial
friends were still doing wall duty, and he had, at
their solicitation, he said, grudgingly promised to
put it in their way to show an appreciative ob-
servance of the occasion.
To me that short day was seemingly the long-
est on the calendar, but darkness came at last and
The Escape 371
with it a cold, steady rain that drove everybody
indoors except such as were compelled to brave
the weather. Near nine o'clock I set out for
Neffitt's house and reached it to find him absent
and the door fastened. Getting under the shelter
of the sorry little porch built over the front door,
I stood in the darkness and waited. In a few
minutes Neffitt came and admitted me. When
a light was made I saw that his not over-thick
clothes were soaked and dripping, and that he
was wet to the skin. His face was blue and
pinched with the chill air and rain.
"A little of that will do you good," said I,
pointing to a large bottle of whisky on the table.
"I'd like it well enough," he responded, look-
ing at the bottle longingly. "But that's for them
two friends of mine. They just h'isted one a bit
ago. And besides we wanter keep a clear head —
it's their noggins that's to get muddled; besides
they paid for the whisky — likewise for them things
to eat in that basket. I swore I wouldn't spend
another cent for 'em — never can tell when a feller
is goin' to get 'spicious. They gets together at
midnight and has a supper in honor of the day."
With a complete willingness that on this night
they should eat and drink to their heart's con-
tent, and recognizing Nemtt's good sense in re-
fusing the liquor, I looked about me for Vawter,
and found him in the middle room lying on the
corporal's bed, to which he was securely strapped.
37 2 The Legionaries
A neatly contrived gag, used by Neffitt only
when he left the house, he explained, was in the
man's mouth, and guaranteed silence. The spy
had slept in the bed both nights since he had
been deprived of his liberty, while his keeper
had self-denyingly lain upon the hard, bare floor.
I say lain, for I doubt if he allowed himself to
sleep. When the gag was removed, Vawter
offered no complaints as to his treatment, and
only wanted to know how long his detention was
to continue. He was greatly gratified to learn
that it would be speedily at an end.
Eleven o'clock in the black shadows of the
outer wall. Surely the drenching, wind-driven
rain falling from thick clouds adapted the night
to the purposes of those within that gloomy pile
of stone. I had taken a position directly oppo-
site the East Hall, and flattening my back against
the cold wall, which afforded me some protec-
tion, waited. Neffitt had gone toward the shel-
ter house on the wall to the left, creeping along
like a shadow, with the basket containing the
midnight feast swinging from his one hand.
It was horrible weather, and yet I rejoiced in
it and even wished it were far worse. There
was no way to judge as to the time; I could only
listen and wait. It might be minutes or it might
be hours that I must stay here, but stay I would.
A noise on the top of the wall at last ! Some-
one was walking up there, but cautiously, and
The Escape 373
carrying a lantern. It was the guard on the right
going to join his comrade on the left in his noct-
urnal negligence of duty. It was strange that they
had not suspected Neffitt, and there, in the pour-
ing rain, I gave thought to the corporal's eminent
qualities as a strategist, and thought also of the
failure of Bellray.
After what seemed a very long time there was
another noise on the wall to my right, a dull
clanking sound as of metal striking upon stone,
quickly followed by a scratching of the inner sur-
face of the wall from the top downward as if
something had slipped over the coping, striking
the surface as it descended. A distant bell was
striking midnight. Neffitt moved up to me out of
"They're comin'," he said at my ear in an
eager, tremulous whisper.
"Who?" I whispered back fiercely, thinking of
the guards and that he had failed.
"The General — listen ! They're try in' to grap-
ple the coping."
Again came the clanking noise, but this time
it was not followed by the sound of something
falling. Instead, there came a faint, upward touch-
ing of the inside of the wall as if now something
was ascending. Then there was a slight scrap-
ing on the top. Six times was this repeated,
then something like a rope dropped down, strik-
ing me as it fell, for I had changed my position
374 The Legionaries
It was made of coverings from the prison beds,
knotted together, and up there at the other end,
grappling the top of the wall, was the iron bar
with which the fire had been stirred in the corri-
dor stove, now bent into a hook.
Looking upward, I saw between my eyes and
the gray of the sky a darker object like a man's
head protruding over the coping. Through my
hands I spoke my name, and instantly a man
came sliding down the rope. It was Captain
Hines. Hardly was he on the ground before
another stood beside him. This was the General
"Come," said I; "Neffitt will look after the
"So the other one is your corporal, is it?
Brave soul," said the General.
Without saying more he sought about until he
got the corporal's one poor hand in both of his
own in a thankful grasp that repaid the poor
fellow for all his toil. Then away, while the oth-
ers in silence were reaching the ground. Straight
we went to the railroad station, and boldly Hines,
the ever daring, procured tickets from the sleepy
agent as though he were the most innocent of
travelers, while the General and I stood alone
outside in the shelter of the widely projecting
eaves of the roof, I listening to expressions of his
gratitude of which my feeble efforts were wholly
The Escape 375
Thank God that a train was due in a few min-
utes, and thank God that it came and started
when it was due to start ! When we had entered
the lighted car I saw that both men were bleached
by the four months of imprisonment — four months
to the very day. They wore citizens' clothes and
now bore little resemblance to the bronzed men
in gray who had so desperately ridden the north-
ern highways under the July sun. On the train
was a Federal officer in uniform, with whom Gen-
eral Morgan engaged in conversation by tender-
ing the use of his flask just as the train passed
near the walls of the prison which he had so re-
"That," said the officer as he accepted the
offered refreshment, "is the hotel at which Mor-
gan stops, I believe."
"Yes," responded the General, taking the re-
turned flask and holding it before him, "and will
stop it is to be hoped. He has given us his fair
share of trouble, and he will not be released. I
will drink to him: 'May he ever be as closely
kept as he is now.' "
And so all went pleasantly.
In due time we came to a suburb of Cincinnati.
The rain had ceased. Captain Hines rose and
reached for the bell cord, giving it a warning jerk.
The train slowed down in obedience to the unof-
ficial signal and we quickly got off, we three, and
hastened toward the river, the wide Ohio, that
376 The Legionaries
had suffered us to cross its bosom only that we
might be overwhelmed beyond. We reached it in
the first feeble light of the morning, and found a
stout lad already upon its margin bailing over-
night rain out of a staunch little skiff. A liberal
reward induced him to accept two passengers for
the Kentucky side; then hand clasps and "God
bless you's" and they were swept out into the
mist. I stood there and watched them as they
went. Where now were the patrolling war-boats?
Where the swarming foes, the dozen generals?
And where, alas, the three thousand? I stood
and watched with strained eyes until they disap-
peared in the fog that turned the opposite shore
into a dim gray line. Good-bye, brave, indom-
itable soul ; and farewell !
THE RETURN OF REASON
PROCEEDING into the city I breakfasted and
upon again going into the street heard newsboys
crying aloud about the escape of Morgan, and
there was great excitement and commotion. How
many were there in that more than one hundred
thousand who rejoiced with me? Not many,
surely. I rested quietly during the day and that
evening took boat down the river, again a stranger
Early the next morning, on awakening and look-
ing out, I saw that we were tied up at Louisville,
where we had been since midnight. On the
wharf was the man Tapper who, more than a
year before, had so artfully concealed his recog-
nition of my name as that of a possible conspira-
tor, and so dutifully and immediately reported me
to his chief. I did not appear on deck until the
boat was again in midstream.
At nine o'clock we were opposite Brandenburg
but did not mean to stop. There were the heights
from which our cannon had thundered so defiantly ;
over there was the Indiana shore on which we had
378 The Legionaries
landed, and far beyond, past the now gray hills,
the little valley to which my troubled thoughts
After a little while there came into view, slum-
bering on the margin of the river, the signal land-
ing that Captain Bracken had been so anxious to
reach in time for the packet. And far up was the
break in the bluff where the horse-buyer had
come to his end and I almost to mine, and where,
down beneath the roots of the leafless trees, was
the vast chamber with the reminding evidence of
a lost race.
Presently came Leavenworth, and then the
drive overland, bearing north of east, in a hired
conveyance that jolted and shook, up hill and
down, through the wet, clinging clay of the road.
Over there was the entrance to the great cavern
where I had parted from the wounded spy. And
here, as the sun dropped low, was the road by
the side of which I went to sleep in weariness,
there was the very rock against which I leaned,
and here was where Captain Sivad's men fought
the Federals. Further along was the cross-roads
where the neighborhood Unionists had rejoiced
over my General's downfall and humiliated poor
I could not tell why I had chosen the route by
which I had returned, and which called forth
so many disagreeable recollections. But it was
ended at last and I was at home, stiff, sore and
The Return of Reason 379
mud-splashed, but rejoicing in the knowledge that
one undertaking had prospered if many* had
failed. What mattered it now by what way I
had come since it brought me to the dear, pa-
tient mother and to that other one waiting over
The next morning I walked over to Bellray's.
In the few weeks of my absence he had greatly
changed for the worse. He was more distrait
and moody, and his movements, once so active
and determined, were now dull and heavy and his
mental powers much diminished. The symptoms
portended collapse and gave great anxiety to
Kate and the few friends who were yet openly
faithful. Dr. White urged that he be taken to a
specialist for an operation, and named an eminent
surgeon in New York, in which city he had re-
ceived a part of his own education. This step
had already been agreed upon before my arrival,
and thither in December he was taken, accom-
panied by the doctor and Kate.
Word came to me in time, in a joyful note from
the latter, that science had triumphed and that
Roger's mind was restored. This letter was fol-
lowed by another written a few days afterward,
in which she said Roger had spoken to her of his
purpose to return to Indiana as soon as he was
strong enough to be released from the hospital,
and hinted at vengeance against his enemies.
She was alone with him in the great city, Dr.
380 The Legionaries
White having returned home, and she was doing
her bes't to dissuade him. She had confided to
the surgeon something of his history and sur-
roundings, and he had recommended a trip
abroad in order that Roger might be removed
from excitements until at least he was able to
bear them. About the middle of March she
wrote in great distress :
"Roger will leave the hospital in a week, and
is determined to 'go back and fight it out,' he
says. On this subject he becomes very violent,
though as gentle as a child toward me always.
The surgeon commands the trip, but Roger says
that he does not need it, and that he has other
things to do. Whatever these other things are,
he must not do them. Oh, if you were only
here! He would listen to you. Can't you come
and help me save him from the desperate under-
takings on which I know he is resolved? He
grows more and more furious every day, and ve-
hemently denounces so many people. He does
not seem like the same man that he used to be.
If he goes back there will be a tragedy which
will engulf him and add to the misery of us all.
Can you come speedily?"
This appeal decided me. The terms of my
parole bound me not to take up arms again until
exchanged, and the suspension of the cartel left
little hope of that. I regretted this less since the
destruction of my General's forces, but my indif-
ference I now admitted to myself, was largely be-
cause of my mother's open opposition , a,nd Kate's
The Return of Reason 381
unexpressed but well understood wishes. And
then, being removed from the scene of the struggle,
I saw the hopelessness of it, and knew that its con-
tinuance only meant a prolongation of misery and
blood-letting and an increase of bitterness. The
result was certain ; the fabric of the Confederacy
was raveling and fast becoming ragged. Its re-
sources were not adequate to the demand for re-
pairs. The North seemed as yet barely scathed,
and had men and means and credit to meet any
emergency that might arise.
All these things were clear to me at last. Only
a little more hammering and a little closer draw-
ing of the lines of blue and then the inevitable
crash. If I were there it would only be one more
beneath the wreck. It was long indeed before I
could bring myself to these views and make up
my mind that I was no longer to be a participant
in the battles still being bravely waged by my
people. Alas! What sacrifices they made and
what sufferings they endured to continue the
struggle for a separation that would have wrought,
as I now believe, the ruin of our country.
The day after receiving Kate's last letter I
started for New York. It would not do at all
to allow Roger Bellray to return to Indiana if
it could be prevented, and on my own part
a sense of alienation that I could not overcome
made me restless. Therefore I welcomed the
opportunity as furnishing an excuse for my de-
382 The Legionaries
parture. My mother, prudent woman that she
was, had kept her matters so well in hand that
there was n*o present difficulty about means. And
so I had planned with her that if things went ac-
cording to my mind she should join me later in
New York, or wherever else I might determine to
take up a temporary residence. To this arrange-
ment she readily agreed when she clearly under-
stood its purpose, and had considered that I would
thereby be the sooner reconciled to my enforced
retirement from the service.
I reached the metropolis the day before the
time appointed for Roger to leave the hospital.
Kate was living in the family of the surgeon who
had undertaken her brother's cure. There I
found her that evening, well, indeed, and more
beautiful in my eyes than she had ever been —
which is saying much — but torn by anxieties. I
had not written of my coming, knowing that a
letter would travel no faster than I, nor had I used
the telegraph. So until she saw me she had no
knowledge that I was on my way to join her.
She rushed into my arms with a surprised cry,
and between smiles and tears asserted that she
had been on the verge of despair.
"If you had not come Roger would certainly
have started home to-morrow," she said tremb-
lingly, after awhile. "We must not let him go;
he is now so extreme and bitter. He will gather
his friends and will stop at nothing short of vio-
The Return of Reason ?,8
lence, for he considers that his last rights as a cit-
izen have been taken away."
I gave her -such comforting words as came to
me, but seriously doubted my ability to change
her brother's resolution, and yet I must try.
When I had left her and returned to my hotel I
remained long awake thinking about the best way
to reach him. No ordinary arguments or appeals
would answer, for he was a very obdurate man
and felt that he had been deeply wronged. At
last I went to sleep believing that I had found a
pleasant solution of the problem.
Early the next morning, in company with Kate,
I went to see Roger. He was in his room at the
hospital and had his belongings packed ready to
leave. When we entered he was reading a news-
paper but threw it aside and got up to receive us,
expressing agreeable surprise at seeing me. He
looked strong and his eyes were clear and keen
as of old — keener, in truth, as though a fresh fire
flamed in their depths. Almost at once he began
to make eager inquiries as to the situation in
Indiana. As I did not wish him to become
aroused until I had spoken of the matter that
was on my mind, I led him away from the scene
of his grievances and back to ourselves.
"Mr. Bellray," I began, "I want to say some-
thing about myself — ourselves ; something I have
come a thousand miles to say. A part of it you
384 The Legionaries
"Kate has told me all about you, John. At
any rate she has told me a good deal. You had
a pretty tough time of it, didn't you?"
"Did she tell you all?" I asked, looking from
him to Kate, who flushed at the emphasis I placed
on the last word.
' 'Not — not everything, John, ' ' she said quietly,
as she smoothed out her gloves on her knee.
"It is as I suspected — she has omitted the most
important thing. She has promised to marry me.
And look here ; we intend to go abroad on our
wedding journey and you are going with us."
Kate opened wide her eyes at the unfolding of
a plan about which she had not been consulted.
Though taken by surprise she was quick enough
to see my purpose and to second it by a look of
affectionate entreaty. Roger's face clouded and
he was about to speak, but I went on :
"No use growling, Bellray; we've got it all
arranged. If you go back to Indiana in your
present frame of mind you will be killed. That
probability will not keep you away, of course, but
you will be likely to kill somebody else first, and
you don't want to do that, I know. They are
bitter about finding the arms in your house and
only let you off because of your cracked head.
Now that it's sound again some of them will try
to give it another thump. It's no use; the game
is not worth the playing. I will send for my
mother and we will make a little family party and
The Return of Reason 385
see the world. This thing will soon be ended over
here and we can come back and settle down. Now,
honestly, isn't this the best thing to do? They
will not let me fight any more and you — you — ' '
I stumbled here, not knowing how he would
take from me what was on my tongue.
"Speak it out, John; and Iwont; that's what
you were about to say. No harm in the truth."
"Well, then, and you won't, so what is there
for us to do ? Certainly we ought not to go back
there and amuse ourselves quarreling and fighting
with our neighbors."
"The sum of it all is," he said with twinkling
eyes that dulled the sting of his words, "you
think I will be better off gallivanting about the
world with a pair of young fools on a honey-
moon. Well, I will think about it."
And then he began to talk of something else,
and presently we all went down and Roger set
about taking his leave of those in the institution
whose friendship he had acquired during his stay.
At last when we had entered the carriage that was
waiting for us and were being whirled away he
turned to his sister and said :
"Kate, it looks like running away, but I think
we had better obey the Captain."
THE LIBRARY OF THE