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Full text of "Si, "Shorty" and the boys on the march to the sea"

Ok i Y" and 
THE BOYS 




o:< -n^F MA-RCH -^OTMH SEA." 








<\ iO' 



fiNE, V/a5hfhgtO'i, D. C. g 






^HE SI KLEGG STORIES 

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SI, "SHORTY" AND THE BOY 



OS THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



ILLUSTRATED 



WASHINGTON, D. O : 

THE NATIONAL TRTBUNB 
1903. 






COPYEIGHT, 1902, BY 

Mcelroy, shoppell <^ Andrews, 

WASIIIXGTOX, D. C. 



/yr^> 



/v1 /V/«i^ 



PREFACE. 

Serg't Si Klegg and Corp'l "Shorty," of Co. Q, 200bli Intl., afler their 
release from Andersonville, spent a time in tlio hospital, and after con- 
valescing to a certain point were sent home witli their compraiions on sick 
furlough to regain their health and strength. Si and Shorty went directly 
to Deacon Klegg's comfortable home on Bean Blossom Creek, in the 
AVabash Valley, and there, with the abundance of well-cooked, delicious 
food, ijrepared by Mrs. Klegg's own hands, and all the comforts of a home, 
they soon became themselves again. Si and Annabel decided to marry 
before his retui'n. Sliorty was tortured by tlio usual vicissitudes of feeling 
of a big, strong, bashl'ul man, desperat-ely in love with a saucy, high- 
spirited girl, whom he feels is so lar above him that he scarcely dares 
admit, even to himself, how much Jkv loves her. He gets fearfully jealous 
of the school teacher, and has the usual passages iVom the intoxication of 
happiness to the gloom of despair. Maria Klegg at last takes matters iii 
her own hands and lets him have a little substantial encouragement. 

Tlie wedding of Si and Annabel comes olf, but in the midst of the 
ceremony arrives an order for hiui and Shorty to go at once to Indianapolis 
and take charge of a party of recruit;, convalescents, and soldiers return- 
ing from furlough, and bring them on to the regiment, which is about to 
start with Sherman on the March to the Sea. All their comijanions rush 
to jain them, though their furloughs have not expired. They go to 
Indianapoli>^, to find that communication with Sherman has been appar- 
ently cut off. The Commandant of the Post tries to retain them for prison 
guards, but they manage, with the aid of Shad Graham, a young volunteer, 
who has been in Andersonville with them and has now been detailed to 
engineering duty as an Acting Lieutenant, to get detailed as part of a 
detachment which is to take a pontoon train to the front. They are taken 
to JelF^-rsunviile, Ind. 



98125 



SI XLEGG AND SHOKTY. 



CHAPTER I. 

SHORTY HAS A GO OF OliDERLY DUTY. 



The news that morning was still more 
disturbing. There w:is no longer any 
«ioubt that Hood's whole army had slippi-'d 
around Sherman, and was now booming 
noithward, along the line which had hoou 
fought over the previous Summer, and rt- 
coveriug the >;round which has been wrest- 
ed Ironi it by such terrihc hshtini;-. aiu! 
striking for Chattanooga. MurfreeshDru, 
IS'ashviUe — possibly Memphis, Louisville, 
Cincinnati, and no one knew where i-lse. 
Forrest's and Wheeler's cavalry st-iMued 
to be everywhere, and doing measureless 
damage to railroads, bridges, deiiots oE 
!jUI)plics and trains. Tennessee, southern 
Kentucky and northern Georgia suddenly 
lt)eoame a ferment of armed rebels, actively 
bent on mischief. 

There were reports of the railroads be- 
ing cut in a score of important places, of 
garrisons repulsing furious assault.s ur 
having to yield to them, of detacluuenis 
being surrouuded, of alarms all along the 
Tennessee and the Cumberland Uiveis, 
and of "active prei)aratious for del'eiise" 
even back on the Ohit). 

"There seems to be a hcU's mint <^( loh- 
ols nearly everywhere tiiat we know," said 
Iki- Deeble dejectedly. 

"Where in crealion did they all comi^ 
from. Si".'"' asked Sluuty. in bewildcrme:;!. 
"I thought that uld Sherman h.id got lliem 
that wasn't killed oU pretty well cooped 

up." 

"He did have 'em cooped up," answered 
Si, "but a little bunch u' them's Hew the 
coo[). Vuu know ho\v it is when you're 
penning shi'eii. Yon get 1(H) o' them in a 
pen, but 10 get away from yoa, and they 
make more trouble than the whoU» lot 
would 've done. I believe iheiu rebi'ls 
down there's like whi[)-|!Oor-wills, much 
more noisy than numerous, am! I'd < hauce 
marching this part o' the litJlith in.jiainiy 
Volunteer Infantry right down through 
'em to hnd Sherman." 

"But where in the world is Sherman'?" 
jnquiied Ike Deeble. ""Why ain't he 
showing somewhere iu ail this ruction T' 



'"Shermau'll show up somewhere, just 
when and where the rebels least expect 
and want him," answered Si, confidently. 
"He ain't the feller to let all this bobbery 
go on without his getting in h's licks s )me- 
where. I half believe he's .iust tirrni'd all 
this shivaret- loose on purpose, just to get 
rid of 'em, and give the fellers in the rear 
something to do taking care <if 'em." 

"That's an idee, Si," said Shorty, a new 
light breaking on him. "I believe that 
myself. Our play's to get right through 
to him. in short meler, and pay no atteii- 
lidu lo this hidlabaloo. The real front's 
AvhiM'e Shei'inan is. There's our place." 

"The surest and quickest way to get to 
Sliei-inan is to .stick to these pontoons," 
s:iid Shad <]raham. "Sherman's bound to 
have them before he can go anywhere, and 
he'll wait for them. I'm sure of that." 

"Hurrah for the pontoons," shouted 
Shorty. "We'll slick to them until there's 
theic's a thick coat of ice in the place 
■ivhert! Ihev'd burn uii like a feather, unle.-js 
we gel to 'Sherman before." 

Shorty's metaphois wei'o somewhat 
mi.\ed. lint thev e>:pics^ed the delermina- 
lu)n of ;ill concerned. 

"If I cjin manage to steer old Bone.'^fpel 
.occiu-diiig to the compass, we're all right." 
s.iid Shad (Jraham. calling Si, Shorty and 
IJccble into private conference. "The wind 
that tills Ids sails are ide:!S as to red tape 
.■iM,,i liis own rank and dignity as Colonel 
of hhigineers. He's as tetchy on them 
points as if they were boils, but keep a 
good. warm, soft poultice on them and we 
c;in do .anything in reason. He don't seem 
to care a straw for anything else where 
they are conceiaied. I don't see how in 
the' world he ever got married. He must 
have proi)osed to his girl on i)aner of legu- 
lalion si/.es. carefully folded three times, 
:nid briefed and numl)ercd in red ink on 
the back as to its contents." 

"Probably makes his wife and childrea 
stand at attention, with their heels togeth- 
er, and salute, when they speak to him,"- 
suggested Si. 



SI KLEGG AND SHOETY, 



"Very likely," answered Shad. "The 
way to get along with him is to never 
seem to have an idea or opinion of your 
own — you're only carryiny out his idotis 
and orders. Here he comes now. Watch 
me do the trick. When he comes to the 
regulation 15 paces, come up to attention 
as stiff as ramrods, and remain so while 
he's here, and until after he's passed 15 
paces. Mind your eye, now. Don't do it 
a second before he reaches the regulation 
15 paeons — that's about that old oyster can 
there — nor after he's passed that far— 
that's about that cigar-box lid. Don't say 
a v.'crd, unless he speaks directly to you, 
which is not likely, and then chime in with 
what he says." 

A])parently none of them looked at the 
Colonel, but as his foot reached the oyster 
can all four came to attention as if 
touched by a spring, and stood there with 
statue-like rigidity, each right hand, the 
fingers well-closed, at the side of the cap, 
with Shad Graham the prescribed one 
pace in advance of the rest. 

"Lieutenant," he said frowningly, after 
acknowledging the salute. "I had to 
come to you myself, instead of sending for 
you. I've had to dismiss two of my order- 
lies, and have the others on different er- 
rands. Tell that man on the left there 
to bring his heels together and turn out 
his toes more." 

Without turning his head or taking his 
"respectful gaze" off the Colonel, Shad or- 
dered gruffly: 

"Bring your heels together there, you 
man on the left. Turn your toes out." 

Shorty's able feet made the required 
thange of a half-inch or m.ore. 

"Lieutenant," continued the Colonel, 
savagely, "do not receive any more ropes, 
cordage or other supplies from that little 
Jew, Heidenheimer. Do not permit him 
to come upon the grounds. Kick him off 
if he attempts it. Do it without words 
or mercy. Do not give him any informa- 
tion as to the work or hold any conversa- 
tion with him. He had the insufferable 
insolence to try to slip a $109 bill under 
my blotter a few minutes ago. Simply 
outrageous! To me, a Colonel of Engi- 
neers, of all men! I promptly kicked 
him out of my office, with the in- 
formation that if he ever dared to enter 
again I'd break his circumsized neck. Most 
infernal impudence I ever heard of! Any- 
body but a Jew would have more respect 
for an ollicer of the Engineers. I always 
suspected and detested him. Rigidly in- 
spect everything that he has so far fur- 
nished." 

"Yes, sir; I know you did, sir," returned 
Shad. "You gave orders some time ago, 
yon will recollect, for a most careful in- 
spection of everything furnished by Hed- 
enheimcr, and it was done. You v,nll find 
my reports, Nos. 311 and 312, in obcdieme 
to orders, of articles rejected, on file in 
your office. " 

"Very good, sir," returned the Colonel. 
*'I will examine and act upon them to day. 



By the way, as I must have another or- 
derly, you will order that man on the left 
to report to my office in an hour for sach 
duty. I shall be back from breakfast 
then." 

-You man on the left," ordered Shad, 
keeping his eyes straight to the front, "re- 
port to the Colonel's office in an hour, for 
orderly duty. Brush up your clothes and 
have some style about you." 

"I knew that little Jew was trying to 
snouge the Government all along." re- 
marked Shad Graham, after the Colonel 
had passed his 15 paces onward, and they 
Avere all able to '"stiiud at ease" once move. 
"And I didn't make any bones about tell- 
ing him so. That's what started him up 
to try and bribe the Colonel. That's where 
he was a fool. The Colonel didn't know 
a thing about him before he came in and 
announced himself." 

"And he didn't issue the order?" gasped 
Si. ^ 

"No; no more'n you did. But he thinks 
he did now, and never'll get over telling 
about his shrewdness in circumventing a 
man who was trying to rob the Govein- 
mcut. He has to think and talk about 
himself so much that there isn't room in 
his head for much else." 

"I don't want to do no orderly dntv, 
and especially for such an old turkey-gob- 
bler as that," grumbled Shorty. "Why, he 
has his sidewheel down all the time, and I 
couldn't get along with him a holy minute. 
My joints are stiff yet from having lo 
stand at attention so long." 

"Yes, you can, you will, and you must." 
said Shad Graham resolutely. "It's great 
luck getting you up here. We need you 
there in our business. This is going to Le 
a mightly lively day for us, and we've got 
to play our points fine to got off. Every- 
body's grabbing for all the transportation 
in sight, and we must be dead sharp or 
they'll steal it away from us, in spite of 
Sherman's needs, and we'll get left. You 
want to clean yourself up as you never 
did before, get a shave and a fresh collar, 
button your blouse to the chin, put on a 
pair of white gloves, and stand there in 
the office like a basswood man, with no 
more expression on your face than a gra- 
ven image, but with your eyes and eais 
as wide open as a rabbit's. Hustle, now, 
and get ready. Here, you boys," calling 
to some negro bootblacks, "put a looking- 
glass shine on this man's gunboats. Tln-e3 
or four tackle them at once, for it's aday's 
work for one. We'll chip in to pay for it, 
for it isn't fair to saddle the expense of 
such a job on any one man." 

While the industrious boys were empty- 
ing all their blackiug-boxes, to get enough 
for a layer over Shorty's liberal expauoO 
of cowhide. Shad Graham explained: 

"You see, boys, our special job is to get 
through to Sherman a whole new pontoon 
train, 250 feet long, and a lot of uiiscel- 
ianeous supplies, canvas, anchors, ropes, 
bolts, hinges, etc., that they need to relit 
the pontoons they have already. Alto- 



SHORTY HAS A GO OF ORDERLY DUTY 



7 J 



jrctlier they make a good, fair train load. 
In spito of all our hurryiuff the thinprs 
could not be got ready until this morning, 
but with four such good hustlers as we 
are to push and drive, and your 100 corn- 
fed Indianians to do the straight horse- 
work, wo ought to get the thinus through 
on schedule time. By rights we ought to 
have a special train, with get-there orders, 
and the right-of-way over everybody e!s:\ 
We would've had this if it hadn't been 
for this awful funk from Dan to Beershe- 
ba about Hood's army and a new invasion 
of the North. He's going to invade the 
North alHu;t as much as I'm going to run 
a Sr.iiday school on Wabash avenue in 
Chicago. But everybody that's got a ho;se 
or a cou' or a wheelbarrow load of g.iods 
is scared to death about it, and Governors, 
Seiuttors, Representatives, and bigwigs 
generally are keeping the wires hot with 
alarms and requests, and Commanders of 
Departments, Districts, garrisons and 
posts are ordering and begging for can- 
non, annnuniiion and men to be sent this 
very day to places which are certain to be 
attacked before to-morrow morning. I 
never did see such a muddle of orders in 
my life. Col. Bonesteel has kept his head 
so far. but 1 don't know how much longer 
he will, wiih all these big follows pi ing 
onto him. !?'horty, you stay up there, right 
In the Cohtnel's office, if he'll let you, and 
keep jour eyes peeled for everything that's 
going on. Slip out and let us know, wheri- 
ever you can. The telegi'aidi oiieratnr's 
an old chuui of mine — yon kunw him, loo, 
Deeble — it's .7ini Steelyard. You keep run 
of him a little, while I'm looking out for 
other things." 

"There's no chance for him to liold on 
to mo after the rest of you get ready to 
start, is there ".''' demurred Shorty. "I'd 
rather drive team, even, than be orderly 
to that old gobbler." 

"Don't be alarmed: we'll get you away 
all right," answered Shad Graliam. "Si, 
you take half the biiys, and finish loading 
them balks that you see there on th^ cars. 
Deeble, you take the other half, and go 
over to that warehouse, and set them to 
cai'ryiug out the anchors and cordage they 
find there, and put them in that brix-car 
just behind the ones that Si's loading. 
After you get them well started, set some 
good man to oversre, and wander up and 
talk to Steelyard a little. Don't be gone 
too long, though. I'll go over and seo 
what oui' chances are for a locomotive." 

Short\ repovt(Hl to the office in spick- 
and-span ncalni'ss, just on time, and met 
the Colfinel entering. 

"N.ijue, rank and reaiment?" curtly in- 
qtiired the Colonel, after he had acknowl- 
edged Shorty's salute, and seated himself 
at his desk. 

"Elliott. Chas. D., Corporal, Co. Q, 
200tli In.iianny Volunteer Infantry." re- 
Rlionde<l Shorty, just as curtly, with his 
eyes straight to the front, and his body as 
stifT as an icicle. 

"Good," grunted the Colonel, making a 



note of the namr-. "Ta'''> tliat f^liair out- 
side the ddor. and wait till I .-all you."" r 

"Well, at least I ^xtrVi have to st-nd'ht ■' 
attention all the jiim'." murmured Shorty, 
as he sank into the chair. 

A smirking, smiling Jew slipped 'b'ast ' 
bin} into the office. J 

"Gurnel," he remarked oijily. "mein 
vrendt nut bartner. Misder Ileidenheimpr, ' 
madf a liddle misdak^ dis morning. He 
prMu-nt a von de,ndr"t toUar pill, vh-^n ve 
indeml.t dat id shouldt lie a tree hundret. 
Si'-. I haf iirought de righd shangf no'.-\-." 

He displayed three new crisp $100 bilks 
which he tried to slip under the Colonel's 
bloning pad. 

"Oiderly," said the Colonel, without 
raisiijg his eyes from his wriiir.g. 

"'i'es, sir," said Shorty, coming to the 
position of a soldier inside the door. 

"Throw this creature out of the room." 
ordered the Colonel, as he crossed a ' t" 
in his writing, and stopped to study tha 
effect. 

"Yes. sir." answered Shorty, nrd t'^o 
man was whirled through the donr with 
such velocity that he left his greenbacks 
jyinsr on thp desk. 

"Being orderly ain't such slouchy h''s'- 
ness after all," u)urmured Shorty, as he 
gave the contractor a parting ki'k. and 
readjusted his white gloves. "Think I 
may learn to like the job." 

"Orderly," called the Colonel. 

"Yes, sir," said Shortj', stepping inside 
and saluting. 

"There are some things that person 
left," said the Colonel, pointing to Iho 
bills with his penholder, as if they were 
nauseous filth. "Remove them from my 
desk. Find a sheet of paper in that d?sk. 
AVrite on it, 'Money found. To be used 
for the sick.' Fold it across the bills, and 
place it inside one of tho'^e long envelopes 
which you will direct to Surgeon Jns. Mil- 
ler, Wilson Hospital.' Got that all'? Well, 
seal it up. and let me see." 

He would not even touch the envelope in 
which the money had been placed, but 
scanned it in Shorty's hand. 

"Handwriting crnde, spelling eccentric," 
he commented, studying the snperscrin- 
tion through his glasses. "But I guess it 
will reach its destination. Throw it in the 
mail-box there. Return to your place." 

A rough, coarse man, smelling of liquor, 
came in. 

"See here. Colonel," he shouted, shaking 
his fist, "you've ordered me discharged, 
and I want to tell you right here that you 
haven't as good a foreman on your whole 
blamed outfit, and I'm going to have my 
place back or" — 

"Orderly," called the Colonel, as he 
went on writing. 

"Yes, sir." 

"Put this man oirt." 

The ex-foreman gave Shorty a tussle 
that did his soul good. He had not had 
such a bout with anyone for many a day, 
and felt in need of something of the kind 



8 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



to keep biui in tune with the world. But 
the jiian had too much whisky in him to 
do iiis best, and Shorty, in recognition of 
his manhood, contented himself with dis- 
missing him with a sharp shove after he 
had gotten him fairly on to the sidewalk. 

•"Say, this isn't a bad job at all," he re- 
marked pleasantly, as he removed his cot- 
ton gloves, which had suffered irreparably 
in the stmggle. '*I'd like to tackle that 
feller when he's sober. I think he knows 
how to handle himself. I might do worse 
than stay right here this Winter if we 
can't get to Sherman." 

A fine-looking man wearing a Brigadier- 



now come to tell you that I must tal.e 
that." 

"Impossible, General," broke in the 
Coionel. 

"But it is possible, and it must be,'* 
answered the General, quite as firm in 
tones as the Colonel. "I have eveiy oth- 
er engine out, and that is the best one at 
my command." 

"But it is not at your command," said 
the Colonel hotly. "It is at mine." 

"Pardon me, I believe I have the Presi- 
dent's direct assignment to this distrlLt, 
and my first duty is to its defense. I 
have reliable information of an attempt 




'SHORTY EEPORTED IN SPICK-AND-SPAN NEATNESS." 



General's star entered the room, and 
Shorty became at once vitally intert sted in 
his mission, for something presaged that 
it bore upon the all-important qut^stion of 
getting the pontoon train away that day. 
The Colonel rose and stood stifly at at- 
tention. 

"I've come to see you personall.y. 
Colonel," said the General, after the greet- 
ings had been exchanged, '•because the 
matter is of the utmost importance. I've 
had to use every single engine that is at 
my disposal, except the one which has 
been assigned to you for your train, which 
."was to start south this evening. I have 



to be made by the rebels to effect a lolg- 
ment on the river between here and Ev- 
aus\il]e, and I must send a force at once 
to repel them. Everything else must give 
way to this necessity. I hope to have an- 
other locomotive soon which I can place 
at your disposal, but this one I must 
have." 

"You are very iniperatiTe, sir," said the 
Colonel sternly. "But the nerds of yoiu- 
small district must give way to those of 
the entire army. Gen. Sherman is de- 
pendent upon the arrival of these pontoon 
supplies to begin his movement." 

"Gen. Sherman will simply have to wait 



SnOKTY HAS A GO OF ORDERLY DUTY. 



then until we can strai.^hten np things 
here in the lear. Onr tii«t,dnty is to Ihe 
country li^ht anmnd rs. It may b? only 
a. Xqw days, lint ov'Tything- must yield to 
the pi'^'^^'Ut noccssdy." 

The Colonel luidud aw if he wa ■; ab^ut 
to explode, but he restraiiieil himself. His 
habits oi; military .subordination a.-serled 
themselves, the more stion.Lvly b:causL' the 
General was a b'e.:;-nlar himself, and "in 
the old serviee" had oatrankcd him. 

"Possibly you forest. " he said with 
fori-ed ealniness, "that 1 dire-jtly repre ent 
the r\la.ior-(Jen!ral connnanding the iMili- 
tary Division of th.e Miss.ss ppi, and that 
I am aeting imnu'diately vuider his orde, s. 
which tala; precedence of everything e'se." 

"Except those of the President of the 
United States, the Secretary of Vi'.nv and 
tlie Lieutenant-General Commanding the 
Armies of the United States," interposed 
the (ieneral. • "In view of the urgency of 
the situation the Secretary of War has 
sent me thi.s order, clothing me with un- 
usual llo■\^■ers, as you will see by reading 
it. Everything is placed under my com- 
mand without reserve, until the emergen y 
is passed, and I am to be the judge of the 
emergency." 

"I shall telegraph to Gen. Sherman that 
you are preventing my execution of his or- 
ders."' roared the Colonel. 

"Yon will lind that difficult until com- 
munications are restored," said the Gen- 
eral, with provoking calmness; "and then 
I should recommend careful thought in 
framing your dispatch. Y'ou know I have 
always been quite strenuous that high ofti- 
cers should set an example to those under 
them of cheerful subordination and obe- 
dience, and several court-martials have 
sustained my views. Good morning, Colo- 
nel." 

"Orderly," said the Colonel, trying to 
speak Willi oflicial calmness, "direct Lieut. 
Graham to report to me at once." 

Sliorty sped away with the alarming in- 
te!li;:ence to Graham. On his return he 
noticed a large, rather flashily attired civi- 
lian entering the office. "If that feilcr 
knowed what was well for him." he com- 
mented to himself, "he'd keep "away from 
tin- Colonel at this particular juncture. 
The Colonel's as savage as a meat-ax, and 
liable to take it out on the first man he 
meets. I hope he hain't sent for Shid 1o 
take it out on him. Who's that f idler go- 
ing in".' Seems to me I've seen him siime- 
where. Great .lehosephat. if it ain't o'd 
Billings, our old Lieutenant-Colonel! I 
wonder what de'>'ilment he's up to niw'.' 
"\'\'(>11, he's gniug into the wrong shop, if I 
don't miss my guess badly." 

He burr!e;i in, and reported: 

"Tdeut. Graham will report to you at 
once, sir, as soon as he can change his 
clolhcs. He has been Indping tht' men 
load." 

He stood stiflly at attention, awaiting 
the Colonel's reply. 



"Just like th:s? volunteer offi ers," 

snorted the Coiuncl. -anno. th. ., ju,.st 
work along with Ihrir men, ;nid dn'ns 
much, (jood moming, sir," he (-nil inu'-i!, 
glancing haughtily at Billings, ;in(l the 
glossy silk hat which stuck clusely uii the 
ex- Lieu t en :n It-Cole II el's head. 

Billings was evidently prospering. He 
was die.-'sed in a uimv suit of black broad- 
cloth, with a long-tailed frock coat, a 
heavy gold chain, with numerous seals 
and charms d(>pei!dent from it, hung from 
his vest, ill-iilting, unbuttoned gloves cov- 
ered his large luinds, and he carried a 
heavy, silver-headed eane. He looked 
sttnai and imiioitant, ami Avas evidently 
iient uviiin (loiiig the overawing act. IXo't 
getting the ('olnnt'l's invitation to sit 
down, he dis[icnscd with that formality, 
but parted his coat-tails and took posses- 
sion of the chair to the right (jf the 
Coloncd's desk. This did not improve the 
temper of the Coloiud, who, with another 
savage frown at the silk hat, still glued 
fast to Billings's head, seated himself at 
his desk, and began busying himself with 
his papers. 

"INIy name's Col. Billings," began that 
worthy, importantly. 

"What regiment, sir?" snapped the 
Colonel. 

"No regiment, now. Formerly of, the 
200th Indiana Infantry." 

"If you're .a Colonel, why do yon come 
into iny headquarters, without your uni- 
form ".•'"' the Colonel inquired, irately, but 
going on signing his papers. 

"Because I've a right to, and because 
my business brings me here," said Bill- 
ings, angrily. "See here, Bonesteel. drop 
all these military furbelows at once. I 
won't have them. I'm here as a free 
American citizen, and representing other 
American citizens. Drop all your Regu- 
lar Army frills now. The people's sick 
of them, and I tell you I won't have them. 
This is business. I come here to repre- 
sent two clients of mine, who while in the 
peaceable pursuit of their business have 
been insulted, viciously assaulted, and bru- 
tally battered. Worse than all, they have 
been rotibed of a large sum of moiu'y. We 
have ground for several heavy actions 
against you which yottr shoulder-straps 
will not protect you from, sir. No, sir, 
they won't protect yon for a minute, sir. 
But the matter can be arranged if" — • 

"Orderly'.'" called the Colonel, not rais- 
ing his heatl, Init pointing with his pen- 
holder over his shoulder to Shorty. 

"Yes, sir." 

"I'ut this fellow out at once." 

In all his soldiering Shorty had never 
received a more Avelcome onler. He made 
a leap at Billings, and caught him bv the 
collar. Billings struck at him with his 
cane, but Shorty snatched this from him 
and grappled crushingly with him. Bil- 
lings was no nn\an antagonist in a (^ateh- 
as-can scullle, but Shorty quickly tripped 



10 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTr. 



him. and fell heavily upon him. He then 
dragged him to the door, threw him out, 
auA^ kicked him af? he went. 

"Orderly," said the Colonel, repressing 
himself to severe official tones, "don't 
kick him. At least, not after he's on the 
street. That's the State of Indiana. In- 
side here is the United States. If you 
want to bring him back in here — but, uo, 



I'd let him go. Hand the gentleman his 
hat. I'm ghid he got it off his head at 
last^ Orderly. I'd like to make your de- 
tail' with me permanent." 

"I rather think I'd like the Engineer 
service," giinncd Shorty, brushing him- 
self off, "if this is its general style. Hadn't 
no idea the biido'c-builders was so lively." 



CHAPTER II. 

THE BOYS DECIDE TO GO TO CHATTANOOGA BY BOAT. 



The news that they were to be deprived 
of their engine carried dismay to the boys 
before Shorty could reach them to confiim 
it, and call Shad Graham to the Colonel's 
office. 

Th'jy were too old soldiers not to keep 
a pretty good run of what was going on 
at headquarters. Soldiers have their own 
ways of getting at even the most careful- 
ly-guarded military secrets, especially 
Ihose that directly concern them. 

An idea struck Si, as was always liable 
at times of an emergency. His was one 
of those slow-moving minds that work 
clearest and quickest in moments of great 
need. 

"I was talking to one o' the Maumee 
Muskrats," he interjected quietly to Shad, 
Deeble and Shorty, as soon as there was 
an interval in the angry denunciation of 
their luck, of interfering Generals, and of 
scared-to-death citizens, which rose from 
all lips. "They're keeping it quiet as the 
grave, but I got out o' him that he came 
do\vn last night from Cincinnati on that 
boat you see laying out there, with a lot 
o' special ammunition for held batteries, 
which they're running through to Sher- 
man, and which they thiuk'll do great 
things. They've got it on a steamboat bo- 
cause it's mighty ticklish stuff, and they 
don't Vi'ant it banging around on the cars 
any moi-e'n they can help. That's the rea- 
son they're laying out there, where there 
won't be uo danger o' other boats banging 
into 'em, and they're keeping it dead (luiyt 
about they're being here, for they don't 
want any chance for these Knights o' the 
Golden Circle to get on to them and blow 
'em up." 

" 'Twould be a great opportunity for 
them sneaking hell-hounds," remarked 
|3eeble. 

"You bet it'd be," continued Si. ''They 
<want some more reliable men on the boat, 
tind the ^laumee boy Avauted us to go with 
them, but I told him Ave were going to 
Stick to Shad here." 



"Right you were," said Shad. "But 
how in the world are they going to get that 
ammunition to Sherman on that boat?" 

"Why, they're going to run down the 
Ohio to Paducah, and up the Tennessee 
River to Chattanoogy. There they'll load 
it on the cars." 

"Why, that's going clear around Robin 
Hood's barn," expostulated Shad. "They 
won't get there before Christmas." 

"I don't know about that," returned Si. 
"I've been stndying it over, and I think 
differently. The longest way 'round is the 
shortest way home, sometimes. That's a 
fast boat; she ain't half loaded — you can 
see she sets high up above the water, tha 
river is running at. a pretty good stage just 
now, and she can go right along, night and 
day, without having to lay on side tracks 
and wait for trains and burned biidges 
and torn up track, and ' — 

"That's so," echoed the other boys. 

"And I'll chance their getting there 
before them that go by rail. I vote iu 
favor of getting our pontoon on that boat 
and going with them, if it cau be man- 
aged." 

"You're right. It's our best play," said 
Shad decisively. "It can be done, and it 
shall be done. Go and hunt up that JNlau- 
meo boy again. Si, and get all the points 
you can out of him. Find out who's in 
command of the boat, and where he gets 
his orders, while I go up to headquarters 
and work the Colonel. We'll manage it 
all right." 

Si started out in search of the Maumee 
boy, and speedily came across him. 

"Say, Jake," said Si, "we've been eu- 
chercd out of our locomotive, and we Avant 
to go Avith you." 

"Good enough," nnsAA-ered Jake Dye. ju- 
bilantly. "Glad to hear it. Come right 
along. ' I knoAV you're the right stripe, and 
Avo'li be mighty glad to have you along. 
As I told you before, v.e had to leave Cin- 
cinnati in such n hurry that avo cnme away 
short-handed. We couldn't take anybody 



THE BOYS DECIDE TO GO TO CHATTANOOGA BY BOAT. 



11 



nml everybody; have to have; men that wo 
laiow and ean depend on. Just one spy or 
stupid blunderer and ;;v.-ay we .u;o, boat 
and all, in a lioly minute, and worse than 
all, Shennaii'll lose bis auiinunition. So 
the Captaia^ sent me ashor>v here, as 1 t'_'ld 
you, to ^■ee it I eouhln"! run am-oss some 
hoys that I knew anion.i;- these returnin.;.. 
from lurlough and ]iick up live or six ,uoo("i 
ones to help out. It's awfe.l hard -uard 
duty — so many places to wateh, and you've 
Kot to watch so sharp every minute. But 
it'll ho a heap better than pounding over 
those old railroads, sleeping throe on top 
of one another, and getting your grub as 
you can. We'll have bunks to sle.ep in, 
shelter from the rain, and the lioat's cook 
throws up a good sijuare meal Ihrce limes 
a day, with live coH'ee, t'oiideuscd juilk, 
soft bread and fresh beef, broiled or roast- 
ed — nary fried. Of course, we have a 
chance o' being sent up into the clouds 
any niinule. But if you go on the train 
the guerrillas may shoot you, or the train 
run oI'£ the track, and mash you so Uat 
they'll have to send you home in an en- 
velope." 

"That's all right," said Si, dismissing 
that consideration as unworthy further 
thought. "AH war's risky Inisiness, and 
one risk more or less don't matter. If my 
time comes, it'll come just the same wheth- 
er I'm on the boat or on the train. Don't 
you need more'n hve or six men'.'" 

"Well," answered Jake, "well, we could 
use 10 to advantage if they were of the 
right kind. But thev must 'ue all A 1, lir^t- 
class." 

"I'll guarantee the men all right, but 
I have 100 of them that 1 must take to the 
regiment, and we must take a pontoon 
ti'ain with us. But you can easily take 
that on your boat. Even with the pontoon 
stuff it won't be much uiore'n lialf-loatled. 
The pontoon's got to go through to Sher- 
man just as much as the ammunition has. 
He needs the pontoons worse, if anything, 
than the ammunition. You ought to take 
us right along, without any more words. 
It's the right thing to do, and that's all 
there is of it." 

"I see that, clear as you do, and I'd do 
it in a holy minute. But my Major's an 
Ordnance Ollicer, and he hates the En- 
gineers as only a Regular oUicer can. He 
thinks they're too stuck-up for anything, 
and that the only really brainy crowd in 
the army are the Ordnance felloAvs. If it 
wasn't for them the whole business'd go 
to sn:ash. All the time they have to pull 
everybody else back into the way they 
should 'iri. And he's got it^, in for vour 
Col. Boaesteel worse'a ji^^'^ody else. Ilim 
and old Boncf iccl ■'': clawed at one an- 
oth'^r several liir,-s, and old Bonesleel's 
genera Jly gr^ ',iie letter of iiim. If they 
weie oniv vclmitccr otrirerr; th-re wouldn't 
be th- h'ast trouble in t!e^ world. ^Fhey've 
!:,ome c<iinn:on ;ense, and no matloi' how 
mad the.,' might be at (.no .-niother. they'd 
see Ihi' need of getting both the ammuni- 



tion and the train through at once, an(il., 
that there was )io excuse for not taking 
the best means at hand to do it. Bui these 
B(-gnlais '11 chew the rag over their dig- 
nity, and rank, and the rights of different 
braiiciies of the service, and try to tangle 
one another in red tape, until the cows 
<'oriie Inane, no matter Avhat else is hanpon- 
ing. I get so mad at times that I'd like to 
bn.st up the whole Regular Army. What'.s 
th(^ good of them. I'd like to knovrV Ur; 
volunteers could vuu the machine a heap 
sight better. They're only in the way- 
most of the time." 

"Well, take me over to see your IMajor, 
and let me see if I can't talk him into tak- 
ing us and the pontoons all along." 

"All right. Y'on can trj'. I'll warn you 
you'll run up against an awful stile vol- 
ume of the Regulations. These lU'guIars 
of the staff departments are far and away 
more regulation than the Regulars wo 
struck in the tield that's had some sense 
knocked into them. Here he comes now." 

yi looked, and saw a stillly erect young 
man, with a IMajor's shoulder-straps and 
the lighted shell and other insignia of Ord- 
nance Bureau. He was severely correct 
in ever}' detail as to uniform and bearing. 
"Great Scott, a youngster," thought Si. 
"Only out o' West Point a little while. 
Ile'ss Ije a 'nough sight worse than the 
older ones who've learn.ed something." 

Si and Jake Dye came promptly to at- 
tention, with their little-fingers at the 
seams of their pantaloons, and then sa- 
luted stifny. 

"Well, Sergeant," asked the Major, re- 
turning the salute and addressing Jake 
Dye, "have you succeeded in liuding any 
reliable men?" 

"I have 100 first-class men. Major, 
that I'm tryin' to get forward to my regi- 
ment, and I" — 

"I didn't address myself to you, sir," 
said the jNIajor severely. "My question 
was to Serg't Dye." 

"This is Serg't Klegg, Major," said 
Dye, "as good a man as there is in the 
army. I know all aliout him. His regi- 
ment is in our division — part of the time 
in our brigade. He has 100 good men with 
him, but he can't go with us unless he 
takes them all with him." 

"Who says he can't go? He's an en- 
listed man, and subject to orders. He's 
got nothing to say about it." 

"Have you ever had any experience with 
ordnance or ammunition?" he continued, 
addressing himself to Si. 

"No, sir; only that which I shot or was 
shot at me." 

"No levity, sir. That's impertinence and 
disresj/ectfnl. You will not do at all." 

"Rut, Major," rdeaded Dye,- "these are 
some of the very liest men I know. I 
l;novv' all abont tliem. I've seen thrm ia 
camp an.d in battle, and I know they can 
be depended on to the last Aviggle of their 
fin;,-er-er.ds. I don't know where I can find 
any other such men. They're the only ones 



12 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



that I know that I've boon able to find in 
all my looUing aiouud. It's getting late 
now, and 1 dun't know wheie to look for 
auy moie. " 

This aptca! seemed to move tlio }.Iajor. 
'"^•'heie Uo you Ic'iougV ' he a.sketl Si. 

"Co. Q, l.l]( th luduuia N'oluateer infan- 
try." 

■"Kumrh, I saw the 2CCth Indiana when 
I was do^^u to Chattauooya lata Fall. A 
lot of untamt'il iioosieis, but tliey took 
care of their au';:uunition. I noticed that. 
Only legimeiit l!iat did. Caitridges lying 
ail "around the ejinips cf thu other legi- 
uienttf. >onL- iu tne cam:* of the 200th 
indiaii;;. :dade a repoit to that effect. 
Knev-.' hov.- ti; use their ammunition, too. I 
watciieo ;heni liirough uiy glass as they 
wenc up iMihsion Itidge. Didn't tiro a shot 
till they got up on top, and then came 
into line a::d nied a solid volley at the 
rebels. A'e;y pieity thing. Not a shot 
until urdcis, and then ail at once. Liter- 
ally swept the icucl line away." 

"That s the kind of fellei.s we are," 
grinned lL,i. "W hen we s;!lt 'cm vre hke 
to do it by the bushel. Gtjua fuither that 
way." 

"No levity, sir. It is particulaily out 
of place in the Ordnance scivice. Tneie's 
too much lesponsibiiity theie for the least 
trifling of any kind. AV hat aio jou doing 
heie, sirV" 

"I was ordered by my Colonel to go to 
Indianapolis and bring a detachment on 
to the legimeiit. But communicaiions were 
cut off, and I v.'as ordered hy Col. Bone- 
steel to bring the detachment on here to 
take his ponioon train through." 

At the mention of Col. Bouosteel the 
Major'.s face darkened. 

"Humph." he snapped, "old Bonestecl 
got. his ( lampw on you. did heV What in 
the world did he want of you'.'" 

"He piobal.ly knew that they were tin- 
iisually gotxl men. and was anxiotis to 
have thcni for h.s s;-)ecial work," ventured 
Jake Dye, anxious to lielji along his plan. 

"Not Ukely. \Vh;it difference does it 
make to Bonestecl what kuni of men he 
has, so long's they are able to lift and puUV 
An ox or a mule is generally better for his 
pui poses than a man. No need of any 
special biains or character among the men 
of the Engineers, as thoie is in the Ord- 
nance, where we must have the very best 
men we can lind. Bonesteel just laid hold 
Of you just because he tnought somebcdy 
else wanted you real badly. That's his 
style. He is always looking out for a 
chance to l;.e ugly to some one else, and 
he probably had a spite against the man 
that v\-anted you. Meanest man in the 
army for that. Ail the Enginceis are g-v- 
en to that sort of thing, but he's the ^^•orst 
of the lot. I never miss a chance to get 
even v.-ith him. Sergeant Dye, upon fur- 
ther thought, I believe that we need the 
whole of these 10:) men." 

"You were of that opinion, sir. before 
we left Cincinnati," said Jake Dye, diplo- 



matically. "You felt certain thr^t we 
would r.ccd fuMy that number to help the 
boat and her load past the Muscle Saoais. 
We were so piessed that you had to come 
Hway witliout them, hoping that we might 
;;et what heb) we needed from some gar- 
iison hear the IMuscle Shoals." 

Jake Dye looked the ilajor square in 
Ijie eye as he said this. lie. like Shad 
Gra.ham, had cat;ght on to the Itoguiar 
Army trick of assuming tliat his olliter 
uas thought ot.t and expressed his own 
ideas. It was the easiest and surest 
method of getting his own way. Maj. 
Crewet, if he had ever known of it, had 
given little thought to the impediment of 
the navigation of the Tennessee liiver by 
tlie ^Muscle Shoals. He was not a student 
of geogiaphy. His dominant thought was 
that the rebellion could be put down by 
the superior ammunition of the Oidnance 
Bureau, and he gave little attention to 
anything else. 

"You weie quite right. Sergeant, to re- 
mind me of that," lie answered, with a 
complaisant lelaxation of his ofhcial se- 
venty. "Yes, 1 had decided that we need- 
ed fully IC'U men, to prnpeily guard this 
important caigo. and help us over those 
shoals. It v.'iil not do to trust to getting 
help from the ganisons. They may havu 
all they can attend to, and v.-e do not know 
wiiat kind of men they may be. V.'e had 
better not niiSs the oppoitunity of getting 
I tie right kind of men, when we have it. 
Besides, it will make old Bonesteel mad 
as a hornet to take his men away. It'll 
]iay him up for the way he has been treat- 
ing me." 

"Col. Boncsteel'll be all right, if you'll 
just take his pontoons along N\-ith you." 
said Si, l)ubbling o^'cr v.-i'.h pleasure at the 
)";rospect. "AH he wants is to get thera 
through at once. You can easily take 
thcui ou the boat. There isn't such au 
av.-ftil sight of them." 

Tliere is where Si lacked .Take Dye's 
shiewdness. lie made the awful mistake 
of trying to ad^'ise a iCegular olilcer, as he 
would have done Col. McGillicuddy or any 
Other of his own oiHccrs. 

"Silence, sir," said the Major severely. 
"When I desire your advice I'll ask it. I'm 
not here to oblige Col. Bonesteel. Quite 
the reverse. Let him g;et his pontoons to 
the front his own way. I have nothing 
to do with them. My boat is not a freight 
scow. Sergeant, get your pad, and take 
this dispatch: 
" "To tlic Chief of Ordnance, Washington, 

D. C: 

" "Must linve 100 good men to properly 
guard boat, and help her and cargo over 
Muscle Shoals. Cannot proceed without 
them. Find hero a detachment of 2d0th 
Ind., under — (Sergeant, T.-hat is your 
name?) under Seigl. rToaJah Klegg, that 
will just suit inc. Vatwans leinrnir.;: .o 
the front. Go\e; nmcnt will jcaiu by iheir 
transciutation. I'iease have vhv' ('om- 
mauding Cliicer Oi district assign them to 



I 



THE EOYS DECiDE TO "GO TO CHATTANOOGA BY EOAT. 



13 



&T-!o nr.fl liy wii-e, so that I can start at "Ivioutrnant,"- 'f^ald '- t!-.o roio"plj "the 

t---6ucc. Tmio all-iinpniMaiit. ' Goixml. l.v virtue of or.loi;^ ic-Mwrt .i-om 

,: ■ ■ • ■- ■• 'CKEWKT.Major, Ordnance' ^\'a:■h:!l^ :,.ii, ha:; tah( a the i.v -on ii;i!iiy 

>s -' "Betwixt two stools I'm afraid wo"ll of ('.'iiivii] - nii' (d' my hiconiuluMv. ;;jjd it 

'- eorae to tiic gaound," said Si doiddluUy, ^\■lll I'liriPloir l-i^ iiui-ossilde for 'yau to 

■■■ w-s the :MM.ior walked away. stait tr- day ,,r until some othm- aman^e- 

•lon busted thmss by breaking; in whrai Ui'-'uts ran l.c made. It is simplv danina- 

yon had no busdi-.ss," said Jakr. irritably. bio ihr v.ay th.sc fivilians and volunteers 

*-\( on t you never learn that tho^^a lloga- interfere with the movements of the army. 



Q 







I HAVE A nUXDEKD FIKST-CLAS-S MEN, MAJOR," SAID SI. 



lars think it a guard-house offense for an They defeat everything, and bring the 

cnlis-" ■■ ■ ■ ■' • - ., 

h{ 

,t.ongu( 

the 1a......^,. ^.., .,.,,,. 

Graiia.tn, and see wh 

I'll meet you over there at your squad in 

.a littie whjle. Stay aiotuid there, so's I 

can find yon at once." 

. t-'had (xrahjiea, as quickly as he could 

get himself into llio rer;uired neatncr-s for 

a. visit to licadqaaitcrs, presented himsclr 

at the Colonel s olfice. 



ars think it a guard-house offense for an They defeat everything, and bring the 

ndisted man to know anything that they country to the verge of ruin. Thev would 

laven't told hun. Keep n jjiidle on th.at ruin it, sir, if it was not for the Regular 

ongue of yours after this, and let me do Army — the educated soldiers, sir. It is 

he lalking. Go back now. a-ad lind Shad simply damnable, .sir; simply damnable." 

at he's been doing. "Is it possible?" answered Shad, with 



a proper show of indignation. "This means, 
then, that I shall carry out your former 
plan of sending thp pontoons forward by 
water, and look a 'ound for a" boat wliich 
will take tliem."' 

"Eh? What's that? Precisely. Pre- 
cisely," ' said the Colonel, uvakirig a mo- 



1« 



151 EXEGG AND SHORTY. 



mentary effort to recall when and where 
liu hud ever spoken about adopting river 
transportation. '"If we had the time, it 
would be the better way" — 

"Exactly as you said then, Colonel, and 
it is truer now than then, with all this dis- 
tnrbance along the railroad. You thought 
that a good, ciuick boat at this stage of 
water could run around and clear up the 
Tennessee to Chattanooga sooner than a 
train could make it, with all the stops and 
interferences it would meet." 

This was a startlingly bold play, for the 
Colonel's mind had been fixed solely on the 
railroad. But Shad was nervy and deter- 
mined. "The old snoozer couldn't more 
than send me l/ick to my regiment," he 
explained to the boys afterward, "and that 
,was where I wanted to go." 

"You have probably noticed. Colonel," 
continued Shad, "that the transport Lo- 
rena, once under your command, and prob- 
ably so yet, has just come in from Cin- 
cinnati, with a light load of ammunition, 
bound for Chattanooga, by the way of the 
Tennessee. I made so bold as to think 
that you might have sent for me to order 
the pontoons put on her, carrying out your 
former idea." 

"Something like that had occurred to 
me," said the Colonel, after a momnt's 
pause. "Gen. Sherman must have the 
pontoons before he can start. Everythmg 
must bend to that." 

"The men on the boat say that he must 
have the ammunition before he can start," 
suggested Shad. _ , , -, , 

"Damn their ammunition," exploded the 
Colonel. "Gen. Sherman's got plenty of 
ammunition, and of the right sort. It is 
stored all along his line. This is only 
some more of the Ordnance Bureau s 
fancy inventions, that they want him to 
experiment with, and which will likely 
kill more of our own men than it does reb- 
els. The Ordnance Bureau is always pa- 
rading its wonderful new inventions, but 
it has not anvthing near so good as the 
old buck-and-ball we had in the Mexican 
War. If men want to fight they want 
Bomething to Idll with, and the good, plain 
©Id Brown Bess that men fought real bat- 
tles with for 200 years can't be beat. Na- 
poleon couldn't find anything better, and 
he was something of a soldier. Lieuten- 
ant, go and find out who is in command of 
the Lorena. I'll take her, and let them 
get their ammunition forward ony way 
they can. Hold on. Take this dispatch 
for Chief of Engineers, Washington: 

" 'AH locomotives impressed by General 
commanding district. Mine taken away. 
Cannot start train. Must go forward to- 
dav. Essential to Gen. Sherman. Trans- 
port Lorena here. Please order her to 
me. BOXESTEEL, Colonel. " 

Leaving the telegraph office, after fil- 
ing the disoatch. Shad went over to the de- 
tachment, to see how things were going, 
and found Jake Dye chuckling over the 
receipt of a telegram informing Maj. 



Crewet that instructions had been sent the 
General commanding the District to place 
the detachment of the 200th Ind. at his 
disposal. 

"Well, we have a fine mix-up," mut- 
tered Shad. "The Lord only knows how 
this will turn out. The Colonel's as hot 
now as he can be. I'll have to hurry back 
and sit on his safety valve." 

"Here, Shad, take these along with 
you, for the Colonel," called Jim Steel- 
yard from the office, as Shad passed. 
"They'll make the old man boil." 

The Colonel tore the envelopes open and 
read. The first was from the Chief of 
Engineers, and said: "Transport Lorena 
claimed by Ordnance Bureau for impoit- 
ant service. Will not give her up. Can't 
you find another transport"? You must 
start pontoons today." 

The other was frcm the General com- 
manding the District, and read: 

"Pursuant to iustructicns from the War 
Department to me, you will turn over the 
detachment of the 200th Ind. now under 
your command to Maj. Crewet, of the 
Ordnance, for special service. I ^^ill re- 
place the men with others, when you re- 
quire them." 

Only lifelong habits of military disci- 
pline repressed the temper of the answers 
which the Colonel dictated to Shad. He 
informed the Chief of Engineers that no 
other transport was available, and no 
other means of getting the pontoons for- 
ward, and that the safety of the army was 
being jeoparded by the delay. 

Shad filed these and went over to the 
detachment again, to find that Maj. Crew- 
et was protesting against his boat being 
taken away from him, and the men de- 
nied. 

"The Major has just telegraphed," said 
Jake Dye, "that the safety of the army 
will be jeoparded by any delay in getting 
this ammunition forward today." 

"Well," said Shad, complacently, "I 
think the thing's come to a crisis now, 
and it'll turn out all right. The Engi- 
neers and the Ordnance have locked horns 
and the matter will be taken straight to 
the Secretary of War. Oid Ed. Stanton 
will bring things to a head in a jiffy. The 
Secretary relies a good deal on the Gen- 
eral commanding the District, who is an 
old friend. Geo. Bennett. hi.<? Chief Clerk, 
is a friend of mine. I'll just have Jim 
Steelyard send George a quiet tip for the 
General to send the Secretary that the 
common-sense solution of the dispute is to 
put the pontoons and us right on the boat 
with the arnmuniticn and hustle it out of 
here. Avithout any more red lupe. There'll 
be an order along here in an hour or so 
that'll make some people's hair curl." 

He v>-alked away to send his "tip" to 
the General's Chief Clerk, and was gone 
for an hour or more, while the boys wait- 
ed in anxious suspense. Then he came 
walking quickly, with a pleased expres- 
sion on his face. 

"It's coiL-.2 out all light," ho said. ' x ve 



THE TRIP UP THE TENNESSEE DEVELOPS A LITTLE FRACAS. 



15 



just left the Colonel iu a sl.'ite o[ tol- 
lapsf, Willi only sti-ength •-ijoii.uli IcLi to 
oi'dt-T iiR' to prowDwi tu f«iry out ilit- or- 
ders rroiii \\';i,sh4l2gtoa, which foud soan- 
Ihiiis like this: 

•■ •ICmemciicy loo great, tor any clash- 
iug bet^YL•ea (ieparluieuld. iStop it al uuee, 



nil lombine for execution of orilers. Place 
ontoons and detachment of 2Ut>tli Ind. on 
lanspoit Loreua, undoi' command i«rf 
anki!i;; oilicci' accompanying boat, aud 
rocee:! with all liasto to destination. 
HUie to Maj. Cfcwet. 
•E. M. StajntOiN, Secretary of War.' " 



CHAPTER II r. 

TUE TRIP UP THE TENNESSEE KIVEU DEVELOPS A LITTLE FRACAS. 



"Now," said Si, willi the m,inni-i- (hat 
came ovei- biiu \s hni his bi-jicsi thin.^is 
■were to \n- done, ••rvery body off with bis 
coat and roll ii)! his sleeves. Let's ;;ct that 
stuff off theia cats and on to that boat, 
and the boat startetl befoie any other or- 
diTs roiin;. Everybody jump, now, and 
life]) It lip, until \\'e"ie out o' leach o' 
headqua Iters." 

"iJness uoboi]y"s goiny to (Mjiintenuand 
Secrel;iry Stanton's ordiTs," renia ilsed 
Sliad (iiaham philosophically, "biit all the 
same tin." .sooner we're ;i\\ay tioin here 
the better. Evervbody -rl ' I hi' liveliest 
liiiid of a move on him.self. l>\e, you ;4o 
back aboard I Iu.' boat, and alter tlie Ma- 
jor has bloun (df liis sit'ain bun- hiin 
over to that drrked !l:ilboat tluTc wlinh 
is our wharf-boat. You see that its cl.Mr 
all around it. ^Vi■ keeii it so. lie ran 
havi." no cxeuse about biiinpin,:,' a.L^ainst 
Other boats. Then you taki.' (bai-c of iln' 
loading as the stuff emncs. Si, \ou lake 
the men over to the cais, and load it on to 
the wagon.s that I'll send you, and rush it 
over to the wharf-boat. Ell taki- a little 
scout ai'ound ami see how tliinus an- work- 
ing, and be with '.-ou as soon a,> possilih'." 

Wher:over 100 lieaUhy. sialuait young 
Indianians get up a full In.-ad of steam for 
a job on which their luails are set, they 
can accomplish wonders in an .hour. By 
that lime they had unloaded the whole of 
the pontoon stuff from Ihe cars onto the 
wagons, and tran.sfencd it to the decks of 
the Lorena. Si distributed Harry .joslyn 
and Monty Scruggs along the road, where 
they encouraged tin- loanistcMs to ia[iid 
work- by aiiiuuited laugiia.;,e, supplenu'nt- 
ing these willi brickbats when language 
did not seem to be adequate. Sandy, Pete 
Skidmore and some of the lighter weights 
(ilayed i)itch-and-catch in transferring the 
smaller arli<-les, while Si led the stronger- 
bodii-d iu a Uerce assault upon the timbers, 
frames, bales, efudage and aucluns. In an 
Lour llu'\- did the work that would have 
been a half-day's task for men working 
ordinarily. 

When, glowing with the raiiid exertion 
and satisfaction al having aenuniilished 
the work so (luirkly. Si, hat, canteen, hav- 
ersack and biaukel-roU ui his left haud, 



his blouse and overcoat thrown over hia 
left aim, and moppiug his hot face with 
his right followed the last load on to the 
boat, he found Maj. Crewet raging over 
his defeat, and bestowing his wrath on 
evervthing iu sight, finding l)itter fault 
with all that was don.-. 

"Here," hi.' sliiuiled from his position on 
the front of the cabui derk, "what do you 
men mean by slamming those he, ivy tim- 
bt.'is down thai way'.'' Think llii.> boat's 
made of roek or of iron'.'' Uon'i yon know 
we'\e got a load of amimiriiti'')H '.•' Lay 
tliose things down as easy as if iheri' was 
a peri.-nssioii shell under theiu. as i here is. 
Seig'i l)ve, wh;il's the matter with vou'.' 
Why ar(^ you allowing that'.' Lay Iheui 
tlown easy. I tell you." 

'I'he result of this order was seveial 
maslied hngers, at which the .Majm- railed: 

•'Of coiiise. vou clnnisv lonis, voii v.ill 
hurt v.uirselves. Wonder that v<ui don't 
kill Yourselves, and be done with ii. l.>on't 
siami around and muse yoiirselves. Serg't 
Lj\v, where are your eyes'.' .Kee^) tiiose meu 
jii'j\ing. Don't |>ile tU'j^c ."uchois Ibere <•« 
the f'^uecastle. Don't you see the tioat's 
down too much by the head already'.'' i'icli 
them all up and carry them back on to the 
fantail. Here, you're getting entirely too 
many of those timbers on the larboard 
side. The boat's listing. Pick them up 
and carry them over to the starboard. Too 
much noise and confusion down there. 
Serg't Dye, you must have more order." 

Just then his eye fell on Si. 

"Serg't Klegg, I am amay.ed at you, 
sir," he shmited. "What are you doing 
in that guise, sir'.' Put ou your blouse at 
once, sir, and button it up. Don't you 
know your iiosition as a non-commissioned 
otlicer'lx'tter than that, sir".'" 

Si choked down enough lieat to have 
easily moved the Loreua's engines, and 
obediently [Hit on his blouse and butloued 
it up to the cliiu. 

"Now," said the Jiajor, "never again let 
me see you aiipear cm this boat beforo 
your men half-naked, like that. <^lo w;ish 
your hands, and clean the dirt off your 
clothes and shoes, and hereafter show a 
[)rop(u- soldierly nciitnoss. It is disgrace- 
lul fur u uou-commissioncd otiiecr to be in 



16 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



such a state as you ai-e. Remember, sir, 
that you are now in the Ordnance service, 
the best branch of the service, the flpwer 
ot the array, sir, u'here we do not tolerate 
tliip ^jacivness and slovenliness of other 
branches. " 

From the standpoint "of the Colonel's 
door Shorty had watched the scene of in- 
tense activity with keen regret that he had 
no share in it, and distressing fear that he 
might be prevented from going with the 
boj's, and their boat pull olf without him. 
He had his things placed convenient, and 
was meditating snatching them up and 
making a rush for the boat, if no other 
way appeared. 

Shad Graham appeared. "For the 
Lord's sake, Shad," pleaded Shorty, in a . 
low voice, so as not to reach the Colonel's 
ears, "you ain't going to leave me behind, 
are you'/" 

••No, no; you're all right," Shad assured 
him. "We'll get you off somehow." 

'•I presume, Lieutenant,'' said the Colo- 
nel, as Shad entered and saluted in severe- 
ly correct fashion, •"that that upstart of an 
Ordnance fellovv^ will be so cut by the Sec- 
retary's order that he will leave the boat 
to the command of his subordinate, whom 
ypu will rank, and therefore the Engineers 
will have charge of the boat, as they prop- 
erly .should. It is true that you are but 
an acting Lieutenant, but that should 
make no difference with them. An officer 
of Engineers always outranks any other 
officer of the same grade. I always insist 
upon a Sergeant of Engineers outranking 
a volunteer Lieutenant. As for these Ord- 
nance fellows, they are only mechanics, at 
best, and really should not have commis- 
sions. You will command the boat. I 
wish I had someone of higher rank to send, 
but you'll do. Insist upon your position." 

••But, Colonel," interposed Shad, who 
was determined that Maj. Crewet should 
not command the boat, "have you changed 
your mind about going in command? You 
know how important it will be to have an 
officer of the highest ability and experi- 
ence, especially since all this ammunition 
is going on the same boat." 

•'I knoAV it. I know it. ' But I cannot 
leave my post here. I have no one to 
leave in charge except my clerks. I am 
going to rely upon you to get the boat 
through quickly and safely." 

'•But, Colonel, Secretary Stanton ex- 
pects you to take command. His order 
plainly indicates that." 

"O, old Stanton always wants me to do 
everything that is at all difficult or respon- 
sible," answered the Colonel, with a visible 
swelling of the breast. ••He happens to 
know a good deal of what I have done, 
and I'll give him credit of having a lawyer- 
like ability for recognizing the kind of men 
he has to deal with. He occasionally 
abuses the Engineer Corps, like the rest of 
them, but he knows that they can be de- 
pended on. But I'm not going, even if 
Stanton does want me. I know where I 



ought to be and what I ought to do qtiito 
as well as he does. I'll send you. He can't 
whip me around the country as he 
pleases." 

"But, Colonel," ventured Shad desper- 
ately, ••Maj. Crewet thinks that he is to go 
in command. He is commanding now. He 
will soon cast off, and be gone. He is 
playing that this is an Ordnance expedi- 
tion, and the Engineers are merely hia 
helpers and servants. You just ought to 
see the way he is carrying on. There, you 
can see him on the boat now, giving his 
orders." 

This was all that was necessary. The 
Colonel's face flamed with anger. "He's 
taken command, has he'.-' He's giving or- 
ders to my men, is he? The powder-miller, 
the cartridge-maker, the upstart. Thinks 
because he's risen from Lieutenant to Ma- 
jor in two years that he's something won- 
derful. Never commanded 100 men before 
in his life. Never commanded anything. 
I'll show him. Orderly, go to my hotel 
and tell my man to pack my things in a 
traveling bag, and come at once to the 
boat with them. Lieutenant, you will stay 
here in charge of the office." 

This was a startler for Shad, who was 
as determined as anybody to get to the 
front. His face was blank for an instant, 
but he ventured no expostulation. He took 
the tirst opportunity to say quietly to 
Shorty: 

"You'll find my things in there all 
packed up, near yours. Bring them down 
to the boat with you, but keep them out of 
sight of the Colonel." 

Maj. Crewet was still blistering every- 
body in sight with stinging condemnation, 
when he happened to look up from a vol- 
ley directed at Si to see Col. Bonesteel 
step on to the gangplank, followed by his 
servant with his luggage and Shorty and 
Shad, the latter having come down under 
pretense of receiving final instructions. 
The sight took away the ^Major's breath, 
and he looked open-mouthed at the de- 
pressing spectacle. 

'•Maj. Crewet," said the Colonel, in his 
most impressive tones, "I'm astonished at 
you, sir. It's strictly against the Regula- 
tions, sir, for you to speak that way to a 
non-commissioned officer before his men. 
And to one of my men, too, sir. I'll not 
permit it, sir. Not for an instant, sir. 
Where I command such things are not al- 
lowed. Nor any of this confounded con- 
fusion and disorder. You are evidently not 
used to the command of men, sir. Lieut. 
Graham, take command of the deck there, 
and get rid of that horrible disorder at 
once. Is everything aboard?" 

A capacious wink appeared in Shad's 
eye, directed at Si, Shorty and Jake Dye, 
but they kept their faces like wood, while 
the other men grinned openly. 

"Is everything aboard. Sergeant?" de- 
manded Shad, in severely official tones, 
of Si. 



THE TRIP U? THE TEMNE'?^^EE D^^V if,K01?£ A lATrLE FRACAS. 



17 



"Every ihirT 'n aboard, sir," ans-^ered 
Si, ?.iilxiy ^■aiuulJy Shad. 

■•i'Jwrj thing is uL)oard, sir," rr>mmuni- 
crittd SLad, tuniiag and sahuing llie Colo- 
nel. 

"Very sood," answered tlie Colonel. 
"Cast oil' the lines at once, and give the 
order to stait. We have not a moment to 
lose. You can arrange matters while we 
are under way. thirst thing, the boat is 
horribly out ot trim. Shows the lack of 
an Engineer's eye and education. (He said 
this loud enough to make sure that the 
Major would liear.) She can't possibly 
make any speed in this shape, and may 
wreck herself. Very dangerous, indeed, to 
attempt to run her this way. Bring those 
anchors back there forward, and shift 
those heavy timbers from starboard to 
port, and get her on an even keel." 

"Serg't Klegg," commanded Shad, in a 
voice of official harshness, '"set 20 men to 
work carrying those anchors forward on to 
the forecastle. Set 20 more to shifting 
tho.sc timbers to the other side. Set 20 
more to i)i!e up that small stnif neatly. 
Kind some brooms, and sweep the decks 
fioiu tlie hurricane down." 

••\ery good, sir," said Si. saluting. 

"\'ery good men, those of yours, Lieu- 
tenant," said the Colonel, noting the alac- 
rity with which they set about their tasks. 
"Very competent and willing. Not the 
men to be banged about and abused by 
every inexperienced bureaucrat that hap- 
pens to come along." 

This last was apparently sotto voce, but 
quite loud enough for the Major to hear. 

"Orderly," continued the Colonel, sharp- 
ly- 

"Yes, sir," said Shorty, saluting, 

"Have my things taken up to the large 
state-room on the larboard side, further 
end, that they call the bridal chamber, and 
put in there. Have Julius arrange the 
room for me, dusting it out, putting fresh 
sheets on the bed, plenty of fresh towels, 
and so on." 

This roused the Major to the first speech 
since the Colonel had come aboard. "Ex- 
cuse me. Colonel," he said, with icy 
hauteur, "but that is my room. 1 selected 
it when I first came aboard, and when the 
boat was assigned to me." 

The Colonel adjusted his glasses, and 
looked at the Major with a stare that tried 
to express astonishment that "a mere Ord- 
nance fellow" should presume to have 
rights or privileges that conflicted with an 
Engineer's wishes. "Major," he remarked 
frostily, "in the number of things in the 
Army Regulations which seem unfamiliar 
to you, you seem to have specially over- 
looked that paragraph which gives the 
commanding officer absolute right to the 
best and most commodious quarters, and 
rather makes it obligatory upon him to oc- 
cupy them. I recommend that you look 
this matter up. I must have the quarters 
I have designated, and also those rooms 
immediately adjoining, for the accommoda- 



tion of my rAaS, Lieut. Grahfim, ?org't 
Klegg and my Orderly here, with wliorn I 
must be in constant communication. Y'ou 
will promptly have removed any property 
belonging to you to other roomn which you 
may select toward the forward end of the 
cabin." 

His back being toward the Colonel, Shad 
Graham was able to furnish Si and Shorty 
with a wink that approached a comical 
leer, but as they faced the Colonel they 
had to maintain a wooden immobility of 
countenance. 

"But, Colonel," protested the Major, "I 
certainly have some rights. I was special- 
ly assigned to this boat, or rather the boat 
was assigned to me, and I was put in com- 
mand of her for a special duty. I cannot 
be displaced even by your ranking me." 

"If you will refer to the telegraphic or- 
der from the Secretary of War, a copy of 
which was furnished you, you will discover 
that the command of the boat and the ex- 
pedition was expressly given to the senior 
officer, which I happen to be. You will 
therefore proceed to. carry out my instruc- 
tions." 

"You are making a wholly unwarranted 
stretch of your authority, sir," said the 
Major, shaking with rage. "As an Engi- 
neer officer you are specially prohibited 
from exercising command over troops." 

"Hump, fine argument that, for an Ord- 
nance fellow to make," snorted the Colo- 
nel. "How dare you, who are only one 
of the artificers — yes, sir, mere artificers — 
presume to exercise authority that you 
claim is not given to the most highly-edu- 
cated branch of the service"? But this dis- 
cussion before the men is highly improper, 
I notify you, sir, that I am in command, 
and that you must govern yourself accord- 
ingly." 

"1 shall report this to the Bureau," said 
the Major, prudently repressing his ire 
under the outward calm of official com- 
munication. 

"As you please," said the Colonel, calm- 
ly, turning to walk about the boat. "Y'ou 
will find a telegraph office at the head of 
the canal on the other side, but as the 
canal seems clear at present, I doubt if 
we can stop long enough for you to send a 
message." 

Under Si's and Shad's common-sense 
methods, which the men could perfectly 
understand, the boat was speedily put to 
rights, cleaned from hurricane to boiler 
deck, and, trim upon her keel, she went 
through the locks with no delay, and was 
speeding down the broad "Lower Ohio" 
as fast as her powerful engines could drive 
her. 

The Colonel presently made a tour of 
inspection, followed at the proper distance 
by Shad Graham, and he by Si, and was 
kind enough to express his official satis- 
faction with everything. 

Their work well done, their end accom- 
plished, and cheery over the swift pace 
*J\tir boat was making, the boys settled 



18 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



themselves down to gossip over the sitna- 
liou, and enjoy the jileasiiro of a deliglit- 
l"ul lido on a pleasant day down "the beau- 
tiful Ohio." 

The Ohio below Lou is v ill i; dilTcis mark- 
edly from its appearance from 1'itt.slmr.s; 
to the ••Falls City." 'i'he hill« iluou^^h 
which the broad, placid, silvery cuncut 
winds its way in long, gra<eful \indula- 
tions, are true mountains at Piltsljurg-, but 
they gradually sink in hight, and beconn; 
loss abrupt in profile, until below (Cincin- 
nati they begin to fall away into the bil- 
lowy landscape, which leads to the Illinois 
prairies and Kentucky "•bottoms" along 
the Mississippi. The river broadens 1o 
lake-like expansiveness, and its current is 
too gentle to distur-b the uiirror-like 
smoothness of its surface. 

It was the tirst time that most of Iho 
detachment bafl ever ridden on a steam- 
boat, and probably none of them, except 
Slioity, had ever gone so great a dislanec 
on such a vessel. All settled <lown to full 
enjoyment of the trip, except Maj. Crewet 
and Co]. Boncsteel. 

The INIajor locked himself n\) in Ihc 
si ale-room, whither he had removed his 
jxissessions, ate his heart out in bitterness 
against Engineers geneially, and against 
Col. Bonesteel in particular, and mediLal- 
ed schemes of revenge. Had h(; not been 
taken completely by surprise by Col. Bone- 
steel's coming aboard at tiic last moment 
and ordering the boat away he would not 
have been <.-aught so. He would have se- 
cured an order relieving him from the boat 
if he had supposed that he was not to re- 
main in command. Now that they had 
passed Louisville he could not come into 
communication with Washington until 
l.hey reached Paducah, and ordy then if 
the boat should stop some hours to give 
time for the exchange of messages. He 
^would renin in in seclusion until Iheu. 

On the other hand, in all his long years 
of service. Col. Bonesteel had really never 
bad an actual command of the importance 
of that to which he had accidentally ac- 
ct^dod. He had nearly always been a bu- 
reau man, an inspector of drawings, revis- 
er of computations, digester of reports, 
maker of ofHcial papers, and naturally 
became a theorist and a stickler as to 
how things should be done, and not a doer 
of things himself. The importance of his 
command grew upon him as the boat sped 
along over the smooth water. Here he 
had under him, including Crewet's detach- 
ment, 125 good men, a great quantity of 
important supplies, and a swift, stanch 
steamboat. It was a command quite 
worthy of even a Colonel of Engineers. It 
was a command that it behooved him to 
exercise in a way that would be a pattern 
to other men of lesser attainments, and 
thereby bring him credit in the army. H(> 
would illustrate his favorite ideas on the 
subject, to the general advancement of 
military science. He meditated eagerly 
over these things in the spacious accom- 



modations of the "Bridal Chamber." and 
began till,' fcirinulatiou of a routine of mar- 
velous couj|ile-\ity and iron exaclni-ss and 
rigidity. luasn!ueli as he, was .upon the 
water, he would combine what he kiiew of 
naval discipline Avith that he fancied 
should be the rule in the army. 

'■Having many more than a company of 
men," he ruminated, "I can pi-opeily con- 
sliliile a battalion, which, with the mo- 
ti\i,' jiower (jf the boat, and her valuable 
stoies. will make a lilting rommand foi- a 
Colonel. i>ieut. Graham shall be my Ex- 
ecutive Ollicer, this Indiana Sergeant, 
who seems to be an intelligent, sensible 
soldier, shall conunund the right company, 
tin? Ohio Sergeant, who is with Ciewer, 
shall command the left company, and my 
Orderly, who seems to be ;i model sol- 
dier, shall be my Adjutant. Maj. (Jrewet, 
if he behaves himself, and accepts tlio sit- 
naliun, shall be the second in command. 
II! he does not I shall put him in arrest. 
I'd rath(;r ho would do something lo war- 
rant that. It would greatly simplify iho 
situation. Now. I must arrange the i-ou- 
tine of duties — no, I shall leave my Execu- 
tive Ofhcer to do that, subject lo my ap- 
proval — and the hours for meals, etc. As 
the <;ommanf!er of the v<!ssel I shall take 
my m<ia4s ahjue, iu the ladies' cabin, and 
dine iu the eenir'r cabin. Maj. (3re\vet 
and Lieut. Giahaui shall constitnte a 
mess. By rights the Captains of the right 
and left companies shouhl be in the mess, 
but as they are only noucommissioned 
officers I shall havt> lo coustiliile a non- 
commissioned oflicers' mess tor the smok- 
ing-cabiu, forward. Heavens, wIliI's th« 
meaning of that distuibancHV (.)rdeily! 
Desii'e Lieut, (iraham to come to me im- 
mediately." 

The disturbance had been caused by tho 
boat's cook coming to the outside of the 
kitchen, pounding on the Ihin, resonant 
boards with a long iron sjioon, and shout- 
ing "Grub pile," after the manner of 
steamboat cooks notifying the deck hands 
that their meal was ready. The hungry 
youngsters made a noisy rush in response. 

Shad Gi-aham explained this to the 
Colonel, when he obeyed his summons. 

"Exceedingly unmilitary! Disi-epnral)lo 
to the last degree," snorted the Colonel. 
"Not to be tolerated for an instant on one 
of the Government's vesseds. Lieutenant, 
you will see that it is stopped, and the 
meal calls properly beaten by the drum- 
mer." 

"But we have neither drummer nor 
drum, Colonel." 

"Then you will have them sounded by 
the bugle." 

"But we have neither bugle nor bugl(>r." 

"Shameful, sir. Why did you allow the 
boat to leave without these neccss.-uy ad- 
junct sV" 

"NVe have not had any drums or bugles 
in the ICngineers. (^ilonel, and this is but 
a detachment of men, without regular or- 



THE TEIP UP TEE TENNESSEE DEVELOPS A LITTLE FRACAS. 



19 



gnniznticn, and so not provided with mu- 
sicians." 

••Ti:0 bad. Very well, then. Yon will 
hevcal'ter have the Captains of companies 
quietly notified when meals are ready, and 
diiect them to fall their men in and march 
them ti> the place in an orderly manner. 
But f:it dorrn here, Lieutenant, and assist 
me in preparing regular orders for gov- 
ernment of the vessel during our expedi- 
tion." 

Alter dinner Si improved the time by 
getting his men together and beginning the 



presence of the enemy, vrhere this would 
be of the highest importance. 

The Colonel found such a world of im- 
portant detail that he wanted to incorpor- 
ate into his perfect system that he ker.t 
Shad with him all afternoon and far into 
the night elaborating his orders. Shad on- 
ly got occasional opportunities to get out 
and mingle with the boys v/hen he was ar- 
ranging the momentous matters of the 
messes. The Colonel dined by himself in 
solemn state, in full uniform, in the ladie.s' 
cabin, at G p. m., with Shorty standing 




"PUT ON YOUS COAT AT ONCE, SIR, AND BUTTON IT UP. 



ardiious vsT'k of licking them into shape 
for the re,^ient. It was his first oppor- 
tunity. "With his own squad acting as 
nou-commis; ioned ofacers he began teach- 
ing them how to stond, to face and to 
move. Then he found out through Jake 
Dye that the-i-e were 100 stands of nrask- 
ets on the hoa+, which had been turned in 
on some previous trip, and remained un- 
caJIed-tor. Ke got these out and is.nied 
them, dividing the men up into squads, 
under IMonty, Gid, Harry, Sandy, Alf 
Ru.->e'l, Pete, and some veterans return- 
ing from furlough, who industriously 
taught them the manual of arms; to all of 
which the recruits took readily, ff-^-^ling 
that they were going directly into the 



stiffly at attention in absolute neatness of 
uniform, clean-shaved, white collar and 
gloves, and shoes carefully shined. 

Maj. Crewet, who remained most of the 
time sulking in his room, dined with Shad 
Graham in the middle cabin, at 3 p. m., 
while Si, Jake Dye and Shorty had their 
dinner at 1 o'clock in the forward cabin. 

"I'm glad I aint no higher in rank," 
remarked Shorty, "for 1 o'clock's just the 
very last minute I can wait for my din- 
ner. I suppose that when the Colonel's a 
Major-General he won't dine until next 
davr." 

The Colonel was still working on his 
orders when they reached Paducnh the 
next afternoon, and taking on another pi- 



20 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY, 



lot, turned up into the winding Tennessee. 

"Enyf;," said Shad to Si and Jake Dye, 
after he had carried out the Colonel's or- 
deiis to constitute two companies, "now 
that we are in the Tennessee we're liable 
to have a little hullabaloo any minute. 
Belter i.ssue about 10 rounds to each man. 
and haAc them ready to use. Keep your 
men out of sight as much as possible, for 
I want to work a little twist on these 
guerrillas. They're signaling this boat al- 
ready, and sending messengers . across 
these big bends ahead of us. Don't show 
any more men than you can help, and none 
of them with muskets. Let's make them 
believe that this is ji^st^a common trans- 
port without a guiird.^*" 

By the next morning they were some 
distance up the Tennessee, and Shad Gra- 
ham took his position on the front of the 
hurricane deck, and was scanning the 
south bank of the river attentively. He 
had caught occasional glimpses of gallop- 
ing horsemen who seemed to be carrying 
messages. The Colonel was seeking re- 
laxation from his arduous intellectual la- 
bor on his orders, by a vigorous constitu- 
tional up and down the starboard side of 
the deck. The Major was doing the same 
on the larboard side. Si and Jake I've 
had their men crouching behind the tiva- 
bers and frames piled up amidships, and 
Harry Joslyn was lounging around tiie 
capstan on the forecastle, ready to cn^.i- 
municate any orders to them from Shad. 

"Shorty," said Shad loud enough fur 
the pilot to hear, "get your gun, and 
stand there, where you can keep your eye 
on that pilot. Shoot him at ouce, if you 
catch him making anything like a signal 
to anybody ashore. Shoot him if he don't 
obey my orders." 

"All right, sir," said Shorty with alac- 
rity, picking up his gun, which he had 
Btowed handy. 

"What order is that you are giving, 
Lieutenant?" said the Colonel, stopping 
his walk, pricking up his ears, and com- 
ing over toward Shad. 

"Merely some precautionary directions," 
Shad started to say, but he was inter- 
rupted by a shot from the bank, and a 
bullet whistled so close to the Colonel's 
head that it seemed to brush his hair. 

"Some fool's hred too soon," muttered 
Shad. 

"I declare, I believe that fellow actual- 
ly fired at me," ejaculated the Colonel, 
with an air as if a distinction had been 
done him. 

"He certainly did. Colonel," ansv/ered 
Shad, "and came mighty near hitting you, 
too." 

The Colonel's face flushed with pleas- 
ure. Here was an adventure. He was 
actually under fire, and had narrowly es- 



caped. He inflated his chest and as.sumorl 
a Napoleonic attitude on the farthest point 
of the hurricane deck, as if challenging 
another shot. Net to be outdone, '-'.la 
Major came up on the other side of tln^ 
deck, folded his arms and stood sternly 
gaiiing out upon the bank. i. 

"Harry," said Shad quietly, "tell'Gi 
and Jake to load and be ready." 

"Lieutenant," admonished the Colonel, 
"be more military. That is uqt the tino;)- 
er way to give orderi;.^ Never call any- 
body by hiw first name." ^ ' ' j '' , ',' 

The boat had turned a' high? '".sVuirp 
point, and was running into tho deep', wa- 
ter, close to sh'jre, by a curving bluff, 
with a little ;:.heif of level ground at it.s 
foot. 

"Come to, there! Come to, or we'll 
blo-\v you out of the water," canie in a 
loud voivf from the woods, and they sa-.v 
just ahead of them a shining brass can- 
non, with the cannoneers standing about, 
and nvav them a company of dismouuced 
horsemen v.ith guns leveled. 

"Pilot, put her nose square into the 
bank there, just belov,' that cannon," com- 
manded Shad. "Harry, tell Si and T:ike 
to make the rush the second the b:)al's 
nose strikes. Pilot, keep the engines 40- 
ing, and let the current swing her side 
against the liunk." 

"And lie damned sure you do," add.-d 
Shoity, cocking his gun and covering tlie 
pilot. 

The instant the boat's prow jarred 
against the bank there was a might;- lu-li, 
Si leading, which went over the.boaL's 
quarter and up the Dank so tunuiltuonsly 
that the astounded rebtls could only tire a 
nervous volley, and rush for tlioir liors'^ ;. 
The cannon did not go olT at all. It \\'ns 
uu aliandoned one, whi; h the gr.orrill.is 
had picked up and used for "demonstra- 
tion." 

Gaining the top of the bluff the boys 
poured a volley after the flying rebels 
which kilkd three, wounded a number 
more, and brought down several horses. 

""\'ery well done, Lieutenant," exclaim- 
ed the Colonel as soon as he could 
recover his breath, after his run up the 
bank after the boys — a more rapid move- 
ment than he had made for years. "Yon 
have executed my orders admirably and 
won a complete victory. And you, too, 
Serg't Klegg, and Corp'l Elliott. I shall 
mention you all in my report of this 
handsome little affair." 

"You have done very well, indeed, 
Serg't Dye," said the ISLajor, who had 
sonu>thing of the L-ame diflicnlty in recov- 
ering his breath. "I shall take great 
pleasure in commending you to the De- 
partment for the manner ia wiiich you ex- 
ecuted my oideia," 



THE BOYS GET UP THE EIVER AS FAR AS MUSCLE SHOALS. 



21 



CHAPTER IV. 

AFTER sor.iE :\roRE excit:::g experiences the boys get up the river 

AS FAR AS MUSCLE SHOALS. 



The Colonel uow had the additional in- 
tcllettuai la Dor imposea upon huu of piu- 
punny a lepoit oi iLio -aiiaii, ' the oaiy 
battio he had been oui^agea iii duiiu- tn.; 
war — the only action in vv'iiicu he had 
couimuuded. This wa^ liuiinethiny in 
whun he was goiug down to hiscory, and 
he couid not be too caieful in preparing' 
the lecoid. tie becanie so engios.iod in 
this that he was only Msibie at liieal-iime 
and ^^■hon taking his constitutional, and 
theii woio a preoccupied air, tnat tor- 
bade the intiufcion upon niiu or any such 
unin.po.tant matters as the conduct of tha 
boat, and CShad and the boj's were left 
moie enurciy 10 iHeir own devices than 
ever. 

The Major was also deeply absorbed 
in inauing nis report of the maiter, which 
^.•ouid khow up cicdiiabiy the Ordnance 
Bureau s share of the exploit. 

■•i-ieuteuant," saia the iJuioael, when 
Shad had made his appeaiance, in re- 
sponse to a sunmions tmough Shorty; 
"you followed my (iireciions, to gather 
uj) the aims lelt upon the ground or the 
engagement'.''" 

■■les, sir. We brought them aboard, to 
look over. We shall soon have them ready 
tor yuur inspection, sir, and an order from 
you to thio\v overboaid such as are not 
serviceable to us.' 

"Quire light. Lieutenant. But you will 
not destroy any of them. I desire to re- 
tain all of them as tiophies of the vic- 
tory. You vi'ill caveiu.iy count all of 
them, and specify each kind, for incor- 
poration in my leport. How many men 
do you estimate there v-.-ere or' the enemy V" 

"O, ICU or such a matter," said ynad 
indifferently. "1 guessed that probably 
two or three of these guerrilla bauds had 
come together, to raid the boat. There 
are usually from 25 to 5U men in those 
bands. .Just w.^utever the leaders can 
gather up at the time, in hopes of plun- 
uer. Ihey didn t exiiect to hnd more than 
'^b men on the boar, and them convales- 
cent.i and (.^i-^-ifoiinasrer's men. They 
thought tsvv) or three to one would cer- 
tainly be enough." 

Tile Cohinei s brov.' darkened. "Lieu- 
tcnant," he said, sia'erely, "'your esiimate 
is entirely too knv, and you will have to 
modify it. 1 surveyed them coolly and 
caiefully, as they stood on the bank, v.ith 
all their guns pointing at me — the conr- 
raanding otiicer. 'ihey plainly identihcd 
me as tue commandiiig ohicer. and expect- 
ed to get the boat by intimidating or kill- 



ing me. But I would have died right 
there lather than to have yielded. There 
was certainly bbO of them, out i deriod 
them all. les, sir, 1 dencu iheni to pour 
ine concentrated hre of tht-ir ofU guns and 
their cannon into niy breast. i dehed 
mem, sir." 

'"You certainly did, sir," replied Shad, 
diplomatically, '•and probably there were 
moie than i said. You ceitainly acted 
^■ery gallantly, and your hrmness saved 
the boat and us. Yon were at the very 
front when the hrst shot was fired, and 
the last. I lememlier that you went up 
the bank ahead of me. And you directed 
the last shot tired, v\-hich brought down a 
horse oil vv-hich one of them was trying 
to escape." 

■"You saw that, did you? I am very 
glad you did," said the Colonel, mucii 
elated. "I am very glad, indeed, that you 
were a witness. And it was only the in- 
stantaneous and impetuous rush of my 
men that disorganized their aim, and saved 
my life. It was a very well-planned and 
executed hght. Nothing better in the his- 
tory of the war. And yet they say that 
llngineeis have no talent for commanding 
troops under fire. And that Ordnance of- 
ficer, he had to come up, too, after it was 
all over. Wnat business had he there? 
His place was back on the boat, with 
his beloved ammunition. He should have 
stayed back cu the boat and looked out 
for it, while the rest of us were fighting. 
That was his place as second in command 
and Ordnance cthcer. I've a notion to put 
him under arrest for misconduct. xind 
that cannon? That proves that there 
must have been at least a regiment there. 
No small party would have had a piece 
of artillery v.ith them. Y'cu brought it 
aboard, 1 presume?" 

"Yes, sir. But I was expecting your 
orders to throw it overboard. I don't 
think it is any account. It's a condemned 
piece that the guerrillas have jiickcd up 
some^vhere, and have been hauling around 
for bluff. You notice there was no iirnber- 
chost v.-ith it. Best thing's to pilch it 
overboard, in some deep [larc of the river." 

"Not under any circumstances, sir," 
said the Colonel, severely. "On the con- 
trary, you will take the best care of it. 
I want to send it and these arms to "Wash- 
ington as trophies for iiie Engir.eer Corps. 
It is not every day that the Engineer 
Ciorps captures cannon and small arms 
frijiii till- (■neuiy in a regular e;:gagement. 
1 am going to send thew all to Wash' 



TfTfT -TTTT O'T TT"! "^VO-l 



22 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



ington, properly labeled, to be put on ex- 
hibition." 

"Very good, sir," said Sliad, saluliiig 
and retiring. 

"Serg't Dye," said tlie Major, emerging 
from his state-room, a little later, pen in 
hand, "I want yon to take particular eare 
of that six-pounder, and those sniall-arms. 
They belong to the Ordnance Bureau. It 
is not often that the Ordnance can show 
cannon and muskets captured by it from 
the enemy in battle. I want to send them 
to Washington, properly labeled, to be put 
on exhibition as trophies of the Ordnance 
Bureau." 

"Very good, sir," said Jake Dye, salut- 
ing. "-■*_ 

"Blast the old trumpery," said the boys, 
consulting together on the deck. "Vt'hat 
do we want it around here cluttering up 
everything for? It ought to be all in the 
bottom of the river." 

As they were approaching Johnsonville, 
Tenn., a man rose up on a point and 
waved a red and then a white handker- 
chief. 

"That's a Union scout," said the pilot. 
"He's got something very important to 
communicate, and wants to be taken 
aboard." 

"Sure of that?" inquired Shad. '"Aint 
one of your friends, is heV" 

"Yes, he's likely one of my friends and 
a Union scout, too," answered the pilot, 
angrily. "You'd better take him aboard." 
"All right," said Shad. "Put her in, 
Harry; tell Si and Jake to fall the men 
in and have them ready." 

The scout, who was worn and weary 
with hard travel, remarked sententiously: 
"Git me over to Johnsonville quick as 
you kin. Then you'd better turn around 
and skip back as fast as your injines'll 
push you. The whole country down 
there's full o' Forrest's men, and they're 
booming up here this way as fast as their 
hosses'll bring 'em. There'll be a circus 
'round here in a little while sich as yon 
never seed in all your born days. Belter 
turn tail and skip out, if you know Avhat's 
good for you." 

"Guess we'll go ahead, all the same," 
said Shad, as he went to report the news 
to the Colonel. 

"Act on your best judgment, LieutT'n- 
ant," said the Colonel, looking up from his 
paper. "I shall have to rely on you until 
I get this report finished." 

xis they neared Johnsonville there came 
abundant signs to verify the scout's pro- 
phecy. When the rolling country could 
be seen in the distance it was covered 
With swarms of horsemen. The news be- 
came known to the JNlajor, and disturbed 
him greatly. He came out on the hurri- 
cane roof and studied the country through 
his glass. 

"It's sheer madness to go up ther(\" he 
said nervously to Shad Grahani. "I can- 
not consent to have tiii:; valuable ca go 
of ammunition run such risk of capture. 



If Ihe rebels should get hold 'of it they 
would cleslruy our arm v. Ai e must turn 
back." 

"My orders are to go ahead," Shad re- 
plied, "and i'ni going ahead, until they're 
changed. A litlle Inuuh of cavalry don't 
bother me. ^^'e can get away, 'from them 
ail i-i-ht. It yuull look back, Major, 
you'll see about as many ,hehind us as.iu 
front." '' 

"When in doulit in the? army," inter- 
jected Si, who had come on the, hurri- 
cane deck to take a view of the situation, 
"it's always best to go ahead. Lot's fire 
up and push on. If them fellers git too 
troifliit^sunie we can land and run 'em 
back." 

"Jake." said Shorty, "I thought you 
said this way was so quiet and peace- 
able? All the comforts of home? No 
guerrillas, nor nothing to torment us." 

"It's only a bunch of cavalry," re- 
marked Jake, with an infantryman's cus- 
tomary low opinion of the mounted ser- 
vice. If we keep on going we'll soon get 
by them." 

"They're planting a battery over there," 
said the Major, nervously. 

"They seem to've not only planted it, 
but it's took root an<l is blossoming," 
grinned Shorty, as the battery sent a salvo 
at the transpoits and a gunboat lying 
along the wharf at Johnsonville. The gun- 
boat reidied with its battery. 

"Tell the engineer to put on all the 
steam he has, pilot," said Shad Graham 
to the man at the wheel. "Si, you had 
bettor go down on the boiler deck, and see 
that those darkies stici; to their furnaces 
and put in everything that'll make steam." 

The sound of the tiring brought the 
Colonel out on the hurricane deck to re- 
sume his Na]>oleonic attitude dii the ex- 
treme forward position. 

"Col. Bonesteel," said the Major, ap- 
proaching him formally, "I protest against 
proceeding any farther with this import- 
ant cargo. I insist that we turu around 
and retreat." 

"My Executive Ofiicer has his orders," 
said the Colonel loftily, with a wave of 
his hand toward Shad. 

"Si," Shad called down, "Jake says 
there's some fat pine down in the hold. 
Have those darkies bring it up and feed 
it under the boilers." 

A transport which had been fired into 
up the river came flying downward, 
whistling a shrill alarm. 

"I shall immediately prepare a written 
protest against your course, v.hich is ab- 
solutely against my advice," shouted the 
ISIajor. 

"i\Iaj. Crewet, retire to your room tm- 
der arrest." commanded the Colonel. *"! 
will not have you deniorali:;iug my men 
in this v,ay. I shall inefer charges 
against you." 

"You ^hall not order me from the deck 
when in at lion. I shall hold you person- 
ally responsible if you do," ans.veicJ 



THE BOYS GET UP THE RIVER AS FAR AS MUSCLE SHOALS. 



23 




SI LIFTED HIM ALOARD BY SHEER STRENGTH. 



the Major, folding his arms and taking 
his rositlon on the front of the deck. 

"I^cniain, then, till the end of the ac- 
tioi\" said the Colonel, mollified by the 
Major's sb.oAv of spirit. ■ "But if yon say 
another di:;conraj,'ing vrord- you must leave 
the dock.-' 

In the meanwhile the ■ uproar bade to- 
v/nrd .fnhu.-.oirville had become terviiic. 
Other reliel battoiies had gr.llnped up close 
to the bank and b(\irmi a furious sheiT.ng 
of the f'oet of ti'ansports and the immense 
-waiohir.ses on the opprrite side. Geveval 
of there v.ere sorn mi llames. at v.-hich 
the icbels cheered wiluly a::d the boys 
became dcspeiately escited. To merely 



rtm away, without a chance to shoot back, ^ 
was not to anybody's taste, not even the .t, 
Major's. "[^ 

'"Shad," called Si. from the cross-trees'' f 
of the jack-staff, whither he had climbed 
to get a better view, "see thise relu'ls.j. 
running down to tha.t point, just ah:'ad?'.i'; 
They Avant lo give us a biisterei'. See,' ^ 
they're getting into pontoon b nts t) come?,^ 
out and take us nlti-r tli.' ynVwy. Can't' 
Ave lun up close to il-.e:;! 
a re-ular old 2(i; th bMiai: 
it'll do the mo;u g-o.IV ' 

"I guess so," answoird S'lnd. "Filot 
ho\A-"s the ( hannel nloi'i:.- Ih-.'ic".'' 

"I'Lunj in clobc to the Lauk there," aa- 



^ive them f I 



io 



24 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



swered the hclmrmnn, who had been act- 
ing of kite iu siK-h a nianncr as to win 
everybody's confidence. "Deep water's 
abont 20 rod from the bank. They know 
that we've got to lun in there. That's 
the reason they're making for that placi'." 

"All right, Si," Shad called down. "Get 
a good ready, and soak it to them just 
before we swing out for the point." 

"Lieutenant," admonished the Colonel, 
"I must again forbid you to. address your 
men by their given names, and, more 
particularly, to allow them to address you 
so familiaily. It is grossly unmilitary and 
must not be repeated." 

"All right, Colonel; I forgot." 

Si and Jake Dye quickly arranged their 
plan of cani'.'aign. Their men had al- 
ready loaded, and wor*?, iWtnjidiHg behind 
the pile of pontoon '.jtr.lT amidship. At the 
sigiial they v/cie to rush out onto the 
guards, !Sis sriuad forv.aid, Jake's on the 
after, and dehver tlvir fiie in the face of 
the rebels. Shoity and Shad weie to 
give the signal by tiling iiist at the two 
men whom they should pick out as the 
rebel leaderr:. They had a double object 
in this. By shooting doAvn the leaders 
they would malx- a Hurry among the reb- 
els 'which would di.stiact their ann, prob- 
ably save the Color.cl, ]Major ar.d pilot, 
and give the boys below time to line up 
on the guaids and deliver their lire most 
elt'octively. 

In the meanwhile Harry, Monty, Sandy 
and Pete were carrying out a scheme of 
Vhich they had great hopes. They had 
been examining the cannon Avith great 
interest ever since it was brought aboard. 
They found that it was still loaded, but 
they did not know with what. Harry gut 
a charge of canister and a friction primer 
from Jake Dye. 

. "Don't matter what's in it already," 
he explained to the boys. "If it's canister 
anorner dose of canister will only make it 
more binding. If it's shot or shell, canis- 
tei- will go along with it just as avcU." 

So they rammed the canister home Avith 
a capstan bar, and Sandy Baker picked 
around the vent until he Avas sui'e that he 
had got down to the powder, and inserted 
the piimer. They ran the gun out on 
the larboard guaids, amidships, to where 
they could rush it forward at the eriti- 
(Tal moment to the bow and let drive. 
Sandy was to hold the trail and pull the 
lanyard, while Monty, Harry and Pete 
were to run the gun forward and point it, 
when liarry Avas to give the command to 
lire. 

••ni take the felloAV that's lining his 
men up Avith his SAA-ord there by the 
young sycamore." said Shad, raising his 
gun, as the boat pushed forAvard to with- 
in good rifle range. 

"All right," ansAvei-od Shorty. "I'll take 
that feller that's Avalking along that drift 
log getting his men behind it. You fire 
first and 111 f oiler." 

la a second Shad's gun cracked, and 



the rebel officer dropped his .sword, 
clutched at his side, and staggered bach- 
Avard. Some of his men sprang U> catch 
him. 

• Good," murmured Shorty; "uoav let me 
make 'em huddle aiTiund the other fellel-." 

His bullet caught the rebel in his thigh 
and made a commotion among his men, 
when Si's and Jake's companies manned, 
file guards and delivered voUeys. one after 
the other. As Jake's company fired 8andy 
pulled the lanyau! and the gun bellowed. 

It probal.ily had a lerriflc effect on the 
rebels, but its immediate effect .on thosQ. 
on the boat Avas lo'i startling to 'dlloAv >h'i4 
to be closely studied. Harry .Jiad -'not 
thought of the jackstaff in his hasty aim- 
ing, and it AAas cut olf as if by a knife. 
Nor had the boys thought of the recoil 
from the heavy charge. This took the gun 
overboard, and Sandy Baker Avith it. The 
Major paled Avith the thought that his 
ammunition Avas exploding, and started to 
rush doAvn to see. 'xhe Colonel, Avithout 
altering his Napoleon-at-St. Helena pose, 
cast an inquiring glan.co at Shad, as to 
Avhat part this event Avas playing in his 
program, liarry had presence of mind 
enough to throAv a rope to Sandy, which 
he caught, and then Si, rushing OA-er to 
that side to see Avhat had happened, lay 
doAvn on the deck, caught Sandy by the 
collar, and lifted him aboard by sheer 
strength. 

'ihe lebels Avere replying by a sputter 
of shots, Avhich did no damage, except to 
the woodAA'ork of the boat, as she sAA-ept 
ahead, and turned to them her big, rapidiy 
splashing Avheel, and Avas soon out of gun- 
shot. 

"I declare," said the Colonel, looking 
at the fearful glare, Avhich made the coun- 
try for miles around aAvfully lurid, "it 
certainly looks as if they Avere burning 
up everything in Johnsonville. It is the 
most frightful conflagration I ever wit- 
nessed, and would seem to compare with 
that of MoscoAV. The authorities at Wash- 
ington cannot give m» too much credit for 
having so successfully extricated my com- 
mand without loss from that disaster. I 
must go doAvn and incorporate this inci- 
dent in my report." 

Si and Jake occupied themselves in rig- 
ging up a ncAV jackstaff, for the pilot to 
steer by. 

"Say, Jake," called Shorty, "what's 
that you told us about going with you to 
have a nice, restful, pleasant time?" 

"We haven't had nothing so very un- 
pleasant, so far, have we'/" Jake answered 
Avith asperity. "You want a featherbed 
in a bomb-proof, I expect?" 

For the next 90 or 100 miles they had 
leisure to think the matter over, and con- 
gratulate themseh'es over escaping the 
great disaster at Johnsonville, where For- 
rest had actually captured two gunboats 
and live transports and burned an immense 
quantity of supplies. They sped past the 
old buttleiieid «»£ &kilab aud the other 



THE BOYS GET UP THE RIVER AS FAR AS MUSCLE SHOALS. 



25 



points of interest two years before, witli- 
out a sight of another rebel, and beaau 
to hope that their troubles were virtually 
over, and their road open to Chattanooga 
and Sherman, lint as they neared Flor- 
ente, Ala., the rebels began to be in evi- 
dence again along the southern shore, and 
when they reached that place tliey found 
the greatest perturbation with the news 
that Hood's whole army was gathered 
south of the Tennessee River, between 
there and Decatur, and that terrible things 
were to be expected any hour. Everyone 
with whom they spoke — river men, sol- 
diers ancl citizens — strongly dissuaded 
them from going any farther, and the 
Colonel, who suspended his report long 
enough to listen to the news which Shad 
reported to him, at length went up tov.-n 
for consultation with the commanding of- 
ficer. 

"The situation seems to be this," said 
Shad, calling Si, Shorty and Jake Dye 
into a council of war with him, after the 
Colonel had gone. "Hood's slipped away 
from Sherman with his whole army and 
cut down around through Alabama, aim- 
ing at Na.shvil!e, to drav,- Sherman back 
after him and make another Bragg-and- 
Buell race for the Ohio River. Hood's got 
his whole army — 50,000 or 00,000 men — 
out here between this place and Deca- 
tur, trying to get across the Tennessee 
River at these Muscle Shoals, and rush 
Nashville. Sherman's sent Pap Thomas 
back with the Fourth and Twenty-third 
Corps, what troops he can pick up along 
the railroad, and what Vv-iH be sent him 
from the North, to head Hood oft", and 
leave Sherman free to attend to the other 
job that he has in mind. Sherman's hold- 
ing the road from Chattanooga to Atlanta, 
and may be planning to come in on Hood's 
rear while Thomas is bluffing him in front. 
That looks like good sense. Above Deca- 
tur the river is clear to Chattanooga, and 
if ^^•e could once get to Decatur we'd be 
all right, and have a nice, easy run the 
rest of the way. But between here and 
Decatur are 20 miles of these jNIuscle 
Shoals, which they say no boat can get 
through at this stage of water, even one 
as light as ours. Even if we could make 
it, they say we're likely to run into the 
rebels working their way across the river 
with pontoons, and wading; they're likely 
to bo on some of the islands with artil- 
lery and do no end of things to us. The 
whole stretch of the Shoals is lonely and 
gloomy, with lots of timber and bi'ush in 
which the rebels can hide and ambush 
us." 

The boys thought it over for a minute 
or two silently, and then Si spoke quietly 
and firmly: 

"The orders came straight from Col. 
McGillicuddy to me and Shorty to join 
the regiment with these men. Them was 
Col. McGillicuddy's plain orders, and they- 
go as long as there is the slightest earthly 
chance of obeying them. Col. McGillicud- 



dy's orders lay over everything else, so far 
as Pm concerned. I'll obey anybody- 
else's as long's they point in the same di- 
lection. When they take a different chute 
then I go Col. McGillicuddy's way. I'll 
go on this boat as far as it'll take me, 
and then chance it for the rest o' the way. 
If she stops, turns back, is burnt, blowed 
up or sunk I'll take to the woods and 
march to Chattanoogy, if I can't get onto 
the railroad, and I'll take every man that 
can walk with me. That's my little 
speech." 

"You hear the mellow trill of his ba- 
zoo," said Shorty. "He's the boss of this 
outfit. He talks for all of us." 

"Pm with you. Si," said Jake Dye. "I'm 
sick of this Ordnance lay-out. I've only 
stuck to it because it promised a chance 
to get to my regiment. My boys are the 
same way. They all belong with Sher- 
man. We'll jump the job the minute 
there's no show of getting through to the 
•Old Man.' " 

"\Vell, boys," said Shad, "I'm with you 
till Gabriel toots his horn. But the way 
is to stick to this boat and do our duty as 
we set out to do. Sherman needs these 
pontoons, and needs them bad; probably 
needs them worse than he does us. Vv'e'U 
get along all the better by playing fair all 
around. We're in chaige of this cargo, 
and we'll come out all the better by hang- 
ing on to it and the boat. She's brought 
us through so far in great shape, and we 
can't improve on sticking to her. We must 
get these pontoons through if there's a 
chance. We can't go back; that's sure. 
AVe see what has happened at Johnson- 
ville. We can't stay here. It may be 
Johnsonviile over again here any hour. 
That leaves. us only one thing to do — go 
straight ahead. They say that we can't 
get up over the Muscle Shoals at this 
stage of water. I don't believe it. This 
boat only draws 10 inches, and I believe 
we've got a pilot that can fmd that much 
water somewhere on the shoals. He's a 
good, true Union man, and we've found 
out that we can trust him." 

"Since you put it that way," said the 
pilot, who had come up and overheard, 
"I'll take you through, or leave the boat's 
bones to bleach on the rocks. It'll take 
a lot of hard work, and there's never been 
a boat of this size taken up the rapids 
at this stage of water, but I can take the 
Lorena if any man living can. I'm aa 
East Tennossean. and just as good a 
Union man as over lived, and I'd like to 
show you that you aint a mite more in 
earnest for the Union than I am. I'll 
start the minute you say." 

"We're all ready," said Shorty. "Jake 
Dye promised easy times and plenty to 
eat, if we'd only go with him. and we're 
going to hold him to his promise. So long 
as you don't interfere with those' privileges 
go ahead." 

"We must wait for the Colonel to come 
back and hear what he says," said Shad. 



26 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE BOYS HAVE THEIR FIRST DIFFICULTIES IN NAVIGATING MUSCLE 

SHOALS. 



The Muscle Shoals (more properly 
"Mussel Shoals," Irom the iinmeuse quan- 
tities ol; these fresh-water bivalves I'ound 
there) are a ^yond('rl'ully interesting and 
picturesque part of the wild and varied 
scenery of the Cumbei'tiifld- Mountains. In 
the terrific convulsions ' by which this 
world was formed the Tennessee River had 
a strenuous struggle to carry to the sea 
the mighty flood of waters it had gath- 
ered in East Tennessee, Virginia and 
North Carolina. It broke a sharp, nar- 
row gateway through the wall of the 
Cumberlands at Chattanooga, whereof 
Lookout Mountain rises as one gate-post, 
straight and sheer, 1,200 feet above the 
surface of the water. The river then 
meandered southwestward, as if to lind 
the Ciulf of Mexico, but another towering 
Light turned it back northward, to find 
a more vulnerable mountain, struggle sav- 
agely with its walls of limestone and 
flint, finally conquer a passage, and then 
flow unobstructed through rolling plains 
to the Ohio River, 260 miles away. jNlus- 
cle Shoals is the battleground of that gi- 
gantic paleozoic conflict betwe(>n the 
mighty forces of the Flood and the Rock, 
and is strewn with the wrecks of the 
fight. Rather, they are the stout-hearted 
survivors of the partial victory gained by 
the Flood, innunu-rable ages ago, who 
stood fast when their line was forced, and 
the weaker ones swept away. Sullen, in- 
domitable pillars of rock, and flinty-faced, 
frowning blufl's, through centuries like 
grains of sand, they have stood there, un- 
conquerable, immovable, even, though 
every few months the River has gathered 
its forces and angrily assaulted them with 
all its power. F)Ut against their obduracy 
the River spends its wrath in vain, and 
when its floods subside, it I'esigns itself 
again to wandering hither and yon, by a 
hundred tortuous channels by such ways 
as the Rocks have grudgingly conceded 
to it. For oO miles the great Tennesse 
wanders thus through a maze of rucks, 
islands and bluffs, over reefs, shoals .-iiid 
bars, sometimes spreading out to a v.-idth 
of five miles, in order to get through, and 
rarely less than a mile in breadth. Sduie 
of the islands and bluffs are coveii-d with 
heavy growths of timber, some with thick- 
ets of brush; some are piled with drift- 
wood, many are bare, naked, sullen rocks. 
Too rugged and forbidding for settlement, 
the country on either side of the river 
Stretches away for miles in an unbroken 



tangle of forest and thicket, with here and 
there a poverty-smitten settler, most like- 
ly a refugee from justice, or a runaway 
negro, who in a shack hardly more ar- 
tistic than the lair of the catamounts, 
lives there with his she-wolf-like wife and 
their brood of lean-limbed, quick-eyed 
young barbarians, subsisting mainly on 
the wild fruits and "varmints," and the 
myriads of wild ducks and geese gathered 
there to feed upon the inexhaustible sup- 
ply of mussels. 

The Government has spent about $.5,- 
000,000 in reducing this obstacle to the 
free navigation of the 800 miles of splen- 
did waterway of the great Tennessee 
River. 

The Colonel came back faster than his 
usual dignified march. "Pull out, Lieu- 
tenant," he said to Shad, "and go some- 
where. There are entirely too many Ma- 
jor-Generals around here, and they're 
reaching for everything in sight. I don't 
know how many of them are preparing 
orders for me. We must leave here at 
once." 

The Colonel was apparently quite in- 
different to the directiiui taken so long 
as he got away from under the control of 
a superior in rank. 

"Col. Roncsteel," demanded the Major, 
coming up (he had also been up town con- 
sulting), "I demand to know where you 
are going to take this boat." 

"I\Iy Executive Otlicer has his orders, 
sir," resjjonded the Colonel, becoming 
very military, and with a dignified wave 
of his hand toward Shad Graham. 

"F>ut, sir, I have the right to be in- 
formed of your intentions. I have a re- 
sponsibility to the Ordnance Bureau for 
the most valuable part of the cargo, if 
nfit for the bo.-<t itself, and" 

"The boat has been placed under my 
command, by the exiu'ess order of the sec- 
retary of War," the Colonel condescended 
to explain. "You are second in commaiul, 
ar.d unless I fall (and the Colonel swelled 
visibly) you have no authority or respon- 
sibility whatever, sir." 

"But I have a responsibility for this 
ammunition, and that it shall not fall into 
the hands of the rebels. If they should 
caiitnre it they could destroy our army 
with it." 

"I have heard Ordnance Bureau fabli\s 
about the awfuluess of its an:niunition he- 
fore," remarked tho Colonel, sarcastically. 



THE BOYS mk'^ THEIR FIRST DIFFICULTIES IN NAVIGATIO:?:. 



27 



"It is indifferent to me what you have 
heard," retorted the jinjor, verging near 
di-srespect. ""I repeat that I am person- 
ally and oii;cially resnonsih'e for this cargo 
of ammunition. I have been consulting 
v,ith the Chief of Ordnance of Gen. 
Thomas's army. He consents to receive 
the ordnance from me, and release me 
from responsibility for it, and unless you 
immediately retire down the river" 

"I shall do nothing of the kind," said 
the Colonel, stoutly. He had arrived at 
DO decision v.here he was to go, except 
that he would not do anything the Major 
counseled. •"I shall do nothing of the kind, 
sir. I'm not in the habit of retiring be- 
fore the enemy, and 1 shall hear no sug- 
gestion of that kind from you, sir." 

"Then I shall procure an order from 
the Chief Ordnance Officer for the re- 
moval of the ammunition from the boat." 

The Colonel was about to explode in 
wrath, when Shad whispered, "Let him 
take the ammunition off, sir. It'll lighten 
the boat several tons, and greatly help 
us get through." 

"Can you hustle it off in a few min- 
tites, belijre an order can reach me from 
headquaitersV" inrmired the Colonel, sotto 
voce, as he scanned tlie shore with a ner- 
vous ai)i".r;4iensiou of seeing a staff oHi- 
cer ai>'.ii..;icli. 

■'A pile uf wo;-k can he done in a few 
minutes Ij.v 12.J Si'.ch men as we have," 
answered Shad. '"Atid every ton wo cau 
get off will be that inucii help." 

"Very well, then," the Colonel answered 
in a v.hisper. "Get oft" all you can, bat 
have the boat ready to start the instant 
I give the word. Maj. Crewet," he cou- 
tiniied aloud, "you have ray permission to 
remove all the ammunition you can be- 
fore I have to-stait. I see signs indicat- 
ing that the rebels are attempting ro 
bring up a battery on the opposite bank. 
(It was some wagon loads of refugees 
coming across the hill in the distant hori- 
zon, upon which the Colonel fixed his 
eyes.) I do not propose to have this boat 
caught as were those transports at John- 
sonville. I shall start with a very brief 
warning the moment I think the' danger 
is inimineut. You cau remove ail the am- 
munition you wish in that time." 

"Serg't Dye," commanded the Major, 
"pe.t your whole force to work removing 
that ammunition from the boat to the 
wharf. Work as rapidly as you can at 
that. You can store it and protect it af- 
terward until the ofllcer here receipts for 
it. You have your men bring their things 
ashore, to remain with the ammunition. 

"Say, Shad, play fair, now," whisoered 
Jake Dye, as ho passed by to execute the 
order. "Don't you leave v.ithout us." 

"You're ail right; I'll look out for you," 
Shad assured him. "You go dov.ui with 
your men into the hold to pass the stuff 
up. Si and Shorty will attend to lauding 
it.'^'^ 

The Colonel took his position on the 



front of the hurricane deck, and was ap- 
parently studying the southern bank with 
the deepest interest. In reality he was 
watching the road to headquarters with 
anxiety. Shad uotihed the pilot and en- 
gineer to have everything in instant readi- 
ness, Sandy Baker and Pete Skidmore 
Vv'cre stationed on the wharf at the posts 
to which were attached the boat's fore and 
aft Hues, respectively, to throw them off 
when they got the word, and run aboard 
the boat. Monty was stationed by the 
cleat forward to ease off the line when he 
got the word, so that Sandy could throw 
it off the post, and Harry was to do the 
same v.ith the after line. 

The rest worked with feverish energy 
getting the heavy ammunition boxes up 
and out on to the wharf. The Major 
stood on the wharf and watched them with 
astonishment. He had never before seen 
so much work done in so short a time by 
that number of men, and somehow he got 
the idea that they were doing this because 
animated 'oy a desire to get away from 
the boat and the arrogant Colonel, and 
remain with him. He actually grew 
pleasant toward them, and bestowed some 
compliments. Some tons had beeu shift- 
ed ashore and scattered about the wharf. 
wiiC'U the Colonel's eye caught sight of 
a staff ofUcer coming at a shar;) trot. 
That was enough. He raised his glass to 
study the southern horizou, and command- 
ed, in a low tone: 

"Cast off aud start at once. Lieuten- 
ant." 

"Attention, there," ordered Shad, M-iih- 
out raising his voice. "Ease off on the 
lines, fore and aft." 

"Ease off it is, sir," answered Monty, 
who had grown very nautical in his short 
experience on the boat. 

"Ashore, there,"' commanded Shad. 
"Cast off those lines, forward and aft." 

"Cast off it is, sir," answered Sandy 
and Pete, throwing the loops free of the 
posts, aud running aboard, followed by 
all the men on the wharf. 

"Go ahead, as fast as you can, Mr. Pi- 
lot," ordered Shad. 

_ The Major had been so intent in scru- 
tinizing some of the boxes which had 
come up out of the hold that he had not 
noticed the proceedings until the rush 
aboard attracted his attention, and he 
looked up to see the boat swinging out 
from the wharf. He called out: 

"Col. Bonesteel, just v.-ait a few miuutes 
longer. They'll have the whole load off 
them." 

"Very sorry, INIajor, I cannot comply," 
answered the Colonel; "that battery is 
deploying, and liable to fire at any instant. 
Better get your ammuuitiou under cover 
as quickly as possible. In the meanwhile 
I have the honor of bidding you good- 
day." 

"Come back here, men," shouted the 
Major to his detachment. "You are not 
to go with the boat. You are to stay 



28 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



here. Serg't Dye, bring your men ashore 
at once." 

"Serg't Dye is in the hold and can't 
hear you, Major," said Shorty very po- 
Jitely, "and if he could I don't see how he 
could obey, as his legs aint GO feet long." 

The Aid trotted down to the wharf 
and waved a kn}:o white envelope toward 
the departing boat. But Col. Boonsteel 
kept his eyes fixed ou the opposite bank, 
and if expecting the refugee wagons to 
unlimber and belch out a storm of shells, 
while the Lorena's rapidly-whirling stern- 
wheel tiuug up a cloud of spray in seem- 
ing dehauce and derision of Headquarters, 
Aids, Ordnance Oflicers, and everything 
not pertaining directly to the Engineer 
Corps. -v,% :! 

"We probably \Von'.t have no trouble 
till we g( I tu Bainbridge's T'erry," said the 
pilot. "The river ovim- there to the right 
/is too rocky and s\vaiiipy for the rebels to 
' get through. But it narrows down at the 
ferry to less'n a mile wide, with fairly 
deep water, .ind there's a road leading up 
from the .south. It's the closest call we're 
likely to have till we get near the head o' 
the Shoals, for we can dodge around 
among the rocks Ihe rt^st of the way, and 
avoid 'em. But if they've got to the fer- 
ry, with cannon, they're liable to make it 
warm for us. 

" 'Twon't be the first time, though, that 
I've had to run by a battery on tlie bank. 
Better let the boys rest, and eat their 
dinners, and be ready." 

"All right," answered Si. "If the reb- 
el cavalry know what's good for 'em 
they'll let tht; 200th Injianny carefully 
alonc!. We're like, a ■ rattlesnake — seen 
best a good piece off and' asleep." And he 
went down to sui)ciinlend the dinner. 

"1 caught sight through a rift in the 
trees of a good deal of dust raising off 
away down theri;," remarked Shorty, as 
he stood on the bow guards, with a liber- 
al supply of bread and meat in one hand 
and a cup of coffee in the other, and stud- 
ied the; country toward the south. "Some- 
body's going to the election. That's sure. 
Whether it's our men falling back, or 
them coming on is an interesting ques- 
tion that'll come up later. It don't really 
matter, though. Jake Dye promised us 
an ea.sy, pleasant trip, with all the com- 
forts of a home, and we're going to hold 
him 1o his bargain." 

, "The way them geese is flying up," 
added Si, pointing with his cup of coft'ee 
to disturbed flocks of birds, "shows that 
there's a lot o' men piling in from that 
direction. Boys, finish your dinner as quick 
as you can, load and stand ready." 

The boat ran to the left of the long, 
curving island, just above Florence, and 
approached the ferry. They saw a long- 
limbed, gaunt man, with a beard like a 
wisp of hay, sitting on a rock ou the 
right, fishing. 

"Shall I shoot him. Sergeant?" inquired 
Harry Joslyn, who was w-rought up to the 
fighting pitch. "lie's a bushwhacker. If 



he ain't bushwhacking now he has been 
and will be again. It'll save bOth$:fi to 
get rid of him uo\s'." '- ' • 

"No, no," calle-d. down the pilo'c. "Don't 
harm him. That's Jim Bainbridge, ^iiat 
used to run the ferry, afore the war. He's 
all right. That is. he ain't bad. He don't 
care no more for Union or Secesh than he 
does for them wild ducks affcr geese.- iS'ot 
as much, for he can eat the; dUcks fend 
geese, and that'-s -a gr'^dt pint with Jim. 
He's too ednsarned lazy to care tor any- 
thing in this world but laying around, eat- 
ing and sleeping. He can -sleep right 
along, all day and all; night, lay around 
on the flat of his back the rest o' the 
time, and eat more'n a boss Avhiie he's 
doing it. Never see such a man. Rebels 
put him in their army, but was glad to 
get shet of him in less'n a month. His 
disease is ketching, and soon the hull riji- 
ment was down with it. He simply 
wouldn't do nothing, in' spite o' them, but 
lay 'round, eat and sleep, and he'd give 
it to tUe men tliej- set over him so that 
they wouldn't do nothing else. He wuz 
wuss'n the measles in a neighborhood, and 
he spiled the rijiment so that it Avas never 
worth much afterward. But I'm going 
to take him aboard. He knows the Shoals 
better'n any man alive. Hello, Jim; how- 
dy '.>" 

"Howdy yerself, Zeke, an' see how you 
like hit," answered the fisherman, lookiug 
up lazily, with a piece of corn-dodger iu 
one hand and a chunk of meat iu the 
other. "Air yo' travelin' or jist goin' a 
piece?" 

"Bound for Chattanoogy," answered 
Ezokiel ?ilartin. 

"Bound fur Chattanoogy," chuckled 
.Tim. "Yo're liound fur Richmond, V'ir- 
ginny, an' Libljy Prisan, if they don't hang 
yo' as soon as they lay hands on yo', fur 
stccrin' a Yank-eo boat." 

"That so?"' inquired the pilot; with an 
air of mild interest. "Any rebels 'round 
here'.'" 

"Hell's mint of 'em over thar," an- 
swered Jim, with a nod of his head south- 
ward. "Thicker'n fiddlers in the brim- 
stone lake. Hood's hull army's betwixt 
here an' Decatur. 'Bout a million of 'em." 

"So"/" queried the pilot, softly. _ "But 
they're all laying over toward Leighton 
and Town Creek, ain't they? None nigh 
the river?" 

"Thar's whar yo're as much mistaken 
as if yo'd done burnt yer shirt. Ole Steve 
Lee's out thar at Leighton, but he's hump- 
in' his critter companies up toward the 
Ferry au' they're likely to be thar any 
liiinnit." 

"Well, you'd better come aboard, Jim, 
and get out o' their way." 

"Nary a time. Perch's bitin' too well 
to leave jist now. Fust good perch fish- 
ing I've had this Fall. AVuz bitin' fine 
afore yo' done come along with yer ole 
boat an' riled up the water. Go 'long now 
an' let the water fjuiet down." 

"Jim, if you'll come aboard and go up 



THE BOYS HAVE THEIE FIRST DIFFICULTIES IN NAVIGATION*. 



29 



as far as Decatur, I'll give you all the 
gnib you can lay to and a two-bushel bag- 
full to take home." 

•'Don't keer fur no more grub." an- 
swered the fisherman indifferently, read- 
justing his pole, which the waves of the 
steamboat had disturbed. "Kather fish. 
Don't want no more grub. Killed a shoat 



er of its predecessors. Jim made a mo- 
tion as if to rise, but then settled back 
.and said decisively: "No, I reckon not. 
Like ter have the salt, but kin git along 
without hit. If I git hit they'll only use 
hit up an' then want more. Things taste 
most as good without salt. Can't leave 
these perch fur no salt. Rather fish." 




•THEY SAW A LONG-LIMBED, GAUNT MAN, FISHING. 



yesterday in the riffles. Don't like wheat 
bread, nohov/. Tangles up in my giz- 
zard." 

•".Jim, if you'll come along you shall 
have all the whisky you want to drink." 

This seemed to stir more emotion than 
the previous offer. The fisherman debated 
it for an instant, and then answered: 

*"No; I calkerlate not. Got a jugfuU o' 
old peach yesterday. Don't like yer kind 
o' likker, nohow. Got ter drink a kag o' 
hit ter feel hit at all. Now. the fust dram 
o' that thar peach ketches hold o' yer 
throat, an' seems ter tear yer lights right 
out. Nu; b'lieve I won't go. Rather fish." 

••Jim, if you'll come along I'll give j'ou 
a heaping peck of salt." 

This stirred up more emotion than eith- 



"Jim." said the pilot, desperately, "if 
you'll come along I'll give you a hat-fuU 
of genuine Yankee coffee to take to your 
old woman." 

The fisherman rose up suddenly. "A 
hat full o' coffeeV My hat full".' This 
hat full?" he inquired, pulling off his ca- 
pacious old white wool head-covering and 
holding it up. 

-Yes; I'll fill that hat up to the top of 
the band with real Yankee coffee." 

"I'll go," said the fisherman, flinging 
back into the water the fish he had caught. 
"Come in to that rock thar, an' le'me git 
aboard." 

•'Come right up here into the pilot-house 
with me, Jim." 

••No; that's too fur ter cJimb, an' I hate 



30 



SI 



KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



ter have glass 'round me. Can't git my 
breath. I'll set out ou the hariicane roof." 
"Serg't Klegg," continued the pilot, 
•'will you have the cook send up all that 
was left from your dinner, together with 
a big pot of .strong ootlceV Corporal El- 
liott, will you go into my room and tind a 
bottle of whisky there, under my pillow, 
and give it to Mr. Bainbridge?" 

"No; don't keer fur no whisky now, 
thankee, if yo're done gwine ter give me a 
fillin' o' coffee. I'm jist husting fur as 
much coffee as I kin drink. No likker. 
thankee; want all my room fur coilee. Tell 
that cook ter make it good an' strong — 
strong enough ter bear up an aig." 

"You shall have it just your way, Mr. 
Bainbridge," said Si. "\'ery glad to have 
you with us." ' 

A spurt of firing was heard in the direc- 
tion of the Ferry. 

"Great Jehosephat, they've got there," 
remarked Shorty, bringing his cartridge- 
bo.x to the front and picking up his Spring- 
field. 

"Keep amidships, behind the timbers, 
boys, and wait for orders," called but Si. 

"Say," yelled a picket from the north- 
ern shore, "you can't go up there. The 
other side is full of rebels. Turn that 
boat around and go back." 

Just then a roar broke out down the 
river in front of Florence. 

"Jlear that?" Shorty shouted derisively 
at the picket. "Can't you mention some 
place else for us to go? Hovv'd it do to 
climb a tree?" 

"1 declare." muttered Shad to Si. listen- 
i ing to the shelling the rebels were giving 
Florence, "those icaily were batteries, in- 
stead of refugee wagons, that the Colonel 
, was looking at. He knows more than I 
thought he did." 

"My prompt action in leaving enabled 
^ us to escape that bombardment," said the 
•. Colonel, from his pose on the front uf the 
deck, whither he had come at the first 
. shot. "I trust that Maj. Crewet is enjoy - 
f ing himself." 

i The firing up the river became a sharp 

t skirmish, as the Union cavairy resisted 

the attempts of the rebels to cross. A. 

- rebel battery took position on a piece of 

: high hill a half-mile back of the ford, and 

3 began throwing shells across at the Union 

cavalry. Si and Shad glanced at the pilot. 

, who was driving calmly on, co see what 

t effect this was having on him. 

^ "That's all right," he said, noticing 

1 their (juestioning glances, but keei)ing his 

. eyes fixed on the river ahead. "Tliere's 

only a narrow clear space at the Ferrv. 

■J and after the cannon fires one shot we'Vl 

£ be past before it can fire another, it";! be 

^ be the musketry that'll hurt. Keep vov.r 

£ men under cover. Better make 'em' lay 

down. I'm going to run close into the 

I'Muk as we pass, ihat's always saf-ost. 

Bothers their aim, and the nearer v.e are 

the quicker we'll be by. All of you lay 

down." 

"Lay down, boys! Everybody lay 



down," shouted Si. "Everybody get be- 
hind something, and don't shoot till you;re 
sure of your man. Then let him have it 
below the belt." 

He set the example liy kneeling dmvn 
behind the capstan and Jayiug his gun 
aeross it. From that i)Osition he could 
command a vie\A- of all amund a:^ \Veil as 
his boys, crouching' behind c,ni|s Of rope, 
anchors, and ^^•hatt■^■er iiruuiised i^^helter. 
Shorty lay Hat on the cabin dech, with 
his gun poked through the railing, ready 
lo fire as soon as it bore on something'. 

"Lay down, Jim; lay down fiat on the 
deck," shouted (he pilot, as the b.oat 
rushed ou and nearcd the 'firing whirU 
was becoming momentarily h<'avier. • The 
fisherman, wiio was industriously devour- 
ing the store sent ui) from the cook-house, 
was wandering about the deck perple.Kcd- 
ly, with the coffee-itot in his hand. 

"I'm looking fur some kivver fur this 
here coffee-pot," .lim explained. "Hit's 
the best coffee I over drunk, an' I'm 
moutily afeared hit'll git hit. O, thar's 
the [dace." 

Ills eyes lighted on the big brass hell, 
swinging on the fore part of the deck. 
He shuliled forward, turned up the, bell, 
slipped the precious coffee-pot under its 
broad mouth, and turned it down again. 

"Thar," he said, with a grunt of satis- 
faction, "no Yankee could've thought of a 
cuter trick than that. Thar's a double 
hand's thickness o' brass on every side o' 
that coffee-pot. No bullet'll ever go 
through that thar." 

The trees below the ferry masked the 
approach of the boat from the rebels on 
the bank, until she shot out almost in 
their faces. The Union troops on the op- 
posite side held their tire, and sent up 
rousing cheers for her gallant crew. She 
v,as going as fast as her engines would 
send her along, and so wild was the fire 
of the surprised rebels that the duly seri- 
ous injury it did was to the boat's light 
woodwork, which' was pievced. sjilit and 
splintered in a hundred places. Sad to 
say, one startled rebel had fired his gun 
almost perpcnc'icuhuly. The bullet went 
through the light boards of the hurricane 
deck directly under the treasured coffee- 
pot, tore a hole in its bottom, struck the 
inside of the bell a ringing blow, rebound- 
ing, wrecked the pot still further, and 
rolled it out on the deck. Jim Bainbridge 
saw this and raged. He snatched up a 
gun leaning agaiiist the side of the pilot- 
house, and running aft tired over the wheel 
with sure aim into the crowd of rebels 
back at the Ferry. 

"Dod rot yer stinking hides," he yelled, 
shaking his fist as he saw a man fall, "I'll 
larn yo' hounds how ter spile a po' man's 
cofleo what hain't had none fur months. 
Why can't yo' let folks alone what ain't 
aoiii' nothin' tor yo'?" 

As the Lorena gained the cover of a lit- 
tle wooded island above the Ferry, on 
which there were no rebels, the men on 
her saw at a little distance ahead the rob- 



THE BOYS HAVE THEIR FIRST DIFFICULTIES IN NAVIGATION. 



els actively laying a pontoon which they 
were to suddenly shove out under the cov- 
er of the trees, and before the Union 
troops ,conId take niensures against it have 
it across the river and a crossing secured. 
There was but little current through the 
islands there and the conditious' -were 
favorable to the work. 

'T'd lilce to butt that thing and smash 
it info Hinders," said the pilot, ringing a 
slowing bell, lu give him time to think. 

•'Yo' kin do hit, Zcke; yo' kin do hit,'" 
drawled Jim, still raging over the loss of 
his coffee. "Thar's good two foot o' wa- 
ter 'round Possum Head, thar at their cen- 
ter. Hit "em a good welt thar, and smasli 
through 'em. Then put ycr whec'l hard a- 
starboard, bring her head 'roun' ter lar- 
board, comin' back inter the main chaii- 
nel, shoving that string <»' bridge out afore 
yo", an' lettin" 'em Iloat down stream whar 
the Yankee scrimmage! s'll 'tend ter 'em.'" 
"That's .iust what I'll do." answered the 
pilot, ringing a fast bell, and heading 
straight for the center of the long line 
of pontoon. 

?i, Shorty, Jake Dye and the rest yelled 
deli.uht(dly,' -when they saw the pilot's in- 
tention, and began liring on the rebels on 
the landside of the bridge. 

The steamboat smashed through the 
bridge like a bull throagh garden palings, 
and turning quickly shoved the section on 
the larboard, about l(.iO yards in length, 
with the men on it, out into the main 
channel, down which it would float, close 
to the Union skirmishers. 

"Dod-rot yo'; spile a po' man's coffee, 
will yo'V" yelled Jim Bainbridge, running 
along the "deck and throwing everything 
he could find at the men on the pontoons. 
"Hain't had a sup o' coffee fur months, 
an' then yo'ns spile hit all. I'd like ter 
wruig every one o' yer stinkin' necks." 

The Lorena had scarcely straightened 
up to resume her course in the main chan- 
nel v.hen a lebel cannon barked viciously 
from a tow-head up above, and a shell 
whistled across the hurricane deck. 

"They've worked a gun out there to cov- 
er the landing of the pontoon," remarked 
Shad Graham. 

"So it apiiears," answered the pilot. 
"But how in the world did they ever get 
it across there".'' I suppose we'll have to 
run by it." 

"Tell yo' what ter do, Zeke," mumbled 
Jim Bainbridge, his mouth full of food and 
in his hand a fresh tin-cup of coffee, which 
Si had secured for him. "Whirl ter the 
left, and cut 'i-ound behind that island 
thar. You'll find plenty o' water thar, but 
the suck's powerful. But she's runnin' 
light, an' I reckon her injines kin make 
hit." 

Before the gun could fire again the agile 
Lorena had been put behind the shelter 
of the island. But she encountered one 
of those "sucks" for which the Tennessee 



Eiver is noted. The water poured through 
the narrow channel with a velocity and 
pov.-er against which the Lorena's engines 
struggled in vain. Fat pine knots were 
shoved into her furnaces, and the weight 
on the safety-valve brrtught out \'i tlie end. 
Her boilers were straining .-uiil the loud 
"cough" of the steam as it left her escape- 
pipes spoke of her distressful labor to the 
whole country around. Thu lebels quick- 
ly noticed this, and began working their 
way over the shoals and islands to get at 
her. 

"There's only one thing to do, ' said the 
pilot to Shad. "Let a man tal-ic a line 
overboard and carry it up the bnnk lo that 
big whil.-cak on tlie point. Tluii we'll 
warji her with the (•apst:iu."' 

"That spells my name,' said Shorty, 
running down onto the boiler dec];, and 
seizing" the end of the long cable coiled 
there. The pilot yawed the boat a little, 
so as to bring her into stiller v.-ater, be- 
hind the shelter of a large rock. 

"Jake Dye promised us a quiet, pleas- 
ant ti-ip, with all the comforts of a home," 
continued Shorty, as he iuniped off into 
the cold water, up above his waist, "and 
I'm going to hold him to his bargain." 

He clambered up on the rocks, and ran 
along them to the white-oak, around which 
he fastered the line. Si had in the mean- 
while got the cajistan in readiness, with 
himself and his sti-ongest men at the bars, 
and the rest pulling on the line as it left 
the drum. 

So they "walked" the Lorena up 
through the suck to where her own en- 
gines would again suffice to Ct'.rry her for- 
ward. They stood out on the deck, as she 
speeded away, and yelled all manner of de 
risinn and contumely at the disappointed 
reliels. who were clambering over the rocks 
and wading through the shallows to got 

at h<?i'- , ^ ., 

"We'll have a couple of miles now of 
clear running," said the pilot. "Let your 
men rest." 

"Well, we're safely through that hor- 
nets' nest," remarked Shad to Si. "We've 
made about five miles, and have got 25 
more to go to get out of the Shoals. I hope 
that the rest will be easier." 

"We hain't nothing to complain of," an- 
swered Si. "I think that pontoon trick 
more'n squares accounts. I'm satisfied if 
they are." „ . , „, , 

"The worst of it is, continued Shad, 
"that the rebels now know the boat is in 
this awful tangle. They'll be dead crazy 
to get her. She'd be the biggest kind of 
a help to them in getting across the riv- 
er." 

"Well," answered Si, "we'll stick to her 
and run as long as we can, and make sure 
and burn her if we have to give her up. 
The rebels'U never get her as long as I'm 
alive." 



SI KLEGG AND SnORTY. 



CHAPTER VL 

ANOTHER CHArTER OF TROUBLOUS NAVIGATION OF MUSCLE SHOALS. 



"I declare, I shall have to expand my 
re. oi-t to u volumt'." said Col. Bonesteel, 
de-ceadiug from his perch as .soon as Ihu 
da igci- sufUU'd past. •"It'll be a splendid 
re.ulatiou of the (.haige that Eujjineei- of- 
fici.Ts aie luititted to command tioops, and 
la< li decision and enterprise at critical mo- 
ttn nts. Smashing that pontoon was an iu- 
sp. ration that would have occurred to few 
niin, and hardly to anybody but an En- 
giiieer. And what narrow escapes 1 ha<l 
That .shot \\hich struck the bell and ruined 
that collee-pot was aimed directly at me. 
Thii fellow thought to get me by shooting 
up through the deck. Ue was cunning, 
but the million of the boat saved mc. I 
shall ni)t mourn if I do get a wound bi-- 
fore were through. I can congratulate 
myself on remaining perfectly <'O0l anil 
collectfd ihronghout th(! whole affair. An 
instant "s wavering at several times would 
hav<f ruined ever\ thing.. I want to make; 
the must of all this in my report, for the 
honor of the Engiiu'cr Corps. It is not 
reoei\-iug anything liiie the credit it should 
froiu tilt! other branches, who are i)er- 
petually sneering at it. This affair alone 
vill sltow what Engineer's are capable of 
when given the opi»ortunity." 

"First time I ever knew a man to pre- 
fer coffee to whisky," remarked .lake Dye 
to Si, as they were discussing the events 
of the day, and Jim Bainbridges part in 
thetn. 

"You don't know these crackers as well 
as I do," Si answered. "They are all sim- 
ply crazy for coffee — the women even 
worse than the men. Coffee means a great 
deal more to them than it does to us. Not 
only are they a great deal fonder of it 
than we are, but it's something rich and 
aristocratic about being able to drink 
'store coffee, just the same's the quality,' 
that gets away with them." 

"Something like we think about drink- 
ing champagne and F^rench brandy," said 
Jake. 

"Precisely." 

As they passed the mouth of Town 
Creek, at a considerable distance from the 
main bank, they saw a squad of rebels, 
who spitefully hred a volley at them at: 
long range. They watched the bullets 
splash and ricochet on the water, but cdu- 
tented themselves with a volley of oppro- 
brium in rei>ly. leveled at everything rebel, 
from Jeff Davis downw;ird. 

"Guess that's the last o' them." said Si 
complacently. "Theie wasn't many of 
tlii'in, and they're probably the right ilauk 
of their army." 



"Looks that way," Shorty agreed, and 
turned to continue the drying of his wet 
clothes on the side of the boilers. Si and 
Jake Dye busied themselves with the men 
in getting the decks cleared up and swept. 
Jim Bainbridge found a warm place where 
the chimneys came through the hurricanf 
deck, bent his tall form around the sheet- 
iron stack, and slept the sleep of content- 
ment and a full stomach. 

Shad (iraham occupied himself in look- 
ing carefully over the boat, to provide for 
any future contingency. The wood-pile 
gave him .some concern. They had not 
taken on any wood at Florence, and the 
recent drafts upon it had greatly reduced 
its volume. 

"If we can see a fence anywhere in 
this wilderness," remarked Shorty, notic- 
ing his regretful look, "we'll land and taku 
it aboard. j\le and Si and the rest catj 
soon chop it up into lengths." 

"Trouble is that they don't have any 
fences in this part of the country. Tlifs(> 
crackers are too dumbed lazy to evt-n Uuild 
comfortable cabins, let alone fences." 

The boat struck dully but heavily, and 
slopped with a suddenness that wrenched 
all her timbers and shook every one on 
boa 1(1. Her engines kept working, (hough, 
and her wheel revolving, without pushing 
her forwaid. 

"Confound it," exclaimed Shad, in a 
tone of great annoyance, "we've run onto 
a bar." 

"(jrosh. Zeke," exclaimed Jim Bain- 
bridge, "I meant ter've told yo' that the 
current settin' 'round that big new snag 
up thar has made a bar acrost the chan- 
nel here." 

"I've found it out." said the pilot grim- 
ly. "Lieutenant, you'll have to get your 
men to the capstan and spar her over." 

All Western steamboats go prepared for 
just such emergencies as these, which are 
liable at any moment. On either side the 
bow rises a derrick-like contrivance, to 
which is rigged a stiff pile, having its low- 
er end shod with iron. This drops down 
into the water, a rope runs through a pul- 
ley-block down to the capstan, and by 
working this the boat is lifted and pushed 
over the bar. 

The spar was quickly rigged, with Si, 
Shorty and the strongest men at the cap- 
stan bars, and the Lorena began "walk- 
ing" u]) the river again. Contrary to their 
Impcs. however, instead of being a narrow 
bar, this jiroved to be a long ;.ho;!l. This 
had (le(eivc«i the sharp eyes of the );;lot. 
A narrow, hiiih bar makes a ii[iple which 



MORE TEOUBLOUS NAVIGATION OF MUSCLE SHOALS. 



S3 



quickly betrays its presence, \AhiIe .1 coii- 
liuuouH shouliug of u few, inches may mulie 
no si.Lcn. 

' Tlic spurt of vi.sjorons effort wliicli tlio 
boys t!u\-vi- into their lint attuclv upon the 
capstan Ijecanio a severe continuous strain 
upon the last atom of their strength, as 
the si;ai's Avere time after time liltinl and 
t;eL forward, and tlie shjw walk aroumi ilie 
capstan repeated, to drag the boat forward 
a few feet. 

"(Jreat Jehosephat, ain't there no end 
to tliis blamed bar," groaned Shorty, as 
he Nviped his perspiring face, while wait- 
ing for the tackle to be rearranged. "It 
seems to be as big as the Bar of Judgment 
that the preachers are always talking 
about." 

Monty and Harry were stationed out- 
side of the jackstalf, prodding out as far 
as they could reach with poles, trying to 
discover some show of the water deepen- 
ing, vriihout success. 

"If it wasn't fo!" the looks of the thing 
I'd ratlu'r walk, as the stage passenger 
said, who had to carry a rail up hill to pry 
the co;ii;h up, and then walk down behind 
and ];ull on a rope to keep the thing from 
running to snuish." This from Si, as he 
stopped for a brief rest A\hile Shad worked 
out a kink in the sheaves. 

"When I build a boat to run on the Ten- 
nessee," volunteered Sandy Baker, "I'm 
going to put rollers on her bottom or wag- 
on-wheels on the side to run on where it is 
only a little wet." 

"Ccnne, boys, at her again," called out 
Si cheerily. "We'll get her through next 
time. This ain't nothing to working a 
stone-boat over a plowed field. I've had 
to do that. At her again. All hands to 
the capstan. Now. strong and steady!" 

After straining their mus( les until they 
seemed cracking, they succeeded in pulling 
the boat forward aliout a rod, but Monty's 
and Harry's poles showed no signs of 
deeiiening water. 

"Jake Dye, this is the pleasant, easy 
trip you promised us, with all the comtorrs 
of a home." yelled Shorty, a little more 
ver.gefnly than he had spoken before. 

"b, rats! Save your breath. for heaving 
and tugging. You'll need it all," snorted 
Jake Dye, in weariness and anger." 

"O, Aunt Jeminia'r, plaster; 

The moie yon tiled to pull it off, 
The more it stuck the faster, ' 

sang Monty Scruggs. 

"I'hcese thai, ?,i(iuty. or I'll chuck you 
overboard." said Harry, irritably. "This 
is no time for your bianu-d (imitations." 

A gun was hred from a little island half- 
a-niiie ahead, and a bullet sang over the 
deck. 

"Hello," said Si, stopping, wiping his 
face, and scrutini:^ing the island. "W'hu's 
that'.'' S<un;' ron lemiied busliwhackor. 
Harry, get your gun, and lay for him. I'm 
too shaky now I" sliooi. ('onie. lioys. rally 
"round the capstan ag.iiu. 'i'his sh;Ml (■.■in't 
last forever. Chattauoogy 's not a great 



ways off by this time. All together, now, 
with a Avill." 

Harry, jn'ond of the distinction, sioj 
up on a box, lexcled his gun over the cr 
piece of the jackstaff. and watched keenly 
for the rebel to show himself. 

Another straining, tuguing promenade 
around and ar(uind tlie <apstau, and the 
boat was pulled forward another rod. Still 
.Moiiiy's iiole met the bottom at a very 
shallow depth. 

Tlie l)nslnvhacker lired again, and his 
bullet came impressively near Harry, who 
tired instantly at the smoke, and then 
strained his eyes as he reloaded, to see the 
result. 

Still worse, another shot came from a 
little distance from the first. 

"Confound it," muttered Si, "that fel- 
ler's shots 's calling up his crowd. "Pete, 
you take that sonnding-pole. an,l let >.lonty 
get his gun and lay for tliis other feller. 
Harry, try to get that feller nt'xt tinu'. 
Come, boys, one more graial walk around 
tor deep water and Chattynoogy." 

Their hands were beeoming blistered, 
and their muscles aching, but they iilanted 
their feet firmly on the deck at exvvy step, 
and pushed with all their might, heaving 
the boat forTivard another rod. 

The bushwhackers lired again, and thi-, 
time there was a third gun. Harry and 
Monty fired, but the distance was so great 
that their shots were probably as inef- 
fectual as those of the rebels. 

"That shooting's like the croaking of 
buzzards," said Si irritably. "It means 
that they've found something, and are 
calling up the others. The buzzards want 
to feast off this boat. How's the water 
there, Pete?" 

"No deeper," answered Pete. 

"That's Tennessee all over," grumbled 
Si. "Ahvays too dumbed much water or 
too little. Never saw such a country. 
Come, boys, choose .vour partners for an- 
other walk-around. SVe must get this boat 
out of here before any more rebels show 
up." 

"They're showing up faster n v,-e re get- 
ting out," Shorty remarked grimly, as oth- 
er shots came from the little islands, to 
the right and rear, and not only Harry 
and Monty, but others of Ih- smaller boys, 
became pretty busy in iciilying te them. 

Jim Bainbridge sfjpped eating and stud- 
ied attentively the island from which- the 
first shot had come, and others were fol- 
lowing as fast as the man there could re- 
load. "Dod burn his wuthless hide, ef 
that hain't old Hoss Bullock up thar. I 
reckoned that hit war somebody what 
knowed the Shoals monty well, ter work 
around that-a-way. Durn his picter, I 
done tole him I'd kill him if he ever conie 
back into this country arter he hickoried 
me down thar in the camps 'kase I 
wouldn't work. I done tole him then he'd 
better never let me lay eyes on him agin. 
Now he's done come light back niter the 
country, jist ter sass me, an' show that he 
don't keer iiolhiu' fer me. Seemed ter me 



34 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



I knowcd the man when I fust cotch sight 
of him. Iliou when I seed his red board, 
lilce a.shocuiake top, I wuz sartiu'. Hits 
him or me lur hit, now." 

He wallicd down stairs to Harry, and 
said: 

'"Sonny, le' me have your gun. I kin 
fetch that feller. Yo' go back to yo' pole. 
Yo'll strike deep water purty soon." 

"Here, take my gun," said Si. "I won't 
need it while I'm busy here." 

"No; I want this boy's. I've bin watch- 
in' hit, an' know jist how hit carries." 

"Let him have your gun, Harry," said 
Si. 

Jim took up Harry's well-cared-for riiJe, 
and looked it over approvingly, and out 
toward his enemy. 

"Hit's an owdashious long shot," he 
muttered. "Howsumever, 1 don't want ter 
fetch him fer awhile yit; anyway, I want 
him ter know who's arter him. I'll give 
him one nov*- ter inform him that hit ain't 
a boy that's a-shootin'." 

He fired, and the man with a beard the 
color of a sumach-tuft seemed so aston- 
ished by the close aim that he stepped out 
from behind his tree, placed his hand over 
his eyes, and took a good look at the men 
on the boat. 

"I thought that'd 'stonish him," chuck- 
led Jim, reloading his gun. "That's bet- 
ter .shootin' than he's bin doin', an' he's 
naturally curu's ter know who's doin' hit. 
He'll iiud out when we git up furder." 

JNIeanwhile the firing was becoming 
much heavier from the right and rear, and 
from his position on the hurricane deck 
Shad Graham could see the rebels swarm- 
ing up, wading through the shallower 
channels, clambering over the rocks, dodg- 
ing around the masses of driftwood, and 
getting where their shots were beginning 
to take effect. Two of the men at the 
capstan dropped with bullets through 
theii- shoulders. 

"Lieutenant," said the Colonel, speak- 
ing for the first time, and with his nose in 
the air, as if the enemy gave off a dis- 
agreeable effluvia, "are not those people 
getting objectionably near?" 

"They are, indeed, sir," answered Sh.ad, 
saluting. "We must try to get rid of 
them." 

He called down: 

"Jake — I mean Serg't Dye, form your 
men on the starboard guards and load. Go 
ahead with your work, Si — that is, S^ng't 
Klegg. I'll land and push them scoundrels 
back." 

Si looked up rebelliously. "They're my 
men," he started to say. "It's my busi- 
ness to lead them when they go into a 
fight." 

But Shad bad not waited for reply. He 
whipped quickly down the stairs to where 
Jake Dye was forming the hoys. 

"Are you all loaded?" he called out. 
"All right. Don't anybody fire till I give 
the order. Overboard, everybody." 

He set the example by jumping off into 
the water and wading ashore, followed in- 



stantly by the GO forming Jake Dye'a 
company. Harry. Monty, Alf, Gid, Sandy 
and Pete gazed for a moment in wonder- 
ment that" Si and Shorty weie not lead- 
ing the movement, and then yielding to 
their impulse jumped into the water and 
fol!ov,ed the others, while Si and Shorty 
and the others struggled on with the cap- 
stan. 

Shnd pushed forward befoi'e his men 
through the cedars to the other side of the 
island. Cautiously looking through the 
brush, he saw the rebels making their 
way i-apidly to a high sandbar separated 
from \^ here he was by several rods of 
shallow water. They were evidently gath- 
ering there for a rush across to the island 
and then upon the boat. He passed the 
woid back for those behind to come up 
quietly without shaking the brush and get 
under cover at the edge. As he glanced 
around he noticed the Colonel standing 
stiff and precise in the brush, at the regu- 
lation 30 paces interval in rear of the fir- 
ing-line. 

"All ready now, boys," Shad sent a 
whisper along the line. "Take good aim, 
fire low, and we'll give "em a blizzard 
that'll make 'cm let us alone. Ready, aim, 
fire I" 

The whole crowd of rebels seemed to go 
down before the in;tantaucous blast that 
poured out of the bushes. 

Si's crowd, laboring at the capstan, an- 
swered the volley with a joyfuJ tjhout, uud 
inspired by the sound, raced around Avith 
the bars. The boat slid along more easily, 
and finally shot forward quickly, her Avheel 
giving the shoal a disdainful kick as she 
glided off. The movement was so sudden 
and unexpected that the capstan "laced," 
and Si and the rest tumlilcd in a heap over 
one another upon the deck. 

"Come aboard, Siunl,' shouted the pi'.ot. 
"We're off." 

"Run for the boat, boys," called out 
Shad. 

"Lieutenant, Lieutenant," admonished 
the CoLsnel. "That isn't the way to re- 
tire before the enemy. Form your men, 
sir, and retii'e in an orderly manner." 

Shad swore a little under his bi'eath at 
the Colonel's formality, which involved so 
much delay, but quickly formed the boys 
into some sort of line, and walked delib- 
erately back, the Colonel stalking solemnly 
hi.s proper 30 paces in the rear. 
^ "Dumb it. Shad, why don't you hurry?" 
Si called out impatiently. "It's aAvful 
hard to hold the boat here." 

"Seig't Klepg," said the Colonel, se- 
verelj', as he regained the deck, "the man- 
ner in which you just addressed your su- 
perior officer is simply intolerable. I can- 
not deal with the offense )iow as it de- 
serves, but I shall retum to it in the fu- 
ture. See that you do not aggravate it 
by any repetition." 

Undisturbed by the occurrences below 
the red-bearded man had kept up an ex- 
change of shots with Jim Bainhridge, who 
excited and puzzled him by planting his 



MOKE TBOUBLOUS NAVIGATION OF IMUSCLE SHOALS. 



35 




'YES, HIT'S ME : JEEMS BAINBKIDGE, O' BAINBEIDGE'S FERRY." 



bullets all around and very close to him 
v,-ithout actually hitting him. It vras clear 
to him tluit ho had cncountorod some un- 
usual antagonist, Avho was worthy of his 
best efforts. Ho wanted to fall back when 
his "comrades below were driven, but lin- 
gered to dispose of this audacious fellow. 

"Slow down, Zeke," Jim called to the 
pilot, "and run iu close to the island thar. 
^'o'il lind good live foot o' water all along 
thar." 

.lim left Ills station by the .iackstaff, and 
stood ui) on the front of the liurricane 
de.k. 



"Hullo, Hoss Bullock," he shouted, as 
the boat came within a couple hundred 
yards of the island, "lo' 'bominable pole- 
cat, did yo' know who wuz a-shootin' at 
yo'V" 

"Wuz that yo', yo lazy, lousy, thievin' 
runnygade — yo' pizen, wuthless po' white 
trash," shouted Bullock, angrily, coming 
out from behind the stunted and flood- 
mangled sycamore and shaking his fist at 
Bainbridge. 

"Yes, hit's me, Jeems Bainbridge, o' 
Bainbridge's Ferry, yer betters, and the 
gent yo' hickoried down thar by Gadsden. 



s^' 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



I dhr.o tolo yo' I'd have yoi- wood-pc-ckor 
sculp lei- that sourc day, an' I've d.jiie 
come iPi' hit, yo' fox-faced vaimiat." 

"1 didn't ^'ive yo half v.hat yo d<:>.sarvr-d, 
yo" jll-bogclten hound." yelled Bu;iu>.k. "'I 
never oiler let ^o.' got a-vvay alive, ar.d I 
won't next time I' — 

"Stop your jawing, Jim." said the pihit, 
"and ;.,et down lo busines.-;. 1 can t hold 
th^ boat here all day." 

"I conid've shot yo' Ion.',' ago," yelled 
Jim, 1',: ii'ging his gun to his face like a 
flash. "Bnt atore I done hit I M-auted yo' 
ter knov,- who hit v,-uz. Take that thar 
thron.i-h yer pnnkin head." 

Both uuii hied almost nt the same in- 
stant. BalloJ-: sank dov,-n. apparently 
with a bullet through hia he;:d. The dus't 
Lew from the side of Jim's ragged butter 
nut coat, and he wbukd half louna as he 
fell. 

•"This private dueling is strictly out of 
order in war," said the Colonel severely, 
as 'ho came upon the deck, after exchang- 
ing his soaked boots and pantaloons for 
dry ones. "It is not war, but individual 
murder. It should not have been permit- 
ted had I l)een piesent. Let us have no 
male of it." 

"Ket(h you bad. Jim'?" asked the pilot. 

"No; i leckon not," replied Bainbridge, 
feeling his ;-ido. "Only raked a little meat 
often my rib.<^. He wuz quicker'n I reck- 
oned. But it was his last shot, and he 
hustled a little ter make hit." 

"Do you suppose, Jim, that we've got 
shut of "em all now'?" inquired the pilot, 
riiiging the bell for more steam. 

"I misdoubt if yo' have. 'Paruntly thar's 
other men among 'em that know the 
Shoals, from the way they 'uns is workin' 
'round. See them bushes shakin' on that 
island at the head o' the bend? Thar's a 
passel o' they 'uns got in thar." 

Even Si's and Shorty's keen eyes had 
not seen what Jim had detected. 

"That means trouble," said the pilot. 
"They can get a rake right on us." 

"Dodge 'em by goin' sharp to larboard, 
and cuttin' in behind that island thar. 
Yo'll find plenty o' water thar. Hit's nar- 
rer, but deep and swift." 

When the rebels in the brush saw the 
boat turn away they rushed out and ex- 
pressed their chagrin in a spiteful volley, 
no shot from which came within a half- 
mile of the Lorena. 

"You want to give your guns a little 
hunch when you shoot," Shorty yelled de- 
risively. '"Your bullets dou't get over the 
taw-liue." 

The chute of the river into which they 
had turned was as narrow as a canal, and 
ran like a mill-race. The Lorena strug- 
gled slov.-ly up it, and her wood-pile di- 
minished at a rate that made Shad, Si and 
Shoity .>;an it nervously. 

Jim Bainbridge's wound had not affect- 
ed his appetite, but he suddenly stopped a 
tin-cup of coflee on its way to his mouth, 
aad his ears seemed to point forward like 
a horse's when his suspicions are aroused. 



"Somebody's rhopnin' un thar a-^ierc. 
What does hit mean'?" ho asked. 

"I don't h(>a'.- any chopping," answered 
the pilot, listeniijg ns well as he could 
between the ■"coughs" of the escape-pipes. 

"They s.'-.U.nly air," aHirmcd .Tim. 
"Thar's more'n one — sovcial. Yo' kin tell 
the different liiks. They're choppiu' som-3- 
thing green aiMi solid — a trre." 

"You're righr. ,)iin." said the pilot, a 
few minutes later, as They came nearer. 
"^Vhat does it mean';" 

"This fhute swings over toward the 
other shore up thar by the head o' Cop- 
perhead Island," said Jim reflectively, tfy- 
ing to reason out the probabilities. ■"Th(«y- 
'uns uiay've cut acrost the bend, and then 
make they'uns's way over the shallers 
to'd Copi)eihead, and're now choppin' 
do%\-n ti-ees to clear away for a cannon, 
or ter make a bridge. Ilello, who's they- 
'uns'/" 

He saw a num.ber of rebels doing some- 
thing on top of a large bare rock that 
overhung the chute on the right hand. 
1'hey ran down behind the rock, as the 
boat approached. 

"They have poles and pries in their 
hands," said the pilot, after spooking 
down through the pipe to the engineer to 
give her ('vvry ounce of steam he had. 
"I think they are trying to pry that rock 
down on us. But they're too late." 

Shad, Shorty and Si snatched up their 
guns to lire on the rebels, but the^' were 
too well under cover of the rock, and as 
the boat passed they tlung heavy stones 
down on the deck, which crushed through 
the light planking. 

"Jake Dye's quiet, pleasant trip, with 
all the comforts of a home, is becoming 
ploasanter and quieter, and more homelike 
every minute." remarked Shorty. 

As the boat passed up out of musket- 
shot the boys were surprised to see the 
lebels swarm up on the rock again and be- 
gin working with their pries. The rock 
at length yielded to their efforts, rocked 
a little, and then toppled down into the 
stream with a sounding splash. 

"What in the world does that mean?" 
asked Si. "We aint going back. There's 
no use stopping up the road after we've 
passed." 

"That's what it means," said Shad Gra- 
ham, as the boat turned a point and gave 
a view of a stretch ahead. There they 
saw a group of axmenrun away from a 
tall tulip-tree, three feet through at the 
ground, which was toppling to its fall. 
It came down Avith a crash, falling 
straight across the chute, and barring the 
Lorena's progress. "They've got us in a 
trap which they think we can't get out 
of." 

The woods rang with the exultant 
shouts of the rebels, and several bullets 
sang around as the rebels ran for and se- 
cured their guns. 

The scene was too much even for the 
statuesque composure which the Colonel 



MOKE TKOUELQUS NAVIGATION- OF M.USCLE SHOAL:-. 



Z7 



^nrl^PO fnr maintained.. For th^ first time 
lic'tiiriifd n tronb'fi!, wond'Tin.^,' louk upon 
rfjhad.as it' I'rchn^ lli.;t tliis v,as t\w mucii 
I'pr llie irs^iurccH I'f iiis sulMMiiinr.to. . 

A;; u.'U,.;;, in lUl;Il!^_■ut.^ it s.ipicMK' dan- 
gw, t^ib, tuuia.uc 10S.L', a:i(l his luind acted 
\yitii.a c;ui. kjuss -in (;xa;t [i;;>iioitiou to 
;t-h«. dc'«! vraroufss of tlu' oir.ergone.v. 

'"■l!,oa(l, Lo.v^s" lie slmutinl, ■"and run 
bnek; tliere to tlie ;-.tpn\ ready to jump 
olVaU it swill's',-; agin, the IkiuIc. ,, Shad.. I'll 
go aishoie and drive them tellers baek. ami 
gi^'e.you -t-imo to think.. 'I lie soDiier 1 do 
it, tlio bettor, tor the i'CAVor there'll lie. 
Shad, you'd lietter take- i^ix or eight of 
.tiie :beL-;t Lhoi)].oia and charge that log, 
\vhilo I'm holding them back. "Monty, 
Hnrrj-, Gid, Alt', Sandy and Pete, you 
stay aboard, and gathoi- up every light 
thing you can lind, and make piles ai-ound 
on each of the docks. Then stand liy 
them with matches, ready to light, if you 
see we're whipped. Monty, you lake the 
hurricane dock, v, here you can see, and 
give the word. Don't take any chances. 
If it looks at all like we're being whii)pGd 
start the iiics. The rebels mnstn't have 
this Itoat, no m^atter what happens. Come 
on, boys." 

He ran back to the stern and jumped 
ashore, deploying his men as they rcacliod 
him, in a long skirmish; line, to sweep 
across the little island. ■.; They aet up a 
yell of deflanco as. they pushed forward, 
firing at will at every rebel they could 
see.- 

With a veteran's shrewdness. Si had 
realized that comparatively fe\y rebels had 
reached the island, and they were hoping 
to- hold the boat fast until the others could 
come up. . The thing to do was to imme- 
diately clear them out and .get possession 
of the other side of the island, wherever 
that might be, and hold it, so that no 
more could come over. 

He and Shorty,; therefore, rushed the 
boys forward at all as rapidly as they 
could, and soon came to the water on the 
•other side, through which, the rebels they 
were pursuing were making their way. 

There they saw a liat, rock reef, per- 
haps 400 yards wide, over which the 
water ran in rather sluggish current, at 
depths varying from 10" inches to two 
feet. . The reef was covered with a INIid- 
■^snmmer -s'ume, . which made it very slip- 
pery, and the escaping rebels would fre- 
• qne'iitly f'^H headlong, and roll over in the 
water. Besides, there v/ere many deep 
holes, into which they would sink up 
above their vraists, and ilounder around 
l^efore tJiey couid get out. The rebels 
. were swarming up on the opposite side, 
-.but the dihieulties thcir_ comra.des Avere 
having in getting away did not encourage 
thonr to advance in front of the strong 
force Si Avas developing. They seemed 
to be v.'aiting. either for more to come up, 
or for some formation f(U- an advance. 
' ■'■We can hold them, y.hoiiy," said Si, 
-' T.'ith quicii decision, as he diopuscd his 



boys under cover,, and instructed them to 
lire ilelilierately and witli careful aiih, at 
'the uroups across the: reef, su as to retard 
their fi.rmatinu, and diUiini.-h the (inyices 
of an immediaie rush. He presentl^-,"saw 
that this would r.ot take pbice, and leav- 
ing Shorty in charge, hurried back acrosjS ' 
tlie isl.-ind' ti> see what Sliail wa,s doing. 

Willi leady n-sinu-(es Shad had swung 
the bt.al':-, kt';;d aer.'s;; the chute, lamling 
his axnicn "ii the (ii>'e":^ite . bank, where 
thev \-/r:e .-il la'cking llic ,t;iant trunk at its 
sm;iiir.,t (i-!in!(ler. N'v iiik' they were do- 
in- ihis lu' v.-as rig,:;iiig the boat's cable 
about that eiMl. sc' that as soou ^is they 
cut t!u-eu;_-h the buat would swing , her 
weidit on llie leg and drag the end around 
unt'd it fell into the chute and would be 
disposed of. . . 

"Guess vou v.-on'.t have to burn the 
boat, bovs,'" said Si to r^ionty and the rest, 
as his eyes rested satisliedly on .Shad's 
preparations. "Three of you'll be enough, 
anyway. Harry, you, r^ionty and Sandy 
can come Avith me. Alf, Gid and Pete 
Aviil stay on the boat to sot the tires, it 
nccessaiy." • 

He wanted to hurry back, because tlie 
firinf was increasing in a way that he did 
not 'like. When he got back he Avas 
startled to see ho v.- the rebels liad in- 
creased. '\Vorsc than all, some bold di- 
recting officer had come up, <^nd assumed 
charge. He was advancing a heavy !;kir- 
mish line into the reef, and ma.-.smg u.p 
the other men as they arrived. 

'"That's likely their Celune!," said Shor- 
ty, "and he means busiii(>.-".-.." 

"Can't you fetch him'.' ' imiuircd ten 
"That's' Avhat I've bin trying to do, but 
I'm so shaky from tugging at that cap- 
stan that I can't shoot for sour apples." 

Si clanced back, and saw Col. Bone- 
steel s'tanding stithy on a rock in full view 
from the other side. . ' 

"Better get under cover quick, Colonel. 
They'll get you," he called out:. 

"Attend to your oavu business, Serg t 
Klegg," ansAvered the Colonel sternly. 
"When I desire your advice I'll ask it." 

Si had enough else to engross his at- 
tention, Avithout giving further "thought to 
the Colonel. The rebel skirmish: line be- 
"■an sloAvly Avorking a(a-oss the reef, the 
ni'-n running and splashing from the cover 
oi' one rock to anotluu', Avhile companies 
deployed along the other shore aided them 
by hring across over their heads. Shorty 
Avas takins nervous, shaky shots at the 
rebel Colonel, Avithout sueces-^. Si listened 
anxiously to the chopping behind. It was 
-■oing on as rapidly as eight excited men, 
relieving one anotlier every two minutes, 
could do it, and Si's trained ear could tell 
hovr deen they Avere getting into thc^ log. 

"Scem"s as if I never knoAved such sIoav 
work," he muttered, "and on that soft 
poplar, too." 

The rebels soon got a fair line fully 
100 yards into the reef, and their^ shots 
were coming distressfully near. Si had 



38 



SI KLEGG AXD SHORTY. 



already seen one of his recruits, a fresh- 
faced, willing young giant, sink vrith a 
bullet through his brain, and several 
v.'ounded had crawled back to the boat. 
Shorty showed signs of being rattled by 
his failure to bring down the rebel Colonel. 

Au exclamation came from Col. Eone- 
steel, and he caught his left arm with 
iiis hand. 

"Colonel's got a wad at last," Si 
thought grimly. "May learn him some- 
thing. He's little loss, though." 

The rebels pushed on, and some of Si's 
boys began to show disheartenmeut at not 
being able to step them. 

"Monty, run back to the boat, and put 
all the turpentine and camphene you can 
find on them piles o' kindling," said Si. 
"Harry, see that rebel Colonel over there? 
Try to bring him down. Thafll do more 
to stop these fellers than anything else." 

Harry, who had just reloaded, took 
careful aim at the rebel Colonel and fired. 
The Colonel staggered back, but saved 
himself from falling. Si led in a cheer at 
this success, to encourage his men. 

The chopping ceased, to Si's great re- 
lief. 

"They've got the log off, boys," he 
Bhouted. "We'll be all right. Just hold 
'em five minutes longer." 

But the rebels did not propose to be 
held, and began rushing across the reef. 

Just thcu came two welcome blasts on 
the whistle, announcing that the way was 
clear, and to come back. 

"Jake Dye, take the men to the left o' 
that white oak," shouted Si; "break back 
for the boat as hard as you can, and 
form on the upper deck, with guns load- 
ed, to cover us. You men to the right 
Bland ready for two laiautes. Put it into 



'em as lively as you can, and be ready to 
run back. Steady, now." 

Si waited until he thought Jake Dye's 
detach^ncnt had gained the boat, and then 
shouted, "llun; everybody run!" 

Ho and Shoity waited until they saw 
the rcHt started, and then turned and 
sprang back. 

"Sergeant," said the Colonel, in a voice 
of thunder, as they came up to where he 
was standing rigidly, still grasping his 
wounded arm. "Stop that unseemly 
flight. Halt your men and retire them 
deliberately." 

"O, don't be a dumbed Stonghton bot- 
tle." said Si angrily, "Get out o' here, 
while you can." 

He and Shorty rushed on, but turned in 
a few steps and looked back, to see the 
Colonel digniCedly wheel and pace leis- 
urely after them. A squad of rebels had 
gotten across the reef, and in an instant 
more would have shot the Colonel, or 
taken him prisoner. 

"Condemn that chunk o' military bass- 
wood," said Si, as he and Shorty rushed 
back, fired their rifles full in the face of 
the advancing rebels, and then siezing the 
Colonel by the shoulders rushed him back, 
with little ceremony, on to the boat, 
which was only waiting for him to come 
aboard. 

Jake Dye's men, from the upper guards 
of the boat, opened a lire on the advanc- 
ing rebels, which checked them from a 
too rapid advance, until the boat got out 
of reach. 

"Another chapter of Jake Dye's pleas- 
ant rest, and the comforts of a home," 
shouted Shorty, as the boat steamed out 
into the broad river. 



AT LAST THROUGH MUSCLE SHOALS. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE LORE>TA AT LAST GETS THROUGH THE I\IUSCLE SHOALS. 



"I had to be" dragged, from the field of 
battle," niuriiHU-ed Col. Bonesteel to Shad 
as he passed him. "I Avish you would pie- 
pare a report to me of all these operatiuus, 
and including that fact, together with the 
one that, though I was severely wounded, 
early m the engagement, I did not retire 
from the field nor relinquish comnmnd, and 
that I was the last man to reach the boat." 

"N'ery good, sir," answered yhad, salut- 
ing. 

"If it hadn't been for the disgrace of 
having an othcer captured he wouldn't 've 
come aboard at all," remarked Shorty, hot- 
ly. "I'd like to have him learu some sense 
in Libby Prison.''' 

"Come, now. Shorty," admonished Si, 
''the Colonel isn't so bad. lie has his lit- 
tle peculiarities, tint he might be much 
worse. He's sUuk on Isimself and the 
Engineers, Ijut hr's -ni tlie sand to back 
up his stuck-uiu'dni'ss, A\hich is a good 
deal. And then lir dou'i Injther us much, 
which is a heap, lie lets us have our owu 
way, and what more could you askV" 

"That's true. Si," echoed kShad. "There's 
a whole lot of man in the Cohuud, when 
you get through his West I'ointisni." 

"AVell, I guess we can all stand him till 
we get to Chattyuoogy,'' replied Shorty. 

The Colonel reappeared. He had takeu 
off his uniform coat, and thrown his over- 
coat over his shoulders. His shirt-sleeve 
appeared soaked with blood. "I find 1 am 
worse hurt than I thought," he said very 
quietly, almost apologetically. "I'm bleed- 
ing quite profusely. Lieutenant, in the 
absence of a Surgeon I must ask you to do 
a little surgical duty. Take these cords 
and wrap them tightly around my arm, 
above and below the wound, to stop the 
How of blood temporarily." 

"Why, Colonel," exclaimed Shad, after 
a moment's examination, "you are hurt 
far worse than I dreamed. Come, go up 
to your room, and let me wash and dress 
your wound. I know considerable about 
the first things to do in these cases, and I 
can fix you up to do until we get to Chat- 
tanooga and find a Surgeon." 

"No," said the Colonel, with quiet firm- 
ness, quite different from his usu;d pomp- 
ous dignity. "It has reminded me^uat I 
must have several men hurt much worse 
than I am, and I should look after them 
before attending to myself. Do as I tell 
you, so that I can go and look after them." 

!Si. Shorty and the rest could only look 
at each other in open-mouthed astonish- 
ment, at the unexpected phase of the Colo- 
nel's character. 



The Colonel passed on back to where 
the wounded had been made as comfort- 
able as possible in the deck-hands' bertha 
behind the boiler. 

Alf. Russell, whose knowledge of sur- 
gery, slight as it was, exceeded that of 
any of the others, had been put in charge 
of the "hospital," and was alternately. 
swelling with importance as he thought of 
his position, and displayed his skill in 
cleansing, stanching the blood and bandag- 
ing the slighter cases, and trembling with 
anxiety as to what ho should do in the 
more serious ones. 

Four of the six gathered there yielded 
readily to his limited skill, but the fifth 
was groaning in agony over a dislocated 
shoulder, and beads of sweat stood out ou 
Alf's brow as he fumbled over the man, 
and tried one vain expedient after another 
to lessen the pain. 

"Here, my man," said the Colonel gen- 
tly, and it was the first time that Shorty 
had ever heard him say "my man" with- 
out internal anger. "I think I can relieve 
you. I have seen oases like that before. 
One of you catch hold of him and hold 
him firmly. Now, Corporal, grasp his arm 
there, and pull strongly but steadily in 
this direction." 

Shorty did as ordered, the man yelled, 
but the bone slipped back into its socket, 
to his intense relief. 

"Now, Acting Hospital Steward," said 
the Colonel, with a return of his old man- 
ner, "put bandages annind to hold hia 
shoulder in placi', and keep them wet to 
check the inilammation. Use hot water 
frequently. That is all that can be done." 

One look at the sixth case showed that 
he was past all surgery. The best Sur- 
geon in the army would have been as fee- 
ble before him as young, inexperienced 
Alf. He- had been shot through the breast, 
and was dying from loss of blood that 
could not juid would not be stanched. He 
was a recruit, brave and enthusiastic to 
rashness, who had not heeded Si's injunc- 
tions to keep under cover. 

"ISIy poor boy," said the Colonel, pity- 
ingly, "you are dying." 

The hoy nodded his head in affirmation. 
Then his eyes brightened. "But we stood 
'em off, and saved the boat all the same," 
he whispered. 

"Indeed we did," answered the, Colonel. 
"Men, you must make this man more com- 
fortable. There is entirely too much 
draft and too much mutioii of the boat 
here. Carry him up into the cabin, and 
put him in one of those forward rooms by 



40 



61 KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



the smokestacks, which are warm. Find 
some bedclothes in the other rooms and 
pnt on him. until he has enough to keep 
him comfortably warm." 

"Colonel, he's bleeding so that he'll spoil 
everything," Alf ventured to suggest. 

"Do as I tell you," roared the Colonel. 
"Damn the bedclothes. Suppose he dues 
spoil them. The whole of them are not 
worth one minute of comfort for a man 
dying for his country. Do at once as I 
tell you." 

"Queer how some pork biles," muttered 
Si, in the Wabash vernacular, when the 
Colonel had passed up-stairs, to see that 
his orders were strictly carried out. He 
was followed by Alf, to dress his own 
wound, after this was done. "I never 
dreamed that was in him." 

"The Colonel's a man all the way 
through," said Shorty, with an oath. "Let 
him just put on all the frills he wants to. 
They become him. I like a man to put 
on frills. Just let me hear any snoozer 
cheep a word against him." 

"How much further have we got to go 
before we get out o' these infernal shoals?" 
asked Si, looking apprehensively forward 
to where the river broadened out, and the 
clear water was again broken by rocks, 
towheads and islands. 

"About 10 miles." answered Shad. "And 
the pilot and Jim Bainbridge says that the 
part up there around the mouth of Elk 
Kiver is the worst of all." 

"More cake-walkiug around the capstan, 
I suppose," groaned Shorty, looking at the 
blisters on his large hands from the pre- 
vious hard work with the "spars." "I feel 
that I could give points to a horse in a 
bark-mill." 

"What I'm worried about is wood." said 
Shad Graham. "We are getting down to 
where our last sti-^S is in sight, and there's 
no telling where «-,e'll get any more. The 
pilot says that all the woodyards are on 
the other side, where the population seems 
much more numerous than kind and hos- 
pitable." 

"Might take on a load of that drift-wood 
over there," suggested Jake Dye. 

"Wouldn't make steam in Tophet," said 
Shad contemptuously. "Too water-soaked. 
Takes drift-wood two years to dry out, and 
this gets another soakine: fi-om the floods 
every six months. You could hardly burn 
it in" a blast furnace." 

"Ain't no steam, neither, such as we 
want," added. Si. looking at the v.-oods, "in 
green timbev, even if we had time to stop 
and fell some trees. Green pine'll hiss and 
spit all day, without getting up heat 
enough to boil a tea-kettle. I've tried it 
too often." 

"Well, we've got to do something, and 
that soon," said Shad. "We haven't wood 
enough to run her more than a couple of 
miles farther." 

"Well, if we can't do any better," sug- 
gested Jake Dye, "we can land the boat 
on the other side and burn her, and foot 
♦it across the country to Sherman." 



"I'd hate like smoke to haul down that 
flag before the rebels, after licking 'em so 
far," said Si, "and I'll give 'em one more 
awful big rassle before I'll get my own 
consent to do it." 

"Before we burn her," suggested Shorty, 
"let's burn all her upper works to make 
steam. Mebbe we can get to. somewhere 
where we can find some wood." 

"That would bo like eating soup with a 
knitting-needle."' answered Shad. "Most of 
her planks ain't more'n half-inch, and have 
no more heat in thcni than a shingle. It'd 
be like feeding a blast furnace with brush. 
You couldn't poke it in as fast as it'd burn 
up." 

"There's some purty solid wood around," 
returned Shorty. "Them gang-planks, 
capstan-bars, spar? and beams '11 make a 
hot five. We migbl even burn up the pon- 
toon;;." 

"If there's a wood-pile near on the other 
side," suggested Si, "let's land her theio, 
and take our cliances driving the rebels 
back, while the wood's loaded. I'll take 
the job o' standing 'em off rather'n give up 
the boat." 

"AVell, we've got to make up our minds 
to something in.side the next quarter of an 
hour," answered Shad, after another sur- 
vey of the wood pile. "She's eating up 
wood like pie in this swift current." 

A dugout suddenly shot out from the 
moulh of a little creek on the right or south 
shore. Tlieie Avas a man in it, who was 
paddling hard and skilfully, though hs 
crouched low to avoid the shots sent after 
him from men lurking in the bushes. 

"That's one of our scouts," the pilot 
called down. "He's trying to make the 
boat." 

Everyone ran to that side of the boat 
to see what was happening. The Lorena 
careened, her rudder lost control, and she 
ran her nose, into a sand-bar, at which the 
pilot and many ethers swore savagely. 

"Come, boys," called out Shad Graham, 
starting to unshackle the spar, "pay for 
your uncontroDable curiosity by taking a 
Cakewalk around the capstan." 

"It comes high, but you would have it," 
added Shorty, picking up a capstan bar, 
and putting in the socket. "Evervbody 
with a v,-ill now. Let us see what kind o' 
beef they grow out in Injianny." 

Then began a toilsome strain to pry and 
pull the Lorena over the bar. In the 
meanwhile the man in the canoe, though 
the number of men shooting at him in- 
creased, reached the boat and came 
aboard. Si pulled his canoe up on the 
deck. 

"Let it go," said the scout. "I dnn't 
want it any more. You can set mo ou the 
other side, and that's all I want." 

"Dcn't know about setting you on the 
other side," answered Si grimij-, "till we 
get out of here. "Moreover, it's made of 
Avood, and wood's what we want more'n 
anything else, just now, even if it hain't 
more'n a water-.^osfes^ poplar dugout." 



AT LAST THROUGH MUSCLE SHOALS. 



41 



"Fm j;;-!-i Proston, ono of Sherman's r-o- 
crt't s(.'i \ ii (• nu'i!," ihe scout oxiilaiiiccl ti) 
Shad. ■■Sheiiuau senl me out I'mm Kius':-;- 
tou to kvv.[) track of Hood's main army, 
but, I got tans'led 'ip with them, and 
hayefi't been able to get awisy before. I 
went v.ith Lee's Corps, lieeause I had to. 
many arquniuiaucts in Stewart's and 
Cheatham's Corps, and you know acquaint- 
ance's ari' th(^ most (bingerous thing a spy 
can have. Sd I gof tlirowed clear over 
here, and have liccn waiting a chalice to 
get across the livei-. I've ijeen watching 
your boat all the way from Florence. I 
could see your Hag above the trees, and 'vo 
been waiting for you to come near. Say, 
you ought to pull that flag down. It gives 
your movements away tn the rebels, ami 
they're swarming thicker'n pig tracks in a 
barnyard all 'round here." 

"The flag stays up as long as we do," 
said Shad, decisively, "though I don't kno\y 
as we need to hang it so high as to signal 
the rebels all over northern Alabama." 

"Let her tly just where she is. Shad," 
said Si. "Mebbe if we'd thought about it 
when wo started out we wouldn't 've 
swung it so high, but now that she's ui) 
there let her stay. Don't lower her an 
inch. We'll take whatever comes, and if 
we can't stand it we'll lump it." 

After some further conversation the 
scout said: "Fm awful glad to know 
you've got the pontoon supplies al)oard. I 
happen to know that Sherman's awfully 
anxious to get them, and is in fact waiting 
for them. I know that there's been a 
good deal of telegraphing along the rail- 
road for them. Sherman's Chief Engineer 
was awfully afraid they'd be cut off some- 
where or burned up in some wreck, lie 
sent my partner, Bill lluckle, up over the 
road to hunt them up." 

"Well, we'll get them through if it is in 
the cards." 

"All right," returned the scout. "1 hope 
you will, but it looks now as if the cards 
was stacked against you. Too bad, for 
Sherman needs that pontoon stuff awful- 
ly." 

Si broke off the conversation to help the 
men straining at the capstan bars to get 
the Lorena off the bars. 

"Dumb her, she sticks to that" sandbank 
like a mortgage to an Lidiana farm," 
grumbled Si, in the intervals of yelling to 
the boys to push their best. 

"I believe she has roots that grow down 
into the mud," commenled Shorty, paus- 
ing after a strenuous effort to take in 
about a hogshead full of air, to replace 
what he had violently expended. 

"I believe she's an old hen that wants 
to set," remarked ■Monty, "and thinks that 
a sandbank's her nest." 

There was need of their utmost efforts, 
for not only was her wood rapidly disap- 
liearing, Init \vhile they were tiigging .at 
the spars, they couhl see the i-elicls jiass- 
ing to the islands ahead, and announcing 
their progress to their friends, by shots 
from time to time, at the boat. 



"r:\y. Zckc,' called out a voice from a 
little wn.Mled i:.hni(l that lay dii-ectly ahead. 
"Thars no use d" ^n'nns woi Iving so maut- 
ily ihar. Yo'uns's done l.ol.hed, like A 
lly in niobisses. Y're a pilot, and o.tt'r 
know hit. Y're on the F.lue Water l)ar— 
le t ; :;nd, br.t blue clay, that'll hold yo' like 
ghie." 

"Hello, that thar's Sinoot Jinkius a-hoi- 
lerin'." saiil .Tim Bainbridae. with sudden 
interest. "The whole Shoals crowd seems 
to'\e come home ter roost, jesi hue the 
crows an' wild geese. Smoot's the iiext 
orneriest man ter Hoss Bullock on the 
Shoals. But he's right about the blue 
clay." 

"Of course he's right," answered the pi- 
lot, gloomily. "Didn't I know it all the 
time'.'" 

■".lest let yer men rest," continued j\lr. 
Snioot .linkins. "Fm gittin' riady ter 
take 'em an' yer boat in. Fm loadiu' men 
enough on f1atl)oats back hyah ter eat 
yo'uns up. Ef yo' show tight, we'un.s'll be 
along presently. Just let yer men rest. 
They "uns needn't bother 'bout yer boat 
any more. She's mine. Fll look out fer 
her an' yo'uns, too." 

"I can see them through the brush ei.- 
ing onto the flatboats back there." '•:.- 
claimed .Take Dye. "Let's set fire to toe 
iioat and .iump her. We can get away ia 
these pontoons." 

"'Wait a few minutes," said Si. "I ..e- 
lieve that the hair of the dog's good tor 
his bite. We stove this boat on to this 
mud bar by all running to one side. Let'-: 
gcr her off by running to the other side." 

lie formed the boys all on the starboaid 
side, and at the command they i-ush"d 
tumultously over to the larboard. The ef- 
fect was immediately perceptible. 

"Say. that's the ticket," called down llie 
pilot. "You started her then. Do it 
again." 

They repeated their maneuver tlnee 
times, and could feel the boat loosening 
every time. At their fourth rush her iiot- 
tom let go of the tenacious blue mud, and 
she liegan floating backward, just as ri'Jt) 
or 400 rebels came around the islands in 
flatboats, joboats, rafts, in skiffs and ca- 
noes, and whatever else would float and 
carry them. They yelled fiercely, and tlie 
boys yelled back defiance. Every stick of 
the Lorena's wood had gone into her fur- 
naces, and she had not steam enough left 
to stem the current. 

"Well, wo can at least float as fast as 
they can," said Shad. "Jake, get your 
men up on the cabin deck, and sharpshoo! 
at those fellows in canoes and. skiffs, lo 
keep them from coming too close." 

Si and Shorty attacked with axes Ihe 
gangways and other bits of solid tinibe;.' 
that could be readily spared, and got them 
into shape to put in the furnaces. 

The steam ran up, the Lorena gathered 
headway and started back upstream, to 
the great terror of the rebels. Those in 
skills and canoes made frantic haste to 
paddle out of the way into shallow water, 



42 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



Mlipie she could not re.icli thom. The 
l:irj:est tiatboat was reached and crtished 
ii+fo, most of the men jumping into the 
water to save themselves while the boys 
'liW'd at those in the more distant boats. 

"Don't go any further up. Zeke," 
warned Jim. "Thar's a nest o' them just 



they saw a cabin and a small clearing. The 
cabin was one of the usual log-pens, cov- 
ered Avith split oak and chestnut cl:iv>- 
boards. held in place by poles and stdnes. 
Near it was a smallei- pen, used as a corn- 
el ib, meat-house and 5cneial depository. 
The dealing was suuouuded by a rude 




"SHE BEGAN FLOATING JUST AS 3no OR 400 REBELS CAME AROUND THE 

ISLAND. 



ahead. Turn while yo' got steam, an' 
scoot over ter the t'other side o' that 
island. They can't reach yo' thar." 

Having finished up the heavier timbers 
handy, Si and the rest were engaged in 
tearing off the side planking and shoving 
it under the boilers. But it was light and 
of little heating power, disappearing al- 
most as fust as they could push' it in. Still, 
they continued to make headway, and 
;)resently came around a point upon which 



fence, made of logs, stumps and limbs tak- 
en from the drift-wood. 

"Tiiat's Smoo.t .linkins's place." re- 
mnrkt-d Jim Bainbridge. '"The feller that's 
.Tfrer us so hot and heavy. He hain't been 
livine- in hit, though, scnce he jiucd the 
army.'' 

"There's wood for ub," said Si and 
Shoity in the same breath. "'Land the 
boat. Shad." 

i'uitunately the water was deep enough 



AT LAST THROUGH MUSCLE SHOALS. 



43 



,to lot tho Lorena come squaroly up against 
'lu; liaiik. Jake Dyt". with 10 uu'ii, i-; 

■"■■— ■ ' ^lln lllu WDnds tM rnvcl- tl 



,U-p,n tiL.U) SI 

,,txo rrst in 

dov,-n the 1 






ai!(l iiiitliuildin:;- and cav- 
rH'd- uii' niaioiiais ut \vlin.h it \va.s Ijuilt. 
(he nide tables and ^dOlds which served as 
tia-ru.itnn\- and alsr. ihe fence ai'ennd llie 
iaiden-L)aieii ciearin- n\i to the Imat. As 
they were elearui.L'; the' sjiot uf the last 
i-huuk tlnit 'w(iuld Imrn lliey heard tlu^ 
vuiVe 0)1' Sniuut Jinkin.s fiom the next 
ishind. 

. "'FMre (-;..d. Yanks,. I allers knnwed v,,' 
v,-uy. tln> all-Hrede.st tiiieves tliat ever lived, 
but I neviT dreamed tlnit yc'ims 'd done 
steal a nuin's house an' i;yai'dL'n liylit al'oro 
his own eyes. Don't iei' iiiarcy's sake, 
take away the only home I got ler my oie 
woman anV ehlllen." 

"We'll leave you the ground. You ought 
to be mighty glad o' that, you old buzzard 
of a guerrilla. It's more'n you deserve," 
Shorty shoutt^d l)aek, as tfiev all canic' 
aboard, and the Lorena,, ^vith a full head 
of sic'am, sijotl up the river. 

"Well." rennirked i-li. looking gleefully 
over the line stocic of fuel, "wt' eouklu't 've 
done much better at a I'egular -woodyard! 
It's all g(<od and dry. and elmpping it up 
w\\\ nnike enough exercise 1o gi\e us an 
appetit(> for our rations. JJut ik.isis a 
iiev,- trick in stealing, to carry off a man's 
lioiise and barn, furniture and fcncws at 
one swipe. The war's a gri'at thing. By 
the time it ends I, expect we'll kiiow how 
to just lake a man's (puvrter-section riglit 
from under him, and put it inside our own 
fe)u-es. I wou't let au <,'.d soldier settle 
■within 10 miles of me. I'll have to chain 
u\y aiirde-trees down and rivet my well to 
the Chinese Walk" 

"You needn't look, out for tlu> other fel- 
lers. Si. The other fellcrs'jl have to look 
out for you, from the v\ay you'v*.' devel- 
oped from the innocent Sunday-school 
stdiolar that I first knowed," remarked 
Shorty. 

"Pilot, land on the north side, at the 
first good stopping-place," aaid the scout, 
"ami liut me ashore.'' 

"Why, Jim," said Shad in surprise, 
"conn- right along with us. We're going 
to Chattanooga, and we'll get you there 
oasier'n than any other way." 

"No," answered the scout dreamily. "I 
like a moderate amount of excitement and 
adventure :is well as any other man. But 
1 thiiik I'll lead a calmer life, and have 
more time for nu-ditation, to make my way 
on foot through the rebels to the railroad, 
and then chance the gui'rillas on to Chat- 
tanooga. I lil;e yoti fcllei-s, but you are 
rather tumultuous for sti-iidy comii;iny. 
The rebels up there cm tlie Elk TUvcr 
Shonls are thir-kcr'n liees 'rouml a sugar 
hogshead, and you'll never gi't this boat 
thicuigh in the Almighty's world." 

"So long, Jim. The rebels will have to 
do a better .iob of stopping than they've 
put up yet to get away with us," said Si 



as a good-by when the scout jumped 

ashore. 

A great shout ir,g and yelling greeted 
their ears as they came around the point 
to r.aml)'s k'oii V. They saw the river full 
of men and h-jrsi-s. Some of the men were 
wading and leading their horsc^s, senile were 
■h(:i<ling on lo tle'ir horses' tails, and as the 
animals swam thr<nrgh the deep water 
some were sitting in their saddles as the 
Inu'ses swam across. 

"It's thi' rebel cavalry crossing," said 
Si. "Let's imige right on thi-ough 'em. 
'J'li-y can't do " nothing. They've got 
enuug.L else t(.) 'tend to, now, without shoot- 
ing. ]>on't shoot at the fellers in the 
w-aler, boys, 'that's agin the game laws. 
Shoot at them on the bank." 

The i.ilot whistled a shrill blast of rage 
and thi'eati-ning, and ringing for the en- 
gineer to give her all the steam, he had. 
(lashed through the narrow open space (jf 
the b'erry. The boys on the lioat liangecl 
away rapidly at the rebels (^n either shore, 
and the latter leplied with vastly more 
noise than damage. 

Looking back the boys could see the reb- 
els and their horses struggling with the 
great ^^■aves throv.'n up by the Loreua's 
wheel in the narrow river. 
" Black night was now coming on, with 
every promise of a heavy rain. The boys 
grew apprehensive, ^^^udd they not have 
to slop'.'' How could the ])ilot see to run? 
"We'll go right aht-ad," said the pilot to 
Shad. "I'd rather run in the night than 
in the day. Less danger. Go down aud 
put ()Ut all the lights, and hang blankets, 
up ill front of the furnaces, so the tires 
won't show, and Ave'll take the main chan- 
nel and run right by them, whatever 
they've got. I've been afraid they've bat- 
teries somev.here to rake the main chan- 
nel, but we'll chance that better in the 
dark than in the light. Besides, we've Jim 
Bainbridge, who's got cat's eyes, and can 
see better at night than in the daytime." 

Smoot Jinkin's bedstead, fables, stools, 
clapboards, logs and poles were really 
much better fuel than the Lorena was used 
to having, 'i'hey ^^■el•e all of good timber 
and well seasoned. The.v burned merrily 
under tho lioilers, and made a lively steam 
that sent her forward at a good gait. 

But it was weary going all the same. 
Th(> rain came down in sheets, and the 
darkness was like ink. But the pilot, with 
Jim Bainbridge at his side in the little 
glass eyiie, pushed stolidly forward into 
the impenetrable daikness, holding the 
wheel with a grip of iron at one instant, 
and Avhirling it around with nervous en- 
ergy at another, to meet or avoid some- 
thing which the untrained eyes below them 
could see as little as things that were iu 
the next County. 

But in spite of Jim's cat-like eyes and 
Zeke's skill, the boat would strike bars, 
the spars v.-ould have to be rigged in the 
darkness and the blinding rain, and the 
boys tramp laboriously around the cap- 



44 TT 



SI KLEGG AND SHOETY, 



Stan, until the Lorena was dragged into 
deeper water. 

"Pitch in, boys," Si would say. as cheer- 
ily as he could. "Only five miles more to 
deep water, and we v.-ant to get out of this 
tangle, and past a rebel battery at the 
head of the Shoals before daylight. One 
more pull together may make it. This 
may be the last time." 

But there were a great many "last 
times," and the five miles stretched out as 
never before in Si's memory of weary 
marching. 

The never-discouraged Shorty took oc- 
casion from time to time to remind Jake 
Dye of his promise of a pleasant, easy trip 
v'ith all the comforts of a home. 

They were stimulated constantly by see- 
ing the smoldering campfires of the rebels 
along the south bank, which warned them 
of v,-hat they might expect if daylight 
found them in that neighborhood. 

Finally, just as da^^'n appeared, and it 
seemed that they must all drop from ex- 
haustion, the pilot cheered them with the 
announcement that they had at length 
passed the last island at the head of the 
Elk Kiver Shoals, and were in clear, deep 
water. All they had to fear now was a 
batteiy, which the rebels had established 
on the south bank. 

•"I'm in hopes," said the pilot, who 
looked as weaiy and hollow-eyed as the 
rest, "that that awful rain's drowned 'em 
out. and we can get past before tH'ey're 
awake." 

A shot from a picket on the bank quick- 
ly dispelled this hope, and through the 
watery mist they could see the rebels gath- 
eijug around a red bank in which their 



guns were emplaced. They spashed around 
in the mud and water filling the excava- 
tion for the guns, and seemed to hare dilli- 
culty in getting a piece loaded. The Lo- 
rena sped on, but even her engine seemed 
tired with the long night's seveie strain. 

When the gun was fired a shell whistled 
across a hundred yards in front of the Lo- 
rena. 

"Too high, as well as not a good line- 
shot," said Shad. "They'll have to do lots 
better than that, and mighty quick, too. or 
we'll be out of range. Make 'em poke up 
the fires there, Si. Throw in some, o' that 
pitch pine." 

At the sound of the cannon a low. black 
gunboat shot out from the monlh of a 
creek to the right, where she had been 
lying concealed, and made directly for 
them. 

"Rebel or Yank?" asked Shad nervous- 
ly, seeing that she hoisted no tlag. "If 
rebel, we're goners. If Yank, we're all 
right. Shake out the flag there, and show 
them who we arc. If v.e have to go down 
we'll go v.'ith our colors flying." 

The flag, surcharged with water, was 
hanging against the staff like a rope. 
Shorty ran to the halyards, worked them 
up and down, shook some of the water 
out, and showed the blue field with stars, 
and some of the stripes. A cheer v.-ent up 
from the g-anl;oat. and at the same instant 
her heavy o2-ponnders boomed out. and 
their shells threw up a cloud of mud and 
water in the rebel battery. 

"She was just laying for that battery." 
yelled Si, in choius with the cheers that 
rose from all the wearied boys. 



INCIDENTS 6'J THE Tliir TO CUATTANOOGA. 



45 



CHxlPTEK Vill. 

INCIDENTS OF TliE TKIP TO. CHATTANOOGA. 



Tho cunhont's lioavv o--poiniders spevd 
Hy hi-uii'd iho' li'j;lit Lit'ld i;uii.s wlii.h tlu; 
rebels had in bauCry. 

, ■'■It's 'cauip-kt'ltk'.s against liu cups," le- 
niarkcd !Si, watching tlio shells liretl fvoiu 
tile steady iilaMorm uf the gunboat's deek, 
with sure aim, land directly in the euj- 
lilacenient and send up in the sho\Aer oL' 
uiuU and water fragments (>f ihe gun-cai- 
nuges and limbs of men. '"The letiL-ls aie 
bunng \\ilh gimlets and our lelln\\s with a 
big auger. i guess that dug's cured o' 
bucking aigs." 

'"1 never enjoyed having the rebels throw 
camp-kettles at us," added Shorty, "but it 
seems real funny to see a gunboat doing ii 
to them. Here s your gunboat, lluriah 
lor the gunbuatsi" 

Down from the direction of Decatur canu' 
at fidl speed a small tug with a iTcId pi<< e 
luounled in lier boss. iSlie was coniniandid 
by an airy young Jjieulenant. \vho wa.-. de.-.- 
Ijcrately cagei to lake a hand m the con- 
trovi'isy anil win lavoralile uieiilioii, if not 
a brevet, lie was coriesp(jndlngly disa))- 
pointed.. to hnd the thing over before his 
arrival. lie luuM do Nimielbing, and he 

"Boat, ahoy! \\ ho aie youV" Como to 
at (Mice or 111 blow you out of water." 

The itilot slowed down and Shad an- 
swered: 

"The United States transport Lorcna. 
Bound for Chattanooga." 

■ ihat a United States transport '.'" re- 
turned the Lieutenant scornfully, as he 
suiveyed the \\'ieck of SukjII .linkins' cabiu 
coveiing the decks, and the boat's skt.'leloii 
sicies, in.ini which tlu' sheathing hail lie"u 
torn. "Looks more liki> a cwintry sav.mill 
that's run an'ay with a cross-roads sehool- 
house." 

The boat's crew laughed loudly at their 
commander's wit. 

"You mill-pond sailors, you canal-bcint 
marines," shouted Shorty angrily, "if ymi 
and your little two-for-a-cent brevet gun- 
boat had been through one-tenth nait what 
we have, you'd 'a' been dead — that's all." 

"Stop your engines and come to, there,'' 
repeated the Lieutenant, "or I'll sink you." 

"AYhat! With that condemned old hrass 
shot.sjun," Si contemptuously inquired, al- 
luding to the six-pounder in the liow. 
"You couldn't wake us if we was asleei) 
•with that old smoothbore. You couldn't 
knock a hen off her nest." 

"We can't stop our engines," answered 
Shad. "The current's too swift. We'll go 
onto a bar." 

The mere mention of a bar made all the 



sore li.ir.ded. aching, strained boys groan 

■ •■c'liuic, no siibterfuges with me," shout- 
ed till- laicnte.ar.t, who was determined 
that the Ijtneiia should be his prize, if he 
'ci/iild make it so. "I'm not to be trifled 
with. Stop your engines at once, or I'll 
hie into you." 

"Lull over the whippersnapper, Shad," 
said ,Si, irritably, "and lets get somewUere 
whfie wv can rest before we drop in our 
tracks." . . 

I'.iil the pilot, much more in awe of guu- 
boai olluers. had already Stopped the en- 
gines and the Lorena began to drift back- 
ward. 

"•J'leep your men below there, sir," com- 
mandi'd the Lieutenant, approaching cau- 
tiously, with a man Indding taut the lan- 
yard 'of his gun, iiNuly to tire at the in- 
slaiit. "l\ee!> your men below till i look 
ymi o\er. \\ ho are you, sir, and A\!iere did 
Aou cimie Irom".''" 

"I'm Acting Lieutenant Graham" 

"Acting Lieutenant." repeated the Lieu- 
teiiani, scornfully. "Anybody can be an 
A(iiiig Lieutenant. Where did you come 
from'.''" 

"\\'e came up through the Shoals. Have 
had a terrilde time." 

"<;anic up through the Shoals? That's 
ridicuhuis on the face of it. No boat can 
get Ihrongh the Shoals. They're full of 
rebels. Hood's whole army is crossing 
down there." 

"So we found out," said Shad quietly. 

"Your stoiy don't go at all, sir. It's 
false on the very face of it. You are 
rebels, who have stolen that boat and try- 
ing to nnHse a sneak on us. Everything 
about you shows it. Haul down that Hag 
at once, sir, or I'll put a shot through you." 

"You i-aii just liaii.g away," returned 
Shad, deii.-intly. "Thai's our Hag and we 
don't haul it down for any liody." 

"Iveep y(Uir men down there, I tell you, 
sfr," shor.ted the Lieutenant, as the boys, 
stirred up by the colloquoy, began swarm- 
ing l'(jr\-\-ard, guns in hand. 

"Say, stop yuur dumbed foolishness," 
pleaded Si, anxiously, "and let us go ahead. 
We'll lie l:ark on that bar in a minute, and 
then have to work till our eyeballs pop to 
get off. If you had half sense you could 
SCO that v>-e're Union." 

"I order you once more to haul down 
that flag," said the Lieutenant, looking 
meaningly at the man with the lanyard. "I 
shall not sjieak again." 

The noisy ((uiversatlon had awakened 
the Colonel, who came ont ou deck with his 



4ff 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTT* 



cont thrown on over his wounrlod nrm. Ho 
looked around, took in tho situation, and 
noted the young Lieutenant and his 
threatening cannon. IIo immediately 
swelled to the full dimensions of a Colonel 
of Engineers. 

"Who is this person. Lieutenant?" he 
inquired of Shad, with a contemptuous flip 
of his thumb toward the Lieutenant, his 
petty gunboat, and his shining six-pounder. 
"And what business is he trying to trans- 
act with you?" 

"He is a Lieutenant of tho Navy. sir. 
and he's halted us, and will not allow us lo 
po ahead, and we are afraid, sir. of drift- 
ing onto a bar. He seems to think we are 
rebels," answered Shad, respectfully 
Baluting. 

"The devil he does," roared the Colonel. 
"That's just about as much sense as they 
are putting into the heads of the whipsters 
they're graduating from West Point and 
Annapolis now-;i-days. All the brains they 
have run to dancing and .") o'clock teas. Go 
ahead, sir. Pay no attention 1o him. 
■^'hen I want this boat slopped, I'll give 
you orders, sir." 

Then to the Lieutenant: 

"Look here, young man, I don't know 
TFho you are," 

"I'm Lieutenant Wil" began the of- 
ficer, with great dignity, but still a little 
awed. 

"I don't care what your confounded 
name is," broke in the Colonel, getting 
fiercer with every word. It had been a 
long time since he had skinned anybody 
and much acrimony had accumulated. "It's 
perfectly indifferent to me. sir. whether 
you'ie named Smith, or .Jones, or Krown. 
1 only know that you are a confounded, im- 
pudent, impertinent, interfering roxscomb. 
sir. I am Colonel Bonesteel. sir. of tlio 
TJuited States Engineers, in command of 
this transport and of this expedition, sir; 
yes. sir. this expedition." 

The Colonel swelled up still bigger at th>^ 
discovery of this important designation tor 
his command. 

"My name is much more important to 
you. sir, than yours is to nie. as yon v.-ill 
find, to your sorrow, sir. What do you 
mean. sir. by the unspeakable impudcnr^ 
of stopping my boat on the broad river?" 

"I thought. Colonel" the Lieutenant 

began. 

"Yon thought, did yon?" roared ih^ 
Colonel. "You mean yon thought von 
thought. You thought, did you?" Wli*it 
the devil have you got to think with. I'd 
like to know? Get out of my way with 
that cockle shell, or I'll run over you and 
save the Government the exnense of long--»r 
supporting such a blockhead. The idea --"f 
you, sir, a paltry little Lieutenant, the' 
latest hatching from an incubator of snobs 
and fops, a pin-feather gosling from 
INIother Goose's nursery on the Chesa- 
peake, a little webfoot that's scarcely got- 
ten away from his blackboard and "his 
copybooks, should have the unparalle',t--d 
impudence, the audacious effrontery, the 



reckless audacity, to get in the way of a 
regular exnedition, on a United States 
tran.sport, led by a Colonel of Engineers, 
commanding veieran troojis, victors iii a; 
score of haVd-fought battles, such us you 
never dreamed of — all these to be stopped 
by a callow, verdant, half-baked. !.>eard- 
less, unlicked, shallow, inexperienced, pre- 
sumptuous, impertinent, self-conceited, 
oveiweeningly impudent cub, who" 

But the Lieutenant waited to hear no 
more. He ordered his boat about and 
darted out of range. 

"Come back, confound you," shouted Iho 
Colonel. "I've got something more to say 
to you." 

"Great Jehosephat!" murmarcd Shorty, 
admiringly. "I'd like to go to West I'oint, 
just to learn how to cuss. And apparently 
the Colonel wasn't half through." 

"The Colonel's wound will feel better 
now. since he's got that out of his sys- 
tem," remarked Shad. 

"'Sly men," said the Colonel, coming up 
to Shad presently, and speaking in a tone 
of tho utmost sympathy and consideration, 
"must be completely worn out oy tlieir 
frightful exertions. They're positively the 
noblest men alive. They surprised me 
every minute. I never saw men act so be- 
fore." 

"That's because ho haint been with the 
200th Injiauny Volunteers," remarked Si 
to Shorty. 

"What can I do for them, to show my 
appreciation?" continued the Colonel. 

"Better tell them so, sir. Make a little 
speech to them. That's all they want. 
They don't care for anything else." 

"That would be quite irregular. Very 
volunteer-liko. No licgular ollicer ever 
makes stump speeches to his men.' 

"As you think host. Colonel." said Shad 
deferentially. "But as you have discov- 
ered, volunteer soldiers are quite uiifeient 
from Regulars, .1 think that you can get 
m.urh more out of them than you can U"Ui 
rtegulars, and you have to handle them 
diffe;ent." 

"Lieutenant. I believe yon are right. I 
never v.-ould have (lre•;nl^•|■I it before this 
trip. They are Cf.rtainl^ I'iirerenl from the 
men we've been gciting in the iCfgclar 
Army. Tiiej- sceni to be made of iron iiud 
have hearts of oak. I thiijl-: I shmild be 
justified in doing what yop suggest." 

"You certainly would. Colonel." 

"The idea," said the Colo!i'-1. hesitating 
a little. " of an officer of my rank making a 
ftump sp.^ecu to his men, jrr.t like < ne of 
the.^e political fellows. Why. CJeneral 
Grant or General Thomas never" 

"General Sherman, Colonel." interposed 
Shad, "likes nothing better than to get a 
crowd of his men around and give them a 
good talk." 

"Very well, then, assemble the men 
about the caostan there, and I'll speak to 
them briefly." 

It vras a woftilly tired. v,-orked-out lot of 
boys that gathered forward about the cap- 
stan. The moment that they felt that 



S§IISM:Nra'by''i'jaE 'rtiiv to ciiattano.ga. 



47 




"YOU CAN BVY ANOTHER ITOUSE SOM!:\VHEi;i'V^ S.MD SI. 



thoy had gained a position of oomoavative 
saf'otv, tiiey realized how tonibly ex- 
hanstino; their strn-tilcs had nreu and Uicy 
coidd sea re el V dia.: on-:, foot al'ter an- 
other, and thev h..d.:ed all that tle,<y felt 



thusiastic andioiicc, Culoncl." Sh- 
tnied to sn.u-.-'est. "; I lu\. u- -"' i .-, 

c-aii'd!.'a:^ii'.nu a;;"lip'is'aliv(*."' 

•'{'.loL- ;'e!lMv;s, I dnii"! v/oi'drr," :- 



I'm afraid' yuu won't have u very ea- Cuioucl, inuuutiui:,- thu eapytan, ■•:.l-- 



48 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



want to fxpiess the highest thanks of my- 
self, and the Engineer Corps, and the- W<:r 
Department, which I represent, for the 
splendid manner in which you have con- 
ducted yourselves through the trying or- 
deal." 

"Hooray! Hooray for the Colonel I" said 
the boys, trying to force their weary 
voices into a cheer. 

•'You have done splendidly, from first to 
last. No men could have done better. I 
doubt if any others could have done as 
well. I am going to embody it all in my 
report to the War Department. I cm 
going to urgently recommend Graham, 
Klegg, Dye and Elliott for commis- 
sions" 

"Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Tiger!" 
shouted tlie boys with far more animation 
than before. "Bully for you. That's the 
ticket. They deserve it." 

"And as for the rest of you," continued 
the Colonel, "fortunately I have the author- 
ity to show my appreciation of your serv- 
ices in a substantial way. I think you 
have done enough to entitle you to a long 
rest. As soon as we arrive at Chatta- 
nooga, I am going to secure furloughs lor 
all of you." 

The Colonel expected that this would 
arouse the wild enthusiasm of his hearers. 
But. to his amazement, they shouted back: 

"We don't want no furloughs. We want 
to get to Sherman. That's what we've 
been tryin' to do all the time." 

"I declare, I can't understand such 
men," said the Colonel, as, after a few 
more compliments, he descended from the 
capstan and retired to his room, follov.'od 
by Shad. "I think it is the first time in 
the military history of the world that sol- 
diers have refused furloughs, and especial- 
ly men in the condition of these." 

They only stopped long enough at Deca- 
tur to have a surgeon attend to the wounds 
of the Colonel and the others, bury their 
dend comrade in the soldiers' cemetery, 
and take on a new pilot, more famili-ir 
with the Upper Tennessee, and who would 
relieve from constant duty the one who 
had brought them thus far. The Surgeon 
urged the Colonel and the other v.-ounded 
to go ashore and remain in the hospital. 
The boys absolutely refused to leave the 
boat or go to the hospital, and the Colonel 
pnt on his high horse at once at the 
thought of deserting his "expedition," no 
matter how much his wound needed atten- 
tion. 

"Thank heavens, you have the pontoons." 
Raid an Aide, with whom Shad talked. 
"Sherman's been stewing around about 
them for about a month now. Y'ou know- 
how the Old Man is. He'll get a thing in 
his head and never stop fussing until he 
accomjjlishes it. I really believe that he's 
been thinking more about those oontoons 
than about Hood's Army, and he'll Uv'^ver 
be hflppy until he gets them. That's his 
way." 

"Pontoons are mighty necessary things." 
remarked Shad, who did not propose to be 
undervalued. 



"O, yes; but armies have got alon^, 
pretty well without them," returned the 
Aide, much to Shad's displeasui-e. 

"Are you going to leave us here, Mr. 
Bainbridge?" Shad inquired. 

"O, I hardly reckon not," drawled Jim, 
reflectively. "Home haiut so durned at- 
tractive as hit war afore I drapt Ole Hoss 
Bullock. He's got a powei-ful sight o' kin 
that never did hanker arter me, an' now 
they 'uns '11 be layin' awake nights. ter git 
the drap on me. Besides, my ole woman's 
probably run away agin with Sim Booze, 
who belongs ter the same rijimint with 
Hoss Bullock. He's an ole spark o' her'n, 
and she runs away with him ever;>- chance 
she gits. Wuss'n all, I'm sho' ihe ruck- 
shon that's bin kicked up down that-a-way 
has etarnally spiled the perch fishin' ter 
this .season. I wuz moutily afeared hit 
would the minnit I knowed Hood's Array 
wuz comin'. Yer grub's as good a.'S rry I 
ever had, an' I done reckon I'll go on with 
you'ns up as fur as the Sequatchie, whar 
the fishin' haint bin spiled. Thar's allers 
good fishin' this time o' year in the Se- 
quatchie. I've a own cousin up thar that 
I calkerlate ter swap some o' this hyah 
coffee ter fer the best coon dog in the Cum- 
berland Mountains. I'll have no eend o' 
fun hunting coons with him arter perch 
quit bitin'." 

"Glad to have you along with us," an- 
swered Si. "Better enlist regularly." 

""What, an' git drug away tram the 
Tennessee, River? Nary. Wouldn't go ten 
mile from the Tennessee fer ary army ou 
the everlastin' airth. Nary, sir."' 

About 50 miles from Decatur, after they 
had left the last sign of. the rebels invest- 
ing the town far behind" they saw on the 
south bank a tall slip of a girl actively 
hailing them with her sunbonuet. Beside 
her stood another younger girl, and behind 
them, on a chunk, beneath a spreading 
sycamore, sat a gaunt, tall woman, witli 
s.kin the color of corn fodder. A limp sun- 
bonnet, minus its pasteboaid slats, hun:.-' on 
the back of her wisp of knotted yellow 
hair, and she had a gourd of snufi: in her 
hand, into which she poked a chev.-ed stick 
and then rubbed it on her teeth. All tliree 
were attired in.linsey gowns, cut almost as 
skimp and straight as pantajoons legs. 
None had a stitch on her to spare. Around 
them yelped several mongrel curs, with 
ribs showing like the front of a washljoai d. 

"Hello! there. What do you want'.''" 
called the pilot, as the boat came within a 
few yards of the bank. 

"We'tms want you'ns ter take we'u!)s 
ter Chattynoogy," called out the mother of 
the girls. "We'uns is obleeged ter go thai-. 
We'nns '11 starve if we'uns don't. We"iuis 
haint had nothing ter eat fer two days, an' 
look at them dogs. We'uns 've bin Wi^itin' 
hyah two hull days fer a boat ter take 
we'uns ter Chattynoogy. Two hull days. 
Look at them dogs." 

"We can give you something to eat,'* 
said Si, "without taking you to Chatty- 
noogy, if that's all you want." 

"Ko; but you'ns must take we'uns ter 



IXCIDEXTS OF THE TRIP TO CHATTA:^rot;GA. 



*9 



Chnttynoogry, too. We'uiiB must haro some 
placi? tor stay N\-liai- ^\■l''ulls km git souu'- 
thiilg tPi- eat legMer, an' something J:er the 
dogt^. Jirtt look at tlu'in di.'-.^. The Yasiks 
is gi'niu' out rations in C"hattyu'»ogy, an' 
thar's whar wc'uns must go. We"uns 've 
bill stayiii' with our kiiifolks up on Mul- 
berry P^ork. but the Contederits come 
along like seven-year locusts, an' nacherul- 
ly et they'uiis out o' h(nu:e an' homo, an' 
jeft iiofhin' ter nobodj, nor the dogs. Jist 
look at them dogs." 

'•Confound the dogs. Let 'em starre. 
<vOuntry'd be a mighty sight better off if 
sevelal miliions of 'em were dead. We'll 
give you victuals for yourselves, but none 
for thein wiorthles.s hounds." 

"But yo'uns must shore take we'uns ter 
Chattynoogy," wailed the elder woman. 
"We'uns haint nowhar else on airth ter 
go ter keep from starving. 'Deed we'uns 
haint. We'uns got kinfolks in Chatty- 
noogy that'll take keer o' we'uns. We'uns 
've bin sleepin' under this sycamore two 
nights now. We'uns an' the dogs. 

"Chattanooga's a bad place tor them to 
go," said Shad, "but it's tm-Christian to 
leave them there to starve under that tree. 
The.v can't be Avorso off anywhere else." 
Come aboard, madam, and biing j'our girls, 
but leave your dogs." 

"O, no: we'uns can't do without our 
dogs," said the woman, obeying with alac- 
rity. "Nary a time. How on airth -NAould 
we git along?" 

Time was too valuable for discussicm. 
The dogs were all aboard sooner than the 
women were. 

The women were taken back to the 
kitchen and given a supply of food, which 
they devoured ravenously. They would 
greedily munch out a few enormous mottth- 
fuls from a piece of bread or meat, and 
then thrown the remainder to the famished 
dogs, which snapped and snarled and 
fought for the bits. And there seemed no 
limit to the coffee the women drank. 

"I've heard of people being holler clear 
to their toes,'' remarked Si. "I've felt that 
way myself. But I can't for the life of me 
make out where that old woman and girls 
are stowing all the grub they're laying in. 
They've already et more'n you could put in 
a two-bushel hag. and you could pull a 
two-bushel bag over any two of them to- 
gether, and almost have room for the 
other." 

There came an abatement of their appe- 
tites at last, however, and the gii-1 v.dio 
had done the hailing walked forward.- with 
a tin cup of coffee in one hand and bread 
and meat in the other, to take a buivey of 
the boat ar.d the passing shores. 

"O. mam," she shouted. Ti.jok hero. 
Ileie's the fr.nnicst be.-ird. Hit's jist like 
the door on our horse dov.-n tliar ,>n the 
Shoals, -whar we lived afo' the wah. An' 
laws-a-massy, if thar haiut a stool list likt^ 
Betsy's." 

Si and Shorty exchanged looks o£ cou- 
steruatiou. 



"Land's sake," echoed the motux.. coin- 
ing forward and surveying the remainder 
of the wreck of Smoot Jinkins's cabin. 
strewed around upon the deck. "If thar 
haint our house, or hits ghost. Thar's tiie 
very logs, with the mark on one (/ ^ev 
father's head, whar he used ter lean back 
as he sot afo' the tire an' smoked, an' 
played the hddle, an' gassed an' lied ter iha 
neighbors. An' sakes alive, rhar's my oh^ 
bread bowl an' wooden spoon. Whar iu 
the world did you'ns come across 'em :" 

"Howdy, JNIis' Jinkins," drawled Jim 
Bainbridge, who had in the meantime 
waked up and was shufHing back toward 
the kitchen for a fresh supply of food. 
"Howdy, Nance? Howdy, Bets? How's 
Smoot.'" 

"Great Scott! what Lave we done; 
Shorty?" gasped Si. "Taken those 
women's house and home?" 

"O, well; they haiut been living in it for 
a long time, according to their own story," 
answered bhorty. "We aint responsible 
for their camping out under a tree. Their 
own people turned 'em out to shift for 
themselves." 

"But what can we do? We ought to do 
something for them." 

"I'll tell what let's do. I-et's take uy a 
collection for 'em. 1 li chip iu $10." 

"I'll put in another. 

"Well, for ,$20 they can buy another 
house euoLigh sight l^e-tter than thsir'.*. 
Twenty ",>i*llars ought to buy a wuoi« t..'t- 
tlement of such shacks." 

Most of the other boys contributed a lit- 
tle to the fund, making quite a little wad 
of greenbacks, which Si took up to Mrs. 
Smoot Jinkins and presented to her, say- 
ing: 

"Madam, the necessities of war cona- 
pelled us to take j^our house for wood for 
the boat. We're awfully sorry, but it had 
to be done, and we've taken up a collection 
with which you can buy another house 
somewhere that'll be just as good. Here's 
the money." 

The woman's faded blue eyes lighteueJ 
up as she gazed on the pile of bills iu her 
lap, and she exclaimd: 

"Land's sake, what a heap o' money! 
Yankee money, too! Didn't know thar wuz 
so much in the world afo'. Never seed but, 
two bills afo', an' them the man sot as' 
much store by as his eyes. And all fep 
that o!e cabin. 'Twas jist alive with 
chinches, anyhow." 

Si and Shorty nervously felt in their 
clothes. 

"Never seed sich a house for chinches. 
Jist alive with 'em. Think them dod-gast- 
ed pigeons useter bring 'em. Tell yer 
what, gals, jist as soon's we git ter Chatty- 
noogj', we'll buy each one of us one o' 
them jinuwine Yankee hoopskirts that 
we'uns 've bin wantiu' so long. ]My, won't 
we'uns make some o' the other women feel 
sick? I reckon not! An' we'uns '11 buy a 
slieexj fer the do^a ter oat." 



50 



^ W£(^(?%si^^o^fti ^^^ 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE BOYS START. FOR ATLANTA. 



TThcn the Lorena hiid passed Brkltro- 
poit, Ala., and was-' upiu'oaching -the 
mouth of the Sequatchie, Jim Rainbrid;,'e 
unfurled himself from arouiul the smoke- 
stack, and began to make prepaiatious 
for going ashore. 

"Awful sorry to have you leave us, 
]Mr. Bainbridge," said Shad, bringing up 
to him a sack containing twice as much 
_ coffee as the pilot had promised. "You 
' have been the greatest possible help to 
us. In fact, I do not see how we should 
have ever got through without you." 

"That's so," echoed Si, heartily. "We 
never could've brung the boat through 
without your help. Y'ou were like the 10 
fingers — always on hand when Avanted." 

"Come along Avith us, Jim," urged 
Shorty. "Sherman '11 reward you by a 
breA'et of some kind — brevet Admiral of 
the army's fleet of prairie sclionners, or 
brevet Commodore of the Fmirteenlh 
Corps' ammunition squadron. You don't 
know what fun it is to manuver a fleet 
of prairie schooners in a six-mule breeze. 
Beats st.eamboatiug all holler. Don't have 
to cut wood nor heave on the capstan. 
All you've got to do is to ride around and 
custi. The infantry and the mules, mainly 
the infantry, do all the rest." 

"I'd like poAverful well ter go along 
with yer," drawled Jim; "fer a likelier 
passel o' gcuitlemen I never seed. Y^o'ns is 
all perfect gentlemen. Thar haint a 
stuck-up one among you all; yo'uus don't 
take no sass from nobody, an' a sprier 
crowd Avith their Avepuns don't breathe. 
Ef yo'uns wuz gAvine ter run up an' down 
the Tennessee I'd stay Avith yo'uns till the 
last dog Avas hung. If yo'uns want ter 
turn 'round an' go right back through the 
Shoals I'll go Avith yo'uns, an' gladly." 

"Thanks, awfully," interjected Shorty. 
"But no more of it in mine. I'm giddy 
yet from bark-mill-horsing around that 
capstan. I Avent round it enough to've 
wound up the Avar." 

"But I Avon't go 10 mile from the Ten- 
nessee, on no airthly account," continued 
Bainbridge. "I avuz born on hit, I've done 
lived on hit all my life, an' I'll die on hit 
Avhen my time comes. But I 'loAV ter have 
a heap o' flshin' an' coon-huntiu' afore 
then. I've already done had more fun at 
that than ary other man in the country, 
an' I aint more'n half through. I reckon 
I'll hang up 'round the Sequatchie till ar- 
ter Chrissmus at least. Thar Avon't be 
nothin' fur me down at the Shoals. Ilo.od's 
ai'my has skeered aAvay all the iish, an' 
done «£ up everything that yoes ou four 



legs. ]Much oMcegcd ter yo', gents, fer 
all this grub yo've give me. llit'll last 
me a long while, mebbe till I see yo'uns 
agin. If yo'uns ever come my Avay agin, 
give mo a call. So long, gents." 

lie l.-il'oii'd ashi^i'e undei- all (lie rations 
he could possihly cari-y. It v,-::s not until 
the boat Avas sAvinging out again that 
Mrs. Jinkins suddenly discovered that in 
some mysterious Avay ho had taken one 
of her dogs Avith him, and she set up a 
shriek of ange:- and dismay. 

"Hi. yo' A\iilliless runnygade, Jim Bain- 
bridge," she yelled, as soon as the could 
free her moiUJi iiom the snuff-stick, 
"Avhat air yo' tnlin' off my best coon-dog 
fur? Y'o' po', ornery, loAv-doAvn, Avhite 
nigger trash: Avoiild yo' steal a lady's 
boss-dog, right afore her oavu eves? Bring 
that thar hound right back hvah, this 
very minnit. or I'll done tell Smoot on 
yo', an' he'll make yer heels break yore 
varmint neck Avhen he ki'tches yo'. Bring 
him back hyah, I done tell yo'; if yo' 
knoAV Avhat's good fer yo'." 

But Jim humped his bag of provisions 
further up on his shoulders, and Avaliced 
stolidly on, Avith the dog folloAving close 
behind. 

"Make him bring that ere dog back, 
Mister Captain," she sternly demanded of 
Si. "Shoot him if he don't." 

"Scarcely," remarked Si. "Let him 
take all the dogs he Avants. Wish he'd 
taken the rest." 

"Well, then, I'll shoot him," she said, 
furiously, snatching up a musket. Evi- 
dently she Avas no stranger to guns, and 
handled it in a Avay that boded trouble 
for Bainbridge, had not Shorty Avrested it 
from her grasp. 

"O, what'll Smoot say AA'hen he comes 
home from the Avar?" she Availed. "His 
heart'll be done broke, and he'll just skin 
me aliA'e fer not takin' better keer o' that 
thar hound. I didn't mind hit so much 
when Sal run off Avith a teamster, an' 
Lize Avith a lioss-doctor. He couldn't 
blame ine for that, fer gals is as sho' ter 
sheet out as bees is ter SAvarm, an' he 
didn't think so much on them, nohoAv. 
They loaned ter be peart, an' sassy, an' 
no 'count jinerully, arter they groAved up. 
But I orter tuck good keer o' the dog. no 
matter what happened. The country's 
full o' gals like Sal an' Lize, but thar 
haint another sich a dog fer coons as 
Punk on tlie hull Tennessee RiA'or. 'Deed 
thar haint. The last Avords Smoot said 
ter me Avhen he Avent aAvay avuz that if 
I vallered my life ter take keer o' I'unk 



THE BOYS START FOR ATLA.NTA. 



51 



vrhWc he was cff fontin' fer our liberties. 
Y\\» nir.st lose our liberties, but if I lost 
Pnuk he'd sho'iy bust my head wlisn he 
gnt !i;iek. Au' now Puuk'i^ gone, arter 
al my worritin over him. Yo' must put 
me ri'.^ht ashoie till I toller up Jim Baia- 
bridge, au' git Punk back. Put me right 
ashore." 

"Nonsense," said Si. "We haint no 
time to fool around lauding. "We're in a 
hurry to get to Chattynocgy and Sherman. 
The army's waiting tor us. We wouldn't 
stop for all the dogs in the kingdom, and 
especially for as mangy a lick-skillet as 
that one." 

"If yo' don't stop the boat an' put me 
off this livin' minnit," said Mi's. Jiukins, 
"I'll done throw a fit, an' make yo' wish 
yo' had." 

"Throw a fit or a misiit," said Si, irri- 
tably. "Throve anything you dumbed 
please, except throw away our time. This 
boat simply can't stop till we get to Chat- 
tynoogy. That's all there is of it." 

Shorty looker] appreh*^nsive. He remem- 
bered his experience with the woman on 
the banks of Elk Fiivcr, not far away as 
the crow Cies. 

The woman's eyes suddenly seemed 
starting from her head: she began to froth 
at the month, and her iimbs to twitch and 
contoit. rre.:enlly she fell to the dock in 
appaio!;t moital agony, with her daugh- 
ters screaming. Si ran for Alf Russel, but 
that c;;llu\v- medic's art, which reveled in 
guusuor wownxls ar.d manly maladies, 
swooned at tljv ;':!o.ighc of anything so 
awfi'.'ly myst'Tiojis ;is a woman, and" one 
in <0!i-, ;i!s!ons. Alf lurned so pale at the 
sight that they luongJ-t he was going to 
faint, and Si huriivd him away again. 

All was wild commiition on the deck — 
incomparnb'.y more excitement tinni had 
been (iciT,sii>r:iil liy ;ill their previous ex- 
citing ex; erii i::^'s. The girls shrieked 
and w;r;i!Hl, In- dogs hov,-led. Pete aiul 
Sandy baiM into uncuutrollable tears, and 
some of the young recruits acted as if 
they would jump off the boat. Those who 
were not too inve-struck to speak offered 
all manner of snggeotions based on what 
they had seen their mothers do to women 
suffering from ar;yrhi!:v: from tight stays 
and hystciics to dr<.;..-y, l.ut no one had 
the cour;!ge to go near ?.Irs. Smoot Jin- 
kins or carry any of the propositions into 
practice. The spectacle of a writhing, 
foaming woman was utterly unnerving to 
those young. ir:exper!enced micn. 

"Seems to me its largely nervous," said 
Shad, perplexedly, consulting with Si, 
Shorty and Jake Dye. "But that does not 
help cut. Her last conscious words, if I 
remember, were a desire to be put 
ashore." 

"Yes," said Si. "and because we would 
n't stop brung the spasm.s on her." 

"And my idea is," added Shorty, "that 
the sooner ViO stop the boat and put her 
af-;hore the sooner she'll come to." 

"Why, it'd be barbarous to put her out 



there on the bare banks, in her present 
condition," gasped Shad. 

"Don't know about that," said Shorty. 
"It's true it looks tough. But she's used 
to the open air. Been roosting around a 
tree when we took 'em aboard. Mebbe 
the air here's too close for her." 

"About as close as it is in a saw-mill," 
suggested Si. looking at the stripped tim- 
bers of the Lorena. 

"Even a saw-mil! may be too close for 
a woman that's been used to nothing more 
confining than county lines. Then, there's 
the smell o' the engine, and the motion o' 
the boat. Anyhow, if she stays aboard 
we'll ail go craz3'." 

"Well, we must do something. I'm 
afraid the boat will sink, next thing, from 
the way things are going," coucluded 
Shad. "Our business is to hurry on to 
Chattanoogy — sick woman or no sick 
woman. We've got to get rid of her, any 
way we can. Bring out three or four 
blankets to carry her ashore in, and lay 
over her. Jake, get up a lot of rations 
to leave with them." 

The blankets were brought, and the 
pilot instructed to make a landing. But 
nobody could be gotten to pick ^[rs. Jin- 
kins up and lay her on the blankets. Shad 
appealed to three or four of the older re- 
married men, to come forward and do this, 
but the moment they saw his glance 
turned tov.-ard them they bolted for hid- 
den parts of the boat. 

"Well, Si, it's you and I for it," said 
Shnd. dcs-^eiately. "Take hold of her feet 
while I lift her shoulders, and we'll lay 
her on."' 

Si summoned all his determination, took 
hold of her worn calfskin shoos, as if he 
was expecting an electric shock, and Shad 
lifted her shoulders with equal gingerly 
timidity. They placed her on the blanket, 
ii! which they and Jake and Shorty car- 
ried her up the bank, and laid her on a 
thick drift of leaves under the shelter of 
a beech tree, and put a liberal supply of 
rations beside her. They ran back to the 
boat, which was sheering off with the cur- 
rent, but saw over their shoulders that 
the alarming convulsions at once disai>- 
peared, the woman stood up and began ex- 
amining the rations and the blankets. 

"All this row over a worthless cur 
that's net fit to even make into soap- 
grease," murmured Shad, wearily, as the 
Lorena was driven ahead faster, to make 
up for lost time. 

"Hi, you Yankee scamps, gi' me back 
my dogs. Yo'uns mustn't steal my dogs, 
yo' villains," came in an angry woman's 
shrill scream from the bank. "Stop that 
tiiar boat, an' gi' me back my dogs, yo' 
onhung rascals." 

Looking back Si saw the woman and 
her daughters running along the bauk to- 
v/ard the point ahead, shaking their fists, 
and yelling at the top of their voices. 

"T\Tiat on earth's happened nov,V" in- 
quired Si. 



8<J 
52 



^T'^IAJTA SOi Til ATS aYOfi iST 
SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



A nisliin,? column of savape oaths, 
sounds of whacking blows, and yelps and 
howls ascended from the direction of the 
kitchen. 

"Them blasted dogs," explained Shorty, 
coming up, "noticed that everybody -vyas 
drawed out o' the kitchen by that woman's 
conniptions, and they rushed in there and 
began tilling themselves. Nobody thought 
.o' them Avhcn we wuz putting the old 
'woman ashore, and they wuz lelt behind. 
They've already et about as much as'd 
£11 a mule-wagon." 

"Stop that thar boat, I tell yo', au' give 
me back my dogs. You've got my rabbit 
dogs. What'll we do fer mea.tV' screameU 
the woman on shore. "Stop the boat ter- 
"wunst, if yo' know what's good fer yo'- 
uns." 

"Let's go down and chuck the beasts 
overboard," said Si. "They can swim like 
l>eavers. If they can't, let 'em drown, 
and a good riddance it'll be." 

But the dogs seemed to have scented 
danger as quickly as food; they had be- 
taken themselves to dark lurking places, 
end not one could be found. 

"Jake, I suppose au. old woman with 
the high-strikes is one of the comforts of 
a home you promised us," Shorty re- 
marked sardonically. 

It had become quite dark by the time 
they came under the giant shadow of 
Lookout Mountaiu, but they were in high 
bojies of getting to Chattanooga that 
night. But they struck the terrific "Suck," 
where the waters of the Tennessee rush 
Ihrough the narrow gateway cut in the 
granite, and after struggling wearisomely 
with the maelstrom for a little while Shad 
Baid, resignedly: 

"It's no use. We're too tired. It aint 
In us to work as we did when the rebels 
were all around us. P'lesh and blood have 
had all they could stand. We'll lay by 
tonight and take a start at daylight. 
That'll bring us in quite as soon as they're 
ready for us." 

The ilrst good night's rest they had had 
for many days gave them fresh energy 
to battle with the swirling waters, and 
when the boat's engines, and all the as- 
sistance they could give with poles, were 
baffled, they .lumped ashore, and with a 
will worked the great windlass which had 
been prepared for such emergencies. The 
Lorena was dragged by main strength 
llii'ough the i-esistless rush of water. 

By the time the bright November sun 
was fairly above the high wall of Mis- 
sionary Ridge their long trip was over, 
and Monty and Harry, standing waiting, 
fore and aft, with the great cable ]ooi)s 
over their shoulders, gladly executed the 
order: 

"Take those lines ashore and make 
fast." 

They were at the lower wharf of Chat- 
tanooga. 

Shad went to the Colonel's room to 



awaken him, infoi'm- bim of. .th£ _en.c^.. of 
the journey, and' receive 1sustpgtion5^-| as 
to securing a train to laic^v-.the- pout&us 
on to Atlanta. > •? 

- A crowd <jf idlers, citizens, white ^ni 
black, employees of the , Quartermaster 
and Commissary, teamster.s, soldiers,, etc., 
Jrathcred aroiiml, curious as to the bat- 
tcri'ij v.nd disli;esc;ed looking, . sfeaiubbat, 
whence she h;id come, and ys'.hiit experi- 
ences she hnd i';is;:e(l through. .. '■ 

■'CaJl Uia! a sie.imiK^ai ; sal;! one. 
"Balil A bri'l'^e tqain's ;;:ii( '.vav u!id(?:- a 
lucum.)tive, a:;<l fell l:!1 a liafl-Mat." ' 

"Looks mnie like Ihey'v- l,,i!i robbin' 
Punie sle.T:;;!:: ai ,aia\ e;\ an;!, and lun i^i\vay 
-with -a ske!'-''ia." sa'^l aaa' t')ar/ 

■■Leuk at lliem sniokestaeks." said an- 
other, ])(iinfiiis to the Lorona's Chimnevs, 
wliiJi had lieeu knocked about badly by 
Ihe nvei'hangiiig limias in th':^ naia-ow 
chutes. "Eeeu burning cr(H-)ked driftwood 
and got 'em clear out o' plumb," 

••Her bone.s back there look like a dead 
boss's that the buzzards 've bin after." 

"Say, boys, if you don't cover tliat bo.'it 
n)> better she'll get frost-bit these cold 
nights." 

■_ Si and Shorty, who were busily engaged 
in getting the boys packed up and ready 
to take the train, and the i)ontoon stuff 
in shape for transfer, became weary an- 
fiweriug these .iibes, and more i;leas;i]it in- 
terrogatories, ,'ind weie cither irrespc.isive 
or snub[>y to those on the wharf. 

Presently some one demanded sharply, 
in a commanding .(aie: 

•AVJiat b,ait is that?" 

Si and yhorty, who were bending over 
a bundle of canvas, v,-ith their backs to 
the bow, made no auf.wer, though it 
seemed to them they had heard that voice 
before. 

"What boat is that?" asked the voice, 
a little more sharply. 

"Steamboat," answered Shorty. The 
idlers haw-hawed. 

"(ilad to know it. Wasn't quite sure 
fi'om the looks but it Avas a fioating kind- 
ling-wood factory in hard luck. What's 
her name"?" returned the voice, more i)leas- 
tintly than might have been expected. 

"Dumb it, can't you read her name on 
the pilot-house," Si ansv/ered cros'sly, for 
he had just broken his thumb-nail trying 
to tighten the rope. "Use your eyes, and 
don't ask so many fool questions." 

"Look here, sir, yon mustn't answer me 
that way," said the voice, sharply. 

Shorty, who had barked, his shin against 
one of the anchors, and was ready to 
quarrel with anybody, looked around and 
saw a tall, rather spare man, on foot, 
with an otlicer's overcoat, buttoned up to 
the chin, and a badly-battered campaign 
hat, pulled down over his eyes. Below 
appeared a short, rugged, red beard, 
which .somehow appeared familiar, .but 
Shorty could not place it. It seemed 'to 
him that it was the Quartermaster of the 



THE BOYS START FOR ATLANTA. 



63 




"THIS IS THE GOOD BOAT ' KICK-UP-BEHIND.'" 



1st Oshkosh. whom ho had no reason to 
like. "Why shouldn't he answer you that 
way, I want to know?" he flared up. "We 
aiut no information bureau. We wasn't 
enlisted to road boat's names and things 
for commissionoff officers who'd played 
hooky instead o' going to school, and 
missed their education. Get some o' them 
niggers around there to read the name for 
you. Captain. We're too busy." 

"Captain — that's good," chuckled the 
crowd ashore. 

"There, there, sir," returned the officer, 
"you have wasted enough breath and time 
to have told ir^ the whole history of the 
boat, and yet said nothing." 



"Well, if you must know, this is the 
good boat Kick-Up-Behind, Capt. Sour 
Dough Master, loaded with meerschaums 
nankeen pants, and patent-leather slippers, 
for Sherman's army, and bound across 
Buzzard Koost by the way of Kenesaw 
Mountain for the Ocmulgee River. That'a 
the solemn truth, Colonel, little as I want 
to tell it." 

•'Colonel!" The crowd laughed again. 

"Good enough," said the officer. "I think 
I'll put you on my staff, to furnish infor- 
mation to the newspapers. You'd make ft 
fine war correspondent. Your imagina- 
tion is only equalled by your disregard of 
the truth. But we have bad enough of 



54 



SI KI.ECG 



■lA'TP. ^;V(M ^nr 
'.::d siionxY. 



lliis chaff." he added in a tone which made 
Si and Shorty iiivohintarily ytop their 
work and begin to straighten up. '"Stop 
that, come to attention, and answer me 
promptly and truthfully. What boat is 
ihatV" 

"United States transport Lorona, an- 
swered Si, coming to attention and salut- 
ing. "Loaded with pontoon supplies Lor 
(ien. Sherman's army." 

"Ilello," said the "ofTicer in a tone of 
exultation, "the pontoons at last. Who 
is in command?" 

"Col. Bouesteel, United States Engi- 
neers, sir," said Si, still more respectfully, 
as recollections of the oflicer's appearance 
began to vivify in his mind. "1 think he 
must be one of the Corps Commanders," 
he whispered to Shorty, "but I can't just 
remember which." 

"Very good, Sergeant; find Col. Bone- 
steel at once, present my compliments to 
him, and tell him that Gen. Sherman de- 
sires to see him immediately here on the 
wharf." 

"Gen. Sherman," gasped Si nud Shorty, 
hastily buttoning up their blouses and 
straightening their caps. 

"Fall in, guards; fall in promptly," Si 
shouted to his men. 

"Never mind the guards," said Gen. 
Sherman, impatiently. "Find Col. Bone- 
steel at once." 

Si went up to the cabin deck as rapidly 
as his broad Wabash feet Avonld carry 
him, to startle Col. Bonesteel and Shad 
with the announcement of Gen. Sherman's 
presence. Shad had just finished, under 
the Colonel's directions, a report to the 
Commandant of the Post of the Lorena's 
arrival, and a requisition on the Superin- 
tendent of Hailroads for a train to be 
ready early the next morning to take the 
pontoons on to Sherman. 

"You will take that personally," said 
the Colonel, pointing to the requisition, 
"to the Superintendent and insist upon 
having the train not later than tomorrow 
morning. He will try to put you off, and 
get another day, but do not allow him to 
do so. If he will not agree to it, come 
back to me, and I'll go to him. We must 
have it." 

"Gen. Sherman's out there on the wharf 
and wants you to co'iie to him at once. 
Colonel," said Si, so full of his message 
that he forgot his military nianners. 

"Gen. Sherman oul there on the wharf, 

and wanting to see me," gasi)ed the 

Colonel, and shaken from his fastnesses. 

"Yes: and he can't wait a minute. He's 

very imi>atienl." 

The Colonel looked dazed for a minute, 
and then, with Shail's and Si's assistance, 
got his cloak on over his wounded ;nni, 
and went down the staii's and out on lo 
the wharf, where Gen. Sherman was ner- 
vously p.-icing up and dnwn, t \\ilrhin:; a 
ritling-switeh and giving Jerky in'ilers to 



ri^embcrs of his staCf wbo.had come.up 'In 
I be meanwhile. . - , , 

"Llello, Bonesteel," he Oalled out, a.s the 
Coione! came over the gaing-'ul/ink'. "GVad 
:o see you. So' you brought my ponfoohs 
'Ml yourself, did yon? Glad yon aiit«;e- 
clatcil the iniiKntaure of my getting them. 
Awfully afraid they wouldn't reach me." 
"Had a terrible time getting heve. Gen- 
eral. Ran tlirtiugh the whole .qf"— - ' 

"Yes. yes," l>i-ii!<e in the General, im- 
patiently. "All having tough times now. 
Usually do in war. Put it all in your' re- 
port. Got all the stuff there, have yqn?" 
"Every l)it your riHjuisition calhMl for. 
General. Thcnight I never would get 
through at times. Men acted, nobly, 

and" 

"Always do. Always do. Finest army 
in the world: men can't be beat. Give 
them full credit in your report." 

"I was myself severely wounded, and" — 
"Too bad. Huivy to hear it. But we 
must expect to get hurt. No Surgeon 
aboanl, I suppose? l^>rown, gallop over 
there to Surgeon ?ililler and tell him to 
come here at once and examine Col. Bone- 
steel's wound. Got the stuff all ready to 
go aboard the cars. Colonel?" 

The Colonel looked inquiringly at Shad, 
who formally reported: 

"All perfectly ready. Colonel, the mo- 
ment we can get the cars." 

"All I'eady, General, and I have pre- 
pared ;i i((Hii:,ition for the train, whiidi I 
h;ive asked for to bi' ready tomorrow 
miuning, without fail." 

"Tonioirow nioi'ningl Tomorrow morn- 
ing? That stnlf's got to leave here in an 
hour. I am going myself, and it's got to 
go along." 

"Jjieutenant, go to my oiTice and get the 
requisition, carry it to the Superintend- 
ent and explain the necessity for imme- 
diate action." 

"No, Lieutenant," said Sherman, witli 
nervous impatience. "Hand that requi- 
sition to Bradley, there. Bradley, you 
tell Wright Ihat train must be ready, be- 
hind mine, in an hour. Roberts, go and 
Ining teams enough here to haul that stuff 
over in a single load. Rush, nov,'. Pick 
up teams wherever yon find them. Lieu- 
tenant, when those wagons come, load 
them as you never loaded wagons before, 
and get that stuff on the cars as if on the 
wings of the wind. Don't you be a min- 
ute over an hour, at your ))eril. Good 
morning, Colonel. Take good care of that 
arm of yo^n•^>." 

'J'he Colonel was aghast and hurt at 
the uncer(Mnoiiior,8 manner in which his 
"r>:;i(M];tii !!" ];-.l Ir.'on CTidvd, and the 
wliole n;atier t:iken out of his hands. He 
luul .:,ro-,v;i to ft-tl like a contiacring hero, 
ni:i:.!!i,": a 1 riir.iv hant c'-trance to a city, 
and beie lound himself reduced to the 
r:;nk;', of Ihi.se viho had sinv, ly done an 
obvious duty veil, and coi^tiilnited hi;; ex- 



T 



THE BOYS START FOR ATLANTA. 



£5 



ported mite tnwnrrl tho snocpss of a great 
movement. lie Wiilked baek to his cahiu 
in bitterness of Iieait, at the vanity of hu- 
man j,'ieatness, and for tlio moment even 
felt like burning- op the report upon which 
he had expended so mueli labor. 

The Surgeon came and dressed his 
wound, and after a little hospitality and 
chat the two lighted cigars and walked 
forward, to s(?e Shad, Si, Shorty and the 
rest in a fever of hurry to get the stutl' 
on the cars and started for the front. Sher- 
man's nervous eagerness had imparted 
itself to them. They had no ambitions to 
be thwaitcd, no self-importance to be 
wounded. The.v were simply glad they 
had done their work well so fai', and eager 
to do more, and be with their comrades, 
who were to share in great things. As 
the Colonel watched them he caught the 
infection from them. 

••They're the hnest men alive," he said, 
finally. •'It's honor enough merely to com- 
mand such men. I am going along with 
them." 

••Indeed, you are not," said the Surgeon, 
decidedly. ••You are going to stay right 
here until your arm gets much better, un- 
less there is a good chance to send you 
back home.'' 

•"I was not aware that I was under your 
command. Doctor," said the Colonel, with 
some asperity. 



"Well, you are, very much so. It's my 
duty to see that no wounded or sick r.^eii 
go to the front, except such as I think en- 
tirely ht. The army is stripped fur baltle,. 
and must have no incumbrances. I shall! 
not let you leave this place, except to go 
to the rear." 

"Army's got in a tine condition when 
Pillbags give orders to Colonels com- 
manding independent expeditions," said 
the Colonel, bitterly. 

'•Be that as it may, I have my orders, 
and am going to obey them. Come, you 
have done enough for the present. Your 
life is too valuable to the country to be 
needlessly endangered. There are some 
things that I am absolute in, and this is 
one. You shall not go." 

Before the hour was up the last stick 
was in the wagons, and the boys, 'eain- 
ing that the Colonel could go no farther 
with them, lined up on the wharf to give 
him three cheers, before they rushed off 
for the train. The Colonel "bowed f/om 
the deck, Irut could say nothing. He 
watched them as they hurried for the 
train, listened with sinking heart for the 
cheers with which they announced their 
leaving, and sank into a chair murmuir- 
ing: 

"A great opportunity of my life gone. 
There is no telling what I might not have 
doue at the head of those men." 



56 



SX KLECG A>-p SPORTY, 



CHAPTER X. 
A CLASH OF AUTHORITY BETWEEN SHOETY AND GEN. SHERMAN. 



Gen. Sherman's trnin, anrl that follow- 
ing it, had the right of way hack to Iviii.us- 
ton, where the General had tempovanly 
estalilished his headqnarters. 

Every switch they passed the hoys saw 
was loaded to its fullest extent with trfiins' 
bearing northward the great army's strip- 
pings for battle. Every man whose physi- 
cal condition did not promise to stand the 
test of the severest trials had been ruth-' 
lessly weeded out by the Surgeons and 
Bent to the roar. The worst had been sent 
back long before. Those going now were 
of the later and more rigid cuUings of 
the men who wanted earnestly to stay 
with their companies, and hoped that they 
would tone up sulhciently to satisfy the 
e.xacting requirements of the medical des- 
pots, who knew neither fear, favor nor 
atfection in their gleaning after men who 
■were likely to break down on a hard 
march and cumber the ambulance:^. They 
were going, baek reluetantly. their only 
hope being that they would jniu Gen. 
'J homas and share in his txploits. But 
this would noL be with their own regi- 
ments. 

"Do smuggle me into your squad, and 
tnkt> me along with you, Sergeant," plead- 
ed Den Camp, one of the 1st Oshkosh, 
■whom they met at a switeh. The pallor 
of illness showed through in spots where 
the sunburn of the long canri)aigu had 
flaked off. 'T went through the campaign 
all right — never missed a niareh, a hgi,t 
or a roll-call — but I broke down after wo 
■'got into Atlanta. Guess it must've been 
'the too sudden change to soft bread and 
sleeping under cover." 

A wan smile played over his thin face. 
It could be seen at once that he was a boy 
\\h ) had \i\ot\ ujion his nerve. By bhi>er 
force of will be had kept up throtigh the 
territic hardships and strains of the cam- 
paign, but had collapsed when victory 
came and the city Avas captured. 

"I had a pretty lively tussle with the 
brakebone," he continued, "and the doc- 
tors gave me quinine till I thought my 
bead was a hotel gong; but I pulled 
thi'ough, and the minute I heard that the 
army was going to move, I gave the hos- 
pital the cold shake, and slijqied back to 
my company, and with the boys' help I 
played off on the Surgeons for awhile. 
But the last time they went through the 
camp with a line-tooth comb, and caught 
me. But I'll be all right it I can only 
get out with the boys on the march once 
more." 

"He's just at the turning point," com- 



muned Si with ShortA-, "where a;goodir.. 
strong push, like a had cold or a.; hjiJ-dV." 
march, may send him down the hill. to. his, t 
grave. Ho mustn't go along, though Ilikie-r 
Ben awfully." ' . k-. ...:jr' 

"Don't- know about that." anewei-od';- 
Shorty. "Ben's one o' the best meil in thol 
1st Oi^hkosh. His heait's set on going 
along. liikcty that'll bring lii'm right out 
and eure him. If he's sent back he'll lik<; 
as not fret himself to death in the hus-. 
pital. Let's take him along." 

"As you say," acceded Si. "I'll do any- 
thing in the world for Ben. The chanee.i, 
are about equal whether it kills or cures, 
him, but he'li die happier in tlie front 
than in the rear. Ben, you wateh your 
<hanies, and skip acros.s, when nobody's 
looking." 

Ben started to act on this advice. 

"Here, you sick man." called the sharp, 
rasping, imperative voice of Gen. Sher- 
man from up toward the loeomotive, "go, 
liaek to your own car at once. Go back.v 
sir." 

"Confound that meddlesome Old Brick- 
top," said Shorty; "he's always interfer- 
ing with something, if it's only boiling a 
eup of coffee. I never saw such a Gen- 
eral. The others don't pay no attention 
to things that don't concern them. But 
he's always nosing round into everything. 
He's W(U'se'n a new Fifth Corporal anx- 
ious to show off. Ben, just lay low for a 
minute, and watch your chance, and you 
can dodge Old Bricktop." 

"Young man," said Gen. Sherman's 
voice, so close that it made Shorty jump, 
"do you know that you are grossly dis- 
respectful, and liable to severe punish- 
ment, in alluding to your Commanding 
General as 'Old Bricktop V " 

Everybody sprang to "attention," sa- 
luted, and looked wonderingly as to what 
the (jcneial would do. Shorty, with tiie 
feeling that he was liable to in emergen- 
cies, "that you might as well bo hung for 
an old sheep as a lamb." faced about, 
came to attention, punctiliously saint* d, 
looked the General square in the eye, and 
said: 

"(leneral, you know your hair is a little 
red." 

"May be — may be," r.aid the General, 
snappily. "Your own looks as if yon cut 
oft' a lock you'd bleed to death. I5ut I 
like that kind of uaea. They're sandy 
fellows who'll go wherever you send them 
and do what you tell them. But I'm not 
going to discuss hair. You get right back 
in your car there and keep very mum. if 



CLASH OF AUTHOKITY BETWEEN SHORTY AND GEN. SHERMAN. 



67 



I catch yon ngain cncouras;in?: these men 
to come over to your car, there'll be a led- 
headed Corporal not far from here know 
what it is to have his stripes takeu off 
and bo tied up by his thnmbs." 

"Now, yon n:en," continued the General, 
tnrnins to those on the other train, "don't 
tiiink you are beins condemned and laid on 
the shelf. You go on back to Nashville. 
Y'ou'll lind Gen. Thomas there, with a big 
job on his hands, and he'll find enough for 
you to do — that is, all that's able to do 
anything. lie's got the whole of Hood's 
army dovrn there, and you may help light 
the battle that will end the war. I'ou'll 
have all you want to do." 

"Three cheers for Gen. Sherman," they 
f.horited. "Three cheers and a tiger for 
L'ncle Billy. AVe'll come around and meet 
you at Mobile, Ger.oial." 

There were riiany other trains beside 
those bearing sick and wounded, making 
their way back to Chattanooga. There 
were miles of cars laden with tents and 
camp equipage, discarded artillery, sur- 
plus r.'ition.; and ammunition, hospital 
stoies, iM?rr;cnal baggage of officers, sutler's 
goods, ( re ' t:-. I'ilicrmau had relentlessly 
cut dov,-n evervthi:);,- to the barest necessi- 
ties of the n]:'.rth. He was going to start 
v.-ith i.:0,00'J al.soliitely .strong, well, 
healthy young men, with only the barest 
necessaries for 20-(;ays' march in their 
wagons, and tho^t not to bo touched until 
they had e;Uen the countrj- bare. 

Never before in the history of the worltl 
was there an army stripped dov/u to such 
clean, unincumbered force, capability and 
aggressiveness. It was all bono, muscle 
and high-.'^4;ir!ted courage. 

I'ho txpcrionre of the boys on the boat 
had been inejuuicial to what martinets 
would legard as proper discipline. It had 
begotten a disposition to take things into 
their own hands and rely on themselves, 
instead of Avaiting for orders. This v.-as 
particularly the case with Shoity. Ho had 
never been nearly so amenable to disci- 
pline as the more staid and methodical Si, 
and his oiTicers had always had to fre- 
rnently bring him up vrith a round turn. 
The rush of men and material to the rear, 
whdc they themselves were going for- 
ward, the intense activity and eagerness 
everywhere excitd him. He forgot that he 
had left the boat, where he was one of 
the directing .forces, and was now again 
in the army, where ho was but one of the 
cogs in the great wheels. He wanted to 
take charge of almost everything he saw 
going on, or at least give his valuable ad- 
vice as to how it shor.Id be managed. 

While the locomotive was taking water 
at the Oonncsauga River, he walked along 
and took a severe oversight of another 
train on a siding, with a load of extra lim- 
bers, surplus ammunition, and barrels of 
pork. 

"Here," he called, in a commanding 
tone, "that aint no way to load a car. 
You'll have them limbers and boxes scat- 



tered off over the State o' Georgy the first 
time you go around a sharp curve. Y'ou 
ought to know better than sling things on 
to a car like that." 

From his tone, and his coming from the 
headquarter train, the men supposed that 
he was Gen. Sherman's messenger, and 
began apologizing. 

"Vt'e were in such an awful hurry to 
get oft," they began, "the main thing was 
to get the stuff aboard any way." 

"No sense in pitching things on so , 
they'll tumble off agin at the hrst oppor- 
tunity," said Shorty, severely. "Y'ou've 
got time now. Take 'em off, and fix 'em ; 
up so they'll stay." 

The men jumped to the work, and * 
speedily had much of the stufE on the 
ground. 

"Say, what in the name of sense, do 
you men mean by taking that stuff off?" 
demanded Gen. Sherman, Avho had also 
taken a fancy to walk back and inspect 
the train. 

"Why, that man there told us to," an- 
swered the men. 

"General," Shorty began, answering the 
sharp look the General turned on him, 
"they had slung the stuff on any way, and 
Mhen they'd go around one of these sharp 

curves it'd be sure to" 

"You'll be sure to get back in your car, 
and that mighty quick, and devote your 
whole time and strength to minding your 
own business," snapped the General. 
"When I want you to do anything I'll give 
you orders." 

"There it is," grumbled Shorty, as he 
climbed back into his car. "All the thanks 
a man gets for looking arottnd an' ti-ying 
to be of use. Old Sherman's got to bo 
spooking about where he haint no business 
and interfering with them that's trying to 
get things in proper shape. Why don't he 
tend to the army and let other fellers 'tend 
to their business? He's got enough to do 
at headquarters. No wonder everything's 
going at sixes and sevens around the army. 
They can just spill barrels o' pork and lim- 
bers all over Pigeon Mountains, for all I 
care. I'm done." 

"Come, Shorty, and get your dinner,*' 
called out Si. "We've got a bully dinner. 
That Hospital Steward back there gave tia 
a lot o' potatoes and onions, and we've 
made a stew while you were out there 
helping rr.n the army." 

The fragrance of the savory stew dissi- 
pated tihorty's anger, and bj- the time he 
had eaten all he could hold and lighted his 
pipe, he had forgotten all about the inci- 
dent, and was looking around for another 
opportunity to make him5;elf useful. 

They were now about to cross the 
Oostenaula River, at Resaca, and Gen., 
Sherman decided to consolidate the two 
trains into one, to be pulled by the engine 
that war; drawing the pontoons, which was 
p. better runner and puller than his own. 
The other locomotive vrould be sent back 
v.'ith the cars which had accumulated al> 



53 



BI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 




"IIEKi:," CALLED SITORTY, IN A COMMANDiN^x TONE, "THAT AINT NO WAY 
TO LOAD A CAR." 



Fcrrif^a. Somo cars had to be cut off to re- 
( ,,■ , iii ' Li-iiii. aiiii r :•■ ' .■•.!- 

ernl directed (hat a couple, containing 
f-hnes and clntliin;;-, be left behind, to be 
brouirht up by a train that should fellow 
after. 

A good deal of switchin;; was necessary 
to rcanun^io the train and cut these out, 
jMiil i-n>iiy, Avhi) Kiui(! Tiot iisist the 
temj.tation' to boss the job, became con- 
vinced that they had made a mistake and 
cut ui [ itte wtoii.i;- cais. Under sucli tii'- 
cunuitances the more circumspect Si would 
ha\e satisncd himself of his facts before 
doing anything, but Siorty was not built 



that way. He was very liable to become 
dead sure of anything on ciuite insutflcient 
evidence, and then a balky mule was not 
more obstinate. Just as the making-up of 
the train was about completed, he rushed 
back and called to the trainmen: 

"•^ay, you've made a big mi.stake. You've 
cut out the wron.g cars. Those cars there 
are the ones that you must take alon.x- 
You're to leave those cars there that 
you've put in." 

The conductor — only recently detailed 
for the duty — was alarmed. 

'"Are you sureV" he asked nervously. 

"Sure! Dead sure. I noticed that the 



CLASH €^ AOTS0E31T BETWEEN SHORTY AND GEN. SHERMAN. 



59 



cars the General pointed out for you to 
leave bad "L. »fc iS. li. K.' ou their doors, 
while those j'ou were to take along had 
N. & C. it. li.' You see them that you've 
left have N. & G. II. K.' ou their doors, 
v.-hile Those you've kept have L. & N. 
K. I!."' 

"1 hat's so," said the conductor, stop- 
ping lb- engineer and hurrying to make 
the exihantre liefore the General should 
noiice his blunder. 

lis the train started on its way for Cal- 
houn it passed on the other side of the 
cars, and tSliorty was horriried to see that 
the doors on that side bore the letters "L. 
&N. R. R." 

"Great jumping Jehosephat," he mut- 
tered, ■'i'rn ill lor it agaui. They have 
been mixing tlie doors on them cars. Con- 
demn a country, anyway, where nothing's 
ever certain but short rations and bad 
oads. I expect Old Billy'll just take my 
sorrell topknot clear off when he hnds it 
out. But mebbe he won't till after I've 
got av/ay. He won't be thinking about the 
cars until we get to camp, i'!! jump the 
train just as soon as wo strike the edge of 
camp, and before he gets a chance to look 
3ver the lars FIl be safe in the 200th In- 
jianny. I'li like to be aiound and hear him 
kin that basswood conductor, though." 

Alas for his calculations. The train 
stopped at Adairsville, and Gen. Sherman 
wanted to send an Aid over to Poplar 
Springs, where there was a brigade en- 
camped. A horse was quickly secured, 
but the Aid wanted his own saddle, which 
K-as in the car containing the headquarters 
baggage. But the car was missuig. 

Gen. Sherman stormed at the conductor, 
n his characteristically impetuous way. 

"I had the right cars on, just exactly as 
j-ou pointed out," the trembling man man- 
aged to say between outbursts, '"and then I 
changed them, because a Corporal from 
your headquarters came and told me I 
bud made a mistake." 

"A Corporal from my headqimrters?" 
said the General; "T have no Corporal with 
mo." 

Yes, there he is now," said the un- 
liQppy conductor, pointing to Shorty, who 
had overheard the breaking of tJie storm 
and was trying to slip over to the cover of 
ome trees and wait for the next train. 

"Come here, you rascal," commanded 
the General. 

ihorty, seeing that he was cornered, 
turned around, marched up to the Gen- 
eral, came to attention, gravely saluted, 
and inquired: 

Did you speak to me. General?" 
I'es, confound you; I spoke to you and 
you know it, for you recognized your name. 
Did you tell this man to change the cars?" 

"Yes, sir," said Shorty boldly. "I was 
watching you when you pointed out the 
cars to him, and noticed that the cars you 
wanted left had 'L. & N. R. R.' on their 
doors, while those you wanted taken had 
C. ^ N. R. R.' on theirs. .Wlieu ke made 



up his train again I saw that he had it 
just the other vray. I never told him I 
was from your head(iuarters. He only 
guessed it. But he ought to be a better 
gues.ser. But I'm to blame for the rest, 
only I think it's playing it pretty low down 
on a fellow to have different letters on 
each side of the cars. 

"And you, a Corporal, took the liberty of 
changing the orders of the General Com- 
manaing the Army, did you?" said Sher- 
man, in a terrible voice. 

"No, General," answered Shorty firmly. 
"I wasn't changing your orders; I was 
only doingm y best to carry them out, as I 
ahvaya do. But I say again. I think it is 
playing pretty low down to have different 
letters on each side of tne cars. That isn't 
giving a feller a fair shake. It's ringing 
in a cold deck on a feller, and you know it. 
General." 

Gen. Sherman's moods could change as 
rapidly as those of a Spring day. Already 
his active mind was revertmg to things of 
mighty importance, and he wanted to close 
this trifling incident — dismiss it. Shorty's 
frankness and boldness took his fancy. He 
looked him over again, with a sarcastic 
glance, and dismissed him with: 

"Y'oung man, after this you and I will 
have to be careful to take separate trains. 
Between us there is too much intellect for 
any one train. It overloads it, and embar- 
rasses its movement. For the rest of this 
trip I'm going to insist ou you severely 
suppressing yourself and giving me a 
chance. You take a much-needed rest and 
give me a chance to run this train. I 
mayn't do it as well as you would, but I 
M-ant to try. Go back to your car and keep 
very quiet — very quiet, indeed — for the 
rest of this trip. Brooks, send a message 
Isack to Resaca to send forward those two 
cars by the next train without fail, and re- 
port ts Kingston when they start. Will- 
iams, you'll have to ride a common saddle. 
Start the train at once, and tell the en- 
gineer to push things. We've only been 
crawling along. Shake him up." 

The General's sarcasm hurt Shorty 
much worse than if he had given him the 
lively cursing he expected. He could not 
under.Ntand all the words the General used, 
but felt that they meant something aAvful. 
He went back to his car in a wrathful 
mood, but quieted down after awhile and 
began to grumble at the slow pace of the 
train. He shared the General's impatience 
to get on, and was not long in reaching the 
conclusion that he could get more speed 
out of the locomotive than the engineer 
was doing. If he could only do this, he 
would win the General's approval and re- 
gain his lost honors. 

At the next stop for water he vrent for- 
ward, ingratiated himself with the engi- 
neer by a pleasant story as to his abilities, 
and experience in running an engine, was 
invited up into the cab, and finally given 
charge of the throttle over a piece of clear, 
easy track. The engineer had been worked 



60 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



to the last limit during this driving time 
and be was fiightfully tired, nearly dead 
tor sleep, and welcomed any relief. He 
watched Shorty run for a few miles, gave 
him occasional directions, and saw with 
approval his management of the engine, re- 
laxed his own strain of attention by de- 
grees, and before he knew it was asleep, 
sitting on the left side of the cab. 

Shorty gained in conlidence as the miles 
sped back under the wheels. He made the 
fireman rush up the steam, oi>ened wider 
the throttle, and struck a pace that pleased 
him. He grew so self-conlident that he 
did not think it necessary to awaken the 
engineer as they approached Kingston, but 
decided to run in himself. 

A freight train, loaded Avith Commissary 
goods, was pulling onto a switch, to get out 
of the way, just as he came around the 
curve outside of Kingston. Shorty guessed 
that it would get onto the switch in time 
and did not slacken Iiis speed, though he 



blew the whistlo^ which 'wakened the en- 
gineer, who gave a quick slajice,.a'u(l 
sprang for the tlirbtU(.' avi,d /the wiistle 
rope, to give a shrill call for brak'Qo. ' tte 
was too, late. The locomotive struck the 
second car from the lear of the frei;;i,at 
train, Avliich was directly acrost^, the track, 
squarely near the center, and sent pork 
and crackers flying all .aroun^'th^f sectioji 
of the country. ' 

Shorty skipped back to tke boys- "and 
said to Si: '' 

"Si, lookout for my things anrd bring 
them on Avith you. I guess I'll walk tlie 
rest o' the way to Atlanta. I want to take 
a look at the cpuntty." ;, .,, , - 

Gen. Sherman walked forward and 
looked at the Avreck, and remarked: 

"SomehoAv, I've got a suspicion that a 
certain redheaded Corporal is at the bot- 
tom of this. If I can get hold of him, 1 11 
make him sit down here and eat up a.l 
the::e rations that he's spoiled." 



CHAriER XI. 
'OTHEE AND IMPOKTANT DUTY, 



The instant Gen. Sherman arrived at 
Kingston he had things before him of a 
thousand-fold more importance than the 
investigation of an unimportant railroad 
accident. He was rolling two grt at waves 
of armed men in opposite directions — one, 
under Thomas, toward NashA-lile and the 
north, to head off, defeat and destroy 
Hood; the other, under himself, toward 
the south, or east, to a destination that 
even he Avas not certain of. The GO,Oun 
men Avhom he was to personally com- 
mand, with their 3,000 wagons aiid four- 
score cannon, Avere distributed over thoti- 
sands of square miles, extending from 
Rome and Kingston to Atlanta and De- 
catur. At his Avord of command all these 
were to flow together in a mighty, resist- 
less tide, converging on Atlanta, and leav- 
ing behind it desolation — burned mills, 
factories, bridges, destroyed roads and ex- 
hausted food supplies. The Avave rolling 
on toward Thomas was to leave similar 
devastation in its rear. 

The fighting ground of the past bitter 
battle Summer Avas to be made an inhos- 
pitable desert of ruined towns, desolated 
farms, felled forests, moldering forts and 
breastAvorks, wrecked railroads and burned 
bridges. 

Even the buzzards would soon leave it, 
after having picked white the bones of the 
starved animals. 

Gen. Sherman's sweeping thoughts took 
in the imperial expanse of country, and 



in his mind's eye he saw v.'here every regi- 
ment, battery and train of his mighty host 
Avas camped, just Avhat he Avantcd it to do, 
and Avheu and hoAV to march to timely 
coalesce and co-ordinate with the stupen- 
dous Avhole, 

As soon as he alighted from the cars 
his quick eyes took in every detail of the 
great activity everyAvhere in sight, and he 
began to order, admouish, correct, stimu- 
late and lash everyone within range of 
his voice. 

Though all were busy, none seemed to 
be Avorking fast and hard enough to suit 
his impatient desires. He wanted to di- 
rect everything himself, Avithout Avaiting 
for the circumlocution of giving orders 
through his staff. 

"Here, you Sergeant, there," he called 
to one Avho had charge of a gang vi negro ■ 
laborers, and had stopped a moment to 
look at the wreck and wipe his face, 
•'Don't stand around idling. Put your 
men to Avork clearing the track of tliis 
Avreck. Shove that car off to the right. 
Pile the other things on it, so that they'll 
all burn, and help burn the road. X^it 
some men to work with sledges to break 
those axles and Avheels, so that the reb- 
els can't gather them up and use them. 
Where's the Lieutenant in charge of this 
train?" ' 

"Hore, sir." said Shad, saluting. 

"liieutenant, rush this train through to 
Atlanta as iast us you can, and deliver 



OTHER AXD IJIPORTANT DUTY. 



61 



the Ptiiff ti Cnl. Pens, for assignment and 
distribution. Tell him from mo that it 
mu.st ali bo distributed and arranged by 
toinorrow evetiing. As soon as you can 
pet tlie f tiilf o2: hurry right back here with 
the train." 

■"Yoii iiM';in tliat 1 only shai! come bade 
with the trr.in, General, do you. and let 
the'' men go to their regiments at At- 
Iraitn '.'" 

"Xo: bring them back with you. They're 
a compact force of good men, such as_I 
need, and I'd better keep them awhile 
than disorganize a regiment. Bring them 
all back with you." 

"Confound it. Shad, why did you ask 
him that".'' grumbled Si, as Shad came 
back to them, '•^^'hy didn't you just say 
nothing, and let us jump the train at At- 
lanty and make for the 20()th InjiannyV 
I'm " ali on edge to get back to the regi- 
ment and report to Col. McGillicuddy. 
Sherraan'd never thought about it if you'd 
just let us go." 

"Don't you fool yourself a minute. Si. 
Sherman not only knows how many I 
have, but he knows every man in this de- 
tachment by this tinre, and has something 
mapped out for us. It'd 've been as much 
as my life was worth to have come back 
from Atlanta without you. I suspected 
so. and made sure by asking. I don't take 
any chances on anything when Sherman's 
around. It's altogether different from 
what it was with Bonesteel." 

Shorty, who had been watching pro- 
ceedings from the cover of a freight car, 
came out and rejoined the boys as they 
jumped upon the cars. 

"Glad to have you in here with us. 
Shorty," said Si. 'I was afraid you'd 
want to run the engine some more, and 
try to pass another train on the same 
track or butt a hole in the Allatoona 
Mountains, or some other experiment of 
that kind. You ought to know that the 
only waj- to pass another train on the 
same track is by climbing over it, and so 
fix up j'oiir engine with scaling ladders. 
Mebbe you thought we were still on the 
Lorena, and could spar over that other 
train." 

"O, dry up, Si," answered Shorty, irri- 
tably, "it wasn't my fault at all, but the 
engineer's of the other train. He didn't 
know enough to get his old meat-wagon 
out o' my way. As I was running the 
headquarters train, he ought've had sense 
to know that I had the right o' way, and 
give mo a clear track. Oughtn't to let 
such dunderheads have hold o' throttle- 
valves." 

"Can't be too careful in picking the men 
to handle the throttle-valves," returned 
Si, significantly. "Anyhow, v.-e'll all feel 
better now that you're with us, instead of 
on the engine. By the way, did you hear 
Gen. Sherman's orders to ShadV We're 
not to go with the regiment from Atlanty, 
but must come back here." 

"The thunder we must," gasped Shorty. 



"Well, you fellers can come back, but as 
for me and Pete we're going on to join 
the regiment, and we'll strike out for it 
the minute we hit Atlanty. I'm sick and 
tiled o' Vicing out in the weather. I v,-ant 
to git home, and home';; the 200th Injiaiin^ 
Volunteer Infantry. I want to settle down 
to strai,r:ht soldiering, instead of pirouting 
around like a lot o' stray dogs. ^Nle and 
Pete's gain' to answer roll-call in Co. Q 
tomorrow morning, and have some quiet 
and peace of our lives. I'd 'a' been on 
my way to the regiment now, but for 
leaving Pete. I've been afraid all along 
they'd try to press us into service with 
the pontoons, and that's the reason I've 
been urging Si to jump the train as soon 
as we struck the town, and get av.-ay to 
the regiment before they'd have a chance 
to detail its. But you fellers can do as 
you please. Me and Pete are going back 
to the regiment as straight as we can go. 
Col. McGillicuddy needs us." 

"Them's my sentiments to a hair," 
echoed Si. "I'm awful homesick to see 
the regiment, and settle down to plain, 
every-day soldiering, where you don't have 
nothing to bother you. The 200th In- 
jianny's good enough for me. I'll stay 
there the rest o' the time. But Shad 
thinks that we've got to come back." 

"Well, Shad may think as he pleases. 
No law against his thinking. And you 
fellers can do as you see fit. But you 
hear the pensive notes of my bugle: Just 
as soon as we hit Atlanty, me and Pete 
are going to point our gunboats in the di- 
rection of the 200th Injianny Camp, and 
stop on no switches for through trains un- 
til we hear the grateful music of Capt. 
Bowersox cussing the teamsters." 

They had stopped at Marietta, when 
Shad came back into the car, and the con- 
versation was substantially repeated. 

"Now, Shorty," he remonstrated, "you 
shouldn't talk that way. It's our duty 
to all go back, just as Sherman's ordered. 
I happen to know that he's got a very 
high opinion of this detachment, and I'm 
sure that he wants it for some particular 
purpose, something out of the ordinary. 
He asked me all about our coming through 
the Muscle Shoals, and praised the per- 
formance quite as highly as Sherman ever 
praises anything. You know he never 
slobbers over anybody. He thinks that 
when you've done the very best you can 
you've only done what you ought to, and 
don't deserve any special praise. But he 
said we'd done a very good, soldierly piece 
of work, and that he hoped Col. Bone- 
steel would properly report it to the De- 
partment. That's a great deal for Sher- 
man. Now I feel sure that he wants us 
for some special purpose, v»-here we can 
be of better service than with our regi- 
ments, even, and it's our duty to obey." 

"Mebbe he wants to slip oi¥ somewhere 
and surprise and capture a town," said 
Si, hopefully, catching at the idea. 

"Mebbe," said Shad. "Or mebbe he 



62 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



knows where we can gobble a big rebel 
General, or the Governor of Georgia, pos- 
sibly even Jeff Davis himself. You know 
he was down near here not a great Avhile 
ago." 

•■If he wants anything extra-hazardous 
done with neatness and dispatch he's 
struck the right crowd," said Wi. "We 
can squeeze through a narrower hole with- 
out barking our shins than any other men 
in the army. You'd bettor stay with us. 
Shorty. Don't go back on us now. Let's 
all go to the regiment tDgother.^ It'll 
probably only be a few days more." 

"I'd strongly recommend it," said Shad. 
"Sherman's ordered it, and he's got a 
long memory. You may dodge him now. 
but he'll come up with you, sooner or 
later, and make you wish you hadn't." 

"The motion to reconsider has carried," 
said Shorty, after a moment's thought. 
"Though I long for a quiet life in the 
bosom of the 200th Injianny Volunteer 
Infantry, I'll take just one more whirl 
with you, if it's for big game." 

They reached Atlanta, turned over the 
pontoon stuff, which had cost them such 
an infiinity of worry and trouble, to the 
Chief Engineer, bravely resisted the 
temptation to abandon the train for their 
regimental camps, and returned to Kings- 
ton, reaching there again early in the 
morning, to find Gen. Sherman already 
up, and impatiently pacing up and down 
the platform, overseeing everything, and 
commenting, criticising, blaming, directing 
and ordering in an incessant flow of en- 
ergetic language. 

"Dayton," he called to his Adjutant- 
General, "prepare an order to Gen. Corse, 
at Home, to immediately burn everything 
there that can be of the slightest use to 
the rebels, and start for this place to- 
morrow morning. Impress upon him that 
the destruction must be complete and 
thorough; not a mill, factory, storehouse, 
locomotive or car must be left in shape 
to bo of any use to thi; rebels. He must 
destroy the bridges as he marches." 

"Gen. Stecdman," he continued, ad- 
dressing a fine-looking man with a leonine 
face a^nd mane of curling hair. "I must 
now say good-by to you. Give Gen. 
Thomas my compliments when you see 
him, and impress upon him that I expect 
hirii to destroy Hood, and not let a frag- 
ment of his anny rocross the T'ennesseo. 
Y'ou will take this train, which has just 
come in, to Ch.-ittanooga, and gather up 
your men from Kesaca onw.-ird. I'll send 
another train after you, which will be the 
last to go north, and pick up those from 
here to Recaca. After it pass;-s over Ooth- 
caloga Creek I'll have the bridge burned 
and cut mv connnunications with God's 
country. When they will be restored 
again, and where, God only knows. Only, 
I'm sure that we'll come out all right 
somewhere on the coast, after having 
n:a(le the State of Georgia ieel that it is 
very serious business to begin an unjusti- 



fiable rebellion against the authority of 
the United States, and continue the war 
in hardness of heart and reprobacy of 
spirit. Good-by. Make thorough work of 
Hood, and leave us to take care of our- 
selves." 

"Lieutenant," he called to Shad, "have 
youp men make coffee and get their break- 
i'a.stS by tliat fire there. Make sdiort work- 
of itj.fqr I want you to take this train in 
a few nunutcs. Y'ou will go out on it. as 
far iis the first large bridge, and get off 
on this side of the bridge, letting the train 
go over. After it has passed you Avill burn 
the bridge. Burn it thoroui^rhly, so that 
not a sticlv of timber shall.be left to re- 
build it. While it is burning destroy the 
telegraph for some distance — a mile or so. 
You must get through liy noon. At noon 
march up the creek a couple of miles until 
you come tn where the Adairsville and 
Cassville road crosses the creek by an old 
dog meeting-house. Halt .there, and you 
will reci'ive further orders." 

"What in the world has he laid out for 
us, SiV" asked Shorty, full of wondering 
expectancy. "Do you know of any town 
down there in this neighborhood that's 
worth taking'.'' There aint no big rebels 
around in this part o' the country, is 
there?" : 

"I haint no idee," answered Si, "and I 
suppose it don't matter much if I haint. 
It's some big thing, or Sherman wouldn't 
be so positive about it. That's enough 
for me. but I admit I'd like to knoAV.what 
he's cut out for us." 

"Burning u bridge aint no great shakes 
of a job," remarked Si, as they gotvoff 
at the creek, and let the train go on over. 
."3Iost anybody could do that. But let's 
make an extra y;n<n\ job of it. None of 
us own any real (\state round here, so we 
won't be taxed to lebuild it." 

Some fat pine logs were found, in the 
woods near by, which Avere cut up and 
placed in between the timbers of the 
trestle. These v-,-ere supplemented by all 
the i»ine knots Pete and the rest of the 
smaller boys could find. In an hour they 
had made it certain that when the match 
was applied (he llames would s^uHvlily run 
to every timlier, and not stop devouring 
as long as there was anything left to feed 
upon. 

"There, that'll do. That's enough. 
Come off the bridge, boys,'.' Shad shouted, 
taking out his m.-itches. "Here goes the 
last link with home. Good-by, God's 
country. Good-by, folks, and churches, 
and school-houses, and all good things. 
We're going to raise hell in Georgia." 

He touched tlv lighted match to the 
pile* of fat pine slimincs he had prepared 
and which llaslicd up lil;e turpentine. In 
a few minutes the bridge was a roaring 
mass of tire. ' 

They cut down the telegraph poles, and 
broke up the wire into pieces, to throw 
into the creek and otherv,-is(^ hi(U'. 

Before noon they had done their work 



<3fmEB AKD IMPORT A XT DUTY, 



63 




^^i|^|¥f«. 



'^ i 



f.. 






f 







WHAT!" HOWLED SHORTY; "WE DRIVE A HERD OF CATTLE ?»» 



■well, and were anxiously waiting that 
hour and what their new orders would 
bring them. 

They found the old log church where 
the road crosr<cd the creek, as Sherman 
had said, but there was no one there. 

"What does this mean?" wondered 
Shad. 

"There's an awful sight of dust raising 
over there beyond the crick," remarked 
Si, scanning the northern horizon anxious- 
ly. "Looks as if there v,-as at least a 
brigade of infantry or a regiment of cav- 
alry coming. Wonder if it can be 
Wheeler trying to attack Sherman's rear? 
Load, boys, and deploy along the bank 



there. Keep down out of sight, and don't 
fire till they try to cross the crick." 

They watched the advance of the cloud 
of dust anxiously. They could hear yells 
and loud commands. Presently a mount- 
ed man in partial citizen's dress appeared 
on the other side of the creek and scanned 
the opposite bank. 

"Probal:)ly a scout. Keep out o' sight, 
boys, and let him come on," said Si. 

The man studied the opposite bank a 
minute or so, and then rode through the 
ford. 

"Blue pants, blue vest, rebel hat, citi- 
zen's coat, Yankee saddle, Yankee boots," 
said Si, studying each detail. "U. S. oa 
flank of horse. Guess he's a Yankee." 



64 



SI KLEGG AXD SHORTY.- 



The man saw Si and Shorty, and rode 
directly up to them, and they were joined 
by Shad Graham and Jake Dye. 

"I was ordered to meet Lieut. Graham 
here at noon," expkiined tlio man. 

"That's my name," said Shad. 

"Well, I'm Lieut. Ermentraut, of the 
Commissary Department. I'm ordered to 
meet you here, and turn over to you 500 
cattle, ■^^■ith the orders to take them on 
to Atlanta with all reasonable speed. You 
will be there Avith them not later than 
day after tomorrow evening. The cattle 
are now reaching the creek. Y'ou will go 
down with me and count them as they 
come over, and receipt for them. There 
are just 501. You will be allowed to kill 
n.nc' on your way for meat, but you must 
deliver 500 even to the Chief Commis- 
sary at Atlanta." 

"What!" howled Shorty, as he gathered 
the purport of the stranger's communica- 
tion. "We drive a herd of cattle! "\'v'e 
soldiers become a pack o' cow-punchers! 
I'll .see Sherman and hi;', whole army go 
without fresh beef till they're as gray as 
African badgers l^fore I'll play butcher's 
lK)y and drive cattle to the slaushter- 
liouse. It's not my business. I'm a 
United States soldier, not a barefooted 
boy Vv-ith a straw hat and a stone-bruise, 
hired for a quarter a day to run foot-races 
with brindle steers. I'm no partner to a 
yaller herd-dog and apprentice to a butch- 
er-shop." 

"I guess there must be some mistake 
about this," said Si, with sinking heart, 
as his vision of some note'worthy service 
dwindled down to this -prosaic and humble 
job. "Gen. Sherman said he had some 
special and very important duty for us. 
lie couldn't've meant cattle-driving." 

"What more important duty could you 
expect than taking care of such a hcrrf a^3 
this?" inquired Lieut. Ermentraut, hotly. 
"What more important duty can there be 
than in supplying the army? Now, don't 
go to putting on any airs, for I won't 
have it. I've brought this herd this far, 
and you're no better than I am. If I do 
it, you ought to think it quite good enough 
for you. Besides, the minute you get 
across the Etowah liiver you're liable to 



have all that you can tend to. .Toe Wheel- 
er's down in that country, somewhere, 
and would like awfully well to haye-50O 
l.(>eves in good condition to put his ragged 
rebels on. This is the last herd to come 
through, and it must be carefully guarded 
all the way. That's the reason that Gen. 
Sherman ordered you here. There's bush- 
whackers enough down in the comiti-y lie- 
yond the Etowah to take the herd away 
from all the guard I have. But I haven't 
time to waste in argument. You'll simply 
do Avhat Gen. Sherman orders. Here 
come the cattle now, and I'll be obliged 
to you, Tiier.t. Graham, if you'll begin the 
count at once, and hurry through with it, 
as that train you came up on is waiting 
for me and my men, and Ave must get to 
it as soon as possible. I have six horses 
that I and my helpers have been riding, 
Avhich I'll turn over to you, for such men 
as you Avant to mount." 

"After our good Avork with the pon- 
toons I never thought Gen. Sherman 
Avould put us to cattle-driving," mur- 
mured Shad, reproachfully, at which 
Lieut. Ermentraut fired up again: 

"I'd like to knoAV who you are, anyway, 
that are putting on all these frills? You're 
mighty glad to get fresh beef Avhen it's 
brought to you, and yet you kick when it's 
your turn to bring it. Are you so much 
better than anybody else that you can lie 
in camp, and have somebody else Avait 
on you? I tell you, I've had to do it, and 
I've done it because it Avas a necessary 
duty, that somebody had to do, and I'm 
as good as you fclloAvs, any day in the 
AA-eek. I've been in the army just as long, 
and seen just as much service. Noav, just 
stop looking doAvn your noses, and grumb- 
ling, and count these cattle, receipt for 
them, and lot me go. I'm in a hurry, and 
you'd better be." 

"The Lieutenant is right,"' said Si. his 
usual cheerful acceptance of necessary 
conditions asserting itself. "We alnt 
really had our share of cattle-driving, and 
Ave've no business to shirk it when it 
comes up to us. Besides, it's only for two 
or thi'co days. Let's be glad Ave diiln't 
have to bring the herd clear from Nash- 
ville. Bring on your cattle." 



i^PERIF.NCE WITH O^-^'TLE, LOWING KiNE. 



65 



CHAPTER XII. 
A FEW DAYS' EXPiaUBNCE WITH "GENTLE, LOWING KINE. 



Tloady, rcsourcofnl and cheerful as Shad 
Graham had hcMelofdi-e shown hinisflf lor 
ovcr.v (lul.v and in rvory cin'.'r.urnry, lu' 
drew a docidod line at catth- drivin;;-, and 
wonhl have absolutely none of it. 

Shorty, as usual, after his lirst l)urst of 
teniiier, and cursin.i; hy name e\'oryl)ody in 
the army, from (Jen. Sherman down, had 
liceeiited the situation, and euer-etieally 
set about uiakin- the best of it. 

I'.ut Shad was -lieved to iho heart by 
the downfall of his expeetalions of some 
siieeial service of thrilHn.i;- importanee. and 
sulkily rifused to take llie least interest 
in the herd, or in .uetiiny ii on to its desti- 
nation. I'ossibly his assoeiation with the 
Engineers had something to do with his 
aversion. 

"1 know somebody's got to do the Com- 
missary act, and it's very neeessary," he 
said in reply to Si's reinonstranees. "but 
let it be those fellov\'s wiiose minds run 
to meats :',nd groceries. It ain't in my 
line. I'll dig ditches and nnike roads and 
build bridgt's, and do rill that sort of drud- 
gery just as hard as anybody, but I sinr- 
ply won't a.ssoeiate with cattle and hogs 
on any terms. It used to bieak my heait 
to have to bring up the eov,- to milk, and 
I've been whipped oftener al)out it than 
aiiything else. I'll go along with you, be- 
cause that's now the Ijest way to get to 
the army, but I'll oniybe a passengoi-. You 
take charge of the whole oiitHt. You un- 
derstand cattle and know ho\\- to manage 
them. Y(ni take command. I'll he respon- 
sible for all yon do, so you see I'm not 
shirking my sliare." 

As was habitual with Si, when he saw 
he had to do a thing, he went at it with all 
his might an<l <-heerfully. 

"It's all right, boys," he called out 
blithely. "It's only a two or three day«' 
march to our regiments at Atlanta, a sort 
of a pleasant promenade, and we'll have 
the cattle for com;iany. I always liked to 
drive cattle when I was at home. They're 
so (luiet and steady-going that they're no 
both<-r at all, like hogs and sheep, who'rc 
alv.ays cutting up didoes. .lake, deploy 
out a few of your men on both sides of the 
road there, and keej) the cattle together 
as they come across the c:ii-k, and me and 
Shorty will count 'em. ?»lonty, you and 
Harry take distance down the road there, 
one on each side, and count, too, so that 
there won't be no mistake. Alf, Gid, 
Saudv and Pet(\ von uo down across the 
cvb k'and ski'.niish 'ror.nd and hel]. hustle 
the beasts u'ler. The le.st of j'OU boys go 

3 SK 



over and hide liehind those cedars there, 
so'.s ;i;; not to scare the cattle by showing 
li.'o big a crowd. Keep hid till they've 
passed. It's easy enougli driving stock if 
you only go about it right. It's all in the 
knack." 

They could hear the locomotive whistle 
sounding impatiently" for the men to come 

"Hurry up. Lieutenant," said Lieut. Eiv 
uientrout. "They're calling loud for mo." 

"Hurry up, yourself, ' said Si. "We're 
ready to take your cattle as soon as you 
liass them over the crick to us. Start 'em 
over." 

"Here, rush those beasts along. 'What's 
the matter with you?'' yelled the Lieuteu- 
ant liack to his men. 

"We can't. Tiiey won't budge. They're 
sheered o' something over tuere," yelled 
back the men. 

"Put the gads to 'em. Make 'em come," 
yelled the Lieutenant. 

"We have, and it don't do no good," 
shouted the men back. We've nearly lick- 
ed the hides ol'fcu some and it only seems 
to make 'em worse. They seem to smell 
something., Must be something dead over 
there." 

"Nothing dead around here but my am- 
bition," remarked Shad, saturninely. 
"That oughtn't to scare them." 

"No, there's nothing dead around here," 
answered the Ijieutenant. "It's probably 
the onlv place iii Northern (icorgia ^^'here 
there ain't. Lick old .Jo "W'hreUi' there, 
across the ford, and the rest'll foiiow." 

"^Ve call that lead steer, with the bell 
on, .Jo AVheeler," explained Lieut. Ermi n- 
trout, "because he's such a runner, and he 
always runs faster when he comes near 
infantry." 

"We've tried it, and it don't do :iO 
good," they yelled back. "He just runs 
'round and 'round, and hides iu the brush. 
He must smell something." 

"Singularly delicate nose, that, for any 
one around this army," commented Shad. 
"Can't have been long in the service." 

"Mebbe he smells that meat I mashed 
up at the station," remarked .Shorty, with 
returning good humor. "Possibly it was 
the iemains of a loved i-elative." 

"It's likely the smell and sight o' so 
many strangers," suggested the more i)rac- 
tieaf Si. "Here, yoii fellers, up there; 
move down below the road and get to lee- 
ward. Y'ou're not a bunch o' rose's, nohow, 
after being cooped uii on that feteambo.it 
and the cars." 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



Still the cattle grew momentarily more 
fractions and umuly. The drivers would 
lash them down to llie edge of the creelc, 
when they would snort, throw up their 
tails and dash back through the brush. 

The Avhistles from the engine became 
more imijerutive. "Say, send some of 
your men across the creek there to help 
mine get the drove across," begged the 
Lieutenant. "I'm afraid thy won t wait 
for me on that train, and it's the last 
chance I'll have. I must get back." 

"Scarcely," said Shad, who saw an op- 
portunity of evading the duty. "Your busi- 
ness is to deliver the cattle to us this side 
the creek. We've no orders to go over 
there after them. We were simply to 
march up the bank of the creek and wait 
there. If you want us to drive your cattle, 
you must bring them over hL>re. We ain't 
going after them. They'll be trouble 
enough after we get them. We ain't going 
around hunting for trouble." 

The Lieutenant sat on his horse and 
watched ttie grov.'ing commotion in his 
herd with deep distress depicted on liis 
face, "f must get back on that train," he 
Baid to Si and Shorty. "I've been in the 
field now since the very first and never 
asked for a furlough till now. My mother 
is not in good health, and there's no tell- 
ing how long she'll live. I'd like to see her 
once more." 

"Too bad, but most of us have molhcrs 
that we'd like to see," remarked Si, hut 
with a touch of sympathy in his voice. 
"But ihiy'U have to wait until the cam- 
paign is over." 

"Besides," continued the Lieutenant, 
bis face growing so red that it showed 
through the tan, "I'm engaged to be mar- 
ried to a girl who's waited for me ever 
since 1 fiist enlisted, in iSlll. I hate to 
ask hvv to wait any longer. Besides, it 
ain't safe. There's a widower with a big 
farm after her, and her father aud mother 
ia^or him."' 

"You go right over there and take that 
train," said Si decidedly. "We'll look 
after your cattle." 

"That we will," echoed Shorty, with 
even more decision. "Get back home as 
quick as you can, if there's a rich widower 
alter your girl. Don't lose a minute. 
AVouldn't trust a widower far's you could 
Bling an ox by the tail." 

"You give me your word of honor that 
there's 5'jO cattle over there?" asked Si as 
a final precaution. 

"I give you my solemn word of honor, 
as an oflicer and a gentleman, that there 
are 501 over there." 

"All right," answered Si. "Break for 
your train and save your girl from that 
widower, at any cost. May you be happy 
and have lots o' children. We'll tak^ care 
o' your herd all right. I've bin used to 
cattle all my life and know just how to 
manage 'em." 

Si and Shorty and Jake Dye went over 
tbe ci-eek with the Lieutenant, and re> 



ceived from him his horses and those of 
his helpeis, and saw them rush ofE for the 
train, yi sent Sandy over with the Lieu- 
tenant's horse for Shad and took the nest 
best himself. 

"Now, boys," said Si encouragingly, 
"there's going to be no trouble about this. 
All that's required in driving cattle is a lit- 
tle patience and knack. They're the best 
aud kindliest things in the world, if they're 
only handled right. There's a great deal 
o' natural cussedness in pigs and sheep, 
but cattle's naturally good. Treat 'em 
gently and kindly, and you're all right. 
Jake, yon take 50 men, go down the crick 
a little way, deploy them around in the 
rear of the herd and rush 'em forward. Be 
sure and don't skip none. Search the 
brush thoroughly for 'er^ I'll go down 
and find this lead steer, liiis Jo Wheeler, 
as they call him, and start him acrost the 
crick myself, and I think the rest'U f oiler 
all right. Them other fellers have been 
nagging and fretting him until they've got 
him Avild." 

"Where is this Jo Wheeler, Pete?" he 
asked, coming up to that youth, who, ob- 
livious to the worries of his seniors, was 
employing his leisure in trying to beguile 
a fish to bite at a fat grub worm he had 
found in the rotting wood and fixed to a 
hook he had taken from his pocket. 

"The last time I saw that white-faced 
skeesicks," answered Pete, indifferently, 
as he made a jerk in response to a nibble, 
"he'd started with his head and tail up for 
Chattanooga, as if there was a circus there 
and he n^nst see the parade." 

And Peter carefully cast his hook for 
another trial. 

"Here, drop that pole, put that hook- 
and-line back in your pocket, and 'tend to 
your business, Pete," said Si irritably. 
"The United States ain't paying you $16 
a month to catch sunfish. Come with me 
aud find that steer, aud be quick about it." 

Pete sighed at a lost opportunity, but 
put up his tackle, and the two started in 
search of the herd leader. The cattle 
were all now quietly brow/.ing around in 
the little vall<^y. Several red steers were 
found, but none of them had the white 
face, the crop in the left ear, and the 
other distinguishing characteristics of the 
sought-for Jo AVheeler. That individual 
seemed to have disappeared as utterly as 
if the earth had swallowed him. Si began 
to be feverish, as the afternoon was pass- 
ing away. He galloped back to Jake Dye, 
to find that all the rear of the herd had 
been closed up, but there was no Jo 
Wheeler among them. 

"Where in time can that measly wind- 
sucker be?" said Si, wiping his face and 
making another tour of the cattle. 

He made a vain effort to have one of 
the other red steers assume the lead, but 
each of them, after being urged forward a 
little ways, would suddenly slip off to one 
side, and presently fall to quietly munch- 
ing the grass, while the other cattle would 



6^ 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



not pay sufficient attention to the perform- 
ance to look up from their browzing. 

Si sent Shorty back for some more of 
the men, and they deployed as a skirmish 
line to work through the herd, and the 
ground it occupied, in search of a red steer 
with a white face, a bell on, and a crop in 
his left ear. 

A precious hour was spent in this vain 
search, and Si lost his temper as far as to 
make some acrimonious remarks to Jake 
Dye and his men about their carelessness 
in looking to the rear, which had let the 
Bteer escape. 

Si stopped on a little knoll not far from 
the ford, to think over what to do next, 
and gather in his lieutenants for further 
directions. 

Pete took advantage of the lull to look 
ground for another worm to bait his hook. 
He presently yelled: 

"Sarjint, there's that confounded steer, 
hid in tnat bunch o' cedars there. He's 
bin there all the time, standing so still 
that he hain't even tinkled his beli. That's 
just like an os. That's just what makes 
me despise an ox." 

Si rushed up there, to find Jo Wheeler 
gazing with mildly contemplative, indif- 
ferent eyes upon the turmoil around him, 
as if it was a matter in which he had only 
the most languid and spectacular interest. 

Time was so important that Si violently 
restrained his angry desire to rush at the 
bullock with his whip. Besides, he re- 
membered his admonitions to his men as 
to kindliness. He moved quietly around 
to the rear and ordered him out. 

Jo Wheeler's mood underwent a light- 
ning transformation. Before Si could 
think he suddenly dashed out of the copse 
and started on a gallop up the creek, to 
the loft and away from the ford, a way 
that none of them had so far shown the 
slightest desire to go. The others as sud- 
denly stopped their browsing and started 
after him on a dead run. 

Si jumped into the saddle and started 
after, circling around to head him off. 

"Dumbed if I ever saw a horned critter 
run so in my life" exclaimed Si, as he 
stopped to rescue his hat from the brush. 
"Must be crossed with a deer. I'd like to 
send him back to Injianny to trot in single 
harness for a prize. But he can't keep up 
that gait for long. Nothing covered with 
sole leather can." 

But a mile had been passed, and Jo 
Wheeler's wind and bottom seemed unim- 
paired in the least. Though Si had a good 
horse, and could ride him for all that he 
was worth, he had trouble keeping Jo 
in sight. 

"Think I'd like to have that steer," re- 
marked Shorty, "and get the contract for 
carrying the fast mail to San Francisco. 
Don't think he'll stop in Chuttynoogy. He 
wants to see friends in Nashville." 

But a half mile farther Jo Wheeler 
seemed to conclude that over-exercise 
might be bad for his heart. He whirled 



suddenly to the left and plunged into a 
paw-paw thicket, where he stood as mo- 
tionless and silent as if carved out of 
wood. The others stopped, lolled out their 
tongues and panted. 

But he could not play that trick twice 
on Si, vs-ho was old enough skirmisher to 
watch for the bushes shaking. He rode 
carefully to a little knoll in front of the 
copse, and as he looked back from it he 
could see the couutry around the ford, and 
the cattle still turmoiliug around there, 
utterly refusing to start across the creek. 
His patience was clear exhausted, and, be- 
sides, he was so far away that any exhi- 
bition of temper would not have a bad ef- 
fect on the boys. There were piles of large 
rounded pebbles, called "dornicks" by the 
people of that country, just the size for a 
strong man to hurl with deadly effect. Si 
picked up one of these and threw it into 
the brush with all the might that flaming 
rage could lend to his stalwart arm, and 
when Si threw a stone it was no joke. It 
hit Jo Wheeler's side with a whack like a 
note on a bass drum, and startled him 
from his meditations on what fools men 
were who tried to drive cattle. Before lie 
could formulate his ideas another one 
struck him on the rump with such force 
as to almost knock him onto his knees. Jo 
Wheeler had been around the army long 
enough to know that that "position wajs no 
longer tenable," and as he did not have 
time to think of any other way, he started 
en a gallop back on that on whicb he had 
just come. 

Si gathered his hat full of the dornicks, 
leaped into his saddle and galloped after 
him, flinging a stone after him at every op- 
portunity, and accompanying it with a vol- 
ley of "Dumb you!" Consarn you!'' 
"Plague take you," and siiuilar Wabash 
expletives boiling out at white heat. 

"Here they come! Here they com°! 
Clear the track, everybody," yelled Shorty, 
laughing, as they came in sight. "I'll bet 
every cent I've got, two to one, on the bay 
steer — out of BuUbeef, and damned by 
everybody in the army. Who'll take it? 
Three to ono, and no offers. Hump your- 
self, Si, he's a-gaining on you. Push on 
the reins. Don't throw stones and swear. 
Si. That's not kind. Always treat cat- 
tle kindly." 

Si sent a stone flying in the direction of 
his partner, who dodged as it whiz/.ed by 
him. 

Si was landing the stones with such ef- 
fect on Jo Wheeler that when the latter 
reached the ford he turned and dashyd 
across it and up the hill on the other side, 
still followed by Si, and he l)y the cattle, 
M'ho no longer showed antipathy when 
they saAv their leader go. They went over 
with such a rush now that Monty and 
Harry could not make an accurate count. 
But they were certain that fully 500 had 
passed, and would have been willing to 
make the number near doitble. 

The cattle continued moving at a rate 



BXPERIENCE WITH GENTLE, LOWING KINE, 



69 



Iphich promised to make up a good deal 
that was lost by their previous stubborn- 
Dess. Jo Wheeler maintained his lead, 
and paced aloug at a gait whit-h kept Si's 
horse moving. Ividiug by the side of Shad 
Graham, Si would look back from each 
rise and note with satisfaction the mile- 
long column pressing on through the nar- 
row valley. As there were cleared fields 
on either side of the road, there was now 
little difllculty iui keeping the cattle to- 
gether. But Si, began to fear that he 
pace at which they were going would soon 
break them down, and he tried to get Jo 
Wheeler to strike a slower gait. That er- 
ratic iaidividual, ho%vever, had ideas of his 
own as to traveling, and showed such dis- 
inclination to bo interfered with that Si, 
after several attempts, prudently let him 
have his own way, especially as they were 
now going over a hill, which had brush on 
either side the road, and offered endless 
possibilities of scatterment. 

They descended into a wide, open valley, 
■which struck Si at once as a good place for 
rounding up and bedding down the cattle 
for the night, and also to graze them for 
an hour or two in the morning. The sun 
was now beginning to sink behind the 
mountains, and it would be soon necessary 
to stop. He brought ;ill his herding skill 
to bear. He got Shad, Shorty and the rest 
of the mounted men immediately behind 
him on the right side of the moving line, 
and as the column descended onto the 
plain, began to press its head slowly and 
carefully over toward the left. Jo Wheeler 
bore off to the left to keep a distance from 
the horsemen closing quietly and persist- 
ently in upon him, slowed down, and pres- 
ently found himself describing a wide cir- 
cle around the valley, coming back toward 
where he entered it. Presently the whole 
herd was "milling" around in the most 
satisfactory manner, with the horsemen 
gradually contracting the circle. At length 
Jo AVheeler stopped, gazed contemplatively 
for a minute or more on the darkling 
mountain tops and meditated on the muta- 
bility of mundane affairs and the vicissi- 
tudes in an ox's life. Then his fore knees 
suddenly bent, but his haunches came first 
to the ground, and without any apparent 
preliminaries. He continued his specula- 
tive gaze on the mountain crests, gave a 
resounding sigh over the vanity of bovine 
existence and man's inhumanity to the 
whole horned race, and then began delib- 
erately cheAving his cud, and sinking into 
deeper and deeper reflections. The rest 
followed his example, and soon the whole 
herd was lying in a compact mass, en- 
gaged in contented rumination. 

"Must be some fun about being a steer, 
after all," remarked Shorty, gazing on the 
scene. "He eats his grub twice and swal- 
lows it three times, and so gets at least 
twice as much good out of it. But, then, 
when he hain't none, he must be twice as 
hungry as other people." 

•'.We're all rights now," said Si satis- 



fiedly, as he disposed his men for the 
night and came back to take a last iQok at 
the herd before it became too dark. " "We 
had a little trouble starting them, because 
we were strange to them, and they strange 
to us. But we done that rounding up in 
great shape. Oldest cow puncher in Amer- 
ica couldn't have done it better. I'll make 
a detail directly, to take turns riding 
herd all night, and keeping from be- 
ing disturbed, and tomorrow morn- 
ing we'll just unwind 'em just the way Ave 
V\'ound 'em up to-night, and start 'em right 
along without any trouble. All we've got 
to do is to keep 'em from being disturbed 
to-night, and I don't think there'll be any 
trouble about that, for there ain't anything 
alive in this part of the country. What 
ain't been killed has been scared off. I 
think my strongest point is stock, and I'll 
go into stockraisiug and handling, after 
the war. There's a pile o' money in it for 
a man's who's built for the business." 

"If you heave another dornick so close 
to my 'head as thafu to-day, you're liable 
not to live to see the end of the war," re- 
marked Shorty, as they sauntered back to 
the fire for their cofi'ee and crackers. "You 
throw stones too well to make it funny. 
I'd rather have a rebel flinging shells at 
me." 

The crisp evening air was redolent of 
the fragrance of boiling coffee and frying 
meat. The tired partners sat down in 
deep content to a full meal of the grateful 
viands furnished by the Commissary. 

"Driving cattle isn't so bad, after all," 
remarked Shorty, as the mollifying effects 
of a good supper began to make them- 
selves felt. "I guess I'd about as soon go 
on to Atlanty this way as any other." 

"Sooner go this way than be cooped up 
on the cars," echoed Si, contentedly. 

A white mule, which had escaped from 
his corral, or had been turned loose to die 
in the Summer, had surveyed ' the scene 
from the hill top, which had been his 
refuge and range during his period of free- 
dom. The sight of the fires and the smell 
of the coffee and meat brought homesick- 
ness to his hybridized heart. It brought 
back memories of the happy days of com- 
panionship with his fellows, of regular ra- 
tions of rich, golden corn, and the fra- 
grant, filling hay, with the soulful voice of 
the teamster lifted in curdling profanity. 
He would rise and go back to his home, 
and the bins of forage, for which his soul 
an-hungered. He stole down the hill like 
a ghost and approached the fires. 

The cattle saw him and began to throw 
up their heads and sniff. Some labored to 
their feet. 

"Something's scaring them beasts," said 
Si, stopping, filling his pipe, and looking 
anxiously at the herd. "What can it be? 
Can't be no wolves or painters in these 
mountains, and all the dogs was starved 
out long ago." 

Their campfire of pitch pine sent a 
bright beam of ligbt directly into the ceu- 



m 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTT. 



ter-of the herd, where Jo Wheeler had 
risen to his nimble feet. 

"Keep quiet, boys, so I can listen," said 
Si. "Shorty, you circle down quietly to 
the right, and I'll take the left, and see if 
you can see anything. Make as little noise 
as you can and keep a few rods away from 
the herd." 

The mule had by this time arrived quite 
near, and mentioned his hunger for regu- 
lation rations, his abject loneliness and his 



gladness at finding old friends in a series 
of brays so loud that they pealed back 
from the neighboring hills. 

That was enough for Jo Wheeler. With 
a bellow of fright, and head and tail up, he 
struck out for the neighboring hills as if 
shot from a catapult. There was a rush 
as of mighty waters, as every one of the 
500 cattle, with clattering horns and hoofs, 
dashed madly away in the gloom, leaving 
Si almost paralyzed with dismay. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

ANOTHER DAY WITH THE FEE3H BEEF DETACHMENT, 



If the red-hot torrent of curses which 
Shorty poured on the stampeding cattle 
could have been transmuted into any form 
of physical blastment every hoof and horn 
would have perished then and there. 

He snatched up a musket and tried to 
shoot the too vociferous mule, as a relief 
to his feelings. But the musket did not 
happen to be loaded, and before he could 
get a cartridge Pete and Sandy, who had 
appropriated the mule, interposed to save 
their steed. They had not been assigned 
horses in the distribution, and felt slight- 
ed. The mule was a Providential intei'- 
position to right an injustice. Besides, 
they were genuine boys, and so had a 
warm welcome for any vagrant animal. 
They had been in the army long enough 
not to get excited over anything that did 
not immediately concern thom, and so, 
while the turmoil was going on in front, 
they led him away to a quiet spot, fed him 
hardtack and bunches of grass, admired 
his shape, pitied his loneliness, and con- 
gratulated themselves upon their prize. 

"Aint he nice, Sandy?" asked Pete, 
stroking his long hair, where it had not 
been frayed oft by the brush. "He's so 
kind and gentle. I always did like mules. 
I don't believe in swearing at 'em, as most 
people do. A mule has feelings same's 
we have. We'll call him Abednego, be- 
cause he's one o' the Lost Children of 
Israel." 

"Abednego wasn't one of the Lost Chil- 
dren," Sandy corrected him. "He was 
one o' them that went through the fiery 
furnace." 

"What was the name o' the Lost Chil- 
dren, then?'' 

"Didn't have none, that I ever heard 
of. Lost their names when they lost 
themselves, I suppose." 

"Well, Abediiego's a good name, any- 
way. It shall he his. Old feller, you're 
to answer to Abednego after this, and 



you'll be a good, decent mule, won't you, 
and not be too spry with your heels?" 

"Great heavens. Si," groaned Shad, 
watching the mighty rush of the cattle, 
"what will become of them? At the rate 
they're running they'll fall into the At- 
lantic Ocean by morning." 

"No," answered Si. who was beginning 
to pull himself together. "Steers aint 
long-distance runners. They aint geared 
for much over two-mile-an-hour, as a reg- 
ular thing. They can light out like a 
scared dog for a mile or two, but then 
their bellows need mending, and they 
come down to a regular log-chain gait." 

"But even two-mile-an-hour'll scatter 
them all over Georgia by morning," pro- 
tested Shad. "Eight or 10 hours, even at 
two miles an hour, with each scared brute 
striking out in a different direction, will 
scatter them like a tick of feathers in a 
hurricane, and you'll have about as much 
chance of gathering them up again. Fm 
simply ruined for life. How much do you 
suppose those cattle are worth a-piece?" 

"Let me see? Pap got $1.50 for a yoke 
o' steers he sold last Spring." 

"Great heavens! 5.$$ times $75 is $37,- 
500, and the Government won't let me off 
a single steer. I'll simply have to stay 
in the service for the rest of my life for 
my board and clothes. Fine outlook for 
a young man who wants to go back home 
at the close of the war, if he lives through, 
marry his best girl, and grow up with the 
country." 

"O, it aint near so bad as that," said Si, 
consolingly. "I don't think they'll scatter 
so badly as they seem. They're in a val- 
ley, and cattle hate to run up-hill as bad 
as men do. You mount and ride after 
them. Do not press 'cm: just keep with- 
in sight or hearing. I'll be along with 
you at once. Shorty, you and Monty and 
Harry mount and follow me. Keep a 
sharp lookout for by-roads, and when we 



ANOTHER DAY WITH THE FRESH BEEF DETACHMENT. 



71 



strike ono, one of you follow it, and look 
out for cattle. Jake, get the men together 
and march after us. We mustn't crowd 
the stock; just follow them uutil they run 
themselves out." 

In spite of his cheering words to Shad, 
Si was much distressed. He knew too 
much about the vagaries of frightened 
steers to be very confident of his own as- 
sertions, and felt that his chances of get- 
ting together again more than 300 or 400 
cf the original 500 were not at all bright. 
"That dumbed Joe Wheeler," he mut- 
tered to himself, "haint much more meat 
on him than a deer, and can run like one. 
I believe he's got deer blood in him. 
Looks and runs like it. If I ever get hold 
of him again I'll cut him up and send him 
round to headquarters for venison. AVon- 
der why they ever bought such a beast 
for the army. He's already run a hun- 
dred times as much meat off the rest than 
he has on his own plaguey bones. Wonder 
if I'll ever get him again? He may be 
20 miles from here by daylight." 

Si .jogged down the road, keeping a 
proper distance behind the rearmost of 
the herd, and listening anxiously for every 
significant sound that came from the clat- 
ter of horns and hoofs. At each by-road 
that he could make out in the darkness 
he sent some one to explore it, expecting 
that bunches of cattle, hard pressed by 
those in their rear, would break out to the 
side along such paths. 

As near as Si could make out in the 
star-lit darkness, the valley in which lliey 
were runjiing rose and narrowed toward 
a high range that formed the eastern sky- 
line. Between him and that limit the 
country was surging and roaring v>'ith the 
rushing animals. He looked apprehensive- 
ly at the woods and brush on either side, 
but comforted himself v>fith thinking: 

"They're all .steep, and cattle won't run 
far up-hill. Besides, cattle are afraid o' 
strange woods, especially at night. It 
there's only a nice valley on the other side 
o' the ridge, the left o' them may round 
up there again. In the morning I'll deploy 
the men back here, and skirmish through 
the woods, and bring in the stragglers." 
He was right in his reasoning. The 
cattle were already tired with their day's 
journey, and the ascent of the ridge took 
out of them most of their remaining 
strength. Si watched them against the 
sky, slowly laboring over the crest, felt 
confident that several hundred must have 
remained together, followed at a little dis- 
tance the rear of the column, looked down 
from the ridge to see the valley below fill- 
ing up with the stagnating mass, put his 
boys into bivouac as they came up, and 
sat down against a tree to wait for day- 
light. 

Not having any particular duty assigned 
them, Sandy and Pete busied themselves 
with their mnle. In his gladness at get- 
tins back again with human beings he 



was remarkably docile, and responded 
kindly to their petting. They slung their 
blankets and haversacks on him, con- 
trived a bridle out of their gun-slings, 
with a piece of telegraph wire, which San- 
dy had carried away for a memento, as a 
bit, and drew cuts which should have the 
first ride. Pete won, mounted Abednego, 
with Sandy's assistance, and jogged along 
in the rear of the infantrymen, following 
Jake Dye. 

The mule had been so long in the woods 
that he had acquired a wild-beast odor, 
which the sensitive nostrils of the cattle 
instantly detected, as the wind was up the 
valley, and it filled them with groat alarm. 
Every few minutes the marching men 
would yell, and scramble out of the road, 
as some steer, filled "with the terrors of 
the night," would dash by, snorting or 
bellowing. 

This greatly angered Si. He ran down 
under the hill so as to shut oft his voice 
fron\ the herd, and shouted: 

"Stop that yelling back there, at once. 
Stop fretting them cattle. You'll stam- 
pede the herd again. Treat 'em gently. 
You needn't drive 'em now, anyway. Wait 
till morning. That'll be time enough." 

"Confound it, we aint driving 'em." 
they would shout back. "They're driving 
us. They're charging us just like rebel 
cavalry. They must be rebel cattle. 
They've knocked over several of us al- 
ready." 

Si peered through the darkness, and 
caught sight of a white, ghostly shape 
moving forward. 

"It's that blasted mule again," he 
shouted back. "He's scaring tiie cattle. 
Some o' you go back there and shoot him." 

"Hi, there! Hi, there! Don't shoot! 
I'm on the mule," yelled Pete, as several 
gun-locks clicked. "You mustn't shoot 
this niule, nohow. He belongs to me and 
Sandy. He aint doing nothing to nobody. 
He's the nicest, kiudest mule that ever 
lived. He wouldn't harm a skeeter" 

Whether Abednego could not stand so 
much praise to his face, whether the pleaj- 
uros of human association were beginning 
to pall on him, whether he decided that 
he had been good long enough, or whether 
lie comprehended the danger he was in, he 
certainly acted quickly and decisively on 
the impulse that moved him. He whisked 
about like a flash, and by an indescribable 
movement sent Pete and his belongings off 
into a pile on the ground, caught one of 
the canteens as it fell with a kick that 
sent it over into a sumach thicket, and 
with a loud, discordant bray bade fare- 
fell to the society he had found uncon- 
genial, and started back the way they had 
come. 

"There," whimpered Pete, as he extri- 
cated himself from the mass. "That comes 
o' your plaguey fooling. Why can't you 
let "me and Sandy alone'? You're always 
impotiiug on us, just because we're boys. 



72 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



You don't want us to have no fun at all. 
We wasn't doins nothing to you. Sandy, 
you stay here and take care o' the things, 
while I run back and catch him. Cope, 
cope, Abednego." 

Si had fully intended to remain awake 
all night, but" he fell into cat-naps, as he 
sat a-'ainst the tree. He awakened with 
a start shortly after daylight, to find sev- 
eral hundred of the cattle quietly feeding 
in the abandoned fields belonging to a 
double-log house situated in the center of 
a long, tolerably wide valley. The owner 
had apparently only cut and shocked his 
wheat when the irruption of the armies 
had compelled him to fly with his family 
to some more peaceful locality. There 
were 25 or 30 acres of sparse standing 
corn, off which and the meadows, spring- 
ing up afresh, after the Fall rains, the 
cattle were making a fair breakfast. 

"We've plaved in great luck, after all, 
remarked Si 'to Shad. "There must be 
300 or 400 of the beasts down there, and 
they're getting their paunches full. I don't 
see how our cavalry and Quartermaster 
came to leave all that forage. The in- 
fantry's been along here. You can't see 
a rail, nor a chicken, nor a hog." 

"But think," groaned the hopeless Shad, 
"if we're only 100 short — 100 at $75 
a-piece is $7,-500, or the price of a splen- 
did farm. I'll scratch a poor man's head 
the rest of my days." 

"O, it aint so bad as that," said Si en- 
couragingly. " 'Taint near so bad, I'm 
sure. But we'll find out just how bad 
it is. We'll slip down in there among 
them as they're grazing and count 'em. 
We can separate 'em up into fields and get 
at the number pretty certain." 

Shad was first-class in mathematics, 
and used to rapid and accurate counting. 
Si went at the task, slowly, regularly and 
deliberately. AVith Gid's and Alf's as- 
Bistance, he got the cattle all on one side 
of the road or the other, and then sep- 
arated into groups in the fields, for the 
easier counting. He then deliberately 
went over each group several times, tally- 
ing each by notches on a stick, in the ap- 
proved Wabash way, until he could make 
his counts agree with each other, and with 
the .swifter ones of his assistants. Gid 
had made his count with knots on a string 
and Alf by tallies on a pad of prescrip- 
tion blanks. Si figured up the result with 
a stick in the sand, and announced with 
dismay : 

•'1 can't find but 3S6 of 'em. We're 114 
short." 

•'I came to that conclusion a good while 
ago," said Shad. "I've counted them 
over to my certainty, if not satisfaction, 
and if there's one more than 386 I'll agree 
to eat him for supper. Let's see: li4 
times §75 is $S,550. A mere trifle (and 
he laughed sardonically). Nine-tenths of 
the elderly men in Indiana have worked 
all their lives, and struggled with chills 



and fever, and dodged the Assessor, to 
lay up an average of about halt that. If 
the Government would give me time, and 
let me pay it oft at the rate of $100 a 
year, it would take me over 85 years to 
get out of debt. Start your cattle on to 
Atlanta. I'm simply another victim to 
this cruel war, only I'll probably die in 
the penitentiary or the poorhouse, instead 
of on the battlefield." 

"Now, don't be so discouraged, Shad," 
remonstrated Si. "We'll probably gather 
up a lot more in the brush. I'll go back 
now and start the boys out skirmishing 
for them." 

"No, no; don't bother. Don't tii-e the 
boys out for nothing. I might as well be 
hung for an old sheep as a lamb. A few 
more or less won't make any difference. 
Suppose you should find as many as 25 or 
30. I should still be owing the Govern- 
ment $0,000 or $7,000, and my hopes 
wouldn't be a bit less blasted. No; save 
your shoe-leather and mine, and start your 
cattle on for Atlanta. The sooner we get 
there, and the sooner I begin working out 
my sentence, the sooner 1 11 get through. 
Start your cattle." 

"I'll do nothing of the kind," answered 
Si. "I'll not go until I'm sure that there's 
not a steer left anywheres round." 

As he spoke, Monty came up, driving 
10 cattle, which he had found in a by- 
path, but Shad refused to be encouraged. 

"It's true it reduces my indebtedness 
$7.50, but it'd still take me 78 years to 
pay off at the rate of $100 a year, and 
75 years from now I won't care for a mat- 
. ter'of seven or eight years, one way or 
the other. These trifling reductions are 
merely aggravations. Drive on your cat- 
tle." 

Then Harry came up yith nine more 
he had found in a little pocket in the 
woods, but Shad was obdurate that these 
were mere drops in the bucket, and only- 
accentuated his trouble by presenting har- 
rowing details. Siiorty came back with 
16, and Jake Dye's skirm.ish line succeed- 
ed in rounding up enough stragglers to 
increase the total in the valley to 450. But 
this seemed the end. The boys on the 
skirmish line were positive that they had 
searched every nook and cranny of the 
valley, and no more could be found. 

"What'd I tell you in the first place?" 
inquired Shad, despairingly. "You're still 
50 short, which makes me owe the Gov- 
ernment $3,500, which is in effect just 
as much as at first, for it's a load that 
I never can get rid of. The others have 
jirobably run into the Atlantic Ocean. 
We're losing time. Start your cattle." 

But it occurred to Shorty that he had 
not gone to the end of the by-road upon 
which he had found his_ bunch of 16. at 
the bottom of a hill. He had assumed 
that they had stopped there, rather than 
climb the hill, and that that was all there 
were of them. Htt rede back and exam- 



ANOTHER DAY WITH THE FRESH BEEF DETACHMENT. 



73 



inod tho plaop. The ascent beyond it was comes to fisnri 



ll.v, and sho^yod no marks of travel, 
hut as he rode tarlher to make sure he 
thought that a number of cattle must 
have jiassed on beyond. He followed tli<! 
road, vviiich v,<;und ulons the summit of 
the hill, Inr tliree or four miles, when it 
descoiidcil into une of those little circular, 
secluded \alieyb peculiar to those mouu- 



he communed with 
himself, "but I'll bet a doulilnon lo :i pica- 
yune there's 75 cattle over there. That's 
-.1 more'n Shad needs to stand ])at wilh 
the Quartermaster, but that's his look- 
out. If he stood to lose the price of a 
good farm by being .50 short, he may gain 
a house and lot by having U.o ahead. I'll 
debate this after I drive 'em in." 




^ff^yi'^-':ji:X% 



^.^t, 



^5-" i'^ry 



♦'HE SAW ANOTHER 3IAN, DRESSED IN BLUE, RIDING A HORSE.-' 



tains, and known as "coves." To his de- 
light he saw a 'lot of cattle gathered there, 
peacefully grazing on the lush grass of 
the fertile little valley. Among them was 
Jo Wheeler, Avhose bell gave an occa- 
sional mellow tinkle. 

Yes; the whole 50 were there, it seemed 
to Shorty; but the matter was so import- 
ant to Shad that he determined to make 
sure by counting them, and arithmetic 
above 10 was rather hard Avork for Shorty. 
He counted carefully, and was astonished 
to find that he made out 75. He rubbed 
his eyes and count i-d a.cain, and made out 
7(>. lie -wont over i!i;>r.i again, and found 
74. This v.-as g-tring exciting. He 
reached uu into the pine tree above hini 
and pujicd off a twig for every steer lie 
saw, and the twigs certainly numbere<l 75. 

"I'm a little stiff in the joints v/hcu it 



The bright sky suddenly became over- 
cast, as is frequent in the mountains. T7it- 
tle wisps of mist floated about. Tlie r;;ttle 
stopped feeding, sniffed, gave low bellov.s, 
and began to gather more com!;)actly. 

Shorty started to follow the patii .skirt- 
ing around to his left, to round them vi;) 
and ."^tart them on. Ho sav,- coming out 
of the haze another man, dr.'>sscd in blue, 
and riding a horse. Naturally, Shorty's 
first thought Avas that it was one of his 
comrades, who had also come across liie 
stragglers. Then ho looked more care fully 
and saw that he was none of his detach- 
n^ent. Then it occurred to him that pi^s- 
sibly it was a man from some other de- 
tachment th.at happened to be in tho 'neigh- 
borhood, and hopes of a surplus of 25 for 
Shad began to fade. Ho looked tho man 
over carefully. He was riding a McClel- 



74 



KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



Ian saddle, and was in complete blue, 
from cap to boots, but there was some- 
thing about him that betrayed he was not 
a Union soldier. No matter how old, 
ragged and dirty a man's uniform got, yet 
there was always something about him 
that showed he was a soldier, and not a 
camp-follower who had picked up cast-o£E 
bits of uniform and put them on. In 
Bome indescribable way he looked and act- 
ed as if he belonged to the uniform, and 
the uniform belonged to him, and that it 
had been reduced to its present condition 
on his body and no other. 

Shorty had thoughtlessly come away 
without anv arms, but the new-comer 
showed none, and Shorty thought he 
would advance and investigate him. The 
man caught sight of him in the indistinct 
haz'" of the wood's edge, and called out: 

"Hello, Todd. Did ye pick up any 
mo'?" 

The voice and mtonation were so un- 
mistakably Southern that the truth began 
to dawn on Shorty. This was one of a 
gang of cattle-thieves, of the guerrilla ele- 
ment, who dressed themselves up in cast- 
ott' clothes found around abandoned 
camps and watched an opportunity to run 
off cattle. He had not expected that any 
bad been left in this desolated country. 
He imitated his questioner's tones in his 
reply: 

•'No; they'uns's 've gathered all the bal- 
ance up, an' gwine on." 

"W-a-ll," drav.ied the other. "We'uns 
orter to be satisfied with last night's work. 
Biggest haul, by long odds, we'uns ever 
m.-Tde, an' come so onexpected. Reglar 
windfall. I hadn't no sort o' idee that 
any Yankee cattle was comin' along this- 
a-\vay now. Makes a mouty purty sight, 
don't hitV" 

While the man was talking Shorty had 
jumped from his saddle, and cut a straight 
young hickory, nearly an inch in diameter, 
and lopped off its top after he remounted. 
Both were now riding slowly toward one 
another, the rebel looking over the cattle, 
and gloating on the wealth that had ac- 
crued to him and his companions. 

"I 'spect we'uns'd better tote the crit- 
ters over ter Buckalew's Cove at onct," 
continued the rebel. "This is too mouty 
close to the big road fer sich a passei. 
They're gettin' restless, anyway. They 
smell a storm. We'uns'd better skeet 
'round that-a-way, an' begin pressing 'em 
over toward the Buckalew road." 

As they came nearer. Shorty saw that 
while the man carried no gun, there was 
the unmistakable bump of a navy revol- 
ver under the faded blue overcoat. Shorty 
was, riding a quick, si)ringy young horse, 
and he grasped his hickory pole lance- 
fashion, and decided what he should do 
when the recognition came, as it must 
come wilhiu a few seconds. 

"Ileub and Ike must be comin' up this 
Tvay 'bout now;" continued the rebel, look- 



ing backward, as if to see them. "When 
they come" — (a whoop from the hill be- 
hind interrupted). "Why' thar's Todd, up 
thar! Who air yo'?" 

The rebel straightened up, bent a pierc- 
ing gaze on Shorty, and reached under 
his overcoat flap for his revolver. 

"Haint no time now to swap biograph- 
ies, you black-muzzled thief," said Shorty, 
taking aim at the man's stomach with his 
pole, and sticking the spurs into his horse. 
The force of the punch lifted the rebel 
out of his saddle and onto the withers of 
his horse, whence he rolled ingloriously to 
the ground, clutching at the horse's tail as 
he fell. Shorty leaped to the ground to 
wrest the revolver from his hand before 
Reub and Ike should come up. But as 
he grabbed for it he heard them call from 
a neighboring rise: 

"S-a-y, Pollock, yo' an' Todd stop yer 
eternal foutin' an' come up hyah ter- 
wunst, an' help 'tend ter these critters. 
They're gwine ter break away. Come up 
hyaii, I done tell yo', or Ave'uns'll loose 
every one on 'm. Quit yer dratted foutin' 
an' 'tend ter yer bizniss." 

The warning came too late. Out of a 
wreath of mist behind Shorty had come a 
ghost-like form, that announced its ar- 
rival with a resonant bray, that conveyed 
a mule's heated views on a variety of sub- 
jects connected with the war. The sight 
and sound were too much for .Toe Wheel- 
er's already shaking nerves. He had not 
found the cove the haven of peace he 
sought when he separated from the main 
herd. He would now go back to them by 
the quickest and shortest route. He 
echoed Abednego's bray with a resound- 
ing bellow, and with head and tail up 
started off on a trail leading to the right, 
which would eventually take him back 
into the road which he had left miles back. 
The rest of the herd went crashing and 
clattering after. 

"Hi, Corpril Elliott. Where are you? 
Where are you?" called Pete's shrill 
voice, from Abednego's back. "There's a 
sneaking bushwhacker up here, trying to 
get the drop on you." 

A shot answered this, aimed at Pete's 
voice, rrr.t it Went wide of the mark, and 
Pete trotted up to Shorty just in time to 
see him tear the revolver from the strug- 
gling rebel, and take all the tight out of 
him by a couple of terrific kicks in the 
ribs. 

Todd, who had gotten an imperfect 
but snilicient view of what was happen- 
ing from a little distance, now fired a wild 
shot with a view of expressing his feel- 
ings, and disappeared as fast as his horse 
could carry him. 

"Where in the world did you come 
from, Pete?" asked Shorty, as he mounted 
again. "Aint you lost?" 

"No; but I come purty near being this 
time. You see, I run back to catch Abed- 
nego, and when I got him and mounted 



ANOTHER DAY WITH THE FRESH BEEF DETACHMENT. 



7«5 



and was conung back I saw you turn up 
into this road, and I followed you. I had 
quite a time with Abedncgo, who wanted 
to go straight ahead, insicad o' turning af- 
ter you. That's what made me i-o far be- 
hind. He's u nice mulo, but he wants his 
own way." 

."Well, grt off him and get on that reb- 
el's horse there, ami, we'll follow up these 
cattle. They're going the right way, if 
I have the lay o' the land straight, and 
will soon run into the other herd. We'll 
keep behind, and see that none o' them 
straggle off into the brush." 

But Pete would not abandon his mule. 
He whipped the saddle and bridle off the 
horse, and on to Abednego, and remount- 
ed. His short legs would not reach the 
stirrups, however, and he had no time to 
shorten them, for Shorty, fearing that Ike 
and Keub would be somewhere, attempt- 
ing to turn the herd, slipped the revolver 
into his overcoat pocket, picked up his 
hickory pole, and started off on a sharp 
trot after the herd, followed by Pete with 
his stirrups clattering against Abednego's 
sides. The rebel's horse, for lack of other 
suggestion, followed. 

Shorty was not mistaken. Out of a 
left-hand by-path a little ways ahead came 
Keub and Ike, shouting. 

'■Ryah, yo' infernal fool, who air yo', 
aa' what air yo' a-doin'? Don't yo' see 
yo' air a-runnin' them thar critters right 



over ter whar the Yauliees 



Come 



acrost this way, an' head 'em off." 

Shorty changed his pole to his left and 
charged Reub's midriff as he had Pollock's, 
but with a force that seemed to actually 
cave him in. Shorty reined up a little, 
and, half-turning, settled Ike with a 
sweeping crack over the head. Then he 
and Pete swept on after the cattle. 

Si. riding with Shad ahead of the now 
regularly-moving herd, had come across 
little bunches of steers which had outrun 
the main body a mile or so before stop- 
ping, and gathered them up uutil they had 
25 altogether, but Shad refuscl to be con- 
soled. 

"It's true that we're only 25 short now," 
he said, "but that's all we can possibly 
get, and 25 are worth over !?1,S00. It'll 
take me 18 years to pay it at $100 a year, 
or six years at .$300 a year, which is the 
very most I could save. You're very good, 
Si, but it's scarcely mollifying my trouble, 
not curing it. I'd better stood a court- 
martial for disobedience of orders in not 
receiving the brutes at all." 

Jo Wheeler came tearing down a side 
road through the thick brusli on a hill to 
the left, halted an instant to look up and 
down the main thoroughfare, saw his late 
companions pouring over the hill to his 
right, gave a sounding sigh of gratifica- 
tion, and started on a slow, tired walk in 
the direction the herd was pointing, as- 
suming his customary position as leader, 
as if nothing had happened. Behind him 
came his 75 companions of the cove, with 



Shorty, Pete, Abednego and the rebel's 
horse bringing up the rear-. 

"Why, there's Jo Wheeler," said Si, 
delightedly. "Where in the world did he 
come fromV And (counting the others, as 
they tiled down through the brush) there's 
your 2."'> lost steers, Shad. And, great 
Scott! There's a lot more, some with C. S. 
brands on 'em. What does this mean? 
20 vv-ith IT. S. and 80 with C. S. Why, 
Shad, we're 50 ahead of the game. Hello, 
Shorty, where did you fiud 'em, and v.-hat 
've you been doing'?" 

*'0, me and I'ete have been back there 
a little ways transacting business with 
some gents who seem to've been going 
into stock at the expense of the United 
States and the Southern Confederacy. 
They seemed to be neutral sort o' cusses, 
who didn't care who they stole a steer 
from so long as they got him." 

"Yes," piped up Pete, "and you ought 
t've seen Corpril Elliott poke 'em in the 
gizzard with that long pole. It was more 
fun than a circus. I'll bet it turned their 
stomachs and bent their backbones. And 
I've got this horse for Sandy." 

The other cattle, now coming up, began 
to sniff, shy off and plunge. 

"Here, Pete," said Si, "that dumbed 
mule o' your's is scaring the cattle again. 
Take the blamed ghost away and kill him. 
Make sure he never comes near the herd 
again. Take him away, I tell you." 

"That's always the way," muttered 
Pete, as he disappeared in the brush. 
"Always blaming me for everything be- 
cause I'm a boy. 'Taint my fault, nor 
Abednego's. It's because the cattle are 
such blamed fools. I aint going to kill 
him. He's going along, if I go along, and 
nobody shall hurt him. I'll ride him, and 
Sandy'll ride the horse." 

He went back in the wods out of sight, 
and waited for his partner to come along. 

"Say, Shad," said Shorty, after they had 
rounded up the cattle for the night, and 
were eating supper. "I aint taking no 
credit for bringing that herd in. It's just 
what I ought to've done, and I'm mighty 
glad I had the good luck. But I want 
you to have the benefit of them extra cat- 
tle. Plow much ai»2 they worth to the 
Government?" 

"About $3,750," answered Shad. 

"Well, the Government ought to give 
you a nice house for your mother, or that 
other lady. This morning you stood to 
lose about $8,000; tonight your chips 
would cash in $3,750 ahead." 

"Makes no difference," said Shad. 
"Since I'm an ofhcer, I must be responsi- 
ble for any property turned over to me. 
I don't get any premiums on honesty." 

"Then no commission for me," said 
Shorty. "I aint going to play no game 
with the United States, nor with nobody 
else, where heads it wins, and tails I lose. 
I thought the Government'd be above such 
a thing." 



76 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



CHAPTER XIV. 
THE BOYS GET THE CATTLE INTO CAMP. 



The hoys of the 200th Ind. knew Si 
well enough to not want him to speak 
tAvice to them about anything, so Pete 
anrl Sandy felt that piudonce dictated 
their keeping Abedncgo out of sight and 
action, a good wude at least, after receiv- 
ing Si's positive orders to take hirn off and 
kill him. It was the first time that they 
had thought of disobeying Si, but their 
boyish hearts went out to the vagrant 
mule, and, boy-like, the more trouble he 
made the better they liked him. They 
kept themselves well to the rear during the 
day, exploring the corn-fields by which 
they passed for overlooked ears and blades 
for forage for their steeds. When the col- 
umn halted at sundown they took their 
animals into a little sheltered nook of ce- 
dars, where they carefully tethered them, 
and lay down before them the substantial 
provision which they had accumulated. 
They hid their saddles, bridles and other 
traps under the cedars, and then went for- 
ward to join the other boys. 

As the evening approached Si had en- 
tered a steep-walled cove, of fair size, 
which offered all the requirements for a 
good stopping-place for the night. There 
was plenty of water and grass, with some 
fields of corn. The sides were higli and 
steep, and the only egress from the gap 
was at the farther end. through which the 
creek made its way. In the center stood 
what had been a comfortable hewed-log 
house, before the turmoil of war had 
driven the owner away. Shad, v.-ho had 
taken a deeper interest in cattle-driving 
since he found himself with Z>0 more head 
than at starting, assisted Si in the process 
of rounding-up. Jo Wheeler, who had ap- 
parently had quite enough of travel and 
adventure for the day, yielded readily to the 
suggestion of Si's horse closing in upon 
his left, turned from the road into the 
fields, and after a little circuit came to 
a willing halt in the stable-yard, as if it 
offered the homo he had been seeking. 
Taking, with soulful eyes, his customary 
thoughtful survey of the darkling hori- 
zon, his knees bent, and his hanches sud- 
denly came to the ground. He gave the 
same far-sounding sigh over the hopeless 
limitations of a steer's existence, and then 
philosophically devoted himself to the 
sensuous enjoyment of his cud. The rest 
of the drove weaiily followed his exam- 
ple, and soou were bunched up close 
around the house. Shad carefully count- 
ed them, with a little swelling of the 



heart, as he made sure of having 550. and 
entered the sittin.g-roon of the house, 
where Si, Shorty. Jake Dye xind some of 
the others were starting a blazing fire iu 
the great black cavern at the end of the 
house by nieans of a titkful of straw which 
had been emptied on the floor, at the mi- 
gration of the family, and boards torn 
from the "dressers" and cupboards around 
the room. 

"We must have something more sub- 
stantial than these boards," remarked 
Shorty. 'T think I noticed a smoke-house, 
standing as I came in. I'll go out and tear 
it down. It'll furnish us enough to keep 
up a fire all night." 

"I wouldn't do anything to make a 
noise," objected Shad. "It might scare 
the cattle. You know how fearful they 
are." 

"Eh? What's that. Shad?" asked Si, 
looking at him iu surprise. 

"I mean that men who have ,$30,000 or 
$40,000 worth of Government property in 
charge cannot be too careful. And here 
we've picked up $3,000 or $4,000 worth 
more, .'ind that doesn't grow on every 
bush, I tell you." 

"Hello, what's come over you all at 
once. Shad? I haint been able to get yon 
to take no interest in the drove at all so 
far."^ 

"I've been doing a good job of able-bod- 
ied thinking this afternoon. I never before 
thought of the close relations between cat- 
tle and moiiey — and big lots of it." 

"Cl(^;-c relations?'' echoed the more ag- 
ricultural b., in v,-ondermont. "Why, 
they're tv.ins, and if anything cattle's the 
best o' the t^^•o. I'd a heap rather have 
a steer than $75 in notes of an Illinois 
bank. He's a heap safer to hold. He 
can't tjo counterfeited, and his president 
and cjisliier aint liable to skip out be- 
twixt two days with all his insides." 

"That's so," admitted Shad. "But I'd 
never thought of it before. I'd only thought 
of cattle as a cow you had to go after 
when you wanted to stay with the boys 
and play town-ball, and which broke down 
the fence at night and spoiled the gar- 
den, and gave milk that you could buy 
from the neighbors at five cents a quart." 

"^Vell, they're also a stack of steaks 
that'll cost, you 25 cents a. pound in the 
maiket and the things that grov,' the stuff 
for your $15 boots," added Si. 

"That's all true; but it's just come to 
me. I've been tkiaking over what Shorty 



THE BOYS GET THE CATTLE INTO CAMP. 



said last night. If we bring $30,000 or 
$40,000 worth of mighty skittish and losa- 
ble property through this tangle of moun- 
tains all right, we're probably only doing 
our plain duty and what's expected of us, 
but I'll look out that they'll never shove 
such a job as this on ms again. Why, this 
drove's worth more than the Lorena, with 
all her load. That was plain sailing, and 
easy in comparison. All we had to do 
was to stick to the boat, push her along, 
and fight off all comers. No particular 
credit in that. It was our little biz. But 
if we not only bring through all that we 
were intrusted with, but increase it by 
$3,000 or $4,000 worth, old Sherman ought 
to be tickled to death. I don't want any- 
thing lor myself, except a cei-tificate of 
good conduct and non-indebtedness, but he 
ought to do the handsome thing by you 
and Shorty and Jake, He ought to at 
least give you commissions." 

"Don't want one," said Si, decisively. 
"We've got the best officers in the army 
in the 200th Injianny, and I wouldn't 
want to take the job away from one of 
them, even if I was suited for an officer, 
which I aint." 

"Same here," echoed Shorty, who had 
come in with a load of the smoke-house 
logs. "I'm Third Corpril now, in Co. Q, 
200th Injianny Volunteer Infantry, and 
that's good enough for any reasonable 
man." 

"Me, too," echoed Jake Dye. "I'm Sec- 
ond Sergeant now, and can be Orderly 
whenever I'll take it. But I'd rather 
somebody else'd call the roll and make 
details. I get as much cussing as I cafi 
stand in my present place." 

"They are wanting good non-commis- 
sioned otficers to take commissions in col- 
ored regiments," suggested Shad. "Sher- 
man ought at least to make Si a Captain 
or a Major in one of those regiments, and 
Shorty and Jake First Lieutenants." 

"No Captaincy of contrabands for me," 
answered Si. "Rather be a flle-closer of 
Co. Q than command a regiment of woolly- 
heads." 

•"Same here," echoed Shorty. "Prefer 
chevrons to shoulder-straps every day. 
Don't catch on your overcoat." 

"Don't know about that," said Jake. 
"I've often thought it'd be lots o' fun to 
take 100 field hands and drill 'em into 
first-class soldiers, and smash with 'em 
through a rebel line. But I'm not stuck 
on the job. If it came my way I might 
take it; that's all. Just now I'm most 
anxious to get hack with the boys of the 
1st Oshkosh. But I think that if thnro's 
any pie handed but for this job it ought 
to "go to Shad, who r;in great risks and 
ought to have a l>ig winniiig to pay up. 
I'm for everytliing for him." 

"Same here," echoed Si. "Shad de- 
serves everything. None of the rest of 
us took any risks. We were just putting 



in our three years, unless sooner dis- 
charged." 

"I follow that suit clear to the end of 
the hand," heartily agreed Shorty. 

"Let that pass," said Shad. "I'll be 
well repaid if they appreciate how much 
you boys have done in this last service. 
Let's get supper, and then go out and 
make sure that our cattle are safe for the 
night." 

After supper they lighted their pipes 
and went over to make a careful survey of 
the drove. They found all the v/earixnl cat- 
tle lying quietly, glad of undisturbed rest. 
The clouds had cleared away, and the 
moon came out in all her glory. Si made 
a detail, who were to relieve one a-nother 
in riding around the herd all night, a 
guard was set, and making themselves 
comfortable around great fires built in the 
wide chimney-places in the various rooms 
of the house, and fed by logs from the 
stable and other outbuildings that had so 
far escaped the camp-fires which had 
licked up the fences. 

The next morning Shad was up betimes, 
and carefully counted the cattle before he 
would come to breakfast. He fooaid them 
all thei'e, peacefully feeding on the abun- 
dant herbage of the cove. His heart 
swelled with an unwonted pride over the 
50 extra cattle, and he went over to where 
they were and scanned each steer with a 
sense of special ownership. 

"We're to deliver these cattle to Capt. 
Hinkley Dingbat, Captain and Commis- 
sary of Subsistence," said Shad to Si and 
the others, looking over his orders, after 
breakfast. "I hope he's the right kind of 
a man. He ought to just swell up with 
joy at such a windfall, and make a big 
report on it. If he's got the right stuff 
in him he'll take us straight up to the 
Commissary-General and Sherman and 
make a red-hot report." 

Shad was all impatience to move, but 
Si waited stubbornly until the bright sun 
was well up over the high eastei'n ridge 
before he approached the regal Jo Wheel- 
er, and started him out to lead the line- 
of-march. 

"We'll save time by letting them ha,v« 
their fill," he insisted to Shad. "They'll 
drive easier from having all tliey can hold, 
and we want to get a long pull out of 
them today. It's the last good feed we 
cfln give them. There isn't probably much 
aronnd Atlanta." 

""N'S'ell, we ought to cross the Chatta- 
hoochee by noon, at the farthest," an- 
swered Shad, "and be near Atlanta by 
night, I haven't any idea where we'll 
meet the Hon. Hinkley Dingbat, Captain 
aitfl Cnnimissary of Subsistence, but I'd 
raiiii'i- it'd be in the morning, after he 
has lutd his breakfast, and is enjoying a 
good < igar, and in the humor Of appre- 
ciating a big thing Avhen he sees it." 

As they rode forward through the 



» 



BI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



bright, crisp day they talked happily from 
time to time of the successful ending of 
a duty upon which they had entered re- 
luctantly, iind indulged in pleasant anti- 
cipations of what would be said and done 
at headquarters when they arrived. The 
full cattle jogged along regularly, even 
though they were pushed to a faster pace 
than usual,' and there was no trouble even 
in getting them across the pontoon over 
the Chattahoochee. Jo Wheeler apparently 
did not see anything about it differing 
from an ordinary bridge, walked unhesi- 
tatingly across, and was followed with no 
more hesitation by the rest. Si stationed 
Shorty, Monty and Harry by the bridge 
to count, and they all concurred in 550 
passing. Evening came on as they reached 
Peach Tree Creek, crossed the stream and 
roundea up their cattle in front of the 
moldering rifle-pits that crowned the 
crests. They had entered the outlying 
camps and corrals of the army. Si di- 
Tided his detachment into three details for 
guard during the night, with Jake Dye 
as officer of the guard, and deployed a 
chain of sentries around the drove. He 
kept everybody ready to jump at a min- 
ute's notic-o, for now there were more dan- 
gers of a stampede, and besides he knew 
too well the thievish propensities of the 
hangers-on around a great army. 

While he was uoing this Shad went in 
search of Capt. Hinkley Dingbat. He re- 
turned late in the evening to report that 
while he had not seen him, he found that 
he was at his headquarters, some four 
or five miles down the road toward At- 
lanta. He had learned that ne ivas a 
young West Pointer, very tenacious of his 
dignity and of regulations. 

"That's all right," said Shad, hopefully. 
"After Col. Bonesteel, I think I can get 
along with that stamp of fellows. They're 
not so bad after all. They have only a 
few ideas, and they're concentrated on 
their own importance and that of red 
tape. Just cotton to them and you're all 
right. Yon bring up the cattle in the 
morning. Si. and I'll do the Regular Army 
act to Mr. Huckleberry Dinkelblinkelhink- 
elheimer in one time and three motions. 
I'd like awfully well to have old Billy Te- 
cumseh come riding around in his usual 
nosing, prying way. and give me a lot o' 
sass about the cattle we'd lost, like the 
others have, and allow me a chance to 
lay it in to him, right before you all in 
great shape." 

"You can do it. Shad," said Shorty, fas- 
cinated at the prospect. 

They had their breakfast at daylight 
the next morning, and rudely disturbed Jo 
Wheeler's mind by insisting that he ri.^e 
and lead off, without any preliminary 
browsing. He rebelled at this, but Si had 
become pretty well-acquainted v/ith him 
by this lime, and would uut permit any 
oi his vagaries. 



They all rode forward full of hopeful 
anticipations of Capt. Dingbat's astonish- 
ment and pleasure, and of receiving the 
coveted favorable mention from headquar- 
ters. 

Shad caught sight of that gentleman 
standing in front of the only wall-tent 
they had so far seen. He was j'oung, 
slender, wasp-waisted, stood very erect, 
with coat closely buttoned, gloves on 
hands, smoking a cigar, and looking over 
the corrals scattered aroiind with an air 
of supreme and complacent proprietor- 
ship. 

As he was on foot. Shad dismounted as 
he came up, threw the bridle over his arm, 
drew himself up rigidly at 10 paces dis- 
tance, saluted and inquired: 

"Capt. Dingbat, I believe?" 

'•Capt. Hinkley Dingbat, yes, sir," cor- 
rected the other, with official severity, and 
looking sternly at Shad's heels, which 
were much too far apart for a man stand- 
ing at attention. Shad had been riding a 
good deal of late. 

"Capt. Hinkley Dingbat," said Shad, 
bringing his heels together. "I'm Acting 
Lieutenant Graham, in charge of a drove 
of .500 cattle, v.'hich by this I'm ordered 
to deliver to you." 

'•And you've lost 100 or so of them on 
the way, like the rest," broke in the Cap- 
tain. "Well, you'll have to explain that 
to the General, and probably a court. It's 
not my business to listen to excuses. I've 
no tiifie. I'll simply receipt to you for 
what you turn over to me." 

•'On the contrary. Captain," broke in 
Shad, "I've got the full number, and more 
than that" 

"No matter about more than that." in- 
terrupted the Captain. '"I've no time for 
anything but what your orders call for. 
If you've got yottr full quota it is most 
surprising. I don't believe it. Don't you 
try to play any tricks on me. I'm a Rsg- 
tilar Army officer, sir; none of your slip- 
shod volunteers. Y'ou received at Coola- 
chuckee Creek, according to this order 
which you have handed me, 500 steers, in 
good condition, and all branded U. S., 
which you were to deliver to me, in like 
number and condition. Drive them up, 
and let me see them. Walsh, you and 
Peters take your position there on either 
side of the road and count. Drive up your 
cattle, sir." 

Boiling inwardly. Shad turned and mo- 
tioned to Si to '»ome on. .lo Wheeler 
passed majestically through the counters, 
folIov,-ed by the others. 

"Hold on, there," presently called out 
Walsh. '•There's some steers branded C. 
S., Captain: they're trying to ring in sonic 
outside cattle." 

'•Just as I expected," sneered the Cap- 
tain. "I knew yon hadn't your number, 
and you've been stealing from the coun- 
try. But you can't do it. I warned you 



THE BOYS GET TflE CATTLE INTO CAMP. 



79 



not to nttempt it. Tui'n those cattle out 
at once." 

"But, Captain, let me explain," said 
Shad. 

"I don't want any of your explanations, 
sir. Explanations are not in. my line. 
Make them to someone else. Turn those 



charges against yoii for this attempted im- 
position, sir," he informed Shad. "And 
it will go hard with your shoulder-straps, 
sir." 

Si worked the C. S. cattle aronnd to the 
rear, and Shad waited patiently for the 
result. Presently Walsh reported: 




THE GENERAL RODE ON, WITHOUT WAITING FOR REPLY.' 



cattle out, and bring on what yoo have 
left." 

It was a hard job cnttiup out the C. S. 
cattle, as they had woj'ked themselves into 
the middle of the drove; but Si at last 
accomplished it, while Shad stood by and 
listened to the Captain's condemnation of 
the slack, tricky volunteers, and his own 
praises of his inflexible honesty and un- 
paralleled shrewdness. "I shall prepare 



"Full 500 have passed through. Cap- 
tain, all correctly branded." 

"Eh, what's that, WalshV" inquired the 
Captain, looking over the drove, and then 
back at the 50 cattle still remaining. "You 
arc sure of j^our count V" 

"Perfectly sure, Captain," responded 
Walsh. 

"There was just 500, and no mistake, 
Captain," said Peters, saluting. 



r< 



80 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



"Strange," said the Captain, frowning. 
"Bjit I've got to give you your receipt. 
"Wilkins, fill out a receipt for 500 cat- 
tle to Mr. Shadrach Graham, and, bring 
it out, with a pen." 

"But, Captain," interjected Shad, "I've 
50 more here that I want to turn over to 
you. Let me explain." 

"I tell you, sir, explanations are not in 
my line. 1 have no time to listen to them. 
1 have no business with any other cattle 
than those you were ordered to deliver to 
me." 

"But can't we turn these in with yours? 
.We want to get rid of them." 

"No, sir; you cannot. Not for a min- 
ute, sir. I don't want to know how and 
where you got the cattle. Probably the 
Provost-Marshal will have to make the in- 
quiries. I Avant no complication with 
them. Take them away from here at once, 
sir, and take them beyond all my corrals. 
Walsh, you and Peters mount and ride 
along, and see that these cattle are taken 
outside of my lines, and kept there." 

The Captain handed Shad his receipt, 
a"na without saluting turned on his heel, 
and walked back into his tent. 

Accompanied by the vigilant Walsh and 
Peters Si drove the cattle on for a mile 
or more with increasing trouble, for the 
beasts were getting hungry, and they 
smelled the forage issued out in the cor- 
rals on either side of the road. They 
made a break for a pile of fodder near the 
top of the hill, but Walsh and Peters, as- 
sisted by the men in charge, drove them 
oft' and back into the road. 

They wore now past the cattle corrals, 
and Shorty, who had begun swearing at 
the Captain's tent, made a final effort and 
blistered everything in the army, particu- 
larly the men who had graduated from 
West Point. The rest gathered around 
and listened admiringly to his fluent ex- 
pression of their own burning feelings." 

"My friend," said a calm, gentle voice 
from outside the circle. "You really must 
not swear that way. It's awful to hear 
you taking the name of your Maker in 
vain. You will have to answer for that 
some day at the Judgment Seat." 

They all looked up, and saw that the 
speaker was a smallish man, riding a good 
horse, and wearing a soldier's overcoat, 
with an officer's cap. The new-comer had 
but one arm. "Excuse me. Chaplain," 
said Shorty, choking himself oft; "I didn't 
n-iean to swear before you. But 1 don't 
know as you've got any biisiness aroiind 
here. This is a matter uf rattla diiving, 
and Chaplains who know tli-.'ir business 
keep away from mules and cattle, and so 
save their ears." 

"But I'm not a Chaplain," .<5aid the new- 
comer, quietly. "I'm Gen. Howard, com- 
manding this wing of the array, and it's 
against my orders to indulge in profanity 
at any time or for any cause. You'll re- 



member that in future, and govern your- 
self accordingly." 

lleturning the salutes of the men the 
General rode on, without waiting for re- 
ply. 

•'So that's Howard, is it?" said Si, look- 
ing after him. "He's a good soldier and 
a brave man, but he'll have a sweict lime 
getting his trains through without swear- 
ing." 

The road they wei^ now going over led 
between corrals of mules. From every 
one of these men rushed out yelling at 
Shorty and Shad to'take those cattle back 
whore they belonged, and not bring them 
down there to fret tho mules and st-^ai liie 
forage. The cattle would break away to 
get at the hay and fodder piles, the men 
on guard would rush out with clubs and 
stones to drive them off. Si's men would 
attempt to defend tho steers while driv- 
ing them back, and there were free fights 
going on all along ih.? lines between tho 
mule-guardians and the cattle-guards. Si, 
Shad, Shorty and Jake Dye wore them- 
selves out trying to keep the peace and 
gather their cattle together. After an 
hour or two of this they got their drove 
past the mule-corrals, and into a little hol- 
low, where they paused to rest, get din- 
ner and take counsel. 

"This is a pretty how-d'ye-do," sai.i 
Shad, disgustedly, "to be treated this way; 
after bringing $4,000 Avorth of fresh beef 
that no one expected iuto camp. If old 
William Tecumseh only knew about this 
he'd make somebody's ears rings. I'm go- 
ing to march this drove right up to his 
headquarters, and tell him the whole story 
and show him the cattle. I'll bet" 

A wild rush and clatter interrupted him. 
The cattle had caught sight of or smelled 
the forage pile of a cavalry regiment in 
camp a half-mile to the right, and rushed 
for it in a bovine torrent. Si jumped On 
his horse and, followed by the others, 
dashed after to stop and turn them. The 
cavalrymen saw the danger to their much- 
prized forage, and swarmed out to defend 
it. Their horses at the picket-line began 
neighing, plunging and kicking, and some, 
breaking away, galloped wildly about. The 
Officer of the Day, with his broad sash 
of oflice prominent, galloped down, to stop 
his men, and head off the comers, and col- 
lided with Shad plunging forward to round 
back the leading steer. The two horses 
and the steer went down in a mix, and 
the following horses, steers; infantry and 
cavalry turmoiled together in a mad con- 
fusion of oaths, yells, bellows, bad tem- 
per, horns, hoofs, arms and legs. One of 
the forage guards, in order to put in the 
time, snatched up a carbine and shot one 
of the steers, and another guard ran madly 
about striking with his saber everything 
and everybody in his reach. 

Si and Shorty managed to retain their 
seats and their presence of mind. One 



THE BOYS GET THE CATTLE INTO CAMP. 



81 



dragged Shad out, and the other the Offl- 
ccr of the,.f)ay. 

"What, do you mean, you scoundrels, by 
trying to fush my forage pile with your 
infernal cattlt'?" yelled the latter, as soon 
as he could recover breath, and drawing 
out his. saber. 

"You yailer-legged idiot, couldn't you 
see that I was trying to head off the 
rush?" yelled Shad, with equal cordiality. 
"Have ■ some sense, if a cavalryman can, 
and call your men olT." 

"Come, come, now," said Si. "That's 
no way to talk to one another. Cool down, 
both of you, and help quile this ruction." 

They did so, and after some effort the 
tangle was straightened out, Shad gath- 
ered up his men and cattle and v.-ent back 
to the road, Avhile the cavalry camp sub- 
sided into its accustomed order. 

"We've got to get these dumbed brutes 
something to eat," said Si. as they moved 
down the road, "before we can take them 
anywhere, or do anything with them. Let's 
turn down that holler there, and take them 
outside the lines, and find a place where 
they can graze and give us time to think." 

They turned to the left, and proceeded 
to cari-y out this intention, when a mount- 
ed officer at the head of the squad, who 
had been observing them from a distant 
knoll, galloped down, and put himself 
across their path. 

"Halt, there!" he commanded. "Who 
are you, and where are you going with 
those cattle?" 

Shad started to explain to him, but he 
broke in with an expression of absolute 
incredulity. "I'our story won't go for a 
minute," he said. "I've been watching 
you for some time, and know what you're 
up to. Y'ou've stolen those cattle, and are 
trying to run them off. 'Twon't work, my 
fine fellow. That game's been played too 
often lately." 

"Now, don't be a measly fool," said 
Shad, savagely. "We're no cattle-thieves, 
and you ought to have sense enough to 
know it. We're all straight soldiers, be- 
longing to different regiments hepe in this 
army, and we're going to them, as soon 
aswe can properly dis^tose of these caitle. 
They're hungry now, and unmanageable, 
and as soon as we can graze them a little 
while we're going to hunt up the proper 
officer and turn them over to him." 

"Likely story," sneered the other. 
"You've brought them straight away from 
the cattle corrals. I've been watching 
you. I'm Provost Marshal of this divi- 
sion. Y"ou just stop those cattle right here 
and turn them over to me. I'll take charge 
of them, and take you up to headquarters. 
Y'ou're caught this time, my laddy-bucks." 

"We'll do nothing of the kind," said 
Shoi-ty. "I'^ou can't play that trick on us. 
You're trying to steal these cattle yourself. 
W^e've seen fellows play provost guard 
before. We're no recruits. You skip out 



of here, and tend to your own business. 
We'll attend to ours. Git out, or we'll 
make you." 

"Call up the reserve, Riley," said the 
officer to the bugler. A cavalry company 
seemed to spring out of the ground in an- 
swer to the call. 

"Now, gentlemen," said the officer, with 
fine irony, as the cavalry galloped up, 
"will you favor me with some more of 
your sass, or will you quietly turn back 
into the road, and mosey along according 
to orders?" 

"You've got the call on us," answered 
Shad. "But we demand to be taken 
straight to Gen. Sherman's headquarters. 
He knows us, he gave me my orders, and 
he'll understand this matter at once." 

"Very nice, and very modest," answered 
the officer. "But this isn't Gen. Sher- 
man's day for receiving cattle-thieves. He 
only receives them Wednesdays and Sat- 
urdays. This is his day for blockade-run- 
ners and quinine-smugglers. You'll have 
to be satisfied by being received by another 
General — the Provost-Marshal-General. 
He's a very sociable sort of a man. He'll 
talk to you quite freely. Forward, march." 

The sky had been overcast for some 
time, and now it began a cold, cheerless 
drizzle, which suited with the crashing 
hopes of the boys. With their hungry, 
sullen cattle they began plodding along the 
chafed road, which became a sea of mud 
as soon as the rain began. 

It was two long, weai-y miles to the 
Provost-Marshal's headquarters. On the 
way they came to a comfortable-looking 
double-pen house of hewed logs, with a 
wide porch in front. 

"That's Gen. Sherman's headquarters 
today," said the officer. "Too bad he isn't 
holding his regular cattle-thieves' levee 
today. There he is, now, walking up on 
the porch." 

"I'm going to speak to him, all the 
same," said Shad. 

"You'd better not," answered the offi- 
cer. "You'll wish you hadn't. Better save 
your eloquence for the Provost-Marshal- 
General. You'll need all of it there.'" 

"Gen. Sherman! Gen. Sherman!" Shad 
called out, as they came up. 

"Well, well, what is ft?" answered the 
General, with harsh impatience, stopping 
in his nervous walk, and looking sternly 
at his interrogator. 

"I'm Lieut. Graham, that you sent back 
from Kingston for those cattle." 

"Yes, yes; and you lost a lot of 'em, I 
suppose," said the General, irritably. 

"No, we caught him trying to run some 
of them out of camp," explained the offi- 
cer. 

"General, that is not true, protested 
Shad. "I've got here Capt. Dingbat's re- 
ceipt for eveiT head. These cattle here 
didn't belong to the herd." 

"What were you doing with them, 



82 



.«I .ETiEGG- AND SHORTl. 



then?" asked the General, sternly. "But 
I haven't time to bother with you. Take 
thorn on up to the Provost-Marshars." 

"But, General." protested Shad. "This 
is an entire mistake. We're the men, you 
recollect, who brought the pontoons 
through. We wouldn't wrong the Govern- 
ment "of a cent. We picked these cattle 



up by the way, and were trying to get 
some officer to receive them." 

"Story isn't at all probable, on the - 
face," said the General, snappily. "But-J 
I remember you men, and the good work'--' 
you did. I)ayton, go out there and look 
into that matter." 



CHAPTER XV. 

SHERMAN STARTS DOWN TO THE SEA. 



Col L. M. Dayton. Sherman's Chief of 
Staff, and a bright, handsome, alert young 
man, dressed in a mounted officer s jacket, 
embellished with gold-lace shoulder-knots, 
cam(> out on the porch, pen m hand, m 
obedience to the General's call. 

"Appears to be some tangle there about 
some cattle, Dayton," said the General, 
curtly. "Dook into the matier and straight- 
en it out." ,., „ ,^ 

"What seems to be the dif-few-culty, 
Captain?" asked Col. Dayton, jollily, ad- 
dressing the I'rovost-Marshal. 

"Why," answered the Captain, "I'd been 
noticing for some time these men philan- 
dering around in a suspicious manner with 
this bunch of cattle. They came from the 
direction of the cattle corrals, didn't seem 
to belong anywhere, or bo going any place 
in particular. Finally they turned and 
started out of camp with the cattle, and I 
arrested them, and am taking them up to 
the rrovo.st-Marshal's headquarters, to 
give an account of themselves." 

"You were quite right," answered Col. 
Dayton. "And the prisoners wo.uld rather 
discuss the matter with Gen. Sherman 
than with the Provost-Marshal, eh"? Well, 
that's matter of taste. Depends also on 
the humor the General's in. He's not 
in a Sunday-morning-church frame of 
mind today, and they'd much better go 
right up to the Provost-Mavshal-GonoVal 
and have it out with him. They'd better 
keep as far away from the General as they 
can until things straighten out a little up 
tho road." , o,, , 

"I don't care how mad he is," said Shad, 
resolutely. "Gen. Sherman's never so 
mad that he'll be unjust. After all the 
good work we've done, we're not going to 
be yanked up before the Provost-Marshal 
like a gang of deserters and bounty-jump- 
ers. Gen. Sherman ought to give us a fair 
hearing. We deserve it." 

"Dayton," called the General from in- 
side the house, "get through with that job 
and come in here. I want you." 

"In a moment, General," answered the 



Colonel. "Look here, boys; you'd better 
go right on up to tho Provost-Marshal's. 
He's straight and fair, and will give you 
as long a hearing as you want. Don't 
bother the General today. He's crosser 
than a bear with a sore head. I'd as lief 
deal with old Nick himself. I'd be mighty 
glad if I were vou to get off with a turn 
with Col. Ruggles. Take my advice and 
go on." 

"Well, we will not, unless were 
forced," said Shad, stubbornly, and design- 
edly rnising his voice so that it might 
reach the General inside. "It's no way to 
treat men who have done so much good 
service. We don't propose to be sent back 
to our regiments from the Provost-Mar- 
shal's headquarters. 'Tis'nt fair, nor even 
decent, after all we've been through. Gen. 
Sherman wouldn't allow it for a minute 
if he really knew it." . 

"Come, we've talked enough," said the 
Captain. "We'll have to start. Move out, 
tliere." ^ . „ ., ^ , 

"Hold on a minute. Captain," said Col. 
Dayton, as a thoiiglu struck him. "Say, 
Lieutenant, are'nt you Shad Graham?" 

"That's my name," answered Shad. 

"I think I remember you," said Col. 
Dayton. "Weren't you the Ohio Sergeant 
that pulled me out of the creek, into 
which my horse had fallen, the night of 
the first clay at Shiloh?" 

"I was." 

"And weren't you the Sergeant who 
went out with a squad and me, a few 
days later, on a scout, and fixed a cross- 
ing over Owl Creek, so that we got over 
and captured those rebels'?" 

"I Avas." 

"Hum," said the Colonel to himself, I 
guess that a man's got the right to pick up 
a piece of fresh meat now and then, if he 
wants it. But 40 or HO cattle is rather 
wholesale work. I'd 've sent him about 
his business if it'd been only one or two." 
Then aloud: "Captain, present my com- 
pliments to Col. llugglrs, and tell him tlwit 
I know this man, Lieut. Graham, and 



SHEEMAN STARTS DOWN TO THE SEA. 



83 



that he's a first-class soldier, and request 
him to consider everything as favorably 
as he can."' 

-But I insist. Colonel." repeated Shad, 
loudly, "ih-it \vf ;:hi:iii(l not be sent to the 
Provo;,i-:\Iar.sii;;i's at all. It's all wrong, 
and we don't deserve it. It's a matter 
that Gen. Sherman ought to look into him- 
Belt." 

"Dayton, why don't you come in here?" 
inquired Gen. Sherman, angrily, striding 
out of (he house. "Vv'hat are you wasting 
time out here for, wrangling over this 
matter? Send them all up to the Pro- 
vost's, and let him settle the matter. It's 
his business." 

"Gen. Sherman," said Shad, desperate- 
ly, "we don't want to go to the Provost- 
Marshal's" 

"Xobody does; nobody does." brol^e in 
the iToneral; "!>ut they go all the same." 

"G"en. Sherman," continued Shad, "we 
didii't want anything to do with those 

caltle" ■ 

"No excuse; no excuse, sir. Men don't 
do what they like in the army, but what 
they are ordered to. You can't pick and 
choose your dut.y, sir." 

"We had no intention of doing so. Gen- 
eral. ^Ve did that duty faithfully, and 
brought through every head all right. 
Then we had some others, which the Com- 
missary refused to receive, and" 

"Likely story. Likely story. But I 
haven't time to hear it. The Provost- 
Marshal-Goneral's the man to hear such 
tales. Go on up to him." 

"Gen. Sherman." said Shad, desperate- 
ly. "Thi.-; isn't fair nor decent. We're 
the men who brought the pontoons through 
with all that trouble. Then we brought 
the cattle through, according to your or- 
ders, instead of going to our regiments. 
Now you want us to go up to the Pro- 
vost's, to be sent back to our regiments 
ier guard, like a lot of bounty-jumpers 
and stragglers. That isn't a square deal, 
by any means. We don't deserve it at 
all, and I'll t '11 you so, right to your face." 
Gen. 1-hriman, you can't be so unfair 
as to do rliat," said Si. earnestly. 

"Look here. General, that's a low.-down 
lay (o make to such men as us," added 
horty. 

The General turned his stern glance 
from Shad's set face to Si's seriously re- 
proachful eonntenanee. and Shorty's, blaz- 
ing with ill-coneealod anger. Plis ru.gged 
countenance changed, and a softer light 
caine into his piercing, steel-blue eyes. 
['_Yes, yes; I remember you now," he said. 
"You were under Col. Bonesteel on that 
boat. You certainly are entitled to con- 
sideration and a hearing. Dayton, I'll 
et Maj. McCoy do v.hat I'd intended for 
rou. Look into this matter carefully, and 
lo the right thing.. Don't let any"injus- 
ice be done. I'm too busy, men, to at- 
cnd to it myself." 

"Thank you, General," said Shad and 
51, saluting. 
"What's the matter with Uncle Billy 



Sherman?" yelled Shorty. "Nothing's the 
matter with him. H-e-'s— a-1-1 — r-i-g-h-t! 
Three cheers for Gen. Sherman." 

They were given with a will by everv- 
body. The rain stopped, the clouds cleared 
awaj-, and the sun came out. 

Col. Dayton listened to Shad's story 
and accepted every word of it. 

"Certainly. Certainly. Plain as day," 
he said. "I knew you were all right, as 
soon as I got you placed as the Sergeant 
that pulled me out of the creek at Shiloh. 
Just like Dingbat. West Point never 
turned out a bigger fool, which is saying 
a great deal. He is dead-letter perfect on 
regulations and red-tape, has a medal for 
knowledge of his own importance, but as 
to ignorance of everything else he would 
win two heats out of three in a race with 
the Aztec children. Why, he'd starve a 
regiment to death rather than issue rations 
on a requisition that didn't have every 'i' 
dotted and 't' crossed. He spends most 
of his time writing letters to the General, 
protesting against the irregular way in 
which everybody, Generals and all, insist 
on doing business with him. Captain (to 
the Provost officer), you can leave these 
men and cattle with me, I'll be respon- 
sible for them." 

"Say, boys," continued Dayton, famil- 
iarly, "let's tell short stories, for I've a 
heap to do today. Tomorrow the great 
movement begins, and we'll cut loose from 
here for God knows where — may-be Rich- 
mond, ma.v-be Augusta and Charleston, 
may-be Pensacola, may-be some other 
spot in this God-forsaken Southern Con- 
federacy. All that I know is that we'll 
make Secessia yowl wherever we go. I've 
got an idea. I'm going to send you over 
with a note to Col. Amos Beckwith, the 
Commissary-General, who'll be tickled to 
death to see you. He's been having a pile 
of trouble getting his cattle through, and 
he 11 rise up and call you blessed, for hav- 
ing more than your quota. I don't 
know any worse dig that I can give Ding- 
bat than to have you tell your story to 
Beckwith. Beckwith is Dingbat's direct 
superior. He's a West Pointer and regu- 
lar, but he's been in the army since the 
year 1, and the Indians and the rebels 
have pounded a whole heap of hard sense 
into his Vermont Yankee head. I'd like 
to be there when he calls up Dingbat." 

Col. Beckwith, a strong-faced, capable- 
looking man of about 40, remarked pleas- 
antly, after reading Col. Dayton's note 
and listening to Shad's story: 

"I'm as glad to see you as the flowers 
in the Spring. Y'ou've done a good piece 
of work, and I shall .make it the subiect 
of a special report to Gen. Sherman. I've 
got a friend, a nervous, conscientious of- 
ficer, who's worrying himself sick over a 
shortage in his drove. He's afraid he'll 
lose his home, and have his wife and chil- 
dren turned out without a shelter, because 
of his dehciency. Tour bunch will fit in 
snugly. «nd make him whole." 

"Take them and welcome," said Shad 



84 



Sr KLEGG 'AND SSORTT. 



•u-ith jrrpfiT parnostnosfs. "Take them, right 
away. 1 don't want to see another steer 
as long as I live." . , ^ 

"You cant take 'em too quick for me, 
echoed Si. ' . - ■, cu 4- 

•■\Vhero"s your man? mquired bhorty, 
enthusiastically. "Let me see the man 
that wants to have charge of this bunch 
of cattle. I don't want to lose a minute 
in making his acquaintance, and I'll beg 
him for his ambrotype, to keep as a friend 
in iny hour of need. Where is he? . Let 
me look at once on his blessed counte- 
nance." 

The Colonel smiled, and said: 
"I'll send at once for him. Your men 
must be hungry, Liuetenaut. Take th^m 
right over by that old house and go into 
camp for tonight. You'll find plenty of 
wood and water there, and I'll have all 
the rations issued that you can eat and 
cany away. For once, you needn't stint 
Toursclves. I've a lot I've got to get rid 
of. By the way, Lieutenant, I need very 
much a few good men such as you've 
shown yourselves to be to be permanently 
attached to my headquarters during this 
movement. I must have them. I'm going 
to apply to have you detailed." 

"Not on your life," yelled Shorty. "No 
more details for us. We're tor peace and 
quietness. We're going as straight as we 
can go back .to the 200th Injiauny Volun- 
teer Infantry, and stay there." 

"Thank you very much for the honor, 
Colonel," said Shad. "But I think that 
we've been away from our regiments for 
a long time, and prefer to go back to them 
at once." 

"Preference doesn't play much part in 
the army," said the Colonel, quietly. "It 
is not what a man woiild rather do, but 
what he ought to do, and where he will be 
of best service, and that must be usually 
determined by somebody else than himself. 
But take your men over there and put 
them into camp. Think it over during the 
night, and I'll talk with you about it again 
in the morning." 

Not since the boys had left Deacon 
Klegg's well-provided house had they had 
Bueh a feast as that night. Not only Com- 
missary supplies, but sutler goods, had to 
be sacrificed to the inexorable question 
of transportation, and there was not only 
an abundance of the finest sugar-cured 
hams to go with their fresh beef, but 
there was all they could eat of canned 
peaches and tomatoes, desiccated vegeta- 
bles, condensed milk, cove oysters, sar- 
dines, and similar expensive camp dain- 
ties. 

As -soon as they had had leL^-.m-e to think 
Si and Shorty had begun to worry about 
Pete and Sandy. They could not recall 
having seen the boys since they broke 
camp on the morning of that eventful day. 
The boys, not seeing any probable need 
pf i\u'''<' j-T-'-if f's. Ivul f|uietly s'liiped away 
after breakfast, while the cattle were be- 
ing started, and gone back to where Abed- 
nego and the rebel horse had been tethered 



during the night, with a sufficiency of for- 
age. They gratified their boyish curiosity 
during the day by riding around seeing 
all the strange sights of the great army. ' 
They kept in long range of the detach- . 
ment, so as to rejoin it at any time that , 
it might look as if they were needed, and 
when it dropped its cattle and went into 
camp for the night they capie boldly up, 
fastened their steeds near-by, provided 
them abundant forage from the Commis- 
sary-General's piles, got their suppers, aud 
soon had a circle around them, listening 
to their accounts of all the wonderful 
things they had seen during' the day. 

"Look here," said Shorty to the rest, as 
they sat arpund and smoked, after supper. 
"I move that we shab out of here pretty 
soon. It \won't do to stay here tonight. 
That Commissary-General has his eye on 
us, and he'll detail us tomorrow morning, 
sure as little apples. Then we'll have to 
drive cattle and help wagon trains all the 
rest of our natural lives. I want some 
comfort of life. I want to get back to the 
200th Injianny." 

"There's something in that," said Si, 
struck with sudden fear, and taking his 
pipe from his mouth to consider. "If I 
knowed where the regiment was I'd get 
right up and start for it this minute. But 
it'd be woi'se than hunting for a needle 
in a haystack to look for the regiment in 
this ruck tonight. But we'll get up bright 
and early tomol-rov.^ morning, as we in- 
tended to do, anyway, and we'll be out 
of reach before they are stirring at head- 
quarters." 

"I don't like staying here tonight,"' said 
Shorty, uneasily. "We aint safe. That 
Commissary-General's a mighty nice fel- 
ler, but I don't want any more details 
from him or anybody else but Col. Mc- 
Gillicuddy." 

"The boys are now pretty well-fixed for 
the night," said Si, after a moment's con- 
sideration. "I don't want to disturb them. 
And I don't want to march 'em away from 
all this good grub, without one more hack 
at it. It would look like a sin. We'll 
turn out at the first notes of reveille, fill 
ourselves plum full of this grub, and be 
well on our way before the sun's fairly 
up." 

The sound of a horse's hoofs came out 
of the darkness. 

"I'll bet that's a detail noAV," said Shor- 
ty, apprehensively. The rest clutched 
their blankets and began rolling them up. 
Col. Dayton appeared in the circle- of 
light. 

"Hello, Graham," he said; "I've been 
looking for you. I've got some good new.s 
for you. I've been at the General about 
you. I've told him what kind of men you 
are, and got him to order you permanently 
detailed for service at headquarters 
and" — — 

He was interrupted by the sound of a 
general rush. Let by Si and Shorty, every 
oiie had snatched up his belongings and 
bolted into tbe darBas^SGDib out of sight. 



SHERMAN STARTS DOWN TO THE SEA. 



85 




"YES, YES; I REMEMBER YOU NOW," SAID THE GENERAL. 



"Well, I'm blessed," said the Colonel, 
in amazement, as he comprehended what 
had happened. "That's the first time I 
ever knew of men running away from soft 
dntj- at headquarters. ISIost of tlrem you 
have to club to make thcra let go." 

"The boys have had all they want of 
details," laughed Shad. "The varied ex- 
periences of the last two weeks have filled 
them up to their chins. They prefer the 
quiet and seclusion of domestic life with 
their regiments." 

Si and Shorty did not halt until they 
had reached the covert of a cedar thicket, 
where they felt they could not be found 
during the night. They did not sleep 



much, for early in the morning of the 
eventful 16th of November, 18G4. they 
were awakened by the thunder of the ex- 
plosions in Atlanta. The sky was ruddy 
with the flames of burning buildings, for 
the city was a seething conflagration. 
They cooked a hasty breakfast, and 
marched out on a high point which com- 
manded a good view of the devouring 
ocean of flame. The spectacle was grand- 
ly awful, and they stood and watched, 
wrapped in the wonder of it. Presently 
the sun rose bright and clear, and re- 
vealed another panorama still more fas- 
cinating to their soldierly eyes. As far as 
they could sec the roads and fields were 



86 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



filled with -n-hite-topped wagons, with 
di-oves of oattlo, with batteries of artil- 
lery, with endless waves of marching men, 
whose bright gun-barrels sent back a sheen 
of brilliant light from the sun s rays. A 
brigade band started up "John Browns 
Body," and from the throats of tens ot 
thoiisands of the stalwart, enthusiastic 
marchers rolled the song in mighty chorus. 
The boys joined in the wave of tumultu- 
ous cheering, which was echoed back even 
from the towering, granite sides of Stone 
Mountain. , •■ , 

The great March to the Sea had begun. 

"There's the Fourteenth Corps' flag 
now," said Si, more excited than wont. 
"There's the Acorn, I'm sure. Can't you 
see'' I can make it out plainly. Let s 
start at once. We get to it once, and there 
won't be no trouble finding the regiment. 

"Where's those blasted boysV" said 
Shorty, looking around for Sandy and 
■Pete. "We mustn't start without them, 
or they'll never find us in the world. I'm 
afraid" thev're lost. Anybody seen them?" 

Nobody had, but everybody began look- 
ing for them. ' . , „. . .... 

"Come on. Shorty," said Si, impatient to 
join in the march. "They're hanging 
around somewhere, as usual. They'll 
watch us, and follow us up. Come on." 

"Never do in the world," answered 
Shorty. "I won't stir a step until I've 
found them. They'll never find us if we 
leave them. I'll skin them both when I 
catch 'em, the brats." 

Everybody started anew In an excited 
quest of the truants, but they were no- 
where in sight. 

A more terrific explosion than ever 
shook the ground and the air. It was 
that of a large brick building on the out- 
skirts of Atlanta nearest to them. The 



air was filled with powder-smoke, flying 
bricks, beams, planks, doors, rafters and 
windows. Shells burst like from a can- 
nonade, and thwe was a venomous hiss 
of bullets through the air. 

Out of the powder-smoke dashed a 
white mule, going at such a rate that he 
only seemed to touch the ground where it 
rose in hillocks. On his back, , with his 
arms around his neck, holding on for' dear 
life, was a boy, with a face like a sheet 
popping eyes, and no cap. Behind came a 
horse, with another boy, in a similar frame 
of mind. 

"That's Pete and Sandy, sui'6's you're 
alive, on that cussed mule," said Si, rush- 
ing down to the road. 

Abednego stopped from sheer exhaus- 
tion, about half-way up the hill, and Pete 
slipped from his back. A piece of shell 
had scraped his cheek, and Abednego's 
flank had been creased by a bullet. 
Sandy had something like the same hurts. 

"Where in the world have you brats 
been?" Si angrily inquired, as Pete slowly 
recovered his breath. 

"Why," gasped Pete, "me and Sandy 
thought we'd ride down and take a look 
at the fire, while the rest of you was get- 
ting ready to start. We'd never have an- 
other such a chance. We was right near 
a big brick house that we thought was a 
hospital, it looked so quiet like. We didn't 
think no different, until we see some fel- 
lers ride up from this side, light a train, 
and then gallop away. We was then on 
the other side o' the house, and had to 
gallop right past it. If Abednego hadn't 
been such a good runner we'd 'a' been 
blowed up, sure. Pie saved my life." 

"Forward, march," called Si. "I think 
I see our brigade flag right over there." 



THE 200th IND. IS AT LAST FOUND. 



S7 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE 2C0TH IND. IS AT LAST FOUND, IT HAS A PLEASENT SOIREE WITH A 
i KAILKOAD, AND THE EOYS VISIT OLD FEIENDS. 



' It wai5 easy enough to find the Four- 
teenth CoiT-y. It aeemed to iJll the whole 
of that pait of Geoigia \^ith its endless 
columns of marching men, its miles of 
light batteries, its immense droves of cat- 
tle, its interminable strings of white-top- 
ped wagons, its long-drawu-out pontoon 
and ambulance trains. 

It was quite another thing to find the 
200th Ind., which, w-ith all the importance 
attached to it by Si and tlie re;;t, was yet 
but a small unit of the mighty whole. Its 
less than .'jCO effective men were but a' 
minor fraction of the great corps' 15,000. 
besides, m tlie montiis ihat Si and Shorty 
had been away the casualties oi the serv- 
ice had swept away or changed the corps' 
old landmariis. There had been sweeping 
changes in oilicers of all grades, from the 
Major-General commanding tiio corps, 
down. Maj.-Gen. Jelx C. Davis now rode 
at the head of the corps, instead of Maj.- 
Gen. John M. Palmer, who had succeeded 
Gen. George H. Thomas, and was in com- 
mand when the boys wore captured. Divi- 
sions had been reinodoied, brigades trans- 
ferred, regiments changed and consoli- 
dated. Old ones of imposing size had 
shrunken to battalions, and new ones, as 
big as the whole of the rest of the briT 
gades, had been added. The smooth faces 
of young othcers had become heavily 
Tvhiskered; trim, natty fellows, looking lil^e 
fashion plates, and brilliant with gold lace 
and buttons, had become bronzed and rug- 
ged campaigners, who did not care much 
how they looked, so long as they got there. 

Nobody knew where the l^OUth Ind. 
could now be foumi; nobody knew to what 
brigade it belong.-.'d now; nobody knew 
what division it v,as in. if they did know 
these thi'jgs, there v/duld be 'no telling 
where to look for Jt, l-i r:;rise the order of 
march had not ix' ■>':;;(■ f.-imiliar to the men. 
The corps had bcei! scaiti^rt'd about a good 
deal lately, and ic \,c;;i.d iin-.v :i 'hiv or two 
of miu'ching- and cainidng befoi-y they 
would get ;^h;!l:eii down into regular shape 
again. Be:;iC--, eve- ybudy was too full 
just nov,- ot th- ob.ici-tives of tlio great 
movement to have iiiixh thought of any- 
thing else. 

Those who tlmnght they ku'v,- were still 
worse, for they ;-ne a[:s:;;nte!y n^iskading 
diioitienf;, vbidi ;•:■!•( i!v> ],,-:: on -in vaio 
journeys, wlih wearisome st:::g^es with 
the tnvat-marchlui; co-ua^us, ihc uiUUS and 
the latteries. 



In the course of these they separated, 
Jake Dye taking his squad ofO in a dif- 
ferent direction, in search of the 1st Osh- 
kosh; Shad finding another clew to his 
regiment, and leaving Si and Shorty to fol- 
low their own judgment as to the where- 
abouts of the 200th Ind. 

It was very disheartening. To them the 
whole universe revolved around the 200th 
Ind. The rest of the army were mere ap- 
pendages to their regiment, and its posi- 
tion and movments should have been of as 
much interest to everybody as those of 
Gen. Sherman himself. They grew angry, 
and said insulting things to men who did 
not know anything about the 200th Ind., 
did not know whether it belonged to the 
corps now, did not remember to have seen 
it since the army left Chattanooga, and 
were indifferent as to whether tltey should 
ever see it. One man was iiupndeiu enough 
to say that he supposed that the war 
might possibly go right along without 
being seriously hindered if the 200th Ind. 
was still back in Chattanooga, or some 
other safe place. 

Shorty would have thrashed him then 
and there, lait his partner pulled him 
away. Si was reaching that pnint of view 
which showed so much to do in the world 
that he hated to see energy wasted on ia- 
conse(inential things. 

"Don't lick him. Shorty," he remon- 
strated. "Save ourself for something more 
important. We seem to've struck the 
back townships of the corjip. They've 
never heard of Ihe 200th liijianny. 'and 
we've never heard o' their regr.in'uts. It's 
about quits. Let's stop here ai.d make 
some coffee, and then nialie a break 
straight for corps heaJrj;uir;ers. They'll 
know there where the regiment is." 

"But Corps riead.iuarters are 10 or 15 
miles from here," grnmblrd Sli .:ty. "And 
it'll take us all tidy a:id all iii.jn to go 
tliat far tluv-iigli this frc.-in't ol' regiments 
and trains. ]:y that tiine Cor;,s ilfad- 
([uarters will l;:ive picked up il.^ Wvl and 
gom- on aiiotlier 10 or lo miles, a.iid vre'il 
be as bad rii as before, ^i'liat looks like 
our old division, acr(,ss the va.ii-y there, on 
that other hill. I'm sme I kii^tw them 

miles, only to lir:ii v. li^i; i.'ie.v liad come up 
to the column tlir.t fhe LUOtli ind. did not 
belong to that division, and no one knew 



83 



81 KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



exactly to which one. if any, it liad been 
assifrned in the last shuffle. 

Then Si led his weavy men back toward 
the raili-oad, to execute his lirst plan ot 
going dii-cctly to Coi-ps Headquarters. He 
presently saw that the army was halting 
and going into camp. He decided that it 
would be the best plan to halt, too, and 
wait till things had settled down a little, 
when he could move about more freely, 
and get certain direction as to the precise 
location of the Corps Headquarter-s. 

Then he found an Aid, who informed 
him that Headquarters had been estab- 
lished, four or five miles ahead, but could 
tell him nothing of the 200th lud. 

"Of cunrse, Jie don't know anything 
about the liUOlh In.jianny," said Shorty, iu 
deep disgust. "Did you ever see an Aid 
that kuowcd anything useful or that hi? 
ought to? He wouldn't be allowed on the 
staff if he did." 

"Well, let's v.-aste no more time," said 
Si. "He's told us the way to Headquar- 
ters, for which we"n> obliged to him. Fall 
in. Forv,ar(.l— INlarch." 

It was a weary trudge to Headquarters, 
but it w;ts easier going now, with every,- 
body pulling ull the road into camp. They 
reached Iheir destination about sundown, 
and found the Adjutant-lieneral of the 
corps standing outside, in his shirt sleeves, 
superintending the arrangements of the 
ten Is. 

"The 200th Ind.," he answered prompt- 
ly. "Yes: it's coming up by Avay of Snap- 
linger, and will strike the railroad about 
four or five miles back. You go right down 
the railroad and you'll come to it. It ought 
to be there about this time." 

"Why. we just came from there," gasped 
Si, amazed at the easy certainty with which 
the Adjutant-General kept the movements 
of every regiment in mind, contrasted with 
the exasperating ignorance of everybody 
else, especially Aids, and disgusted at the 
same time with the idea of having to 
march back. "We were right at the 
railroad, about five miles back, when we 
started for Headcpiarters." 

"Too bad," said the Adjutant-General, 
nonchalantly. "If you'd only stayed there 
your regiment would have come up to you. 
It went down by Snapfinger to clean up 
the forage in that locality, and was to 
turn to the left to strike the railroad in 
line Avith the rest of the division. I'm 
afraid that all you've got to do is to toddlo 
right ba<-k the way you came." 

••That's all right, boys," said Si, his nat- 
ural cheerfulness asserting itself. "Now 
we know something for sure. We're near 
home, and no mistake. Only five miles at 
most to the old regiment, that we've been 
hunting so long. Put some spring into 
them brogans of your'n, and we'll soon be 
home, where we'll have a good night's rest. 
Forward — ISIarch." 

The boys were animated by his hopeful 



words, and began making the' be'st time of. 
the day. , ' , ' . '■ " 

"Snapfinger, DeKalb Co., ,Georgy," 
mused Shorty, as they marched along. "Si, 
I"ve been thinking all day, a,«'I lo'dked up 
there at Stiuie Monntaiu, that this coiin-" 
try was familiar, and now I understand it.. 
We must 1)0 near our old layout, apong the 
harn'ts, and the home of Uucle Elihraiia 
and Aunt ]Minerva Ann. I'ou know them 
guards were ail from around Sijnpfinger, 
DeKalb County, Georgy. "Reniomber ho-^v 
they used to say it? and we used to mimic 
them. Snapfinger — devil of a name." 

"I declare, that's so," answered . Si, 
scanning the perpendicular sides of Stone 
Mountain, and then the country aroimd. 
"I hadn't thought of it before. We can't 
be far from the homes of those kindly- 
disposed gentlemen 'who were determined 
to hang us. If we get a chance, v,-e must 
go over and pay them a social visit." 

"Let's go and see Uncle Ephraim and 
Aunt Minerva Ann first," said Shorty. 
."Business before pleasure, always. It's 
our business to look out for our friends 
first. After that we may take a little rec- 
reaction iu hanging our enemies." 

"Your, program's a good one," answered 
Si. "We'll arrange it that way." 

"I'll bet a year's pay to a sutler check," 
said Shorty, indulging in blissful anticipa- 
tions, "there'll be a regular Mardi Gras, 
with the lid off, in the old 200th Injianny's 
camp to-night, after we got there. The 
boys'll be so glad to see us that they won't 
pay no attention to tattoo, but keep it up 
till midnight. I expect Col. McGillicud- 
dy '11 discover a strawberry mark on your 
left arm. Si, and find that you're his loug- 
,lost brother. As for Cap. Bowersox, I 
know that he'll at once turn over the com- 
mand of Company Q to me, and give me 
an order on the Commissary for a straight 
barrel of best minie-bullet whisky, 800 
yards point-blank range." 

"Well, he won't, if I know him," an- 
swered Si. "He'll be mighty glad to see 
you, but if he allows a drop of whisky in 
the company he's not the olficer he used 
to be. No, the fun'll be to have a good 
supper, and then sit around the great fires, 
and have the boys tell us all that has hap- 
pened since we left. Won't that just be 
great? An hour o' that'll be worth all 
that we've been through." 

Ihey went up on to the railroad and 
marched along it, to make sure of not miss- 
ing their regiment. To their left, and some 
feet lower, ran the wagon road, with a 
thiek curtain of bushes between the two. 
They were watching eagerly down the 
line of track for a sight of a regiment, 
when they heard Col. McGillicuddy's well- 
remembered voice command: 

"Battalion, HALT! Front! Right dress! 
Front! Backward march to clear the 
road. Halt! Right dress! Front! Order, 
ARMS! St«£k, AftMSr 



THE 200XH IND. IS AT LAST FOUND. 



69 



"Now, men," continued the Colonel, rid- 
ing down the road to the center of the 
regiment, to address it in a more conversa- 
tional tone: 

"Break ranks, and cook your supper. 
After supper we'll" 

He was interrupted by a wild cheer 
from the railroad bank above of: "Hooray 
for the 200th Injianny Volunteer Infantry! 
Three cheers for the 200th Injianny!" 

The cheers were followed by a tumultu- 
ous rush through the brush, as Si and his 



"No apologies. Sergeant; none is neces- 
sary for a minute. I'm so very glad to see 
you that we won't stand on ceremony of 
any kind." 

"Col. McGullicuddy," said Si, in the 
most formal manner, "I have to report the 
arrival of myself and Corporal Elliott, 
with 58 furloughed men and recruits of 
the detachment we were ordered to take 
charge of at Indianapolis. We lost one 
man killed on the way, and left one severe- 
ly wounded behind in the hospital at De- 




THEY LEFT THE MARK OF THE REGIMENT IN RAILS AGAINST THE CLIFF 



squad tore down from the embankment 
and rushed into the breaking ranks. The 
veterans of the regiment recognized their 
old comrades at once, sent up an answer- 
ing cheer, and everybody presse'd around 
to shake Si's and Shorty's hands, who tried 
hard to take all of them at once. 

As the commotion subsided a little. Col. 
McGillicuddy rode up and said smilingly, 
as he extended his hand to Si: 

"Sergeant, that is a very unceremonious 
way in which to enter my camp." 

"I know it is, Colonel," said Si, be- 
thinking himself and becoming very sol- 
dierly. "I beg your pardon. I kuowed 
better than to come in this way. I in- 
tended to do it properly. But it seems to 
me that we've bin trying to get to the 
regiment for more'n a year, and had all 
sorts o' times in doing it, and we've bin 
hunting you through the corps all day, and 
when we suddenly heard your voice and 
saw the reginipnt, I just couldn't control 
myself nor the ^ooys." 



catur, Ala. All the rest present and ac- 
counted for." 

"A very excellent report," answered the 
Colonel, in his official manner. "Make a 
written report to the Adjutant of the ac- 
tions in which you were engaged. Much 
better than I could have expected. Adju- 
tant, take charge of these men and dis- 
tribute them to their companies. Ser- 
geant (resuming his friendly tone), I'ra 
more glad to see you than I can tell you. 
I felt all the time that you would come 
through, if it was in the cloth, but 1 gave 
you up after we started from Atlanta. I 
suppose you have had quite a time. The 
first leisure we have I want you to come 
to my tent and tell me all about it. To- 
night we've a big job of railroad destruc- 
tion on hand. You had better go right over 
to Co. Q and get your supper." 

It was hard v.'orl-: l( ; Si and the rest 
to eat all they wanted after their long 
march; drink as much <.()ft"e<> as their sys- 
tems demanded, and answer all the ques- 



90 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY, 



tions that the eager members of Co. Q 
lired at them. They had scarcely gotten 
half as much as they wanted when the 
bugle blew "Attention," and the regiment 
tell swiitly into line. 

•'Now, men," said the Colonel, walking 
down to thu center, "the plan is this: Co. 
A will go up the road about half a mile, 
just this side of that clump of trees, and 
deploy as skirmishers, about a pace apart. 
The other companies will follow and do 
the same, back to here. Then when the 
bugle sounds 'Forward,' the line will move 
to the railroad, and each man will station 
himself opposite the end of a tie. When 
the buele sounds 'Itcady,' he will stoop and 
take hold of the end of the tie. At the 
sound 'Fire,' he will lift his end up and 
throw it over. Follow the bugle prompt- 
ly, and throw the whole length of the track 
over at once, just like an 'Order, Arms.' 
After you've thrown the track over, pull 
the ties, stringers and rails apart — some 
tools and sledges will be distributed by the 
Quartermaster, to help you do this — make 
piles of the stringers and ties, set them 
afire, and lay the rails on them. After the 
rails' get redhot, twist and bend them in 
some way, so that the rebels cannot 
straighten them out and use them again." 
''Say, Si," said Shorty, with a nod of 
approval toward the Colonel, "old man's 
a planner, ain't he? Shad couldn't 've 
laid out that job better." 

"Great head — long as a watermelon," 
answered Si. 

Though tired with their day's march, 
the regiment went at the work with enthu- 
siasm, and quickly the word went along 
the line that everybody was in place. 

"Ready," blared the bugle, and each 
man bent down and took hold of the end 
of a tie. 

"Fire," rang the bugle, and a half mile 
of track rose up and went over into the 
ditch. The ties and stringers were 
wrenched apart by the upheaval. Sledges 
and crowbars quickly separated the rails 
from the stringers, the ties and stringers 
were made into piles and were soon glow'- 
ing fires. The rails were gathered up and 
thrown on these. The glare of the great 
tires and the thrill of the immense destruc- 
tion excited the participants, and as they 
rushed about in the lurid light, yelling as 
they ])iled on more ties and other rails, it 
looked like a view of some demoniac 
saturnalia, with the bending rails as ser- 
pents writhing in the flames. 

Miles up and down the line other regi- 
ments were doing the same thing — but 
few with the quickness and completeness 
of Col. McGillicuddy's method. They 
learned it afterward, and thereafter not 
only regiments but brigades, and some- 
times whole divisions, would raise and 
throw over miles of track at the sound v£ 
bugle. 

The men began a rivalry to see which 



could twist and bend the rails into the 
most curious shapes. 

"I say, boys," shouted Shorty, "let's do 
something to show that the ^iOOth Injian- 
ny's bin here. Let's leave the mark of 
the regiment in rails, up against that 
cliff." 

They all yelled in assent. The cliff rose 
as straight and smooth as the wall of a 
house, and overlooked the valley for miles. 
It was far easier to bend the rails into 
fantastic shapes than to a resemblance of 
letters, but by midnight they had finished 
it, and the regiments, which marched l)y 
the next day, saw leaning againit the face 
of the clifE 

"200th Ind. Vols." 

"There," said Shorty, as he wiped his 
face, after placing the last rail in position, 
"these blamed fools mayn't know the 
2U0th Injianny, or where it is, but they 11 
all know whore it has bin." 

"Let's lay down," said Si, surveying the 
work with equal satisfaction. "We want 
to get up early to-morrow morning, and 
make a circuit out to Uncle Ephraim s 
and Aunt Minerva Ann's. We can never 
go past where they live without calling. 
It'd be awfully ungrateful." 

Learning their object, the Colonel read- 
ily gave them permission to make the de- 
tour, and join the regiment in the even- 
ing at Peachstone Shoals, on the Ocmulgee 
River. As they now knew their division 
and brigade, there would be no trouble in 
finding the regiment. 

There was little trouble in finding Mr. 
Benjamin Small's plantation, and by brisk 
marching they came to the place on the 
roud where they had turned off to go to 
the home of the "harnts" by the middle of 
the forenoon. 

How differently everything looked from 
what it did months before, when they 
were skulking refugees, anxiously Avatch- 
ing every turn of the road, every field and 
every house, and avoiding the sight of 
white men. Now it was the Avhite men 
who avoided their sight, as they strode 
masterfully along, fully armed, and eager 
to encounter those before Avhom they had 
then shrunk. They Avere surprised at the 
quickness with which they had covered 
Avhat had before seemed long distances, 
and before they realized it Avere at the 
Avell-remembered by-road down Avhich 
Uncle Fphraim, Aunt JNlinerva Ann and 
the others had come Avith their AA'elcome 
loads of food. 

Resist ing the temptation to revisit the 
scene of the llarpster tragedy, Avhich had 
been their home for several days, they 
turned to the left, and quickly came to the 
roAV of negro-quarters. 

Aunt Minerva Ann was out in her cnl- 
lard i)atch, knife in hand, seeking the ma- 
l(M-ial for Uncle Ejdiraim's dinner, and 
:-inKing in a powerful and muiiical con- 
tralto: 



99©ra IND. m AT LAST FOUNIX 



91 



^'On Jordan's stormy banks I stand, 

An' cast a v/istt'ul eye, 
T' Caue-yun's fa'r an" happy land, 

Whar my secessions lie." 

"No, not 'secessions,' " she communed 
with herself. "Secession's bad an' wicked. 
Dat's de way I sing hit at dc house, t' 
tickle de white folks. When I sing hit fo' 
myself hit's whar my — my — O, yes, leces- 
sious lie. Kecess is what dey had at 
school, Yv-hen dey gits out. Dat's a good 
time — ""Whar my recessions lie." 

"Good morning, Aunt Minerva Ann," 
called out Si, blithely. 

"In de name ob God, who dat?" said 
the terror-stricken old darky, dropping her 
knife and looking with starting eyes on the 
file of starwart blue-coats that came out 
from behind the bushes. 

_"V\'hy, Aunty, don't you know us?" said 
Si. "We^re the Yankee soldiers that you 
fed last Summer — the fellers that was* up 
there in the home o' the harn'ts." 

"No, yo'n ain't. Dey's all done daid. 
Dey killed dey'uns. Ebbery one ob dem. 
Dey'uns done killed dey'uns. Cut deir 
froats, an' piled rocks on dem in de 
crick. Dey done tole us so. Dey showed 
us de place. Yo'uns is ghostses. O' don't 
hurt me. I's only a po' niggah" 

She started to scream at the top of her 
voice, Imt Si caught her arm. 

;*Nonsense, Aunty. Don't be a fool," he 
said. "Yv'e're all alive and well. Every 
one of us. iiebels couldn't kill us. Here's 
little Pete, that you liked so much. Come 
up here, Pete." 

"Here I am, Aunty," said Pete, jump- 
ing off his mule and running up to her. 

"O. yo' bressod leetle soul," ejaculated 
the negress. forgetting all at once her hvs- 
terical fear, and taking him in her mother- 
ly arms. "Is it rayly yo?' yo' bressf-d 
leetle, teenty Y^ank?. An' dey said dey'd 
done cut yo' froat, an' buried yo' in "de 
crick, an' heaped .great heaps o' rocks on 
yo'. An' yo' ain't dead, an' yo'r froat 
ain't cut, an' dar hain't a heap o' rock>5 
piled on yo', an yo've done growed more'u 
a mile taller. Lawd, bress yo' soul, -so yo' 

ive." 

Pete extricated himself from the smoth- 
ering embrace and said: 

"Yes, it's me. Aunty, and I believe there 
IS some more of me than there was when 
you were so kind to me. I've brought you 
a whole lot o' genuine Yankee coffee. I 
told the rest o' the boys about you. and 
they all chipped in some and made quite 
a bag. I'll get it." 

He ran back to his mule and brought a 
largo bag of fragrant coffee. 

"And here's some more things. Aunty," 
said Si and Shorty, producing various arti- 
cles that they thought would please the 
woman and her husband. "And here's 
Uncle Ephraim, too. Uncle, we're on our 
way v,-ith the army. We're in a great 
Lurry, but we felt that we couldn't go by 



without stopping and thanking you all for 
your great kindness to us when we were in 
lots o' trouble. We'll come back again 
when the war's over, and do you some 
good." 

Every negro on the place seemed to have 
learned of their presence, and was gath- 
ered around, devouring every detail with 
their great white eyes. 'I'hey pressed up 
close to touch the hands or even the 
clothes of the boys. 

One white-haired old uncle began a 
thanksgiving at the top of his sonorous 
voice, and a middle-aged negress, whose 
specialty was shouting at camp-meetings, 
split the air with 

"(xlory to God! Glory to Godl" 
that it seemed ought to be heard back in 
burned Atlanta. 

"Well, good-by, all," said Si hastily, 
shaking hands with Uncle Ephraim. "Let 
me thank you again. We must go, but 
you'll likely see us again, soon, when the 
war's over. Good-by." 

"But we'uus "s a-gwine wid yo'uns," said 
Aunt Minerva Ann, with sudden decision. 
"We'uns 's a-gwine right erlong. I's stood 
on .Jordan's stormy banks an' cast my 
wistful eyes plum long enough, an' I's done 
gwine whar my recessions lie." 

"Dat's what we'uns 's a-gwine fo' t' 
do." said Uncle Ephraim, catching inspira- 
tion, as he usually did, from his wife. 

"But you can't," said Si, appalled. 
"You can't go with us, at least not now. 
We're traveling light, and going fast, and 
we can't have nobody with us. You just 
wait till the war's over, and vre'U come 
back.'' ^ 

"We'uns 's done a-gwine wid yo'uns," 
said Aunt Minerva Ann decidedly. "I got 
a sign las" night, when I dreamed ob de 
Angel Moses and Gabriel wid his ho;-u. I 
knowed de sign meant something de min- 
nit I dreamed hit, an' now I know hit 
meant fo' we'uus t' go, an' we'uns 's a- 
gwine." 

"No, I tell you, you must stay back," 
said Si, peremptorily, as he extricated his 
squad from the crowd and started down 
the road in quick time. 

"If I have my bearings right." said Si, 
as they came on top of a hill, and ho took 
a survey of the country, and its relations 
to the bare walls of Stone Mountain, "that 
town, where they had us in jail and 
started to hang us, lays down there to the 
right. I think we can make a circuit 
through it. and burn that old jail, for the 
benefit of humanity, and otherwise make 
them sorry that they did not hang us v.-heu 
they had the chance." 

"I think we can do it, and yet make 
Peachstone Shoals all right by right,'' said 
Shorty. "Any way, let's ti-y it.'' 

"Goodne.ss, just look there." said IVFonty 
Scruggs, pointing back to Ylr. Benjamin 
Small's plantation, which was clearly risi- 
ble in the distance. Uncle Ephraim had 
hitched up the mule team, and with Aunt 



92 



SI KLEGG AND SPOHTY. 



Minerva Ann seated beside him, was driv- 
ing along the road, after them, followed by. 
all the negroes on the place, each carrying 
some article which he or she supposed 
would be of special value in the future. 
Some had cooking utensils, some baskets 
of food, but the most had bits of fine rai- 
ment, apparently obtained from "the 
house," which scorned to have been aban- 
doned by Mr. Small and his family. Uncle 
Kphraim's head was adorned by a fine 
silk hat, and Aunt Minerva wore a red 



shawl, and a rich bannet, nrofusfily^deco- 
rated with artificial flowers,- ai^d caMed a 
silk parasol, all treasuves of, Mrs, SmaU's 
holiday wardrobe. 

'•If they'll come, they'll Qpme,'' mut- 
tered Si. "I done all I could to keej> 'em 
back." 

"No time to waste on them^" said 
Shorty. "Forward to the beautiful city of 
Hang-Town, with its fine public institu- 
tions — particularly jail ■—' and i merciful, 
Christian people." -. ,ilh . :. ..-- 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SKA. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE BOYS EEVISIT THE TOWN ^WHEEE THEY SO NARROWLY ESCAPED 
HANGING— THEY MEET AND RECOGNIZE A NUxMBER OF OLD ACQUAINT- 
ANCES—THEY GIVE THE GEORGIANS AN UNLOOKED-FOR AND VERY 
IMPORTANT LESSON. 



Si and his squad soon came to the top 
of a hill which overlooked the straggling, 
squalid little village of Hang-Town, as 
Shorty and the rest persisted in calling it. 
Without showing themselves out in the 
road, they halted for a few minutes to 
study it, and recall their miserable experi- 
ences there the previous August. That 
was only a little over two months away, 
but it seemed a century. Such an infinity 
of things had happened since. Then they 
were hungry and haggard, unutterably 
sore in every limb, hunted down by day 
and night, in the midst of a commuahy 
where every •white man was more danger- 
ous than a wild beast, and their brightest 
hopes were merely to escape with life and 
limb from perils which beset every step. 
It seemed that there Avas not a drop in sor- 
row's cup left uutasted by them. The 
vicious rabble into whosi.' hands they had 
fallen were confident, impudent and de- 
fiant — heaping hatred, contumely and de- 
lusion on the sacred cause which was 
dearer to them than life itself. After hav- 
ing cost 10.000 Union lives, Atlanta still 
mocked and defied the Union army. The 
boys had only been rescued from an igno- 
minious death by a fortuitous chance. 

Since then they had been home, and 
drunk new and greater drafts from the 
fountain of the Beauty and Glory of Life. 
Si had had the crowning joy of union with 
the beloved of his heart; Shorty had felt 
that some measure of the same happiness 
was vouchsafed him. Each of the others 
had had something come in to greatly 
vivify and broaden life. Atlanta was now 
but a heap of smoldering ruins — a thing 



of so little moment that they could march 
off and leave it without further care or 
thought. The Union army Avas sweeping 
resistlessly over Georgia. It seemed as 
the Avorld had turned clear around since 
those dreadful August days, but that 
miserable little village had not changed a 
particle. It lay there in the bright No- 
vember sunshine, just as they remembered 
it in the glare of August. There was the 
same gang of long-haired, unkempt, shab- 
bily-attired loafers hanging around the 
rambling, shackling, weather-beaten old 
tavern; the same ragged, gnarled locusts 
iu front, suiting with the dilapidation ot, 
men and building; the same forlorn meet- 
ing-house, the same villainous "grocery," 
with emptied whisky barrels in front; the 
same evil-iooking little jail. The boys eveu 
made out the eight scrub oaks, Avhich had 
been trimmed up for their gallows. And 
as they looked, they saAV a sour-A'isaged 
man, Avith a broad hat, and riding a fine 
horse, pace dignifiedly up to the tavern, 
Avhere he was received with marked diiS- 
tinction by some of the more respectable- 
looking men, who had apparently gathered 
there to meet him. 

"I declare, if there isn't Elder Horn- 
blower, even," exclaimed Si. "I wonder if 
he has come to preach his famous sermon 
about the 'spoilers coming upon all the 
high places through the wilderness?' Hia 
sermon's coming truer than he dreamed or." 

"We're playing in great luck to find hini 
here," said Shorty, with a grim signifi- 
cance, that boded no good to that sand- 
hill Boanerges. "There'll be some spoiling 
now. that he can preach about .with feel- 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



S3 



ing — if he lives to preach any more. I'm 
glad those trees are still standing, and all 
ready. They'll come handy now." 

!Si noticed to the right a creek flowing 
from the hills, with a deep, wiUow-vailed 
ravine, which would enable them to gee 
quite near the tavern without being dis- 
covered. 

"They've got some very good horses 
there, Shorty," lie said, "'which they've 
isaved from the rebel's pressing agents, and 
which our army needs. I want that one 
myself which the Elder is riding."' 

"Confound it, I wanted that one my- 
self," grumbled Shorty. "Trust you to yick 
out the best hoss on sight. You ain't" the 
son of a Baptist Deacon for nothing." 

"We'll argue that at some future time," 
said Si. "The main thing uow's not to 
let any o' them got away, nor thoir hosses. 
I think 1 recognize several gents there that 
we've an account to settle v/ith. Let's 
skirt along through the woods until we 
tome to the head o' that holler, and then 
foiler the crick down to the road. Dont 
anybody make the least noise. Pete, you 
and Sandy can stay back here, keeping 
under cover, until you see us raise the 
bank, and then you galiop down, yelling at 
the top o' your voices,." 

The crowd about iJie taven were so en- 
grossed by the arrival of the Elder, with 
bis budget of news of the war, ihat it ^va:l 
easy for Si and his squad to make their 
way tmsuspectcd to the point aimed at. 

Apparently, the Elder's message was so 
important that it had to be communicated 
in the form of a public speech. He was 
not reluctant to this. He As-as one of those 
old-time Gospelers, who felt it their duty 
to "improve every occasion with a fesv re- 
marks." He suffered himself to be led to 
the horse-block, which he mounted, flour- 
ished his red bandanna like a signal flag, 
and blew his nose with a trumpet sound, 
to give his hearers time to settle around, 
and get in a properly expectant frame of 
mind. 

"Friends — ah, feller-citizens — ah, he- 
loved brethren — ah," he began. "I've bina- 
preachin' t' yo' the Word fer many years — 
ah, and I've frickwently took as my text — 
ah, the 12th verse — ah, o' the 12th chapter 
— ah, of the Prophecies of .Jeremiah — ah, 
which says — ah: 

" "The spoilers are come upon all high 
places through the wilderness — ah. The 
sword shall devour — ah, from one eend of 
• the land — ah, even to the other eend of the 
land — ah. No flesh shall have peace — ah.' " 

"Same old string — same old hurdy- 
gurdy," said Si, looking at the cap of his 
gun. 

"I declare, there's that weazened, knock- 
kneed, little sardine, Tite Brown," said 
Shorty, "the orneriest little whelp in the 
gang, that'd picked me out to hang, be- 
cause I was the biggest in the squad. I 
won't do nothing to him but naturally 
break him in two, and throw each half to 
the dogs." 



"Hist! not so loud," warned'-'Si. "Yes, 
and there's that pot-bellied old loafer, Tim 
Scads, who got my rope ready for me. I'll 
bring him down here to the crick and 
souse his face in it. That rum-blossom 
nose o' his'll make the water so hot that 
it'll kill all the fishes." 

"Belov-ed hearers — ah," continued the 
Elder, with his. most effective croon, "the 
prophecies in the Holy Book always come 
true — ah, and this one has come tru — ah, 
but not in the way Ave expected — ah. In- 
stid of our soldiers carrying the sword o' 
the Lord from the widerness to the high 
places of the Abolitionksts, and spoiling 
from one eend of their land even to tho 
other eend of the land, the Lord has-.saw 
fit to chasten us fer our slackness? and 
lukewarmness — ah. We hain't laid our 
hands to the plow as we should — ah, but 
've looked back to our own selfish interests 
— ah — to our farms an' homes — ah; to our 
ease and safety — ah. So, the hosts o' 
Belial have for a space prevailed — ah. 
They've done took Atlauty — ah, an' 
burned hit to the ground — ah, and- air now 
spreading over tho land — ah, devouring hit 
from one eend — ah, even to the other 
eend — ah. Now, I come among you to-day 
— ah, not with the Word, but with the 
sword — ah; not to preach peace — ah, but 
fer war — ah. You have not went to war 
before — ah, bekase that meant leavin' yer 
homes — ah, which yo' claimed you couldn't 
well do — ah. Now, the sons of Beelzebub 
have come to yer homes — ah, and you will 
not have to go away to fight them — ah. 
They're .-ight over the hill thar — ah.' 

Tim Scads, Tito Brown and some of the 
rest showed very evident signs of alarm at 
this announcement. They lost interest in 
the speech, and began to shamble off. 

"Now, belov-ed friends and brethern — 
ah," continued tho Elder, after wiping his 
face with his bandana, "rouse yerselves to 
battle fer yer freedom and yer firesides — • 
ah. March at once to attack the brutal 
invader — ah. Rush upon him wherever 
you kin find him — ah; shoot him down 
whenever yon kin see him — ah. Do hit at 
once — ah. Within this very hour — ah. 
He's right over thar, and you kin not h&ip 
finding him, ah. Show him no quarter — 
ah. Smite him, hip-and-thigh, as Joshua 
done the Amalekites — ah. I'd be glad to 
go with you, belov-ed brethren, and die 
leading you in defense of yer homes — ah, 
but I must go on, and rouse the people 
elsewhere — ah. I long to put myself at yer 
head — ah, and" 

"Forward, double-quick, left into line — 
MARCH!" shouted Si. They all dashed 
up in front of the tavern, and came to a 
halt with guns leveled. 

"Halt, there. Throw up your hands, 
every one of you. Don't one of you move, 
on your lives." sternly commanded Si, 
bringing his Springfield to bear on the 
Elder. 

"O, for the Lord's sake, don't shoot, 
Mister," begged the Elder. '.'Don't shoot. 



94 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY; 



I'm a minister o' the Gospel. I'm a man o' 
peace. 1 hain't uerer had nothing t' do 
with the army." 

"Party preacher you arc," said Shorty. 
"You old whangdoodle hyena. Hell's full 
of a mighty sight better men than you 
are." 

Pete and Sandy charged up with shrill 
yells, catching Tite Brown and Tim Scads 
in the midst ot a hasty retreat, and whip- 
ping them back to the crowd with hickory 
switches. The boys had their guns, with 
their bridles, in their left hands, and long 
withes in their right. 

"Ouch, that hurts," whined Tite. "You 
ortent t hit a man that-a-way what never 
done nothing t' yo'uns." 

"Say, my good young friend," pleaded 
the red-nosed Tim Scads, "you orter be 
keerful 'bout striking a white man and a 
gentleman. I'm an older man'n yo' air, 
and father of a family." 

"Nice father you are, you old swill-tub," 
said Sandy, giving him another vicious cut. 
*'If I had a yaller dog that'd own you for 
a father I'd kill him. Get back to the 
rest, before I do worse to you. Get, I 
Bay." 

"Say," implored Tim, "you rayly ortent 
t' strike a while man with a whip afore 
niggers. Tain't decent. 'Twill take away 
all their respect." 

Pete and Sandy looked around. They 
had been so absorbed in watching Si's 
movements that they had not noticed that 
IJncle ijphraim and Aunt Minerva, fol- 
lowed by the rest of Mr. Benjamin Small's 
negroes, had come up close behind and 
were eager spectators of events. 

"Strike you with a whip, you worthless 
old soak,'' shouted Sandy. "Lose the re- 
spect of the niggers! You were crazy to 
hang a white man, whose finger nail was 
worth more than your rum-pickled old 
carcass. Hustle. Don't waste time talk- 
ing, or I won't leave a well place on you." 

"Glory to God," shouted Aunt Minerva 
Ann, "dat I've libbcd long enough t' see 
ole Tim Scads walloped. He de meanest 
pup dat ebber sucked aigs. He meauer'n 
ary nigger dat ebber wore wool. He pur- 
tend t' be a gemmen, and steal de coppers 
often a daid nigger's eyes. He lay 'wake 
nights t' t'ink ob cussedness t' do t' a pore 
nigger. De only wuk he'd ebber do would 
be t' jine de patterole, jist fo' de fun ob 
lickin' niggers. He lick me w'en I wuz a 
leetle gal, just fo' de fun oh hearin' me 
holler. Hit him again, young mas'r." 

"There's a welt lor the sake of Aunt 
Minerva Ann, and there's another for Un- 
cle Ephraim," said Sandy, bringing down 
his withe with all his strength. 

"Hit him a few for me, Sandy," said 
Si, "and don't let 'em be love taps, 
neither. Then you might add a few for 
the neighborhood. He's bin a bore and a 
nuisance to it all his worthless life." 

"He ain't gittin' a lick amiss," remark- 
ed the Elder, in an undertone to the man 
nest to him. He was beginning to recover 



a little from his fright, for Si's attentwn 
had been directed away from him, and th'e 
dreadful muzzle of that Springtield rille 
Avas pointed elsewhere than toward his 
head. "Though I hate t' sec hit done by 
Yankees, an' afore the niggers. The way 
I've wrastled t' no effect with that onre- 
generate, desartless, guzzlin' ole sinner, an' 
tried t' win him from his evil ways. He's 
mocked at me, fer a chicken-eatin" hoss- 
tradin' ole hypocrite, an' now a judgment 
has come onto him fer his ruiiiji' ag in a 
minister o' the Lord." '. 

"Now," said Si, addressing Mc crowd, 
"I want you all to mosey over there to 
them trees that you lixed up to hang us 
last Augtist, ana set dowii Hat on the 
ground. Forward — MarchI" 

The crowd looked at one another, but 
the boys were in a hurry, and hustled them 
along in no gentle way. The Elder 
brought up the rear as slowly and digni- 
liedly as he could, with the muzzle of 
Harry Joslyu's gun punching him in the 
back. 

"Do be keerful with that there gun, my 
young friend," remonstrated the Elder. 
"Guns air orful things. You never- know 
when they're goin' off." 

"You needn't be so blamed particular 
about a few minutes, you old hunter of 
fried chicken and wheat biscuits," Harry 
answered. "Or whether you're shot ac- 
cidentally or on purpose. Y'ou're going to 
be pretty soon, anyway." 

"You don't mean t' say that you think o' 
shootin' a reggerly ordained minister o' the 
Gospel':"' gasped the Elder. "That'd be 
Avuss'n heathenism." 

"Well, mebbe, being a minister will 
make the Sergeant change it to hanging, 
instead," Harry coiisolcd him. "Being 
shot's a soldier's death. Mebbe he won't 
think you deserve it. Sit down there." 

"But the ground's cold and wet. I'll 
ketch my death o' cold," expostulated the 
Elder. 

"Do as he tells you, and at once," said 
Shorty, bringing his heavy hand down 
upon the Elder's shoulder. "You needn't 
bother about cold. In 1.5 minutes you'll 
be where it's warm enough." 

The Elder's knees bent under Shorty's 
grip, and he sat down violently, but he 
raised himself a little, pulled otit his ban- 
dana and a wallet of papers, and carefully 
placed them under him, to shield him from 
the chill, wet soil, groaning: 

"This's one of the trials o' the Lord's 
follerers. I must endure hit." 

"Now, Shorty," said Si, after he had 
got the crowd settled down, and he and his 
companions had picked out the rest of the 
would-be hangmen, "you take these eight 
gents, who was so anxious to string us up, 
and make 'em do one job of honest work in 
their lives. Make 'em gather up them 
empty whisky barrels, and all the truck 
around here, and pile it in and around that 
calaboose, so that it'll be sure to burn to 
the ground. Then set it and that grocery 



€8? THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



95 




'FORWARD, DOUBLE-QUICK, LEFT INTO LIKE— MARCH!" SHOUTED SI. 



a-fire. Hurry up, for we've no time to 
waste." 

The eight loafers had never done so 
much hard work in a day as they did in 
the next 10 minutes, with Shorty, a long 
switch in his hand, moving among them 
delivering swishing cuts to animate them 
to greater swiftness in gathering logs, 
rails, barrels, boxes, and other fuel to heap 
iu and around the old jail. 

"Another judgment on the wicked," said 
the Elder, as he saw the flames roll up 
from the groggery. "Hit supports me in 
my trials t' see that evil place destroyed. 
I've preached ag'in hit fer years ' an' 
prophesied hits destruction. I never could 



git a cent out o' anybody who went thar 
fer the support o' the Gospel." 

His scare was disappearing. He felt 
that the men would sate their vengeance 
otherwise, and let him go. 

"Glory to God!" shouted the negroes, 
who were watching the amazing confla- 
gration of two places so full of dire asso- 
ciations in their minds. "The Day of 
Judgment hab come, sartin." 

"Alf, come here," said Si grimly, as, 
having finished their work, the eight pant- 
ing loafers were again hauled up before 
him by Shorty. "This gent, here, whose 
name I learned some months ago, is Mr. 
Timothy Scads, a free and indepeudeut 



56 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



citizen of Georgia, and an ovnamcnt to its 
JSocioty, hiiint rlrnnk nearly as much water 
in tile' Lonise ol his lUe a.s u decent man 
shoidd. You «•() and get that hoss bucket 
lull of water and u ;;ourd, and administer 
to him as much water as you think his sys- 
tem needs, to nnike up tor lost time." 

The negroes roared, and even the whites 
would have laughed, but that Si's set, 
siern faro I'oibade. 

Tim Scads took the lirst two gourdfuls 
with avidity, tor he was very hot and dry 
fiom his labor. He swallowed the third 
with some eltort, but pushed the fourth 
away. "I've got all 1 kin hold," he said. 

"0, no; you're mistaken," said Alf. 
"You haven't hardly begun. This is only 
the lirst l»ucketful, it ain't half empty, and 
there's lots more in the well. If that gives 
out, we'll got to the creek. Down with 
it at ouec." 

Tim gulped it down, and another one 
with more dilUculty. Then he begged: 

"O, mister, 1 can't drink no more. I 
rayly can't. I feel my liver lloatiu' 
'round, and tanglin' up with my gizzard." 

"O, ye.s, you can," said A\i. "Let me 
feel your pulse. Gracious, you ain't half 
full yet. Down with this at once." 

Two more gourdiuls were forced down, 
and Tim begged again: 

"O. Lord, don't make me drink no more. 
I kin feel the water ruunin' inter my lights 
now, an' drownin' out my heart. I can't 
drink another mouthful." 

"O, yes, you can," said the obdurate 
Alf. "Let me see your tongue. Just as I 
thought. You ain't half full. The water 
ain't up to your waist yet. Y^ou've got to 
drink until it's level with your teeth. What 
you think is water is only steam from your 
hot coppers that hain't had any water 
for years. You'll feel better after 
you've drunk this bucketful and another. 
Open your mouth and down with this 
gourdful at once." 

"Ef I drink another mouthful I'll either 
bust or be water-logged tor life," whined 
Tim. But Alf called Gid and Monty to 
hold him and his nose, and forced a couple 
more gourdfnls down him. 

"I think he's got all he can hold for the 
present, sir," said Alf, turning and gravely 
saluting Si. "It's beginning to run out of 
his ears." ' 

"Very good," said Si, as gravely, return- 
ing the salute. "Take him and th^ other 
seven over to those trees, where they wero 
going to hang us, and tie each of them to a 
tr(>e. (Jot those hickories ready, Corporal 
Elliott?" 

"Yfs, sir," said Shorty, saluting, and 
showing eight substantial hickory withes, 
which he had in the meanwhile cut from 
the neighboring second growth. 

"Very good," said Si. "Now, whipping 
ruch trash as that is too dirty work for 
Y'ankce soldiers and gentlemen. You will 
select eight able-bodied negroes from this 
crowd, and let them do it. Let them give 
40 stripes, save one, as the Bible directs. 



You will superintend the job, and see that 
they are well laid on." 

Shorty selected a bow-legged, squatty 
negro, with thick lips and a hat nose, but 
strong arms, to devote liimself to Tite 
BroAvn. 

The loafers yelled with pain as each 
blow descended, and the negro wotnen 
shouted Avith excitement, sang snatches of 
hymns and prayed. 

"JNlore desarved punishment I never 
knowed," commented the Elder, who now 
felt comfortably certain that this would 
exhaust the vengeance of the Yankees, and 
leave him unmolested and free. Hit's a 
righteous judgment on them scalawags, 
every one o' which has bin itchin' fer jest 
sich a skinnin' all their lives. They haint 
got hit a minnit too soon, or a lick too 
many. More OAvdacious vagabonds never 
drawedthe breath of a Avorthless life." 

While this Avas going on Si moved 
around, getting ready to start. He found 
eight good horses in the lot, Avhich he put 
in charge of Pete, Sandy, Alf and Gid, 
Avith iusl ructions to start off down the 
road Avith them. He Avanted Pete to take 
one of the horses for himself, but Pete 
Avould not give up Abednego, the mule, for 
any horse. 

As the whippers came from their task 
they v>eie mounted on some of the horses, 
and Uncle Ephraim Avas directed to loUow, 
and, conducted by Monty and Harry, dis- 
appeared behind the curtain of bushes at 
the bend of the road, leaving Si and Shorty 
alone Avith the croAvd, leaning on their 
muskets, in front of the heavy curtain of 
bushes. 

"Elder HornhloAver," said Si, gravely, 
"Ave've noAv tended to the lesser villains, 
and it comes your turn." 

"Don't call me a villain, young man," 
said the Elder, hotly. "I'm a mister o' 
the Gospel, an' a Magistrate under the 
laAA's o' Georgy. You haint got nolhin' t' 
do Avitli me. I'm a peaceable citizen, an' 
never had uothin' t' do Avith the army. 
Hit's ag'in the law t' molest me in any 
way." 

"Just noAv we're engaged in making neAV 
laAA's, Elder," said Si, Avith an air of pa- 
tient explanation, "which same will apply 
to your case." 

"But I Avasu't gwine t' hang you," ex- 
postulated the Elder. ."Hit was them fel- 
lers that you've done licked." 

"Elder Hornblower," continued Si, with 
the same patient air, and repeating as well 
as he could remember the turgid fulness 
of the sonorous old indictments under the 
criminal laAv of Indiana, "you have, being 
instigated by the devil, and not having the 
fear of God before your eyes, been for 
years wickedly, maliciously, and Avith 
malice prepense and aforethought, rampag- 
ing up and down the country, preaching 
treason, sedition, murder, arson, and 
other things against the peace and dignity 
of the United States of America, and the 
statutes in those cases made and provided. 



ON THE MAECH TO THE SI<k. 



m 



You dPSciTO tlic doom of all traitors, which 
is dratli, and it ha.s becoiuo our duty tu 
shoot YOU drad, deai], dead, as the law 
directs, and ina,* <;(<! have mercy on your 
sinful soul, iiavc ;, on anythiug to say, be- 
fore sentence is executed V" 

Si stopped and wiped his face, for the 
prodigious mental eicort had uuide him 
sweat. 

"But you can't shoot me. You dasscnt 
shoot me. I'm a minister of the Gospel, I 
done tole you," shouted the Eldei-, strug- 
gling to his feet. 

"You're not speaking to the questiou, 
Elder," said Shorty, examining the lock of 
his gr.n. "\\'e said wo were going to 
shoot you. That's settled, and no longer 
debatable. Any other remarks'^" 

"Elder," said Si, "we are in a great 
hurry, and have no time to waste. We've 
heard you, with our own ears, preacliing 
tieasou in its worst form. We've also 
listened twice to your great sermon on tlie 
spoilers from the wilderness. We're them, 
just as the fiible describes. Now, having 
done your preaching, you can pray. We'll 
give you Ii\e minutes by the watch, count- 
ing liom iiuu', 10 do the best praying you 
e\er dune in your life, for it will be your 
last. Go over and kneel down by one of 
them trees," where you were going to hang 
us, and do your praying. You other men 
go o\'er and kneel down with him. Now, 
at the end ut live minutes 111 count three, 
and at iluee we'll shoot. Hurry up noAV. 
Your live minutes is i)assing." 

'I'he Elder gave a dcspaiiing look at the 
stern, set faces of Si and Shorty, without 
finding in them a ray of mercy. Groaning 
audibly, ho went over, kneeled down be- 
hind 'X'iin Scads, and began praying in a 
tone that echoed from the hills. The 
others knelt down in liiic wiUi him, and 
Si and Shorty exchanged covert grins at 
noticing that they all carefully assumed 
positions that would take tJiem out of 
range of an ill-aimed shot at the Elder. 
They were certain not to got behind him, 
|.. or very near on either side. 

• Unconsciously, the Elder drifted into 
one of his regular, thunderous prayers, 
Avhich were so elfective in his meetings. 
Ho prated for the success of the Southern 
Confederacy and the utter destruction of 
the Abolition hordes: for more Ijlessings 
and strength to Jeff Davis, and confusion 
and distress to Abraham Lincoln; for a 
sweeping away of the "Yankee mercena- 
ries," as Senacherib's liosts had been 
swept away, and for victories for Lee and 
Hood, like those which had blessed Joshua 
and Gideon. 

"Olio!" called out Si, when he had got 
as much of this as he could stand. 

4 SK 



The Elder whirled about with fiands up- 
raised, and shouted: 

"U, Mister, for God's sake, spare my 
life. Kemember my holy c.*.ling; remem- 
ber my peaceful character; remember my 
wife and family; remember" 

"Turn around, there, and go ahead pray- 
ing," said Shorty, sighting at him; "you 
didn't remember our holy calling, our 
peaceful character, our wives and children, 
when you were egging on that crowd to 
hang us. Turn around, there, or I'll shoot 
you at once." 

The Elder resnined his devotions, and 
those on either side of hiui began groaning, 
shouting and praying in sympathy. The 
crackling of the burning gioggcry, and the 
crash of the falling roof and walls of the 
jail mingled Avilii their voices. 

The Elder began mingling with his invo- 
cations for Heavenly mercy, solicitations 
tor blighting curses on those soulless van- 
dals who were to do him to death. 

"Two!" called out Si. "Next to last call 
for eternity. Next station, the grave," 
added Shorty. 

The Elder whirled about again, but im- 
mediately whirled l)ack, f(.ir he saw the 
two guns at the boys" faces, ready to tire, 
and his voice was irenuilons Avith teartul 
emotion. His companions Vv'cre lunv sim- 
ply howling with agonized suspense. 

Si and Shorty stepped noiselessly around 
the screen of bushes and disap[)eaicil. The 
precautions were needless, 'l lie iik-u Avere 
all in stich nervous terror Uial llie.r i;ould 
U(jt have heard the march of a regiment. 
A hundred rods away the boys could siiii 
hear them groaning, shouting and praying. 
'I'hen the partners ran forward to the 
horses, which they mounted, and led their 
procession onward. 

"\\'e certai^ily gave them a bad half 
hour,"' said Si, as they jogged along. "But 
1 doubt whether we made 'em as much 
misery as they made us. 1 gtiess they 
kiHiw^iow that there's a God in Israel. I 
Moiuler how long the Elder will keep up 
his praying".'' One thing I'm sure of: he's 
lost a mighty nice horse, and, 1 declare, 
1 believe this is the same one 1 took from 
him before. It is, as sure's I'm alive. The 
next thing is as to what we're going to do 
with Uncle Ephraim and Aunt Minerva 
Ann. You know the orders are strict 
against negroes following the army." 

"Well, orders or no orders, we've got to 
take care of them, since they would come 
along," answered Shorty. "I believe Col. 
jNi(<iillicuddy'll help us (Hit." 

"He certainly will if he can. Anyway, 
we can't let 'em go back Ihere. Old Horn- 
blower and his crowd Avould whip every 
one o' them to death, if he could get the 
chance." 



93 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

A SCEIM.MAGE WITH THE JAWGY RESERVES AND UNCLE EPH'S AND 
AUNT MINERVY ANN'S NEW RELATIONS TO S CIETY. 



"I couldn't resist the temptation, any 
more'n j'ou could. Si, of taking these line 
bosses away from the reb-jls," remarked 
Shorty, as they jogged along toward 
Peachstone Shoals, to meet the ::;00th Ind. 
"As a matter of principle every fairly 
good boss should be taken from the rebels 
on sight, but are we going to have such 
a circus getting rid of them after we 
reach camp as we did with the cattle? If 
there is any prospect o' that, I vote that 
we shoot 'em just before we reach camp, 
and save trouble." 

"Never do it in the world," answered 
Si, whose farmer instincts revolted from 
the barbarity of shooting a good horse. 
"I'm going to give this lioss o' the Elder's 
to Col. McGillicuddy. He's better and 
faster than the one he's riding. You can 
give that one you're on to Lieut. -Col. 
Strode, and we'll distribute the others 
around. This looks like it's going to be a 
march when lots o' the olBcers '11 want to 
ride, and a few extry hoases will be wel- 
come. I'm a heap more puzzled about 
Uncle Ephraim and Aunt Minerva Ann. 
I see a peck o' trouble ahead over them." 

"Fret not thy gizzard over them," an- 
swered Shorty, philosophically. "Niggers 
can do a heap o' taking care o' themselves 
in this country, and we'll be where we 
can be lending a helping hand, now and 
then." 

"Say — Mas'r — big Mas'r Yank," called 
out Uncle Ephraim. 

"Uncle Ephraim," said Si, in a tone of 
mild reproof, "you mustn't call me mas- 
ter. You mustn't call anybody master 
now. You're a free man, and have no 
master any more. Drop the word." 

"No mas'r nowhar?" queried Uncle 
Ephraim, looking bewildered; "I t'ought 
you's^ t' be my new mas'r now." 

"No, no; there are no masters any- 
where, any more. I'm nobody's master." 

"You's nobody's mas'r," echoed Uncle 
Ephraim, still more bewildered. "You's 
nobody's mas'r "^ AVhy, I done t'ought, 
from de way you went on, dat you's de 
biggest mas'r dat I ebber done see. When- 
ebber you done speak to' dese udder Y^an- 
kees, dey jump, an' dy keep on jumpin' 
till dey's done what you tole dera. An' 
what dey says t' de white folks 'round 
byah is done in a hurry, I tell you. T'ink 
ob burnin' de jail an' de ole Stallin's gro- 
cery, an' you aint de big mas'r." 

"No: I'm no master, of anybody." 

"An' a-lickin' Tim Scads, an' Tite 
Ero.-^. aa' Jerry Lumpkiu, an' Tod Blia- 



kins, an' de rest ob dose ole wbisky-tar- 
riers in an inch of deir lives, an' you no 
mas'r." 

"No, indeed." 

"An' makin' ole Elder Hornblower, 
who's done bin whoppin' an' hollerin' froo 
dese woods for fcr de Lord knows how 
long, an' a-runnin' t'ings t' suit hisself, git 
down on his marrcr-bones, an' beg fer 
uiarcy, an' you no big mas'r." 

"No. Uncle Ephr;!im. 'm no master of 
anybody. There aint no more masters 
in this country, except in the vSouthern 
Confederacy, and we're bustiug them up as 
fast as we can get at them." 

"Well, if you isn't a big mas'r, den de 
good Lord nebber made one. You's my 
mas'r, an' 'Nervy Ann's, now an' forebber 
more — kingdom come." 

"Yes, indeed you is," echoed Aunt Mi- 
nerva Ann, in her regular amen intona- 
tion. 

"Now, look here. Uncle Ephraim, Aunt 
Minerva, and all the rest of you," said Si, 
impressively. "Stop that. I'm not your 
master, nor is anybody else, any more. 
You're free — absolr.tcly free, do you un- 
derstand? Free as anybody — free as I am. 
Freer than I am, just now, for I'm a sol- 
dier under orders, which you are not. 
Y'^ou're as free as (he stopped to think 
about some comparison that would make 
the matter clear to the negroes' compre- 
hension) as free — as — as — Tim Scads, Tite 
Brown, or Elder Hornblower." 

"Lan's sake," ejaculated Aunt Minerva 
Ann, "vN-e'nns don't want t' be lack dat 
pore white trash, in no shape ner manner. 
Dey'uns's wives an' chillun's allers hon- 
gry fer bread an' meat, an' haint cloze t' 
cover deir nakedness. An' if I t'ought dat 
Eph'd go bellerin' 'bout de country lack 
Elder Hornblower, an' leabin' me t' hoe 
de grass outen de cotten, I'd take a water- 
elm club an' break his fool neck — so I 
would. You hear dat. Eph?" 

"Yes, 'Nervy," meekly answered Uncle 
Ephraim. 

"Well, I repeat that you're free, now, 
and mustn't call anybody master." 

"But we don't want t' be free niggers^ 
dat's lower down dan de wufless white 
trash," returned Aunt Minerva Ann. "A 
free nigger's like a stray dog; ebberybody 
gives bim a kick, an' nobody a bone. We- 
'uns want t' belong t' somebody. We'uns 
want t' belong t' you an' Fadder Abra- 
ham." 

"W^ell, you can't belong to neither of us. 
There's no use of talking about it. That 



<Hff THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



99 



ends it. Yon mnstn't call me master, but 
Serg't Kloircr. of the 2n0th Injianny Vol- 
unteer.s. Fncleistand thntV" 

They did not nndcrstaiid it, but their 
ears Were quirk to catch sounds, and after 
a few trials Si .u'ot thcni .so that they could 
pronounce "'Scrs't Kless," and '"Corporal 
Elliott," and "200th Injianny Voluutcer 
Infantry." 

"Dat's de name ob our new mas'rs," 
said I'ucle Ephraim to the rest, in a tone 
of authority. "Now. I want you common 
niggers f Tarn dat, hard an' fas', an' neb- 
ber 'low me t' h'ar nutting else from yer 
t'ick lips." 

"But, Uncle Ephraim," Si began to pro- 
test anew. 

"It's no use, Si," interrupted Shorty; 
"they'll have to learn what freedom means 
otherwise than by words o' mouth." 

The discussion was internipted by the 
sound of two or three shots a quarter of 
a mile ahead, then a couple of shots fi'om 
some point nearer, apparently in reply; 
then a sputter of shots, as others came up 
and joined in. Si and Shorty galloped 
forward, to find that Pete Skidmore and 
Sandy Baker, riding ahead as an advance 
guard, had come upon a squad of men pre- 
paring to burn a bridge over a narroAv and 
deep creek. These had fired on tFiem as 
soon as they came in sight, and their bul- 
lets had come so unpleasantly near that 
Pete and Sanrly hail jumped from their 
saddles and behind trees before replying. 
Harry, Monty, Gid and Alf, Avho were 
strung along back, talking with the ne- 
groes, had come up, one by one, and 
jumping from their horses had fired at the 
squad of rebels. Ahednego. the mule, v,-as 
entering into the spirit of the occasion, by 
occupying the center of the road, regard- 
less of the bullets whistling back and for- 
ward over him, and kicking, with light- 
ning swiftness and great precision of aim, 
at every horse that came within range of 
his long-reaching heels. These came peril- 
ously near Si~s head, as he leaned forward 
to reconnoiter the scene of action. 

The sound of the guns started the emo- 
tional negroes behind into a tumult of loud 
shouting, singing and praying. 

Had it not been that he thought there 
was more pressing use for it. Si would 
have given the recalcitrant mule the con- 
tents of his gun. 

He sprang from his horse, and ran up 
on the high bank, where Monty, Harry, 
Gid and Alf had gathered and were re- 
loading. Down the slope, a little to the 
left, were Pete and Sandy behind trees. 

He could see the bridge, 300 or 400 
yards away, upon which the rebels had 
been piling fat pine-knots and dry brush, 
when they had been surprised by Pete and 
Sandy's appearance. They all seemed 
more or less crippled, and one man, limp- 
ing along on a crutch, toward the bridge, 
was carrying a lighted brand, obtained 
from a house near by, swinging it around, 
as he hobbled along, to keep it alive, and 
burning freely. A one-armed man, stand- 
ing out boldly in front of the bridge, was 
loading his gUu with difficulty, holding it 



against his body with the stump of his 
right arm, while he charged the cartiidge, 
drew rammer and rammed cartridge with 
his left hand. It was clear that he was 
making a brave effort to stand off his as- 
sailants until the man with the brand 
could reach the bridge. 

Two other maimed men at the opposite 
end of the bridge had dropped their loads 
of stuff and were hobbling toward their 
guns, which leaned against trees. 

'i'luMv ^\•as something familiar about the 
one-armed man, and Si dropped the gun 
which he had raised to cover him, and 
shunted to the others: 

"Hold on, boys. Don't shoot that man. 
He's one-armed Sheriff, who stood by US 
last Summer." 

He was not an instant too soon. All 
the reloaded muskets were coming down 
with deadly aim. He was not quite soon 
enough. Sandy and Pete heard him at the 
instant of firing and instinctively depressed 
their aim from the man's breast, but on«7 
of their bullets caught him in the thigti, 
and he fell to the ground, firing his own 
gun as he did so. 

Shorty could not bring himself to fire 
on the cri)iple with the crutch, but dashed 
forward, hoping to intei'cept him before 
he reached the bridge. He yelled at him 
that he Avould shoot him if he did not 
stop, but the man gave him a look of 
hatred and defiance, saw that if he had 
really intended to shoot he would have 
done so before running at him, and 
hoi:)l)led frantically forward. .Just as 
Shorty clutched his shoulder he threw the 
brand into the pine leaves and knots on 
the bridge. They flamed up like powder. 
Shorty flung him down and rushed onto 
the bridge, to kick the burning stuff into 
the water. It was no use. The bridge 
itself was old, and constructed of pine, 
from which the rosin had been melted out 
by the sun in great welts and sheets, cov- 
ering the timbers with a thick scale, which 
flamed up at once, so that Shorty had to 
run from the bridge to save himself. His 
first thought was to help the cripple to his 
feet, and away from the intense heat. 

Then he looked with dismay at the roar- 
ing flames, and the deep, impassible creek 
which blocked their farther progress to- 
ward camp. 

Si and the rest ran forward, picked up 
the Sheriff, and carried him back from the 
flames. 

"Awful sorry. Sheriff, you was shot," 
said Si, as they laid him down. "We 
really didn't intend to, as soon as we rec- 
ognized you. Hope it aint anything seri- 
ous. Alf, look at his wound, and see what 
it is." 

Si forgot his chagrin at the destruction 
of the bridge in his anxiety for the man 
who had stood by them so nobly. 

"It isn't serious," said Alf, after a min- 
ute's examination. "It's on the outside, 
not near any veins or arteries. I can stop 
the blood, and he'll be all right. Good 
thing. Sergeant, that you spoke as soon as 
you did. The boys had evidently a good 
aim on his heart, and dropped their aiua- 



100 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



ilop Ynn can see \t was a good line shot." 

'•.'•.11 riuht." cliucklcd the Sheriff. "'I 
aint ?:wine t' mind that thar scratch, 
long's we've saved the bridge from youns. 
Soon's I got my orders t' burn all the 
bridges and block the road in front o' 
yo'uns' army. I called out a posse, but in 
all my born days I never see sich a run 
o' chills an' fever, an' rheamatiz as thar 
was on this crick. Very qneerly, all the 
men wuz down with them, an' they didn't 
tetch the women at ail. The women wnz 
as lively as crickets, but the men ail groan- 
in', an' onable t' move hand or foot with- 
out yellin'. Only these three ole Confeds 
thafd bin plugged by Yankee bullets afore 
seemed t've escaped the fover-an'ager, an' 
rheumatiz, and Avillia' t' go erlong with 
me, an' try another whack at yo'uus. But 
we'uns burned the bridge, an' 've got 
yo'uns. Yo'uns've done run inter a dead- 
fall, an' we'uns'll have yo'uns back in An- 
dersonville by to'-m.orrer night. 

The Sheriff chuckled again, as he looked 
at the burning bridge. 

Si and Shorty shuddered at the mention 
s»r Anaersonviiie, but they picked up the 
Sheriff and tenderly carried him up to the 
house, where, the flow of blood having 
boen stanched, he v>-as laid on the bed, and 
Aunt Minerva Ann was called in to help 
make him comfortable, and ]irepare for 
him and his companion the food which the 
boys gave from their own haversacks. 

Si and Shorty returned to the bridge, to 
consider the situation and decide what 
to do. 

"Dumb the luck," said Si, looking at 
the steep, rugged banks, lined with rocky 
cliffs and the deep, swift current; "we 
could manage to get over, if we wuz afoot 
and alone, but we can never get those 
bosses and women and wagons over in the 
world. I misdoubt if many o' them ne- 
groes can get acrost." 

"Well, there's no use discussing any- 
thing but taking the niggers along," an- 
swered Shorty. "The bosses may go to 
blazes, for all I care, but we've got to look 
out for these people. I'll meander down 
here to the left, and you go up to the 
right, and see if there aint a chance to 
get acrost." 

"Pete, get on that blamed ghost o' 
yours." commanded Si," and ride up there 
to that spur, and see how it looks for a 
crossing. Be back here in live minutes." 

Thoy all returned from their explora- 
tions, with discouraging reports. The 
banks were even Avorse farther up and 
down. 

"AVe'll have to build a bridge, I'm 
afraid." said Si. looking at some tall trees 
standing near the bank, and studying the 
facilities for approach. 

"Sandy, you and Harry go up to that 
house, and get all the axes you can find 
and bring 'em here." 

Aunt Minerva Ann came bustling down 
from the house, her broad face full "of rage 
and anxiety. 

"Say, Serg't Klegg, yon orter come right 
up inter de house an' kill dat ole lop-sided 



Sheriff Bardsley done daid, right otf — not 
leave him live a bressed miunit. Why 
didn't yon shoot him daid when you had de 
chanst?"' 

"Why, Aunt Minerva Arm, what's the 
n?atter'r asked Si. 

"Why," spluttered the negress, "jes 's 
soon's yer back wuz turned, arter doin' 
all yon could fer him, he done called'INIisa 
Barnstabh^'s little boy, an' done sent him 
off on deir best boss on de gallop, to Cap'a 
Stonebroose, who has de critter company, 
t' come hyah tor wuns^ wid his company, 
fer he done had eight Yankees an' a lot o' 
Mas'r Ben Small's niggers an' bosses an' 
sich, hyah, all bagged, an' dat he could 
take de'ra in, but he mus' come on de jump. 
T'iuk ob dat arter all you've done fer him, 
an' sabin' bis no-account life. I done 
iioarn hit all froo de doo', as I wuz bilin' 
de coffee, which I wish't would pizen him. 
I come away jes' as soon's I conld t' tell 
yo'. He ortent t' be allowed t' lib a min- 
nit. I'll make Eph go up dar an' cut his 
froat. if you say so." 

"Not on your life. Aunty." said Si, earn- 
estly, in spite of the disturbance of his 
mind by her message. "I'ou must be just 
as kind to him as you have bin. Don't 
mistreat him in any way." 
• "The question before the house," re- 
marked Shorty, casting his eyes around 
the hoi'izon. "is how far off the aforesaid 
Capt. Stonebroose may be. how long it'll 
take that boy to reach him, and conse- 
quently how soon we may expect a call 
from him. I'm afraid that we'll not be 
allovced any time for bridge-building this 
afternoon." 

"I tell you what we'd better do," said 
Si, with troubled face; "we'll tell the dark- 
ies to take to the woods, and make their 
way to camp as best they can, while we're 
stnndin' off Stone .Tug, or whatever his 
rebel name may be." 

" Sense mo, Serg't Klegg," said Uncle 
Ephraim, coming up, pulling off his mas- 
ter's silk hat, touching his foretop, and 
scraping his foot on the ground, after the 
approved slave fashion: " 'scuse ,me, Mas'r 
• — ^I mean Corpril Elliot — but did I onder- 
stand dat you gemmen wanted t' go t' 
Peachstone Shoals?" 

"That's where we were striking for. 
Uncle," said Si, "before this bridge-burn- 
ing stopped us. Now. I was just coming 
back there to tell you to scatter your- 
selves through the woods, and" 

" 'Sense me. agin, Mas'i- — I mean Serg't 
Klegg." said Uncle Ephraim, again touch- 
ing his forcto]") still more deferentially, 
and scraping the ground with his foot. 
".Tes' le' me talk a miunit now. What I 
done started t' tell you gemmen afore, 
when we branched off on t' de subjick ob 
mas'rs, wuz dat if we all wuz a-gwine t' 
Peachstone Shoals, dat we'd sabe a hull 
lot ob trabbel by turnin' off right hyah, an' 
a-cuttin' froo de woods behine dat big 
rock dar. Peachstone Shoals is right ober 
dar, not moro'n two sees an' a good holler, 
an' by goin' dat-a-way we kin make hit 
afore sundown." 



102^ 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



"Sure of that. Uncle?" asked Si, with 
lifting heart, but scanniug the horizon 
doubtfully. 

"Shore as ver bawn, chile — I mean, 
Mas'r— I mean Serg't Klegg," answered 
Uncle Ephraim, with another dab at his 
foretop, and scrape with his toes. 

•"He's all right," said Shorty, confident- 
ly. '"Trust a nigger and a woodchuck for 
the shortest way home. Foxes and rabbits 
go the longest way around, but a nigger 
can smell home, like a hoss, and cut across 
straight for it." 

•'Uncle Ephraim, take that road with 
your people as the Lord'll let you," said 
Si, impressively. "And don't you stop un- 
til you reach our pickets. Capt. Stonejug, or 
something like that, with his cavalry com- 
pany, is after us, and you." 

"Cap'n Stonebroose," echoed the other 
negroes, with dismay. 

"Yes; Capt. Stonebroose. Me and my 
men are going to stay behind and fight him 
off, while the rest of you are getting away. 
Kow, hurry off, and go as fast as you can." 

" 'Nervy Ann," called out Uncle Eph- 
raim, walking over to where the Sheriff's 
gun had been left lying, "git up in dat 
wagon, an' take dem lines, an' lead de per- 
cession. I'm gwine t' stay hyah wid de 
soljer gemmen. Whar dat catridge-box? 
Ole Stallins take hit wid him?" 

"Good man. Eph." shouted Aunt Miner- 
va Ann. "I'll git hit fer you." 

She ran back to the porch, picked, up 
the Sheriff's cartridge-box, and as she 
flung it to Eph on her way to the wagon 
she admonished him: 

"Stan' up like a man, now. If you run 
a step afore de Serg't Klegg done tell you, 
I nebber lib wid you agin so long's you 
done got ha'r on yer haid." 

She climbed upon the wagon-seat, gath- 
ered up the reins, and sat looking expect- 
autly„ 

"Go on. Aunt ISIinerva Ann," said Si. 
"What are you waiting for?" 

"I wanted t' see you all kill dat Sheriff 
afore I started," she explained. 

"Go on. Hurry off," said Si. "I'm not 
going to kill the Sheriff. Drive off, and 
go fast." 

"Denn you's gwine t' make Eph do hit, 
same's lickin' dat pore white trash. Eph, 
don't git wobbly, now, an' miss. Hold 
yer gun tight." 

"No. Eph's not going to do it. We're 
not going to kill the Sheriff, or hurt him 
at all, 1 tell you," said Si, impatiently. 
"Drive off at once, and get out of the way. 
The rebels may be here at any minute!" 

"Dem Yankees is suttinly cur'us," Aunt 
Minerva Ann communicated to another sa- 
ble matron, who had taken the .seat beside 
her. "Lick de hides offen some ob de 
whites what wasn't doin' nuffin' t' dem. 
an' den pet an' coddle anudder what shot 
at dem, an' tried t' hab em all cotched 
an' killed. Yankees 's lots cu'user'n our 
folks." 

After seeing that the negroes had fairlv 
started, and deploying the boys to watch 
for Capt. Stonebroose, Si and Shorty went 
up to bid gooy-by to the Sheriff. 



"Are you all comfortable, Sheriff? Any- 
thing more that we can do for you':'" 
a.sked Si. 

"Thanks, gentlemen," he answered, 
"yo'uus's very kind, but I require nothin' 
more. I'm as comfortable as possible, an' 
expect some friends, who I think will in- 
terest yo'uns. even if they dou't make 
yo'nns comfortable." 

"Yes," said Shorty, not to be outdone 
by the Sheriff's geniality, "we understand 
that you sent for Capt. Stoneshoes, or 
something like that, to entertain us. We're 
on the look-out for him, and will try to 
keep the flies off him, when he comes." 

"It was my duty t' send for him, sir, an* 
I done hit," said the Sheriff, stiffening up. 

"That's all right. Sheriff," said Shorty, 
cordially. "As we didn't put you on pa- 
role you had the right. A little thing like 
that shan't interfere with our friendship 
for you. How many men is your friend, 
Capt. Stone Jevv's, likely to have with 
him ?" 

"That, sir." said the Sheriff, stifliy, 
"would be giving information t' the en- 
emy. I refuse t' tell you, sir. But T will 
say that he'll have enough to make hit 
hopeless fer yo'uns t' fout him — perfectly 
hopeless, sir." 

"It's clear you're not acquainted with 
the 200th Injianny Volunteers. Sheriff," 
said Si, pleasantly. "Your friend, the 
Captain, will have some very different 
ideas about a. sure thing, after he's mon- 
keyed with us for a few minutes. But 
we're not here to talk o' that, but to say 
good-by, thank you again, and leave you 
a little more coffee. We hope to see you 
after the war." 

A far-away shout came over the tree- 
tops. 

'"Thar's Cap'n Stonebroose now." said 
the Sheriff, hobbling out on the porch and 
sending up a ringing shout in reply. "Gen- 
tlemen. I like yo'uns, an' I advise yo'uns 
in a friendly way not t' put up a fout, fer 
hit '11 be useless. Cap'n Stonebroose" 

"Thank you. Sheriff," said Si, starting 
back to theboys, "but the 200th Injianny's 
in the habit o' deciding for itself about 
fightins: or not. Grab a root, boys, and 
don't fire till you see something to shoot 
at." 

In a minute the woods on the opposite 
side of the creek was full of yelling horse- 
men. 

"Hello," said Si. in amazement, "what 
in the world are they doing over there? 
Harry, do you see anybody coming down 
on this side?" 

"Nobody at all. sir,'' replied Harry, 
"and I can see a good piece." 

"Cap'n Stonebroose," shouted the Sher- 
iff, angrily. "What in the name o' sense 
air yon all doin' on that side o' the 
crick? I done sent you word t' come down 
on this side." 

"Well, haint I on this side o' the crick?'' 
shouted back the Captain. 

"You gourdheaded reserve," shouted the 
Sheriff, "you haint got no more sense than 
the rest o' ole Windsucker .Toe Brown's 
pets. Noue o' yo'uns know enough t' come 



ON THE MAKCH TO THE SEA. 



103 



in when hit rains. I done tolo you t' come 
doAYU on this aide o' the crick." 

"Stop callin' me an' the Governor o' 
Georgy names, you imporeut jail-lcecpcn-, 
you," shouted the Captain. "You hauit 
talkin' t' scalawags in jail now, you l)ig- 
gity ollice-holder. You wuz on this side o' 
this crick this mornin' when you done 
talked t' me 'bout comin' t' you. How 
wuz I t' know you'd done went acrostV 
"What'd you burn that bridge for? The 
boy you sent said come dnwn on this si^;le 
o' tlie crick, 1 (cU you. AVIiar air them 
Yankees an' niggers,?" 

"The Yankees are right here. Captain, 
very much at ydur service," said Si. step- 
ping out from behind his tree. "Come 
right over. We're anxious for a closer 
acquaintance." 

He raised his gun and shot down_ the 
Captain's horse. The other boys fired, 
and there was a general jumping from 
horses on the other side and scrambling 
for cover. Uncle Ephraim, imitating 
every motion of those around him, had 
taken cover behind a log, and suceedod in 
lu-inging down a horse on the other side. 
Ue jumped up and shouted: 

"Glory t' God!" 

There was a lull as the boys reloaded, 
the Captain picked himself up, found shel- 
ter behind a tree, and his men anxiously 
sought cover liehind rocks and trees. 

"Yo'uns "s j(^s" "liout as much good over 
thar," shouted tlt(> Sheriff, "as yo'uns'd be 
in Guiney, but that's as much good as 
j'o'uns ever air, anywhar. Y'ou sueakin', 
coAvardly, stay-at-home, sorghum-cuttin', 
yam-diggin' Reserves. Yo'uns think more 
o' yer sorghum an' yer yaras than yo'uns 
do o' yer country, or bein' free men. I 
hope the Yanks'll conciuer yo'uns, an' 
make you dig yams an' cut sorghum all 
yer lives, and drive ole Joe Brown into 
the fields with you. Go homo t' him. 

D yo'uns. Him an' the hull passel o' 

yo'uns aint wuth the salt that'll keep 



yo'uns from rottiu'. Go homo, I tell 
yo'uns." 

"I'm a-gwine t' report them words 
straight t' Gov. Brown," shouted the Cap- 
tain back. "He'll natcherally break yer 
stuck-up neck tor talkin' thal-a-way about 
.\er belters. You can't lay tiie blame on 
we'uns. Hit's all yer own fault. We'uns 
's hyah ready t' do our duty, an" — ■■ — 

"Gentlemen," said Shorty, stepping out 
from behind his tree, "this serious disa- 
grceinent between friends is very painful 
to witness. We very much wish that we 
could smoothe this trouble over, and bring 
you together, which we can't do without 
throwing the Sheriff acrost the crick. 
Much as we would like to, we haint time 
to stay with you any longer. We have a 
pressing engagement to supper this even- 
ing Avith Gen. Sherman, and must hurry 
off to keep it. Take that, Capt. Stone 
Blues, you old string-halted guerrilla, aa 
my blessing and good-by." 

He suddenly raised his gun from an 
"order" and fired at the Captain's head, 
which had been stuck out from behind the 
tree to listen to the extraordinary exor- 
dium. The bullet knocked the bark off 
the tree, and filled the Captain's face with 
splinters and dust. 

"Good-by, gentlemen of the Reserves," 
said Si, motioning to the boys to start off. 
"Go back- to your sorghum fields, and your 
yam-patches, keep out of the way of the 
Y^ankees, and pray God every day to make 
you loyal men. Good-by, Sheriff. Y^or.r 
intentions were good, but for sense an In- 
jianny ox can give a Georgian a hundred 
yards start, and beat him every time." 

They mounted, and soon overtook Aunt 
Minerva Ann's caravan. 

"Did you kill anybody, Eph?" she asked 
eagerly. 

"Nuffin' but a boss," answered IJ-jcle 
Enhraim. "Too fur away. 'Praid I'd 
miss de man if I shot at him." 

"Why didn't you go up closeter?" she 
asked, disapprovingly. 



•iO 



;ob 

f9^ 



tfi 

iM 

Iw 



lOi 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTXi 



' CHAPTER XIX 

UNCLE EPHRAIM'S SKILL AS A WOODS PILOT— A CAMP OF REFUGEES— VIG- 
OROUS ASSERTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS— A SAVORY MEAL— THE 
ORDERS AGAINST BRINGING NEGROES INTO CAMP. 



Skilled in woodcraft as Si and Shorty 
fhouirht themselves, they were no matches 
for Uncle Ephraim. Without hesitation 
he found fairly easy roads where they 
could only see cliffs, ragged gulches and 
impenetrable thickets. Aunt Minerva Ann 
was scarcely less road-wise. Turning her 
mules sharply to the left, she drove them 
into a clump of tall,, dry weeds and briers, 
and came to a gap, invisible before, in the 
cliffs, where a fallen rock, covered with 
earth and low brush, made a good road- 
way to the summit. It was barely wide 
enough for the passage of the wagon. It 
was narrow, but Aunt Minerva Ann did 
not need an inch more than was absolute- 
ly necessary for the width of the wheels. 
From the top of the hill she had viewed 
the encounter with Capt. Stonebroose, and 
then, Uncle Ephraim, mounted on one of 
the spare horses, ami clutching in his 
hand, as the most valuable possession he. 
had ever had, the Sheriff's Enfield ritle, 
came up and took the lead. 

"What'd I tell you about niggers and 
woodchucks, Si?" asked Shorty, gleefully, 
when, as the sun was beginning to set, 
they came out of the tangle of hills and 
hollows and woods, and again approached 
the level openings of the creek valley. 
"They don't really know the way the way 
we know things. They just smell it out 
something like a dog does his master's 
steps," 

"Whatever it is," answered Si, "I wish 
I could sense the lay of the ground as well 
as Uncle Ephraim. "As near as I can 
guess," he continued, looking backward, 
"we've about come our two 'sees,' and it 
mustn't be more'n a good long 'holler' yot 
to our camp." 

"Peachstone Shoals lays right ober dar, 
whar yo' done see dat dar tall yaller pine, 
wid a buzzard nest in do crotch." 

"I can sec the buzzard's nest plainly, 
but not the yaller pine." remarked Shorty. 
"And I see smoke beginning to rise. The 
boys must be going into camp over there." 

"My goodness gracious," remarked Aunt 
Minerva Ann, "what a heap of smoke, an' 
what a pile ob choppin'. Mus' be cl'arin' 
off a powerful sight ob new ground ober 
dar, (' raise sumfin." 

"Yes. Aunty," answered Shorty, "they're 
pelting ready to raise the Southern Con- 
federacy .right out of its boots, and hang 
Jeff' Davis on a sour-apple tree." 

"Haug Jeff Davis on a sour-apple tree," 



murmured Aunt Minerva Ann to the 
woman sitting beside her. "My, ain't dat 
a awful langwidge fer t' use? Se'ms much 
wuss'n cussin'." 

"Say, Shorty," said Si. "the pickets 
can't be far away. Let's ride forward and 
find them. Boys, close up the column and 
keen, it well together, a little ways be- 
hind." 

They rode down the hill along a faint 
trail through the deep, dark woods of the 
bottoms, which were as lonely and far 
away as only such woods can seom. The 
sound of the chopping faded away as they 
descended from the crest, and soon a pro- 
found, oppressive silence reigned. Had it 
not been for the faded markings of the 
trail they might have thought themselves 
in some forgotten wilderness, where the 
foot of man had never trodden. 

Si gave a sharp command to the boys 
to look to their guns, keep well closed up 
and be in readiness for anything that 
might turn up. 

Oppressed by the silence and the somber 
shadow, Aunt INlinerva Ann began croon- 
ing a hymn, and was joined by the ot^^ev 
emotional negresses, until stopped by oi's 
stern commaiid for silence. 

Then went ahead cautiously for a half 
mile, when their quick senses detected the 
smell of burning wood upon the cool, crisp 
air. 

"We're nearing the pickets," said Si. "I 
smell a fire." 

"So do I," answered Shorty, "and I 
smell meat frying and bread bakiuf:." 

"That's so," answered Si, "but thaS 
means the i-eserve. Where are the 
videts? Can we have slipped past them?" 

"Don't seem likely," said Shorty, as 
they both halted instinctively, and looked 
about for the outlying pickets. "Say. Si, 
do you notice there's no smell of coffee 
with that meat? And that's cornbread 
they're baking." 

"That's so," answered Si, after taking 
a full sniff. "Rebels around that fire, 
sure. Mebbe a nest of guerrillas or re- 
serves." 

lie raised his hand to halt the column 
behind and jumped from his horse. The 
boys sto))iipd the negroes, whispered an 
order to them to heep perfectly still, and 
formed np in front, while Si and Shorty, 
with cocked guns, slipped forward noise- 
lessly over the dBoa^ tiwf to see what was 
in £ioQt> 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



105 



'They presently heard voices 



coii- 



vere 



llDll 



'•Bi:shwhaekers. plnnnins a raid on onr 
rear," he whisjiercd to Shoity, and they 
both shook tlieir fists at the l>oys beluntl. 
as an i)ijnni-tion for the most absolute 
silence. •■W(''ll linst them wide open." 

-Vs llioy vrviA toiviard they heard one 
screechy voice I'ins ont above the rest in 
anury veJionicnce: 

"1 iliiiie ii'll \o'. I'll die right iu my 
trai'ks al'Mi-c I'll .cive np my rights ter take 
my slaves inter the. Territories" 

"But yo' hain't .got no ^-.lavcs. Wash 
ITartshorn; an' you never had: an' hit be- 
gins ter look as if nobody'd have jmrly 
soon; an" as for them I'en itoi ics, tln-y'rc 
lost ter M-e'nns already.'' said auothtr 
d(MM)cr, calmer voice. 

'■^^"h(•^lier I li:T\c any niggers or nrt 
don't make no diffiM-ence with mv rights," 
answ.oed JIartshurn's shrill voice. ""I've 
done got the right ter t:rke thorn thar. 
whi^tluM- I have 'cm or imt. and I'll die 
afore I'll give hit up. An' I don't think 
hit's nice in yon, 'Mr. Ben Small, ter tant 
me with my poverty. I've got jes' as 
many niggers now as yon had afore you 
mari'ied ••)le Chinnel "\\''h)t(\si(lcs" only 
da'ter hyah, an' inherited his big jilanta- 
lion. And as fer the Territories. lh(\v're 
Constitutionally ours, an" I won't give up 
our Constitutional riglit ter secede, an' 
'stablish a free an' independent Govern- 
ment, an' " • 

"But if we secede and form an indepen- 
dent Government of our own," answered 
Ben Small's deeper voice, argumentativc- 
ly, "we hain't no Constitutional rights, 
and nothin' ter do with their Constitution. 
"We'uns 've done got a Constitution of our 
own." 

"That's .ies' like you Old Line Whigs." 
screeched Ilartsliom; "yo'uns wuz al- 
ways tryin' ter 'reason,' as yo'uns called 
hit,' onten anything we'uns had onr hearts 
sot on. Yo'uns never could be depended 
on fer ary real Southern prinsepul, 'eept 
ter hold out ter yer nig.gers, an' work every 
cent on ten 'em you could git. But I've 
allers bin ready ter font ter the last ditch 
an' die in hit fer any Southern iH-inserpnl." 

"Seems like we've struck a rebel [loliti- 
cal meeting," whispered Si; "somebody's 
running for Congress." 

"Sounds like talk we used to hear about 
100 years ago — somewhere in Kentucky — 
long before Stone River, even," answered 
Shorty, with an effort to remember the 
dim and misty past. 

Holding his cocked gun in instant readi- 
ness, Si slipped silently forward to the 
cover of the trunk of a large live oak, 
from which he could see the speakers. He 
gave a glance, and beckoned Shorty to 
come up. They both looked, and then, 
with a wave of their haiuls. which tele- 
graphed to the shari^-sightcd .\-ouugsters 
ihat there was nothing to fcai-. motioned 
to the boys to come on. Exp.erience soon 
teaches soldiers to sec a great dial more in 



a mere wave of the hand than civilians 
can lead. 

W hat Si and Shorty saw was a camp of 
citizen "refugees" hiding out in the deep 
woods from Sherman. 

The one whom the partners placed as 
Yiv. Benjamin Small — a large, portly, 
!.■' M(l-MM,king uuin, with toucl;:':-; of gray iu 
h s hair and whiskers, and whose face In- 
dira icd that he had not let anything iu 
life s(i far worry him seriously — was seat- 
ed iu a large hickory-bottomed mcking 
chair, with a cob pipe in his mwulh. and 
h'lhling an umbrella over his liead, to 
shield him from the night dews, aiul ruck- 
ed and smoked leisurely, while arguing 
A'.iih ".Vashington Hartshorn, and suia'rin- 
teiiding a couple of negro men, who were 
lix.ng nil a shelter for the iji:.;li;. Near 
him, i:i anuther rocking chaii'. also smok- 
iirg and holding an umbrella uver her head, 
sat his wife, a spare, liaid-featured 
Wduian, who devotetl most of her atten- 
tion til directing two "likely" uegi'esses, 
with haiulaua tnrl)ai;s, who wei-e conking 
supper. «)pposite him, in an unc(nntorta- 
ble. split-bottomed chair, sal .Mi', ^s■ash- 
ington Ilart.>horn, who was of lh(> hiekory- 
lawyer and cross-roads-politician type, who 
whittled a stick and chewed plug tol)acca 
and expectorated tremendously. Near 
him, on another hickory chair, sat his 
Avife, a thin, sallow, peevish-looking 
Asomau, with few teeth, and a sni'IT-goni-d 
and stick, which she used industriously. 
From the conversation and the attitude of 
all it developed that Mr. Small, who had 
been with his wife at his other plantation, 
luid become alarmed at the advance of cho 
army, and started out provided to go into 
hiding for a day or two. until the ariny 
had passed, and had unwillingly picked up 
Hartshorn and his wife, who did not move 
in the same social circle with them. This 
Avas (juite clear to anyone who luolied f)n 
the group. Wash Hartshorn felt his so- 
cial inferiority, but tried to make up for it 
by continual assertive reminders ro .Mr, 
Small that he was quite as good as he 
was, if not much better in some respects, 
iu spite of the latter's wealth and negroes, 
ilrs. Hartshorn felt it still more keenly, 
but she did not have her husband's re- 
sources. She could only reply to Mrs. 
Small's depreciatory glances and words 
with others meant to express righteous 
condemiiation of the wicked arrogance of 
"rich folks," and meanwhile sought con- 
solation in her snuff-stick. 

Mr. Small had brought away from his 
farm a wagon, in which he had had load- 
ed some beddin.g, the chairs and the cook- 
ing utensils and food. He had proposed 
that he and his wife should have a com- 
fortable bed in the wagon, under the low- 
growing branches of a beech, while the 
negroes slept around the fire. What to do 
with Mr. and INIrs. Hartshorn was a prob- 
leur. They resolutely refused to put them- 
selves "on an equality with the niggers," 
by sleeping around the tire, not even if 



103 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



they were given a separate fire. Mr. and 
Mrs. Small as strenuously objected to put- 
tins; themselves on an equality with them, 
by ^sharing their sleeping accommodations 
in the wagons. 

When Si arrived on the scene Hart- 
shorn was trying to force an admission 
from Small to equality, and a share in the 
wagon-bed by an appeal to general politi- 
cal principles and an assertion of his vsu- 
perior devotion to Southern Rights. Small 
might have possibly waived the point if 
he and Hartshorn had been alone involved, 
but Mrs. Small was adamant against the 
slightest descent toward Mrs. Hartshorn's 
level. 

"I done tell yo'," said Hartshorn, wav- 
ing his knife aiid his stick in the air, and 
firing a great volley of tobacco-juice with 
precision at a neighboring toadstool, '"I'm 
so strong in my ijees that I wouldn't 
leave nary Yankee alive. They'uns orter 
t' be killed jes' as fast as our men kin 
git at they'uns." 

"Of co'se they'uns orter t' be killed," 
acceded Mr. Small. "I've allers held 
that." 

"What's the sense, I'd like t' know," 
snapped jNIrs. Small, "of wc'uns a-keepin' 
that whole passel o' they'uns down thar 
at Andersonville, feedin' 'em victuals that 
we'uns've t' raise, an' which had orter be 
sent t' the soldiers in the field? Why 
didn't they jes' shoot 'em down when they 
kotched 'era, an' be done with 'era?" 

"Suttingly," echoed Mr. Harlshorn, de- 
lighted to be in accord with Mrs. Small. 

"That was my ijee, 'zackly. I" 

"Kind, Christian folks," whispered Si 
to Shorty. 

The discussion was interrupted by or- 
ders given to the negroes as to the prep- 
arations for the night and for supper. At 
the first opportunity Hartshorn renewed it 
with the assertion: 

"I tell you, no man on airth has bin 
truer ter Southern prinsepuls nur me. I've 
fit fer them all my life, an' I'll font fer 
'em as long as I live, an' ter the las' drap 
o' my blood." 

"Fer a foutin' man ypu'd done managed 
monty well in dodging the conscript of- 
ficers," sneered Mrs. Small, t 

"I done went inter the army quite as 
fast an' quite as fur as yer husband done 
went. Miss' SmalL" said Hartshorn, v.-ith 
a leer of triumph'at his shot. "My cabin 
mus' be a mile or two neareder Atlanty 
than his house, or rather you'rn, for hit 
was your'n, and not his'n." 

"My husband jes' plum couldn't go ter 
the war, on 'count of a bealin' in his year, 
mem," Mrs. Hartshorn put in spiritedly. 
**He jes' wanted ter go moutily, all the 
time, mem. But I jes' knowed he couldn't, 
an' kep' him at home. Thar wuz nothin' 
at all the matter with yer husband, mem. 
He could've went, if he'd 'a' wanted ter." 
"The law obleoged my husband ter stay 
at homr>, .an' lake keer of his niggers. 
Wash Hartshorn," answered ^^ll■s. Small, 
contemptuously ignoring the wife. "You 



don't know much o' law, but at least you 
know that much. An' you know, if you 
know anything vallerble, which I much 
misdoubt, hit was even more needful fer 
them what had niggers t' stay with 'em 
an' keep 'em at work raisin" pervisions fer 
the army than hit wuz ter font. Common 
folks, who hadn't nothin' ielse, could font. 
That's all they kin do t' pay up fer livin' 
an' cumbrin' the airth. We'uns have t' 
take keer o' they'uns all the time, same's 
M-e'uns do our niggers, an' why shouldn't 
they'uns go an' tout fer we'uns?" 

"Yes'm, I know all about yer 20-nigger 
law, an' a heap more law besides, that's 
bin made to grind the faces o' the pore," 
answered Hartshorn, lashed into anger by 
the woman's superciliousness, "an' when 
the war's ever, an' the pore men git back, 
thar'U be a settlement with you paw-paw 
quality that yo'uns won't like at all, I 
warn you. Inheritin' or mebbe stealin' a 
nigger or two can't allers make some folks 
Pharaohs, t' trod down an' run over folks 
what hain't got none. I tell" 

"You darst talk that-a-way t' me, right 
afore my face. Wash Hartshorn, you pore, 
contemptible wind-sucker," shouted Mrs. 
Small, rising from her seat in a rage. 
"You jes' git up an' mosey right outen 
hyah, an' take that snufi'-dippin', clay-eat- 
in' wife o' your'n with you. Cl'ar out, I 
done" 

"Come, come, Sally," interposed her 
peace-loving lord. "Don't git yer dander 
up that-a-way. Ain't no occasion fer hit. 
Wash Hartshorn likes t' hear hisself talk. 
He'd talk the years offen a cast-iron pot, 
an' when he's through hit don' 'mount t' 
as much as last year's pig-weed. But he 
hain't half as bad as his tongue. I'm 
mouty hongry, an' supper's ready. Le's 
all set up an' eat. After supper we'll ail 
be in a better humor." 

The temptation of a vei-y much better 
meal than they Arero in the habit of having 
made Mrs. Small's scorn endurable by the 
Hartshorns. They were hardened to that 
sort of thing. The poor white in the South 
was always a parasite on those who were 
a little better off, and though he might at 
times snarl and snap, he rather expected 
contumely and always came back for 
more. It was the usual thing on both 
sides. There was a certain formal asser- 
tion of position in the Avay the v.'ell-to-do 
tolerated their inferiors, and the inferiors 
accepted this as a recognized part of the 
general game. 

Si and Shorty had listened to the row 
with interest. It was an insight into the 
relations of the different strata of South- 
ern people to one another. The social at- 
mosphere was wholly different from that 
in Indiana. The degradation, the ignor- 
ance, the pretentious self-assertion, min- 
gled at the same breath with abject servil- 
ity were as astonishing on one side, as the 
haughty disdain, mingled with easy toler- 
ance, was on the other. Deacon Klogg may 
have despised some cheap, noisy, cross- 
roads demagog from the backwoods of 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



107 



Po5ey County, but he would hare either 
treated him ( ivilly as a man and an equal, 
orelsG i.ii'norod him alln^cthi'i-. 

But the .si^iil ai,<l s.m'll "f the food 
heaped Upon the iniiivnviscd inhlc interest- 
ed the boys UKirc than iiliilnsoi.hic retlee- 
tions on the scheme of s.x-ial relalion.--.. 

The neprcssrs served nut ,ureat dishes of 
the sniokins- and odorous liaron and eol- 
lards. the fra^ranee oi' Avhich reached lia<-k 
to Harry, iNLunty. and the olh-r buys, and 
made their months water. It was intox- 
icating to Si and ^^horty. who had eaten 
'nothing aiiii c morning, and wlio remi-m- 
bered vividly hov,- good thnse viands 
tasted when they were escaping from An- 
dersonville. 

Then, there were great pones of corn- 
bread baked in Dutch ovens, fat yams 
roasted in the hot ashes, the inevilalde 
fried sidemeat with the hot gr(Mse for 
gravy in which to sop the corn-ln-ead, and 
coffee made from a mixture of roasted 
sweet potatoes, peanuts and wheat. 

"I declare, I can't live another minute, 
unless I have some o' that bacon and col- 
lards," whispered Shorty. 

"So must I," answered Si. 

The Smalls and the Hartshorns had 
drawn up to the stump on which the table 
rested, and were about to begin when Mr. 
Small fell the back of his neck touched by 
the muzzle of a Springfield rifle. He looked 
around with a start. 

'* 'Sense me," said Shorty, reaching 
down for his plate of collards, "you hain't 
asked a blessing, and a heathen who won't 
ask a blessing oughtn't to have nothing to 
eat. For what we are about to receive 
make us duly thankful. Amen. ]Ma"am, 
I'll trouble you to hand me that knife and 
fork. I'd get 'em myself, but it's very im- 
polite to reach acrost the table." 

"Sorry to disturb your supper, ma'am," 
said Si, as he appropriated Mrs. Small's 
plate. "Always hate to discommode a lady, 
but you're in no special hurry for your 
supper, while we are. We're on urgent 
business for the United States, and must 
eat and run. You've plenty more where 
this come from, and won't mind waiting 
half-a-hour, which you can spend -in con- 
versation with Mr. Hartshorn, until some 
more can be cooked." 

"Here, Pete, Sandy, and the rest of you, 
come up," yelled Shorty to the boys, after 
he had swallowed the first succulent 
mouthful. "Here's plenty of bacon and 
collards for all of you." 

But Pete and Sandy did not find much 
left on the plates they snatched from Mr. 
and Mrs. Hartshorn. Nothing but instant 
death would prevent those worthies from 
insatiable devouring from the moment 
they sat down at a well-filled board. 

"Another wicked invasion o' the South's 
Constitutional rights," groaned Wash 
Hartshorn, as he .gazed on the bojs rapid- 
ly emptying the collard-kettle, and devas- 
tating the corn-pone and sweet potatoes. 
"I'll font ter the las' drap o' my blood 



agin the despotism o' the black-hearted 
tyrant. Lincoln." 

"Shut ne." said Pete, making a kick at 
him. •■\'>\\ mustn't call President Lincoln 
mimes v.hih' Lm around, or I'll whale the 
life out o' you." 

"Me too," echoed Sandy, with his 
mouth full. 

]\Ir. Small gave a look at the blue uni- 
forms, slmvcd his chair back from the 
talile, piilieil lip ilis umbrella and pipe, 
and ;ic((>;:teil the situation in silence. 

Is'ot so Mrs. Si'.iall. Her dumbfound- 
ment lasted scarcely a minute, and then 
the ton-ents ni' her rage broke out. It was 
the fust time she had over really seen a 
Yankee solilier, and had an opportunity to 
tell him face to fsce all the hateful things 
she had been thinking during the four 
years of war. She poured forth a stream 
"of bitter invective, at which Si and 
Shorty, intent upon their bacon and col- 
lards and corn-bread, merely grinned 
greasy grins from countenances smeared 
with the unctuous mess. 

She snatched up a long wooden spoon 
from the bread-l>owl, and struck at the 
side of Si"s head. Si brushed a wad of 
corn-dough from his ear, and went on 
grinning and eating. She struck Shorty 
over the shoulder, and Shorty merely 
dodged out of her way, and grinned. She 
broke the spoon over Harry's head, but 
Harry grinned, and went on to the collard- 
pot, to see if there was any more. She 
started, threw down the piece of the 
siioon, and picked up a stick, with which 
she started for Pete, but Pete, as well as 
Sandy and Monty, proved entirely too 
nimble for her, and interposed trees be- 
tween them and her wrath. 

Uncle Ephraim, Aunt Minerva Ann, 
and the rest arrived upon the scene, and 
were struck with consternation. 

"Per de Lawd's sake," gasped Uncle 
Ephraim, " 'Nervy, dar's Mas'r Ben 
Small, an Miss' Sally." Shame-faced, he 
grabbed off his master's silk hat, and Ijid 
it behind his back. 

"She's y're born, chile, hit's dem,'* 
echoed Aunt Minerva, hastily reducing the 
Sunday bonnet and the parasol to less 
conspicuousness. 

Mr. Ben Small looked up and around, 
and recognizing his former chattels, asked 
an.grily: j 

"Ep, you black rascal, what are you 
doin' hyah? Who gave you leave to leave 
the placeV Whar air you gwine?" 

Uncle Ephraim, dazed by the presence 
of his owner, too new yet in his freedom 
to boldly assert himself, stood in the old 
slave attitude, dabbing at his foretop, and 
scraping the ground with his foot, unable 
to reply. 

Aunt INIinerva Ann boldly rose to the 
emergency. 

"Wc'-s come ofE de place, Mas — Mistah 
Small, 'kase w,e don't belong dai- any 
more. We'uns don't belong t' you no 
more. We'uns is free, an' belong t' Fad- 



108 



EI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



der Abraham, an' glory t' God, -wo'ims 's 
gwine right v.-id him." 

"What's that, you black hnE.«;y?" shout- 
ed Mr. Bon Small, for once allowing him- 
self to become greatly excited, and picking 
up a hickory withe, he started for her. 
*'Go back to the place at. once, and take 

tMpm 



"That greasy wench a colored lady!" 
screamed Mrs. Small, raising her whip 
and starting for Aunt Minerva Ann. '"She 
free, an' gwine off with thci Yankees? 
I'll .-•-kin the black trollop alive this min- 
ute." 

Aunt Minerva Ann quailed more before 




'HOLD ON, MR. SMALL," SAID SI, PUTTING HIS GUN IN FEONT OF HIM. 



n these people with you, afore I whip every 
V inch o' hide offen yer black carcass." 
'' Aunt ^Minerva Ann's lips trembled, but 

^' she confronted him with steady eyes, and 
p made no move to avoid his uplifted whip. 
-' \lnc\p Epln-aini fuinhlod his gun nervously. 
S "Hold on, Mr. Small," said Si, putting 

r ,his gun-barrel in front of Small, and 
T pressing him hack toward his chair. "Go 
» back and sit down, and keep quiet. This 

colored lady is a friend of mine, and 

you'll have to treat her with the greati-st 

respert. or I'll not like it." 

"And I shall be positively vexed." added 

Shorty, catching Mr. Small by the collar, 
■!- and pulling him back to bis chair. 



her mislress than she had before her mas- 
ter; but little Pete could not stand the 
coarse epithets applied to his sable friend 
and the thi-eat of violence to her. He had 
just burst open a lar,ge, fleshy, roasted 
yam, ;ind in his anger he flung it straight 
into ]Mrs. Small's face, coverin.g her au- 
ger-distorted features with a poultice of 
the hot, mushy inside. 

"Pete, what did you do that for?" asked 
Si, severely. "You must never strike a 
Avoninn on any account." 

"Well, she shan't liit Aunt jNIinerva 
Ann." yelled Pete. "I'll throw the whole 
kitchen at her ii abe lifts het hand to her 
agaia," 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



t09 



Aun.t Minerva Ann deliberately restored 
the bonuet to her head, and hoisted tho 
parasol. Uncle Ephraim regained courage 
to put on his hat again. 

'•.Halt, who comes there?" sharply chal- 
lenged Shorty, springing out into the road, 
at the sound of marching footsteps. 

"Who are you, yourself?" came back, 
■with the sound of clicking gun-locks. '"An- 
swer at once." 

"Squad of the 200th In.iianny," prompt- 
ly answered Si, striding out beside Shorty 
and leveling his gun. "Hooray for the 
Union! Who are you?" 

"Picket detail, First Brigade, Third 
Division, Fourteenth Corps. Advance 
one and be recognized." 

Si walked forward and was confronted 
by the Captain who was taking out his 
company to establish a picket line. He 
■was accompanied li,y an officer of the bri- 
gade stalf, to direct the location of the 
line, and report back to headquarters in 
regard to it. 

"All right," said the Captain, aft^r Si 
had finished his story. "Bring your men 
right in. You'll iind the camp of the 
200th Ind. just over the hill ihoro a little 
w^ays and to tho loft of the road. But 
you'll have to leave tho negroes outside." 

"I'll do nothing of the kind," said Si, 
determinedly. "The darkies have got to 
come right along with us. They helped 
us, and we've going to stand by them." 
■ "You' can't bring them in. all the same," 
answered the Captain. "You pass on in, 
and leave them out here. They'll take 
care of themselves all right." 

"But, Captain," pleaded Si, "these are 
darkies who fed us when M^e were escap- 
ing from Andersonville and kept us from 
f;tarving. We're not going to desert them 
now, on an.v account." 

"I don't blame you," answered the Cap- 
tain, sympathizing at once with Si; "but 
the orders are strict. I don't know but" — - 

"Well, you can't bring 'em in," said 
the Aid, decidedly. "That's the cud of 
it. Y'ou take your men on to your regi- 
ment at once, and leave the niggers out- 
side. We can't have them in here eating 
up our rations and constantly in the way 
of every movement." 

"But I tell you. Lieutenant, there are 
special reasons for bringing these darkies 
in. They're" 

"O, there's always special reasons," 
broke in the Aid. "Everybody has some 
reason for bringing in his particular nig- 
ger, and if we allowed them the camp 
would soon be swarming with niggers. 1 
order you to leave tliem outside, and go 
on at "once with your men to join your 
regiment." 

"You can't order me," said Si, firmly. 
*'You're only a staff officer. I don't take 
orders from nobody but Col. McGillicud- 
dy and the oflicers of my regiment." 

Then turning he said: 

"Harry, mount your , horse, and ride 
over there and find Col. McGillicuddy and 
tell him the_ trouble." 

"Make yourselves comfortable right 



here, boys," said the Captain of the pick- 
ets, kindly, "with your contrabands. AYe'll 
have a tire started here for the reserve 
and throw the pickets out farther." 

"Say, Cap," said Si, "there's a . camp 
o' refugees — the owners o' these nig'gers — 
down there a little ways. Keep 'em out- 
side your line." 

"Owners of the niggers, eh?" answered 
the Captain. "Well, I'll see that they're 
not lot in. JMake yourselves comfortable 
hi ro with me and the reserve. Lieut. 
?dal!on, take 50 men, advance about 200 
yai'dy, and deploy thom to tho right, until 
y<Mi coniioct with the left of the Second 
l'.iigaili'"s pickets. If you find any citi- 
zor.s i>r.t there push them back to a good 
distance in front of your line." 

Apparent]" Ilarr.y did not have to gO 
very far. for the Adjutant .>f the 2n0th 
Ind., soon rode up, and, with a cheery 
"Good evening, Caiitain; how are you, 
Seig't Klegg," remarked, officially: 

Captain, Col. _Al((;illiouddy presents his 
compHmonts, and dii-erts that you admit 
Sorg't Klegg and v^hoever he may have 
with him." 

"Very good, sir," said the Captain, sa- 
luting. 

"Come along, Sergeant, with your con- 
trabands,'' baid tho Adjutant, "and tell 
me Mhat you've been up to today." 

"I shall ropoit this to the General," 
said the Aid. si'vrroiy, as he galloped off 
toward Brigado IloailrpiartiH's. 

Si was showing his train to Col. McGiv- 
licuddy, and telling his stor.y. when the 
Aid trotted up, iuid, dismounting, stitUy 
saluted, and said in severe, oflicial tones: 

"Col. McGilHouddy, the General prf>- 
sents his compliments, and desires to 
know if you .are awarr- of tho ordf>i-s 
against the admission of negroes to our 
camp, while on- the march?" 

"Return to the General, sir," said Col. 
McGillicuddy, with equal formality, "with 
my compliments, and inform him that I 
am fully aware of those orders, and take 
the entire responsibilit.y of my action." 

In a few minutes, and while Si still 
stood talking to the Colonel, the General 
himself apepared, wearing a stern look OQ 
his face. 

"Good evening. Col. McGilicuddy," be 
said coldly. "You have a very pleasant 
camp here. But what are all these ne- 
groos doing here?" 

"General," answered the Colonel, "when 
Serg't Ivlogg, Jiore. and some more of my 
men, woro esoaifing from Andersonville 
last Sunnnor. and almost starving, these 
nogrops hid themselves and fed them. The 
negroes wore terribly whipped for so do- 
ing. With my permission., Serg't Klegg 
took his sonad out today.' found them, and 
has brought them in. And their master 
is jr.st or.tsido of the lines now. If he 
should get hold of, them I don't know 
\^hat would lianpon to the poor, faithful 
creatures. With all respect to you. Gen- 
eral, I'll say that as long as I have con- 
trol of my own camp they shall stay in." 

"They hid and fed your men, Colonel? 



119 



m KLEGG AND SHOETT; 



These same ne£rrr>es? You're snre they're 
the same?" said the General, warmly, for- 
getting for the minute his official formal- 
ity. "Well, I declare. Master just outside 
the line wanting to get them back?"' 

Then he recollected himself, and became 
veiT military again. 

"Lieutenant," he ordered the Aid, "ride 
at once to the Officer of the Pickets, and 
direct him to take unusual care that no 



citizens enter the lines under' any pretext 
whatever — under any pretext whatever, 
sir. Col. McGillicuddy?" 

"Yes, sir," said tl^e Colonel, saluting. 

"I again call your attention to the or- 
ders against the admission of negroes to 
your camp; but I will add, d — n a man 
who won't stick up for his friends. Good 
evening, Colonel." 



CHAPTER XX. 

WITH THE FREEDMEN IN CAMP— THE COLORED PEOPLE'S FIRST EXPERI- 
ENCE WITH COFFEE— AUNT MINERVA ANN'S TALENTS AS A SONG- 
STRESS—THE ENGINEER'S CAPTURE OF THE TRAIN— A SURPRISE FOR SI 
AND SHORTY. 



' ■"Sergeant, take your co'.ored friends 
over there by the creek and make them 
comfortable," said Col. McGillicuddy. 
"Don't be at all worried about them. I'll 
stand off Gen. Sherman himself, if he 
should come around after them." 

"Thankee kindly. Colonel," said Si, 
gratefully, and formally saluting. 

"Much obliged. Colonel," added Shorty, 
as he also saluted. "Call on us at sight, 
any time, for anything you want done. 
The tougher the job the better." 

The partners hurried their contraband 
friends off to the place the Colonel had in- 
dicated, and soon had them happy aroimd 
a big, blazing fire, at which the food they 
had brought with them was cooking. The 
boys of the company contributed a supply 
of hardtack, which the negroes received as 
the most marvelous and delicate viand. It 
was the first "Yankee bread" any of them 
had ever seen, and they had had but few 
bites of wheat bread in all their lives, so 
that it was a double luxury. Better than 
all. they were given enough coffee to make 
a large camp kettle full, and this, more 
than aught else, convinced the negroes 
that they had really entered the Promised 
Land. Coffee had always been the one un- 
attainable luxury of the "house," where 
their master and mistress lived. The mas- 
ter and mistress and their guests had it in 
limited quantity, carefully doled out from 
locked drawers, and the best the favored 
house servants got was the privilege of 
boiling over the grounds. The poor whites 
never had any coffee, except by rare lucl:, 
and they, as well as the negroe.s, looked 
upon a cup of coffee as a cherished pre- 
rogative of the wealthier whites. Coffee 
was the badge of aristocracy — of social 
station — and valued accordingly. 

Therefore, when TTncle Ephraim and 
'Aunt Minerva Ann found themselves lord 



and lady of a great big camp-kettle full of 
unmistakably genuine coffee, whose fra- 
gi'ant fumes diffused themselves like the 
savor of a good deed, it seemed that life 
had little more to offer them. 

The proprietary airs they gave them- 
selves in dispensing the precious beverage 
to their companions were comical. In 
their low opinion of these, they feared that 
they did not properly appreciate this 
bounty of Heaven and Father Abraham. 

"Now, yo' niggers," said Uncle Ephraim 
severely, as Aunt Minerva Ann prepared 
to dip out the coffee and distribute it to 
each, "yo' mus'u't ack like pigs at a 
trough. Yo"s now free, an' 'longs t' Fad- 
der Abraham an' Serg't Klegg, an' mus' 
ack like ladies an' gemmen. Wait yo' 
turns, don't jostle one anudder; don't spill 
an' waste none' don't gulp hit down lack 
hogs in a pufikin' field tryin' t' gobble up 
ebberythin' afore de rest kin git a bite, but 
drink hit slowly an' reverently in de fear 
an' admition of de Lawd an' Fadder Abra- 
ham." 

"An' yo' wenches," added Aunt Minerva 
Ann, trying to remember all the disparag- 
ing things she had heard against the use of 
coffee, "recolleck dat too much coffee spiles 
de complexion, blackens de skin, rots de 
teef, mnkes yo' lay wake ob nights, an' 
gibs yo' palpertation ob de heart. Be 
mouty keerful how much yo' drink." 

"Ladirs fus', now," said Uncle Ephraim, 
as Aunt Minerva Ann prepared to dish out 
the steaming beverage. "No scrougin' 
now. Let de oldes' come fust." 

"Well, I'm de grayes' rat in de hole, 
when hit comes t' age," said Aunt Betsy, 
coming forward with the biggest gourd she 
could find. "Fill hit un, 'Nervy. Don' 
min' my complexion. Charcoal make a 
white mark on me, now. An' as fer my 
teef, dey's jes' done got t' stan' hit di3 



THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



Ill 



time, as doy's donp had t' stau' n^aiiy ud- 
der t'iiijrs at'orc dis." 

And the jrilly ii('?;re:^s lanshcd loud and 
unctuously at her own humor. 

"Bets."' saia Aunt ?iiint»rva Ann severe- 
ly, "yo' sarlinly don't mean t' say dat yo' 
done 'liuids f drink coffee outen u j.-ourdV" 

■•So," saiil Aunt Betsy, a little abashed. 
f'Whyfo' notV l>rir,k v.'arer, an' milk, an' 
whisky outen a ji'ourd. Why not coffee?" 

"Do iRuuvi-ence oh dat niss'er," said 
Aunt ^liuerva Ann, rollinu- up her eyes iu 
horror. "An" she wants t' lie a free woman. 
Who ehber hearcd ob anybody drinkiu' 
ooft'ec outen a gourd? What sorter 
broughten up has she had? Why, dey'd 
done frow her outen church fer dat. No, 
ISliss' Bets, yo' shan't insult de good 
Lnwd, an' Fadder Abraham by driukin' 
none ob his coft'ee outen a gourd. Show 
yer manners au' religion by gittiu' a tiu- 
cup." 

Aunt Betsy bridled at this rigid regula- 
tion as to table etiquet. She liad always 
been restive under Aunt Minerva Ann's 
absolute Queeuship of the "quarters," and 
had more than once broken out in open re- 
bellion, generally having to succumb in the 
end. 

Si, who. with the rest, was enjoying the 
scene, averted the storm by saying: 

"Here, Aunt Betsy, is my tin-cup. You 
can have it. I'll get another." 

This favor to the sable Elizabeth gave 
her a distinct lead and aroused Aunt Mi- 
nerva's jealousy. 

"What fer yo' give her dat cup?" she 
asked Si, angrily. "An' yo' call her 
Aunty, too? She no aunty t' nobody. She 
not raised on de place. She's only a 
bought nigger — done bought at a vandoo — 
done bought at a bankrupt vandoo, when 
olde Cnnnel Turpin's niggers v\aiz sold oft", 
t' pay his gamblin' debts. She no" 

"That's all right. Aunt INIinervy." said 
Shorty, anxious to prevent the jollity of 
the occasion being disturbed by a feminine 
row. "Here's my cup. Now that starts 
you both fair." . • 

"But she's not yer aunty, is she?" asked 
Aunt Minerva Ann, unappeased. "Yo' 
won't have no aunty bought at a mortgage 
vandoo, will yo'? She's only plain Tur- 
pin's Bets." 

"That's because she was sold to pay 
Turpin's bets," said Shorty. "No, you're 
our only Aunty — only, original .Tacobs of 
an Aunty, name blown in the bottle, and 
fac-simile of signature. All others are 
imitations and counterfeits." 

This How of words that she could not 
understand satisfied Aunt Minerva Ann, 
and she set about serving out the coffee. 
Uncle Ephraim stood by with a stick to 
preserve order and make every one take 
his or her turn. 

Soon they all had a large cupful of cof- 
fee, and their hands full of bread and 
meat, and, seating thonisclves ni-diiiid the 
glowing tire, b(\:van, as tliey felt Tae ex- 
hilaration of the delicons beverage, to 
sing, Aunt Minerva Ana leading with her 



rich, strong contralto, and Uncle Ephraim ;,.; 
tlinn.deiiug^in his heavy baritone. ij 

After singing a verso or two of her fa- i-g 
vorite hymn, "On .Tordau's Stormy B.anks," Ji 
Aunt Minerva Ann began to wander off It 
into the improvisations for which she was 
famed, when excited, in which she took >t 
well-known hymn themes and embroidered 
thom with additions expressive of her ra 
thoughts at the moment. ii> 

The thrilling events of the day, the pas- 
sage from slavery to freedom, the strange 
faces and sights around, the unwonted 
stimulus of deep drafts of strong coffee, 
all combined to work her up to a high 
pitch, Avhere she seemed like one of the 
inspired priestesses of old. Her wonder- 
ful contr.'ilto voice rang out through the 
somber pine woods like a silver clarion, 
the lurid glare of the fire flashed upon 
strongly-wrought features, and her com- 
panions, infected by her looks, gestures '' 
and words, swayed by the mystic power 
of her ringing voice, responded to her 
soul-welling strains, in an impassioned 
chorus, perfect in harmony, time and 
pitch. 

"On .Jordan's stormy banks I stand, 
An' cast my wishful eyes, 

On Fadder Abraham's happy land, 
W^har blessed Freedom lies," 

rang out Aunt Minerva Ann, and Uncle ,,, 
Ephraim came in like a big brass horn in j^j 
au orchestra: 

"O, gib me my harp, 
O, gib me my crown; 
Dar le' me lay my life down 
In de arms of A-bra-ham!" 

Like a well-trained corps of flutes, clario- 
nets, haultboys and French horns in a 
wave of perfect harmony came in the oth- 
ers: 

"O, carry me straight 
T' de golden gate 

An' de arms ob A-bra-ham." 

Aunt Minerva Ann again: '^ 

"Dar is a happy Ian' — .i 

Far. far away. It 

Dar saints in glory stan'— !e 

Bright, bright as day. . .b 

O, den t' Freedom run, Ur 

Cl'av t' dat shinin' shore; It 

Be a crown an' kingdom won", Ji 

Lib in dat Summer sun, n 

Free ehbermore." It 

And the antiphonal Uncle Ephraim re- i( 

plied: . i[ 

"O, gib me my harp, d 

O, gib me my crown; f 

Dar let me lay my life down m 

In de arms oli A4):a-hai:i." ^ 

And the chorus swelled: 

"O. carry me straight ■ ' 

T' dat golden gate, "^ 

An' de aini.i eb A-bra-ham." 



112 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY, 



The flood of sweet melody, lilMiig the 
trisp evoniiig air, and mingling with the 
grateful incense of the burning cedar, at- 
tracted the soldiers everywhere, until a 
great crowd had gathered around. They 
■were in the humor to appreciate and en- 
joy it all. Young, ardent men, teeming 
wi'th the vigor of life, proud of their past 
achievement.^, enthusiastic for greater 
ones, confident of succisss, well-fed, well- 
led, everything going as they would like 
it. they were in the mood that comes but 
rarely in life to any man. They made 
the woods ring with cheers for the sing- 
ers, and incited Aunt iMinerva Ann to 
higher efforts. She poured out: 

"Plunged in a gulf.ob dark despa'r, 

De wretched rebels lie; 
Ole Satan's done got dem by de h'ar, 

He'll sizzle dem by-an'-by." 

And Uncle Ephraim's organ-like tones an- 
swered: 

"O, gib me my hai-p, 
O, gib me my crown; 
•Den let me lay my life down 
In de arms of A-bra-ham." 

All the pipes of the grand human organ 
raised in chorus: 

"O, carry me straight 

T' dat golden gate, 

An' de arms ob A-bra-ham.'' 

"Good! Good! Go ahead! Give us some 
more. Hooray' for the intelligent contra- 
bands," shouted the soldiers amid their 
cheers and laughter. "Go on. Give us 
more!" 

Aunt Minerva Ann was stimulated still 
higher and rolled out: 

"Ole Pharaoh's heart was hard an' 

cold — 

He would not let de people go. 
De deep Red Sea ober Pharaoh rolled, 

He would not let de people go. 
Ole Jeff Davis's heart is hard an' sour — 

He would not let de people go. 
But now he trimbles at de Almighty's 

ppwei- — 

He jes' mus' let de people go." 
Unci? Ephraim boomed on the air: 

"O, gib me my harp, 

O, gib me my crown. 

Den let me lay my life down — 
In de arms ob A-bra-ham." 

The singers among the soldiers by this 
time caught the words and air, and a 
thousand voices helped ring out the 
chorus: 

"O, carry me straight 
T' de the golden gate, 

An' de arms ob A-bra-ham." 

"Sei-geant," said the voice of Col. Mc- 
Gillicuddy, "you seem to have picked up 
a band of sweet singers of Israel. I think 
I shall send them home as a present to my 
church. They would create a sensation in 
Indiana."- ~ 



Si looked around to see the Colonel and 
the rest of the officers standing near, 
greatly enjoying the music. 

"O, Colonel," he said, saluting, "there's 
something I wanted to say to you. but I 
didn't think it proper before — until you 
made your decision. I've got a mighty 
nice hoss over here, which I intended for 
you. If I'm any judge, he's a straight 
Hambletonian, and a better hoss than 
there is in the division. He's just the 
kind you ought to have, and I want you 
to ride him." 

They walked over to the horees, and the 
Colonel was delighted with the looks of 
the animal. "I started out with as good 
a one as I could find," he said. "But this 
one lays away over him. I can see that 
at 'first glance. I'll take him, and am very 
much obliged to you, Sergeant. ■ 

"I'm too much a friend of yours, Ser- 
geant." he added, witha quizzical look at 
Si; "to ask where you got the horse. I'll 
take him all the same. People in the army 
shouldn't ask too many questions." 

"The name of your hoss is 'Elder Horn- 
blower,' " said Si. "You'll find that his 
wind never gives out." 

"Adjutant," said Shorty,' "I've got 
mighty nigh as good a hoss here for you. 
'^Ve'll take these two up, to headquarters 
and turn the rest over to the Quarter- 
master, and get them off our mind. I 
ain't hankerin' for any more responsibility 
for live stock. Had enough o' that to last 
during' my enlistment." 

"Well, you shan't turn over my mule," 
piped \i\i Pete. "He don't belong to -you. 
Me and Sandy got him ourselves." 

"The Fourteenth Corps is bound for 
Milledgeviile — Gov. Joe Brown's capita!,"' 
said the Adjutant, as the partners started 
to go back to hunt up Co. Q's quarters for 
the night. "We've going down there to 
capture the State Government and put 
Georgia back into the Union. We'll camp 
to-morrow evening on the banks of the 
Ulcofauhatchee Creek. If you boys have 
got any more accounts to settle, I'll give 
you a pass to leave the column and rejoin 
us in the evening on the banks of the Ulco- 
fauhatchee, near a town called Eudora.'' 

"Thankee," said Si, "but I think we'll 
stay at home to-morrow and get acquaint- 
ed with the regiment. We had a pretty 
lively time on the Ulcofauhatchee last Au- 
gust, but, after all, we came out ahead of 
the game, as near as I can recollect. Per- 
haps Shorty wants to go over to a certain 
old maid's house, and pay for a supper 
she didn't intend us to have." 

"Hardly," answered Shorty. "I've had 
my fill of the society of Southern ladies. 
I ain't pining for any more. Co. Q's so- 
ciety is good enough for me." 

The Quartermaster had plenty of em- 
ployment for Si's negroes the next morn- 
ing, in shifting the loads of some wagons, 
and he put both men and women at it. Si 
and Shoriy arranged with him that the 
negroes should go with him during the 
day, while they themselves indulged in 
the long-interrupted experience of a day's 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



U3 




IN THE WAKE OF CO. Q. 



march in the ranks of Co. Q. Pete Skid- 
more and Sandy Baker wanted so much 
to do the same, that they gave Abednego 
over to the care of Aunt Minerva Ann. 
Uncle Ephraim was to drive the wagon 
he had brought from home, and in which 
the negroes things were placed, together 
with some of Co. Q's property. To make 
sure of Abednego, Aunt Minerva Ann 
was to ride the mule. 

"I declare, this feels real good and 
home-like," said Si, as he threw his 
haversack and canteen over his shoulder, 
followed them With his blanket-roll, 
picked up his gun, and took his long-va- 
cant place as file-closer on the left of Co. 
Q. "I'm just sick of rampaging about 
the country, on my own hook, or no hook 
at all, and I'm glad to get back to a quiet, 



steady life, where I belong. Fall tB( 
promptly, boys." 

"That's what I say," echoed Shorty. 
"Fellers that like special details may have 
'em. Hereafter my house number and 
street address will be 200th Injianny Ave- 
nue, four blocks west of the colors; office 
hours, from reveille till taps." 

In reality, it was a day and an exercise 
that any healthy man might enjoy. The 
bright November weather was perfect for 
marching; the light soil had been packed 
hard enough by the rains to prevent any 
dust, and yet make no mud; the streams 
were running a good stage of clear water, 
and the march Avas through a fairly-good 
farming country, with the rugged moun- 
tains back of Atlanta rapidly sinking into 
billowy hills, which were in tum'^fadios 



114 



SI ELEGG AND .SHORTYi 



into thp brond pin ins of Eastern Georgia. 
The march was just brisk enough to be 
Hicallhfiil oxi-nise and develop an appetite 
for their rations. The day's course was 
so well-ordered that there were no annoy- 
ing M-aits or delays, but each re.^imont 
nnd brigade pressed rapidly forward in 
its assigned place, and in the afternoon all 
came together upon their designated 
»"am|!ing-grounds, as if pulled into place 
by (Olds ln^ld in one controlling hand. 

Occasionally there would be brief, titful 
firing in the distance, between the cavalry 
and small bands of reconnoitering rebels, 
hut there Avas never enough of it to more 
than make the men cast a glance of slight 
inquiry iu that direction, as they plodded 
onward. 

Si and Shorty had for the first time an 
opportunity to study the old regiment and 
get acquainted Avith the changes made in 
it since they were captured on that dis- 
fi.strous day at Kenesaw. The old Cap- 
tain of Co. Q was now Colonel; the Cap- 
tain of. Co. A was Lieutenant-Colonel; 
Ijient. Bowersox, of their company, was 
INlajor, and the Captains and Lieutenants 
were boys who Avere Sei-geants when the 
Atlanta Campaign opened. Co. Q was 
now commanded by George Buxton, a 
young divinity student, Avith coal-blacU 
hair, and great, Avomanl>^ eyes, who was 
Orderly-Sergeant of Co. R when the regi- 
ment crossed the Ohio River. He was a 
gool soldier and a iileasant, though re- 
served comrade. Si and Shorty liked 
him, and gave him Avillingly all the re- 
spect and obedience his position required, 
though doAvn in their souls they never 
could get reconciled to anybody but Col. 
McGillicuddy commanding Co. Q. To him 
they always instinctiA-ely turned as their 
Captain, and on his part he could not es- 
cape the feeling that he Avas more the 
Captain of Co. Q than the Colonel of the 
regiment. This made him most liable, at 
critical moments, to turn to Co. Q and 
lead it forward, to clear a wood or gain 
some information, to the neglect of the 
rightful privileges of other companies and 
their Captains for that service. 

"I declare, there's that engineer that 
brought us up from Andei-sonville — Tom 
Radbone," said Si, noticing a man in the 
next file ahead. "I say, Tom, I haven't 
had an opportunity before to ask you how 
you came out Avith that train that we 
were going out with you to capture?" 

"Got it," said Tom, who Avas as laconic 
and as vindictive as ever. 

"What did you do Avith it?" 

"Shot that overbearing Lieut. Turley, 
who Avas alAvays gassing about the greasy 
mudsills, through the leg, so that it had 
to be taken off. I didn't want to kill him 
outright. Wanted him to live, and re- 
member every day that he hobbled around 
on crutches and mourned for his lost leg, 
that he had deserved to lose it for his 
meanness to Yankees, and to mechanics, 
and to every one of whom Avas more of a 



man in a minute, without half frying, 
than he could be in a year, do his best." 

"Cet anybody else?" 

"Got a raft of poor Avhite conscripts, 
AA'ho were as glad to be spared as if their 
lives were Avorth something. If those poor 
Avhites kncAV more tiej" might know how 
mean and Avorthless they really are, and 
then they'd Ihank somebody to kill them. 
One feller g:ot doAvn on his knees and 
begged mo for his life. I told him I 
wouldn't kill him, out of regard for the 
buzzards — didn't want to poison them, 
""d'he only decent man on the train Avas my 
partner, here (indicating a niflu marching 
on his left). He Avas the engineer, and 
one of my main ob.iects in going out AA'as 
to bring liim through the lines, as well as 
get even Avith that brute of a Lieutenant. 
Hlra and me both shot the Lieutenant, 
and AA'e Avouldn't let nobody else lay a 
finger on him. We Aveut up to him and 
toki him Avho Ave Avere after, and Ave dropt 
him, and reminded him of hoAV much he 
deserved all that he'd got." 

"What'd you do with the locomotive 
and train?" 

Tom's partner exploded with a laugh 
at the recollection, and Tom answered 
with a chuckle: 

"O, that was fun that you'd given one 
of your teeth to have seen. Where Ave 
stopped the train Avas a field Avhich had 
been cleared a fOAv years before, and was 
filled Avith pine stumps that'd rotted aAvay 
until all that Avas left of each of 'em A\'as 
the part that was plum-full of rosin and'd 
burn like a turpentine ball. We told the 
conscripts that the only thing that'd in- 
duce us to spare their lives AA'ould be to 
do the hardest and fastest Avork they ever 
done in prying up them stumps and piling 
'em on the engine and cars. They took 
sledges and croAvbars off the tender, and, 
Simon Peter, you'd ought to'A'C seen 'em 
make those fat pine stumps fly. In half 
an hour they had enough of that stuff 
aboard to'vo burnt up Greenland's icy 
mountains. Bill Grimshaw — that's my 
partner here — and me Avere fixing up a 
job on Hogmouth Wangel, who is the 
only rebel engineer on the line. Bill knew 
that he Avas follering him, about an hour 
and a half behind, and Ave thought^ Ave'd 
give him a little surprise party. We got 
everything ready, Avith just enough water 
in the boiler, and just as soon as Ave 
heard Hogmouth Avhistle as he left the 
station beloAV, fastened everything on the 
engine doAvn tight, chucked the firebox 
full of fat pine, set all the cars afire, and 
opened the throttle and started her back, 
and ran up on the hill, Avhere Ave coulil 
overlook the line for miles, and Avaited to 
see the fun. We'd calculated that the 
engine, running her liveliest, Avith the cars 
all blazing, Avould butt into Hogmouth 
just as he came around that sharp curve, 
Avhere he cr)u!dn't see 100 yards ahead, 
and then and there get uji an impromptu, 
hand-made hell that would interest Hog- 



ON THE MARCa TO THE SEA. 



115 



month, if nothing more. It worlxed all 
right, except that we'd been a little too 
previou:; somehow in our calculations. The 
train rushed back, blazing like a prairie 
fire, but it got around the curve before 
Hogr.iouth did. and was within a half-mile 
of him when he saw it, reversed his en- 
gine, and begun running back for dear 
life. Our train chased him for a mile or 
two, and was gaining on him right along, 
when all at once the crazy old boiler 
couldn't stand it any longer, and busted 
like a bomb-shell int5 a thousand pieces, 
tearing up the track, and making a noise 
that might' v.e bin heard clear back to 
Macon. That ended the performance for 
that day. We shot at the conscripts to 
make 'em run and scatter 'em, and made 
our way back to camp, and Bill here en- 
listed in the company with me. Got any 
tobacco? Talking so much always makes 
me want to take a chaw." 

"If our plnn had only worked out as 
we thought," said Grimshaw. also helping 
himself tn a liberal chew, "and our en- 
gine had bucked them burning cars right 
over Hogmo-ath and his train, I'd 'a' felt 
easier in my mind, as being somewhere 
near even with them. As it didn't, I con- 
cluded to en'i.st. and see if I couldn't 
somehovi' get another whack at 'em." 

"A very pleasant and entertaining nar- 
rative," remarked Shorty. "I think you 
boys jiromise to become ornaments to 
Co. Q." 

"Yes," agreed Si. "I think you will 
find yourselves at home with us. Hello! 
It. looks as if we were going into camp." 

"Thai's what we're going to do," said 
the Captain. "That's Ulcofauhatchee 
Creek, just ahead, and we're going into 
cnmn on the other side." 

"Captain." said Si, "I'd like to go back 
to the wagons, and sp(^ hovi' our colored 
friends are getting along," 

'"Very good. Go ahead," answered the 
Captain. 

But though all the rest of the negroes 
were th^re, TJncle Ephraim and Aunt jNIi- 
nerva Ann were not, and no one knew 
anything of them. 

"They vrere with us all right .for an 
hour or two," said th^ Quartermaster. 
"Then I had a little trouble gettinr.- across 
a creek. I had everybody forward, worli- 
ing on I he jump lo p-ot across, and when I 
finally made it. and looked around, those 
tvro, with their wagon, and the white 
mule the woman was riding, were no- 
where, and nobody had seen them go. I 
had no time to look for them, for I had to 
jump to keep my place in column. .They've 
probably got enough of the army, thought 
better of it, and gone back home." 

"Dat's hit," said Aunt Betsy. "Dat 
'Nervy Ann allers wuz a powerful stuck- 
up, fly-away nigger, who didn't want t' 
'sof^iate v.-id common fiel' hands." 

"jNIost likely, somebody's stole them," 
said Si, full of wrath, ai5 he communi- 
cated the news to Shorty. 

" 'Most likely that thieving 1st Osh- 



kosh," raged Shorty. ""We'dl go over there 
after we've fixed down, and if we lind 
they have we'll have 'em, or bust the regi- 
ment wide open." 

"And our mule's gone," wailed Pete. 
"We'll shoot anybody that tries to take 
Abednego from us. We'll go out and look 
for him at once. Come on, Sandy." 

"Stay here, boys, till after you've had 
your supper," said Si. "Then we'll all go 
over to the camp of the 1st Oshkosh. 
They were just behind us all day, and 
probably they've got them." 

They busied themselves making ready 
for camping for the night, and the sound 
of axes filled the air, and the ground be- 
gan to be brilliantly dotted with mess 
fires. A rich contralto voice rose above 
the hubbub of axes, falling trees, and 
laughing, talking men. 

"Whar is de 200th Injianny Volunteer 
Infantry? Whar de camp ob de 200th 
Injianny?" 

"There's Aunt Minerva Ann now." 
ejaculated Pete, dropping his load of can- 
teens in which he was bringing water and 
rushing forward. "Aunt Blinerva Ann, 
Where's our mule?" 

"Ileah he is, honey, an' heah I is, bress 
yer soul," ansv>'ered Aunt Minerva Ann, 
beaming down on them over a clump of 
low cedars, which had hidden her ap- 
proach. "Whar Serg't Klegg?" 

"Hero I am. Aunty." 

"Well, Serg't Klegg, me an' Uncle 
Ephraim done got a nice supper cooked 
an' waitin' fer you an' de boys ober in a 
cabin near by. Come right along wid 
dem, an' git hit. We only lack some cof- 
fee, but de water's a-bilin' fer dat. Bring 
yer coffee along." 

The boys gave a whoop and started 
after her. They speedily came to a cabin, 
with Uncle_ Ejdiraim standing guard at 
the door with his gun. Inside the great 
fireplace was filled with a blazing fire, be- 
fore which werp standing sundr.v pots, 
ovens and skillets, and in the center of 
the room was a table covered with dishes, 
knives and forks, cups and saucers, jars 
of honey, and sorghum molasses, and even 
a big dish of butter. The boys gave an- 
other whoop at the sight. 

"Why. Aunty, where in the world did 
you get all this?" 

"What 'd dat Gunnel man tell yo' 
about axin' no questions?" said Aunt 'SU- 
nerva Ann, beaming with triumph. "Sot 
down dar. while I make de coffee. Hit'll 
be ready in a minutr. .Tes' as soon's me 
an' Uncle Eph found out whar you all 
wuz done gwine, we knowed de shortest 
way t' git dar, an' we done tuck hit, wid- 
out sayin' nuflin' t' nobody. We knowed 
you'd be tired gwine away round dat way, 
an' so v,-e shoved on, an' geddered up 
some stufi: t' git supper fer yo' when yo' 
got heah. O, yo' leetle, teenty Yank," 
continued she, sriddenly breaking off and 
catching Pete in her arms, "I done kep' 
yer mule fer yo.' an' heah he is." 

The boys, with watering mouth, gath- 



116 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



erpd arnmif! thp table, anrl Aunt Minerva 
Ann began dishing out the smoking 
viands. 

'•Hello, what have we here?' said a 
-well-known voice, and Col. McGillicuddy 
and the Adjutant strode into the cabin. 
Everybody "dropped his knife and fork 
and sprang to attention. 

"That's all right, boys," said the Colo- 
nel, gailv. as he returned their salute. "I 
smelt that baron and collards away down 
in camp, and it smelt awful good, and the 
Adjutant and I followed our noses until 
thev brought us here. Scrg't Klegg, I 
congratulate you on your mess, but I 
think your sense of hospitality would sug- 
gest that you invite a couple of hungry 
men who have been traveling all day to 



sit down with yon, even though they hap- 
pen to be your Colonel and Adjutant. 
Don't be proud, though yo\i are well off." 

"Why, Colonel." gasped Si, "sit right 
down here, you and the Adjutant.. You 
shall have all the bacon and collards you 
want. You'll find them the best yoii ever 
et. We know all about Awiit Minerva 
Ann's cooking. She can't be beat. We'll 
■nait till you're through.". 

"You'll do nothing of the kind," said 
the Colonel, seating jiimself at the foot of 
the table. "Sit down thexoi at the head. 
Sergeant. I'm dining with,- you. We'll 
play tonight, till this meaFs o^ver, that the 
war's ended, we're all mustered out, and 
once more plain citizens of Indiana." 



CHAPTER XXI. 

UNCLE EPHRAIM AND AUNT IMINERVA ANN PKOMOTED TO HEADQUARTERS. 
MURDER OF FORAGERS AND SWIFT VENGEANCE METED OUT. 



"I declare," said Col. McGillicuddy, as 
he finally laid down his knife and fork, 
"I don't know when I have enjoyed a 
meal so much. As for you, Adjutant, I'm 
afraid you've eaten so much that you will 
be incapacitated for the light and agile 
performance for which you are noted, of 
the duties of Adjutant of the 200th Ind." 

"Don't bother about me, Colonel." 
laughed the Adjutant, wiping his mouth. 
"I'm all right. I just feel nice and 
smooth, as the little girl said." 

"I wish every man of the regiment 
could have as good a meal as this every 
day," continued the Colonel. "We'd be 
able to tear the State of Georgia up by 
the I'oots, then." 

"We seem to be getting pretty near 
down to the roots as it is. Colonel," said 
Si, with a grin. "I don't know what more 
we could've done to that railroad, unless 
we had tipped the embankment over and 
turned the tunnels wrong side out." 

"That was a pretty thorough job," said 
the Colonel, retrospectively. "And we are 
doing about as effective work in other 
directions. I looked back from the top of 
a hill today, and could murk the line of 
march of each division by the tires rising 
from burning cotton-gins, railroad sta- 
tions and rebel storehouses. We are now 
on the way to Milledgeville. after the 
Government of the !;*>atc of Georgia. I 
wish we could destroy it as thoroughly as 
■we have the railroads, and replace it by a 
loyal administration." 



"At any rate, we're making these folks 
pretty sick of having fired on Fort Sum- 
ter," remarked Shorty. "It'd 'a' been a 
heap o' money in their pockets if they'd 
kept that powder for a Fourth of July 
celebration." 

"I do hope Uncle Billy is heading us 
for South Carolina," said Si, with hia 
mouth full. "We ought to do an ever- 
lasting amount of wholesale arson, bur- 
glary and highway robbery here in Geor- 
gia, to pay up for Anderson ville; but if 
we get into South Carolina, we simply 
ought to burn everything, and sow salt on 
the ground, so that there v/on't be no 
chance to raise another crop o' traitors." 

"I'm not in the confidence of Gen. 
Sherman," answered Col. McGillicuddy, 
"but I'll miss my guess verj' badly if he 
hasn't his weather eye fixed on South 
Carolina, and is putting up a full dose of 
physic for her, before he shuts up his pill- 
bags." 

"By-the-way, Sergeant," continued Col. 
McGillicuddy, after a moment's silence, 
"coming down from general matters to 
personal, I've a great notion to appro- 
priate something mjself. I believe I'll 
capture your cook here, and take her for 
my headquarters." 

"As usual. Colonel," said the Adju- 
tant, "you anticipate my thoughts. So 
g(X)d a cook as Aunt Minerva Ann should 
be kept in the 200th Ind., by all means. 
If she stays with Co. Q. some Colonel, ot 
Brigadier-General, ©r Major-General 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



117 



liable to get scent of her bacon and col- 
lards and take her away. It's lucky that 
Gen. Sherman himself hasn't caught the 
fragrance, or he would have had her, 
sure." 

"Hear that, Aunt Minerva Ann?" asked 
Si, delighted with the favor she had 
found in the , eyes of his ofQcers. "The 
Colonel is so pleased with your cooking 
that he wants to take you for himself." 

"What? What?" asked the negress du- 
biously. "Me go cook fer do Cunnel- 
man? De Cunnel-man mouty nice man, 
but I don't wanter cook fer nobody but 
you, an' Corpril Elliott, an' Leetle Pete. 
Who take keer ob Leetle Pete, if I go 
away? An' who take care ob Eph? 
Eph's an ole fool 'bout lots ob t'ings, au' 
needs me wid him ebbery minnit." 

"I think Uncle Ephraim could make 
himself useful about headquarters, Adju- 
tant," said the Colonel, surveying his 
strong, well-knit frame and intelligent 
lace. 

"I kin beat any nigger on de hull Oco- 
nee bottoms takin' keer ob bosses. Mistah- 
Cunnel-nian," sad Uncle Ephraim, show- 
ing his ivories, touching his foretop, and 
scraping the ground with his foot. 

"But I hain't a-gwine nowhar from 
Leetle Pete," said Aunt Minerva, obdu- 
rately. "He hain't no mudder, an' I must 
take keer ob him." 

"But, Aunt Minerva Ann, Pete'll be 
near all the time," said Si. Aunt Minerva 
Ann continued to look obstinate. 

"O, you're here, are you. Colonel?" 
said Maj. Bowersox, coming in and sur- 
veying the remnants of the feast. "I 
guess I've come too late. I was looking 
for yon to invito you to dinner. I picked 
up today what I think's a vei'y good 
cook. They call her xiunt Betsy Turpin, 
and she's now down at my teut getting up 
a meal, and I've been hunting you to see 
if you wouldn't join jne. But now I 
think I'd better have joined you." 

"You certainly had, Major. I've had 
the best meal that I've had since we en- 
tered Georgia, and I'm now trying to ar- 
range for a continuance by engaging the 
woman v.'lio cooked it." 

"Hear that. Auntie?" said Si. "Betsy 
Turpin is going to cook for the Major. 
The Colonel's a heap bigger man than the 
Major, and as the Colonel's cook you can 
just rank her clear out of her boots." 

"What, dat Turpin's Bets setiin' up 
fer a cook?" said Aunt Minerva Ann, 
jealously. "Dat nigger, bought at a mort- 
gage-vandoo, purtendin' ter be a cook. 
Why, she nebber baked a pone ob wheat 
bread in her life, an' nebber knowed de 
taste ob soffee, till las' night. She a 
cook? Why. she can't cook as well as 
Eph, hyah, an' he de biggest fool wid 
pots an' skillets dat T ebber seed. She 
cook fer do Major-man? I'll go right 
along an' cook fer de Cunnel-mau. and 
show what a rayle cuHud lady, what vryz 
raised on de place, kin io, beside a nigger 
wencti bought at a mort.gagc-vandoo. Ao' 



Leetle Pete, he'll be nigh, whar I kin see 
him, ebbery day?" 

"Yes, Aunty," said Si, glad to have the 
matter happily disposed of, "Pete's resi- 
dence and place of business will be al- 
ways in a 'holler' or at least a 'see' of 
regimental headquarters and your kitchen, 
so that you'll be all right." 

"Uncle Ephraim," said the Adjutant, 
"go and get that wagon, and those mules, 
and drive them over there to headquar- 
ters. They'll be safer there, and come in 
handy to carry our things, as well as 
yours and Co. Q's." 

So it happened that Uncle Ephraim and 
Aunt INIinerva Ann found themselves in- 
stalled at the headquarters of the 200th 
Ind.. and immediately the overwhelming 
dignity of the position began to possess 
them. Their eyes, quick to note all indi- 
cations of social station, took in every de- 
tail of the deference paid the Colonel by 
all inside or outside the regiment, all the 
respectful standing at attention and 
saluting; all the deferential speech and 
action; all the curt, sharp commands from 
the Colonel, and the instantaneous obedi- 
ence of his 500 men. By the end of the 
first day they began to feel a great deal of 
this greatness reflected upon them. On 
the second, they distinctly assumed the at- 
titude that the favored "house-seiwants" 
always observed toward the "field-hands." 
They began to speak of themselves as 
"headquarters people," and hold tho 
other negroes at a rigid distance. 

"Come t' 'tenshun, dar, an' salute me, 
you low-down, igncrrunt nigger," Uncle 
Ephraim sternly commanded one of his 
former associates, whom tho Quartermas- 
ter had sent up to borrow a shovel. "Au.' 
my name's Mistah Ephraim. See dat you 
pay dese headquarters proper respeck 
arter dis, or I'll break ebbery bone in yer 
brack carkiss." 

Aunt Betsy got the same law laid down 
for her when she strolled up to the head- 
quarters kitchen to indulge in a little gos- 
sip over camp-matters. 

"Look hyah. Bets," said Aunt Minerva 
Ann, with the dignity of a duchess, "dis 
hain't no common nigger quarters on olo 
Ben Small's place. Dis is do army, an' 
dis is rijimintal headquarters, an' you 
want t' know hit, an ack 'cordingly. You 
mustn't come loafin' up hyah, vvid yer 
clo^e ebbery-which-way, like as if yo' wuz 
gwine t' de corn-crib or de 'tater-patch. 
Yo' wanter dress yerself right, an' stau' 
up straight, an' put yer heels togedder. an' 
salute, an' speak t' me 'spcckful as Miss 
■'Nervy. Yo' wants t' 'member all de time 
dat ['s cookin' fer de Cunnel-man, while 
yo's only cookin' fer de Major-man, which 
makes all de difE'runce in de world. If 
yo' don't treat me like a lady, I'll take dia 
sinsle-tree t' yo', sho's yer born." 

They lived up to the requirements of 
their position in every way. Uncle Eph- 
raim had associated much with those aris- 
tociT.ts of the slave population — the hos- 
tlers, aud he brought all his acquired 



118 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



knowledge into play for the benefit of the 
Coloncrs horses. He seized upon every 
loafing negro that came in his way, and 
always found some useful work for idle 
hands to do, so that the Colonel's horses, 
and especially 'Elder Hornblower," were 
the admiration of the division. Aunt Mi- 
nerva Ann, for her part, devoted herself 
even more enthusiastically to the care of 
the Colonel's tent and the preparation of 
his meals. She packed his bedding in the 
wagon at the commencement of the 
inarch, and made his couch up carefully 
after his tent was pitched, and from the 
time she arose with the reveille, until tat- 
too sent her to bed, was busy planning, 
contriving and executing something for 
his comfort, and that of Pete Skidmore, 
whom she made report to her in the 
morning before they started, and in the 
evening after arriving in camp. 

On the march Uncle Epbraim rode as 
near as possible to Co. Q, and at any mo- 
ment he saw Si and his squad leaving the 
column, would hand his horse over to a 
young negro and joiu them, musket in 
hand. 

Stories began to come in about foragers 
and others absent from the main col- 
umns being shot down mercilessly and 
shamefully mutilated by guerrillas. 

As the division approached the little vil- 
lage of Shady Dale the 200th Ind. came 
up to the 1st Oshkosh, to find the regi- 
ment in a frenzy of rage over the dis- 
covery of five of its number, who had 
been sent out in the morning, lying by the 
roadside, each shot in a dozen places, ap- 
parently in pure malice, after having been 
killed, and his thoat cut. The 200th Ind. 
raged sympathetically with its sister regi- 
ment, to which, in spite of frequent little 
tififs between the members, it was as de- 
votedly attached as only two regiments of 
the same brigade will get to be after a 
campaign together. Dire vengeance was 
vowed, but as both regiments were deep 
in the marching column that and the next 
day, chcre was no opportunity to execute 
the threats. 

The next day and the day after there 
were other bodies of murdered soldiers, 
all shamefully maltreated, exposed along 
the roadside. Some men, after being sliot, 
were hung up to trees, and their bodies 
made targets. 

Shorty raged and swore ten-ibly at each 
exhibition, but Si soon passed the point 
where ho said anything. He had reached 
that dangerous stage with him when he 
merely looked, set his teeth, and Avent on 
with a savage glare in his blue eyes, 
which every one had learned to know and 
beware of. 

The next day the 200th Ind. at last 
came to the head of the column, but, to 
Si's disappointment, Lieut. Muffler, with 
10 men of Co. A, was sent forward with 
the foraging detail. 

"How's that. Adjutant?" said Col. Mc- 
Gillicuddy, as he saw the Lieutenant 



march out. "Do you think Lieut. Muf- 
fler's the man for the duty today? He's 
had very little experience, if any, on such 
duty. Owing to his wounds he has beejo, 
very little with the regiment, and I have 
never known him to be out with a detach- 
ment." 

"That's just it. Colonel," explained the 
Adjutant. "Lieut. Muffler feels that he 
has been overslaughed in details for duty, 
and is very sore about it. He has not 
had a single tour of special duty siuce he 
received his commission, and had no op- 
portunity to show what he cduld do when 
he was out by himself. He is. a gallant 
young fellow, has had hard luck in being 
wounded both times as soon as he went 
into action, and so kept away from the 
regiment during most of its service, con- 
valescing. He put it to me in such away 
that I couldn't refuse him the detail." 

"I see," ans^wered the Colonel. "But, 
somehow, while MufHer is brave enough, 
I've always had some doubts about his 
coolness and judgment in a tight place. 
"We've had so many ugly things happening 
lately, that we've got to be unusually 
careful. Ride back to Co. Q and tell 
Capt. Buxton to give you Serg't Klegg 
and his squad. Tell Klegg to follow up 
ISIuffler at a little distance and keep an 
eye on him, but, of course, not to let him 
know that he is being followed and watch- 
ed. It's hardly the thing, I know, to set 
a non-commissioned officer to watch an 
officer, but I'd trust Klegg as I woulcl no 
other non-com. in the regiment." 

"Your judgment is right, as usual. Colo- 
nel," said the Adjutant, as he wheeled his 
horse to go back after Si. 

When Si took his squad out of line and 
started in quick time across the fields, to 
get to the head of the regiment. Uncle 
Ephraim jumped from his hoi-se and join- 
ed them, gun in hand and cartridge-box 
on. Pete Skidmore ran back, mounted 
Abednego, and overtook Si just as the Ad- 
jutant was pointing out the direction in 
which Lieut. Muffler had gone. 

With Pete trotting ahead on Abednego, 
Si pushed on as rapidly as possible for 
some miles, but only caught a glimpse or 
two, from the top of a hill, of Lieut. Muf- 
fler in the far distance. The Lieutenant 
was evidently bent on making his mark 
on his first expedition, and Avas letting no 
grass grow under his feet. 

Presently, from the top of a hill. Si 
heard the sound of guns two or three miles 
ahead, and a column of smoke arising in 
the same direction indicated that some- 
thing was happening near a house. 

"]\Iuffler has found a plantation with a 
lot of stuff on it." said Shorty, "and is 
having a row Avith a squad of reserves. 
Let's get there, quick." 

They started on a run down the hill 
into the heavily-timbered bottom, and 
presently came to a fork in the roads, 
Avhere they stopped to take breath and 
consider which fork to take. 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



119 



"My jndprment is to take the right-hand 

ono," said Shorty, starting o£f impatiently 
in that direction. 

"Dat way's de shortest t' de house," 
said Uncle Ephraim, pointing to the left- 
hand branch. "De udder's de way de 



but I can't tell what. I believe they're got 
Lient. IVInfBer." 

"Forward — double-qiiickl" shouted Si. 

As they rushctl down the slope of the 
hill thoy could see a squad of men in but- 
ternut clothes excitedly rushing about the 




"DIS AINT NO COMMON N^GER QUARTERS— DIS IS DE ARMY!" 



wagons go — roundabout. Dis's de way de 
hossmen an' niggers cut ncrost." 

"I believe you're right," said Si. "Pete, 
trot up that way over the rise, and see 
what you can. Be quick." 

In a minute or two Pete dashed back, 
stanimeving in liis excitement: 

"O, Sergoai:t, there's a mint o' rebels 
over there by the house, and sometbiuji's 
happened. They're all doing something, 



front of the house. Presently Si and 
Shorty made out that some of them wore 
drar;ging bodies in blue uniform out from 
various parts of the farmyai'd to the road, 
and kicking them and stuhiiiug them with 
knives, and beating tlieni with clubs. 

A laii;e man, whrna ih ai.d Shorty dim- 
ly remembered as having seen before, 
stood on the porch directing the opera- 
tions. 



120 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



Si hnltod his men for an instant behind 
a screen of hushes, to get their breath 
and look to the eaps on their guns, and 
then, raising u savage yoU, rushed them 
forward. 

The surprised rebels gave one look, and 
started to run. 

••Fire!" shouted Si. 

Three rebels fell dead. Si and Shorty 
leaped the fence and brought down two 
more Avith blows from their gun-barrels. 

When the smoke raised not a rebel was 
to be seen excert those on the ground. 

"Dey run right back dat-a-way," shout- 
ed Uncle Ephraim, excitedly, pointing 
with his smoking gun-barrel. '•Dcy's hid 
in de brush an' yaller grass on do banks 
ob de crick. Come down dis way t' de 
crick bank, an' we'll cut dem off." 

Si and Shorty, folloAved by Harry, 
Monty, Alf and Gid, rushed' after him to 
the creek bank, where they turned, and 
beating back through the weeds, grass 
and brush, drove out six ill-favored ras- 
cals and took them back toward the house. 

On the porch was a crowd of Avhite and 
colored women, screaming at the top of 
their lungs. They found Pete and Sandy 
standing guard at the front and rear of 
the entry passing through the house. 

"Two o' them," explained Sandy, "them 
that was bossing the job, ran into the 
house. We're waiting for you to come 
back to go in after them. We wanted 
you to keep these women off of us." 

There was need of this precaution. A 
stahvnit woman, with iron-gray hair, ap- 
jiarently the mistress of the house, and 
her thi-ee equally stalwart daughters, all 
armed with pokers, were alternating their 
screams with threats of destruction to 
the boys if they dared set foot to enter 
the house. 

With a movement like a flash Shorty 
snatched the poker from the elderly 
woman's hand, shoved her aside, and 
started to enter. 

••No; let us go in and get them. They're 
our meat," pleaded Pete. '•We holed 
them." 

••Go on, then." said Shorty. "But be 
careful. One of you look, and the other 
stand I'.ehind him, I'eady to shoot." 

With theii- guns cocked, Pete and Sandy 
rushed in. There was no one in either of 
the lower rooms, nor any place for one to 
hide, and they ran up-stairs. They saw 
the bed, and ran to it, Fete raising the 
valame, while Sandy stood back with 
leveled musket. 

"Git out o' here," said Pete, kicking on 
the soles of a pair of large boots, that he 
saw there with toes down. "Come out, 
or I'll shoot you where you lay." 

A large man hacked slowly out, covered 
with dust, and stood upright. The boys 
saw a large pe])])er-box revolver in liis 
licit, and instantly recognized him as the 
"Cunnel" ISIessack who had so thirsted for 
their blood when they were hiding on the 
island the previous August. 

They gave a whoop of triumph to an- 



nounce this to thoir comrades outside; At 
the sound another man under the bed in 
the other room, rushed dOwu-stairs and 
tried to dash away, but was arrested by a 
blow from Shorty's stalwart list. • 't 

In the meanwhile Si had been snrYey- 
ing the sickening scene. To his soldierly 
eyes all that had hapencd 'was as clear 
as if he had seen it enacted. 

Lieut. iNIuffler had found the house ['and 
its stock of forage and provisions'. TTiere 
Avere no negroes about, ;uid, seeing no 
signs of rebels, he had se^'hts men hur- 
riedly to work hitching up h^t^es to the 
wagons and th<' bngi;y to c'a'tTy his spoil 
into the camp. Tin ,\' was 'ftecd of the 
greatest hast(\ if he would reach the 200th 
Ind.'s place in culumn. "Cunnel" Mes- 
sack, an experienced hunter, had kept his 
men well concealed in the yellow grass 
and brush, until Lieut. Muffler's were all 
far from their arms, and scattered through 
the stables and yards, hunting up harness 
and getting the animals, which were 
restive at the sight of strange men. hitched 
up. Then "'Cunnel" Messack had rushed 
out, blown away the Lieutenant's head 
with a chaige of Ijucksho!, and th(3 rest 
had been shot down almost instantly. Not 
one had escaped. Those only wounded 
by the first lire had been finished by a sec- 
ond shot, delivered so elose that the pow- 
der burned .uid Idackcned the skin. 
Every body had several bullet holes, be- 
sides being hacked with knives and 
pounded with clubs. 

Si looked over "Ciinnel" Messack, as 
Sandy and Pete brought him up, with a 
glare that shriveled the rebel's soul. Si 
said nothing, but, drawing the pepi)er-liox 
revolver from the rebel's belt, noted that 
each of its six long barrels had been re- 
cently discharged. He picked u)) the 
double-barreled shotgun, lying on the 
porch, and asked one of the Avomen: 

"Is this Col. Messack's gun?" 

"I'es, it is," ansAvered the AA-oman. 

Si noted that both barrels had been 
fired lately, and the "Gunnel's" pouch was 
full of buckshot. 

"Cunnel" Messack essayed to ask a 
question, or make a remark, but tliere 
Avas something so awful in the still, sot 
look of Si's face that it froze his utter- 
ance. 

"Each of you men go to that stack 
there," said Si to the prisoners, '•and got 
an armful of straAV and lay it in that 
wagon." He spoke very low and suit, 
but there Avas something terrifying in the 
deadly calmness of the even tones. The 
prisoners sprang to the Avork. 

'•NoAV, pick up each one of tho.se bodi(^s, 
carefully and gently," he continued, ''and 
lay them on that straw. Shorty, take 
Harry, and gather up all the rope you 
can find. There's a clothes-line over 
there." 

The women were on their knees on the 
porch praying loudly. 

••Uncle Eidnaim," commanded Si, 
"mount that wagoc and drive as straight 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



121 



as yon can for the road on which the col- 
umn is marching. See if you can't strike 
in about where the 20Cth Injianny is." 

This was the last word that Si spoke 
for an hour. At a motion of his hand the 
prisoners huddled behind the wagon, and 
the boys formed behind them, and Uncle 
Ephraim started off. They reached the 
road without a word being said by any 
one. 

Si looked to the left and saw the head 
of the column coming over the hill a mile 
back. Everything had gone on so swift- 
ly that they" had actually outmarched the 
army, in ^pite of their divergence. That, 
however, had led them on a shorter line. 

Si knew that the troops coming were 
the 200th Ind. He and Shorty exchanged 
looks in recognition of this, and Si, speak- 
ing for the tirst time, halted Uncle Eph- 
raim in a low tone. The bodies of the 
200th Ind.'s dead were taken from the 
w'agon and tenderly laid by the roadside, 
on the thick, high, yellow grass. 

While this v/as being done Shorty took 
a piece of rope, and, measuring it with his 
arms, cut off the right length and fash- 
ioned a noose. Imitating him, Pete, 
Sandy, Alf and Gid did the same, while 
Uncle Ephraim, Harry and Monty kept 
the prisoners covered with their muskets. 
Si and Shorty walked along the opposite 
side of the road, examining the live oaks. 
When they saw one that suited, they 
would nod their heads, when Sandy or 
Pcto would climb up and out onto the 
projecting limb and fasten a noose. 

Col. McGillicuddy and the Adjutant 
came riding up, and their cheery saluta- 
tion to Si was checked on their lips by th« 



sight of the dead bodies. They saw it all 
at a glance, and comprehended equally tlie 
import of Si's dread preparations. 

As he saluted. Si gave a questioning 
glance at the Colonel, who responded by a 
simple afTirmative nod. Then, turning in 
his saddle, the Colonel, by a wave of his 
hand, directed the march of the regiment 
a little off the road. Without audible 
command it halted in front of the trees, 
faced into line and came to parade rest, 
with every one looking on thf> dead bodies, 
and on Si's preparations. Every one un- 
derstood the whole thing at a glance. Sol- 
diers get a special talent for comprehend- 
ing things with a look, and they gathered 
more in a second than would have made a 
volume. 

And there was something a thousand 
times more impressive in the stern, deadly 
silence which i-eigned than there would 
have been in the stormiest denunciation. 

As the regiment faced about. Shorty 
motioned the prisoners into the wagon. 
Absolutely cowed, they shambled forward 
and obeyed. Shorty catching two or three 
and almost lifting them up. Shorty 
sprang into the wagon, and, as Uifele 
Ephraim drove along, he adjusted a noose 
around each one's neck and shoved him off 
the wagon. 

The stout branches bent np under the 
load, the doomed men's limbs convulsed 
wildly, and all was over. 

Co. A wheeled out of line and carefully 
bui-ied their dead where they lay, and 
marked their graves with pieces of cracker 
boxes, on which their names and date of 
death were hastily penciled. 



122 



Al KLBGG AND SHORTY. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

SI AND SHORTY LET SOME BIG FISH SLIP PAST THEM-A SESSION OF THE 
LEGISLATURE OF GEORGIA-ORDINANCE OF SECESSION REPEALED, AND 
OTHER PROPER LEGISLATION PASSED. 



The army was now in tho heart of the 
fairest portion of Georgia — in the fertile 
belt which lies between the rugged moun- 
tains of the northwest and the vast stretch 
of sparsely-wooded pine-barrens, the inhos- 
pitable sandy plains reaching clear to the 
ocean, on the southeast. 

The plantations were all larger and 
finer than any the army had seen since 
leaving the rich middle Tennessee coun- 
try around Nashville, and there was 
evep^where an abundance of food and for- 
age, thanks to the providence of Gov. Joe 
Brown, who had brought his militia home 
to gather their crops, and they did it just 
in time to have them convenient for Sher- 
man. Sherman could not have arranged 
that part of the campaign better, if he 
had_ ordered it himself. 

Never did an army live better than 
Sherman's during this period. There was 
flour, meal, sweet potatoes, fresh and 
cured pork, hams and beef, chickens and 
turkeys, sorghum molasses, honey, col- 
lards and turnips enough for everybody, 
and to spare. The men drew nothing from 
the Commissary wagons but coffee, sugar 
ttnd salt. Every night the camp-kettles 
smoked with the most savory messes, and 
every morning the men started on their 
march with their stomachs full of the fat 
of the land. The horses, mules and beef 
cattle on foot fared equally well, and grew 
fatter and sleeker every day. 

After the 200th Ind. passed Murder 
Creek, and was nearing Milledgeville, the 
Colonel remarked to the Adjutant: 

"As we were coming over the hill back 
there I noticed some mounted men pass- 
ing through an openiug a mile or so ahead. 
They looked like citizens, but you'd better 
go back and send Serg't Klegg out with 
his squad to take a look at them." 

"If it's necessary to hang any of them 
he'd better wait again for the regiment to 
come up, hadn't heV" suggested the Ad- 
jutant, as he started down the column. 

"I'll trust Klegg's judgment as to that," 
answered the Colonel. 

Taking Uncle Ephraim as his topog- 
rapher. Si marched swiftly across the 
country, and presently came to a thickly- 
wooded knoll, from which he could see a 
trail leading through the woods from the 
point Avhere the Colonel had descried the 
horsemen in the distance. Hearing ap- 



proaching voices, and the sound of horses's 
hoofs, and rattling of wheels on the frozen 
ground, he concealed himself and men and 
waited developments. As the woods in 
front were tolerably open, he could see 
fairly well for several hundred yards 
ahead. 

The leader of the party was a full-bod- 
ied, rather a large man, with a silk hat of 
long-before-the-war vintage, a black frock 
coat, and "copperas"-dyed vest and panta- 
loons. His large, full face was shaved 
clean to the base of the jaws, whence 
descended a heavy black beard. He rode 
a fine, quick-stepping bay horse, with 
"three white stockings and a white nose," 
and his fat face was drawn with anxiety. 
He fretted his spirited horse bv nervous 
tapping on his flank with a switch, and 
kept glancing back at a farm wagon, laden 
with household goods hastily thrown in. 
Behind him rode a matronly woman, 
clothed in a combination of "store goods" 
and homespun, and a couple of strong- 
faced, clean-shaved, tobacco-chewing men. 

"Now, Cato," he called out fretfully to 
a negro who was riding in the front of the 
wagon, carrying a large picture in a heavy 
gold frame, "be mighty careful not to lose 
anything out o' the wagon, as Ave go 
through the woods. And be mighty care- 
ful of that picture. If you git it banged 
or scratched I'll take your hide off." 

"I done got it heah on my knees, takin' 
de best keer in de world ob hit," answered 
the negro. 

"Did you wrap it up in a blanket, as I 
done told you before we started?" asked 
the woman, looking back. 

"No, missus," answered the negro. 
"Didn't hab no time." 

"Get out a blanket at once," command- 
ed the man, stopping the wagon, "and 
wrap it up carefully as you would a baby. 
These branrhes will scratch and whip it 
and the frame all to pieces. It won't 
be fit to be seen." 

In obeying the command the negro 
turned the picture so that Si got a full 
view of it. It was an oil-painting, repre- 
senting the man in front in full black 
clothes, with a high standing collar, and 
a voluminous black neckerchief. His hair 
was carefully roached above his forehead, 
he had a look of stern importance on hi3 
face, and an official-looking paper in his 



THE iiA^cfi TO THE SEA.' 



123 



hand. Glass cas:'^ c®ntainiiig books were 
in tlio background, and on a tablo other 
books and oflicial papers, and an inkstand 
with quill pens sticking in it. It was one 
of the regulation pictures of the day of 
public men, and an imitation of the cur- 
rent portraits of ^^'ebster, Clay, Calhoun, 
etc. 

"Only some ci'izons skipping out o' jNlil- 
ledgcville," said Si, lelaxing. "Let 'em 
go. We don't have anything to do with 
'em." 

"rrobably a Justice o' the Peace, or 
Prol):ite Judge," echoed Shorty, laying his 
gun down, and feeling around for some to- 
bacco for a smoke. "If you're ever elect- 
ed .lustice of the Peace, Si, I expect 
you'll get some sign-painter to paint a pic- 
ture of you that'll fill the side of a room, 
and have enough red in it to go over a 
wagon. It'll take that much to do justice 
to your hair and your nose." 

"Dry up. Shorty," said Si, giving his 
partner a nudge, "and give me some o' 
that tobacco. No, I don't mean that 
Georgia lf>af. Got plenty o' that myself. 
I nie.iu that bright plug you were just 
whittling down. I want a change to some- 
hing of Uncle Sam's. Don't talk vanity 
me, you old peacock, you." 

"Hist, thei'e's some more coming," whis- 
lerfd I'ete Skidmore, as the wagon rolled 
)n out of sight and hearing. 

The partners laid down their pipes and 
picked up their guns, as the sound of 
)ther voices and hoofs came nearer. 

It vv-as a group of citizens, all men past 
middle life, many of them quite old. Sev- 
ral wore the rusty-black suits, with high 
lats, affected by the country lawyers, Jus- 
:ices and minor public functionaries; sev- 
eral were plain farmers. They had all 
oft hastily, and were grumbling at the 
iind of horses they had been able to se- 
cure. Each had picked up some bit of 
personal property to take along. One or 
wo carried law books under their arms, 
me had a bundle of printed speeches, oth- 
TS had carpet-bags, umbrellas, canes, etc., 
n their hands. Some were chewing to- 
lacco earnestly, others smoking cob-pipes. 
Dne fat old planter had only been able to 
ire a string-halted old wagon-horse, 
vhich still had on the collar, hames and 
races. He kept up with the others with 
llfficulty, constantly implored them not to 
eave him, and was answered with jeers 
ukI injunctions to "whip up and come 
dong." 

Just some more citizens," said Si, lay- 
ng down his gun and reaching for his 
)ipe. 

"Looks like a gang o' Township Trus- 
ees going to a road meeting," remarked 
5horty, scratching a match to light his 
)ipe. "Wasn't even a decent horse in the 
ot. We'd better strike over toward the 
eft and join the regiment. Uncle Eph- 
aini. go ahead and show the wa.v.' 

"Hello, who's coming here?" asked Si, 



after they had gone ahead a few hundred 
yards. "'J'ake your trees, boys." 

Five or six men, riding very poor horses, 
and carrying. guns, came down the road, 
occasionally facing to the rear, and scan- 
ning the country back of them. 

"I declare, they're all one-legged, or 
one-armed," said Shorty, after studying 
them carefully. 

"So they are," said Si, stepping out 
into the road in front of them. "Come 
out, boys. Surrender, there I" he called 
out to them. Throw down your guns. 
We've got you." 

"I reckon you have, sah," replied the 
tall, one-armed Sergeant, who appeared 
to be in command, recognizing with sol- 
dierly readiness the impossibility of suc- 
cessful resistance to the nine muskets, in- 
cludmg Uncle Ephraim's. which were lev- 
eled at them iu a very businesslike way. 
"Yon greatly outnumber us in every way, 
sah — in legs, arms and muskets. You've 
got the drop on us, sah. Where did you 
come from? Wo weren't expecting any 
Y'ankees that way." 

"Naturally," answered Si. in a kindly 
tone. He was touched by the plucky ef- 
fort of the maimed young fellows to make 
a soldierly show. "We usually try to 
make our visits to you men unexpectedly. 
W ho are you, and where did you come 
from ?" 

"We are regular Confederate soldiers, 
sah," said the Sergeant, proudly, indicat- 
ing^ their gray uniforms with a glance. 
"We're on special duty, sah." 

"Well," remarked Shorty, surveying 
their sadly-crippled appearance, "t':e 
Southern Confederacy's robbing the ciadia 
and the grave, but I had no idee that thev 
were going into the amputation wards of 
the hospitals to force men out to fight." 

"We were not fo'ced, sah," exclaimed 
the Sergeant, with a hot flush in his voung 
face. "We're not that kind of men, sah. 
No fo'cing about it, sah. We iust saw 
our duty, and tried to do it, sah." 

"My partner didn't mean anything of- 
fensive," said Si, in a conciliatory tone. 
"None of us would insult disabled men. 
We're very sorry that you have had such 
misfortunes. Where are you from? And 
what are you doing here?" 

The stern hauteur of the Sergeant's face 
relaxed at once, under Si's kindliness, and 
he answered in a softer tone: 

"We have been on duty at the State 
Capital, sah, and when Gov. Brown, and 
the Legislature retired before your fo'ccs, 
sah, we fo'med a reah-gyard to coveh their 
retrat, sah." 

"Very proper and soldierly," said Si. 
"Sergeant, for I see that you have the 
same rank as myself, I have my canteen 
here full of cold coffee. Won't* you take 
a good long drink? I think you need it, 
and it'll do you good. Drink all you want. 
We've plenty more." 

Shorty and the rest each handed theic 



124 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



canteens to the Sergeant's companions, 
who i-ecoived them eagerly. 

"Thank you, sah," said the Sergeant, 
after he had imbibed a pint or more. 
•'Great Caesar's ghost, but that's the best 
stutt' I've drunlv since the beginning of the 
wah. 1 can feel it clear to my loes. I 11 
say, sah, that you Yankees are awful cute 
in cutting off ouah coffee, sah. If we 
could got coffee, I believe we'd lick you 
out of youah boots, sah." 

"Well, yuu shan't have any coffee," 
said Si, good-naturedly. "You're hard 
enough nuts to crack, as it is." 

"AVhere are you from. Sergeant?" said 
the rebel, dropping all his dignity, and 
becoming quite social. 

"We're from Injianny. We belong to 
the liOOth Injianny Volunteer Infantry." 

"You don't say so'i We bucked up 
against the 200th Ind. at Kenesaw. I tell 
you they're thoroughbreds, every man of 
them. They acted as if they'd walk right 
over us, in spite of abatis and breast- 
works 10 feet high. They just kept com- 
ing in through a lire that it didn't seem 
a jay-bird could live thruugh. Never saw 
such wc'^.ldn't-stop fellows. There's where 
I lost my arm. I saw the fellow plain 
who shot me. He'd got clear through the 
abatis, and was standing on the bade of 
the ditch. He was a large man with red 
hair, and" 

"You've been on duty in Milledgeville," 
exclaimed Si and Shorty, together, anx- 
ious to turn a conversation which threat- 
ened becoming entirely too personal. 
"What's going on there?" 

"Say," said the Sergeant, with a look of 
disgust. "This is a great crowd of poli- 
ticians that you are fighting for. We're 
hearing all the time about Northern pol- 
iticians, but if they're any worsc'n these 
down here, God pity the country, sah. 
If he could only make them get together 
and tight the thing out themselves, what 
a blessing it'd be, sah." 

"I think they're mostly dodging the 
draft on the grounds of whiteness of the 
liver, and progressive softening of the 
backbone," ventured Shorty. 

"Just ought to've seen that crowd up 
there at Milledgeville," continued the Ser- 
geant, taking another swig at Si's can- 
teen, and becoming more communicative. 
"The moment the news come in that your 
men had crossed Murder Creek, and were 
heading that way, every member of the 
Legislature had the buck-fever. JEIe 
grabbed up whatever was handiest, made 
a break for the nearest horse, mounted, 
and skipped out for dear life. I was plum 
ashamed that such men were Georgians, 
I was for a fact. They didn't wait for 
any motion to adjourn, but each fellow 
lit out for himself." 

"Couldn't the Governor rally them, and 
hold them?" inquired Shorty. 

"O, the Governor! The Governor!" 
eneered the Sergeant. "Why, he was the 



worst of the lot. Old Joe Brown was -like 
a hen on a hot griddle from the very: min- 
ute the news come in. You'd've tho.Ught 
that Governor's room, that he's had 'jxed 
up so stunningly, and whore he's 'been 
swelling around for yearis, had become a 
Dutch oven to a horse-tly, He didn't 
seem to care nothing for the . arms, maga- 
zines and people in town— ^only to. get 
away himself, with his. wife and such 
things as he could carry. He was .par- 
ticularly anxious about the.. picture of his 
high and mighty self that a conscripted 
Dago has been painting, ,to ' keep himself 
out of the army. Old Jo© had it grabbed 
up the tirst thing, and when he went by 
us he was looking out for it as carefully 
as if it was the warranty deed of his sal- 
vation. I'm getting less use for old Joe 
Brown every" 

"Hey, Avhafs that?" asked Si, suddenly 
comprehending. "Man with a pietur«, 
that went down this way a little while 
ago? Do you mean to say that was Joe 
Brown, the Governor of Georgia'?" 

"Certainly, sah," answered the Ser- 
geant. "Who else do y^u think we were 
acting as reah-gyard tor, sah, but Gov, 
Brown, and the Legislature of Georgia'?" 

"The Governor and the Legisiutuie o£ 
Georgia," shouted Si and Shorty in con- 
cert. "You don't mean to say that raft 
of measly sapsuckers and fly-up-the-cricks 
that just went down the road was the 
Governor and Legislature of Georgia?" 

"I'm your prisoner, gentlemen," said the 
Sergeant, with dignity, "and I cannot re- 
sent as I should your abuse of my super- 
ior ofiicers, but I ask you if you think it 
is right to insult a prisoner that way? ' 

"No, Sergeant," said Si. "We ask your 
pardon. We were naturally shook up to 
find out that we had let such big .game 
as that slip through our lingers." 

"You forget that vre were their rear- 
guard and escort, sah," said the Sergeant, 
with mantling pride. "You would have 
had a great deal of trouble before you 
got them, sah. We Georgians will fight 
to the dea+h in defense of our State, sah." 

"Wo know how well you Georgians 
light, Sergeant," said Si, chivalrously hu- 
moring the maimed, crippled man's harm- 
less pride. "Let me present you with this 
coffee. Sergeant. Sorry I haven't more for 
you. Good-by. We must be going. Hope 
you'll have good luck." 

"The Governor and Legislature ' of 
Georgia," groaned Shorty, as they start- 
ed ahead in quick time. "Si, are there 
any bigger fools than we are?" 

"Not outside of an idjiot asylum," an- 
swered Si. "But there's no use crying 
over spilt milk. From the banging ahead 
there, and the smoke's that rising, there's 
something lively on the carpet. Forward, 
quick time!" 

They soon came to the little town of 
Milledgeville, to find it ablaze with burn- 
ing factories, magazines and arsenals. The 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



125 



Georgia Penitentiary, from which the con- 
victs had been liberated to fight the Yan- 
kees, was burning fiercely. There was 
the crash of exploding ammunition, and 
the loud shouts of men as they turned 
over the railroad track, and fired the de- 
pot buildings and cars. But these sights 
and sounds had become familiar to every- 
body, and Si and his squad turned up the 
street toward the open ground;? iu which 
stood the State House. 

*"Vv'e can go up and take a look nt the 
nest, even if we did let the birds get away 
from us," remarked Shorty, grimly; but 
the subject was too painful for Si to speak 
about. 

On the columned portico they recognized 
Shad Graham, Avho called out: 

"Hello, Si, Shorty. Come in here. 
We're going to have some fun." 

They pressed on through the crowd af- 
ter Shad, and entered the hall of the 
Georgia House of Kepresentatives. The 
flags which adorned the chamber had been 
torn down and taken away, but the walls 
were emblazoned with the great seal of 
Georgia — three columns, surmounted by 
an arch, inscribed "'Constitution." Scrolls 
on the columns bore the words, "Wis- 
dom," "Justice," "Moderation." 

A crowd of laughing, shouting ofBcers 
and luen filled the chamber. Shad ascend- 
ed the Speaker's dais, and, rapping loud- 
ly, shouted: 

"Silence. .The Legislature of Georgia 
will now come to order for the regular 
transaction of business. The Speaker, 
having shamefully deserted his post in the 
hour of greatest need, I move, as the sense 
of this honorable body, that his office be 
declared vacant, and the Hon. Benj. F. 
Breeze, of— what County, Captain?" 

"We camped Ifst Winter in Catoosa 
County," answered the oQicer addressed, 
a bright, jolly-looking man, "and I think 
I gained a residence there. We gained 
everything else, from bad colds to new 
breeds of graybacks." 

"That Hon. Benj. F. Breeze, of Ca- 
toosa County," continued Shad, "be unani- 
mously elected Speaker of this 'House. 
All in favor of the same signify it by say- 
ing aye." 

A thunder of "ayes" followed. 

The vote is unanimous, and very compli- 
mentary. Captain," said Shad, handing 
him the gavel. "It is not necessary to put 
the negative." 

"Gentlemen of the Legislature of 
Georgia," said the Captain, taking the 
gavel, "I thank you much for the unex- 
pected honor conferred on me. I came 
into Georgia expecting to do almost any- 
thing to the State except to preside over 
its deliberative body. You were wise 
enough to burn down the penitentiary be- 
fore you gave me a chance at you. Since 
I cannot send you there, as you richly 
deserve, I'll have to keep you here. I'll 
not take up your time, however, with a 



speech, as we have much important busi- 
ness to transact. What is your further 
pleasure?" 

"Mr. Speaker, said Shad, "I move that 
the Hon. Alfred Russell, of Andersonville, 
Sumter County, be elected Secretary, and 
Hon. Montgomery Scruggs, of — of — what 
was that county where they were going 
to hang you, Si? O, yes, Rockdale Coun- 
ty — be elected Reading Clerk." 

The nominations were unanimously in- 
dorsed. 

"I now move you, Mr. Speaker," con- 
tinued Shad, " that the Reading Clerk call 
the roll of the Counties, that we may fill 
up all vacancies in their representation." 

There was a laughing squabble among 
the men who claimed to represent the 
Counties in which their regiments had 
been, and those who could not gain the 
honor were assigned to other Counties to 
which the army would probably go. 

"Mr. Speaker,' called a young Lieu- 
tenant. 

"The gentleman from Lumpkin," recog- 
nized the Speaker. 

"I move you, sir," continued the Lieu- 
tenant, "that it be the unanimous sense 
of this honorable body that the Governor 
of Georgia, having shamefully deserted 
his post in the face of the enemy, the office 
be declared vacant, and that the Hon. 
Wm. T. Sherman, late of Ohio, but at 
present of almost any old County in 
Georgia, be elected his successor." 

The Army of the Tenessee men raised 
a storm of cheers. 

"I move to amend," said an ofl3cer wear- 
ing an Acorn badge, "by substituting the 
name of the Hon. George H. Thomas, 
late of Virginia, but now a resident of 
Milledgeville.' 

Vociferous cheers from the Army of the 
Cumberland men. 

"I want to say in advocacy of my 
amendment," continued the Fourteenth 
Corps man, "that the Hon. Geo. H. 
Thomas is a much older resident of Geor^ 
gia than his competitor. He came into 
the State several months before Gen. 
Sherman, and at once became prominent 
in its affairs. At a great meeting held 
at Chickamauga he was unanimously pro- 
nounced the foremost citizen of the State. 
He has been connected with our great pub- 
lic works. He has had more to do with 
railroads than any other man who ever 
lived in Georgia, and he developed the 
great Snake Creek Gap route." 

Another storm of cheers from the Army 
of the Cumberland. 

"And I hold," continued the Acorn man, 
"that W. T. Sherman is ineligible for the 
office, for reason that he is now, and has 
been for months past, in actual, though 
not acknowledged command of the Con- 
federate forces in Georgia." 

A roar of cheers and laughter from ev- 
erybody. 

"I object," called out a man with a 
white arrow on iiis breast. "You Four- 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



127 



teenth Corps fellows want to hog every- 
thing." 

from the Sevonteonth Corps to ortler," said 
Shad. "Hog is niip:irliamentary hmguagc." 

"I shouldn't think that a man from In- 
diana ought to object to hog in any I'orm," 
retorted the White Arrov/ man. "That's 
what they live on, and they don't know 
much else." 

"I'll go over there and bust the honor- 
able gentleman's head if he don't come to 
order," roared Shorty. "No ISIississippi 
alligator like him must allegata against 
the State of Injianny." 

"Gentlemen will address the Chair," 
shouted the Speaker, pounding with his 
gavel. "The Chair rules that the word 
hog, when applied to the useful animal 
which furnishe;-; Ihe sustaining principle 
for that grand aggregation of patriotism 
known as Sherman's army is entirely par- 
liamentary and luojier. But Avben used 
by a member of the Army of the Tennessee 
to describe the moral qualities of the 
Fourteenth Corps, it is highly unparlia- 
mentary and improper. The gentleman 
from the Vicksliurg District is out of or- 
der, and will take his seat." 

"I appeal from the decision of the 
Chair," shouted the Seventeenth Corps 
man. "Everybody knov.-s that the I'^mu'- 
teenth Corps hogs everything away from 
the rest of the army. That is what their 
badge means. Hogs live on acorns." 

Therfe was every symptom that the ses- 
sion would break up in a first-class row. 
A shrill loud voice called for peace. 

''Mr. Speaker," it said, "I propose as a 
substitute for the original motion that the 
Hon. Geo. IT. Thomas be elected Govern- 
or of Georgia, and the State cast its elec- 
toral vote for the Hon. Wm. T. Sherman 
for President of the United States." 

Wild acclamations greeted this, and 
peace was restored. 

"Mr. Speaker," said a new voice from 
another part of the hall, "your Commit- 
tee on Federal Relations have unanimous- 
ly agreed upon a resolution, which I here- 
with send to the Clerk's desk, 'to have 
read:" 

Monty Scruggs's voice rang out senor- 
ously as he read: 

"Whei^eas, in the year of Our Lord, 
18G1, an assemblage in this tOAvn. being 
instigated by the devil, and his chief emis- 
saries, Jeff Davis, Robert Toombs, How- 
ell Cobb and others, did wickedly, mali- 
ciously, and with felony aforethought 
usurp powers not belonging to it, and 
treasonabl.y declare Georgia out of the 
Union, therefore, be it — . 

"Resolved, That the aforesaid ordinance 
of secession, which was conceived in sin, 
and brought forth in iniquity, is hereby, at 
once and forever, repealed, nullified, set 
aside, and made void, and of no effect 
whatever, the State of Georgia is declared 
to be, now and forever, completely under 



the jurisdiction and control of the Con- 
stitution and \avi-s of the United States." 

"Hold on, Mr. Speaker," shouted some 
one. "Before that is put upon its passage 
I rise to a parliamentary inquiry." 

"The gentleman from Pokeberry will 
state his inquiry," said the Speaker". 

"I desire to ask if that will re-enact 
the I<^igitive Slave Law in Georgia?" 
asked the man. 

"The gentleman is referred to the 
Freednian's Bureau," said the Speaker. 
"Gentlemen, you have heard the resolu- 
tion. All in favor of its passage will sig- 
nify it by saying Aye. Contrary, No. The 
Ayes have it unanimously, the resolution 
is adopted, the Ordinance of Secession is 
repealed, and Georgia is again in the 
Union." 

As the roar of cheers subsided, a voice 
was heard: 

"Mr. Speaker, the Committee on Crimes, 
Offenses and Misdemeanors has placed a 
resolution in the hands of the Clerk, which 
it desires read and acted on." 

Monty read out, in full, round tones: 

"WiiEKioAS, certain evil-disposed per- 
sons, to-Avit: .John B. Hood, Wm. J. Har- 
dee, Joe Wheeler, P. G. T. Beauregard, 
and others conspiring, colleagued and con- 
sorting Avith them, have been and now 
are disturliing the peace and dignity of the 
State, by bloody and seditious acts: There- 
fore, be it 

"AV'o?ref7, That the aforementioned men, 
and all those found in their company, are 
hereliy declared and denounced as outlaws 
and traitors, and all loyal, honest men 
are hereby commanded to pursue them 
with arms, and shoot doAvn and extermi- 
nate them on sight, for which this shall 
be their full warrant." 

"Adopted by acclammation," announced 
the Speaker. 

"iNIr. Speaker," called out a new voice, 
"the Committee on Reforms in the Laws 
presents the following, and asks for it3 
immediate passage: 

" *Be it enacted by the Legislature of 
Georgia, that any man who shall hurrah 
for Jeff Davis, or in any manner aid or 
abet the present rebellion, shall suffer 
death, or such other punishment as it may 
be convenient to inflict, besides forfeiting 
all his cattle, hogs, chickens and forage to 
the Commissary Department." 

"Passed by acclamation," announced 
the Speaker. 

"Passed unanimously," announced the 
Speaker. 

"Mr. Speaker," called still another, the 
Committee on Education presents the fol- 
lowing, and requests its immediate pas- 
sage: 

"Be it enacted. That the song beginning 
'We'll hang Jeff Davis on a Sour Apple 
Tree' is hereby adopted as the State an- 
them of Georgia, and all teachers kre re- 
quired to teach it in the public schools." 

"Mr. Speaker," came from still another 



128 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



voice, "tho Criminittpp on Financp reports 
the following, and asks its immediate pas- 
Bage: 

"Be it enacted, That taxes shall con- 
tinue as heretofoi-e, to be paid in kind, 
but their collection by the officers of the 
so-calk'd Southern Confederacy is strictly 
jirohibited. 'J liat duty is hereby trans- 
ferred to the oflicers and men of the Union 
Army, who are hereby authorized and in- 
structed to seize whatever cattle, hogs, 
forage, and other ncces-.-:aries that in their 
judgment said army may require." 

"Passed by acclamation," announced 
the Speaker. 

•'Gentlemen of the Legislature of Geor- 
gia," said the Speaker, rapping with his 
gavel and rising. "I must congratulate 
you on the progress you have made. Never 
"in the history of Georgia has there been 
no much good, wholesome and practical 



legislation passed in so short a timO. 
Speaking for the great, tree, independent, 
sovereign Commonwealth of Georgia, I — " 

"Say, Capt. Breeze," shouted a Regi- 
mental Adjutant, striding into the hall, 
"what are you doing here? • Don't you 
know you've been detailed as Picket Ulli- 
cer? You want to get over to your de- 
tachment immediately, and establish your 
line for the night. I've been looking for 
you everywhere." 

"Here, you men," echoed an olHcer of 
the provost-guard, appearing at the head 
of a squad, "get back to your regiments, 
every one of you, oilicers and all. Get, 
I say." 

"O, yes; O, yes," ])roclaimed Shad, 
snatching up the Speaker's gavel, as a 
siunenir, "the Legislature of Georgia 
stands adjourned, uhtr dir. The devil take 
the Commonwealth of Georgia." 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



OUT ON THE FLANKS AGAIN— THE PARTNERS THINK THAT THEY WILL GO 
OUT AND HELP THE BOYS ESCAPING FROM MI LLEN— FORAGERS FROM 
THE FIFTEENTH CORPS— CAPTURE OF A RAILROAD TRAIiL 



"Our next station is Sandersville, and 
all tho army Avill concentrate there," re- 
ported Capt. Buxton, coming back to the 
company from regimental headquarters, 
aftijr they had left Millodgeville. 

"Sandersville V" commented Si, study- 
ing the map of Georgia from Mitchel's At- 
las, which Alf Russell providently car- 
ried with him; "that means South Caro- 
lina, as sure's you're born, and we'll soon 
be making the Palmetto aristocrats howl 
for tiring on Fort Sumter. First, Ave'U 
go right down there to INIillen, and re- 
lease the prisoners, then turn back on 
Augusta, where the rebels have their 
biggest arsenals, armories and factories of 
guns, cannons and powders. We'll wipe 
them off the face of the earth, and then 
cross over into South Carolina, where 
Uncle Billy '11 simply turn us loose, and 
after we've gone over the ground they'll 
hav(! to grub deep to even lind the roots 
of anylhing." 

"Suit.s me," agreed Shorty. "I'm for 
South Carolina as soon as you please, but 
1 was in hopes that we'd take in An- 
dersonvilie on the way. We're pointin,' 
away from it now, I'd .i heap rather 
go down and help the boys, out there, and 
then 'tend to South Carolina later. But 



in the army it's not what you want, but 
what you can." 

"They say," said Si, "that all the pris- 
oners who were able to walk have lieeu 
taken away from Andersonville, and that 
there's quite a buiich of them over here 
at Millen. I think I'll go up to the 
Colonel, and ask him to let us piroute out 
toward Millen, as the army advances, 
and see if Ave can't help out the boys 
who are trying to get aA>ay from there 
and through to us. There's likely to be 
a . lot of them, and we'll know a heap 
more about where to look for them, and 
how to help them out, than fellows who 
haven't had our experience." 

"That's the scheme that's been cook- 
ing in my mind ever since we mentioned 
Millen," agreed Shorty. "Your tongue's 
got a hair-trigger. Si, and always goes 
oft' quicker'n mine." 

"Excellent idea; go ahead," said the 
Colonel, when the idea Avas broached to 
him. "You will do much better service, 
generally, out on the tlanl.«s than you wi 1 
in the ranks, until Ave strike something 
solider than Ave have been running up 
against lately, or is in sight at present. 
'J'here's nothing in front but a moskcto 
cluud of \\'heeler's cavalry and Georgia 



xJdTJT MARCH' TO THE SEA. 



129 



militia. I guess yon can take care of 
yourselves with them." 

Taking one day's rations of hardtack, 
and all the coHee, sugar and salt they 
couid get. Si, with his squad increased 
by Uncle Ephraim and Tom Brainard and 
Bill Grimshaw. who insisted on going 
along, worked his way out through the 
army and toward the right, in the direc- 
tion of Millen. They carried their Man- 
kets and shelter touts, and a full supply 
of 40 rounds of ammunition, so as to be 
prepared for any contingency in two or 
thiee days' al)senee from the column. As 
they passed out they met droves of cat- 
tle and hogs, and long lines of farm wag- 
ons, carriages, buggies, carry-alls, and ev- 
ery kind of a vehicle that could be found 
on the plantations, and made to carry to 
camp a load of provisions for man and 
beast. 

Every man seemed in keen rivalry to 
get the biggest p(^ssible load, and hurry 
it into camp. And besides his contribu- 
tion to the general fund, he invariably 
carried some luxuries for the special de- 
lectation of his mess — chickens, turkeys, 

jar of honey, a jug of molasses, bucket 
of milk, etc., etc. 

If a man wanted to make a moosyura 
of all the road-rackers in use since the 
flood," remarked Si, studying the parade 
of wheeled antiquities strung along the 
road, "all he'd have to do would be to 
gather up the collection he'd find in camp 
tomorrow morning. I declare, Columbus 
must 've come over in some of them Avhen 
he discovered America, and they've had 
hard use ever since. I used to think that 
a Posey County camp-meeting could rake 
the four corners of the earth for tough 
things on wheels, but Posey County isn't 
to be mentioned in the same day with 
this layout." 

'Looks like a wagonshop yard with de- 
lirium tremens," remarked Shorty. '"Some 
of those things look so old that they'd 
blue-mold the grub the boys are carrying 
in them, before they get to camp. Why, 
Jeff Davis ought to be ashamed 'to be 
fQuud dead near one of them." 

As they approached the crossing of the 
Little Ogeechee River they beard a sharp 
little volley, followed by some deliberate 
shots in reply. They hurried forward, 
and presently came to a house, where 
they found tive or six soldiers wearing 
Fifteenth Corps badges, deliberately 
wringing the necks of some chickens 
whiiii they had driven into a tobacco shed. 
In an oJd carryall, hitched up and stand- 
ing in the road, were some sacks of flour, 
sv.eet potatoes, collards, jugs and a small 
bee-gum. 

The firing was going on pretty lively, 
and bullets sang over their heads, but 
the men were devoting themselves to their 
work without paying the least attention. 

"What's up, boys?" asked Si, as he 
came up on the double-quick, and speak- 
ing to a soldier who came out to the carry- 



all and threw in a load of headless chick- 
ens. 

"O, nothing in particular," answered 
the soldier, wiping his forehead with his 
sleeve. "There's 25 or 30 of .Toe Wheel- 
er's cavalry acrost the river there want- 
ing to come ever and mix up with us. 
Four or five of the boys are down there 
at the ford holding them back till we get 
through. Say, boys, you'll have to go on 
further. Wo aint going to leave nothing 
here worth while. This is the anniver- 
sary of our fight at Lookout Mountain—, 
our company was the first one above th» 
clouds— and we're going t& celebrate it by 
a big chicken potpie, with batter cakes 
and honey on the side." 

He spoke deliberately, and paid as lit- 
tle attention to the firing and the bullets 
that occasionally sang overhead as if they 
were miles away. 

"Why don't you go over there and run 
that cavalry off?" inquired Si, gathering 
himself up, as if he would do it. 

"O, what the devil's the use?" said the 
others scornfully. "They aint doing no 
harm, so long's you keep 'em back, and 
the boys that's down there at the ford 
can do that, and not try hard. Aint got 
no shoe-leather to wear out chasing rebel 
cavalry. And if you run 'em back 10 
miles they'd turn and foller you again. 
Nah; got better use for our time thaa 
loping around the country after Jo© 
Wheeler's long-distance runners." 

A bullet clipped through the leather top 
of the carryall. 

"Here, Jim," yelled the Fifteenth Corps 
man to his companions at the ford. 
"What's the matter with you fellows? 
Going to sleep down there? Shove them 
rebels back further. That last bullet 
come within a foot of the milk jug. You 
let 'em bust that jug, and you'll go with- 
out cream in your coffee tonight. Heai" 
that?" 

"Well, we'll go down there and rout 
them," said Si. "We don't believe in let- 
ting the rebel cavalry hang around." 

"Dou't y©u do it,' said the Fifteenth 
Corps man sharply. "You just keep 
where you are. This is none of your 
scrap, and we don't thank fellows from 
other corps coming around and mixing 
in before they are invited. We're per- 
fectly able to take care of our own front." 

"No offense, comrade," said Si. "We 
simply offered our help." 

"Well, we don't want your help. The 
hoys wouldn't like it a bit for you to mis 
in. There's five as good shots down there 
as there is in the Army of the Tennessee, 
and they can stand off a mighty big biling 
of rebel cavalry without turning a hair. 
If they can't, there's six or seven more 
of us here just as good as they are. The 
rebels aint bothering us at all. If you 
don't like the way we're doing things, go 
off to your own corps, where they're roan- 
aged to suit you." 
. "Look here, partner, there's no need of 



ISO 



SI KLEXJG AND SHORTY. 



yonr getting on your ear. We know that 
the Fifteenth Corps is generally able to 
run its own machine. But as we hap- 
pened to be going out that way, we 
thought we'd .i"st dean out the rebels as 
v.'e went along." 

''Well, you just remember this is our 
o\ffn little affair, and jon'll please keep 
out of it until you're invited," returned 
the othei-, obdurately. "You'll have 
enough to do t© shinny on your own side." 

"Say, Lishe," calle<J up a voice from 
the ford; "I expect that you boys had bet- 
,ter come down here for a little while. 
There's a mint more of rebels coming 
up." 

"I .should say there v>-;is," said Elisha, 
looking with a little perturbation on a 
cloud of horsenien gnlloping up. "Come 
out here, boys. R:iiiy on rbe wagon." 

Then he noticed Si moving down, and 
his corps pride asserted itself. "I say, 
Sergeant," he begged, "do keep out of 
this. T tell yon we're entirely able to 
take care of our front. You Army of the 
Cumbcriaud men are always talking about 
t:iking cui-e of us .-ind saving us. I've 
heard it ever since Shiloh, and I'm sick 
of it. ni tell you what, you can take 
all that grul), if you'll just go off to camp 
and let us handle this business ourselves." 

••>\ hat do you take us for?" asked 
Shorty, hotly. "Do you think we're that 
kind of" 

But Si. who sympathized with the 
man's soldierly pride and jealous regard 
for the honor of hi.s corps, interrupted: 

"Go ahead. Sergeant. I think you're 
able by yourselves to stand them off. We 
know what stuff the Fifteenth Corps has 
in it. We Avon't interfere unless we're 
sure we're needed. Go ahead. We'll iouk 
on, and see you do it." 

"Thank you," said Serg't Elisha grate- 
fully, as he ran forward with his com- 
panions toward the river bank. 

In a few minutes the skirmish became 
quite shai-p. Avith the rebels on the oppo- 
site .side of the river banging away pro- 
miscuously, to intimidate the defenders, 
who kept well under shelter, firing care- 
fully and slowly whenever they saw a 
chance to bring down a man or a horse. 

"Good soldiers," nodded Si, approving- 
Jy to Shorty, as they watched and listened 
from a position behind some buildings. "I 
guess they'll beat them off, and ought to 
have the full credit. I'll tell vou what 
we might do. That field over there on 
the knob must be in plain view of the 
rebels. We might march around theie in 
such a way as to make them believe 
we're moving about a regiment to cut 
them off." 

They all ran at once for the knob, and 
began the old trick of marching past a 
gap in the bushes, coming around a:id 
passing across again. They were so suc- 
cessful that at the second round they 
heard the rebel bugle blow the recall, and 



soon all the butternuts were in ftill re- 
treat. 

Si and Shorty came back to compliment 
the Sergeant and others upon the hand- 
some light they had put up, and shake 
hands and part, the others to go back 
to camp and their chicken potpie celebra- 
tion of the battle above the clouds, and 
Si and Shorty to push over the Little 
Ocmulgee toward Millen. 

They watched the rebel rear-guard pick 
up their wounded and carry them into 
some near-by cabins, instruct women 
there about taking care of them, and hav- 
ing the negroes bury the dead man, strip 
the dead man of his arms, and drive for- 
ward the men whose horses had been 
killed, and who were lingering behind to 
gather up their property. They pulled ofE 
their saddles and bridles, and went for- 
ward with them on their shoulders, until 
they could find other horses. 

Si and Shorty slipped forward under the 
cover of the trees to get an opportunity 
to pick up some of these men, without 
alarming the rear-guard, and bringing on 
another fight. But the rear-guard was 
vigilant, gathered all the stragglers up, 
and urged them forward. Stiddenly one 
of them, a tall, slender young fellow, 
threw down his saddle, exclaiming, with 
an oath: 

"Thar that blamed ca'tridge-box's 
worked loose agin, and dropped. I've got 
to go back for it." 

"Let hit go. Bill," said the Lieutenant 
in command. "You kin git another." 

"No, I can't," said the man. "An', be- 
sides, hit wuz plum full o' ca'tridges." 

"Make haste, then. Don't go fur," said 
the Lieutenant. "Hyah, hand me up yer 
saddle. I'll tote hit fer yo' till yo' git 
back." 

The man handed up the saddle, and 
started back with his head down, appar- 
ently scanning the road for his cartridge- 
box. The rear-guard pressed on, for the 
column was moving at a good gait, and 
the guard was losing distance. 

The man came straight toward where 
Si and Shorty were standing behind treesL 

"Halt!" they commanded when he was 
50 yards distant. 

"That's all right, Yanks," he said, 
promptly throwing up his hands. "I was 
looking for you all the time." 

There was not a touch of Southern 
twang in his voice. 

The Lieutenant of the guard, looking 
over his shoulder at the man, noticed his 
action, faced his guard about, and started 
back, but Si showed up his whole force in 
the opening, at which the Lieutenant faced 
about and continued his march. 

"Hello, Bob," said Bill Grimshaw, com- 
ing up to the new-comer and joyously shak- 
ing hands, after the Lieutenant faced 
.■I bout. "Awful glnd to see you. brother. 
Say, you played that very fine, you did, 
for a fact; I've been worrying about you a 
good deal. I knew that they'd put yoa 



ON THE MARCH TO T IE SEA. 



131 







"THAT'S ALL RIGHT, YANKS," HE SAID; "I WAS LOOKING FOR YOU ALL 
THE TIME." 



into Wheelfr's cavalry and that yon'd pet 
away tho lirst elianco. I didn't recognize 
you, thongh, till I heard your voice." 

"Sorgoant," continued (xrimshaw, "this 
is my brother, Bob, v.ho"s a printer, and, 
liko me, v/as tempt eil down Sonth by 
good wages, and then pressed into the 
rebel army about a year ago. He's as 
loyal a boy as ever lived. Tickled to 
death to see jou alive and well, Bob." 

"Yes, boys, you'll find me sound on the 



goose," said Bob Grimshaw. "I think 
I've wasted more cartridges for the South- 
ern Confederacy, and done less damage 
to the Yankees than any other man in 
the rebel army. A Yank would've had 
to be at least 1,000 feet high that I ever 
hit when T was shooting." 

•'Glad to have you with us, Mr. Grim- 
shaw," said Si, shaking hands with him. 
"Make yourself at home with us. We've 
conie out to try and help get away any of 



132 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



the bovs wlio may be ti-ying to escape 
from Milieu. Know anything about any?" 

"There's lots of them trying to get 
away," answered Bob. "And they've been 
IXJcking them up all along through the 
country. They're jumping from trains, 
digging tunnels and getting out of the 
stockades by all sorts of tricks. Awful 
sight to see when we pick them up. Noth- 
ing but skin and bones, and without rags 
enough to cover their nakedness. So 
weak and sick that some of them just 
simply lay down and die as soon as they 
see they are recaptured. I tell you, boys, 
you don't know how many kinds of hell 
this Southern Confederacy is until you 
get on the inside. It's a hundred times 
worse on the inside than it can look to 
be from the outside." 

"I suppose that they're mostly coming 
out this way?" inquired Si. '"Trying to 
meet Sherman?" 

"Mostly," answered Bob. "Though 
there's a great many going the other way, 
ti-ying to get to the sea. The cavalry, 
the couscripters. and the reserves have 
orders to watch the crossings of the 
creeks, and I think that every ford along 
the Little Ogeechee is pretty well watched 
today for them." 

"We'll just skin down this side of the 
river, then," decided Si, "and see if we 
can't drive the watchers off, and pick up 
pome of the boys. Where do you tlunii 
that cavalry has gone?" 

"I heard them say," answered Bob, 
"that Joe Wheeler would have his head- 
quarters tonight at Tenille Station, over 
on the railroad, in that direction. I think 
they're going to join him." 

"That throws them away off to the 
left," said Si. 'T don't think we need 
bother any more about them. Let's push 
right along. We can probably lick any- 
thing we find along the banks of the 
river." 

Without any attempt at concealment, 
therefore, they marched along the road 
following the course of the river. Oc- 
casionally they would see small squads of 
reserves in the distance, who speedily pro- 
ceeded to put a big stretch of Georgia 
landscape between them and the Yankees. 
They looked into all the fords, and Pete, 
on Abednego, scoured the country around, 
in search of hiding places for escaped 
prisoners. But he found none. He did 
find some good horses concealed in these 
likely hiding places, and by the middle of 
the afternoon the whole squad was well 
mounted. They made much better pro- 
gress now, and towai-d sundown came to 
the Georgia Central Railroad, running 
from Macon to Milieu, Augusta and Sa- 
vannah. They heard the whistle of a 
train in the distance, coming from the di- 
rection of Macon, hastily piled some logs 
and stones on the track, concealed their 
horses in the brush and trees, and lay 
down among the sumach and cedars above 
a deep cut to wait for it. 
, The train came on, the engineer caught 



sight of the obstruction as he entered the 
cut, whistled for brakes, reversed his le- 
ver, and looked around, to encounter Si's 
musket leveled at his head. 

"Stop that train right there; don't you 
move an inch, or off goes your roof," 
sternly commanded Si. 

Shorty, with the rest of the boys, was 
attending to the guards on the top of 
the cars, while Si was dealing with the 
engineer. 

"Stand right where you are; drop them 
guns; don't you try to get dowm. if you 
don't Avant to land in hot brimstone," 
shouted Shorty, and the frightened re- : 
serves hastened to obey. 

"I ain't wanting to go any further," 
said the engineer, very cheerfully. "This 
suits me well enough." 

"Hello, Mockbee," shouted Brainard 
and Grimshaw, delightedly, at the sound 
of his voice. "Good boy. Come right 
over here." 

The engineer jumped from the train, 
and ran up to join his old friends. 

"What does this mean? Come down, 
men," shouted the Captain and Lieuten- 
ants of the guard, rushing from the inside 
of a car further to the rear, and drawing 
their swords. "Jump down on the other 
side, men, and form." 

"Excuse me. Captain, and you, too. 
Lieutenant," said Shorty, with great show 
of politeness, as he covered the Captain. 
"This ain't your ante. I believe I have 
the age. Pass the buck, please. In other 
■words, both of you toddle right up here, 
and hand me them toad-stickers. You 
won't have no further use for them." 

"What's your rank, sir?" said the Cap- 
tain, swelling a little. "I'm a commis- 
sioned officer, and don't surrender to no 
Corporal." 

"I'm afraid you'll have to. all the same, 
this time," said Shorty, sadly. "My reg- 
ular commission hasn't arrived yet, but I 
carry one good enough for every-day use 
right here," and he tapped his gun. "So 
toddle right up here, my laddie-bucks, and 
hand over your swords, before I'm under 
the painful necessity of blowing your 
heads off. Be in a hurry, for I'm nervous 
holding this gun out so long, and it's liable 
to go off." 

The officers clambered up the bank and 
handed over the swords. 

"Yip! yip! hooray!" yelled eight or ten 
of Kilpatrick's cavalry, who were in the 
fi-ont car, as they caught their guards, 
and flung them out. "Hooray for Abe 
Lincoln, and Billy Sherman." 

They jumped out, snatched up the 
rebels's guns, and joined the rest on the 
bank. Leaving Harry, Monty and the rest 
to gather up the prisoners. Si and Shorty 
walked back to look over the train. It 
was a small one of six cars, made up 
to carry the family of the Superintendent 
of the machine shops at Griswoldville, and 
those of some other high ofScials to a 
place of safety. The last three contained 
the ladies" of the families, with whom the 



ON THE MARCH TO TH-E SEA. 



133 



CaptaiTi,' Lieutenant and conductor had 
been IJirtinA' at the time Si rudely inter- 
rupted thi^ pnssnjro. Tlie first car had thf' 
captured cnvalrymon and guards, the sec. 
ond tine tools aiid delicate machinery frorr, 
the shops, and the third provisions au(\ 
household goods. 

Some ot me women had promptly faint- 
ed, but not receiving much symr'athy or at- 
tention from their sisters, had recovered 
and gone to screaming. The rest were 
looking as if the end of the world had 
come. 

- "Don't be alarmed, ladies," said Si, po- 
Htely -lifting -his hat. "Sorry to have in- 
terrupted your journey, but you'll be per- 
fectly safe. Conductor, as we haven't 
any use for you, you'll btay here and take 
care of the ladies." 

Tom Brainard jumped into the cab, and 
peized the throttle, while Bill Grirashaw 
uncoupled the four rear cars, and Shorty 
set the prisoners to work removing the 
obstruction. 

Brainard ran the engine, with the two 
cars, ahead a little way to where there 
was a rail fence on one side of the road, 
and one of pine stumps on the other. 

"We'll just make a big bontire of her, 
and send her howling down to Tenille Sta- 
tion with our compliments to Joe Wheel- 
er," he said, as he began fastening down 
the safety valve with a piece of telegraph 
wire, "I hope she'll run right into the 
middle of his camp and bust wide open, 
and blow him and his whole yelling, 
thieving crew into the middle of next 
Bionth." 

While Shorty was making the prisoners 
pile rails and stumps on the cars, Grim- 
shaw and the other engineer were picking 
out rich bits of fat pine with which to 
stuff the firebox, and till the cab. 
• . With coals from the engine, Shorty 
ptarted big blazes in the cars, and Brain- 
ard, cramming into the firebox the last 
splinter of pine that it would hold, set 
fire to the stuff in the cab, and pulling 
open the throttle, jumped from the cab 
and let her go. The boys raised a cheer as 
the sped down the track, and then started 
to regain the road upon which the army 
was advancing. 

Col. McGillicudy had been detached 
■duriiig the day and sent forward with his 
regiment to push back Joe Wheeler's cav' 
airy, and not finding any particular dilfi- 
ctilty in the job. had pushed on to Tenille 
Station, where he arrived about dark, and 
went into camp upon some open, level 
ground along a switch of the railroad. 
His tent had been put up near the track, 
a pleasant fire built of railroad timbers, 
and he and the Adjutant were seated 
near it smoking, while Aunt Minerva Ann 
was busy preparing a savory supper at 
another fire. The rest of the regiment was 
near by, all lively, occupied in getting 
their evening meal and fi?:ing for the night. 



It was as pleasant and pictares'tiue a 
cainivsrone as was ever beheld; The 
briulit tires sparkled in the darlrjiess; all 
was (juiot; save for the kum of QgVceable 
occupation; the day's maret had' been an 
enjoyable one, with just enough- excite- 
ment with the cavalry to give it zest, and 
the Colonel and the Adjutant were talk- 
ing about the end of the war, and what 
they would do when mustered out. 

Suddenly a huge mass of flame cr^me 
tearing up the railroad with a frightful, 
deafening roar. Everybody sprang up, 
and stood looking at it, with bis eyes pro- 
truding, and his heart in his mouth. What 
could it be? 

An enormous meteor? 

A new kind of a rebel infernal ma- 
chine? 

Aunt Minerva Ann collapsed to hefi 
knees and began hysterically shouting: 

"De Judgment Day! De Judgement 
Day! Gabriel blowin' de horn! O, God 
Almighty, hab mercy on a pore nigger!" 

The switch was open, and the frightful 
mass whirled from the main track, and 
up toward Col. McGillicuddy's quarters. 
Everybodv ran back in teri'or. 

Coi. McGillicuddy quickly divined what 
the thing was, and his smooth, soft, bugle- 
like tones rang out penetratingly. 

"Steady, men! It's only a train oa 
fire!" 

"Steady, men!" repeated the ofHcers. 

The engine dashed against the stopping 
block at the end of the switch and rolled 
over on its side. 

"Look, out, there! Look, out!" yelled 
a number. "She's going to bust!" 

Col. McGillicudy thought of "Elder 
Hornblower," who, in a spasm of terror, 
was vainly kicking and straining to brealj 
his stout halter. Around him were horses, 
all frantic with fear. Regardless of their 
flying heels, the Colonel sprang in to 
rescue his beloved steed from the danger 
of the explosion. He was followed by the 
Adjutant, similarly intent for his own 
horse's safety. They cut the halter straps, 
led the animals away, and quieted them 
with assuring words. 

The expected explosion did not take 
place, and the panic quickly disappearing, 
the laughing, yelling boys gathered around 
to inspect the thing as the flames died 
down, and indulge in comments upon the 
marvelous happening. 

"Another scheme of the damned, cow- 
ardly rebels to murder us all," said the 
angry Adjutant. 

"I doubt it," said the Colonel. "I doubt 
if they had time to think of such a thing 
since we've been here. It's most likely 
the other way, and I wouldn't be sur- 
prised to find Si Klegg and Shorty mixed 
up in it somehow, I've somehow got in 
the habit of connecting them with evei'y- 
thing that's unexpected."- 



134, 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

APPLE DUMPLINGS AND A GIANT CA.VE— SI FINDS OUT A TKEASUEE OP 
APl'LES AND A MAMMOTH CAVERN— THE ADJUTANT FINDS OUT HOW 
MUCH HE DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT COOKING. 



There were few apples raised in Geor- 
gia before the war, and the produetion 
was almost wholly contiued to the mouu- 
taiu region where the small, old-tashioned 
varieties grew, almost without care or at- 
tention. 

Like all healthy, normal boys, Si was 
exceedingly fond of apples. On his way 
back to the column his attention was ex- 
cited by the unusual sight in that section 
of an apple orchard, and, more unusual 
Btill, it seemed thrifty and well-tended. It 
was probably the property of some man 
who had traveled in the Noith, and ac- 
quired an appetite for its delicious fruit. 
Possibly some iNorthern school-teacher had 
mariicd dov. n there, and long;d for the 
pleasant things of her girlhood's home. 
Foilowing up the natural train of thought 
Si looked toward the house, and saw there 
one of these peculiar institutions of Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee, a straw-pen. These 
are pens of rails, vrith thick layers of 
straw inside, to protect against the cold 
the Winter's supply of apples, sweet and 
Irish potatoes, etc., stored there. 

Hope sprang up in Si's breast. Leav- 
ing the rest to move on, he rode over to 
the straw-pen. and the fragrance that 
greeted his nostrils when he came close 
justified his hopes and made his mouth 
water. There may be a more delicious, 
pure and penetrating perfume than that 
of Winter apples in storage, but no one 
has yet pointed it out. That of roses and 
pinks is not equal to it. It always was 
to Si what a whiff of whiskey-scent is to 
a thirsty drunkard. He dismounted, 
thrust his hand far in through the straw, 
and brought out a big, blushing, fragrant 
Kome Beauty. 

''Somebody from the Ohio River coun- 
try planted that orchard." he remarked, 
•s he rubbed the chaff oft" with his hand, 
preparatory to a capacious and luscious 
bite. ''There's more of God's country in 
this than anything I've seen in the whole 
of Georgy. ^Vhen Georgy's brought back 
into the Union, they ought to plant apples 
all over the State, to cure 'em of being 
rebels." 

In a corn-crib near by he found a couple 
of sacks, which he tilled with the fruit — 
one for his mess and the other for Col. 
McGillicuddy, whom he knew to be quite 
as fond of apples as he himself. He 
threw these across his horse and made 
his way after the detachment. 



For three days the army deliberately 
concentrated around Sandersville, to niis^ 
lead the rebels that an attack on Augusta 
was intended, and an invasion of South 
Carolina. The 2U0th Ind. remained quietly 
resting at Tenille Station. 

Having nothing to do Col. McGillicud- 
dy's mind turned toward luxuries. Si's 
bag of apples made his tent redolent of 
intoxicating odor, suggestive of home 
things. 

"Adjutant," he said one morning, as, 
after signing up the morning reports, they 
sat on some railroad ties in front of the 
tent, contentedly smoking, and watching 
the men boiling, washing and mending 
their clothes. "There's nothing in the 
world I'd give so much for, this minute, 
as a great big mess of apple-dumplings, 
like those mother used to make. The 
smell of those apples has set me to long- 
ing for them." 

"Nothing easier than to have them," 
answered the Adjutant, confidently. "Aunt 
Minerva can cook anything. Here are 
the apples. We have plenty of sugar 
and hour, and it is an easy matter to 
get milk. That's all that's needed." 

"Well," answered the Colonel, "I'm go- 
ing to ride over to brigade headquarters, 
to find otxt what's in the air. I'll be 
back about 1 o'clock, hungry as a wolf, 
and shall expect a fine dish of smoking 
apple dumplings. I may bring the Gen- 
eral with me." 

Adjt. Willoughby was one of those in- 
valuable young men about headquarters, 
who have no doubt in the world as to 
their ability to manage anything in the 
universe, and are eager to undertake any 
job suggested to them. 

"Great Christopher," he soliloquised, as 
the Colonel rode away, and he walked 
back to Aunt Minerva Ann's boudoir by 
the wagon, "if apple-dumplings is what 
the Colonel wants, apple-dumplings he 
shall have, and by the pock. Nothing eas- 
ier. Aunt Minerva Ann, the Colonel 
wants a big mess of apple-dumplings for 
dinner." 

"Apple-dumplings?" inquired Aunt Min- 
erva Ann, with a blank look. "What's 
dem?" 

"Apple-dumplings?" echoed the Adjut- 
ant, somewhat taken aback. "Why, 
they're apple-dumplings, that's all. Don't 
you know what apple-dumplings are?" 

"Kebber beared ob sich t'ings ia all my 



ON THE MAEOH TO THE SEA. 



135 



born days. Heared lots of apple-jack, 
•which old Mas'r useter take fer his moru- 
in's moruiu', an' what sets common folks 
t' foutiu' an' killin', bu-t uebber heared ob 
no apple-dumplius. Heaied ob people 
makiu pies ub apples, but nebber seed hit, 
our believed dey could do hit." 

"\V<.)11, they do make pies out of apples," 
gasped the Adjutant, beginning to compre- 
hend t-he negress's ignorance, "and mighty 
good ones, too, Apple-dumplings are 
something like pies, only they're boiled in- 
stead of baked, and eateu with sweetened 
milk." 

"Nebber made no l>ies in all my life. 
Ole M'am Lize, she made all the pies, an' 
all de wheat bread up at de house. She 
jealous ob de rest ob we'uus, an' nebber 
let we'uns see how she done hit. Done 
druY we'uns all away when she wukked 
at hit." 

"Why, it's all dead easy," said the Ad- 
jutant, with the easy oonhdence of youth 
and inexperience. "You just mix up 
your flour and water, with a little salt 
and saleratus, just as you do your meal 
and water, and then — and then — and then 
you just coat your apples with it, and 
boil them together, and you have your 
apple-dumplings. You get a perfectly- 
clean camp kettle, and fill it with watei-, 
and set it on to boil, and get your flour 
and water, and I'll bring out the apples." 
Aunt Minerva Ann did as directed, and 
got out the wooden bowl which she used 
to mix the dough for the corn-pone. Un- 
der the direction of the Adjutant, who 
became momentarily more sure that he 
had mastered the whole art and mystery, 
she mixed up flour and water until she 
had it abovit the consistence of corn-dough, 
"I was as puzzled at first as bad as 
George III., in the poem was, as to how 
they got the apples into the dough," com- 
muned the Adjutant with himself. '"As 
•I remember it, the poem don't explain how 
they do it, but I've thought it out. All 
you need about cooking is a little common 
sense, just as you need it in everything. 
The trouble with that old wooden-headed 
King was that he didn't have any, sense 
about anything. Aunt Minerva Ann, now 
you just wash off those apples very care- 
fully. Be sure that every one's perfectly 
clean. Nothing like cleanliness in cook- 
ing. There's where all men and so many 
women make a great mistake in cooking." 
"Now," he continued, as Aunt Minerva 
Ann brought back the apples, dripping 
from the washing, "take each one up by 
the stem this way, and take a knife, and 
plaster about a quarter of an inch of 
dough all around it." 

Aunt Minerva Ann tried to obey, but 
her fingers were clumsy at the unaccus- 
tomed work. The dough would not stick 
to the knife, still less to the wet surface 
of the apples. 

'"Fore Gawd, Mas'r Adjutant," she ex- 
claimed, as she laid down the apple and 
knife, after a vain effort, to wipe the boil' 
ing sweat from her perplexed face, "dat's 



de hardest wuk I ebber tried t' do. I'd 
a heap radder plow corn dan make apple- 
dumplins." 

■ i^oiiiouud the clumsiness of these Geor- 
gia held hands," said the Adjutant, cross- 
ly. "You'd think every one of their fin- 
gers were toes, and big toes at that. Give 
me that knife, Aunty, and let me show 
yon how." 

But he succeeded no better than the 
lady of the kitchen. The dough would 
stick neither to the knife nor to the wet 
skin of the apples. 

"The trouble is, you havn't got this 
dough thick enough," said the Adjutant, 
as ho also began to sweat over the work, 
and was also accumulating the paste on 
his hands, face, and uniform. "Get some 
more flour. Aunty." 

They stirred in more, until it became 
like mortar. With his efforts at this, and 
at coating the a poles, and with wiping 
his face of the sweat which boiled out 
as profusely as on Aunt Minerva Ann, the 
Adjutant became pretty liberally covered 
from head to toot with flour and paste. 
He finally got one apple tolerably covered, 
and holding by the stem, surveyed it, 
while he soliloquized: 

"Don't look as workmanlike as those 
mother used to make, but looks will make 
no difference with the taste." 

''Hello, Adjutant," said the Surgeon, 
who happened to be passing. "What ar« 
you trying to do? Whiten yourself up to 
play off ghost on somebody this eveo- 
ing?" 

"I'm trying to show the cook here how 
to make apple-dumplings," answered the 
Adjutant, very briefly. 

"Apple-dumplings'?" echoed the Sur- 
geon. "I don't know anything about them 
except that the apples ought to be peeled 
and quartered, which you don't seem to 
have done." 

"I declare, that's so," gasped the Ad- 
jutant, as the Surgeon passed oa. "I 
quite forgot it, but I never saw a whole 
apple in a dumpling. I remember that 
mother used to peel and quarter her's." 

Aunt Minerva Ann had never peeled 
an apple, but she quickly learned how, un- 
der the Adjutant's instruction. He had 
learned that much in his frequent forced 
labor in his mother's kitchen. 

Then came the additional perplexity of 
keeping the segments together, vshila 
plastering the paste aromid them. The 
Adjutant added much to his wheaten coat- 
ing in his efforts. The flour on his face 
mingled with the sweat into a thin paste. 
His hands were thickly clogged. 

"I declare, I never did see such a sticky 
stuff as this Georgia fiour," he grumbled. 
"Sticks to everything but the apples. 
Mother's dough didn't used to act that 
way. You could handle it like wax." 

The negroes, male and female, became 
interested in this unusual exhibition of 
Y'ankee cnokeiy, and gathered around, 
watching the proceedings with open eyes, 
and wondering what great results would 



136 



61 KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



conic. This did not improve the Adju- 
tant's temper. 

He heard the bugle sound the dinner 
call as he finally got a round ball of the 
paste formed, with the four quarters of 
the apple somewhere inside of it, and 
scraped it off his hands into the kettle. 

"The blasted things will boil all right," 
he muttered, "if they won't do anythiiag 
else. They can't help boiling, and that 
is about all there is to dumplings. It 
won't matter if they do look a little ragged 
when they come out. The milk will cover 
that up." 

He toilsomely elaborated another swad 
of the paste and apple-quarters, but be- 
fore he dropped it into the kettle looked 
there for the other. The water had dis- 
solved the paste into a thin gruel, and the 
four quarters of the apple were lying at 
the bottom of the kettle. 

"Hello, Adjutant," said Col. McGilli- 
cuddy, coming up with the General. "How 
are you gettmg along with those apple- 
dumplings'?" 

That the General should see him in 
this humiliating predicament, wrecked the 
last dike against the Adjutant's boiling 
temper. He stood in the greatest awe of 
the General — a thorough, punctilious sol- 
dier, a stickler for etiquet and routine, for 
trim uniforms, and deportment becoming 
an officer and a gentleman. To be seen 
by him now, in this plight, consorting with 
negro cooks, was ruinous to the young 
man's self-esteem. 

"Damn the apple-dumplings," exploded 
the Adjutant, giving the kettle a kick 
which sent it over, and flinging away the 
knife and a wad of the paste. "Colonel, 
if you want apple-dumplings, you'll have 
to get some one else to make them. The 
IJnitcd States Government did not com- 
mission me as a pastry-cook." 

"Well, it did me," said the General, 
with a genial laugh illuminating his strong 
bronzed face. To everybody's surprise he 
began taking off his coat and rolling up 
his sleeves. "It commissioned me to know 
and be able to do everything necessary for 
health and comfort in the field. I'm not 
going to miss so good an opportunity to 
get some nice apple-dumplings, for which 
my mouth's been watering, ever since the 
Colonel mentioned them. Come back. Ad- 
jutant, a sulky cook spoils the meat. Come 
back, and get a very important lesson in 
the great trade of soldiering. Come back 
and get something to make you appreciate 
better your mother's accomplishments." 

Throwing the paste out of the bread- 
bowl, the General gave Aunt Minerva Ann 
an object lesson in the proper preparation 
of dough, sending to the hospital for some 
seidlitz powders, to use in lieu of baking- 
powder. He kneaded the dough thorough- 
ly, and then taking a little wad, placed the 
four segments of the apple on it, and 
easily worked the dough up into a smooth 
ball around it. 

"Law, bress me, how easy hit is, when 



you knows how," exclaimed Aunt Minerva 
Ann, deftly imitating her teacher. 

"My boy," said the General kindly, to 
the Adjutant, as they started back to the 
tent to wash up, while the dumplings 
were boiling. "I'm glad to have had the 
opportunity to give you that lesson. You 
are a bright, promising soldier, and I want 
to see you succeed. There's nothing that 
a real soldier oughtn't to know, and es- 
pecially about the properties and man- 
agement of wheat flour. On that frequent- 
ly depends the health and lives of his men. 
If I had my way I'd make every West 
Point Cadet serve an apprenticeship in a 
bakery. After I'd been on the frontier 
awhile I saw the need of going to work 
and learning the trade thoroughly. If 
I'd done it before I would possibly have 
saved some of my men's lives. I cer- 
tainly would have added much to their 
comfort and my own. After we have 
washed up I'll show you how to make a 
boss dip for the dumplings. Old Maj. 
Jenkins taught it to me. He was the 
toughest old martinet in the army, and 
took the best care of his men. He taught 
me about all I knew of soldiering." 

Retaining his horses. Si started out 
early the next morning to prosecute his 
original intention of hunting for prisoners 
escaping from Milieu, and helping them 
through our lines. He started for Wil- 
liamson's Swamp, a noted place in that 
region. It was formed by a tributary of 
the Ogeechee River, and its intricate re- 
cesses, Bob Grimshaw informed him, were 
famous hiding places for "!iers-out" from 
conscription, and runaway negroes. It 
was altogether likely that many "escapes" 
had taken refuge in there. 

Si rode along till near noon, investi- 
gating every place in which it seemed 
possible that an escaping prisoner might 
be hidden. To the people in the houses 
they passed — women, old men, and some' 
so badly crippled that even the rebel con- 
scripters would not take them — they rep- 
resented themselves as part of Wheeler's 
cavalry, looking for deserters and escap- 
ing Yankees. As usual, in these inter- 
views. Si let Shorty do all the talking. 
His partner could speak Southern dialect 
perfectly, and lie with an ease and plaus- 
ibility that Si never emulated. 

From these they usually learned that all 
of Joe Wheeler's cavalry in the neighbor- 
hood were being withdrawn and hasten pd 
across our front to Waynesboro, to resist 
the advance on Augusta. They occa- 
sionally saw, in the distance, squads mov- 
ing northeasterly. 

"Kilpatrick'll 'tend to 'em," said Si, 
with a wave of his hand in that direction. 
"Let 'em go." 

"I intended to," answered Shorty, com- 
placently. 

"But how about these?" Si hurriedly 
inquired, as he happened to glance back- 
ward, aad see about a kaUtaliou of cavalrj; 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA 




I'M TRYING TO SHOW THE COOK HERE HOW TO MAKE APPLE-DUMP- 
LINGS," ANSWERED THE ADJUTANT VERY BRIEFLY. 



coming over a high hill a couple "of miles 
in the rear. 

'•I guess we'd better be going," remark- 
ed Shorty. "Let's strike for that big road 
down iii'front, which apparently leads to 
Louisville. We'll get there before they 
see us, and probably find some by-path 
off." 

But as they reached the road and looked 
to the left they sa-v*- another battalion 
rising over the hill beyond, with their 
faces set toward the northeast. 



"That's probably the rear of the col- 
umn," Si hastily assumed. "We'll tura 
to the right and go southwest." 

He did so, but as he .ascended tie nest 
hill, he was dismayed to see appfoaohing 
a brigade of cavalry. 

"Great Scott, Shorty," he cxciaimed, 
drawing back to be out of sight, aad glanc- 
ing apprehensively toward the road lead- 
ing in from the west. "We'T>e got in be- 
tween the advance and the main ct)himn, 
with that other crowd ou our flank." 



13? 



BI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



"Had we better leave the horses, and 
break for the woods?" suggested Bill 
Grimshaw, who had the strongest reasons 
for not falling into the rebels' hands. He 
and Tom Brainard were always willmg 
to take any risk but that of being cap- 
tured. 

"Say, Sargint," suggested Uncle Eph- 
raim, 'who was studying the roadside 
brush, ••somebody's done gone froo right 
dar." 

!Si looked, but could see no entrance into 
the impenetrable hedge of briers and 
brush. But he had confidence in Uncle 
Ephriam's bush-knowledge. "Go ahead, 
Uncle," he said, briefly. 

Uncle Ephraim made his way through 
the brush with much less difficulty than 
expected, and the other horses foljowed. 
Before the head of either column ap- 
peared they were all behind the wall of 
bushes, which closed up again and showed 
no sign of their passage to eyes less sharp- 
ly trained than Uncle Ephraim's. 

'•Somebody's done hid hyah afore. 
Dar's a hidin' place 'round hyan, some- 
whar," Uncle Ephraim continued, as they 
dismounted and led their horses along 
through the thick-growing cedars along a- 
shelf above the creek. •"Bote niggers an' 
white men 've bin hidin' hyah." 

•'How do you know, Uncle?" inquired 
Si. 

•'I done seed some nigger-wool on a 
brier, whar we come in, an' den I seed a 
piece ob paper back dar. De hidin' place 
bin useil a good while ago, an' den quite 
lately," remarked Uncle Ephraim, and Si, 
following his gaze, saw a whittled stick 
that hud rotted, and a bit of rag, that 
had not yet become weather-beaten. 

•■\A'har iu de world dat hidin' place?" 
continued Uncle Ephraim, looking around 
anxiously, for thoy ceu't* hear the brig- 
ade on the road halting, tntiuifestly with 
the intention of waiting for some oiher 
portion of the command to come up. 
'•Whar in de Kingdom he? On top de hill? 
No; dat bare, an' kin be seed f'om de 
udder hills. Whar he? O' dar he." 

His eyes had at last caught sight of 
enough broken branches and disturbed 
foliage to indicate a direction, and he fol- 
lowed it, leading his horse. 

It led him down toward the creek, and 
he carefully avoided shaking the bushes 
and attracting the attention of the men 
on the road. His raised finger made Si 
and the rest equally circumspect. Turning 
around a thick clump of laurel, he came 
suddenly under a high cliff, beneath which 
all the horses could stand, and drew his 
horse there followed by the others. 

On the opposite side of the creek jagged, 
precipitous rocks rose quite high, and on 
the scanty soil on and among them grew 
cedars and briers. 

"This is good enough," said Si. looking 
at the clirr. "I don't think thnt anybody 
is liable to climb up on those rocks over 
there to look in and discover ns. But it 
seems to me I smell a fire, and there's 



been some cooking near here. Hello, 
v.hat's this?" 

Ho had kicked against something, vrhich 
he picked up and examined. It was a 
bootleg, littod with a wooden bottom to 
make a Avater-bucket. 

••There's a prisoner of war around here," 
he said. ••\\ heie can he be?" 

The noise of the talking, and the sound 
of comrades on the road increased. In- 
quisitive little Pete climbed back to where 
he could get a peep at the road, and hear 
something of what was being said. 

••Appears to be a row over the men de- 
serting," he reported to Si. "Geuerars 
skinning the Colonels for not holding on 
to their men better, and the Colonel's a- 
blaming it on the Captains." 

•'Attention!" called the ringing voice of 
the Colonel, and the tumult stilled. '•The 
Orderly-Sergeants will call the rolls." 

Then ensued the well-known sounds, as 
the Orderly-Sergeant rattled off the names 
on the rosters, and those present respond- 
ed. Every campany had to repoi't some 
'•absent without leave." 

••We haven't as many as we started 
with," said a man who appeared to be the 
Adjutant. "I believe some's left since we 
stopped here." 

•"That's so," said a Captain. "Sergeant, 
Where's Jim Hobcaw, and Wils. Dunner'r"' 

••Dunno," answered the Orderly. '•They 
wuz hyah a leetle while ago. Probably 
sneakin' oft inter the bushes, as usual. 
They'uns 's always tryin' t' git away. 
We'iins've done brung 'em back 20 times. 
Thar's their bosses." 

•'Damn them," roared the angry Colonel, 
"I'll shoot them when I can lay my hands 
on them, as a warning to others. Captain, 
send out a Sergeant and squad to look 
through the brush for them. Shoot them 
down if they attempt t'j run, and shoot 
any other man you may find out there 
away from his command." 

••Looks as if we've got to git out of 
here, unless we want to fight the whole 
brigade," said Si, looking anxiously for 
some way of egress from the cave. There 
seemed none. A high wall of solid rock 
lay in their way. 

Meanwhile Pete had seen two men, car- 
rying their carbines, slipping furtively 
through the cedars toward him. Ho called 
in a low tone to Sandy to come up beside 
him. and with their guns they covered 
the approaching man. 

•'Halt!" they commanded, when the 
men were within a few yards. •'Throw 
down those guns. Where are you go- 
ing?" 

A look of dead sickliness had come into 
the faces of the men at the startling sum- 
mons. Then they brightened up as they 
saw the blue clothes. 

•'Is you'uns Yankees?" gasped one of 
them. 

•'Yes, we're Y'ankees," answered Pete. 
"Come on up here, and don't make no 
noise." 

"That's all right," said the Qther man, 



ON THE MA^ECH TO THE SEA. 



139 



scanning with salisfartion tho unmistalv- 
able Union clotliin;;- nnd cquipmonts of tho 
boys from hcail t^ feet — caps, ovcreoats, 
pantaloons, sliocs, licit -plalrs, caitridsc- 
boxes and liavcrsacks. "l wuz afcarcil 
fer a minnit you'nns AVtiz some of our fel- 
lers, with Yanlico clothes on. Wo'uns is 
tryin' f sit away from thoy'uns. We'uus 
'if go with you'un.s all right." 

. "Well, come light down here," echoed 
Pete, picking up their carbines and mo- 
lioning them to follow Sandy. 

"Why, this is the cave we'uns wuz mak- 
in' fer," said one of them, as they came 
under the cliff. "I found it years ago, 
when I was huntin' 'sang. I intended t' 
lay out in hit, but the conscripters done 
ketched me afore I could git t' hit. I 
never tole nobody about hit but Wils., my 
pardner hyah, an' we'uns concluded t' 
break fer hit whenever we'uns come a- 
nigh hit. Yo' see, Wils., jes' as I done 
tole yo', this hyah's thebiggist cave in all 
Washington County, an' " 

"Cave?" echoed Si, looking around, "I 
hadn't noticed any cave. Why, there does 
seem to be one back there." 

"I should say thar wuz," said Jim Hob- 
caw. "Lots o' big caves 'round hyah, 
but this's an ole he-one. Daddy of 'em 
all. Runs clean back thar t' Atlanty or 
Macon, or hell, or some other 'bominable 
place. I wuz afeaved t' go in very fur, fer 
fear o' sperits. Why, thar's bones o' men 
in thar 50 feet high, an' o' the critters 
they useter ride, an' all sorts o' things. 
'No'ugh t' sheer any man. Why. I wouldn't 
go in thar alone fer a bushel o' silver dol- 
lars." 

Si was so used to the gross superstitions 
and exaggerations of the poor whites of 



the South that he paid little attention to 
this part of the man's story. He walked 
l>ack a few steps, and as his eyes be- 
cam(> used to the darkness, he saw that 
tliiTo was a cave of immense extent, and 
he saw some large bones. Then he was 
recalled by a message sent down from 
Pete. 

"They're sending out a Sergeant and 
four or five men to look for these men." 

"Well, since we can't get away from 
here, we'd better stay," said Si. "Shorty, 
you'd better take four or five of the boys 
and look out for them. If you see they're 
likely to find this place, bring 'era in. 
That'll be safest. I'll take a look around 
at this cave and see what chances it may 
offer." 

There was far more truth than usual 
in James Hobcaw's statement. Si was in 
one of the largest of the great fossil caves 
for which Washington County. Ga., is 
noted. Icicle-like stalactites hung from 
the high roof, and white pillars of stalag- 
mites rose from the bottom. Great bones 
of long-extinct animals lay here and there. 
Entering a still darker portion. Si's foot 
struck against something soft but solid. 
He lighted a match to see what it was. 
To his horror he discovered it to be the 
dead body of an escaped prisoner. 

"Great God, Si Klegg, where did you 
come from?" 

The voice which came from a little far- 
ther in the darkness, was that of Steve 
Bigler, one of Shad Graham's assistants 
on the tunnel at Andersonville, and who 
had been wounded in the attempt to es- 
cape. 

Si was so startled that he dropped the 
match, but immediately lighted anotheu- 



140 

U 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



CHAPTER XXV. 



A-i-rrZLY SKIEMI5H WITH THE JEFF DAVIS DRAGOONS— THE BOYS SHUT 
UP IN THE CAVE-THE REBELS TRY TO ROAST THEM OUT. 



"Grent Scott!" oiaciilntrri Si. .ns by tli*^ 
liSrlit of his second match he surveyed 
Si.tL'iiheii Ligler's emaciated form and tat- 
tered rags. "Where did you come from, 
Steve, and hov%- d.d you get here'.'" 

"Give nic something to eat. Si, and 
someihiiig lor the boys, and then I can 
tiilk. "N^'c're all starving." 
' 'Si felt around in his haversack for 
a. hardtack. "There's one for you," he 
siiid, handing it to him. "How many are 
there of yonV 

:^"God only knows now," mumbled Big- 
iev, as he broke off a piece of the cracker 
with a stone and placed it in his mouth. 
"Can't bite now," he added, apologetically. 
'*You know how it is, Si. Teeth gone 
with the scurvy. But let me take the 
rest of this cracker back to my partner. 
It may save his life. He's worse of£ than 
i am. Ho can't walk at all." 

Si could not v,-ait for him to come back, 
for he heard a commotion at the mouth ot 
the cavern, and hurried forward to see 
what occasioned it. 

- "That thar foxy varmint, Sarjint Glass- 
cock, 's done found our trail, an' headin' 
straight fer the cave," remarked Jim Hob- 
caw, his face sicklied with fear, as Si 
came up. "Damn the mangy hound. He's 
done kotched we'uns afore. We'uns or- 
ter've killed him las' night when he wuz 
asleep, as I wanted yo' t', Wils. The 
Corpril's done went out t' stop him." 
. "He must do it without making any 
noise, to alarm the rest," said Si, with a 
face full of concern. "We can't fight the 
whole brigade." 

•: "Don't yo'uns give up an' let 'em git 
we'uns," pleaded Jim HobcaAv, terror- 
stricken. "They'uns '11 shoot we'uns down 
in our tracks if yo'uns do. We'uns'll die 
right here afore we'uns'll give up." 

"You had certainly better,' remarked 
Si, coolly. "And so had all of us. from 
the looks of those poor prisoners back 
there. But keep quiet. Don't make any 
noise. Mebbe Ave can get out of the scrape 
without a fight." 

As Si Aveut forward he saw that 
Shorty had loft Alf and Gid, Avith Tom 
Brainnrd. Bill Griuishnw, and Uncle Eph- 
raim in reserve, and they crouched aroun(T 
the entrance, clutching their guns, anil 
with every nerve taut. Cautiously look- 
ing beyond, he saw his partner, with 
Harry, Monty, Sandy and Pete, lying in 



'^•"'it fo;- ^hr- advancing rebel Sergeant and 
his squad, like so many panthers crouch- 
ing for a spring upon animals going down 
to a spring to drink. They were so ab- 
solutely motionless that it took Si a min- 
ute to see Avhere they all were. 

Shorty was standing erect behind a tall, 
thick cedar, past Avhich the Sergeant must 
come. Monty, Sandy, and Pete were ly- 
ing in the brush behind a fallen tree 
trunk, to get the three men who were 
foliOAving airectiy alter me Sergeant, 
Avhile Harry had craAvled to the left, to 
looK out lor a man Avho Avas making ex- 
plorations to the side. 

"They'll get 'em all right, except that 
feller Harry's after," flashed through Si's 
mind. "'He's a lively lot and liable to 
make trouble. I'll go to Harry's help." 

He crouched and craAvled out toward 
Harry, and Avas near him, Avheu the Ser- 
geant, his eyes fixed on the signs of the 
trail ahead, attempted to pass the cedai" 
behind AA'hioh Shorty Avas concealed. 
Shorty's long right aim came out like a 
flash, encircled the Sergeant's neck, and 
forced his head back so that he could not 
open his mouth. A professional garroter 
could not have done it more artistically. 

As they saAv the Sergeant's form writhe 
in Shorty's hug, Sandy and Pete called 
out in a sharp Avhisper: 

"Halt, there I Drop those guns!" 

The three startled rebels looked to the 
right, each to see a musket-muzzle Mithiu 
a short yard of him. The carbines fell 
to the ground. 

"Do you surrender, you rebel whelp?" 
demanded Shoity, relaxing his arm so as 
to give the man a chance to speak. "Or 
shall I Avring your neck like a chicken's"?" 

" 'Nough! 'Noughl" gasped the Ser- 
geant, as soon as he could get his tongue 
back into his mouth. "Say, Y'ank, that 
warn't a fa'r holt." 

"Haint no time to debate P. R. Rules 
with you now. Get!" aasAvered Shorty, 
taking him by the back of the neck and 
shoving him along to Avhere Tom Brain- 
ard and Bill Grimshaw could reach him. 
"Don't chirp above your breath, or of£ 
goes your head. Bring the others along, 
boys. Shoot 'em, if they holler.' 

But the man Avhom Plarry Avas laying 
for — a slender youth, v,-hose alertness had 
from the first disturbed Si — was not to be 
managed so easily. While Sj and H^iny 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



141 



were waiting for him to come out into 
the little opening, a few steps nearer, his 
quick ears caught the rustle of Shorty's 
struggle with the Sergeant, and he turned 
his eyes in that direction. They saw the 
danger, and in low, stern tones, coui- 
manded: 

;-'Halt, there! Thr-ow. down that gun! 
Stfrrender!" 

There was^ however, none of the slow 

stupidity of his companions about him. 

With the quickness of a flash he leaped 

-.- backward to put a hickory tree between 

■ •. himself and their threatening muzzles. 

, Si and Harry sprang toward him like 

panthers, but he was as quick as they, 

and firing a hasty shot, which passed near 

Harry, from his carbine, he broke back 

through the cedars, yelling at the top of 

bis voice: 

"Yankees! Yankees! Yankees!" 
Leaving Monty to take charge of their 
prisoners, Sandy and Pete ran across to 
intercept him. Once he tripped and fell, 
and they were nearly on top of him, but 
he sprang up again, and leaving his hat 
and carbine behind, bolted on down the 
hill, yelling: 

"Y'ankees! Yankees! Yankees!" 
Si and the boys halted on the brow of 
the hill an instant to peer through the 
bushes, and see what the effect of his 
alarm would be. 

"Tliar's a hull pastel o' Yankees up 
thar," he panted to the crowd which gath- 
ered around him. 

; "Nonsense, you fool," said the Colonel, 
irritably. "There's no Yankees within 10 
miles of here. Like the rest of these su- 
perstitious fools, you have been scared 
out of your wits by harnts." 

"I tell yo', Gunnel, hit's true. The 
"vvoods is full o' l^ankees. They'uns 've 
done got Sarjint Glasscocli, an'Quigley, 
an' Buckbee, an' Clark. I done seed 'em 
take 'em. Thar's 'bout a thousand of 'em 
up thar." 

"Puterbaush's not easily rattled. Cun- 
nel," said the Captain, "and I thought I 
saw some signs of l''ankees myself." 

"We have no time for foolishness," said 
the Colonel, a little convinced. 'We ought 
to be starting now. But, Captain, deploy 
your company, and scour those woods 
quickly. Listen for the recall, and come 
back promptly when it sounds. 
' "While they're deploying that skirmish 
line and coming through we might drop 
the bosses and skip back through tlie 
woods on foot and get away," suggested 
Shorty, as he and Si held a hurried coun- 
cil. "We can pick up more bosses." 

"We might, but we won't," said Si, af- 
ter an instant's reflection. 'I'm not go- 
ing off to leave Steve Bigler and the rest. 
It'll kill them to be recaptured. I'll fight 
the whole rebel army first." 
"Same hero," echoed Shorty. 
"We can stand off those hounds a long 
time before they get to the cave," contin- 



ued Si, "and in there we can hold 'ent 
off till we starve. Before that some of 
our men will come along somewhere and 
give them something else to think about. 
The first thing's to gain some time. Let's 
all run forward to that brow of the hill, 
and pour a dose into those fellers in the 
road. You look out for that Captain, and 
I'll attend to the Colonel. That'll give 
'em something to study over while we're 
rhaking other arrangements." 

Tom Brainard and Bill Grimshaw weral 
called out, leaving Alf and Gid to look 
after the prisoners, and Uncle Ephraioi 
came also. Ah they ran along Pete, Sandy, 
Harry, Monty, and Shorty snatched uR 
the carbines which the rebels had dropped. 
"Pick your men now, boys, and be sura 
to fetch 'em," said Si, as they came to the 
brov.- of the hill. "I'll take the Colonel, 
and Shorty the Captain. Fire after me." 
The Captain was using the flat of his 
saber to settle a dispute as to who should 
be horse-holders, and the Colonel was im- 
proving the time by rating the Quarter- 
master as to the deficiencies in his depart- 
ment. 

"Hate to shoot when they aint expect- 
ing it," said Shorty, and then yelled: 

"Good morning. Johnnies! Hooray foe 
Abe Lincoln!" 

The Colonel looked up and reached foP 
his saber-hilt. Si's bullet wont througti 
his body, and he ffcil from his horse. The 
Captain went down with a bullet through 
his shoulder. The others fired their mus- 
kets, and then the rebel carbines. The 
latter was as much to increase the idea 
of their number as to hit anyone. Uncle 
Ephraim saw a tall rebel fall before hia 
shot, and grinned over the satisfaction he 
would have in describing it to Aunt Mi- 
nerva Ann. 

"Shorty, you stay with the boys, and 
work your way back," said Si, "while I 
go to the cave and get things in shape* 
Come along with me. Uncle Ephraim." 

Shorty and the rest reloaded, and wait- 
ed for the next move of the rebels. 
Against his will, Uncle Ephraim followed 
Si back to the cave. 

Si's first thought was to get rid of 
the incumbrance of the horses. They 
filled the space under the cliff before the 
mouth of the cave, and would be sadly in 
the way in a fight. A huge rock, which 
had fallen from the hill into the creek, 
shut off the farther side of the cliff, but 
Si noticed that there was a space between 
it and the straight wall of the hill, closed 
by a young hemlock. Si caught hold of 
the hemlock, which was shallowly rooted 
in the soil on the rock, and pulled it out 
of the way. Then he found a space wide 
enough for a horse to pass into a cove, 
about the size of a town-lot, walled around 
by still higher rocks. He drove Abednego 
up through the opening, and the horses 
follovv-ed docilely. 

He found the Sergeant and the thre^ 



I4» 



ED[ EXEGG AND SHOBTT. 



other rebels seated on rocks contentedly 
muncluiig crackers, which Gid and Alf 
tad given them- 

"Start a fire, Uncle Ephraim," he com- 
manded, "and make some coffee for those 
poor men who have escaped. As soon as 
you have got the fire well started go back 
here and hunt all around for them, and do 
,what you can to make them comfortable." 

Si, calling Jim Hobcaw and Wils Bun- 
nell to his assistance, started to arranging 
the loose stones for a breastwork, behind 
which the mouth of the cave could be 
defended. 

"What, go back dar, in de da'k, 'mong 
dem sperets an's ghostses!" exclaimed 
Uncle Ephraim in terror. "Nebber! Neb- 
ber in dis libbin' worl'! I'm jes' as nigh 
dem now as I'm a-gwine, I done tell yo' 
fer a fack. Don't like t' be dis close. 
Heap radder be outside whar I kin see 
de debbils in de bright sunshine, an' 
Bhoot right at dem like as if dey wuz 
painters." 

"It's no use making him go," thought 
gi, "He wouldn't find some of them, and 
he'd be in such a tremble all the time that 
he couldn't do anything for them if he 
did find them." He looked at the rebel 
Sergeant and his companions, and said: 

"Alf, you can leave Gid to guard those 
men. Light this piece of fat pine, and go 
back and take a good look for those boys." 

Uncle Ephraim had succeded in getting 
the water to boiling in a quart cup, and 
now put in some coffee. The fragrance 
at once filled the cave. 

"Gracious, but that smells good," said 
the voice of Steve Bigler, as he emerged 
once more from the darkness. "It makes 
me feel alive again. Are you going to 
give me some?" 

"Yes, Steve," answered Si. "We were 
making it for you. You shall have a swig 
of it, just as soon as it cools a little. Alt, 
pour out a iittie in this cup for Steve, 
and take tio ct:p Avith you, and give each 
one you find some. Be careful about let- 
ting thcM drink too much at first. How 
many are there of you, Steve V" 

"Ten of us jumped the train when they 
were taking us from Millen, in the night," 
answered Bigler, speaking much more 
freely and strongly under the grateful 
stimulus of the draft of coffee. "Two 
broke down on the way, and had to be 
left behind in the swamp. I expect they 
died. Seven of us were brought here by 
a negro. He left some grub with us. and 
promised to bring us sume more, but he 
hasn't been back since. I'm afraid he's 
been caught or killed. Seems to me that 
was a week ago, but I can't tell much 
about the days. I've been so hungry 1 
couldn't think straight. The country's 
been so full of rebel cavalry that we ve 
kept far back in the cave, to run no risk 
of being seen. Poor .Jimmy Bnbbington's 
been carrying water for us, but I haven't 
seen him for some time. I'm awfully afraid 



he's fallen into the creek. I was looking 
for him when I ran against you." 

Si sorrowfully recalled the boot-leg, 
water bucket, and the dead body he had 
found upon entering the cave. Firing be- 
gan over by the road. He picked up his 
gun, and looked fixedly at Serg't Glass- 
cock and his rebel companions. 

'"Better shoot 'em ter-wunst an' git rid 
o' they'uns," suggested Jim Hobcaw, pick- 
ing up his carbine to assist in the execu- 
tion. Wils Dunnell did the same. "They- 
'uns desarve hit, 'specially, pizen ole Reub 
Glasscock." 

"They'uns'll make trouble if we'uns 
don't," added Wils Dunnell. 

"I'm just studying what to do with 
you," said Si, addressing himself to 
Serg't Glasscock. "We're going to have 
a lively fight to hold this cave, and" 

"Better surrender t' me, ter-wunst, an' 
save the font," saucily broke in Glass- 
cock. "Y'o'uns can't make nothin' by hjt. 
Yo'uns got t' give in in the eend. We'uns 
've got a hull brigade out thar, an' hit'll' 
be dod-blasted foolishness fer t' tout, 
an' " 

"You're not speaking to the subject," 
interrupted Si. "I wasn't asking your ad- 
vice about fighting. I've settled that. It's 
what to do with you. I can't parole you. 
The wisest thing would be to shoot you, 

"O, for God's sake, don't shoot us," 
begged Glasscock, ^suddenly changing his 
attitude from boastfulness to supplication. 
"We'uns air prisoners of war, and hit aiut 
right" 

"Hear the old hypocrite talk," shouted. 
Jim Hobcaw. "We'uns've done seed hini 
shoot Y'ankee prisoners. Let me shoot 
him, anyhow. We kin manage the oth- 
ers." 

"No! no! for God's sake, don't shoot us!" 
begged Glasscock. "We'uns won't do 
nctiiin'. We sw'ar we'uns won't." 

"I tell you what I think I'll do," said 
Si. "I'll run you into the back part of 
the cave, and make you stay there until 
the fight is over. Git up, now, and mosey 
back there, clear out of sight." 

"O, no; for God's sake, don't make 
we'uns go back thar 'mong the sperits," 
pleaded Glasscock. "We'uns ruther be 
shot ter-wunst. Them ghosts back thar 
drag us right down t' hell." 

"Git up an' git, as y're told, yo' ole par- 
secutin' hellion," said Jim Hcbcaw, en- 
joying his late superior's terror, and rais- 
ing his carbine as if to strike him. "Git 
back thar, as y'le told." 

The firing seemed nearer, as if Shorty 
and the rest were falling back, and Si 
was impatient to be out with thom. 

"Hold up your hands and swear that 
you will conduct yourselves as prisonera 
and take no part in the fight," he com- 
manded. All their hands Avent up, and 
they answered with one accord; 

"We'uns aw'ar hit." 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



143 




♦*D0 YOU SURRENDER, OR SHALL I WRING YOUR NECK LIKE A CHICKEN'S?" 



"Steve, do you feel strong enough to 
handle a gun?" 

"Yes," answered Steve. 

"Well, take this carbine, and sit down 
on that rock, and watch them. If they 
make a move toward escaping, or mixing 
in, shoot the first one that does it. Come 
on, boys. Let's go outside." 

Alf Russell was still on his mission of 
mercy, but Gid and Uncle Ephraim went 
out with Si, leaving Jim Hobcaw and' 
WMls Dunnell standing at the mouth of 
the cave, anxiously watching the progress 
of events. 

W^th flaming torch of fat pine in hand, 
Alf Russell had succeeded in finding all 
five of Steve Bigler's comrades who were 



yet living. He did not come to one of 
them an hour too soon. They had been 
three days in the cave without food, 
which, added to their utter weakness and 
exhaustion when they arrived, had brought 
each one of them to the point of death. 
The uoise in the front of the cave had 
aroused them from their deathly lethar- 
gy. They were dimly trying to compre- 
hend where they were, and what was hap- 
pening. With much forethought, Alf 
crumbled a cracker into his cup of cof- 
fee, and gave each of them a few spoon- 
fuls of the liquid. The effect was imme- 
diate, and some began to speak a few 
v.'onls. 

"Where am I?" dreamily inquired R0S8 



144 



SI KLBGG AND SHORTY. 



Blakeir, turnins his dim eyes from Alfs 
lurid torch to the ghostlike forms of the 
stalagmites and the glistening white bones 
covering the ground. "Is this Rusurrec- 
tion morning? Is this tlie other world?" 

Alf remembered him three months be- 
fore as the cheeriest and most undiscour- 
ageable of their detachment at Anderson- 
ville, always with a joke on his lips, or a 
word of hope and helpfulness for his de- 
spairing companions. 

Alf filled the bootleg-bucket with water 
and washed all their faces and hands, 
which made them much brighter. He 
made another cup of coffee, crumbled an- 
other hardtack in it, and again went 
their rounds, giving each a few spoonfuls 
at a time. 

"I guess I have given them all the food 
and stimulation that is safe at this time," 
said he to himself. "I'll go out now where 
the boys are. They may need me." 

They did. 

Out of the confusion in the rebel regi- 
ment aroused by the unexpected volley 
and the fall of the Colonel and Captain 
arose a commanding voice, shrill and pen- 
etrating as a steam-whistle: 

"Steady, men! Steady! Count off for 
fighting on foot! COUNT OFF!" 

Shorty stepped forward and parted the 
bushes to get a view of the owner of the 
voice. He was a small, slight man, with 
a black beard, who had mounted his 
horee, and was gesticulating with hia 
sword, as he called' the men into line. 

"Apparently the Major or Lieutenant- 
Colonel," said Shorty to those next him. 
*'I"11 get him presently. Keep cool, boys, 
and only shoot when you get a good aim 
on something. Fire .low. Aim at their 
belts. Harry, you and Sandy scatter out 
more to the right, so as to give them an 
idea of more of us. Monty, you run over 
to that rock on the left, and get behind 
it. Brainard, you and Grimshaw stay 
near me. All of you take a look at me 
occasionally, and fall back as I do." 

Some of the more excitable rebels were 
firing wildly into the woods, where they 
thought they saw something, or merely to 
shoot and make a noise, and show their 
interest in the affair. These were stopped 
a.nd brought into line, and the counting 
olf for horseholders proceeded. Apparent- 
ly, the men had little likitig for the ad- 
vance into the woods, for as the count 
came to each fourth man, who had to 
hold horses, he would shout "Bully," in-' 
stead of "Four," and brought out a 
chuckle of congratulation fi-om the other 
lucky horseholders. 

"Stop that, you cowardly scoundrels," 
yelled the shrill-voiced little Major. 
"That's no way for the Jeff Davis Dra- 
goons to act. Captains, make No. I's 
hold horses, and send No. 4's forward." 

A simultaneous groan rose from the 
disappointed men. 



The Major dressed the line a little in 
the road, and then commanded: 

"Attention, ' battalion. Forward — • 
march!" 

Th(> line started slowly into the woods, 
and the Major turned to follow it, wheo 
an Aid dashed up. 

"Major, are you in command?" he in- 
quired. "The General's compliments, and 
what the devil's the matter back here?" 

"We have been fired upon by a strong 
force of Yankees up there in the woods," 
answered the Major, halting the line. 
"The Colonel and Capt. Dost, and soma 
men have been wounded, and I'm just 
moving forward to drive the Yankees 
out." 

"Pooh! Pooh!" said the Aid, scorn- 
fully. "There's no Y'ankee force withia 
15 miles. That's only a squad of those 
thieving bummers. "We've no time to fool 
with them. We must go on to Waynes- 
borough, to save Augusta. Drop them and 
join the column." 

"I tell you it's no squad of bummers, 
sir. It's a regular Yankee command, 
probably a company — may be a battal- 
ion, sir — and I'm going to whip them." 

"O, stuff and nonsense," said the Aid, 
impatiently. "I tell you there's no force 
of Yankees around here that a company 
can't handle. This is no time to be shell- 
ing peanuts. We're needed to save Au- 
gusta — every man that we can get. Send 
a Sergeant out to reconnoiter and come 
on. There goes the headquarters bugle 
now." 

"I did send a Sergeant out, sir," said , 
the Major, whose fighting blood was up. 
"They captured him. I'm going to pun- 
ish them for shooting the Colonel. Give 
my compliments to tJie General, sir, and 
say that I will finish up this little job in 
a hurry, and overtake the column before 
night, sir." 

"I shall report to the General, sir," said 
the Aid, galloping away to overtake the 
column. 

"Now, men." said the Major, turning 
to his line, "Let us go up there with a 
whereas, .and root those fellows out in a 
hurry. They aiiit worth but a few min- 
utes, and that's all we've got to give 
them. Don't, waste- any time taking pris- 
oners. Sh'odt them down as fast as you 
come to them. Forward — march!" 
. "Let them come through that first fringe 
of brush before you shoot, boys," com- 
manded Shorty. "They're too far off 
yet." . 

The Major came on resolutely, riding 
through the brush at the exact plare 
where Uncle Ephraim had led the boys 
through. -"He's got real sand, to ride 
while the others is on foot," remarked 
Shorty, drawing a bead on the Major. 
"But my business obliges me to drop 
him." • ■ . • ■ - 

He fired, but to his amazement sa^ 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



145 



. through the smoke the Major sitting erect 
on his horse, urging the line forward. 

The other boys fired, and the rebel line 
stopped and began a return fire. 

'•Forward, there! Go ahead!" shouted 
the Major. "Dou't stop! Push on!" 

Shorty hastily reloaded, and fired again 
at the Major, with the same ill-success. 

"Blast it all, what's the matter with 
me?" he exclaimed as he ran along the 
line to fire at another place and give the 
impression of greater numbers. 'Tm 
shooting as if I was badly rattled." 

The rebels were now tiring rapidly, and 
yelling as they pushed through the brush. 
Shorty caught a glimpse of the Major 
above the smoke, but just as he drew 
down on him his enemy dropped. Tom 
Brainard had shot his horse. 

The bullets were cutting the twigs 
above the heads of the boys, but they had 
kept so well under cover that none had 
been wounded. But the rebels were press- 
ing on so strongly, under the Major's adju- 
rations, that they had to run back from 
one tree or rock to another, and presently 
were near where the descent began to go 
under the-cliff. 

Si came rushing up, with Gid and Uncle 
Ephraim. He took in the situation with 
a quick glance, and then ran over to a 
rock to the left, where he could get an en- 
filade tire and make a distraction as if a 
new force had appeai'ed on the rebel 
flank. Alf came up in time to catch sight 
of him and run after. 

They reached the rebels' right flank, all 
fired at once, and yelled at the top of 
their voices. For a moment the manuver 
seemed effective. The firing died down, 
and the advance stopped, as the rebels 
looked around to see what this new alarm 
meant. 

But the shrill-voiced little Major was 
not to be bluffed. 

"Go ahead there," he shouted to his 
men. "What are you stopping for? Go 
ahead! Capt. Peters, throw your company 
around, and smash those fellows. For- 
ward, battalion!" 

Si now rushed back to the center to be 
with Shorty, and meet the brunt of the at- 
tack. Shorty had shot twice in the direc- 
tion of the voice of the Major, who was 
now on foot, and out of sight, but appar- 
ently without effect, as the stentorian 
commands continued, and the line pressed 
forward. The rebels had now found the 
flanks of the line, and were pressing it in- 
ward and backward to the cliff. 

"It's no use staying out here any 
longer,' said Si. "We'd better get into 
the cave as soon as possible." 

He motioned to Sandy and Pete to run 
back to the cave, and ran over to tell Alf, 
Gid and Uncle Ephraim to do the same. 
While he was gone. Shorty, who Vv-as re- 
loading, heard the voice of the little Ma- 
jor quite near, and looking under the 



brush saw him but a few rods away. He 
made a sudden dash forward to catch the 
Major, and yank him in bodiiy, but tripped 
on a vine when within a couple yards of 
him, and fell headlong, just in time, how- 
ever, to avoid several shots from the men 
immediately around the Major, whom 
Shoity had not seen. Si came back in 
time to s;:e the m!,-.h:;p of h'.s i artner. and 
before the rebels eor.ld edUect their senses 
dashed forward, witli Tom Brainard at 
his heels. They fired their guns into the 
group of rebels, helped Shoity to his feet, 
and ran back behind the big pine which 
stood at the top of the descent to the 
cliff. There Si, Sho; ty, Brainard and 
Grimshaw vraited till the rest had passed 
on down. Then Si and Shorty v.-aited un- 
til Brainard and Giim-haw went, and 
then followed them under the cliff. 

Shorty's dash had disconcerted the Ma- 
jor for an instant, and this gave the boys 
time to get under cover. 

The Major came on presently, revolver 
in hand, and peered cautiously around the 
pine, to see where his enemy had gone. 
Shorty improved the moment to p::t a 
bullet-hole thi'ough the ^lajor's hat, and 
then fell to cursing himself again for his 
bad aiming. 

There was a long pause, while the INIa- 
jor reconnoitered the situation, and de- 
cided upon his next plan. 

"Say, Yanks," he calit d down presently. 
"Sun-ender. We"ve got you. You can't 
get away." 

"Go to the devil, you little, sawed-ofit 
hop-o'-my-thumb," Si shouted back. "If 
you want us come and take us."' 

"Yanks, if I have to come down there 
after you I won't leave a man alive." 

""U'e know you won't. But you won't 
come down. We won't leave a man of you 
alive, if you try, you jackass-lunged little 
thimble-full of treason," Shorty yelled 
back. 

The Major took another look around 
and saw the inaccessibility of the clift 
from every point except the narrow path 
by the pine. 

"Now, men, surrender, and save any 
more trouble and bloodshed," he began, 
argumentatively. 

"We aint in business to save trouble 
and bloodshed," Si interrupted him. "We 
enlisted for the purpose of making it and 
for just such little runts of traitors as 
you." 

"Yanks, if you'll surrender I'll treat yon 
fair and square, as prisoners of war." 

"Go to blazes, you homeopathic vial of 
cussed secession," yelled Shorty. "We 
know how you treat prisoners of war. 
We've been to Audersonville." 

"Come on with your trouble and blood- 
shed, you fi'-penny-bit edition of .Jeff Da- 
vis, and let's see who'll get sick of it 
first," shouted Si. "We come near lick- 
ing your whole regiment, and we'll do it 



146 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



yet. We're from Injianny, and one In- 
jiannian can lick 10 Georgians any day 
in tlio week. Hooray for Injianny!" 

From the crashing of stones down into 
the creek they could tell that the rebels 
were walking around on top of the cliff, 
but this did Bot disturb them. There was 
no way on the other side to get down. 

The" rebel Major was getting angrier 
evei-y minute. There was a little pause, 
and then he called out: 

"I shail waste no more time in parley- 
ing" 

"Who's asking you to talk, you blaek- 
muzzled little tadpole?" yelled Shorty. 
"You're keeping up the convereation for 
your own pleasure. It's seldom that you 
get a chance to speak to gentlemen. Shut 
up, and play your cai^ds." 

"I'll give you just hve minutes to sur- 
render and come out," said the Major, 
speakii.ft very deliberately. "At the end 
of that time I'll roast you alive in that 
hole, as I would a den of rattlesnakes. 
Serg't Gillen, take five men and run back 
to the wagons for axes." 

The boys gave a startled look at Si at 
this new proposition, but Si calmly reas- 
sured them with: 

"Let him try it. He thinks this is just 
a common cliff, as we did. This cave 
reaches back that way mebbe a mile. He 
caa^ get wood enough down here to roast 
oirt: a little corner of it." 

"You'll roast your own men if you 
roast anybody," shouted Shorty, but this 
apparendy produced no effect. 

'^Don't wait any five mmutes," said Si. 
**We aint-asking na time from yoai, yoa 



blasted little nubbin of villainy. You're a 
cowardly little bull-frog, wath your bazoo 
the biggest part of you. Y'ou're afraid to 
light us man-fashion. Georgia crackers 
never would stand up before Injianniana. 
Hooray for Injianny!" 

"For God's sake, le' me git out," begged 
Serg't Glasscock. "I don't want to be bar- 
becued. Taint fa'r nur Christian t' keej^ 
we'uns hyah." 

"Sit still, you infernal rebel," said Steve 
Bigler, cocking his carbine with an effoiT. 
"You'll stay the play out, alive or dead." 

Brush, limbs, fat pineknots, and por- 
tions of trunks of trees came crashing 
down over the cliff, and then they heard 
the sound of axes. Shorty got on the far 
side, and keeping out of the way of the 
falling stuff", tried in vain to get another 
shot at the Major. Si lighted a pine-knot, 
and began a composed survey of the ap- 
parently interminable recesses of the 
great cavern. 

In a little while the light was shut off 
from the front by the mass of stuff throwu 
over the cliff. 

"One more chance," called the Major. 
"You can see that I can roast .vou alive. 
I'll do it if you don't surrender this min- 
ute. One more minute, and then we'll 
throw fire down into that truck." 

"Go to the seventh cellar of brimstone, 
you ill-begotten little whelp of perdition," 
shouted Shorty, firing at the sound of the 
voice. 

A blazing pine-knot fell into the stuff, 
and the mass of small limbs and twigs 
flamed up fiercely. 



0^ THE MABCH TO THE SEA. 



CHAPTEB XXVL 



^THRILLING EXPERIENCES IN THE CAVE-OLD ACQUAINTANCES APPEAE ON 

THE SCENE. 



All largp caves "breathe." 

This is particularly uoticeable when the 
enti-auce is very much smaller in compaii- 
son with the extent of the cavern. 

It is a phenomenon depending upon the 
changes in temperature. When the out- 
Bide air heats up and becomes rarified, the 
denser, colder air inside flows out, fre- 
quently in a strong, propulsive current, 
and vice versa. 

Following the unusually cold speJl, the 
weather in central Georgia had become 
very warm, and the air in the cave where 
Si and his friends were swept outward to 
help restore the equilibrium. 

V/hen the flames began to leap up, Si 
had called to the rest to come and cari-y 
the prisoners to a large, high, dry cham- 
ber, which Alf Russell had found, and 
where they would be likely to be least 
affected by the smoke. 

But to Si's astonishment no smoke at 
all came back into the cave. It was ail 
carried forward by the strong outward 
breathing of the lungs of the earth. 

"Do you notice that. Shorty?" ex- 
claimed Si jubilantly. "No smoke at all 
coming in. All blowing out. The Lord's 
interfering in our behalf." 

"The Lord's always been mighty good 
to us," answered Shorty reverently, "be- 
cause we've been on His side. But I hope 
He won't interfere when we come up 
with them Jeff. Davis Dragoons again. 
We want to settle vv-ith them all by our- 
selves. Let Him just stand off, and He'll 
Bee the he-est old fight that He ever looked 
on." 

"Come, now, Shorty, don't talk that 
way," remonstrated Si. as he watched the 
roaring, crackling flames. "We want the 
Lord's help to save them fellers particu- 
i larly for us, and run us up against them 
som.ewhere soon, while this is fresh in our 
minds. I'm awfully fraid that Kilpatrick 
'11 get the first whack at them, and leave 
nothing for us. This is worse than Ander- 
Bonville, even. Why, their intentions were 
good to roast us all alive." 

"No, Si; nothing could be worse than 
Andersonville. It'd 'a' been God's mercy 
to thousands of those poor fellows we've 
Been to've run 'em into a cave, as these 
fellers intended us, and burned them up at 
once. I'd a heap rather be toasted to a 
ci'isp in a few minutes, than starve and rot 



to death with the scurvy. But, then, 
that's no thanks to the Jeff. Davis 
Dragoons. Their hellishuess is all the 
same." 

Through the crackling of the flames 
they could hear the rebels yelling boister- 
ously and triumphantly. 

"You think you are paying us up for 
that Colonel and Captain," said Shorty, 
shaking his fist in their direction. "Yell 
while you can, you un-hung traitors. We 
haint scarcely begun yet. We'll go through 
that regiment o' yours worse'n a run of 
cholery." 

Then they heard, from a distant hill, 
the bugle sounding the recall strongly and 
repeatedly. 

"They'll go now," said Si. "That's their 
brigade bugle, calling on them to quit fool- 
ing, and come along." 

A piercing yell rent the air behind him. 
It was a shout from Koss Blakely, now 
wildly insane. His reason, tottering from 
the long-drawn-out misery of imprison- 
ment, disease and starvation, from the 
hardships and excitement of the escape, 
now reeled into delirium at awakening in 
the tomb-like gloom, amid the white bones 
of horrible beasts, the ghostly stalactites 
and stalagmites, looking like shrouded 
corpses of giants, the groans of his fellow- 
prisoners, the roaring flames in front, with 
dark, spectral forms flittering about in the 
lurid glare. 

"O, God," he cried, "this is hell! Dear 
Jesus Christ, what have I done that you 
would not save me from here? I know 
I have sinned, but have I deserved this? 
I tried hard to be good. O, dear Jesus 
Christ, you will not let me burn here for- 
ever, without a drop of water to moisten 
my tongue? Did I not suffer enough on 
earth to atone for my sins? Have mercy 
on me, O, God." 

"Come, Ross, old boy," said Si, running 
to him, and trying to put his hand on him. 
"Calm dov^n. You're all right. We're 
all—" 

"Y^ou here, too. Si Klegg?" shrieked the 
poor maniac, recoiling from him. "My 
God, this is awful. And there's Steve 
Bigler's bones. Poor Steve; he died' be- 
fore I did. I saw him die. And there's 
Capt. Wirz," he continued, with a wilder 
shriek, as he caught sight of Serg't Glas;*- 
cock in the ruddy glare; "My Goa, 



148' 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



they're spnt us to the same hell with Capt. 
^Vu■7.. We'll stay here forever." 

"Ross! Ross! Don't yon know me?" 
asked Alt', rnnning up, and catching hold 
of one of the skeleton-like hands. "I'm 
Alf Russell, Co. Q, 2n0th Indianny Tol- 
unteer Infantry. I'm alive, we're all alive; 
and " — 

"No. no; you're a devil, lou're come 
to torment me. You've come to drag me 
into the flames, there! Keep off!" 

He broke away, and snatching up a long 
bone from the floor of the cave, struck 
with it frantically.' 

"We'd better keep away from him, and 
leave him alone," advised Alf. "We 
can't do anything for him until the lit 
works off. He'll calm down then, himself, 
if it don't kill him." 

"That's what I'm afraid of," remarked 
Si despairingly. "That tire excites him. 
If Ave could only put it out he might quiet 
down. Shorty, let's look around for some 
poles. The rebels are probably gone by 
this time, and we might shove those logs 
off: into the creek, and put out the fire." 

Ross Blakely's shrieks had stinred up 
the other prisoners, who were moaning 
dismally. Con Gildea, an Irish boy, was 
fumbling feebly at his beads, which he 
had kept, though nearly everything else 
went. Suddenly his eyes blazed, and he 
began shrieking, too. 

"Tain't hell, b'yes," he yelled. "It's 
only purgatory. We'll be out by-an'-by. 
O, Mother o' God, sind us speedy deliver- 
ance! O, Virgin Mary, pray for us! O, 
Queen of Hivin, take us out av this! O, 
Blissid Virgin, save us from hell! O, 
Ivlother of God, have mercy on us! O, 
Mother of Christ, put out the fires of 
purgatory. B'yes, b'yes, this ain't hell. 
It's only purgatory." 

Then he, too, caught sight of Serg't 
Glasscock, moving back to escape the in- 
creasing heat, and shrieked as he fell over 
on his side: 

"O, God in Hivin, it is hell! There's 
Capt. Wirz himself!" 

Si and Shorty had succeeded in finding 
some poles, but the fire had grown so hot 
that they could not get near it. They 
came back at this fresh outbreak of 
shrieks, and looked around in dismay. 

"They're all going crazy as March 
hares," Si murmured despairingly. "It'll 
kill every one of them.'* 

Then it fiashed through his mind that 
he had heard something of the calming 
effect of music upon insane people, "Try 
singing to them, Alf,'' he called out. 

Never had Alf Russell's sweet tenor 
rung out with such a pure, liquid, flute- 
like gush of melody as when he filled the 
echoing aisles and grottoes with: 

"Yes, we'll rally 'round the flag, boys; 

we'll rally once again. 
I Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom. 



"We'll rally from the hilfeMe^r-we'fl gather 
from the plain, "'"'", "' -^ ■.■-•- 
Shouting the battle^rj^/'of- li'rcedom." 

Si and the others ^ne'iti -a -thuHd4i-ing 
chorus: ^-'' - ~ ; '■' ' -- 

"The , TTnion. forever — lliiirali, boys, 

hurrah! : 7 ' 

Down with the traitor— nv.i> Wiith -the star; 
While w;e rally .'raimdjjj.he' flag, boys — • 

r.aily once again-n be,- .,-.. ;, 
Shouting the -battle-ei-y 'Of -Freetiom;!'' 

Ross Blakeiy. ;<l"iii (h! ^^Iirieking. stopped 
brandishing his mastudoa's fore-leg, and 
turned his look on Alf, who continued: 

"We are springing to the call of our 
brothers gone before, 
Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom, 
And we'll fill the vacant ranks with a mil- 
lion freemen moi'e, 
Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom." 

"Sure, they don't sing songs loike that 
in purgatory," said Con Gildea, sitting up 
after the boys had roared out the chorus. 

Again Alf Russell thrilled out r 

"We will welcome to our numbers the 

loyal, true and brave, 

Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom. 

And altho' they may be poor, not a man 

shall be a slave, 

Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom." 

"Say, boss, sing dat ober agin. I want 
t' larn hit," said Uncle Ephraim. "Hit 
jcs' jines in wid my mind better'n ary 
hymn I ebber heard afo'." 

Alf repeated the verse, and Uncle 
Ephraim joined this time in the chorus 
with unusual unction. 

All the prisoners were quiet, now, and 
listening, with a new light shining in their 
eyes. When Alf finished the lajst verse — ■ 

"So we're rpringing to the call, from the 

East and from the West, 

Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom. 

And then we'll , hurl the rebel crew. from 

the land that we love best, 

Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom." 

They attempted, with feeble lungs, with 
wasted throats, and Avith scurvy-distortod 
mouths to join in the booming chorus, 
filling the cavern with a new and strange 
volume of harmony. 

"They're all right now," said Si, in a 
tone of satisfaction. "Alf, I guess they 
can stand a little more to eat, now. Being 
so hungry makes 'em likelier to go crazy. 
Better have Uncle Ephraim fix 'em up 
some light skillagalee that'll set on their 
stomachs. And, Uncle Ephraim, you'd 
better get all the ciips together, and maki> 
coffee for all of us. I'm beginning to fool 
like a snack myself." 

".Whar in de libbtn' wcrl' will I git de 



'ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



149 



( water?" gasped Uncle Ephraim, looking 
■ at the roaring wall of flame between him 
and the creek. 

"O, look around back there a little 
ways," answered Si, "and you'll likely 
find a fine spring. There generally is one 
in these big cares." 

Uncle Ehpraim's fear of the "sperits" 
and "harnts" was subsiding somewhat, 
under the intluencc of his companions' con- 
temptuous indifference to these ever-pres- 
ent terrors to the negroes and poor whites, 
but Alf had to go ahead of him with a 
fat-pine torch before he would venture far 
back into the darkness. Following the 
sound of dripping water, they soon came 
to a fine, crystal spring, but Uncle 
Ephraim was too nervous to examine it. 
Carefully keeping Alf between him and 
inky blackness beyond, he hastily 
filled all his cups, and toddled off in a 
hurry toward the welcome light in the 
front. Nor could Alf persuade him to go 
back to the spring alone after more water. 

Si and the rest made a good dinner off 
the contents of their haversacks, giving 
the two deserters and the four rebel 
prisoners a fair share. Though Steve 
Bigler begged hard for more, JSi thought 
it wisest to confine him to a half-cup of 
coffee, a single hardtack, and a small 
piece of lean meat, lightly broiled. 

The fire in front was losing its fierce- 
ness, and subsiding into a great bed of 
embers. Though Si believed that the 
rebels had left in obedience to the impera- 
tive bugle-call, he was disturbed by hear- 
ing continuous chopping, apparently from 
the hill over the cave, and from time to 
time fresh logs had fallen over to feed the 
fire. 

"Mighty poor axman doing that chop- 
ping," Si commented, with his customary 
judicial opinion of that class of work. 
'"Taint oven good nigger chopping." 

Presently a dead pine fell lengthwise 
over the cliff, with its top in the creek, 
and the flames greedily ran along it. The 
Bound of the chopping ceased,, and no 
more chunks came down. 

Pete Skidmore, who had all along wor- 
ried more over the fate of Abednego than 
anything else, was crazy to get out and 
see if his steed had escaped roasting. 

With their poles Si and Shorty began 
pushing forward the fire, so as to clear a 
way through it. But the rocks had be- 
come so hot that it was hard work, and 
they made little progress. 

Si ordered Uncle Eiihraim to take the 
bootleg bucket and go back to the spring 
for water, but, obedient as that colored 
gentleman usually was, nothing would in- 
duce him to go back there alone. 

Pete, liowevor, .lumped at the sugges- 
tion. To the right of the entrance, as 
they looked out, there r.ad been muih less 
fire than elsewhere. The shape of the 
overhanging rock protected i%, a sogs^ 



stump had been rolled down, which re- 
fused to take fire, and there had little 
stuff fallen around. Pete came bade with 
the bootleg full of water, which he used 
judiciously ou the embers, and then shoved 
them forward. He worked industriously 
and perspiringly at this until he had made 
a hole through which he could hope to 
rush out with nothing worse than a severe 
scorching. With another bootleg of water, 
Sandy drenched him from head to foot, 
and he made a bolt. 

He was half-blinded by the smoke and 
the heat, and it seemed as if his skin was 
cracking all over him, but he finally 
gained the open air, and crawled cautioits- 
ly up on a rock to take a look around. 
He had to rub off his singed oye-lashes 
before he could see anything. The first 
thing he saw was that the hill above the 
cave was all ou fire. The flames running 
up the dead pine which they had heard 
cut down, and which fell lengLhv.ise, with 
its top in the creek, liad fired the stuff on 
the hill, and it was burning ravenously. 
The smoke from the carpet of leaves was 
so dense that Pete could see but a little 
■nays, but lie worked his v/ay over the 
rocks r.ntil he could see the horses, and 
rejoiced to find that, aside from their 
fright, they were safe and unharmed. 
There was a v.ide wall of high rock be- 
tween them arid the fire under the cliff, 
and that on the hill did not reach down 
to them. Seeing no rebels near, Pete 
slipped dovv-n into the cove, and patted and 
caressed Abednego, to restore the animal's 
peace of mind, and aGSure him that his 
friends were looking out for hhn. Then he 
climbed to the summit of the rocks again 
to make a cautious reconnoissance for the 
rebels. A gust of wind opened a vista 
through the smoke, and Pete dropped 
down behind a rock, for there, at the 
very top of the hill, and the farther edge 
of the burning, he saw .a man seated oa 
a rock, which, when it was clear, com- 
manded a view all aiound, and especially 
of the cove in which were the horses. 
The smoke closed in again, and Peter, 
keeping down out of si.^it, waited for 
another gust to make fuither develop- 
ments. When it did come Fete recognized, 
to his ama:'.emeat, th.-it the man v/as 
Elder ^ornb!r)^^•er. seated there, out of 
reach of the fire and the smoke, Avith his 
glasses on, reading a ncwrjpaper. Ho had 
his coat off, and leaning agair^t the rock 
were an ax and a shot-gun.- 

The Elder had ridden up to the brigade 
in time to s^eo the ,101?. Davis Dra.^ooriS 
closing in around the cliff, and v/as with 
Maj. Spilemau when he df^cided to roast 
the Yankees binder t-ha cliff. In fact, it 
was the Elder who suggested that pro- 
ceeding, and helped mrtnage its details. 
With his fine scent for horseflesh, ho had 
noticed the horses in the cove, which none 
of the others had, and be did nat call theii* 



50 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



r.t^'^ntion to them. When the regiment 
v,;is hurried away by the hugle call, he 
remained, and then proceeded to pnt some 
finishing touches on the operation, and 
make sure that the roasting would be 
complete. It was he who had cut down 
the fat-pine, and it was hard work for a 
man as littlo used to the use of the ax. 
But in addition to his bitterness of re- 
venge against the Yankees, he had a pros- 
pect of 11 line horses to animate him. 
He was now awaiting the fire to do its 
work, and cool down sufficiently to allow 
him to remove the horses. That might 
not be until some time the next morning, 
but 11 horses were Avorth even a sleepless 
night of watching to a dignified man of 
middle age. He had a "snack" with him, 
as was his custom, so that he would not 
suffer from hunger, and he proposed to 
attend to the matter all by himself, and 
not have to share his booty- with anyone. 
The Elder was a thrifty man, especially 
about horses, as old-time Elders were 
likely to be. 

Pete sighed that he had not brought 
his gun with him, and after a little further 
look around, without seeing any rebels, 
slipped back to report to Si. 

Pete had stayed out ;:o long that Shorty 
became alarmed, and was busy, with 
Sandy's help, in enlarging the passage so 
that he could go in search of him. Pete 
therefore, got in again, with little trouble. 
and they croAvded around to hear his re- 
port. 

Pete wanted to take his gun and go 
out and bushwhaclc the Elder, but Shorty 
restrained him. 

"No; Pete," he said, "it aint right to 
go out gunning for ministers of the Gos- 
pel, even if they are rebels, and tried to 
fry us in our own grease. Allowances 
must always be made for preachers. He's 
naturally huffy at Yankees, and I must 
say I don't blanic him. I'll go out and 
take a look around for the rebels, and if 
everything's all right I'll bring him in, 
and we'll have some fun with him." 

Shorty worked himself out, crawled up 
on the rock, studied the smoke-drift until 
he caught the lay of it, and could conceal 
himself with it, r.nd then made a recon- 
noissance which satisfied him that all the 
rebels were gone. He then circled around 
to cut off the Elder's retreat, and finally 
came upon him leaning against a cedar 
growing on the rock, and heavily dozing, 
from his unwonted exertion. He seated 
himself beside the Elder, took an easy 
position, and then gave the Elder a sharp 
nudge with his elbow. 

The Elder awoke with a start, and 
gazed with open-uionthed terror at the 
Yankee sitting placidly beside him, re- 
garding him coolly. For a minute neither 
spoke, and then Shorty broke the silence 
With: 



"Howdy, Elder? Glad to see you again. 
We seem to've gotten in the way of meet- 
ing up pretty often, haven't we? But you 
don't seem to lie as tickled as you might 
be, seeing such an old acquaintance as I 
am. 1 tell yon, old fellow, we've had 
great time together, luiveja't^Ave?" con- 
tinued Shorty, giving the EldVr a slap on 
the thigh, which made him i)',,I&cc'. "Now, 
.haven't we had great times,' 'i^at'i Noth- 
ing ever like 'era. Sometimes yon seemed 
on top, and then I seemed to throw you, 
and so it went." Shorty laughed boister- 
ously at the i-eool!ections, but the Elder's 
fat face was ashy. 

"Say, old feller," Shorty went on, "I 
heard you preach that great sermon of 
yours about the spoilers coming down 
through the wilderness on to the high 
places three several times. Lucky, wasn't 
I? Never had to put a cent in the contri- 
bution box, either. First time we were 
nearly starring to death, and we stole your 
grub and your horses. Mean, wasn't it'^ 
But a hungry stomach has no conscience. 
Say, that was a fine race we had across 
the cottntry, wasn't it? Don't think that 
M^as ever equaled in the State of Georgy, 
You have your faults, but you're a good 
rider, and a dead hard one to get away 
from in a stern chase. The next time I 
heard your sermon you were getting up a 
hanging-bee, Avith me and my partner to 
play the star parts. It wasn't your fault 
that you slipped up at the last minute, and 
.we were reserved for drowning at some 
future period. The third time I heard 
your sermon — but the memory of that is 
perhaps painful to you. I'll omit it. Say, 
you've a great text uoav for a new sermon. 
You've been copying after that Prooshan 
King — he was a Prooshan King, wasn't 
he? — who tried to burn three Hebrew 
children in a kiln, heated seven times as 
hot as usual? You tried to do that same 
thing with some Yankees, and, like the 
Hebrew children, there aint even the smell 
of fire on our garments. I want you to 
come right down A\'ith me to where the 
boys are, and see if it aint so. Pick up 
your coat and gun and your ax, and come 
right along. The boys are waiting for 
you." 

Without venturing a reply to the rail- 
lory, the crushed Elder, whom Fate 
seemed to delight in betraying, took up his 
things and did as bidden. Shorty consid- 
erately helping him on Avith his coat, and 
picking up the spectacles Avhich had fallen 
from his nerveless hand. 

"Here, boys," shouted Shorty, as he 
worked the Elder through the opening into 
the cavern, "is our old and favorite minis- 
ter, the Elder llornblowcr, who it has 
been our privilege to listen to so often in 
the past foAv months. He"s got a now ser- 
mon noAv, on a modern edition of the won- 
derful escape of the Hebrew children from 



ON THE MAECH TO THE SEA. 







"THE ELDER AWOKE WITH A START, AND GAZED WITH OPEN-MOUTHED 
TERROR AT THE YANKEE SITTING PLACIDLY BESIDE HIM." 



the fiery furnace. "Walk back there, Elder, 
to that beautiful pulpit, and give us the 
sermon." 

Before they could proceed further with 
the Elder. Sandy Baker called out: 
"Say; Say! Just look over there!'" 
The news that a .squad of Y'ankees 
were roasting to death in a cave on Rocky 
Creek had gone through the country, and 
a great gathering of negroes, with some 
whites, rushed over to see it. The smoke 



showed them the way, but the fire pre- 
vented their approach from that side, and 
they swarmed up on the rugged rocks 
directly opposite. These were soon cov- 
ered with them, gazing with horror-struck, 
open eyes and mouth upon the glowing 
fire in front of the cavern. They worked 
themselves up into groat emotional excite- 
ment over the shrieks and groans they 
thought they heard pi'oceed from tha 
doomed men writhing in the flames. 



SS2 



SI JKLEGG AND SHORTY. 



They wnilerl and shontod: 
"O, Lord, do hab iiiarcyl" 
"Brcssed God xVlmiguty, sabe deir 
Bouls!" 

"Good Lord Jesus, come down an' help 
deni!" 

"What in the world is the matter with 
the people over there?" asked Si in won- 
der. "Are they holding a reviTal meeting 
in the brush, or lip.vc they come there 
simply to go crazy?" 

"L>ey t'luks we uns is burnin' t' dcf," 
Uncle Ephraim explained, with a wide- 
reaching grin, "an' dey've come t' see hit, 
a an' pray oveh hit. Dese Washington 
County niggers 's a powerful prayin' lot. ' 

"Too bad that Ihey should be feeling 
Bo sorry over us," said Si. "Let's go out 
and show ourselves, and relieve their 
minds." 

The opening had now been considera- 
bly widened, and Uu\y all, Steve Bigler 
included, ran out onto a ledge at the 
waters edge and shouted lustily: 

"Hooray for the Union 1 Ilooray for 
'Abe Lincoln! Hooray for Billy Sherman! 
Hooray for old lujiauny! We'll hang Jeff. 
Davis on a sour apple tree. Don't worry 
about us, friends. Kebel fire can't hurt 
us."* 

The apparition seemed, if anything, to 
increase the excitement among the 
negroes. It appeared to them a wonderful 
miracle. 

"Great God Almighty, wonderful are 
thy ways," shouted a stentor-lunged negro. 
"See dem walking right froo de tire, lack 
de Hebrew children." 

"r)at's ole Kunuel Hanson's Simeon," 
explained Uncle Ephraim. "He's de 
powcrfullest exhorter an' prayer in all 
dese parts." 

''Glory to God," shouted the other 
negroes. "Jes' lack de Hebrew children. 
Kot a smell ob fire on deir garments." 

"De iankees is de Lawds own people. 
Dis shows hit," continued Simeon. "De 
wicked an' de powers ob darkness cannot 
pei-vail agin dem. Bress God ter all His 
marcies." 

"O, jos' see dat man," exclaimed one of 
the more observing, pointing at Steve Big- 
ler. "He's bin wickeder dan de rest, an' 
de fire done burn all de meat oft" his 
bones." 

This M-as too much for the boys, who 
exploded into a laugh that was a severe 
shock to the highly-wrought religious 
fervor of the gathering. 

Si brought it down still nearer the 
plane of every humanity by calling out: 

"Say, friends, have you brought along 
anything to eat'.' We've got a good many 
men here, and not much provisions, and 
we dont know when we'll be able to 
ti-avel out of here." 

"Eh, what's dat?" repeated the stentor- 
ian Simeon, stopping his praying, and re- 
quiring, as was usual with the Southern 



negroes and whites, a quoptioji repeated 
before. he would comprehend ni- nnswer. 

Si repeated his question, li;.t b. ; ;•' Hie 
negro could answer a Iniid nnnint was 
heard approaching frohl/i:!. -i;..' :iiii of 
the road. It was a crhAliin ,. ! ;i,!iu din, 
and above it rose a sound, a- (..i ( niiinMuds. 
It reached the negroes' e"ais,'who stopped 
praying and shouting aiid' tti'med their 
eyes in that direction. 

"Better get back in the cave, boys, and 
get your guns," said Si. Then he" called 
to the negroes across the creek: 

"Can you see who's making that 
noise?" 

"What dat?" 

"Can you see who's making that 
noise?" 

"Kin we'uns see who's dat makin' de 
noise?" 

"Yes; yes," said Si, impatiently. "Can 
you see them?"' 

"Kin we'uns see dem? Of co'se we'uns 
kin." 

"Well, who is it?" 

"Who it it?" 

"Yes; yes. Who is it? Answer at 
once, without talking back." 

"How kin we'uns answer widdout 
talkin' back?" 

"Tell me at once, you dumbed block- 
heads," said Si, savagely, "wlio's that 
coming over from the road?" 

"Ober f'om de big road dar?' 

"Yes, over from the big road?" 

"Why, dey's a hull passel ob critters- 
back soldiers. Dey's lef deir bosses in 
de road, an' are trompin' froo de brush." 

"What -kind of soldiers are they — Yank 
or rebel?" 

"Which? Dem soljers ober dar?" 

"Y'es; them soldiers over there?" 

"Why dey's all got blue cloze on, arr 
day's Y'anks, bross de Lawd." 

"What are they making all that noise 
about'?" 

"What dey makin' all dat noise fer?" 

"Yes. Why are they kicking up such 
a rumpus?" 

"Why, dey's cut down cedaf brushes, 
an' beatin' out de fire as dey come along." 

Si understood now, and his heart 
bounded. Without waiting for his gun he 
jumped down and waded thiou.ih the 
creek, out of reach of the fire, clambered 
up on th« bank, ran forward to the knoll 
on which they had made their last stand 
before retreating to ttie cave, aad shouttd 
at the top of his voice': 

"Hello, boys! Hooray for the Union! 
Hooray for Abe Lincoln!" 

An instant reply came in Sfaad Gra- 
ham's voice: 

"Hello. Si Klegg. Is that you?" 

"Bet your bottom dollar. How are you, 
Shad?" 

In a minute or two Shad made his way 
through the smoke. His hands and face 
were black and sweating, his hair and 



ONTfiE MAECH TO THE SEA. 



158 



clothes sinsiec!, find he had a cedar brush 
in one hand and his gun in the other. 

"Why, where in the world did you 
come from, Shad?" inquired Si, after 
shaking hands heartily with him. 

"O, I was making my way across the 
country with a pontoon train, when I 
heard from the niggers about the rebels 



roasting some Yankees in a cave. Left 
the pontoon back there in the road, and 
started out for here. How are you, any- 
way? Still alive?" 

'"Alive? Well, I should say so. Livost 
Yanks south of the Ohio River. JeiL 
Davis '11 find that out before we'ra 
through with him," 



CHAPTER XXVIL 



THE BOYS LEAVE THE CAVE AND TAKE UP QUARTERS IN A HOUSE WHICH 
HAS SHELTERED REBEL DIGNITARIES. 



"What in the world have the Johnnies 
been trying to do to you, Shorty?" asked 
Shad, as the former came up, and they all 
stood for a moment looking at the great 
heap of glowing timbers. "Did they think 
of serving you up on toast?" 

"Something of that kind," answered 
Shorty. "They've been having Yankees in 
every other way until they're plum sick 
ot them, and so they concluded they'd try 
how they'd go barbecued. But they botched 
the job, as they usually do everything." 

"I rather leaned toward the Universal- 
ists before the war began," said Shad sav- 
agely. "But if there isn't a hell already, 
there ought to be one incorporated and 
chartered at once for fellows who'd work 
a trick like that. And it oughtn't to be 
a one-ringed circus, about the size of 
Rhode Island or Delaware, but about as 
big as Texas, so's to hold the whole South- 
ern Confederacy." 

"O, we don't owe them nothing, except 
for their intentions," answered- Shorty, 
with a shrug. "They didn't bother us any. 
We're ahead of them on the game at least 
one Colonel and a Captain, and they had 
all their trouble for nothing. All the 
same, we're anxious to come up with the 
Jeff Davis Dragoons again, and have the 
play out." 

"Well, we've had pretty fair luck so far 
in Georgy in coming up with gents we 
had a grudge against," said Si grimly, 
"and I hope it'll continue." 

"Boys," commanded Shad to his men, 
"a couple of you go back to the wagons, 
and get a pick and shovel, and make a 
road to get down here uKder the cliff. The 
rest of you work down there to the creek, 
dip your brush in the water, and beat out 
the fire till we can get into the cave 
easily." 

While this was going on Uncle Ephraim, 
iWho had, since joining the army, managed 



to secure himself a complete nniform, ex- 
hibited himself, gun in hand, and cart- 
ridge-box and belts on, to the assembled 
negroes across the creek. Perched on a 
rock at the water's edge in easy conversa- 
tional distance, he gave a thrilling account 
of the sanguinary fight before the retreat 
to the cave, with the prodigious number 
of rebels slaughtered, and the particularly 
painful death of those who fell before his 
own murderous aim. 

Next to ghosts and other superstitions 
there is nothing that a negro likes so well 
to talk about as bloodshed. 

"I done tells yo'," he said, "dar wtiz jes* 
a milyun ob dem — ob Jo Wheeler's cav- 
alry. Dey stretch clean from Atlanty t/ 
Kingdom come, wid more comin' from eb- 
bery whichway. De whole country looked 
rusty wid dem." 

"I)idn't dat skeer you plum t' deff?" 
inquired Simeon. 

"Hit sho'ly would've, if I hadn't 'a' bin 
wid Sarjint Klegg an' Corpril Elliott. 
Dey's de mos' wondei-ful men alibe. Dey's 
more dan men. Dey's got a gif, lack dem 
ole 'postles. Dey's not feared ob nuflSn'. 
Why, dey'd go right inter de lion's den, 
lack ole Daniel, an' biff aside ob de head 
any lion dat dar git he back up. De same 
way wid de harnts an' sperits. Dey go 
right 'round a whole nest ob harnts an' 
ghosts an' pay no more 'tenshun t' dem 
dan yo' would t' a settin' hen. De sperits 
is afeared ob dem." 

"Dey'd orter be," said Col. Hanson'a 
Sim. "Dey'uns come straight from de 
Lawd, an' Fadder Abraham." 

"Why, back dar in dat cave," continued 
Uncle Ephraim, warming up with his 
story, "de harnts is plentier'n swallers in 
a chlmbly. Dat's de bigges', awfullest 
cave in de world. Why. hit's bigger down 
dar dan hit is all out-ob-doors, 'round 
hyah. Why, hit must be de place whar 



lU 



BI KliEGG AJ&ID SHCXEaX 



'de giants Kbbed afore de flood, an' whar 
dey went when dey sassed Noah, an' done 
tele him t' go 'Ions wid his ole ark, hit 
warn't a-gwinc t' ho much of a rain, no- 
how. Yo' see de bones dar ob men 10 feet 
high, wid skulls as big as bee-gums. Dar's 
ghostses dar tall as a hay-stack, all in deir 
white grave-clothes. Sar.iint Klegg says 
dey're uuflln' but tall white i-ocks, but I 
knows better. Dey's only white rocks 
when Sarjint Klegg looks at dem, fer den 
dey've got t' be. He makes dem mind. 
But when dey cotches me alone, an' he ain' 
lookin'. den dey's sho'-nuff ghosts, an' ar- 
ter dis nigger. Yo' hear de flutter ob deir 
wings back dar in de dark, an' yo' see 
dem peakin' out ob de corners an' cran- 
nies, watchin' yo' wid eyes like sparks ob 
fires." 

"Yas, yas." shuddered Sim and the rest. 
"We'uns'A'e done seed dem, an' beared dem 
in de caves ober by de swamp, an' in de 
graveyards, an' behine de moetin'-housos 
ob dark nights, when de wind wuz a-blow- 
in', an' de rain comin' down." 

"No, Sim. yo' nebber seed nuffin' lack 
dese,' said Uncle Ephraim, sharply, .ieal- 
ous of the incomparable superiority of his 
cave and its horrors over anything within 
the knowledge of his auditors. "All de 
caves dat yo' common niggers hab seed 
aint a knot-hole t' dis one, an' de ghostses 
aint a chipmunk 'longside ob a painter. 
T'ink ob ghostses as big as an ole syca- 
more, ob men 10 feet high. But Sarjint 
Klegg an' Corpril Elliott an' de rest keer 
no more fer dem dan if dey wnz corn- 
stalks. Dey say dat all dat flutterin' wuz 
only bats, when I knows" 

"Tell us 'bout de fout, Eph," broke ia 
Simeon. 

"My name's Mr. Ephraim Klegg, sah," 
».aid Uncle Ephraim, with dignity. "Host- 
ler to headquarters, 200th Injianny Vol- 
unteer Infantry. Yo'll please 'dress me 
dat-a-way." 

"Whew! What a long tail our ole cat's 
done got," said Simeon. "Well, Mistah 
Ephum Clag, boss hostler, please tell we- 
'uns 'bout de fout." 

"Well, as I wuz a-done tellin', de John- 
nies wuz a-comin" 

"De Johnnies? AVho's de Johnnies?" 

"De rebel cavalry — Jo Wheeler's men, 
you fool. Don't yo' know deir right name? 
Well, de Johnnies wuz out dar by de mil- 
yun, an' more a-comin' on ebbery road, an' 
we'uns thought wo jes' lay low, an' " • 

"We'uns? Who'd 'yo' mean by we- 
'uns?" 

"Me an' Sarjint Klegg, an Corpril El- 
liott, an de rest." 

"Jes' see dat sassy nigger puttin' him- 
self up 'mong white folkses," ejaculated 
someone, who evidently did not hold Uncle 
Ephraim in high esteem. 

"Shot dat punkin haid of you'n, afore I 
come right ober dar an' bust hit wide 
open," answered Uncle Ephraim, savage- 
ly. "Free cullud pu.ssons like me kin go 
wid white folks, but low-down slave nig- 
gers lack yo' mus' keep deir distance." 



"Shet up, Hoss-head," said Simeon a»»- 
thoritatively. "Go 'head wid yer story, 
Mistah Ephum. Don't mind dat wufless 
Hanson nigger. Yo' done frowed him out 
ob church once fer raisin' a fuss an' 'rupt- 
in' de mo'ners, an' he's nebber liked yo' 
sence. Go 'head." 

"As I wuz sayin' when dat' yam-spiler 
'rupted me," contmued Uncle Ephraim, 
"we'uns 'eluded we'd lay low an' let dey- 
'uns go on wid deir 'possum-hunt. But 
jes' den .Jim Hobcaw an' Wils. Duunell 
sneaked 'way from dey'uns, de Cap'u sont 
old bottle-nose Glasscock an' free udders 
arter dem, an" dey wuz ruunin' right on 
ter we'uns, an' we'uns 'eluded dat if dey 
wanted t' hunt porcupmea, porcupine- 
huntin' dey should hab. So Sarjint Klegg 
he jes' blowed de lights out ob Kunuei 
Manypenny, an' Corpril Elliott salumvated 
Cap'n Sidwell, an' 1 let daylight froo Sile 
Stunyavd, what wuz obeiseer on Misteh 
Ben Small's place fer awhile." 

"My goodness gracious! Sakes alibe!" 
gasped the delighted negroes, reveling in 
the tale of slaughter. 

"Den dey all came at we'uns, jes' lack 
a nest ob hornets, continued Uncle Eph- 
raim, warming up with his theme. "An' 
all we'uns lit inter dem as fast as we'uns 
could load an' shoot, an' piled dey'uns up 
jes' lack a rabbit-drive. Lau' sake, how 
we'uns did kill dey'uns off. I mus' hab 
killed two or free dozen my own self, an' 
my gun got so hot, an' " • 

""Why, den, did yo let dey'uns run yo' 
back inter de cave?" inquired Hoss-head. 
"Why didn't yo'uns go right on, an' kill ofll 
de whole bilin' ob dem, an' tinish up de 
war?" 

"Hoss-head," said Uncle Ephraim se- 
verely, "dat wuz lack de question yo' axed 
de preacher, an' Avhat made me frow yo' 
out ob de meetin'. Y^o' know as little ob 
military as yo' do of theology. Keep yo' 
yam-trap shet, or I'll shet it fer yo'. Dey- 
'uns didn't run we'uns back inter de cave. 
We'uns jes's natcherully sidled back in a 
military way, an' went in dar t' rest, an' 
spit on our hands an' start in fresh agin." 

"Say, Si," said Shorty, who had been 
listening, "Uncle Ephraim has the makings 
of a fine stump-speaker in him, hasn't he? 
We'll take him home and put him into pol- 
itics. All he needs is a little more misin- 
formation to carry everything before him 
and have a fine future." 

The application of brush dipped in 
water was very effective in getting the 
heat under control, when the burning logs 
and chunks were shoved off into the creejs 
and the mouth of the cave cleared out. 

A smooth path was opened to the road, 
and Ross Blakely, Clint. Rogers, Alex. 
Winslow, Con Gildea and Bob Bradly were 
carefully carried to the wagons, and placed 
on a bed of cedar branches covered with 
blankets. Steve Bigler insisted on walk- 
ing, and was supported on the way by 
Shad Graham, in whose "90" he had been 
at Andersonville. 

Jimmy Babbington's wasted body was 



©N THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



155 



brought out, and the contorted limba 
Btraightened as far as possible, while a 
grave was dug on the top of the hill, near 
where the Elder had been found. 

"I might go back to the wagons and get 
some boards, and make him a cofEn," sug- 
gested one of Shad's men. 

"No," answered Shad; "here's my new 
U. S. blanket. No soldier would wish a 
better coffin. Ten thousand of the best 
men that ever breathed have been buried 
in IT. S. blankets. It is the noblest sar- 
cophagus that a, soldier can have. It is 
all thfit I shall want around me in my 
grave." 

''I'm a reggerly-ordained minister of the 
Gospel," said the Elder, in a propitiatory 
way, as he sat on a rock and watched the 
arrangements for the burial. Nobody had 
been paying any attention to him, and he 
was getting more and more anxious as to 
his fate. Perhaps he might soften their 
hearts by a ministerial act. "As you have 
no clergyman present." he continued, "I 
will, if yon wish, conduct the services at 
the grave." 

"No, you canting old rebel hypocrite," 
said Si savagely. "It'd be rank blasphemy 
to have any of your secesh pow-wowin^* 
over the grave of a man you have starved 
to death. We won't have poor Jim's mem- 
lory insulted by such prating. Uncle Eph- 
raim?" 

"Yes, sah." 

"You say that man over there is a leader 
in the prayer-meetings?" 

"Yes, sah, de powerfullest pray-er an' 
exhorter in de whole county." 

Well, go and bring him around across 
the creek, and let him offer up prayer be- 
side this grave." 

The other negroes followed their leader, 
and as Jim Babbington was laid away fop 
his eternal rest the soldiers uncovered 
their heads, and stood at parade rest, 
while the woods rang with the rude but 
fervid and devout appeal to the Throne of 
Grace from the lips of the poor field-hand 
who, no matter how inept his words, felt 
in his soul all that the most eloquent di- 
vine could have said at the graveside of 
one who had died that an enslaved race 

ght be free, and justice and right not de- 
Dart from the earth. 

Willing black hands filled the grave and 
heaped above it a great pile of stones, as 

nionument to one of Freedom's mar- 
;yrs, while Shad hewed fiat and smooth 
I space on the trunk of a pine growing at 
the grave's head, and wrote there James 
Babijington's name, company, regiment, 
md approximate date of death, and be- 
ow it — ■ 

•In the beauty of the lilies Christ was 

born across the sea. 
With the glory in His bosom that trans- 
figures you and me. 
He died to make men holy, let us die 
to make men free, 

While God is marching on."- 



Then Si ordered a volley fired over the 
grave, and they went back to the cave. 

"What in the world are you going to do 
with your prisoners. Shad?" asked Si. 

'"My prisoners?" retorted Shad. "I have 
no prisoners. They're yours. You took 
them. I've nothing to do with them." 

"Indeed you have. Y'ou're my com- 
manding officer. You ranked me the min- 
ute you came on the ground. I'm mighty 
glad you came, for that reason alone, for 
I was racking my brain what to do with 
them, and now the responsibility's on your 
shoulders. I don't want to be bothered 
with them. The Provo-Marshal gi'umbled 
at the others I biiing in. He's worried 
enough over what he's already obliged to 
guard and feed. I hate to turn 'em loose, 
and it wouldn't be right to shoot them." 

"Might shoot the Elder, to show your 
good-will," suggested Shad. "He richlj, 
deserves it." 

"No; we've monkeyed with him all _ we 
care to. His disappointment'll be punish- 
ment for him. It nearly broke his heart 
to lose one boss. Think how he must feel 
over losing 11 at once." 

Shad, Si and Shorty looked over the reb- 
els thoughtfkully. 

"Jim Hobcaw and Wils. Bunnell," aske* 
Si, "if we let you go do you think tnat 
you can keep out of the hands of the rebel3 
in future?" 

"Sartin! Sho'," they answered at once. 
"They'uns'll never lay hands on us agin. 
Shoot we'uns if they do." 

"We'uus, too,' said the three of Sorg't 
Glasscock's squad. "We'uns 's plum tired 
o' the war, an' want t' git back home. If 
you'll let us go thar we'uns'U swar we- 
'uns'll stay thar forever. We'uns know 
whar we'uns kin lay out an' they'uns'll 
never find us agin in God A'mighty's 
world." 

"I reckin I mout as well jine the mourn- 
ers' bench, too," remarked Serg't Glass- 
cock. "I'm gettin' dog-sick o' bein' licked, 
an' gittin' hit wuss every day. Hits bin 
gittin' licked every time since Chicka- 
maugy, an' I'm no hog. I know when 
I've got enough." 

"That shows common sense,' remarked 
Si. "What we've given you already is 
only a beginning of what we've got laid 
up for you. Better get in early and avoid 
the shower." 

The Elder had been watching the pro- 
ceedings attentively, and hope dawned i^n 
his mind at the favorable reception by Si 
and the rest of these propositions. He 
arose from the rock, and with the dignity 
with which he was accustomed to address 
his audiences, remarked: 

"Gentlemen, as much as I grieve to con- 
fess it, I perceive — ah, that the cause of 
the Southern Confederacy is hopeless — ah. 
The spoilers have indeed come down from 
the wilderness upon our high places — ah, 
and we must bow to the will of God — ah. 
It'll be just and merciful in you gentle- 
men — ah, to allow us citizens of Jawgy 



156 



SI KLEGG AKEf-^HaBTT, 



.ts r>:s '/--li.-j'jr 
J 9d* ^';- 3.->ica-: 

■-31^5 ',->a:' - •- ''-' 




'I DONE TELLS YO', DAK WAS JES' A MILYUN OB JO WHEELER'S CAVELRY.' 



to return in poaro to our homes and fire- 
sides — ah, and there abide until the war 
is over — ah." 

"Get out your Bible, Elder," briefly com- 
mand-ed Shnd. 

The Elder reached in his bosom and pro- 
ducer a small, well-worn volume, which 
had evidently been re-bound by a shoe- 



maker, with a piece of fine calf-skin, sewed 
at the back with wax-thread. 

"Now. Elder," commanded Shad, "I 
want yon to adminkster the following oath 
to these men, and take it yourself: We, 
repentant rebels, and citizeps ,of Georgia, 
do, of our own free will and accord, sol- 
emnly swear that we shall go hoine, and 



ON tn'E ^ARCH TO THE SEA. 



157 



femain there in peaceful obedience to the 
laws of the United States, and &:■>-« no 
further aid and com/ort to the so-called 
Southern Confederacy, or any ether en- 
emies of the United States. So help me 
God. Now, all of you take hold of the 
Bible, and kiss the book after you've 
sworn." 

After the swearing Shad took down 
their names with great formality in his 
memorandum-book, which he assured them 
was part of -the archives of the United 
States, and liable to rise up in judgment 
against them if they violated their oaths. 

"Elder, the rest'll likely keep the oath, 
and you'd better," Shorty took occasion to 
say in an aside. "You know you can't 
lose us, and when we meet up with you 
again we're liable to know just what 
you've been doing." 

Pete Skidmore had already gotten out 
Abednego, and was overwhelming him 
with kind attentions, to make up for the 
fire-scare. 

The rest of the horses were brought out, 
they all mounted, and followed Shad and 
his men back to the road. 

"Good-by, friends," said Si, waving his 
. hand to the negroes. 

"So long. Elder," said Shorty. "Be a 
loyal citizen from now on, and preach re- 
pentance to those who have sinned against 
the Union, that thy days may be long in 
the land the Lord thy God gavest us." 

"Tell you what we'd better do," said 
Si to Shorty and Shad, as they rode along. 
"Those boys are in no shape to go far. 
We don't know where we'll strike a hos- 
pital and a Surgeon. Every mile we go 
with them in their present shape is dead 
against them. We'll stop at the first good 
house we come to, give them a wash and 
a fix-up, and some light food, and see if 
we can't bring them around into better 
shape." 

"There seems a house of that kind right 
ahead," said Shad, according with the 
idea, and pointing to a large white frame 
a mile or two ahead in front, which shim- 
mered in the sunshine. Around, it were 
some negro-quarters, glimmeriiig with 
whitewash. 

They came to a small but fairly-kept 
plantation of several hundred acres, and 
turned up to the house through a lane of 
the carrot-shape-topped, sickly-looking ce- 
dars, which are inseparable accompani- 
ments of every pretentious house in the 
South. 

"If I owned a plantation the first thing 
I'd do would be to chop down and burn up 
every one of those blasted cedars," said 
Shad, sui-veying the tree trunks, where 
the bark had scaled off, showing an un- 
healthy, leprous white. "I hate the sight 
of them. They look as if they had some 
awful skin disease, like a mangy dog, or 
worse. They're associated in my mind 
with all the thriftlessness and lack of 
comfort in these Southern houses — with 
their doors hanging by one hinge, their 
rundown farms, their famished, tlea-pesi- 



ered dogs, their lean cattle, a."^ hog-and- 
hominy victuals." 

On the broad porch in front sai in hick- 
ory rocking-chairs three women, apparest- 
lythe aged mother and her two tall, hard- 
faced old maids of daughters, the latter- 
having been born early in the century, 
calloused and tanned by its many severe 
Winters and scorching Summers. They 
were clearly expectant of a momentous 
crisis in their lives — a visit from the 
"plundering, robbing, insulting hordes" — 
about which the bombastic proclamations 
of Gov. Joe Brown and Gen. Beauregard 
sufficiently alarmed them. They had put 
on their best clothes, and come out to meet 
their fate, like the Roman matrons and 
maidens of old. 

"Take all we have, but spare our honor,' 
said the elder of the two daughters, a 
hatchet-faced woman, with a rasping 
voice, rising and delivering her ultimatum, 
as Si rode up. 

"Confound your honor," said Si. We 
want a place to lodge and care for some 
sick men. Have you got some rooms we 
can put them in?" 

"What! Take nasty, sick Yankees into' 
our house'?" shrieked the woman, coming 
down at once from her heroics to house- 
keeping details. "What! Take a passel 
of sick Yankees into the house where 
President Davis and Vice-Presidenc Steph- 
ens and Secretary Cobb has slept? Never. 
Go 'long with them, sah." 

"But we are not going along, madam," 
said Shad firmly. "They are coming in. 
Jeff Davis's bed, and Aleck Stephens's bed 
are none too good for them. They are 
better men than those rebels ever dared be. 
You ought to do this in mercy and com- 
passion. But if you don't want to do the 
ministering angel act, you'll have to take 
them in anyhow." 

"If you attempt to bring them m here, 
shouted the woman, as they began to help 
the boys out of the wagon, and she caught 
sight of their ragged, emaciated forms, 
"we'll throw boiling water on them." 

"Indeed you won't, madam," said Shad, 
coollv but so firmly that they could not 
mistake him. "Unless you want your 
house burned down over your heads. Be 
women, now, and gentle and pitiful to 
men who are almost dying." 

"Take 'em 'round to the nigger-quarters, 
if you must leave them," shouted the wom- 
an. "Don't bring them into where white 
people live." 

"They are not going into the negro- 
quarters, madam," said Shad. "They are 
white men and gentlemen — just as true 
gentlemen as you ever met, and they re 
going to be taken care of as such. Come, 
show us some of that famous Southern 
hospitality, or at least be plain. Christian 
women." 

In the meanwhile Si had gone around 
behind the house, and there found, as he 
expected, the wash-house. 

He called to the boys to bring the pris- 
oners in there, and set some of them tp 



158 



SI KLEGG AND SHbRTt. 



filling up tho kettles with water, and build- 
ing tiros under them. He saw a pair of 
sheep-shears stieking in the timbers of the 
shed, and witii these lie eut Ihe lv).vs' long, 
unkcni|)t. matted hair elose to their heads, 
and threw the hair in the lire. They were 
undressed, and their elctthes followed thoir 
hair, thus freeing them from hordes of 
inseet perseentors whieh gave them no 
rest, night or day. When the water was 
warinr'd Si, Shorty and Alf carefully 
washed the poor bodies Avith soft soap 
taken from gourds about the shed, of the 
thick, varnish-like grime of resin, soot, 
and dirt accumulated by months of hang- 
ing over the pitch-pine lires, and lying 
ul'tci-wnrd in the sand. Shad pres- 
ently came up with socks, undercloth- 
ing, shoes, pantaloons and blouses which 
ho had gathered up from the spare ones 
in his detachment. Once more clean, ver- 
minlcss, and comfortably clad, the boys 
were carried up to the Jeff Davis room, 
the Vice-President Aleck Stephens room, 
the Secretary Cobb room, and laid in the 
soft beds once occupied by those Avorthics. 

The women saw this desecration with 
siieechlcss anger, but Shad reminded them 
that they were getting off very luckily, 
and the better grace with which they took 
it, the better it would be for them in the 
end. 

Then, under Alf's directions, Pete and 
Shad killed some chickens, the negress- 
cook was discovered, and set to work pre- 
paring some broth. Good wheat bread, 
found in tho cupboards, fresh butter and 
sweet milk brought from the spring-house, 
and Alf guardedly fed the boys what he 
thought their stomachs would stand. They 
soon' fell into the first sweet, refreshing 
sleep they had known for many months of 
misery and starvation. 

Shad went on with his train to the 
Ogeechee River, while Si, after feeding 
his horses from the plantation-cribs, and 
having his boys cook supper for them- 
selves, had them spread their blankets on 
the porch and prepare to spend the night. 

After going Avith Alf to see the invalids, 
giving them another portion of gruel and 
food, and doing whatever else was neces- 
sary to make them comfortable, Si and 
Shorty lighted their pipes, and sat down 
on the front steps to talk over the situa- 
tion. Out to them came Miss Sophronia 
Sutlon. the elder of the two daughters. 
She had accumulated much vitriol under 
Shad's snpiu'ession, and now that he was 
gone thought she could work it off advan- 
tageously on the two partners, who seemed 
much (MsicM- [)ro])ositions than the self-pos- 
sesser], authoritative Acting Lieutenant of 
Engineers. 

•'Now, since that high and mighty officer 
is gone, I want yon to at once take those 
nasty fellows out of my beds, and carry 
them off. I don't want them nor you 
arouud here any longer, polluting a South- 
ern home with the presence of an enemy." 

"Why, ma'am, them boys aint able to be 



moved," expostidated' Si. ','It!ll ehdah^or 
their lives." , 

"Well, it don't matter U)|ic-h: they're 
only Yankees," she snap'peO^" "Anyvfay, 
you must take em out o^ those beds thaf've 
been honored by the g^'cat'est men in the 
country. Take em out, tg^ ihe nig-ger-quar- 
ters. That's plenty gopd/ euoijgh for 
them," ^ ■' ii 

"iladam," said Si, remg;S(ing his pipe 
from his mouth an<] speaking slowly and 
deliberately, "them men'll s^j(j\; fright where 
they are until they are able t<i be nioved, 
and they'll be given the best jxiud of care, 
and it'll lie money in your pocket to" ■ 

He was interrupted by a young cavalry 
Lieutenant dashing up considerably in ad- 
vance of his men. He called out to his 
command: 

"Here, men, come up here jind burn 
this house. Get the people and things out, 
and treat the people well, but burn the 
house." 

Miss Sophronia's lips, which were 
purseTTfor another tirade, grew ashen, and 
her knees trembled. 

Si stepped out from behind tho lilac 
bush Avhich had concealed him from the 
sight of tho Lieutenant, saluted, and said: 

"Good afternoon. Lieutenant. What is 
the trouble?" 

"We were fired into by some bushwhack- 
ers back there, and Avho ran over in this 
direction, and I'm going to burn this 
house as a lesson." 

"Were any of your men killed?" 

"No; lucivily none was more than 
scratched. But that does not alter the 
principle of the thing. This bushwhack- 
ing must stop. Who are you?" 

"I'm Serg't Josiah Klegg, Co. Q, 200th 
Injianny Volunteer Infantry. I'm on', 
looking for prisoners escaping from Mil- 
ieu. I've found six, who are nearly dead, 
and they're here in the house of these kind 
ladies, who have given up their best beds 
to them, and they're receiving every care 
in order to save their lives. Will you come 
in and sec them?" 

"No, I haven't time," answered the 
Lieutenant, with a look at the blue-coated 
squad which had risen to arms behind Si, 
and corroborated his story. "Rebel women 
taking care of escaped Yanks! Most as- 
tonishing thing. But it'll save their hou^e 
for them. 'Tention. Fours about — march! 
Forward — march! Look out for those 
bushwhackers. Sergeant." 

"If you come across a Surgeon, Lieu- 
tenant, please send him here," said Si as 
he walked back to where Miss Sophronia 
was standing. 

"You needn't be in a hurry about mov- 
ing those men," she said. "He may come 
back." 

Night was falling, and Si posted a 
guard. 

Si, Shorty and Alf were making another 
turn with the invalids, whom they found 
sleeping soundly, when the dogs began a 
noisy alarm in the rear of the house, Si 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



159 



stepped to the back window and looked 
out. It was too dark to see anything, but 
presently a raucous voice called out: 

"Hello, the house! Hello, Miss S'ph- 
rouy!" 

"Js that you, Zeke Backhouse?" Miss 
Sophronia's voice instantly answered. 
"What do you want? What're you doing 
away from your regiment?" 

"Kijimint's gone to thunder, 'long with 
the rest o' the Southern Confedrisy. We- 
'uns air plum done with hit, an' the whole 
shootin'-match. Call off yer dogs ter 
wunst. We want t' see you." 

"How dare you speak to me that way, 
you low-down trash?" answered Miss So- 
phronia, angrily. "Get back to your reg- 
iment, you nasty deserters, or I'll tell your 
Captain on you. Go away. Go back and 
fight for your country, like men." 

"Jes' drap that style o' gab, S'phrony 
Sutton," answered the voice, impudently. 
"We'uns've done beared all we want of 
hit, an' the time's come fer stoppin' hit. 
We'uns've bin takin' the sass o' you rich 
folks, an' starvin', traipsin' through the 
mud an' rain an' foutin' yer battles, while 
yo'uns wuz lollin' at home, jcs' as long as 
we'uns air a-gwineter. Now the time's 
come for changing 'bout, which is only 
far play. Come down often yer high boss, 
git us the best yo' have in the house t' 
eat, an' then we'uns'll tell yo' what more 
we'uns want." 

The man had come through the guard 
of barking, snarling dogs to within a few 
feet of Miss Sophronia, and by the light 
of the candle she held Si could see that he 



was leering into her face with all the 
hatred of poor whites for the well-to-do 
class. The woman was one that had prob- 
ably given abundant reason for their 
hatred. 

"(Ket down off this porch at once, and 
leave the place," she answered, defiantly. 
"Get, you scalawag. Caesar, jump on your 
horse and ride over to Col. Allison, and 
tell him some of his whelps are molesting 
us." 

"Caesar'll not go a step," said the man, 
advancing still closer, " 'Twouldn't do no 
good if he did. Kunnel Allison's done 
gwine off ter Waynesboro. Come, now, 
S'phrony Sutton, hit's our turn t' order. 
Yo' jes' stand aside, an' let wi'uns have 
what we want. Yo' needn't yell, nor 
ramp' round. 'Twon't do no good. Our 
time's come. Thar's no help for yo'." 

"Think not. you brindle-hide sardine," 
said Shorty, appearing, gun in hand, at the 
head of the others, in the circle of the 
light thrown by the candle. "Surrender, 
or I'll" 

But the deserter did not wait for the 
rest. He gave a brief glance at the as- 
tounding apparition, and turned and 
leaped down from the porch. Shorty 
charged after him, but Zeke and his com- 
panions knew the grounds too well, and 
were at once out of sight and reach in the 
darkness. 

"Think you'd better take a second 
thought about moving them men, ma'am," 
said Shorty, politely, as the boys went 
back to their blankets on the porch. 



leo 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY, 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

AN EXCITING NIGKT, AND BAD LOT WELL-GOTTEN EID OR 



When Si returned to the porch, after 
th ? unsuccpsKful chase of Zeke Backhouse 
ai li his rulliauly companions, he was as- 
tG:iishfd to iind the change in the women, 
A'^elina, the younger sister, overflowing 
w.th hj-steric tears, was attending to the 
oil mother, who was on the very point of 
s-^ooning with fright. Sophronia's stony 
fa CO looked as if carved from gi'ay lime- 
st-nc, and the hand that held the cradle 
titrabled violently. 

"Where is he gone?" she gasped. 

"Don't know," answered Si, indifferent- 
ly, as he set down his gun. "Far enough, 
probably. If he kept up the gait he 
struck at starting he'll be acrost the Sa- 
vannah Kiver, into the middle o' South 
Carolina, before midnight. 

"That man," stammered Miss Sophro- 
nia, "that Zeke Backhouse, is the very 
worst man in the whole world." 

"That's saying a good deal," com- 
mented Si. "Georgy seems to run to bad 
men, and one appears to be just about 
as cussed as another. Shake 'em all up 
in a bag, and it'd be hard to tell which'd 
come out first. Little choice, far as 1 
can see." 

"I'm more afraid of him," she said, 
"than anything that lives — even a rattle- 
snake or a painter." 

"Well, you didn't act like it for a holy 
second," said Shorty, who had come up, 
and was wiping the sweat from his face. 
"If ever a man got it hot from the griddle, 
it was the way you laid it into him." 

"Ifs the only way to deal with this 
poor white trash, and scoundrels of that 
kmd," she answered. "They're like paint- 
ers and catamounts. You must face them 
down, and never let on you're scared, to 
keep them from jumping you. The min^ 
ute you flinch, or take your eyes off them, 
you're gone." 

"Why is he so much worse than the 
others"/' asked Si. 

"O, he comes of vicious stock from the 
beginning of time. My grandfather bought 
his off a convict .ship, and paid for him iu 
tobacco. But he was such a lazy, thiev- 
ing, murderous brute that grandfather 
finally drove him off the place, off into 
the woods, and he and his breed have 
lived there ever since on what (hoy could 
steal from us and others. When Zoke 
was a little boy his father got so auda- 
cious that my father had to hang him and 
mdke a warning to the rest. Zeke grew 
Jig even worse than bis forebears, and he 



had that grudge against us, but he was 
powerfully afraid of Brother Albert, and 
never wanted to start Brother Albert out 
on a hunt for him, such as father made 
for his father. As soon as the war begun 
they put Zeke Backhouse into a regiment, 
and they've kept him there as close as 
they could. Now, he's got away from the 
regiment, and he knows that Brother Al- 
bert is at Point Lookout, if he's alive at 
all, and uow's his chance. What in heaV' 
en's name are we going to do"?" 

"Well, he won't bother you any more 
for tonight," Si suggested. "It'll take him 
the rest of the night to walk back here 
from where he's run by this time," 

"You don't know him! You don't know 
him!" she wail-ed. "You never know 
W'here th.at wretch is. Why, when they 
would say that he was in camp, there 
would be cattle hamstrung and fodder- 
stacks burned 10 miles away. Why, he's 
got more appetite, activity and cunning 
for deviltry than a fox and a catamount 
rolled together." 

"Well, he'd better keep out of gunshot 
of us," said Si, "or his name'll be car- 
rion." 

"Y'^ou don't know him, you don't know 
him, I tell you. Even now he may be 
fixing to burn us out of house and home 
and then charge it to you Yankees." 

Shorty's quick eyes, peering into the 
thick darkness, had caught the faintest 
glimmer of a spark in the distance. He 
quietly slipped down and out to investi- 
gate. He passed by the negro-quarters, 
and out to the end of the stable grounds, 
and halted by a large shed filled with the 
tops and blades of corn. The spark be- 
came more palpable. It approached, 
waveringly and uncertainly, but came on. 
Shorty was puzzled at the eccentric ac- 
tion, but he sagely concluded that it was 
too late in the year for a fire-fiy, too big 
for a mere chimney spark, and that bits 
of fire that large did not go wandering 
about without human impulse. Therefore 
he kept very quiet and waited. 

He could make out, a few rods in front 
of him, the outlines of a fence surround- 
ing the stable yard. Presently the spark 
reached this, and jiggled up and down, aa 
the man tried to climb over. 

Shorty then made out that it was a 
small piece of fat pine, which the naan 
carried in his right hand, while he shield- 
ed it from sight from the hnu-^e, and from 
the wind, with his hat, carried in his left. 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA, 



161 



He occasionally blew upon it to keep it 

alivo. 

; "Hist! Hist, there!" said Shorty, in a 

Stajro whisper. 

T!io sjiark esecuterl a tremulous dance. 

"DDJi't you move," said Shorty, in the 
sniuG tone, "or off jroi^s your roof. Is 
thei(^ auytliin.s- about there to catch fire?" 
' ••N-u-n-o! N-o-t-li-i-u-^' a-t a-1-1!" said 
the bearer in a quavering voice, that ac- 
corded with the motion of his hand. 

"Drop that brand to your feet, then, and 
tonie right in here." 

The sparli fell to the ground, and the 
BOUiKJ of footsteps indicated obedience. 

"^^'ho's out there?" whispered Shorty, 
thrusting his muzzle in the other's face. 

"Ouch! Don't! That thar gun's likely 
to . go off." 

"It Avill go off, for sure, if you don't 
talk fast and to the point. Who's out 
there?" 

"Zcke Backhouse, and a passel o' oth- 
ers." 

"flow many?" 

"A hull lot. A dozen, mebbe." 

''''iMiere are they?" 

"llight back here, kivvering me with 
their guns, t' see that I didn't flinch w'ith 
the glira. 

''You've got a rocky job — shot if you 
do, and shot if you don't." 

"Yes, an' they'uns wuz a-gwine t' hang 
me, anyhow, onless I did." 

"\'^'ell, you are poor life insurance. 
.Who are you, anyway?" 

"I'm Sarjint in Zeke's company, and 
wouldn't desart when him an' the rest did, 
but they'uns made me come with 'em. 
They'uns 've a grudge agin me. I useter 
have t' do the buckin'-an'-gaggin', an' 
tyjn' up by the thumbs, an' sich. They'uns 
wuz a-gwine t' hang me, but'd let me off 
if I'd sot fire t' the fodder." 

"Well, you" 

•''Hi, there," came in a shrill whisper 
from the fence, "you guard — drap that 
gun or I'll bust you." 

"Lord A'mighty," gasped the rebel, 
"Zeke's crep' up on me." 

"Hi, there, youi'self," whispered Pete, 
who had noticed Shorty go out, and fol- 
lowed him. "Drop your own gun, or I'll 
bust you." 

"Yo' will, will yo'?" called another 
voice from the fence. "I've done seed 
yo' all the time. Drap yer gun, if yo' 
don't want t' be busted right off." 

"What's ' that you say?" demanded 
Sandy, who had naturally followed Pete. 
"I've' had you covered right along. Drop 
your gun and hold up your hands, or 
you'll start the busting in a holy second." 

They were all startled by the develop- 
meiits around them, but both sides hesi- 
tated to fire, for fear of bringing down 
th(> reserves, and in hopes of making the 
cajiture without it. 

"This bents the devil," grumbled 
Shorty. "If I could see the sights I'd let 
that feller have it, anyhow." 

6 SK 



The rebel Sergeant improved the op- 
portunity to jump behind a post. 

A door of the house suddenly opened, 
throwing a broad ray of light along the 
fence. Si, who had become anxious as to 
what was going on out back, tU'd whose 
quick ears had canght something Of the 
whispered inierchanpe of challenges, waa 
standing on the puich, with gun leA'eled, 
Avaiting for deveiopraents. He saw the 
line of rebels on the fcrjce, and fired at 
the nearest one, who dropped with a bul- 
let in his thigh. Shorty and the rest fired, 
but while they could see the rebels plainly,^, 
it was too dark for them to aim. On the 
other hand, the rebels were too much 
startled to shoot straight, even if they 
could have distinctly seen their enemies. 
They banged away, nervousiy, and ran 
back in the direction whence they Bad 
come. It was no use pursuing them, so 
Shorty secured the rebel Sergeant, while 
the rest picked up the wounded man, and 
all came back to the porch. 

"He's gone, and you didn't kill him," 
screamed Miss Sophronia. "Why didn't 
you kill him when you had a chance. I 
threw the door open to give you light to 
shoot by. Why didn't you shoot him in- 
stead of that measly little hyena, 'Lish 
Higgles," she added, scanning tlie wound- 
ed man. "He's only a mongrel fice that 
runs around after Zeke Backhouse. Zeke's 
the man you ought've shot. And you, 
Ab Watersmith," she addressed the big, 
hulking Sergeant, "you're a nice man, to 
let that gang force you into burning other 
people's property." 

"They'uns'd suttinly shot me or hung 
me, if I hadn't done jes' as they'uns said, 
mum," said the Sergeant, apologetically. 

"S'posing they had, s'posing they had." 
she snapped. "It W'ouldn't've been any 
great loss. Never good for much but to 
suck whisky and get into fights on court- 
days." 

" 'Sense me, mum, if I'd liefer live for 
that e'er, than die for other people's prop- 
erty," ventured the Sergeant, rather hum- 
bly. 

"What I might expect of you, you scal- 
awag," answered the woman contempt- 
uously. "Yon haint as much real spunk 
as a iDrindle steer. You let a few of those 
scabs scare you until your melt turns to 
water." 

"That wuz 12 o' they'uns, mum — three 
set o' fours — 'sides Zeke, an' they all had 
guns, an' I hadn't none, 'sides" 

'•Don't talk back to me, you chicken- 
'.'ver. Clear out. Get off the porch." 
i.nd she picked up a heavy hickory 
•room to enforce her order. 

"Let him alone, ma'am. He can't go. 
He's a prisoner," said Si, looking up from 
his work of helping Alf dress the wound 
of the other rebel, and make him com- 
fortable. "Let him alone, and come here 
and take care of this man. Where do 
you want us to put him?'' 

"Put' him?" she snarled savagely. "Put 



m 



^ KLEGG AXD SHORTY. 



him .siiiiii\-,lu :e, niiywho: o. out of the 
waj, at (.iii.i'. I'lit i::ii: i.i t.ic ash-h'>ppeL-; 
fliug liiai into tho crt'ck; Ihiow him to 
the hop.s. Aiiytliing to .^ec i-id of hiiu." 

'.'But. n::M,:ii.-. this i.- one of your nwn 
people." i( iMonstiai.'d Si. "Ho is liadly 
hurt, all'] ■.■■'\[f\:t'.6 case and atteudance 
to .save Ills lilo."' 

A.yaiu fci way ii'iuindod of the utter 
heartlfiri.snoss of tij.- aristocratic^ classes of 
the Soiitli t:.>\'.ard the i>oov ^vhites. The 
higher fla.s-i.'s there have every courtesy 
and coMsiilcratiou for those in their own 
rank, of life, but are destitute of all fcel- 
iug but that of contempt for the pariahs 
who owned neither ne;;'ro(;s nor laud. 

"How dai-e you say he is oue of my own 
people?" she asked angrily. "Creatures 
like him are never dared allowed to come 
even in our yard. He\s not a man. He's 
only a varmint, that skulks through the 
•woods like the rest of the beasts of prey." 

"But he was good enough to fight your 
battles for four years." remonstrated Si. 

"Yes, he fought because he was made 
to, as other creatnres are. It's the only 
good that catild be got out of such brutish 
things. Take him away at once, rd 
sooner have a stuck hog on my porch." 

"Let's carry him out and put him in 
the nigger-quartei-s, Si." suggested Shorty. 

The house was comfortably furnished — • 
even luxuriously, for a Southern resi- 
dence, but when they entered the negro 
quarters they found not even a floor in 
the cabin. There were neither beds nor 
other furniture, except stools. The slaves, 
with their heads wrapped in rags of cloth- 
ing, ^ept on tile ground, with their feet 
to the fire. 

Si sent the slaves out to the shed for 
bundles of tops and blades of corn, with 
which he and Shorty made a comfortable 
pallet for the wounded man, and Alf ex- 
hausted his art in dressing and bandag- 
ing his wound. 

As Si completed his work and stopped 
to look around a little, one of the negroes 
gave him a look that indicated he wanted 
him to corae outside. When out of sight 
and hearing of the wounded rebel, and 
the foiks in the house, the negro said: 

"Say, mas'r, dar's five or six more jes' 
sich Yankees as yo' firs' brung in out dar 
in de swamp, whar we'uns've bin totin' 
vittels t' dem." 

"Where?" 

"Right out dar, a long ways — two, 
free, five miles, mebbe." 

"Go out at once and tell them to come 
In." 

'TDassent. Zeke Backhouse's gang out 
dar in de way. Wo'uns've got a lot ob 
grub ready, but bin afeared t' go, afeared 
ob Zeke Backhouse. He'll kill a nigger 
jes's he'd hamstring a boss — jes' t' spite 
mas^r. An' dey needs de grub powerful 
bajd, too. Dey's jes' sLarviu'." 

*'C»me along with us, and show us 
Krhese they are, and we'll get them," said 



Ri. "Better bring some of that grub 
ahiig." 

■■Ln;d sabe me. 1 don't want t' go no- 
wliar v.hai- dar's shootin' an' killin' gwine 
on. Nebb'^r wuz so skeered in -my life aa 
1 wuz a while ago. Gut 'all obdat I ebber 
want, an' a hc:ip more." 

"Le" me go 'long, Uncle Scip.," asked 
a bright-eyed, young negro of about 
rote's ag". "I know whar dey is, an' 
I kiu (huk an' run if dey begins t' shoot. 
I likes t' heah de giins go oiff." 

"Yo' kin go, if yo' wants f, Hannibal," 
replied the other, gravely. "Yo's de least 
'conntest nigger on de place, an'' hit don't 
matter much if yo' do git killed, while I'a 
wuf .Sl,500, afore-de-war prices. Go 'long, 
chile." 

"What! You don't mean to say that 
you uu'ii are all going o&, and leave us 
throe women and all this property de- 
fensolfssV' shrieked Miss Sophrouia, as 
Si gathered his squad 'together and ex- 
]ilained their mission. "And you know 
that villain., and his gang is right out 
there? I call this contemptible, unman- 
ly, outrageous." 

"You didnt want us here, ma'am," SI 
began. 

"You didn't offer us the hospitality of 
your Southern home," Shorty broke in. 
"You didn't invite us in to be your guests. 
I don't know as we're under any particu- 
lar call to stand guard over you." 

"Y'ou're jtist as well off as before W9 
came," said Si. "We didn't bring Zeke 
Backhouse into the country. Up in In- 
jianny we'd've put that fellow away 
where the dogs wouldn't bite him years 
ago. You ought to be obliged to us that 
we've scared him as much as we have. X 
don't think he'll come back again tonight. 
Boys, leave your blankets and haver- 
sacks. We'll come back here before morn- 
ing." . 

"And you'll leave us exposed to the 
worst that scoundrel can do. just for the 
sake of a passel of sick, starved Yankees, 
like them you brung in before," gasped 
Miss Sophronia, almost collapsing with 
apprehension. "That's as much respect 
for women as I could expect from North- 
ern men." 

"Push out lively, now, boys," said SL 
"Those poor fellows may be dying, and 
we can save their' lives by reaching them 
in a hurry." 

With Pete, Sandy and Hannibal— 
among whom had sprung up a sudden 
friendship — a little in advance, they 
strode swiftly out along the beaten path 
leading from the rear of the house. They 
presently, as the moon began to rise, 
came to the big road, and walked noise- 
lessly over its sand. Full of the secrecy 
of the errand, Hannibal, would not walk 
in the road, but slipped along like some 
lithe, feline young beast of prey, through 
the weeds by the side. Not the crack ot 
a breaking twig beti-ayed his progress, and 



ON THE MAECH TO THE SEA, 



U9 






^\ 




3m 



"HALT! WHO COMES THAE?" CALLED OUT ZEKE, SPEINGING INTO 
THE EOAD. 



the boys would not have known where he 
was had he not from time to time stood 
up and tnrnod his grinning face toward 
them, when the moonbeams would reflect 
his white teeth, and big:, shining eyes. 

At each bend in the road he would halt 
them imtil he slipped forward and recon- 
noitered it. and motioned them to come 
on. Presently he called Pete over to him 
by snapping his thumb and finger, and 
whispered: 

"Dar's someone layin' in dat bend jes' 
ahead." 

"How 'd .von know?" 

"I smell dom. White men." 

Sandy slipped back to warn Si. 

Pete strained his eyes in vain to see 
anything, until presently there was a 
brief, faint flash, as someone moved a 



gun-barrel, on which the moon's beams 
fell. 

"There certainly is," said he. 

"Lay low as snakes till I see who dey 
am," said Hannibal, and disappeared in 
the brush. In a few minutes he returned 
with the report: 

"Zcke Backhouse an' his whole gang's 
layin' out dar fer somebody, likely fer 
we'uns. Dey's sottin' 'round dar on logs 
an' chunks, wid deir backs agin trees. I 
done crep so nigh I could've pulled de 
coat tail, but I didn't wantor. Come, I 
show yo' a way t' sneak in behine him." 

To the left of the road ran a broad, 
level wash of sand. They walked along 
this in single file until they came to an- 
other leading down from a gully cut 
through the cedars on the knull ss^mOA 



164 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



4x 



Zeke was concealed. The wet sand did 
not give the slightest sound of their foot- 
steps. They gained a point whence they 
could see the forms of the rebel deserters 
against the moonlight, and were on the 
point of a rush when they heard the 
sound of approaching hoofs. A rustling 
sound among the deserters showed that 
they heard it, too. 

"Keep quiet, boys." whispered Zeke. 
"Thar's only one. I'll step out and stop 
him. Keep him kivvered, and don't let 
him make a rush an' git away, if I should 
miss him." 

Si and Shorty took advantage of this 
to get where they could have a sure aim. 
Pete and Sandy followed Hannibal in 
wriggling around to M-here they could cut 
off retreat. Uncle Ephraim crawled up 
noiselessly behind a big log, and laid his 
gun across. 

"Halt! Who comes thar?" called out 
Zeke, springing into the road and leveling 
his carbine. 

"A friend. As good a Confederate as 
ever lived," answered a well-known voice 
as the rider reined in his horse and recog- 
nized the rebel butternut. "I'm Eldei- 
Hornblower, friends. Just escaped from 
the hands of the Yankees, where I had 
perils oft. and hardships many, as the 
Apostle Paul says. I'm on my way to 
the Sutton house, and expect to spend the 
night and some days in the home of those 
godly ladies. Please let me pass at once, 
friends, for I've had some terrible davs, 
and badly need rest for both body and 
spirit." 

••Well, Elder, I don't think vou've bin 
hayin' anything like as tough a time as 
we'uns've bin havin' fer four long years," 
answered Zeke with a sneer. "We'uns've 
had perils oft, hardships many, thorns in 
the flesh, woundings n' the sperit and 
sich, like as yourn' couldn't hold a candle 
tb, while you've bin ridin' 'round the 
country, livin' on wheat bread an' chick- 
en doing', an' sleepin' on a feather-bed 
e^ery night. We'uns've concluded the 
tiine's come fer we'uns t've some o' the 
g6od things o' this world, too. So, yo'll 
Ifluch obleege we'uns by climbin' down 
offen that boss, an' handin' over the cash 
yd've bin collectin' through the country. 
We'uns need hit wuss'n the gospel does, 
jes' now." 

"Why, you villains, would you rob a 
preacher of the Word?" gasped the Elder. 
"You're worse 'n the Y'ankees" 

"Shall we let them rob him. Shorty?" 
whispered Si. 

"It's a case of dog eat dog, but thev're 
the meanest sort of hounds. Let us stop 
them." 

"Surrender, there!" shouted Si. "Don't 
a man move or we'll kill him." 

They all stood still as statues, except 
the Elder, who gathered his reins for a 
dash. 

■ "Stop, dar. Elder." exclaimed Uncle 
Ephraim, springing into the road in front. 



"De gemmen 'eluded you in deir remarks."' 

"That's all right, Yanks," said Zeke, 
recovering himself, and noting the blue 
uniforms, as Si pushed tlje rest of the de- 
serters forward into the bright moonlight 
in the road. "We're friends. We've de- 
sarted, an' wuz makin' our way to yo'- 
uns. Awful glad to see yo'uns. Plumb 
sick an' done out with the rebel army." 

"Y'es, yes: we know all about that," 
said Si. '"We'll discuss that later. Form 
twos, close order, here." 

"Dar's someone else in dese woods," 
remarked Hannibal. "I look up de road, 
when we'uns run out, an' I see a man 
take a look an' den run back. I beliebe 
he one dem prisoner-l'ankees." 

"That's likely who he is," said Sandy. 
"Let's run up the road and call to them." 

"Go ahead, boys," said Si. "Be care- 
ful, though." 

"Hello, boys! Come out! It's ail 
right," shouted Pete and Sandy, as, they 
reached the point where Hannibal had 
seen the man disappear. "We're Yan- 
kees. Hooray for the 200th Indiana!" 

Six feeble, gaunt boys rose from be- 
hind logs where they had been crouching, 
and ran into the road, trying to shout. 

"We got so hungry that we were des- 
perate," said the leader, as he recovered 
from his motions sufficiently to talk, and 
was walking down beside Sandy toward 
Si. "The negroes didu't come with food 
as they promised, and finally we got up 
and started. We thought we might as 
well be recaptured as die of starvation, 
though it was almost a toss-up to decide 
which was better. I saw the commotion 
in the road, but couldn't make out what 
it meant." 

In spite of their famished condition the 
new-comers were in far better physical 
condition than the ones found in the 
cave, and walked along quite briskly un- 
der the stimulus of their newly-acquired 
freedom. 

Si had them pick up the arms the rebel 
deserters had thrown down, and then 
they all maiched back along the road to 
the Sutton house. 

Miss Sophronia was like a fury when 
she saw Zeke, and overwhelmed him with 
a torrent of abuse. She snatched up the 
poker and would have attacked him had 
not Si and the Elder restrained her. Zeke 
merely grinned at her. He was confi- 
dent that the deserter plea would avail 
him, and that he had nothing to fear. 

"We'uns's playin' in great luck, arter 
all," he confided to his followers. "They- 
'uns'll turn us over t' the Provo-Marshal 
ter-morrer, we'uns'll take the oath, an' be 
sot free, an' we'uns'll jes' go through that 
thar Yankee army fer all hits wuth. Them 
Yankees' ve money an' things, no end. 
Why, yo' recolleck Josh Doodelpeas — him 
that the Kunnel had shot back thar at 
Lickskillet? He desarted t' the Y'ankees, 
got $25 fer his gun, took the oath, an' 
•*ved with 'em 'bout two months. Thea 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SE.V. 



165 



-•^-fiit 'got- too -Ih^t over thar fur him, an' he 
slipped hack t' wie'uns. playin' off osrapod 
prisoner. lie-had-TOoro'ii :?1.000 in .u-rpcn- 
haflvs, and a watch in every pockel, be- 
sid(>s lots of other things. He lost hit all 
at koards in a week or two, an' then tried 
- t' git hack t" the Yanlceos agin, Init they 
co'tched him, an' iln^ Kinurel nurde an ex- 
■'a-aipli" <if him, as he duiu' calli'd hit." 
-■'- Si added to Miss Sophroiiia's indigna- 
tion hy di'awing on^ her stoi'cs siillicicntly 
to give Zeke and his gang a good supiier, 
which he. issued to them in a negro cahin 
he had made their prison, leaving them to 
cook the stuff as best they could liy the 
open fireplace. He stationed a guard 
over the cabin, and took the rescued pris- 
oners to the washhouse, where their hair 
was cut and burned; they gave themselves 
a good washing, and such of their clothes 
as w^ould do to wear longer were boiled. 
Si hunted through the house for men's 
clothing to supplement these, and again 
thrust the iron deep into the women's 
souls by taking garments that had family 
aud historic associations 

A little after midnight he sat down on 
the porch with Shorty to smoke and dis- 
cuss the situation. 

"A good day's woi'k, Shorty, but what 
in Sam Hill are we going to do with Zidce 
Backhouse and his caboodle? It would've 
been better to've shot 'em down instead 
of allowing them to surrender. But we 
have done it, and we can't very well shoot 
them now. We shouldn't turn them over 
to the Provo-Marshal, because he don't 
want them, and they'd play off deserter 
on him, and he'd likely turn 'em loose in' 
camp, which'd give them a chance to do 
no end of harm." 

"Might give ISIiss Sophronia a butcher- 
knife and turn her loose in that cabin," 
yawned Shorty. "All that'd be needed af- 
terward would be to dig holes to put them 
in." 

"Say," whispered Pete, bustling up 
full of news, "Miss Sophronia's back 
there in the ell with the Elder, trying to 
fix up a comfortable place for him to 
■ sleep. She's awful mad because we've 
taken -all her best beds for the boys, and 
left none for the preacher; but he's made 
her happy by telling her that her brother 
Albert's been exchanged, and's back in 
command of his company, on the other 
side of the Ogeechee. He's watching our 
front out there. But he can't come home 
because this is inside our lines, and he 
4aresn't leave his company, anyway, now, 
but she's going to write a letter, and fix 
up a bundle qf things to send to him by 
the Elder, if he can get away, and she's 
awful mad because Brady Stevens is 
wearing Brother Albert's best pants, and 
Sei-g't SValsh his coat, and she can't send 
'em to him. I overheard it all when I 
went back there to look after Abednego." 

"Too bad about the clothes," comment- 
ed Si. "But, then, our folks have given 



him better ones while lie was in -prison.' 

Si sinok.-d 1 hoiiuhtl'sdly for a few min- 
utes, and tlir'ii said: 

■"Sliort.N', I've an idee" 

"Out with it May possibly be a good 
one" 

"^Ye'^ lot the Elder go on hi=; way re- 
joiciuL; in tJio morning. V/e'll follow after, 
giving liun tinn^ to rcadi Brother Albert, 
and tell his little story" 

"Yes," sai<l Shoity, catching on. "And 
Ave'll drop Zeke Backhouse, et al, where 
they can pick "em up'/" 

"Precisely! Well, let's take a look 
around, and then lay down. I'm awful 
tired." 

"So'm I. We'd better let Serg't Water- 
smith go, too, so's to give plenty of evi* 
dence." 

"All right. You see that ■ the guard's 
all right, and I'll take a look at the boys 
up-stairs." 

The tip was given to the rest of the 
boys, and the next morning they were all 
so busy caring for thc'ir horses, for the in- 
valids," for the newly-rescued, getting 
breakfast, etc, that none of them noticed 
the furtive preparations made for the El- 
der's escape. They did not seem to see his 
horse cautiously led out by a negro to a 
willow copse, and shortly thereafter a 
bundle carried thither by another negro, 
nor the expounder of Jeremiah presently 
wander carelessly in the same direction. 
They all kept carefully away from where 
they could see any of these things. Si 
and Shorty suffered themselves to be be- 
guiled by Miss Sophronia, who was visi- 
bly nervous, but unaccountably complais- 
ant, into a long conversation, on the op- 
posite porch, While the Elder mounted and 
rode away. Serg't Watersmith had also 
disappeared by the time that Si deliberate- 
ly assembled his squad, mounted them* 
and got his prisoners oxit, who were ta 
march on foot. Zeke tried to be communi- 
cative, but Si discouraged his advances, 
and finally flatly ordered him to keep si- 
lent. 

Zeke looked a little disappointed wheU 
the column started toward the Ogeechee, 
instead of hack toward the army. He 
showed absolute worriment when SI 
pushed directly across the river, and out 
toward the enemy's country, but told his 
followers that Sherman had probably 
moved on, and they were taking a short 
cut to him. 

A rebel stood on picket on the hill just 
beyond the river, who fired his gun and 
galloped back across the open fields to thai 
woods beyond. 

Giving a significant look to the real? 
guard not to let any of the prisoners get 
away. Si pushed on after the retreating 
videt, down to the center of the valley 
beyond, when a company of rebels in line 
emerged from the woods on the hill just 
ahead. 

At this Si ordered an about-face, auq 



166 



SI KLEGG AND SHOEtx. 



led the way in a jrallnp for the other side 
of the river, leaving the prisoners to their 
fate. 

As they gained the opposite bank, and 
faced-about to defend its passage, they 
heard a sound of rapid firius over the 
hiJl ,and saw Zelie Backhouse gain the 
top of the hill, only to fall before the pis- 



tol of an oCTirer. whom thjy imagined to 
bo Brother Albert. 

"If any of them got away it wasn't our 
fault," said Shorty, sending a long shot 
at the officer to warn him not to come 
any farther. 

'I'he officer raised his hat iu salute, and 
rode back out of sight. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 
AirOTHEE DAT AT THE SUTTON HOUSE— VISIT OF A EEBEL OFFICER 



"Brother Albert don't seem dead anx- 
fo-QS to revisit his old home," remarked 
Si, after they had waited a couple of 
hours on the river bank, without any sign 
of a forward movement by the rebels on 
the other side. "Of course, the Elder told 
him just how many there was of us, and 
if he"d been dead gone to see those charm- 
ing sisters of his he'd 'a jumped us at 
once, and tried to run us back." 

The thought flashed into Shorty's mind 
that if Maria and Annabel were over 
there only a few miles the whole rebel 
army would hardly stop him and Si from 
seeing them, if only for a brief five min- 
utes. 

For an instant there took complete pos- 
session of him the home-sickness which 
had been growing on him of late at every 
moment's respite from danger and strain- 
ing activity to have the march end some- 
where where they could get the mails and 
be once more in communication with the 
©bject of all his heart's desires. 

Si, who was looking at him, saw his 
face take on a look he had never seen 
there before, became alarmed, and asked: 

"You aint appearing well this morning, 
Shorty. Feel agerish?" 

"Wonder when we'll ever get any mail 
again. Si?" Shoily asked, with entire ir- 
relevance. 

Si understood, for he felt his face take 
on th# look he had noticed in Shorty's, 
ajjUf his being convulsed with surging emo- 
tions, that were becoming more undenia- 
ble every day. There was a gnawing hun- 
ger at his heart, and to divert it he turned 
and spoke sharply to Pete: 

"Pete, how often have I got to tell you 
about hitching that blamed white mule 
so near the horses that he can get a 
chance to pester them? Go this minute 
and take him away so far that he can't 
reach them with them india-rubber legs 
of his or them grave-stone teeth. Take 
fcim so tax that they can't even, smell him. 



Why don't you shoot him, and pick yon 
up a decent boss?" 

"He aint doing nothing to them,'' re- 
helled Pete. "Only defending himself. 
They won't let him alone. That's the 
trouble. They begin picking on him, just 
because he's a mule, whenever they can 
get at him. They're all rebels, them bosses 
is, and they torment him because he's a 
Yankee. I'll shoot the whole biling of 
them, first chance I get. Gome here, 
Ahednego, you poor feller. We'll get even 
with them cantankerous brutes before 
we're through with them, you bet." 

"I've no doubt the Elder's told Brother 
Albert something besides our numbers 
and situation," said Shorty, pulling him- 
self together, and coming down to prac- 
tical facts. "He's probably told him that 
the country back there's full of our folks, 
coming up from all directions, and that 
if he comes across the river he may not 
get back again, but go to board at Point 
Lookout, or Camp Chase, or wherever' 
he was, again." 

"Well," remarked Si, "we didn't set 
out to picket the river. That aint our 
business. We haven't time to fool away, 
if he's not inclined to transact business 
with us. We'll go back to the house, and 
see how the boys there are getting along. 
'Twon't do to let that woman back there 
get the idee that we're gone for good, un- 
til some of our men come up. There's 
no telling what sh.e might do to them 
boys." 

"She might go around and bite each 
one of thera," suggested Shorty. "That'd 
be mortally fatal, at once." 

"Mount, boys," said Si' to his squad, 
"and start back, two at a time. Harry, 
you and Monty lead off. Go to the left, 
through those woods, so they can't see 
you from the other side, if they're watch- 
ing. Stop on that first rise, dismount and 
go into line. Me and Shorty'U bring up 
the rear^ and watch if we're followed." 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



167 



dr 



No signs of the rebels , appearing as SI 
and Shorty warily withdrew, they gal- 
loi>od forward, joined the rest, and all 
moved briskly toward the Sutton house. 

On the road, some distance in front ot 
the house, Si met Serg't Foster Walsh, 
leader, of the escaped prisoners that they 
found during the night. 

He was out enjoying the delicious ex- 
perience of walking around in the Soutlv 
ern Confederacy without cariug whethei' 
any white man saw him or not. 

"Hello, Sergeant," called out Si. "How 
are you getting along?" 

"Inexpressibly happy, thank God, for 
His crowning mercy," replied Foster 
Walsh devoutly. "I feel as if tons of 
weight had dropped from my sinking 
shoulders — as the Pilgrim did when his 
burden of sin fell from him — as Lazarus 
did when the Savior called him forth from 
the sepulcher into the light of day. But 
I cannot understand why I have been 
spared for this great joy, when the clods 
of the valley have rolled over so mauy 
better men." 

"O, you have just played in great luck. 
You run across the 200th Injianny," 
Shorty started to remark irreverently, but 
Si, who was religiously much in harmony 
with the thought and speaker, interrupt- 
ed him: 

"God elects, for His own good will and 
pleasure, men to different fates. He has 
elected you, Foster, to be saved, and He 
probably has some great work for you to 
do. How's Miss Sophronia bin treating 
the boys?" 

"That old Jezebel," said Foster Walsh, 
savagely. "Just as soon. as your backs 
were turned she called to the negroes to 
come and take the boys out of those beds. 
I remonstrated with her, and told her 
that it might kill some of the boys, and 
quoted the Bible to her as to her Chriis- 
tianly duty. She told me to shut up and 
get out of the house — she wasn't taking 
her religion nor her Bible from any Yan- 
kee Abolitionist. The Word of the Lord 
being ineffectual, I had to try His sword. 
I had some of the boys take those rebel 
carbines and stand guard, and I informed 
her that we'd kill any negro who at- 
tempted to disturb the boys. She asked 
me if Yankee Christianity taught that it 
was right to go into peaceable Christian 
homes, rob them of their property, insult 
the women and threaten murder. I told 
her that the Bible commanded love, 
mercy, peace and charity upon all, to be 
kind to the poor and compassionate to 
the sick, and I proposed that that thing 
should go wherever I Avas, sure as she 
was a toot high. If she felt the rod it 
was because she deserved it. It was for 
her chastening, and for her growth in the 
fear and admonition of the Lord." 

"What'd she say to that?" asked Si, 
much interested. 

"She said she'd always heard that the 
Devil could quote Scripture, but she 



didn't know before that a Yankee could, 
and she ought to baste me over the head 
with the poker for my blasphemy. While 
she was running abuse like aa eave-spout 
in March, a colored woman came in to 
tell her that they'd heard the Yankees 
had burned a lot of rebel rations they'd 
found down at McClin ton's Store; that 
the Yankee foragers were over on Buf- 
fuin's plantation, next one to her's, and 
that there were a lot of Yankees coming 
up the road. I looked out and saw them, 
and told her that while I would not ad" 
vise deceit, the best thing that she could 
do was to represent that her house had 
been made a hospital for Union soldiers, 
and that it and everything around it 
ought to be spared on that account. I 
never saw a woman take a hint so quick- 
ly. By the time the squad turned up 
from the road she remembered that her 
folks had all been Union people, and^ 
voted against secession. Before they 
reached the house she felt that it was 
the womanly thing to care for the sick 
and wounded, whether friends or ene- 
mies, and by the time they hailed her 
she was a ministering angel, who delight- 
ed in good works. O, yes, she told the 
Lieutenant her house was filled with res- 
cued Union prisoners; everything possible 
had been done for them, her best beds 
had been given up to them, and clothes 
from the wardrobe of her own brother. 
The Lieutenant looked incredulous, as 
well he might, to find any Union feeling 
down here in this morass of slavery, but 
Brady Stevens and I were pointed out 
in evidence, and as he was in a hurry he 
passed on, ordering that nothing should 
be touched. You just ought've seen that 
old Jezebel breathe mercy, peace, grace 
and forgiveness on him as he rode away, 
and then turn and, wither us with a this- 
won't - last-alwaySj-and-I'll-have-my-tura 
look. But she is guileful enough to un- 
derstand that's the best card to play un- 
til the army goes by, and we'll get along 
splendid for awhile. But it's better to 
leave no sick Yankees behind to her ten- 
der mercies." 

"We're going to take no chances as to 
that," Si answered. "The reason that we 
came back, instead of going on toward 
Millen, was to get into communication 
with a Surgeon, somewhere, and have the 
boys transferred to a held hospital." 

"Do start for Millen as soon as you 
can, for I must go with you, and I'm pos- 
sessed of the spirit to get there as soon as 
possible." 

"What's your hun-y to get back to 
Millen?" inquired Shorty. "I thought you 
were straining every nerve to get as far 
away from there as possible. Y''ou're in 
no shape to go forward. Better go back 
and squat as near a commissary wagon 
as possible, and get some meat on your 
rack of bones." 

"I'll look out for getting meat on my 

■ bones. The Lord'll provide for that, now 

that I'm out of the hands of those sons o£ 



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168 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



Belial, who are persecuting and murder- 
ing His servants. With the Lord on my 
side, and a fat country like this, I'll get 
meat on uiy bones fast enough. I'm go- 
ing back to Milieu with you, and I want 
to start right away. The Lord calls me.;| 

••\Ahat's your sweat to get to Millen .' 
asked Shorty. "Can't we do all the busi- 
ness to be done there?" 

"Well, I'll tell you. My partner is 
back there, dying. He's a blue-eyed, fair- 
haired, piire-souled boy, that 1 care more 
for than any creature on earth, except my 
mother and sisters. I was his teacher in 
Sunday school, and would have married 
his sister if she had lived. But she was 
too good for me, or this earth, and God 
wanted her among His angels, whence 
she looks down upon me all the time. I 
was getting ready to enter the ministry 
when she passed av,-ay, and I interpreted 
it that God meant me for sterner work 
than peaceful ministrations in the church 
with her by my side. I had no longer 
heart for a service that I'd always 
planned we should labor in together. As 
the clay fell upon her coffin, 1 turned to 
those gathered about and said that the 
Flag of our country was now the cross 
I should henceforth follow, and invited 
those who were like-minded to come to 
me. This boy, against my will, insisted 
on going. I tried to take every care of 
him his sister would have done. I was 
with him every moment that I could be. 
At Ream's Station I could have got away, 
but he could not jump the ditch as I did. 
I jumped back to help him, and we were 
both captured. I took every care of him 
through Andersonville, Savannah and 
Milieu — fought at the wells for pure water 
for him to drink, and avoid the diarrhea 
and dropsy; I sold my shoes and every- 
thing else I had to get him vegetables 
and keep off the scurvy. At Savannah 
the guard shot at me, and grazed my arm 
for stealing boards with which to make 
him shelter. I helped dig a tunnel there, 
and got him out and as far as the Ogee- 
chee Kiver, though I had to almost carry 
him part of the way, his legs were so 
stiff with the scurvy. Then we were re- 
captured, and brought back. He got bet- 
ter the first weeks at Millen, because the 
ground was fresh and clean, and the 
veather grew cooler. Then when those 
terrible rains came on he took the fever, 
and wasted away to a skeleton, with his 
big blue eyes shining like his sister's be- 
fore she died. O, God, how I have prayed 
■ — not for myself — but for him. I don't 
murmur at any visitation God chooses to 
send on me. I probably deserve it for be- 
ing stiff-necked and perverse to His will. 
Let Him do anything to me, so long as 
He spares him." 

"Where is he now?" asked Si. 

"He's back there in the hospital at Mil- 
len. The rebels broke up the shanty I 
had built for him, as they did all the oth- 
ers in the pen, in their rage because we 
.wouldn't enlii» in the rebel army, and as 



I had no shelter for him from the awful 
rains I got him out to the hospital, where 
Newt. Greble, one of our company, could 
look after him. Newt's his cousin. I 
managed to get out to see him nearly 
every day, and wash him, and take care 
of liis clothes, but he seemed to grow 
weaker every day. Finally, I could stand 
it no longer. I could not bear the sight 
of his eyes looking appealingly at me. The 
Spirit semed to tell me that I could get 
through to our men, and bring them back 
to the rescue of those boys. Brady Ste- 
vens and I mixed up with some poor 
wretches who were going out to take the 
oath, and slipped away between the stock- 
ade and the Captain's otlice. We mixed 
up with the paroled men on detail, and 
others, and worked our way out into the 
woods, where we came across four oth- 
ers who had done the same thing, and we 
we all started for our lines. Sherman 
was farther off than we thought, and 
we'd've starved to death if it hadn't been 
for the negroes. It's taken me much 
longer than I expected, and now we 
mustn't lose any time getting there, if we 
hope to find poor little Angus alive. I 
should have tried to get that other squad 
to go, but I dared not leave those poor 
fellows in the house until you should 
come back, or our army come up. I felt 
I had a duty tov\'ard them." 

"You were right," answered Si. much 
moved by the story. "We'll do eveiTthing 
we can for you. How much of a rebel 
force do you think there is now at Mil- 
len?" 

"Very small. Not more than we, with' 
God's blessing, can handle. They'd run 
a good many of the prisoners off to Savan- 
nah before we left, and the guards had 
gone with them. More were goiiig every 
day. Probably there isn t mure than a 
company or two of rebels there now, and 
they're Georgia militia guarding the hos- 
pital and those in the stockade, who are 
unable to walk and are dying. They 
don't want to give them up as long as 
there's a breath of life in them. I want 
to fall on them as Gideon did on the 
Midianites, in the valley of Jezrcel. and 
put everv son of Belial to the sword." 

"That's all right," said Shorty. "We're 
in the sword business whenever it comes 
to any of these infernal stockade guards. 
I can kill one of them with less qualms 
than a yaller dog. Let's start as soon as 
we can, Si." 

"We must first make sure of the boys 
we've already got," said Si. "We mustn't 
take any chances about them. Aint sure 
there's no more Zeke Backhouses 'round 
here. Elder Hornblower may come back 
here any moment, and bietwixt him and 
that shining light in his congregation, 
Miss Sophrony, there's no telling what 
might be done to the boys. A Southern 
preacher and a Southern woman would 
cook up another Andeisnnville right here 
in no time. But our folks must be near 
here \>j tJm tUo*. Tbat smoke rising, 



I 



THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



169 



orer the, hills yofeder looks as if it came 
from camp-firc.< 'Monty, you and Hany 
ride over theVe, artd &ce if you can't stiike 
a camp, and a Sur;,'oon who'll como over 
here and take char;ce." 
■ "What did you do with Zeke Back- 
house and his gang?" eagerly inquired 
l.MisR Sophroiua, as Si rode up to the 
■ porch and ilismounted. 

""Tirrnod him over to your brother Al- 
bert' and hi.s gaiig," Si answered curtly, 
as he began to unsaddle. 

"WhatV" .she e.\clainied in startled 
amazement. She was silent for a min- 
ute, and then curiosity triumphed, and 
she asked: 

"You're telliug me the truth?" 

"Don't tell anything- else. Aiut that" 
kind of a man," answered Si, throwing his 
saddle on the porch. 

■"iuu flatter youiself, thinking we'd lie 
to you," said Shorty, taking another view. 
"Why should we?" 

Her stony face flashed with anger at 
the tone of contemptuous disparagement, 
and she was silent for another minute. 
Then curiosity again dominated, and she 
inquired: 

"Are you sure the Confederates got 
them? How did you know it was Broth- 
er Albert?" 

"We're as sure that the Johnnies got 
them as we are that cattle'll run into 
a clover field if you let down the bars, 
and you know as well as we do, who's 
in command of the rebels out there," an- 
swered Si, as he threw his bridle on the 
porch beside his saddle. 

"Then," she exclaimed, exultantly, 
"you've done the best day's work Yankees 
ever did. If we've got rid of Zeke Back- 
house and his crew the Y^mkees may 
come. They won't stay long, while Zeke 
and his following was with us always. 
Come in,, and I'll have the best supper 
cooked for you you ever ate." 

"Don't want your supper," Si replied 
ungraciously. "We'll cook our own sup- 
per. If you've anything good give it to 
those poor boys, whom your people have 
been starving to death." 

As Si now felt secure he set no guard, 
and let everybody busy themselves with 
getting supper, caring for the horses, and 
for the rescued comrades. Uncle Ephraim 
cooked supper for him and Shorty, while 
they were moving around, overseeing and 
helping, and keeping an eye out on the 
country, that they might not be siirprised. 

It came on very dai-k Avhile this was go- 
ing on, and still Harry and Monty had not 
returned. 

Foster Walsh, who had conducted a 
brief evening prayer-meeting, after sup- 
per, around the big iire in tho wash-shed, 
where most of tlie boys had gathered, 
cam to the front porch, where Si and 
Shorty were seated, pipe in mouth, await- 
ing the return of the messengers, and 
holding their usual evening council of 
war. He came to urge, as the moon 
would ri-^e brightly alJter awhile, that, if 



the expected relief came up, to push for- 
ward toward Millen that night. But; Si 
and Shorty decided that as they had had 
an exciting night before, and a very lively 
day, that it would be better for all to take 
a good night's rest and started eaily in 
the morning. 

As the discussion was terminating Pete 
came slipping up, and whispered to them: 

"Say, Miss Sophrony slipped out of the 
f.ouse awhile ago, and is now down there 
bfliind the spring-house talking to a 
man." 

"Let her," saii Si, iudifEerently. "Don't 
spoil any chance for her to get a hns- 
band. She's cantankerous enough as it 
is. It might sweeteH ker up a little to get 
a husband." 

"I Avonder which of the boys she's 
sweetened up on?" Shorty wondered laz- 
ily. " 'Taint either Giimshaw or Rad- 
bone, or one of the prisoners, is it?" 

"No; it aint auy of our crowd, I'm sure, 
though ho Vvcars a Y'ankee overcoat and 
cap. When I first noticed kim he was 
hanging around in the dark with one of 
the house darkies with him. He seemed 
to be keei)ing out of the light. Presently 
the darky v.ent into the house, and the 
man walked off. He seemed to know 
just where he was going. In a little while 
Miss Sophronia same out and walked 
right out to the spring-house and ui> to 
him." 

"W^hat sort of a looking man was he? 
Could you tell?" 

"As near as I could make out ho was 
a well-put-up sort of a fel-ler, about the 
size of you or Corp'l Elliott." 

"We've run up against a romance," 
said Sliorty, knocking the ashes oat of 
his pipe, and chthcklkig at his own humor- 
ous fancy. "Tkafs some timid lover, 
who wants to carry off the fair young 
flower of this happy hoHseh©ld, yet fears 
to brave the wratk of the justly-indignant 
parents, and so must meet kis love by 
moonlight alone." 

"She did kiss him, when she met Idm," 
said Pete, . always eager to back up any 
of Shorty's theories. 

"Poor man." groaned Shorty. "I hope 
it won't mortify. I'd rather be kissed by 
a fly-blister." 

"I left Sandy to watch 'em," continued 
Pete, "while I slipped around t© tell you. 
Here he comes bow." 

"They've gooe into the honse," whis- 
pered Sandy, "^e went first, aaxd a few 
minutes after be waited aloitg, keeping 
out of the Hght, until he eame to the 
porch, when he walked boldly up, and 
went straight to her room." 

"It couldTi'fve bin none of bs," said 
Pete triumphantly. "None of us'd've 
gone into the house, aTtd certaialy none 
would've bin bold enough to go to Miss 
Sophrony's room." 

"No, indeed," ejaculated Shorty, heart- 
ily. 

"Probably a rebel spy," meditated 
Shorty. "WeD, he's welcome to all that 



170 



EI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 




GOOD EVENING, CAPTAIN," SAID SI. 



he can find out here. Still, we don't 
want that class of cattle peeking around. 
Blast his impudence, to come i-ight in 
here among us." 

"O, lot 'cm (Mi.ioy love's young dr(>am," 
fiaid Shorty, sardonically. '•Feller that'd 
make love to a woman like that has pun- 
ishment enough. He haint sense enough 



to be dangerous. I'm going to lay down 
awhile." 

Si, gun in hand, got up, stepped noise- 
lessly across the porch, and pushed the 
hall-door open. He knew that the mother 
and Angelina slept in the rooms to the 
left of the hall, and he could hear that 
they were in deep slumber. He took a 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



m 



few steps on the strip of rag-carpet lying 
in the hall, aj:ul r-nuh' to the door of the 
sitting-roniu' ti> tin' ri,i;ht. It was open, 
and . tnukiii- (lia-unaliy across ho conld 
see -into' i\n: >lunv df sOphroiiia's room iu 
thelell beyond. H.^ koin luider the shade 
of the jaiul), and saw her sitting ■l)efore 
the bright fire, and iu another chair sat 
a njan, whose fanuly likeness showed to 
be a yonnger brother. lie had thrown off 
his cap and overt oat, revealing the uni- 
form ot a roliel olHoer, witli gold lace ou 
the sloi'vx's of the gray coat, and the 
double h:us of a Captain on his collar. 

"Her brother Alfred," commented ISi to 
himself. 

The man was making a hearty meal off 
the food which Sophrouia had evidently 
brought to the room in anticipation of his 
coming. 

'"Yes," ho said between mouthfuls. 
"You needn't have any more fear of the 
Backhouse gang. I didn't let one of them 
get away. This neighborhood's free from 
them until their children grow up. 1 
wasn't going to let such a chauce pass to 
make clean work." 

"Now, tinish your supper in peace," she 
said as she rose. "Y'ou needn't be at all 
disturbed. You're, safe as long as you're 
in my room. The Yankees never come 
a-nigh it. They have some points which 
make me think that they're almost hu- 
man. I'll go and wake mother, and An- 
gelina, and get them ready to see you. 
You can stay here till towards , morning, 
and then slip out without being seen. I 
heard the Sergeant say .that he wasn't 
going to put out any guards." 

Si slipped back through the hall door, 
land closed it again, so that the draft 
would not betray its opening to Sophro- 
nia as she passed to her mother's room, 
and touched Shorty with ■ his foot, who 
sprang up instantly. 

Si whispered the situation to him in as 
brief words as possible. 

"The devil," said Shorty, rubbing his 
eyes. "I suppose we have got to take 
him in." 

"I suppose so," agreed Si, wiiJi a touch 
of regret in his tone. "Let's l3: him tin- 
ish his supper first. He's got a mighty 
nice one there." 

"Why not let him alone altogether, and 
let the' fellows who are coming up take 
him?" 

" 'Twouldn't do at all. ^Fhey'd have a 
great laugh on us about not knowing he 
was here." 

"I suppose that's so." 

They waited what they thought was 



ample time, and then stole noiselessly in. 
Soiihronia was still occupied in her moth- 
er's room. 

"Good evening, Captain," said Si, ap- 
pearing before Sophronia's door, and in- 
terrupting the Captain in the act of fill- 
ing his jiipe. "Don't be disturbed. Go 
on and fill your pipe, and light it, and 
then stc]) out here. Sorry, but we must 
do our duty." . ■ - 

"Croat CodI" exclaimed the Captain, 
rising in agitation, and dropping his pipe. 
"This'll ruin me." 

"No," said Si, consolingly. "Just throw 
them Yankee togs out of the window, and 
there'll be no evidence against you as a 
spy. We didn't see you wearing them." 

"It isn't that," groaned the man. "It 
isn't that. I've been in the hands of 
your people ever since last Winter, and 
have only been back with my command at 
month. I've been talking of how well your 
people treated me until I have got my 
own suspicions of me. They begin to 
talk of me in the regiment as more than 
half- Yankee. Nothing will convince some 
of them that I didn't come back into your 
lines on purpose." 

Hearing the talking, Sophrouia came 
rushing into the room, and started a top* 
rent of abuse. The mother and other 
daughter, diviaing that something was 
wrong, began a noisy lamentation, the 
niothc-r calling for her son. 
' "Stop," said Si, authoritatively to So- 
phrouia. "Y'ou're liable to make matters 
mtich worse. Go, quiet your mother and 
sister at once." 

"Besides," continued the Captain, "I 
was under orders to join the regim.ent at 
Waynesboro. I was to've marched this 
evening. But I hadn't seen my poor old 
pother for so long, and I didn't know 
what hour she might pass away, and I 
was so near, and so I took the risk. I 
can never recover from this." 

Si and Shorty's eyes met. 

They heard the sound of hoofs ap- 
proaching on the road. It was Monty 
and Hari-y coming back with a detach- 
ment. 

"Quick," said Shorty. 

Si stepped back into the hall, and called 
out to Miss Sophrouia. 

"I hear men coming," he said. "I'm 
going out to see who they are. I think 
it is a force that I have sent for to re- 
lieve us here, and take charge of the 
house and these men. If you're harboring 
anybody here that yon shouldn't you'd 
better get him out, for I don't know who'll 
be in command. G^jme on, Shorty." 



z m 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

MISS SOPHKONIA MEETS SOME MORE YANKEES— THE BOYS REACH MILLEN. 



~ Si went out to meet the new-comers. 
-, He found there a detachment of 25 
inen from the 1st Oshkosh, under the com- 
mand of a very curt and positive Second 
Lieutenant, and a pale, slender, under- 
sized, spectacled Assistant Surgeon. 

"Had a hard day, Sergeant?" inquired 
Lieut. Gilleu of Si, as soon as he ascer- 
tained that he was in command. _ He 
spoke pleasantlv, but quickly and decisive- 
ly. "Very well; I'll relieve you. Serg't 
Ballon, you'll act as Officer of the Guard, 
and detail enough men to relieve all the 
Sergeant's sentinels. How many have 
you stationed, Serg't Klegg?" 
• "I haven't put any out yet." 
■ "No guards out, and two hours after 
dark? Sergeant, I'm surprised at you. 
Very unniilitary. I shall have to mention 
ic in my report." 

"Mention it or not, as you please, sir," 
answered Si, calmly. "We'd just come 
back from the river, and knew there were 
DO rebels this side of it, and we were keep- 
ing a good lookout all the same." 

"Nothing will justify not putting out 
sentinels at dark," said the Lieutenant, 
severely. "Never do it again, under any 
circumstances. If you haven't but two 
men, keep one on guard all the time." 

"Wonder hov^ much more he's learned 
of war in the two years and a half that 
the 1st Oshkosh has been in than the 
200th Injianuy learned that crossed the 
tthio a month ahead of them?" comment- 
ed Shorty, as the Lieutenant turned to 
instruct his Sergeant about posting the 
guard. 

"Let me have your list of the men you 
have i-ecaptured from the enemy," de- 
manded the Lieutenant, on his return. 
"How many are there?" 

"I haven't any list." answered Si, con- 
fusedly. "Didu'i think about making one. 
"We just took them in as fast as we could 
find 'em. and took care of 'cm best way 
we could, and" 

"Kxceedingiy immilitary. You should 
have at once entered every one's name, 
rank, company, regiment, when and where 
captured, and" , 

"Excuse me. Lieutenant," apologized 
Si. "I was more interested in getting 
hold of 'em, and saving their lives, and 
making 'em comfortable, and standing off 
the rebels, than I was in setting their 
names down. Besides, I clear forgot to 
bring any paper and pens with us." 

"An officer who goes out in command 



of men should never forget those things, 
any more than he should forget ammuni- 
tion and rations for his men. They are 
indispensable to command. Don't let this 
happen again. How many are there of 
them?" 

"How many?" repeated Si, scratching 
his head, and trying to think. "There's 
Steve Bigler, he belongs to a Pennsyl- 
vania regiment; and Con Giklea is a Reg- 
ular. That's two. Then there's that bat- 
tery boy who's lost all his teeth from 
scurvy, and that cavalry boy who can't 
talk — that's four. The boy we buried 
makes five, and" 

"Them two of Ellett's Marine Brigade 
makes seven," Shorty helped out. 

"Yes: seven we found in the cave. One's 
dead, the rest we brung away. Then 
there's Foster Walsh's squad; there's six 
of them, aint there. Shorty? That makes 
12 altogether." 

"Weil. I shall hold you accountable for 
12,'' said the Lieutenant. "Come, show 
me v,-hore they are, and I'll give you a re- 
ceipt for them." 

"I don't want any receipt," answered 
Si. rousing to anger. "They aint Com-^ 
missary or Quartermaster goods, to be* 
delivered on requisitions. They're human 
beings, who should be known man by 
man." 

"I've no time to discuss methods with 
you, sir. Your ideas and methods are 
clearly diffei-eut from mine. You'll do my 
way. You have reported 12 men. Show 
me'them at once, that I may make an ac- 
counting of them." 

Miss Sophronia, after hun-ying her 
brother off, had come to the front door to 
study the newcomers, and see if there 
were^ any danger of pursuit. She listened 
to the Lieutenant's lectures to Si with 
surprise, not comprehending how so force- 
ful a man as Si should quietly accept the 
Lieutenant's assumption of superiority. 

Womanlike, she had to mix in, and side 
with the under-dog. 

"You've no business to talk to him that 
way," she said sharply, indicating Si with 
a gesture. "If you'd've been as busy as 
he has j-ou'd've had no time for book- 
keeping, either." 

The Lieutenant turned on her a look of 
cold, piercing surprise. 

"IMadam," ho said, in chilling tones, 
"when I desire your advice on a matter 
of camp discipline I shall ask it." 

A Second Lieuteaaat can put on more 



ON TflEMARGH TO THE SEA. 



178 



chilling hauteur than any Brigadier-Gen- 
eral that ever wore a double-breasted coat, 
and Miss Sophronia recoiled a little, but 
she was not to be put down that way. 
Her temper flamed up at once, and she 
said: 

"I never was spoken to that way in all 
my life, by any man, white or black, and 
I've entertained the highest in the land — • 
■ 'President 'Davis, Yice-President ytephens, 
Secretary Cobb, and others. I'll not stand 
it from any man, especially a Yankee, 
Get o£f my place at once, you ill-bred van- 
dal." 

"Madam," responded the Lieutenant, 
with the same overpowering, icy calm, 
"you are not in command here. I am. 
You are under martial law. Your house 
is now a part of the camps of the army 
of the United States, and I am regularly 
assigned to its command. Y'ou and all in 
it will obey my orders, or I shall take 
ineans to see that you do." 

Miss Sophronia gasped as if stunned by 
a blow. Ever since her imperious girl- 
hood she had lived in a little community 
where her word was law. She had yield- 
ed a little to Si, as one does to natural 
forces, but here was a man, a young one 
at that, and one of the hated enemies, who 
was actually trying to dominate her by 
sheer manner, and, what was worse, was 
doing it. It was a staggering experience. 
The idea of her being under any man's 
command, and obeying his orders! For 
once in her life she was momentarily be- 
reft of speech, and while lier tongue staiU' 
mered in search of fitting words, the Lieu- 
tenant, with a calm assumption of having 
said quite sufficient for his purpose, 
turned to the doctor with: 

"Surgeon, you will proceed at once to 
examine these men and report to me upon 
their condition. Y'ou will convert this 
house into a hospital, and use everything 
in and around it, as your judgment shall 
indicate, for the best care of these men. 
All the people, white and black, are 
placed under your orders, and must give 
you whatever assistance you desire. I 
will establish my headquarters Ticre in the 
sitting-room, where you can report to me 
from time to time." 

"Do you mean to say, you nigger-steal- 
ing Hessian, you Abolition hireling, that 
you'll come right in here and coolly take 
possession of a Indy's house and every- 
thing that's in it?" blazed forth Miss So- 
phronia, whose tongue at last found ut- 
terance. "Why, this is worse than" • 

"Madam," interrupted the Lieutenant, 
transfixing her with the steady gaze of 
his cold gray eyes, "such disturbance as 
you are creating will excite the sick and 
hinder their recovery. It cannot be per- 
mitted in a building devoted to hospital 
uses. Hush at once, and retire to your 
i-oom. Remain there until T give " you 
leave to come out. If you disobey" 

The Lieutenant finished, the' sentence 
with a look which meant unutterable 
things. 



Manner always counted for far more 
in the South than in the North, where 
the substance of things was reckoned 
above looks. Women of the stamp ol 
Miss Sophronia were particularly amen- 
able to manner. She felt her soul wither 
under the mesmeric gaze of the Lieuten- 
ant, and retired precipitately to her room, 
to gather her forces for a fresh encoun- 
ter. , 

There the Surgeon, wandering through 
the house, in attendance on his patients, 
found her rocking in a chair before the 
fire, raging inwardly, a deadly look in her 
eyes, and yet a cowering at the idea of 
another interview with the impertui-bable 
officer. 

"Sorry to trouble you, ma'am," said he 
in a mild, propitiatory voice, "but have 
you any old linen that you could give ma 
for dressings? It's so much better than 
the bandaging supplied by the Govern- 
ment, as it's softer and less irritating." 

"Bags, you beast," she had framed her 
lips to say, when she took a good look at 
the Surgeon. He seemed incomparably 
the gentlest, neatest, frujlost man she 
had ever known, and had a depr-ecatory, 
apologetic way about him that appealed 
strangely to her coarser-fibered nature 
and rude strength. He was not only un- 
der-sized, but very slight. He had a high, 
white forehead, hands as slender and deli- 
cate as the most refined woman's, a small 
mouth with red lips, complexion of pink- 
and-white, like a girl's, on which lay a 
slight camel's hair mustache. He spoke 
as diffidently and softly as if afraid of 
the sound of his own voice.' 

As she looked her gaze turned to ad- 
miration as she noted these details, and 
for the first time in many years she saw 
a man whom she really wanted. His 
feminine refinement and grace seemed a 
complement to her own ruggedness. 

"I have a lot of coffee here," said he, 
gently, appealing to the dominant femi- 
nine passion in the South, "which I'd 
be glad to exchange with you tor some 
old linen, if you care to." He touch«d 
a haversack, the fragrance from which 
filled the room. "It is freshly browned 
by my own men." 

"Are you a married man?" she asked, 
irrelevantly. 

"No." 

"Engaged?" 

"No; I entered the army as soon as I 
graduated." 

"All doctors ought to be married," sh« 
suggested. 

"Not necessary in the army — not de- 
sirable, in fact," he ventured, diffidently. 
"Patients there don't mind whether you're 
married or not." 

"Good, active young doctor'd do well 
to settle down here," she remarked, tenta- 
tively. "All the doctors around here are 
old and breaking down fast." 

"It's a fine country," he responded. 

"Especially," she continued, "if he 
could man-y into a leading family, with 



174 



SI KLEGG AXD SHORTY. 



large connections, and his wife have prop- 
ert>- enough to give him a good start in 
life." 

"That would certainly be a windfall for 
a young physician starting in practice," 
he remarked, non-committaily. 

Never had she heard such a musical 
voice from the lips of man. The men 
of his regiment usually alluded to their 
Assistant Surgeon as "Miss Nancy," and 
said that he was the leading soprano m 
the church choir at home; but it seemed 
to Miss Sophi-onia that it would be rare 
happiness to always hear that voice. All 
the emotions are strangely related in 
women, and the very anger that filled 
her breast predisposed her to much softer 
sentiments. 

"What is your name?" she asked. 

"Charles Augustus Brooks, M. D., As- 
sistant Surgeon, 1st Oshkosh Volunteer 
Infantry." 

"Brooks? Brooks? There are Brooksea 
over on the Oconee, and they are quality 
people. Own a big plantation and about 
40 niggers." 

"Probably no relatives, ma am, he 
piped up, with a feminine pride of an- 
cestry. "We Brookses are descended from 
Ma j. -Gen. John Brooks, of the Revolution, 
Washington's intimate friend, and who 
was promoted for gallantly in storming 
the German works at Saratoga. There 
are a great many Brookses in the coun- 
try, but they are no connection of ours. 
My sisters call them the 'muddy Brooks.' 
Many of them spell their name with an e. 
None of them are our kin." 

"How do you find your patients. Sur- 
geon?" inquired the Lieutenant, in a dry, 
official tone, as he came up. "I am wait- 
ing for your report." 

"You shall have it presently, sir." re- 
sponded the Surgeon, quite as ofBcially aa 
his softer voice could assume. "I found 
some cases that required immediate atten- 
tion, and stopped in the preparation of 
my report to give it to them." 

"You will prepare your report first, sir, 
and attend to them afterward. I desire 
the infoi-mation at once." 

"Excuse me. Lieutenant," said the Sur- 
geon, as quietly as if asking a young lady 
for a cup of tea; "the care of these men 
is a professional matter, which I must 
perform in my own way. I'll furnish you 
the report in due time. If you want a 
list of the men. send around one of your 
own men to make it. I'm not your clerk." 

"You are under my command, sir," said 
the Lieutenant, doing the authoritative 
act up fine. . 

"Yes and no. You arc in command of 
the camp. I am in charge of the sick. 
We have our separate functions, and I 
shall discharge mine properly. I hope 
you'll do the same." 

"I'll see you later about this," said the 
Lieutenant," striding off. 

"Goodness gracious," gasped IMiss So- 
phronia. "I was afraid he was going to 



eat you up. I picked up the poker to 
hit him if he laid a finger on ypu." 

"O, he isn't going to bother me," replied 
the Surgeon, placidly. "I outrank him.-- ^ 
He's only a Second Lieuteuaut, while I ■'■■■' 
rank as a First Lieutenant. Lieut. Gil- 
ien is a very interesting man to study. He 
has great confidence in himself, and more 
of that force commonly termed mesmeric 
or odic, than any young man I ever met. 
These qualities are essential to leader- 
ship, and if he has judgment equal to 
them will make himself distinguished. I 
always like to study him when he is ex- 
erting them on other people. But when 
he tries them on me I simply put them 
under a microscope, and analyze them, 
same as I would examine his heart-beats 
with a stetheoscope." 

"How perfectly lovely you talk," she 
exclaimed, admiringly. "I never heard a 
man talk so well before, in my life — not 
e\en President Davis, or Vice-President 
Stephens. I could listen to you always." 

"I should like very much to stay here 
and talk with you," he replied, flattered, 
as a young man always is, by any prefer- 
ence exhibited by an older and more ex- 
perienced woman. "You seem a remarka- 
bly intelligent woman. But my patients 
need me. Have you any old linen you 
can give me? Here, take this coffee." 

Miss Sophronia opened a press and took 
out a linen sheet, which she tore into 
strips with a quick, strong grasp that 
aroused the Surgeon's admiration. 

"How very capable you are. Madam," 
he murmured with a graceful bow. "Such 
women are rare." 

"I'd go with you and help you, if you'd 
like," she said. "Only that horrid man 
ordered me to remain in my room." 

"Come along," he answered, delighted- 
ly. "Don't mind him. As I told you be- 
fore, I outrank him. Besides, this house 
is now a regular United States hospital, 
and everybody in it under my command. 
Come along." 

She followed him about, looking with 
admiring eyes on his gentle, sure touch on 
the aching, scurvy-contorted limbs of the 
poor boys, and his tender, almost sisterly 
sympathy with their disease aud pains. 
It was necessary several times to use the 
knife, and he did it promptly, decisively, 
and with sure guidance. She stood pa- 
tiently by. holding the candle, and hand- 
ing him the basin and the towels with 
an instant, intelligent helpfulness and 
lack of fussiness or blundering that de- 
lighted him. 

"I say again, you're a most wonderful 
woman," he remarked, as he was care- 
fully washing his hands after he had fin- 
ished, and she was standing near with a 
towel. "Quite a remarkable woman, Mrs. 
— Mrs. — I don't believe I have heard your 
name." 

"Miss Sophronia Sutton," she answered, 
with a strong accent on the "Miss." 
"That's awful long, though. Tou may 



THE MAKCH TO THE SEA. 



175 







'WITH FEVERISH EAGERNESS HE TOOK HIM IN HIS ARMS.'* 



call me 'Phrony when we're alone," she 
added, with as nmrh tender archness as 
she conld command in her strongly-graven 
features. "And I'm going to call you 
Augnstus. It is a very genteel name, and 
60 sweet." 

"Brooks? Brooks?" she communed with 
herself, after retiring to the privacy of 
her room. "Brooks, without the e. Those 
Brookeses over there spell their name 
with an e. They are the 'muddy Brooks.' 
Their great-grandfather that they boast 
so much about was only a Captain and 
Quartermaster in the Revolution, while 
Augustus's (and her meager bosom 
swelled with pride as if he were already 
her'.'?) was a Major-General, and mentioned 
in history. I don't care if he is a Yankee. 
There n\" * be some yood men among the 



Yankees, as well as other people, and he's 
one of them." 

"I observe. Surgeon," remarked Lieut. 
Gillen, with official austerity, as the Doc- 
tor came into his room to submit his re- 
port, "that you are becoming quite friend- 
ly with that woman in there. Such things 
are very dangerous to the discipline of a 
camp." 

"My social and personal relations are 
not subject to j'our criticism, sir," re- 
plied the Sui'goon, tartly. "Y'ou will please 
direct your attention to my report, which 
I herewith submit to yon." 

"Say," commented Shorty, after wit- 
nessing the I^ieutenant's discomfiture of 
Miss Sophronia, and while he and Si were 
fixing down for the night, "thnt Second 
Lieutenant puts on frills enough fav old 



176 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



Sherman himself, but he certainly took 
the starch out of that she-cesh gallinipper 
to the Queen's taste, and he has my 
thanks. He has front enough for a town- 
hall, but he's business, ail the same, from 
the ground up." 

"Klast him and his front," said Si, 
Bleepilv. "Let's lie down. I've arranged 
with the Sergeant that we be waked just 
before daylight. Better get what sleep 
we can." 

Even before the Sergeant came around 
the next morning the restless Foster 
Walsh had wakened them, had made his 
own coffee, had s.iddled a horse he found 
in the stables, and was impatiently wait- 
ing them to get ready and start. 

It was full daylight when Si took his 
place at the right of the line, and just 
as he put his foot in the stirrup to mount 
the Lieutenant strode out on the porch 
and demanded: 

"Scrg't Klegg, do you presume to leave 
camp without first reporting to me, and 
securing my approval '.''" 

"Why. Lieutenant," stammered Si, em- 
barrassed at being caught in another mil- 
itary blunder, "I supposed you knew all 
about it. We talked it all over last night 
and decided. I thought you heard it all, 
and supposed" 

"You are never to suppose anything in 
the army, sir," the Lieutenant sternly cut 
him off. "It is your duty, sir, to officially 
inform me, as commander of this posi*, 
of any move you contemplate making, and 
receive my sanction or disapproval." 

"Why," began Si, but Shorty, who wfts 
fidgeting to get off, interrupted with a 
loud whisper: 

"O. stop the chin-music. Si. Report to 
him oflicially, and let's get away." 

Si brought his heels together, took the 
position of a soldier, saluted stiffly, and 
said: 

"Lieut. Gillen, I desire to report that 
I am about to start with my detachment 
in the direction of Milieu, on a scout to 
secure information and assist prisoners 
who may have gotten away from the reb- 
els." 

"Amend your report. Sergeant," said 
the Lieutenant, returning the salute, "by 
adding, 'in pursuance of my orders.' " 

"But it wasn't your orders at all," Si 
started to remonstrate, but Shorty inter- 
fered : 

"Say it. Si; say anything, and let's get 
off." 

"Yes, yes; humor him," added Foster 
'\\'alsh, impatiently. 

"In pursuance of your orders," said Si. 

"Very good. Sergeant," responded the 
Lieutenant, in his dry, official tone; "you 
have correctly understood my wishes, and 
I herewith hand you a written order to 
that effect. You will report to me from 
tin'e to lime the ]irngress you make." 

Si restrained himself into a respectful 
salute as he received the order, but there 
was something vindictive in the way be 



jammed it into his blouse pocket as he 
turned and sprai^g into the saddle. 

"If that feller's o^cial dignity," snorted 
Shorty, as they rode away, "should be 
exposed to the weather, and get wet and 
swell up, it'd take a whole State for him 
to turn around in. Lucky the country's 
open around here. He'd never get it 
through the woods in the world." 

"Surgeon, you are not going away?" re- 
marked the Lieutenant, noticing that the 
Surgeon was bringing up the rear. 

"1 have carefully provided for all the 
sick during the day, sir," responded the 
Surgeon, officially saluting. 

"But it is not my desire that you should 
go, sir." 

"But it is mine to go, sir," said the 
Surgeon, saluting, and turning to follow. 

"O, Augustus, you are not going to 
leave me, are youV" wailed Miss So- 
phronia, rushing out on the porch. But 
he was already too far away to hear her 
appeal. 

Foster Walsh led the way in a rapid 
ride in the direction of Milieu. Willing 
and eager as Si and Shorty were they 
could not keep up with him. He was all 
the time a quarter of a mile ahead, and 
far in advance of Pete and Sandy, who, 
as usual, acted as advance guard. At 
every hill-top, after scanning the country 
in front, he would turn and look . back 
with impatience at the s-iowuess with 
which the column came on. k5i and Shorty 
were not a little anxious lost he be bush- 
whacked, but they could not get near 
enough to urge caution, and it would have 
been useless if they had. 

Shortly after they crossed the Ogeechee 
River they saw four horsemen come ob to 
the crest of the hill far ahead. The in- 
stant Foster Walsh caught sight of them 
he rushed up the hill at them, and though 
they hastily fired, he waited until he was 
close on to them, when he shot one 
through the heart. The rest turned and 
dashed back over the crest. Si and Shorty 
galloped forward, with Pete and Sandy, 
to see Foster W^alsh overtake one of the 
others, who was trying to escape by a 
side road to the left, and knock him out 
of his saddle by a blow With the barrel of 
his carbine. 

"Say, what did you rush into them so 
for?" remonstrated Si. as Walsh came 
back, leaving the man where he lay. "They 
might've been the advance guard of a 
whole company. I thought they were at 
first." 

"It would have been the same if there 
had been," Walsh answered. "The Lord 
inspired me. His will directs me. Though 
a thousand fall at my side, and ten thou- 
sand at my right hand, it shall not come 
nigh me." 

"JMay be the Bible, but it aint soldiering 
in Georgy," commented Si. "I'ou should 
use more strateg.v. Pete, you and Sandy 
had better ride over there and bring that 
man in. We'll do what we can for him." 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA- 



177 



"He don t need any help, the son of 
Belial," said' Foster Walsh. "The spirit 
of the Ijord iiorvcd my arm, and I landed 
on the bnelv of his neik. just as I aimed. 
They Avere Some of the guards who've been 
shooting u!H from the stockades all Sum- 
mer, and now've deserted, and are trying 
to sneak a way home. I recognized them 
as soon as I laid- eyes on them." 

"He's as dead as the fellow hack 
there," derided the Surgeon, after a brief 
e^iamination of the Iwdy which Pete 
brought in lying across the withers of 
Abedncgo. . "His neck was broken by the 
blow. First instance I have seen of such 
a thing, but the bones of these poor whites 
are soft, and yield readily under a blow." 

"Lay him beside the road there," com- 
manded Si. "We'll tell them at the first 
house we come to to go back and get the 
bodies and bury them." 

"Follow me faster," shouted Foster 
Walsh, as he rode off. "We must get 
there before sundown." 

From time to time during the day they 
saw men, sometimes singly, sometimes in 
squads. Foster Walsh would dash at 
them, and they would scurry away at the 
sight of the bluecoats coming up behind 
him. Some would fire long-distance shots, 
without any effect, but Foster Walsh 
would not fire until he was certain of 
deadly effect. 

"The Lord has not put weapons into 
my hands to frighten, but to slay them," 
he remarked to Pete and Sandy once 
when they came together for a minute. 
"They only mock at Him when they es- 
cape death. They think there is no judg- 
ment when the bullets turn aside from 
them. They must die to atone for their 
wrongdoings." 

Noon passed, and yet all were too eager 
to stop for dinner. They pressed on after 
the tireless Foster Walsh. 

"Say, Foster," said Si, coming up to 
him as they were working through a 
swamp, "I notice that all the fellers who 
haA'e run back lately have gone that way. 
They're gathering on us over there, some- 
where. W^e'd better go a little .slow and 
get our bearings." 

"Come on; come on," answered Foster 
Walsh, impatiently. "We're getting near 
there. The Lord tells me that if I can get 
there before sundown. I'll save Angus's 
life. If the sun goes down on him once 
more he'll give up all hope and die during 
the night. That's the way they all do. 
Come on." 

Si closed up his squad, to be ready for 
anything, and pressed on after. Presently 
they saw a squad of five mounted men 
whom Si divined had been sent out from 



n force behind to reconnoiter, but j)efor« 
he could plan his battle, Foster Walsh 
dashed at and through them, bringing 
down one with a shot through the head. 

"Let's follow, on the jump," said Si to 
Shorty. "It'll be the safest." 

Shouting to the others, "Forward! 
Charge! GallopI" he and Shorty put tha 
spurs into their horses' flanks, mixed up 
with the reconnnitering party, and with it 
dashed through the line of prison guards 
drawn up along a low crest a mile from 
the stockade. For a lurid minute there 
was an exciting turmoil, with the guards, 
afraid of hurting their own men, firing 
excitedly and at random, and the Union 
soldiers taking as good aim as they could 
from the excited and plunging horses. 
Then every guard that was still able to 
struck out for the neighboring woods as 
fast as his legs could carry him. 

Leaving the fight to be decided as it 
might, Foster Walsh had dashed ahead 
to a line of low shacks thatched with tufts 
of long-leaved pines, which constituted the 
prison hospital. Three or four skeleton- 
like figures sitting against the trunks of 
the pines tried to rise up and shout at the 
sound of the firing and the appearance of 
the galloping men in blue coats, but he 
paid no attention to them. 

He sprang from his horse and ran inta 
the corner shack. 

"Angus, are you still alive? It's— - 
Foster," he shouted. 

The fearful death-odor, the noisome ex- 
halation from men whom Death has sealed 
for his own, and which always filled those 
prison-hospitals, struck his nostrils and 
almost made him faint, but his eyes eag- 
erly searched the emaciated forms lyinjj 
on the litter of pine-boughs, and present* 
ly with a groan he sprang at one with a 
mop of matted fair hair, and blue eyes 
set in a stony glare. 

With feverish eagerness he took him' 
in his arms, and felt his pulse, and then 
an out and raised a shout for the Sur- 
geon so loud and imperative that the Doc- 
tor turned from the wounded man and 
ran toward him. 

"Your flask, Doctor," shouted Walsh. 
"Quick as you can." 

The Surgeon forced a few drops of 
brandy between the set teeth. The rigor 
of the boy's form departed, and his blue 
eyes closed. 

"We have saved him! He's going to 
live! I know it! It is the Lord's will!" 
said Foster Walsh, and sinking on hia 
knees on the disease-tainted pine-tufts, 
he poured forth his soul in devout thanks- 
giving for the boy's life thus far, and 
earnest supplication for his recovery. 



178 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTi; 



A DAY AT THE PEISON STOCKADE IsTEAR SULLEN. 



' There was a groat similarity in rebel 
iniilitary prisous. 

Almost all ot them were simply great, 
open ijous, iuclosed by a high stockade 
of heavy pine logs. 

The design and execution were very 
crude and simple, probably borrowed 
from the old Indian wars. 

A deep ditth, with straight sides, was 
first dug around the site of the intended 
prison. This was probably two feet wide 
and five feet deep. Then pine logs, 25 
feet long, were set on end in the trench, 
and the earth packed firmly about them. 

It made a very solid wall, which would 
resist even field artillery. 

At intervals along the top of this wall 
were little perches for the guards, who 
could overlook the entire interior of the 
prison. 

"Camp Lawton," as the prison near 
Millcn Avas officially tenned, was con- 
structed in this manner. Inside the stock- 
ade was merely bare ground, with, no 
sort of shelter or other provisions for the 
thousands who were turned into it. 

Outside the stockade rose a strong fort* 
nioimted with field guns, to overawe thu 
prisoners, and the garrison was shelter- 
ed in rude huts and shacks. 

An apology for a hospital was estab- 
lished in the shape of shacks of pine- 
boughs, which aliorded a little shelter 
from the cold, drenching Fall rains for 
those prisoners who were sinking under 
the exposure and hardships inside the 
stockade. 

Though the prison had been establish- 
ed less than two months, had held less 
than a fifth as many prisoners as were 
confined in Andersonville, and thus lack- 
ed many of the horrors of that terrible 
place, the evidence on every side of the 
misery of the poor captives sickened Si 
and Shorty as they walked about and 
looked. 

All the prisoners able to walk had been 
gent away. The rebels took no chances. 
They would spare no man who had in 
him the least probability of being dan- 
gerous to the Southern Confederacy. Men 
with their legs stiffened and swollen with 
scurvy and drawn up near to their bodies, 
men with their teeth dropping out, men 
Viloated with the dropsy, men coughing 
their lives away in galloping consumption, 
men reduced to skeletons with dysentery, 
were all sent off, though every car on 
which they rode had its ghastly burden 
of dead before they reached Savannah, 
CUeiiles away. They were sent oq open 



flat cars, in the midst of a pitiless, mar- 
row-searching November rain, which beat 
through their enfeebled bodies to their 
very hearts. Only a few wretched and 
hopeless invalids at the very brink of the 
grave, and who it did not seem possible 
could live more than a day or two, were 
left lying on the noisome pallets of pine- 
boughs, in the abject makeshift for a hos- 
pital. They and Iheir wretched surround- 
ings seemed like some horrible nightmare 
—some racking dream of the tortures of 
the Inquisition. Si and Shorty walked 
to the great gate of the stockade — that 
portal toward which the prisoners' eyes 
were always turning with deep interest, 
to see the rations come in, fresh batches 
of prisoners arrive, the dead carried out, 
or in expectancy of that happiest of aU 
events — "exchange." 

The two comrades looked in and their 
eyes traveled sorrowfully and indignant- 
ly over the lonely and desolate interior of 
the prison, every feature of which was 
eloquent of measureless human misery — • 
the hateful dead-line, with its visions of 
malicious young brats of guards shoot- 
ing prisoners on the slightest pretexts; 
the holes — now filled with water — that 
scarred the surface of the ground, show- 
ing where the boys, with no tools but 
their hands and sticks, had burrowed to 
get some sort of shelter from the ele- 
ments; the poor hovels laboriously fab- 
ricated by the luckier or stronger out of 
pine-boughs and tufts of leaves; the un- 
sig;htly vessels, roughly carved out of 
chips, in which they had mixed their 
coarse cornmeal. Wherever the comrades 
looked they sav/ some mournful reminder 
of the dire destitution and needs of the 
poor captives. 

In an old field a little removed from 
the stockade was the last dolorous chap- 
ter in this ineffable tragedy. Long lines 
of freshly-turned yellow sand showed 
where hundreds had been laid away 
where the malice of traitors could trou- 
ble them no longer — hunger and hardship 
felt and feared no more. Treason had 
done its worst. Its victims now had suf- 
fered the last pang. Forgiveness of their 
torturers was now as impossible as re- 
paration. The case was before the Judg- 
ment Seat of God, and they must be the 
accusers, 

"Say, Shorty," said Si, abruptly, turn- 
ing away, and pulling himself together 
with an effort. "Let's go away and do 
something. I can't look on this any lon- 
ger, or my heart would turn co stone, and 



ON THE MAECH TO THE SEA, 



179 



I'd start into killing every living thing 
in Georgy. I'm afraid I can never be 
merciful again to anything that v.'ears 
butternut." 

"I don't want to be," answered Shor- 
ty. " 'Twouldn't be right to the boys 
whom they wouldn't be merciful to." 

''I wfsh them cowardly hyenas of 
guards had kad a little more sand," Si 
remarked regretfully. "I'm afraid we did 
not kill one of them, after all our talk 
what we'd do when we came up with 
them. Never saw men scatter and run 
so quick in niy life. It was like landing 
in a parcel of rats. I was looking for the 
captain, as my special meat, but before 
I could make cut which he was the gang 
was out of sight and range." 

"I suppose there's no way of getting 
them, except by running them down with 
dogs," said Shorty. "I'd like awfully 
well to lay hands on about a half a dos- 
en, so's to sleep easier after looking at 
that pen." 

"I expect the best thing's to go back 
to Foster Walsh, and see if we can help 
any there. There's nobody left alive in 
the pen, and all the rebels have struck 
out for tall timber for all their lives were 
worth." 

"If they couldn't run any faster than 
their lives were worth," Shorty answer- 
ed, wratbfully, "a snail would overtake 
them the first rod. If I had the chance, 
I could kill 1,000 of them this minute, 
'and then not feel half-satisSed. Wasn't 
there a feller in the Bible, Si. that let 
loose a lot of wolves on his enemies, to 
cut their throats and suck their blood"?" 

"No; you're thinking of Samson, Shor- 
ty, and they were only foxes, that burnt 
up their fields." 

"Well, foxes wouldn't suit me. I want 
wolves, painters, catamounts, something 
that's fierce for cutting throats and suck- 
ing blood. Then I'd want to go in and 
kill the wolves and painters for having 
BO much rebel blood in 'em." 

"There's a couple o' rebels now," said 
Si, instinctively bringing down his gun, 
as he noticed some men walking out to- 
ward them from among the shacks. "I 
wonder who they can be?" 

"Let's shoot 'era and inquire after- 
ward," suggested Shorty, cocking his gun. 
'I feel as if I can't live another minute 
without killing something rebel." 

"Hello, Indianny," shouted one of the 
men, as they came forward. "Awful 
glad to see you." 

There was no mistaking. Though the 
garm^ents were those of Esau, the voice 
was that of Jacob. It was a clear-ring- 
ing, bell-like Yv''estern voice, such as no 
rebel ever had. 

"Hello, Kankakee, is that you?" said 
Si, I'ecognizing him and lowering his gun. 
■'Where in the world did you come from? 
What are you doing with them togs on?" 

"Yes, it's me," said the Illinoisan, ad- 
vancing. "I've often, since I was in- 
carcerated, tried to sophisticate that it 
was some one else, since I've got an ap- 



petite somewhat superfluous in its rapaci- 
ty, but now I'm mightily sublimated that 
it's me. Got some hardtack with you?" 

"Kankakee," who appeared on the 
hand-bills he used to distribute before 
the war as "The Kankakee Wizard." 
"The seventh son of a seventh son; bora 
with a caul on his head, foretells the fu- 
ture and reveals the past," was a tall, 
dark man of about 30, with a wide 
mouth, thin lips, and long, coal-black 
hair. He had, befoi-e enlistment, been 
a wandeiiing lecturer on phrenology, mes- 
merism, spiritualism, and temperance; an 
auctioneer, a street-corner and country- 
fair fakir of soaps, liniments, tooth-ache 
droDS, and corn salve; an Indian herb 
doctor, or anything else that gave him 
an opportunity to talk and use big words, 
in whose length and sound he revelled, 
without thought or care of their real 
meaning. The more syllables they had 
the better he liked them, and the greater 
his assurance in using them. He was 
something of a juggler, and a ventrilo- 
quist, and at heart generous and kindly, 
and made a good soldier of the happy-go- 
lucky kind, who simply obeyed orders 
and was always ready for duty without 
concerning himself in the least as to the 
why or wherefore of anything, so long as 
he got his regular meals and a place to 
sleep. He was the life of the camps, 
especially on pleasant evenings, when up- 
on the lightest call he would sing his old 
rough-and-ready fakir songs, or deliver a 
lecture upon any possible subject, full of 
the most astounding words, delivered 
with the utmost earnestness and gravity, 
and lasting as long as anybody would lis- 
ten to him, or until tattoo cut him off. 

"Drop that, Kankakee," said Shorty, 
handing him a cracker. "We're in a hur- 
ry. AVe haven't time for anything but 
plain United States, and that in words 
of one syllable. Where did you come 
from?" 

"Most surrepshusly, from the pile of 
empty meal-sacks in the commissary at 
headquarters, where we've bin seques- 
trated, waiting for the Yanks to deploy- 
gisticate into view, so to speik." 

"H»w did you get there?" 

"T?e Adjutant took me out to propa- 
gate in his intellect how to tell fortunes 
by cards, win any woman for your sweet- 
heart, and cure iu-gi-owing toe-nails with- 
out the use of a knife. He was suffering 
in his mind to know all these, and as 
I am the only original Jacobs of a pro- 
fessor in that line, I made a bargain with 
him for extra rations for me and my co- 
operator here, until I learned him these 
invaluable secrets. You bet I didn't en- 
danger brain fever by rushing knowledge 
into his head. I wasn't going to let him 
graduate until I could sfiike some other 
good lay for rations, or get a chance to 
skip to our lines. We were all banged 
up trying to got away from Savannah. 
Where did we pre-empticate these gar- 
ments? They're the paraphernalia i>t 
hell, aint they? The rebes* taraded hata 



180 



gl KLEOG AND gfiORTT.' 



with me and Salamagundy here when 
they dislocated us from the skirmish line 
in front of Jonesboro. We jumped the 
outtit that night, and the next day we 
went into a house to get some sustenance 
and I got this coat and britches for learn- 
ing the woman a verse that'd keep her 
baby from having fits. It'll do it every 
time. The next day we went mto anoth- 
er house, and 1 got the coat and britches 
for Salamagundy by pounding up some 
weeds and bark to cure the man's horsQ 
of the hot ts. We snatched the shirts 
from a line one night and thought we 
was in good shape to make our way back 
to our lines, but we run into a patrol one 
night and the next day they was about 
to hang us for spies, when we owned up 
who we was and they sent us to Savan- 
nah. We got through a tunnel there, 
got acrost the Ogeechee, and was getting 
along fine when we struck a bush-meet- 
ing, where they was waiting for their 
preacher, and we said we was strolling 
evangelists — you know Salamagundy 
there can sing like a cat-bird. I gave 
them the best sermon they'd ever heard 
in all their born days — nearly all of them 
said that — and Salamagundy, he'd sung 
•There is a gulf of dark despair" m a way 
that sent the women into hysterics. The 
bench was crowded with mourners, and 
we'd just took up a bully collection— r 
had a hat full of Confederate notes — 
when they come after us with the hounds. 
I'd heard the hounds coming for some 
time, but didn't think they'd sic 'em on 
k) a minister of the Gospel, in the very 
act of preaching the Word. But they did 
rhat very blasphemous thing. Abracada- 
fcra, high-cockalorum, you ought t've seen 
that meeting. Five or six old pennyroyal 
bulls who hadn't throwed even a shin- 
plaster into the hat was roaring mad 
about us swindling the people, and they'd 
've welted the immortal souls out of us 
if the soldiers hadn't took pity on us and 
jumped inland saved our lives. As it was 
them pennyroyal bulls got away with the 
■whoJe collection, which was worse than 
the larruping they gave us. They took 
us back to Savannah and then brung us 
out here. As soon as we was able to 
walk again, I begun to play to get out- 
side. I made myself solid with the Ad- 
jutant, and was beginning to learn the 
Colonel how to feel bumps and mesmer- 
ize, and was gifting extry rations which 
I was sending to the boys inside, when 
the stampede took place. They tried to 
rush us into the gangs they was sending 
off, but me and Salamagundy dodged 
them one way and another, and finally 
hid in empty meal-sacks right behind the 
Colonel's tent, where no one thought of 
looking for us. We intended to light out 
tonight for our lines.' 

In the meanwhile Foster Walsh and 
Surgeon Brooks had been laboring anx- 
iously with Angus McLean. Foster lift- 
ed the boy in his arms as tenderly as he 
would a baby, caiTied him carefully to 
tlie comfortable cabin which bad been 



built for the Colonel, and there laid him 
on the Colonel's bed of straw. Every mo- 
tion was made with dread anxiety lest 
the least roughness might jar out the fee- 
ble, flickering spark of life. Surgeon 
Brooks walked_ bj^JEosterV-^ide to give 
him unneeded cautions. With the scis- 
soi-s- ta4ien- irein rhis--s-H4:gical. case, Dr. 
Brooks carefully - trirnroe<:r~off- the boy's 
hair close to his scalp, -rmd Then washed 
him all over with ,a ,,luckij ^ y -discovcred 
.piece of the Colon©r«-toll«t~soap and wa- 
ter heated to milk-vrarmnoss. He would 
not even triist Foster ..^piistt-to do this. 
Then the empty cotton ;^e?tT-sacks were 
used to make a soft bed," and cover the 
poor little invalid warmly. 

"What he needs now is nourishment," 
said the surgeon. "A few spoonfuls of 
chicken broth would be worth more than 
all the medicines in my case. But I don't 
suppose there's a chicken left within 10 
miles of this wretched place." 

"If there is one," remarked" SI, who 
had looked in, "Uncle Ephraim can find 
it." 

"Deed, I kin, boss," said Uncle 
Ephraim. 

"Well, scout out, and find one as quick 
as you can. Take Pete and Sandy with 
you, if you want to." 

While the surgeon was laboring over 
Angus McLean, Alf Russell, with the 
rest to help, was imitating his proceedings 
with some dozen or more other miserables 
whom the surgeon had decided that there 
were some chances of saving. As to 
some two score others, he had said sadly: 

"Absolutely no use. They'll never see 
the sun rise again till Resurrection Morn. 
Don't even touch them. It'll disturb 
their last moments. Put all your work 
where there's some hope." 

They carried those whom the surgeon 
had indicated as having some hopes into 
the officers' cabins, cut their hair and 
washed them, and covered them on the 
straw bunks with the empty meal-sacks. 

Alf Russell was lucky enough to find 
some pieces of fresh meat and bones ia 
the quarters that belonged to the force 
which they had scattered, and from these 
started in to make a beef-tea. 

Foster Walsh was momentarily torn 
by contending emotions. When there 
would come a faint fiush of color steal- 
ing into Angus's wan cheeks, his hopes 
would soar-, and he would kneel and lift 
his voice in thanksgiving. When Angus 
would sink away again he would be 
swept with uncontrollable rage, and rush-' 
ing out fling a firebrand into the first 
cabin or shack he came to. 

Uncle Ephraim, Pete, and Sandy gal- 
loped out into -the! country with eyes on 
the eager look-out for signs of chickens. 
The prospects were poor. It was a coun- 
try given up to the poor white trash 
whose only poultry were the scarce wild 
birds of those sandy barrens. Only an 
occasional house was seen where it look- 
■ed as if people had attempted to raise a 
Jlttle flock o( cbifiJECW ia spite Gȣ the 



ON THE ilARCH TO THE SEA. 



181 




HELLO, INDIANNY! GOT SOME HAEDTACK WITH YOU?' 



owls, hawks, foxes, minks, and wildcats. 
Where there were signs that the poul- 
try had managed to survive these, it was 
found that they had succumbed to the 
host of new enemies from the hungry 
guards about the prison. 

They went a mile farther, to get out 
of easy range of these, and came to a 
house showing a little more thrift. There 
were no chickens running around any- 
where. 

"But dar's bin some chickens roosting 
in dat dar cedar," said Uncle Ephraim. 
"An ojouty lately, too," he continued, as 



he examined more closely. "Dey's got 
some chickens somewhar. See dem aig- 
shells dar." 

"Where can they be?" said Sandy and 
Pete, straining their eyes in eveiy direc- 
tion for a sign of feathers, without catch- 
ing sight of any haughty chanticleer 
bravely leading his clucking ti-oop afield. 

They looked through the grounds, pok- 
ed under the lilac bushes, investigated 
the stable and cribs, and searched the 
hay-mow and fodder stack, in hopes th^t 
they might find a hen on a nest. 

All in vaJU, 



182 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



"Dcv sartiuly hab chickens h.vab," pei-- 
sisted'Unclo Ephraira. ''See dar, whar 
dey d'arcd doir coffee dis mornin' wid 

^\hfv looked and saw where the coffee 
pot ha'd been emptied after breakfast of 
its crusts of bread, bits of parched sweet- 
potatnos. parched wheat, aiid other poor 
substitutes for the coffee-bean. In tlie 
midst of the "grounds' was a perfectly 
fresh egg-shell. , , . , 

"And here's a sure-enough chicken 
track in this damp spot by the well. 
said the sharp-eyed little Pete. Lets 
inquire in the house." 

"Might be as well," said Sandy, sar- 
donically, "seeing no chance to steal 
anv chickens, we might , try to get them 
honestly. Nice lot we're getting to be. 

"Madam," he addressed the woman 
who came to the door, "we want very 
much to get some chickens.' 

"You do," she answered scornfully. i 
gathered as much from watchin' you pi- 
routiu' round the roosts and the hen s 
nests. I didn't s'pose you'd come elec- 
tioneering, or to give a war widdow a 
nice surprise by gettin' in her Winter 
wood. Well, you kin jes' mosey on. I 
haint nary sign of a chicken left. You 
guards down thar at the bull-pen done 
stole every one I had afore you'd bin thar 
a week. Jes' mosey on, now, afore I set 
the dogs on you." 

That the woman should mistake them 
for some of the prison guards was not 
unnatural, as she had never seen any Un- 
ion soldiers, and the Georgia Reserves 
wore any clothes that they could get. 

"We need some chickens awfully, ma - 
am," pleaded Sandy, "for some poor dy- 
ing men down at the prison. They 11 die 
unless we can get a little broth for them. ' 

"Old story." she snapped. "Done 
beared it a hundred times, if I've beared 
it once. Never seed sich men as them 
down thar at the bull-pen to be dying 
for want of chicken gru«l. You'd think 
the whole army lived on chicken gruel, 
and died jes' as soon's the supply shet 
down. You'd think that I'd bin appoint- 
ed to raise chickens fer their greul. But 
I ain't. I've got enough to do to raise 
plain corn and yams enough to keep us 
alive till my ole man gits back from the 
army. Go off, now, I tell you agin. I haint 
n^ more time to waste on you. You done 
seen for yourself 4here haint a feather 
oij the place." 

Her determined assertion convinced 
Sandy, even in spite of the egg-shell in 
the coffee-grounds, and he was about 
turning away to go on further, when 
Pcto saw muddy remains of a chicken 
track on the porch. This gave him an 
idea. He drew nearer the door, as if in- 
terested in the colloquy between his part- 
ner and the woman, which was gro-wing 
hotter every minute, and peeped in. There 
wan a bed on the opposite side of the 
room, and round it a valance. Present- 
Iv he saw a motion against the valance 
which convinced him that his idea was 



correct. He gave a little Signal to 'Suii- 
dy to keep up the row with the "v\'qnt4ii 
and draw her out a little avu^iS froui th'e 
door. Another signal to UtLcjfe Ephraim 
brought that worthy close to" his side. , 

"The hard-heartedu(|Ss of you low- 
down sand-hillers is jiist awiul," said 
Sandy, and the woman's , /ace Hushed 
with anger at the epithet with which she 
had become only too wdl-accxuaiiited 
since the arrival of the G(,e;fngia militia 
from other parts of the ,St^te. . "Is just 
awful, I tell you. N6vei-„.4^;e' anything 
like it in the decent country.** ' 

"Who are you calling a sarid-hiller?' 
she retorted. "You stuck-up, goober-eat- 
ing, sorghum-drinking trash. Go right 
along, now. Git offen the porch this 
minute. Don't you dare try to come into 
the house, or I'll baste you with this 
poking-stick, and report you to your Col- 
onel, and have you tied up by the thumbs 
as I did them other imperdent whelps. 
I foUered them right into camp, and pick- 
ed 'em out, right afore his eyes, jes's I'll 
do you, if you don't mosey right oft'. Go, 
1 tell you agin." 

"You're nothing but an old hen your- 
self," said Sandy, apparently flushing up 
into anger, "to deny your miserable chick- 
ens to dying men. You know you ain't 
telling the truth. You've got " 

"What's that you say, you owdashus 
blackguard," she shouted, rushing at him 
with the poking stick. "Tell me I lie. 
Git offen the porch, afore I break your 
head." 

As she cleared the door Pete §nd Un- 
cle Ephraim bolted in and threw up the 
valance. They might miss other . things, 
but when either of them reached for 
chickens, tfce chickens came. 

Each brought out three pullets in his 
sure grasp, and wrung off their heads as 
he ran down the porch, and jumped into 
his saddle. 

"There's some genuine Y^ankee coffee," 
said Sandy, flinging his haversack to her, 
as he ran after them. "That'll more 
than pay you for your old chickens. 
We're not rebels, madam. We're Yan- 
kees. Sherman's men! Hooray for the 
Union!" 

"To think." sobbed the woman, sur- 
veying the heads in tears and rage, "how 
much trouble I've bin to for weeks drivin' 
them chickens in under the bed at night 
and every time I seen a soljer coming 
down the road. The war's an awful hard 
thing on us poor wimmen. What'n the 
world did they ever begin hit for, I won- 
der." 

"What's that that little feller said 
when he. flung that bag at me":"' she pres- 
eutlj' said, recovering from her tempest 
of grief, and catching the odor of cofl'ee 
from the haversack. "Real Yankee cof- 
fee there? Why, I declare, so there ia. 
More'n a quart! My, don't hit smell 
bctler'n anything else in the world"? I'll 
go right in and make mo some. But 
whar in the world'll I git an aig to cl'ar 
hit with? And them fellers was not our 



ON THE MAECH TO THE SEA. 



183 



folks at all, hut Yankees! Laws-a-mas- 
sy, I'm aw't'nl glad I didn't know hit 
afore. I'd 'a' bin skeered to death as 
to what they wuz a-gwine to do to me. 
"Well, they're gone anyway. I'll go right 
in and make me some coffee. Haint had 
a mouthful for years." 

Everybody had made a very busy day 
of it back at the stockade. Each one 
had worked with the utmost zeal to do 
everything possible for the poor fellows 
they had found, and Surgeon Brooks was 
tireless in helping, directing and minis- 
tering. There was none of his feminine 
daintiness in the way he attacked the 
most noisome things, handled the ulcer- 
ated limbs and went boldly among the 
swarming vermin. 

The burning cabins and shacks filled 
the air with smoke, and diffused a strong, 
resinous odor everywhere. As night came 
on the scene was lurid and forbidding. 

A horse was heard coming at a shai-p 



pace, and as Si and Shorty picked up 
their guns and stood expectant, Miss So- 
phronia Sutton rode into the strong light 
of the fire by which thoy were standing, 
listening to Surgeon Brooks's final direc- 
tions for the night. His face was grim- 
ed with sweat mingled with the soot from 
the pitch-pine, and his hands were soiled 
and limp from much hard work. 

"O, Augustus," shrieked Miss Sophron- 
ia, springing from her saddle, and rush- 
ing toward him, "are you safe and well"? 
!Men have been running past the house 
all day telling of the awful fighting down 
here, until I just couldn't stand it any 
longer, and had to come and see how you 
were." 

"Phrony," he shouted in alarm, rais- 
ing his hand to warn her back. "Don't 
come nigh me. "I'm fuller of bugs than 
the Land of Egypt ever was, and they're 
a worse kind. Get back off that pile of 
pine needles. It's swarming with them." 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

DESTRUCTION OF AN AMMUNITION TRAIN. 



"Miss Sutton." said Surgeon Brooks, 
recovering equilibrium after the shock of 
Sophronia's startling appearance, and re- 
suming his usual grave, professional inan- 
ner, "if you will kindly retire to the 
Colonel's quarters, which is probably the 
least vermiuiferous spot about this pesti- 
lential place, I shall endeavor to make my- 
self a little more presentable, and then 
do myself the honor to visit you." 

"Verminiferous," murmured Kankakee. 
"That's a bully word, that I must' remem- 
ber. That's doctor Latin for graybacks, 
Salamander. But it don't seem a bit big- 
ger'n they do at night." 

"O, Augustus, I don't care for any- 
thing, so long's you're alive and well," 
feelingly spoke Miss Sophronia. "Those 
men who came past told such awful stor- 
ies of the fighting, and the number of Yan- 
kees killed. I inquired of each one if he 
had noticed a handsome young officer, 
rather smallish, but of elegant form, and 
each one said he had, and had shot him 
himself. At least a dozen dift'erent ones 
remembered distinctly killing him." 

"The cowardly rascals, they didn't stop 
to kill anybody. They were too anxious 
to escape being killed themselves. But 
retire to the Colonel's quarters, Miss Sut- 
ton, and I shall join you there as soon as 
I can." 



"Say, Doc, that old maid seems cK)n- 
siderably stuck on you," ventured Shorty, 
as they were standing by the fire, care- 
fully brushing the s wanning insects off 
themselves and each other, into the flames, 
preparatory to washing up and making 
ready for the night. 

"Miss Sophronia Sutton," returned the 
Surgeon, in his severest manner, "is a lady 
of most remarkable abilities and strengtii 
of character. She has shown an interest 
in my welfare which I never can forget." 

"Whew! He's a-goner," Shorty whis- 
pered to Si. "Who'd 'a' thought if? Pickle 
and cucumber. Whey and cream. Lion 
and the lamb lying down together." 

"Wouldn't 've dreamed it," answered Si 
philosophically. "But there's no telling 
how some pork'll bile. Let's get a bite 
to eat and lay down. I don't feel much 
like eating, after all we've seen today, 
but I suppose it's better to hoist in some- 
thing and get some sleep. Don't know 
what's before us tomorrow." 

"Can't say that I'm slumberiferous," 
remarked Kankakee. "Feels so good to 
be free that I think I'll set up all night 
to enjoy it. Can't bear to waste none of 
it." 

"Sergeant," said Surgeon Brooks, com- 
ing out of the Colonel's quarters, "I'm 
going to ride back home with Miss Sut- 



184 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



ton. I've flone all I can here fr>r those 
pool- fellows for the present, and shonlcl 
go back and see how the others are get- 
ting alons at the house. I shall prob- 
ably come hack in the morning." 

"Don't you want some of us to go 
along with yon? It's a pretty risky ride 
back there. Some of those guards may 
be hanginir around, and bushwhack you." 

"No, I think I'll chance it. Miss Sut- 
ton is familiar with the country, and I'll 
trust her to pull me through." 

"Better take Pete and Sandy with you, 
at least," urged Si. 

"No," said the Surgeon softly. "I don't 
think I'll need anybody. I'd ratter be 
alone. I think." 

And his cheeks grew so red that it was 
visible by the light of the fire. 

The Colonel's quarters were given up 
to Angus Mcl^ean, and all kept away 
from it, except Foster Walsh, who lay on 
his blanket on the floor, sleeping little, 
and watchful for the least sound from tht 
bed. He was wild with anguish in the 
early morning watches, when the feeble 
light of life seemed flickering out, and he 
prayed as he never had before. But the 
rising sun seemed to bring animation 
with it. and presently the light of recog- 
nition shown in Angus's eyes, and his lip3 
moved with Foster's name. Then Walsh's 
heart went out in gratitude to God for 
answering his prayers. 

While they were getting breakfast Kan- 
kakee came up to Si and remarked: 

"I've just bin fabricating wath a nig- 
pei" oiit here, wdio heard that the Yankees 
was here, and come in. He adumbrates 
that there's a train load of grub and am- 
munition out here eight or 10 miles on the 
Augusty Railroad, stalled or. broke dow-n. 
I supplicate that mebbe you'd like to 
know it." 

"What's that. Kankakee? What's 
that?" said Si, arresting his cup of cof- 
fee on its way to his mouth. "Drop your 
infernal highfalutin, and talk plain 
United Slates — First Reader words." 

"Nig-ger says rail-road train with grub, 
pow-der and shot, stalled out here 
a-ways," answered Kankakee, imitating 
a child reading "an easy lesson." 

"W^here? How far away?" 

"A-bout 10 miles. On the Au-gus-ty 
rail-road." 

"Bring the darky here at once." 

"Dey was a-rushin' a train froo t' 
Waynesboro." explained the negro, a like- 
ly young fellow, who had apparently been 
taken from the field to wait on his young 
master in the army. "Hit was de las' 
train dey expected t' git froo from Sa- 
yannah, an' had a lot ob t'ings dat dey 
wanted de cavalry at Waynesboro t' hab, 
an' dey wuz ies' a-crackin' on all de steam 
dey could bile, t' git froo. Dey wu7. jes* 
a-gwine up dat steep hill afo' yo' git t' 
Hoss Crick, along in de middle ob de 
night, when sumfin done bust 'bout de in- 
jice, an' she stopped, deader'n a nit. Dey 



had t' send a man on hp^sba^k on t' "de 
next station, t' ax fer help by de wir.e. or 
sumfin. I done beared de Yankees w.n?: 
ober hyah, an' T sneaked off,. wibile de rest 
was fnssin' 'round de in.iiaei.'' j.. . . 

"When did this happen?" ..;.., ri- 

"Some time jes' afore . daylight. Hit 
come day Jes' as I come upr-'^m de Jhill 
back dar." - ': ?^;-. . ..i 

"How. many are with ihe tarain?'^ _. 

"O. a hull heap." ,'od' ■:>(■■ 

"What do you mean lty.4ii;wrhoie heap? 
A dozen?" - - ::^riT .- . _ 

"O, yes, snh. More'n &ai: ^ A right 
smart passel." 

Si knew the negroes too" well to waste 
time trying to get the man down to any- 
thing like exact figures. Negroes and the 
mass of the poor whites had only the 
vaguest ideas as to what "."50" or "100" 
meant. When they tried hard they could 
count up to a dozen, but beyond that their 
minds wandered and became utterly unre- 
liable. 

"Who is in command of the train?" he 
asked. 

"Who dat in what?" 

"Who's the master — the boss? Who 
gives the orders?" 

" 'Most ebberyhody gib orders. But 
my mas'r — he jinerully had de las' say." 

"Your master? Who's he?" 

"Mas'r p.alph Sloan. He's Fus' Loo- 
tenant." 

"O. a First Lieutenant's in command," 
said Si, with the feeling that he had ar- 
rived at something. "Then it's likely 
there ain't a company on with the train. 
Probably not more than 2.5 or 30 men." 

"Unless he should happen to be in com- 
mand of the company," suggested Shorty. 
"Say, Sam, does your master always have 
the "last say?" 

"O, no, sab. W'en Cap'n Wilson 'round 
Mas'r Sloan he jes' stand an' lean on his 
sword, an' say nuffin. Cap'n Wilson he 
holler al! de time, 'cept when the Cnnnel 
hollers. Cap'n Wilson he usually hollers 
jes 'arter de Cnnnel do, an' den de men do 
t'ings. But Cap'n Wilson he done went 
on ahead on anudder train, wid part ob 
de men, an' leave Mas'r Sloan t' bring up 
de rest." 

"About 2.5 or 30 men, as I said before." 
said Si. "We can handle them. I'd go 
over and give them a whirl if the whole 
company was there. Saddle np, boys, 
quick as you can. We haven't any time 
to lose. We want to get there before the 
helo does." 

"I think I'll promulgate with you," re- 
marked Kankakee. "I kin captivate a 
ho.ss somewhere along the road. Come on. 
Salamagundy. We'll go on ahead, and 
geek for means of rapid transportation." 
. "I think Angus can spare me for a few 
hours, and the Lord moves me to go, too," 
said Foster Walsh. "You may stnko a 
bigger crowd out there than you think, 
and need me.'*" 

"All ready, there?" inquired Si. "Look 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



185 



out carefully for your girths, for we're 
going on the jump. Pete, you and Sandy 
lead off, and we'll start. Hello, who's 
this coming?" 

A couple of mounted infantrymen gal- 
Ir.ped up. and one of them, drawing a 
lai'ge oflicial envelope from his belt, pre- 
sented it lo Si. 

It looked big and important enough to 
have come from the Headquarters of the 
Army, and for an instant Si palpitated 
with the thought that it might he a per- 
sonal communication from Gen. Sherman 
himself. Then he thought of the unlike- 
lihood of that. It could not be from one 
higher than the Commander of the Left 
Wing— Gen. Ploward. Somehow he dis- 
missed that thought, too, and began to 
imagine that it might be from the Gen- 
eral commanding the Division, then the 
Brigadier-General, and finally Col. Mc- 
Gillicuddy. But when he looked care- 
fully at the bearers, he saw that they 
were 1st Oshkosh boys. He opened the 
letter carefully, however, and r§ad: 

Headquarters 1st Oshkosh Volunteer In- 
fantry, 
Sutton's Plantation, Ga., Nov. 24, 1864. 
Serg't Josiah Klegg, 200th Ind. Vol. In- 
fantry Vols., Commanding Scouting 
Expedition. 
Sir: I have waited in vain for a re- 
port of your operations, of which I have 
heard only by hearsay, through Surgeon 
Brooks. This is a grave discourtesy to 
your commanding oflicer that boi-ders on 
positive insubordination. I am reluctant 
to report it to headquarters, and prefer 
charges, as is perhaps my duty. In order 
to avoid this disagreeable necessity you 
will at once send back by the bearers a 
full report of your operations up to date, 
with a plan of your further movements, 
with a request for approval and instnic- 
tions to proceed to execute them. Give 
full details of what you have accom- 
plished, with lists of killed, wounded, cap- 
tured, etc., and of the enemy's property 
captured or destroyed. Await where you 
are for my farther orders. 

Very respectfully. 
Aristarchus C. Gillen, 
Second Lieutenant, 1st Oshkosh Infantry 
Vols., Commanding Post. 

"Consarn the skeezicks," said Si, an- 
grily, crushing tlie mandate in his hands. 
"Pestering me at this time about reports. 
I hain't no time now to fool around writ- 
ing rer>orts." 

"Tell the popinjay to go where it's hot- 
ter," said Shorty. "He haint no business 
with us. nohow. We don't belong to his 
regiment. Let him go soak his head.'" 

"I don't know, though," Si consideii?d, 
his sense of military subordination assert- 
ing itself, "but he may have orders to 
take command of us. I'm awfully afraid 
sve'll lose all chance at that train, fooling 



around with a measly report, ISrft TTl try. 
to make one. Come and help me. Shorty. 
Two heads are better than one, if one is 
a sheep's head. Here, we'll take some of 
this rebel Colonel's paper." 

Si bon-owed a pencil from Alf RiBseO, 
wet it between his lips, and the sweat be- 
gan to start from the labor of composina; 
the report. 

"Suppose I've got to say 'in ptrrsuancei 
of your orders.' How do you spell 'pur- 
suance', Shorty?" 

"See him damned first," snorted Shorty. 
"He didn't give no ordei-s. We'd planned 
this job before we'd ever knowed that 
there was such a colt as he is foaled. 
'Pui-suance' is too big a word for hdm, 
anyhow. Nobody but a Major-General 
can spell a word like that." 

"Well, then," continued Si, biting Bis 
pencil to assist his brains, "in obedience 
to your orders." Do you spell obedience 
with a d or a j, Shorty? I got turned 
down in school on that, once, and I've 
clean forgot which way it was." 

"I never spelled the blamed word. It's 
bad enough to have to do it. I ain't writ- 
ing things that I hate. It ain't no obed- 
ience to him, nohow. We ain't obeying to 
nobody but Col. McGillicuddy. It's all 
light from him, but from nobody else. 
As to this fly-up-the-crick" 

"Well." said Si de.-<perately. "We hain't 
got no time for spelling lessons, nor red- 
tape foolishness of any kind. Them rebels 
are galloping for that train, and we've 
got to get there ahead of them. Here 
goes." 

And he scrawled rapidly: 

"Prison Stockade, nere MIIleii( 
November the 25th, 1864. 

Second Lootenant A. C. Gillen. First 

Oskosh Volunteers. 

Sir:- Got here yesterday afternoon. 
Busted wide open about 50 of the prison' 
guards, who tried to stop us. Don't seem 
to have killed none. They run too fast. 
They're probably running yet. Found a 
whole lot of our men. Most all dying. 
Will save some. Didn't lose nobody, ex- 
cept Bill Grimshaw's hoss steped in a 
hole and throwed him over his head. He 
lost a lot of wind, but picked it up again, 
and is all rite today. Am off now to get 
a train which is stalled out here. Hoap 
you are well. 

"Very Respeckfully, 
"Josiah Klegg, jr., 

"Sergeant, Co. Q, 200th Injianny Vol- 
unteer Infantry." 

"Come, boys, strike out lively, now," 
said Si, hastily folding the letter, and 
handing it to one of the messengers. 
"Every minute counts, if we're going to 
get that train." 

They had gone but two or three miles 
when they came up to Kankakee <»n4 



ne 



SI KLEGG ^ND SHORTT. 



tealamagnndy, mounted on two very faij^ 
horses, and armed with shot-guns. 

"Mighty good hosses you have there," 
remarked Si, eyeing them with instinctive 
judgment. "Where'd you get them?" 

"Found some trades that looktd promis- 
ing, and then follcred them to where 
they was hid in a swamp. Owners n^ 
doubt willing to sacrifice every thing fair 
Southern independence, except their 
hosses. Then we gobbled saddles and 
bridles from the first house we came to, 
and at the next gave the woman the 
prettiest fairy story you ever heard, to 
get the shot-guns. I told 'em" 

"Well, wait till we get back to camp to 
tell the story," broke in Si. "We've got 
something of much more consequence on 
our minds just now. You and Salama- 
gundy had better ride on ahead, and scout 
in advance of us. Kide with Pete, Sandy 
and Foster Walsh a little bit, until thoy 
jrret well acquainted with you and your 
hosses, and so they won't shoot you by 
mistake. . They're awful quick on the 
trigger — especially Foster Walsh — when 
they see a butternut coat — and you can't 
be too careful with them." 

It was a dull, overcast day, with oc- 
casional brief showers and heavier ones 
threatened, but Si pressed on with such 
rapidity that before noon he knew that 
he was ncaring the railroad, and- began to 
be a little more circumspect. He slowed 
down the pace, and rode forward to his 
advance guard to caution them, and 
especially to restrain Foster Walsh, whom 
he feared would rush at the first rebels 
he saw, and Htish the game. 

Kankakee and Salamagundy came up 
from a long (>ircuit to the left, with the 
information that they bad gained a Mil- 
top from which they could see the road, 
and the train still standing there. Ap- 
parently no more rebels had come up, 
but they thought they had seen, away off 
in the direction of Waynesboro, the 
smoke and steam of an approachUig loco- 
motive, and heard her whistle. 

Si i-ode forward a little ways to the 
edge of the hill, and looking down saw 
eight or 10 rebel soldiers coming from the 
direction of the railroad toward a fair- 
looking house in the center of the valley. 

"That's all right," Si counseled with 
Shorty and the rest. '"Everything's quiet 
around the train, and they ain't expecting 
anything for awhile, and they've come 
away to find something to eat." 

"Better let 'em get into the house. We 
can hive 'cm easier," suggested Shorty. 
"Ride forward and show yourselves, 
Kankakee and Salamagundy. They'll 
think you're rebel cavalry, and get ■ in 
quicker, to get a head of you." 

"I'll go, too," said Foster Walsh, 
look like a rebel, too, at a distance." 

"Now, Foster, you must be very care- 
ful," warned Si. "Hold yourself in. 
There'll be enough fighting when we get 
to the train. We want to get these fel- 



lows without firing a shot to alarm the 
others." 

"I promise you I won't shoot," said 
Foster Walsh, taking his bayonet out and 
fixing it. 

It worked as Si had expected. The, 
infantrymen shoiited to one aholher, as 
Kankakee and the others shp-wed them- 
selves. ;. , 

"Get to the house before tljem, blamed 
cavalry, or there won't be arthing left." 

Kankakee and his companions rode leis- 
urely down, isaw the soldiers; sttand their 
guns up against the wall on th« porch, and 
bolt into the house, each afraid that 
the others would gobble everything be- 
fore he could get a chance. 

"Well, I never did see men excoriate 
themselves so completely before," re^ 
marked Kankakee, as with a significant 
wave of his hand to Si, he rode forward, 
and jumped from his horse a little dis- 
tance from the door. With shot-guns 
ready, he and Salamagundy tramped ou 
to the porch, and placed themselves be- 
tween the guns and the room the rebels 
had entered. "Turkeys going into a trap 
ain't nothing to it." 

"Don't be in too much of -a hurry,'* 
whispered Foster Walsh. "Let me. get 
around to the rear, and stand for the peo- 
ple, l)efore the Lord in the gap." 

"Git out, critter-back — thar's notfiin' 
for yo'uns," shouted the men inside, as 
■Kankakee appeared in the door. "We'uns 
done got here afore yo'uns this time, you 
ole buttermilk ranger. Cl'ar out." 

"O, please save me suthin'," pleaded 
Kankakee, imitating the Southern tone, 
as he cast his eye over his shoulder, to 
see that Si was not quite near enough yet. 
"I"ni jes' powerful hongry, so 1 am." 

"No; cl'ar out with yo'uns. Git on yer 
■critters and skeet out somewhar else. 
Thar's not enough hyah fer we'uns an' 
we'uns mus' git back t' the kyars." 

Si was now nearing the house. 

"Well, you just will give me something, 
you congregated imps of damnation," 
shouted Kankakee^ raising his gun. "It'll 
be your worthless carcases. Surrender, 
every mother's son of you! I'm a Yank. 
Surrender!" 

Each rebel dropped the bread and meat 
which he had snatched from the cupbou^rd, 
and looked around to see the front yard 
full of blue-coats. 

"This way, fellers," shouted the rebel 
Sergeant, starting for the back-door. 
Foster Walsh ran up the stone steps. At 
ihe sight the Sergeant snatched a revol- 
Ter from his belt, but befoi'e he could 
raise it. Foster Walsh leaped at him and 
drove his bayonet through his breast. The 
Sergeant fell and twisted the gun from 
Foster Walsh's hands, but the grim vet- 
eran put his foot on thb rebel s body, 
puil(>d his bayonet out, and turned to 
spring at tin' next rebel, but Si, who had 
run in, pulled him back. All the rebels 
were now huldiug up their hands. 



ON THE SIAKCH TO THE SEA, 



VB7 




"BULLETS WEEE STKIKING AROUND HBI, AS HE DASHED THE DEMIJOHN 
TO PIECES ON THE ROOF." 



'I haren't timp to fool with you," Si 
hurriedly addressed them. "I don't want 
to kill you, if I can get along without it. 
Will you swear, if I parole you, to go on 
lip over the hill there, and not come near 
the railroad?" 

'Yes, indeed. All we'uns will," they an- 
swered in chorus, with their eyes still 
fixed on Foster Walsh's bloody bayonet. 

'Well., consider yours-elyes sworUt"- 



commanded Si. "March out of that door, 
single file, and each man pick up his gun 
and smash the barrel and lock over that 
mounting-rock out there. Grimshaw. you 
and Radbone stand bj' the rock, and see 
that every man busts his gun for good. 
Be in a hurry about it. and then start up 
the hill. Forward, march!'' 

It took but a few minutes to execute 
this oider^ but before it was completed 



188 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



Si was on his horse leading off, and listen- 
ing anxiously lor what he thought was 
the whistle of a locomotive awaj- off to 
the northeast. 

"If that was a whistle I heard it must 
be almost 10 miles up the road," he re- 
marked to Shorty. "It'll take them the 
best part of an hour to reach here. By 
that time, if we attend strictly to our 
knitting, we ought to clean up these fel- 
lers, and burn their train." 

"The signs are favorable for somebody 
being licked inside the next 15 minutes,'* 
said Shorty, catching sight of the stni ■ 
locomotive through a rift in the trees, 
and raising his hand to halt the boys be- 
hind. "If those fellers are not all asleep 
the curtain'll raise right off." 

"Yankees! Yankees! Fall in, men!" 
shouted a commanding voice in the woods 
in front of them, and a sputter of firing 
followed, as the train guards gathered 
about their officer, and he indicated the 
direction of the enemy. 

"The curtain has raised," remarked Si. 
"Jump down, boys, tie your horses, and 
form .7. skirmish line along there. Be 
spry, now." 

The injunction to celerity was needless. 
Every boy in that squad had long since 
passed the point where any suggestion or 
urging was necessary v\-hcn a fight opened. 
Every body knew precisely wlaat should 
be done, and proceded to do it with the 
swiftness gained by long practice. 

Led by Si and Shorty, they pushed 
briskly into the woods, tiring at every 
glimpse of the enemy, who made a noisy 
return, but continued to fall back before 
them. Si was anxious, and pressed for- 
ward as fast as he could prudently, for 
he hardly knew as yet M'hat he had to 
encounter. But the audacity of his attack 
told, and presently he came to the edge 
of the woods, and saw the rebels flying 
across the open space in front, and taking 
refuge behind the motionless train. 

The place where the engine had be- 
come disabled was the top of a high grade, 
just before beginning the descent to the 
creek beyond. For 100 yards or more on 
either side of the track the ground had 
been dug away to make the fills in the hol- 
low behind and the approach to the creek 
in front. 

The woods through which Si had driven 
the rebels came up to this clear space. 
The rebels soon found that they did not 
get sufficient shelter behind the cars from 
the Yankees in the woods, and ran across 
the open space to the high bank covered 
with woods on the opposite side. 

This worried Si. He watched them as 
they ran across, and saw that, if any- 
thing, tliey had more men than he, and 
that a dash across at th,>ra behind their 
shelter would be doubtless of success. 

It was very necessary to do something 
at once, for he had heard the locomotive 
whistle again, and this time it was unmis- 
takable. The rebels heard it, too, and. 



sent up a cheer frord ttteir'T©>y<3*t-itf the 
Avoods. - -- '^' '-''■-■ '-■■- 

The rebels were *hai'p*hdotirig" to -pre- 
vent any -jipproach t^ -titi^itftirn, and as 
they could see under- the-^ars. they -made 
it very risiky for afiy oiw-to try to erosi 
the open- si^ace- f r^im Si's posiition. - 

"Shorty,- we mnst' geC-to- the- train at 
once and «et it- atire, thoug4i Fm d^vbious 
about it's burniiig-, it')^ iii^--4f<'t. But" I'm 
going 4o- make a' ireak- fco^-that caboose, 
and start the fire there. You cover me. 
I'H try to Jvoep in line''^wlfh- the-- wheels, 
so's they can't shoot me ifriOer the cdiisj.''' 

"I'll go with you," said Shorty. "Let 
Harry, Monty Grimshaw, and. Radbone 
work up there to the left, as far as pos- 
sible, and begin banging away from there, 
as if we had some designs on tlie locomo- 
tive. Then me and you will rush for the 
caboose." 

This was done, and as soon as .ramd 
firing broke out on the extreme left Si {Tad 
Shorty made a rush for the caboose. 
■^^'hen they got inside they were aston- 
ished to see Foster AValsh climb up after 
them. 

"The Lord moved me to go with you, 
and I think I can help," he said. 

Si and Shorty immediately began jerk- 
ing down the bunks, and piling them with 
the furniture in the center, where Si 
started a fire with some splinters. Foster 
"Walsh noticed a large demijohn in one 
corner, and his temperance instincts made 
him at once spring at it, to break it. He 
caught an odor from it as fie dragged it 
out, then smclled it closer, and said with, 
a voice of exultation, » 

"It's full of camphene." 1 

"Throw it on here," said Si. 1 

"No; I can do better with it," answered 
Foster, jumping out of the car. "Hand 
it to me." 

Divining something of his daring in- 
tention. Shorty handed him the demijohn 
and jumped to the ground where he was. 
Tlipy ran along the train until they came 
to the center, Avhere the carefully-locked 
ammunition cars were. Foster caught 
hold of the iron ladder at one end to 
climb up. 

"Here, Foster," called Shorty, "I in» 
tended to go up. Come back, and let 
me." 

"The Lord calls on me to go up," said 
Foster calmly, ascending to the top. 
"Hand me that demijohn." 

Shorty passed it up to him, and though 
ho had attracted the attention of the 
rebels, and the bullets were striking 
around him, he walked to the middle ot 
the car, and dashed the demijohn to 
pieces on the roof. 

"You sons of Belial," he said, turning 
toward the rebels, and shaking his fi.'it. 
as he pulled out a match-box, "prepare 
to meet your doom." 

He scratched the match on the box, 
and threw it and the box into the 
caBaph^tt, f i!om which shot up a sheet of 



11 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



189 



finrae. He sprang to the ground and he 
and Shorty ran for the cover of the bank. 

As they were clambering np they saw 
Grimshaw land Kadbone doing the same 
a little further to their right. Thoy hud 
made a rush for the engine, and wliile 
Kadbone was gathering up the rags and 
pouring oil upon them, Grimshaw had 
seized the sledge and knocked a hole 
through the side of the car next to '.he 
tender. Radbone threw the blazing rags 
through this, and then they ran for their 
lives. ' , 

The steep. bank was slippery from the 
showers, and they had scarcely got fen 
over behind it, when the explosion of the 
car upon which Foster had poured the 
camphene came with such territic force as 
to knock them down. Iron and splinters 
rained all around, and they sprang up to 
Bee the fire spreading to the other cars. 

Everybody ran to his horse, untied him, 
and rode back farther. The locomotive 
whistle was heard sharp and near, and 
riding around to the left they came out 
upon a knoll where they could see the 
relief train stopped on the other side of 
the creek, with the soldiers pouring out 
of the cars. 

They rode down to where they would 
be in plain sight of the foiled rebels, took 
off their hats, and gave three cheers for 
the Union, three for Uncle Billy Sher- 
man, three for Abe Linr-oln, and a tiger 
on general principles. They then rode off 
in triurapla. 



Half-way bac^ to the stockade they met 
the two mounted infantry messengers, 
who had come in seaixh of them. Tliey 
handed Si another portentous-looking offi- 
cial envelope, which he tore open with- 
out much ceremony, and read: 

Headquarters, Detachment 1st Oshkosh 

Volunteer Infantry, 

Sutton's Plantation, Nov. 25, 1S64. 
Serg't Josiah Klegg, jr., 200th Ind. Vols., 

Commanding Scouts. 
Sir: Your report of even date is en- 
tirely irregular, lacking in details, and 
generally unsatisfactory. You will at 
once prepare another, with more attention 
to the proper form, and comprehending 
all the points upon which I required in- 
formation, and transmit it to me withouc 
delay. As to the expedition against the 
railroad, send me full information as to 
what you contemplate. If the enterprise 
promises results of sufficient importance 
to justify it, I may come forward and 
take command of it myself. 
Respectfully, 
Aristarchus C. Gillen, 
Second Lieutenant, 1st Oshkosh Inf. Vols., 

Commanding Post. 

"Go back and tell Lieut. Gillen that 
I'll make up my report to Col. McGilli- 
cuddy," said Si. "1 ain't going to have 
the 1st Oshkosh hog the credit for what 
the 200th Injianny does."- , 



190 



SI ICLEGli A.XD SMOKTr. 



CHAPTER XXXIIL 






A IIUXT AFTER 



POULTRY FOIi TilE SICK-FUSTEK WALSH ME^S, OtT VEN- 
GEANCE, j',^''!.' ' . 



''Shorty,'' said Si Klegg, as tliey were 
ii!:ikii)g their .way bade to the stockade, 
■■.vou'd better take half of the boys and 
rt:ike off there to the right, and see if 
.Mill can tind a house where you can pick 
11'/ something for those poor' fellers back 
:■"•■" to eat. Fll turn ois here tc the left, 
'ihe country is getting pi-^'ri^r noor, but 
jnchbe we can find something' delicate to 
build 'em up with." 

"If there's any chickens and turkeys 
in these sand-hills they'll have to have 
eagle's Avings if we don't get 'em," an- 
swered Shorty. "Come on, Pete, Sandy, 
Harry and Monty." 

"I'm moved to go this way," said Fos- 
ter Walsh, turning his horse's head di- 
rectly into the open pine woods, and leav- 
ing Si with the remainder to follow the 
left-hand road. 

"Look out, Foster, that the bushwhack- 
ers don't get you," Shorty shouted after 
him. 

••The rebel had bettor look out that he 
don't get him," muttered Si, looking after 
bim as if doubtful about letting him go 
off by himself. "In the temper he's in 
he's likely to kill on sight everything that 
wears rebel clothes, and burn up property 
without reason. And he'll do it all in the 
name of the Lord. He's a mighty dan- 
gerous man to be running around loose in 
the Southern Confederacy; but, then, I 
don't kuow's I'm responsible for the peace 
and prosperity of the Southern Confed- 
eracy, nor of this particular part of 
Georgy.'' 

The road which Si had taken did not 
look very promising. It was a mere trace 
through the waste of column-like pines, 
and appeared badly weather-beaten since 
last used, but presently Uncle Ephraim's 
sharp eyes were encouraged by seeing a 
tolerably fresh wound on the "^bark of a 
young sweet gum.. 

"A wagou's done went dat wav," he 
said, pointing ahead, "an' dar's .siittinly 
a big house in dar somewhar, or dey 
wouldn't hab so good a wagon, an' sicii 
strong bosses. You done see dat dey tore 
de bark ofieii dar thicker'n yo' tiaumb. 
Takes good bosses t' do dat, an' de bark 
and wood's bit off sharp, as if dey wuz 
gwine right along. An' hit was in de new 
moon. Yo' see dat by de way de sap's 
a-runnin'." 

Half-an-hour later Si said: 

"Uncle Ephraim, I'm afraid you're mis- 



■■'. (! (let' ' 

taken. That trail .se.em.s ",t€>'ye run up a 
tree;. We've lost it altogathei;. And we're 
veering away from eanip all the time. I'm 
afraid we've got to tack to the right, and 
strike in the direction of the stockade." 

"No, no; come on a leetle furder," 
pleaded Uncle Ephraim. "Sho's Judgment 
Day dar's a big house right ui-gh hyah." 

"Why, there's no fences and fields Tiuy- 
where in sight to show it, Uncle Ephraim," 
said Si, peering through the many-col- 
umned solitude. 

"We'll come to fences an' fields bimeby 
soon," answered Uncle Ephraim, with un- 
diminished confidence. "I's seed lots ob 
grains ob corn all along. Dey's done bin 
haulin' heaps ob corn outen hyah for de 
prison stockade. Whar dat comes from 
dar's heaps more, an' sumfin else besides." 

"Go ahead, then, for a mile or two fur- 
ther," said Si, with a look at the position 
of the sun. "But if you miss your guesa 
there'll be a slim chance of our getting 
anything for the boys today, and Shorty'U 
have the big In ugh ou us. He's sure to 
find something." 

"What'd I done tell you?" exclaimed 
Uncle Ephraim, triumphantly, a half-mile 
farther, as ho pointed to a piece of a mule 
shoe. "Dey has mewels. Only planta- 
tions has mewels. Whar dey has mewels, 
dey has bosses, an' lots ob t'ings. Dat 
plantation's right behine dat crick whar 
you see de brush growing." 

Sure enough, as they neared the dense 
thicket which indicated the course of the 
creek, the trail began to be moi-e distinct 
and finally led to an opening in the brush 
and a ford. Crossing this, they came out, 
as Uncle Ephraim had predicted, upon a 
plantation, with a double-pen house of 
hewed logs, and mud daubing between 
the logs v,-hitcwashed, a roof of cypress 
clapboards, large chimneys of sticks and 
clay at either end of the house, and a 
wide por< h in front, on which were sad- 
dles, bridles, rakes, hoes, etc. 

"Don't see any signs of chickens any- 
w here, though," said Si, studying the 
plantation, which was much inferior to 
an ordinary Indiana farm. 

"O, dey has some chickens," answered 
Uncle Ephraim. confidently. "Dey has 
dem somewhar 'round. Dey's got t' hab 
some t' pui-tend t' be quality, for deir Sun- 
day dinner an' fer company, an' when de 
preacher comes 'round. Dey mus' had a 
turkey or two for Chrissmus. Dey eats, j 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA- 



m 



^acon au' collards mos' oh de time, jos' 
like de po' wliites. but dry lias t' hab some? 
poultry t' be gentry. Whar dey got dem, 
d'yo' 'siios(>V Hid away I'roni de soljcrs 
at de stockade, oh course; but wliarV Not 
under de bed, dis time. Dey've got tur- 
keys, an' yo' can't bide turkeys under de 
bed. AVhar he?" 

"Turkeys? What makes you so sure 
they have turkeys?" 

"Dey's "bleeged t' hab turkeys to be 
. 'spectable. Ebbery one-nigger planter's 
'bieegpd t' hab a turkey dinner at Chriss- 
mus an' quarterly meetin's, to be in so- 
ciety. Besides, I done seed some turkey- 
fedders as we come along." 

"Where in the world can they be?" 
echoed Si, scanning the bare fields, the 
trees about the house, the stable-yards, 
and the outbuildings. 

"Bar's an ole man gwine out froo de 
field, wid a basket on his arm," solilo- 
quized Uncle Ephraim, fixing his eyes on 
a moving figure in the distance. "He's a 
white man, kase he's got a gun; he's de 
ow-ner ob de place, kaze all de dogs 'round 
de house hab gone wid him. He ain't 
takin' out dat basket to gedder hickory 
nuts, kaze' he's too ole t' care for dem 
vanities; he's got sumfin in dat basket, 
from de way hit pulls down his arm, an' 
he changes hit from one t' de udder. 
'Taint meat dat he's totin' ober t' ins 
neighbor in dat basket, kaze de dogs haint 
jumpin' an' smellin' 'round hit. Hit's 
sumfin' 'most as heavy as meat, though. 
I'll jes' bet a side ob bacon dat he's got 
corn in dat basket, an' 's takin' hit out V 
feed de turkeys and chickens he's got hid 
out in de bresh, way from de soljers. Ser- 
geant, jes' go en t 'de house, an' ax lor 
turkeys. Me and Gid and Alf'll git down 
off en our bosses, an' ti"ail dat ole man 
out into do woods. If we don't bring 
back some drumsticks an' white meat for 
de boys I'll be disappinted." 

Si entered the house, and found an e!- 
derly lady sitting in a rocking-chair at 
the left of the fireplace, knitting on a long 
stocking of blue yarn, probably for her- 
self. She mistook them for foragers from 
the prison guards, and received them with 
acerbity. 

"Hyah yo' done come agin," she re- 
marked crossly, "trackin' mud over my 
clean tloors. Dinah, git the hickory broom 
an' sweep that mud off clean. What do 
yo'uns want now? We haint got nothing 
for yo'uns. so yo'uns may as well pick up 
them cowhides o' your'n an' mosey on. 
They've pressed all our corn for them 
scalawags down to the stockade, until M-e 
won't have near enough to winter our 
stock, and didn't leave us near enough 
meat to last till Spring. I don't see what 
in the world they'uns wanted to go an' 
git up this Avar for. anyhow. .Tcs' to tak(r 
everything away from them that'll work 
an' make something, to keep a lot o' loaf- 
ers that uever'd do nothin'. Three-quar- 
ters of them guards down thar in the 



camps never had sich good eatin' afore 
in_ their lazy lives. They'uns 've got noth- 
in' to do but lay 'round, an' have the vic- 
tuals that other folks 've raised hauled 
into (hem. An' sich bi\g.i;'ars. Every day 
cdiui's a gang of them out hy;ih to beg for 
scin( tiling to cat. Th^'y'vc done et US 
onteu liuuse and home. We've scarcely 
got enough left to keep i oul and body to- 
gether till Spring. Rut yo'uns go right 
a^Aay now. I dmie toll you that v.e haint 
got nothing for you." 

"Madam." said Si gravely, as soon as he 
could get in a word, and not caring to dis- 
a!)use her mind of the idea that tliey were 
guards from the prison, "we're very anx- 
ious to get some chickens or other poultry 
for some very sick men down at the hos- 
pital, and we're willing to pay you good 
prices for them." 

He produced a large roll of Confeder- 
ate money, which someone had given him 
back at Jlilledgeville. 

"Fay, in that stuff," she snapped. 
"Much account that is. We've done give 
all our good vittles for that truck that 
■oe're a-gwine to. Why, I done sold a 
dozen aigs for $10, and when I went to 
the store at Millen they wouldn't give me 
even a skein of black patent thread for 
the whole .$10. No; I don't want yer 
money. Folks 's got to live by eatin' in 
this world, an' I'll not part with something 
to eat for something that you can't eat, 
nor do nothing else with. Go 'long, I tell 
you." 

"Well, if you won't sell them we'll take 
them anyhow," said Si, turning away. 
"It'll save those men's lives to have some 
delicate food that'll nourish them and 
we're going to have it. Let's go out back, 
boys, and look around." 

"You scalawags," she shouted; "if you 
don't go J-ight away I'll blow the horn "for 
my ole man. and he'll ride over to the 
camps, an' git the provo'-guard, an' they'll 
buck-an'-gag yo'uns all. Go, now." 

I'aying no attention to her furious re- 
monstrances, Si and the rest began ran- 
sacking the premises. They found evi- 
dences that there had been chickens and 
turkeys on the place — there were bones 
and feathers to tell of former savory pot- 
pies and roasts; but no biddies clucked 
around the barn-yard, no cock led his 
feathered harem through the tangle of 
dead weeds in the garden, no matronly hen 
was disturbed on her nest by the careful 
search of the hay-mow and the fodder- 
pen. 

While this was going on the woman 
snatched a horn down from the wall on 
the porch, and blew a signal to recall her 
husband. 

In spite of the woman's complaints of 
the way the rebel impressment agents, had 
levied ujion them. Si found plenty of corn 
in the crib, -which was caiefiilly locked. 
He smashed the large padlock on the 
smoke-house with the butt of his gun, and 
found inside a good store of meat, from 



192 



SI ELEGG AND SHORTY. 



Xvhioh he took a couple of hams, tied the 
bark strings by whicli they were susnend- 
ed togrether, threw them over his shoul- 
der, and i)roceo(kd to another (.nithouae, 
■n-hero the lock-snia«hin;^ ^vas repeated. 
There he found some sacks of meal and 
flour, semi-cireles of dried pumpkins ou 
Ijok's, strings of red pepper, bunches of 
E!x;so, barrels of daied cow-peas, and a 
hickory basket of dried peaches. He 
turned over the food possibilities for the 
sick men of all these, and finally decided 
that their proper preparation was beyond 
the limited culinary skill of any of his 
command, and contented himself with tak- 
iny a partially tilled sack of flour, which 
he handed to Bill Grimshsw, to throw 
across his saddle. 

Bill Grimshaw, though, was fascinated 
by the sight of the dried pumpkins, which 
reminded him of the delicious pies his 
mother used to make. 

"I'm going to take one pole of them 
along," he said, unfastening it from its 
bark hangings. "I don't remember just 
how mother used to cook pumpkins, hut 
I guess you can boil them most anyway, 
and they'll be good. Pumpkins are always 
good, no matter how you cook 'em." 

He Avas at a loss how to carry them, 
but finally decided that for the short dis- 
tance back to camp he could just carry 
them as they were, with the pole laid 
across his shoulder. 

The woman raged as only Southern 
■women can rage, Avhile this was going on, 
but it produced about as much effect as 
the cawing of the crows in the next field. 
Then her husband, answering the horn- 
signal, came back. He was a fierce old 
man, who Avas probably a terror to his 
poor white neighbors and the negroes. 

He brandished his shot-gun, and swore 
terribly for a minute or two. Then he or- 
dered them to throw doAvn those things 
and get out in the road, Avhen he would 
march them back to camp and turn them 
OA'or for punishment. 

Si merely looked at him and then at his 
©wn gun, and AA-ent ahead with his prep- 
arations. Then the old man rushed back 
into the yard, seized a horse, bridled and 
saddled him, and galloped oft" toward the 
stockade to bring the pro\-ost-guard. 

Si marshaled his squad in the road, and 
waited for the return of Uncle Ephraira. 
Presently he came around the bushes. He 
wore such a AAide grin of triumph that it 
seemed as if it came into vieAv a little bit 
before Uncle Ephraim himself did. He 
had a turkey in each hand, and behind 
hira came Alf and (iid. each canying as 
many chickens as his hands could grasp 
the legs of. 

"I tell yo', dat ole grizly b'ar he mouty 
cunnm'," explained Uncle Enhraira, as he 
tied the legs of the turkeys Avith pawpaw 
bark and flung them over his horse, while 
Alf and Gid did the same Avith their 
chickens. "He done built a rail-pen out 



dar in the thick hrcsh, an' covered bit wid 
rails, an' done hit so slick dat he didn't 
break de bresh out 'round hit, nor leab 
no tracks. He 'd geddercd all his chick- 
ens an' turkeys dar, an' toted corn out t' 
feed dem, while de soljers wuz 'round 
hyah. He didn't see us slippin' up on him, 
an' AA'e avuz jes' a-gwine t' jump him AA'hen 
de horn blowed for him to hurry back t' 
de house, an' den we went froo de pen 
widdout no molestation." •.: 

"Did you leave auyV" asked Si. 

"Not habbin' four hands apiece we had 
t'," ansAvered Uncle Ephraim,, regretfully. 
"A passel ob chickens^ an' tAvo turkies— 
one ob de male and de udder of de fe- 
male persuasion. Dey's too ole, anyway, 
for sick men t' chaAV." 

"They'll do for him to start his flock 
next year. I'm glad you left them. Now, 
let's strike for camp. I wonder what 
luck Shorty's had? I expect he's got a 
Avagon-load. Lot's pretend Ave couldn't 
find anything until we see Avhat he has. 
Uncle Ephraim, you and the rest keep 
to the rear. Hello, what's that?" con- 
tinued Si, feeling the back of his head, 
and looking around to see if the old man 
had giA-en him the benefit of a load from 
his shot-gun. 

"Excuse me. Sergeant," said Bill Grim- 
shaAV, in confusion. "The pole wobbled 
before I knew, and hit you. I'm awful 
sorry." 

"Thats' all right. Bill," Si answered 
good-humoredly, as ho jumped off to pick 
up some of the pumpkin half-moons which 
had been jarred to the ground. "Here's 
your pumpkins. That Avas a rattler you 
gave me. Made me think somebody'd 
basted me AA^ith a brickbat. I don't be- 
lieve you cau carry them things on that 
pole." 

"Yes, I can," persisted Grimshaw. "I'll 
be careful in future." 

"Say, Bill, for goodness sake, look out." 
yelled Gid, as the other end of the pole 
struck him alongside the head, knocked 
his cap oft" and almost unseated him. 

"AAvfully sorry, Gid," Bill humbly apol- 
ogized. That Avas real careless in me. I 
Avas thinking about the Sergeant, and for- 
got that anybody was behind me. I won't 
do it again." 

Some more pumpkins had fallen, which 
Tom Radbone brushed off and replaced 
on the pole. 

"For de Lawd's sake, Mr. Grimshaw, 
do you t'ink I'm a sunfish, dat you done 
spear me dat-a-way?" yelled Tfncle p]ph- 
raim, a moment later, as Grirashaw's 
horse suddenly came down from a trot to 
a Avalk, and the end of the pole took the 
colored brother in the neigliborhood of the 
belt. " 'Uore de Lawd, I"ll hab colic for 
a Aveek from dat punch." 

"Excuse me, Uncle Ephraim. Y'ou know 
I Avouldn't hurt you for anything," apolo- 
gized Bill 'irimshaAv. and Uncle Ephraira 
A\as so niolliiied by the heartiness of the 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



193 



regret that he jijmpod dowu, picked up the 
fallen pumpkius and replaced them on the 
pole. 

"Here, I'm goins to ride behind all of 
you," said Grimshaw, waiting for the rest 
to pass. "That polo's unhandier to man- 
age than I thought, and I'll get where I 
can't hurt anybody wjth it." 

He looked ruefully at his pumpkin rep- 
resentations 0$ the moon in her last quar- 
ter. They had suffered much in looks 
and shape from their falls. 

"A little dirt won't matter," he said. 
"Every man must eat a peck of dirt, any- 
how. I can clean most of it off before I 
put 'em in the pot." 

Si was pushing ahead pretty rapidly 
now, and the horses began to get warm. 
They came to a creek, and all stopped to 
drink. Grimshaw's horse smelled the 
water, and made a rush for it. as rear- 
most horses will, seeming to think that 
those in front will drink it all from them. 
In spite of himself, therefore, Grimshaw, 
pole in hand, charged down into the mass, 
halted to drink. His pole grazed his part- 
ner's side and lifted Alf Russell clear out 
of his saddle. Pole and pumpkins went 
into the creek, in Grimshaw's excited ef- 
forts to control his steed. 

"I don't really care much for pumpkins, 
nohow," he said. "I begun to have doubts 
as to whether I actually know how to 
cook the stuff." 

When they reached camp they found 
that Shorty had already come In and was 
waiting impatiently for them. 

'Did you find any chickens?" he asked. 

"No, I couldn't find one," Si answered, 
evasively. 

"I got a couple of fairly good hams here, 
though. What'd you find?" 

"Hams ain't what sick men want," put 
in Shorty, in a lordly way. "Hams ain't 
no good for sick men. We started out to 
find chickens. I told you I'd find 'em if 
they were in the country. Awful poor 
country, this, around here, though. Soil 
so thin that you'd have to manure it to 
make good brick, and people poorer than 
Job's turkey. N^ver saw such a lot, even 
uj) in Tennessee. Hain't actually noth- 
ing. But I went for chickens, and I 
usually get what I go for." 

Si knew his partner was boasting to 
cover up a lack of success. 

"Where are your chickens?" he asked. 

"O, we turned 'em right over to the 
cooks, so that they could make some broth 
for the sick. They needed it bad." 

"Hope you got enough to give them 
plenty all around." said Si. 

"We got every last one in the country," 
said Shorty, diplomatically. "More'n 
that nobody could do, and it seems it's 
better 'n you did." 

Just' then Pete's shrill voice rang out at 
a little distance. Grimshaw had been con- 
fiding his trouble to his sympathetic ears, 
and Pete was disposed to match it with 
his own sorrows. "I tell you," he said, 

7 SK 



"it was the sorriest country we've struck 
yvt. Couldn't see a sign of a chicken no- 
A\hore — guards around here had gobbled 
r,|) what few the poor crackers had. We 
JHsl'd 'a' bin clean skunked on the poul- 
try exhibit if I hadn't Avcnt into a cabin 
and found an old hen setting on a nest in 
the chimney corner. We wouldn't 've 
looked at her agin, if it hadn't been for 
hating to come back dead beat. So I 
yank('<l her off and brung her along, and 
they're now trying to bile her tender. I 
don't know when they'll ever do it." 

Si looked at his partner with a derisive 
grin. "Just throw that old setting hen 
out of the pot. Shorty. I'm afraid she'll 
not set well on the stomachs of these sick 
fellers. You oughtn't to play down on 
them that way. Shorty. Uncle Kphraim, 
bring up your turkeys, and let the boys 
fetch on their chickens." 

Shorty looked with astonishment at the 
show-down made in front of the camp- 
fire, but covered his defeat with the taunt: 

"Si Klegg, I verily believe that you're 
getting to be a bigger liar 'n I am, which 
is wholly unnecessary." 

"I didn't lie to you. Shorty. I told you 
I didn't find a chicken, and I didn't. I had 
to give up, and take hams and flour in- 
stead. Uncle Ephraim and Alf and Gid 
found these." 

Jabez Turnbull, who managed the blood- 
hounds at Milieu, decided that he would 
not run away when the guards did. He 
had no liking for duty at the front, and 
was afraid that if he went with them he 
would get tangled up with the regular 
command somewhere, and be put into the 
ranks. With all his viciousness toward 
Yankees he had an incurable repugnance 
toward being where they could shoot at 
him. Before the war he had followed the 
business — as far as he followed any busi- 
ness—of running dowu negroes and crim- 
inals with his bloodhounds, and managed 
to make a fair income, as incomes went 
in Georgia. When the rebel conscription 
act went into force he added to this duty 
that of tracking unwilling patriots who 
required unusually strong persuasion to 
get them to "take up arms in defense of 
Southern Rights." By his usefulness in 
this work he managed to keep from being 
conscripted himself, and when the prison 
was established at Millen he was put on 
duty there with his dogs. He saw, from 
a safe distance. Si scatter the guards, and 
then retired to his secluded cabin to wait 
the progress of events. The location of 
his cabin was such as a man of his in- 
stincts would select. While it could not 
be seen, he had a good view of the road 
up and down for miles, and could retire 
from it back into the deep tangle of woods 
leading to the swamp which bordere;d the 
sluggish creek. In the cabin he lived with 
an old crone of a negress, whom he had 
taken for his fee from a moneyless plant- 
er, who owned four or five "unlikely" ne- 
groes, whom he worked and starved so 



194 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTl. 




" THE WOMAN RAGED, BUT IT PRODUCED ABOUT AS MUCH EFFECT AS THE 
CAWING OF THE CROWS IN THE NEXT FIELD." 



that they were continually running away, 
and he was constantly in need of Jabe's 
services to recapture them. 

The withered negress was Turnbull's 
housekeeper and sole field hand. He 
worked her cruelly, and she was, beside, 
the victim of his savage ill-temper when 
things did not go right with Mr. Jabez 
Turnbull, and they very often did not. 

That afternoon, after having beaten her 
(ov not having supper ready for him, Jabe 



was sitting on a stool, switch in hand, 
cursing her, as she hobbled around the tire- 
place clumsily laboring with the heavy 
pots and sldllets. 

The dogs raised an alai-m of some one 
coming through the woods from the rear, 
and Jabe peered out angrily, thinking that 
some lurker in the swamps was approach- 
ing his dwelling, probably with thieving 
intent. 

JSe still thought this when be saw 



ON" THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



190 



iFoster Walsh, clothed in Brother Albert's 
coat, and otherwise in Southern homespun, 
ride out. 

"Hyah, yo," ho called out savagely, mis- 
taking him for one of the guards, "what're 
yo' doin' away from yer command? Go on 
an' jine hit ter-wunst, an' save me the 
trouble o' takin' yo' thar. Go on. Yo' 
can't git nothin' t' eat hyah. Go on, an' 
jine yer company. Thar's the place t' git 
rations. How many o' you\nsj is that out 
thar? An' yo', too," continued Jabe, ad- 
dressing another, who seemed ' to have 
takeq, heart from Foster's appearance to 
shovv' himself. Foster looked at him in 
surprise. He was really one of the miser- 
able guards, a cadaverous, aguish, longv 
haired, round-shouldered man, without a 
hat or a bit -of military equipment, and 
looked as frightened as a hotly-chased rab- 
bit. Foster instantly saw that he had 
been scared nearly to death by the fight, 
and, throwing away everything, had 
rushed into the swamp, from which hunger 
now forced him. Foster .paid, no further 
attention to him, but' jumping from his 
horse threw the bridle over a jagged limb 
of a pine tree, and walked straight up to 
Jabe, fixing his b"ayonet on his gun as he 
,walked. 

"Do you recognize me, Jabe TurnbuU?" 
he asked sternly. 

"N-n-n-o-o," stammered the master of 
the hounds, stepping backward, and reach- 
ing out vaguely with his hand for his shot 
gun. 

"You're a liar; you do!" said Foster, 
approaching still close. "Don't you move 
another step, or I'll kill j'ou instantly. l''ou 
recognize me as the Y'ankee prisoner who 
with a fair-haired boy, you ran down with 
your dogs when we were trying, with some 
others, to escape." 

"I wuz only doin' my duty," stammered 
Turnbull. "I had my orders. I couldn't 
help hit." 

"You're a lying, cowardly, cruel villain," 
said Foster in slow, measured tones, with- 
out a particle of heat in them. "You had 
no business to be in the work of. hunting 
down your fellow-creatures like wild 
beasts. That showed you to be a brute, 
'without a particle of saving grace. I 
doubt if you have a soul, in spite of the 
Scriptures. If so, you were elected from 
the beginning to be eternally damned." 

The sweat was starting from Jabe's 
gnarled, ugly face, in an agony of fear. 

"Did you have orders, after you caught 
us," continued Foster implacably, "to tor- 
ture, us, as we stood there, wet, worn out 
with fatigue, unarmed and defenseless, 
sinking under our ill-luck, by setting your 
dogs on us, Avhile you sat in your saddle 
and- hissed them on?" 

"I-was-tole-t'-let-the — dogs-rassle-yo't-o- 
skeer-the-others-from - tryin'-t'-git-away," 
stammered, the luckless man. 

"And you sat in youi- saddle and 
laughed when you heard that poor boy's 
Bcreams and saw the blood running from 



his mangled limbs, I care much less foi? 
what you did to me, tbsu what you did to 
him. I was a man and your bitter enemy. 
Perhaps you had a right to torture me 
as an Indian would. But to think what 
you did to that poor, delicate boy. I told 
you then that the Lord would some day 
deliver you into my hands to requite your 
wickedness, and you struck me with your 
whip, and cursed me for a nigger-thieving 
Abolitionist. Worse than that, you struck 
that boy because he wouldn't go faster." 
"I wuz-obleeged-to-hurry back-t'-camp- 
with yo'uns," mumbled Jabe. 

-The dogs, seeing their master talking 
with the new comer, ceased their noisy 
-barking, and gathered about the two men. 
The runaway guard, with his long, bony 
hands hanging limply by his side, looked 
on -with dumb wonderment in his faded 
eyes. The old negress, wooden spoon in 
her shriveled talons, stopped stirring the 
dough and listened. 

"i haven't forgot you, Jabe Turnbull, 
for a minute since tlien." continued .Foster, 
'with the awful slowness of a Judgepro- 

■ nonncingthe death sentence. "I was afraid 
you'd have sense enough to run away with 

■ the rest of the guards. But this after- 
noon, after we ha'd burned the train, an 
inward voice seemed to whisper to me 
that my prayers would be answered, and 
that the' Lord's time for delivering you into 
my hands had come. I knew then that I 
would find you at this house, and some- 

' thing led me through the woods straight 
to it. ' Jabcz Turnbull, I am going to kill 
you. Get down on your knees, confess 
your sins to God, and ask for His for- 
giveness, for you have but only so much 
time to live as it will take you to do that." 
Without lifting his feet, Jabe had edged 
backward a little toward his gun. Now he 
made a frenzied spring for it. 

But Foster Walsh's leap upon him was 
like a panther's. Jabe fell with his hand 

' within an inch of his gun and Foster's 
bayonet drove through his breast deep into 
the hard boards of the floor. 

The dogs sprang upon Foster as he 
wrenched his bayonet out. He turned and 
threw them off, and then drove them into 
the room where their master lay, bayonet- 
ing the two bloodhounds over his corpse. 
He shot another one with his gun. and 
then picking up the shot-gun, continued to 
fire until he had killed them all. 

"That'll be something to tell Angus," he 
said, as he surveyed the scene and re- 
loaded his gun. "I can go back to htm 
now with a good heart, to tell him that 
his torturer and all his infernal dogs are 
dead. It'll help the boy get well. Here, 
you," he called to the guard who stood as 
if petrified, "take what you . want to eat 
from the house. I want you to tell every- 
body that it was a Yankee — an Ohio sol- 
flier, — who killed this man, and that he 
did it in pay for this scoundrel's treatment 
of. the Union prisoners. Say that the 
Yankee who did it was Foster Walsh— get 



is» 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



the name straight — a prisoner, whom this 
villain had tortured. Let his death be a 
warning to all Southerners who mistreat 
prisoners." 

Foster mounted his horse and rode off to 
join Si and the rest at the stockade. 



There he handed his musket to SaSftHf 
kee, saying: 

"Take it and keep it. Kaabakee. It's 
th? last time I shall ever use a gun. I 
shall henceforth devote my65l£ to tV ser- 
vice of the Lord." 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

AN UNEXPECTED WEDDING AT THE SUTTON HOUSR 



Si Klegg found that Surgeon Brookes 
had come back from the Sutton House, 
and was very busy with the sick, all of 
whom were, showing marked signs of re- 
covery under his treatment, and partic- 
ularly from the relief to their poor, tor- 
tured bodies of the cleansing, and the deli- 
cate, appetizing food, and to their minds 
fi'om once more being with friends. 

Surgeon Brookes surveyed what Si had 
brought in with delight. "Capital. Noth- 
could be better," he exclaimed. "Will do 
more for the recovery of these poor fellows 
than all the me-iciues that could be 
poured down their throats. We will make 
some more broth for them this evening, 
and in the morning give them some solid 
food which they will relish. They'll be 
ready for it by that time. I wish you'd 
have some of your men clean out that 
oven over there by the Colonel's quarters, 
^and get some wood for it. We'll tell the 
sick we'll have some roast turkey and 
baked chicken and biscuits and sweet 
Potatoes for them in the morning, and it 
S\'ill revive them like a Summer shower 
does wilted grass."' 

'J The Surgeon hesitatea for a- moment, 
las if there was something else, on another 
subject, that he wanted to say, then grew 
Ved in the face, and hurried away to his 
lluties. 

^ Despite his nervous delicacy — probably 
ion account of it — Angus McLean rallied 
much more rapidly thau any of the others. 
•Fine, highly-organized natures will fre- 
quently survive shocks under which 
coarser fibers will succumb. 

When Angus McLean heard Foster 
Walsh's step and voice approaching, he 
turned over quickly, his eyes lighted up, 
and he put out his thin, girlish hand, with 
the greeting: 

' "Oh, Foster, I'm so glad to see you. 
{Where have you been so long?" 

"I never can pi-aise God enough, my 



dear boy, that I see you looking so much 
better," answered Foster, tears of glad- 
ness filling his eyes, as he slipped his 
arm under the boy's neck, and raised his 
head, that he might see him better. "God 
has been very good to us to-day. I had 
promised Him that if He would restore 
you to health and deliver Jabe Turnbull 
into my hands I would shed no more blood 
during the war. I've just slain Jabe Turn- 
bull, and now you are getting well." 

"Killed Jabe Turnbull?" echoed Angus, 
with a light shining in his big, blue eyes. 
'"You killed Jabe Turnbull? He's dead?" 

"Yes, my bayonet went through his 
wicked heart, and he's now lying out 
there in his cabin, with his dead hounds 
piled on his sinful carcass." 

"Then he won't tear any more prisoners 
with those awful dogs of his," murmured 
Agnus, with a look downward toward his 
own unhealed wounds. "Thank God." 

"No, Angus; he never will again, unless 
the Lord sends him back to torment some 
one for his sins, as he did us to try our 
faith. But lie down and try to sleep, un- 
til I can get you something to eat." 

"Sergeant," said Surgeon Brookes, ap- 
proaching Si, as the latter, after setting 
guards, was preparing to turn in for the 
night, "can I have a few minutes private 
conversation with you?" 

"Certainly," answered Si, wondering 
what the Surgeon could have to communi- 
cate in that manner. The thought flashed 
across him that it was probably some 
disagreeable thing from Lieut. Aristarch- 
us C. Gillen, from whom Si had not heard 
since sending him his independent mes- 
sage. 

"Well, I suppose that Mr. StilT-as-a- 
Ramrod is hotter'n a hornet," remarked 
Si, in an anticipatory way, as they sat 
down on the edge of the Colonel's porch, 
out of ear-shot of the rest. 

"I don't know about that," answered 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



1971 



Surgeon Brookes, busy with his own 
thoughts; 'tile's..'gettin^ very sweet on the 
other sister. Besides"- 

-"GettiTig tm'^eet on Miss Angelina," in-,; 
terjected fcji. '"It must be funny to se^' 
him shinning up to a woman. How does 
he do it? Talie the position of a soldier, 
advance three paces to the front, and sa- 
lute the colors?" 

"Besides," continued the Surgeon, "he's 
only a Second Lieutenant, while I am a 
Captain. He belongs to the line, while 
I'm a staff officer, and staff officers are not 
in the habit of considering very deeply 
what view line officers of the lower grades 
may choose to take of their actions, par- 
ticularly in outside matters." 

"But I don't see what his getting soft 
on Miss Angelina has to do with me," 
said Si. "I don't believe he's got any 
right to command me when we're away 
from him, and he shan't hog the credit be- 
longing to the 200th Injianny Volunteers, 

and so I sent word to" 

."What are you talking about?" asked 
the Surgeon. "I wasn't saying anything 
about his commanumg you. You're out 
under one set of orders, and he under an- 
other. Of course, he'll try to command 
you. He'd try to command the whole 
ayrny if Sherman should get killed, and 
he saw any show for him. But that is 
not what I wanted to talk to you about. 
Yon are a married man, I believe?" 

"Y-e-s, so to speak," said Si, with a 
clutch of memories at his heart, followed 
by a sickening fear that the Surgeon might 
have in some way got bad news from An- 
nabel. "I was married and hurried right 
off, because of orders, to join the regi- 
ment." 

"You were married all right. That's 
the main thing. That's the reason I 
wanted to talk to you privately, where 
the rest couldn't hear. I feel sure of 
your sympathy and support. Those other 
reckless roysterers would only laugh and 
jibe at me. They cannot yet compre- 
hend, if they ever do, the awful yet deli- 
cate responsibility resting upon a man 
when a gently-reared, well-bi-ed woman 
proposes to unite her life with his." 

''So you've left a girl behind that you're 
going to marry as soon's we get through, 
have you. Surgeon?" said Si, beginning to 
comprehend the drift of the Surgeon's 
thoughts. "I understand your feelings." 

"I expect that they will laugh at me, 
and make me the subject of all the jokes 
that are customary on such occasions," 
continued the Surgeon, without noticing 
the interruption. "It is inevitable, and 
part of the price a man pays for his 
happiness. I know that much will be said 
about the disparity in our ages, but her 
heart, which is everything, is maiden and 
fresh, it is even much younger than mine, 
which has been hardened by years of as- 
sTDciation with medical students and sol- 
diers — the toughest creatures that the 



Lord makes. While she may not be so^ 
beautiful as some women, she has- quali-'' 
ties that no other woman I have ey€4':Tuet^ 
possessed, and" ^ 

"What business is it of theire.:hov>-. 
she looks? They ain't going to marry'-herC 
They may never see her. What do you 
care what these fellers around here may 
say?" 

"I'm particularly afraid of Shorty," 
continued the Surgeon. "Shorty's got a 
tongue sharper than a lanceL" 

"What need you bother about Shorty? 
Shorty ain't going to follow you home. 
He's probably got fish of his own to fry." 

"Serg't Klegg, what is the matter, that 
you don't understand me?" said the Sur- 
geon, irritably. "I'm going to marry Miss 
Sophrouia Sutton." 

Instinctively Si's lips puckered for a 
whistle,' but his natural, ready tactfulness 
restrained him in time, and knowing how 
futile it was to argU^ with a man who had 
made up his mind to mai-ry a woman, 
he hastily tried to think of something 
complimentary to say. This took him 
some seconds, and the result was;.- : ^ 

"Well, she is the finest looking, jwoman 
that we've seen ^ since , we've been i^ 
Georgy." - 

"Thank you for saying so. I was 
afraid my partiality had prejudiced ma 
in thinking so. But her real charms ar^ 
internal — not on the outer surface* 
Though, perhaps, rather plain outwardly, 
she has a rare inner loveliness." 

"I'd take the first opportunity to turi^ 
her inside out," Si wanted to say, but r^ 
strained himself. 

"She has simply a wonderful mind," 
the Surgeon continued, growing in eu' 
thusiasm, as men in his position are wont. 
"So solid, so rich in useful knowledge, so 
open to new facts. She will make an ini 
valuable adviser and helpineet to a physi* 
cian, and I never met anyone who under^ 
stood me as well as she does. But if" r 

"Great Scott! They all talk that way,'* 
Si groaned inwardly. "All that a woma^ 
has to do to eaten a man is to tell hira 
she understands him • better than any on* 
else does." ;j 

"But if I get started talking about her 
I'll never know when to stop," said thg 
Surgeon, starting up. "I must go over 
and superintend getting those fowls ready 
for the oven tomorrew. Do you know thaj; 
fellow Kankakee, while one of the most 
atrocious humbugs that ever walked th^ 
earth, really knows some things very well > 
I have discovered that he is as fine a cook 
as I ever knew, and I have had him at 
work stuffing those turkeys, making bread 
out of your flour, and getting the chick- 
ens ready for baking. It is so simply won- 
derful what ingenuity and readiness in 
the culinary art the thorough-paced 
fraud has. I'm going to try to keep Mm 
with me. I'm only afraid that Tie'll get 
some of his bad English mixed up int^ 



198 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY, 



his cooking and poison somebody. You 
have the oven all ready to fire up first 
tning in the morning." 

"lt"s all ready." 

"Well, you'd better have your guard 
Btart the 'tire sometime before daylight, 
BO that the oven will be good and hot 
by the time we get up, and then we can 
sei-ve the food soon after we get the pa- 
tients straightened around and ready for 
their breakfast. By the way, I haven't 
informed you yet that the wedding will 
take place tomorrow afternoon, at 
Sophronia's house, and I'd like very much 
ra kayc^ y-'iu and the rest there. I want 
^ou. particularly, to come, and bring 
Shorty, if you can restrain his tongue." 

•'We'll be there, unless something comes 
np to interfere. Good-night, Doctor." 

j.ne announcement of the proposed mar- 
riage created much excitement among the 
boys, and they waked up those who had 
gone to sleep, to discuss it. 

Foster Walsh denounced it as a wicked 
Justing after a daughter of the Moabites. 

Kankakee opposed it as "politically con- 
glomerate.'' 

The embryotic attorneyism of Monty 
Scruggs ■ asserted that it came under the 
prohibition against giving aid and comfort 
to the enemy. 

The medical-minded Alf Russell thought 
that a physician of Surgeon Brookes's 
genius would be thrown away in such a 
country. 

Always military Harry Joslyn was sure 
that marriage with women of the enemy 
was injurious to military discipline, and 
should be banned uy regulations. Then 
he made some remark about Surgeons be- 
ing after all not really officers, at which 
AJf Russell took offense and mixed up 
with him, and Si had to stop the fight. 

It struck Gid that the rebel woman 
must have used some trick to capture the 
Surgeon, and then he and Kankakee had 
a scrap as to the use of tricks generally, 
which Si had also to stop. 

Tom Radbone and Bill Grimshaw, who 
had had all they wanted of Georgia, could 
not comprehend how any sensible man 
could ever want to leave the North and 
live there. 

Pete and Sandy were entirely too 
young to understand why a man who had 
a chance to be in the army should care 
anything about a mere woman, or for any- 
thing else than soldiering. That was all 
they wanted in this world. 

Shorty ended the discussion with: 

"Oh, all you fellers are shooting off 
your mouths in the air. You don't know 
no more what you're talking about than 
a hen does as to when to cross a road. 
None of you are going to marry that wo- 
man. The Surgeon is. You mayn't want 
her, but you can't tell any more what he 
may want than you can tell when he's 
himgry or thirsty. I think it's all right. 
He needs just her hemlock-tanning for 
his fine-ladyness. Together, they'll aver- 



age up well. Anyhow, thaFs his bu.^iness. 
He's been all right since he's been with 
us, and it's our place to stand by him for 
all we're worth. We'll all go over there 
tomorrow and give him as good a send- 
off as we know how. You hear the soft 
murmur of my 'scape pipe." 

Si was so interested in the feast for the 
sick — or as they could now be more ap- 
propriately termed, the convalescents — • 
that he had himself waked an hour or two 
before daylight, and took personal charge 
of heating the oven. This, built of- clay 
and stones for the use of the Colonel com- 
manding the post, was a fairly good affair, 
and Si had found an abundance of dry 
wood in the material of the shacks and 
sheds which had escaped Foster Walsh's 
incendiarism. 

Kankakee, too, was up betimes, full of 
enthusiasm as to what his cookery was 
going to accomplish for his comrades. 
Uncle Ephraim had beeu his willing assist- 
ant, and learned lots as to Yankee ways, 
of which Aunt Minerva Ann would re- 
ceive the benefit in the future. 

With the assistance of seidlitz powders 
from the Surgeon's stores as baking pow- 
ders, Kankakee had contrived some very 
fair biscuits, Uncle Ephraim had gone 
out into the country and found some sage 
and onions, and with crumbled hardtack 
u very good stuffing for the turkeys and 
chickens had been elaborated. There was 
an abundance of fresh sweet potatoes to 
bake along with the fowls, and the con- 
valescents grew visibly better as the good 
things being prepared for them were fully 
described by the boys. In addition to the 
viands, each was to have the first real 
drink of army coffee which had been al- 
lowed him. 

By the time the Surgeon finished his 
rounds, in which he found everywhere a 
notable improvement in pulses, tonsues 
and general appearance, they had had 
their hands and faces washed, and had 
taken their regular prescriptions, the air 
about them was filled with the intoxicat- 
ing aroma of roast fowl, warm bread and 
coffee. 

"That smell'd be enough to raise Laz- 
arus," remarked Angus McLean. 

"Angus, it took the Lord's power to 
raise Lazarus," said Foster, reprovingly. 
"Be a little more careful in the selection 
of your illustrations. Say the sleepers of 
Ephesus." 

Surgeon Brookes went around with the 
squad carrying the victuals, and pre- 
scribed just how and of what kind each 
man should have. From his decision there 
was no appeal. For once, in the matter 
of food, the boys rigidly obeyed orders. 

The Surgeon was so liberal, however, 
that there was comparatively little left. 
This was carefully put away, under the 
charge of Foster SValsh, Kankakee, Sala- 
magundy and Uncle Ephraim, who were 
to remain behind, while the rest went to 
the wedding. 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA, 



199 







'IT'S KANKAKEE, COMING ON <¥V DEAD riUW," SAID SHORTY. "THERE'S 
TROUBLE AT THE STOCKADE." 



200 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



"I think it'll he all right to leave so 
few," Si remarl<ed, when the decision was 
made. "I don't think there is any dan- 
ger. We haven't seen a sign of a rebel 
cavalryman or bushwhacker around here 
since we've bin here." 

"Yes; go ahead. There's nobody around 
here to molest us. since Jabe TurnbuU's 
gone." Foster replied, confidently. 

They cleaned up themselves and horses 
as well as possible, to make a good show- 
ing as the bridegroom's friends, and fol- 
lowing at Si's command, dashed after the 
Surgeon in his impatient, eager ride back 
to his expectant bride. 

The squad of the 1st Oshkosh took 
arms, formed, presented arms, and cheered 
as they came up. This brought Lieut. 
Aristarchus C. Gillen to the door, from 
his tete-a-tete with Miss Angelina in the 
rear of the hall. 

"Serg't Wilcox," he demanded sternly, 
as he buckled on his sword, "who gave 
the men orders to fall in?' 

"Nobody." answered the Sergeant. "We 
all did it of our own motion, to show the 
boys how glad we were to see them again 
and give 'em a compliment for that train 
job." 

'•Well, sir, underetand that I am the 
one to order the men under arms, and 
the paying of all compliments. Especially 
to such insubordinate men as you are, 
sir," he continued, directing his remarks 
to Si. who had dismounted, approached 
and saluted. "I have forwarded a report 
of your conduct to headquarters, and I 
should have taken more severe notice of 
your course, if I had not received orders 
to hold my command in readiness to re- 
tuin to the regiment as soon as the am- 
bulances arrive for the sick. You can 
rest assured, however, that I shall not let 
the matter rest." 

"Do as you please. Lieutenant," said 
Si. indifferently. 

"Come right in here, men," called the 

Surgeon. 

' They entered the sitting-room, and 

found there, all dressed up, very prim 

and dignified, and wearing the expression 

that they usually assumed for funei-als 

, while in the presence of "the remains," 

-i but occasionally darting fi-eezing looks at 

,- "the Yankees," several aunts of Miss So- 

; phronia, who had been hastily summoned. 

They had brought with thorn their 
•I daughters, who had at first scornfully re- 
j garded T^ieut. Gillen and his men from 
behind the window blinds, and were sur- 
7 prised to find them so good-looking. Pres- 
V ently their curiosity demanded a closer ac- 
quaintance with the 1st Oshkosh boys, 
who, . as usual, did not venture into the 
house, but were scattered around outside, 
mending their clothes, sewing on buttons, 
reading, writing, sleeping, and otherwise 
putting in their leisure. 

Thev took no notice of the bright eyes 
s^-anning them, though these made their 
observation momentarily bolder, scorning 
at last concealment behind the blinds. 



Finally one of the bolder girls determined 
upon a decisive manuver. With great 
austerity of manner, and pulling her skirts 
aside that they might not by any possibil- 
ity touch the boy who was sitting fully 
six feet away, absorbed in scrupulous 
cleaning of his gun-nipple, she tip-toea 
across the porch to pick up a strap or 
something hanging on the banister, and 
swishing about deftly caught her skirt 
in a splintered banister. She uttered an 
exclamation of impatience, but apparently 
could not release the cloth. The soldier 
dropped his gun. was on his feet like a 
flash, and instantly released the skirt. 

"Thank you," she said snappishly. "I 
didn't imagine you Y'ankees could be po- 
lite." 

"Y''ankees are always polite," responded 
the soldier. "Particularly to ladies, and 
to them who are so young and pretty." 

"I don't want no compliments from in- 
vaders of my country," she said haughtily, 
turning as if to leave his hateful pres- 
ence, but still halting to hear his next 
woi-ds. 

But the ice had been broken, .«ind pres- 
ently all of the girls were in eager discus- 
sion of the war with the Wisconsin boys, 
and exceedingly surprised to find how at- 
tractive young men in the horrible blue 
clothes could be. 

The aunts inside whispered to one an- 
other, in the manner that they inter- 
changed ideas at a funeral. 

"Could hardly git mj' own consent to 
come. But 'Phrony has a masterful way, 
and I'll own up that I was powerful curi- 
ous to see the man she'd got at last." 

"Thought she'd 've died before she'd 
married a Y'ankee." 

"She'd 've died without marrying at 
all if she didn't marry him. It was her 
only chance. All the men 'round here was 
afraid of her. I don't believe she's had 
anybody keep company with her for 10 
years. The last one that I kin recoUeck 
was Sim Croft, that went to Californy, 
and was killed by a rock caving in on 
him. That was when 'Tildy was a baby. 
I recoUeck him taking 'Tildy from me and 
carrying her to rest me, and 'Tildy's now 
grown." 

('Tildy was the one who had started the 
flirtation with the Wisconsin boys.) 

" 'Phrony set herself too high in the 
first place. It's the old story of the 
crooked stick. But to take a Yankee of 
all men." 

"But he's a doctor, and doctors ain't 
real Yankees. Only school-teachers, ped- 
lers and soldiers are real Y'ankees." 

"Well. I'd a heap ruther 'Tildy 'd die 
than to marry a Yankee of any kind." 

"Well," answered the other, shifting 
her Seat a little, so as to get a better view 
of what was going on in the noisy, laugh- 
ing group outside. " 'Phrony's disease 
seems to be ketching. and if you don't 
want a Y'ankee son-in-law you'd better 
stir yourself. I see 'Tildy walking down 
there toward them laylock bushes with a 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



201 



Yankee, and I think he's got hold of her 
tahd^."_ 

" 'Tildy Bii'fldr,' comp in here this min- 
ute," .sc'i'(.'ami"(^ the motlier, and tlie others 
e(;h<)cd hor alarm, with imperative calls 
of their daughters' names. The girls re- 
luctautly llutlered )):uk into the .sitting- 
room, and gathering behind their mothers 
bt'gan to scan and whisper giggling com- 
parisons on yi's squad, -wlin. (.■:ips in liaiid, 
•vvore, lined up in chairs' on the (ii)iiosite 
side ot the roonv trying to keo]) their faces 
in the expression they thought proper to 
tlijs cxlr.-iordinary occasion. 

i'rcsenliy who should enter but Elder 
Hornblowor, Bildo in hand, and with the 
slow step and dignihed mien he assumed 
for ceremonial occasions. He walked 
slowly by the line of sisters, shook each 
one by the hand, and inquired as to her 
health and that of her family, and pres- 
ently coming to the end of them cast his 
eye to the other side of the room, and 
recognized Si and Shorty. He stopped, 
startled, and his face grew red. 

The boys' instinctive reverence for a 
preacher in the exercise of his functions 
moved them to do something, and that 
something instinctively took the soldierly 
form of standing at attention and salut- 
ing. 

This seemed to restore the Elder's 
equilibrium. He gravely returned the sa- 
lute, took his position in front of the fire- 
place, and epened his liible. 

^li-s Soplirnnia Sutton came out of her 
room, attired in a gown which had prob- 
ably been made for a similar occasion in 
the remote past, and laid away when the 
event failed to come off. Behind her came 
her mother and sister, in clothes which, 
like Sophronia's, diffused an odor of dried 
i'oseleaves with which they had long been 
packed. 

Assistant Surgeon Brookes and Second 
Lieut. Aristarchus C. Gilleu entered the 
room from the hall in as nearly full-dress 
uniform as their campaign kits would per- 
mit. 

The Elder gave ttie customary lecture 
about the sanctity of marriage, and added: 
"There are some thoughts about this 
union which rise in my mind, and to which 
I am tempted to give utterance. But the 
fact remains that when two persons of 
lawful age, sound minds, and free from 
impediments, determine to enter into mat- 
rimony, it is the duty of a minister of God 
to unite them. That duty I shall pro- 
ceed to do, though I shall be glad to hear 
of any just cause or reason why the mar- 
riage shall not be solemnized." 

Not hearing any, he proceeded with the 
ceremony, pronounced the two man and 
wife, and gave Sophronia an unctuous 
pastoral kiss. 

Si stepped forward to shake hands with 
the SurgeoH, anfl wish him joy, when the 
sound of gallopiug hoofs attracted every- 
one's attention. Si dropped the Surgeon's 
hand and went out on to the porch, fol- 



lowed by his boys, each one seizing his 
musket. 

"It's Kankakee coming on a dead run," 
. said Shony. "There's trouble at the 
stockade." 

E\ery one ran for his horse, untied him, 
mounted and rode out, in readiness for 
Si's orders. 

"Sergeant," shouted Kankakee, as he 
reached Si, "Foster Walsh dispatched me 
witli the imperious information that" ■ 

"A^'ords of one. syllable, Kankakee," 
said Si, curtly. 

"Coui-iiau-y-reb-el-cav-al-ry com-ing to 
attack sLuckade," said Kankakee, with 
his First Reader manner. 

"Sure"? Is Foster Walsh sure?" asked 
Si. 

"Dead sure." 

Si vaulted into his saddle, rode to the 
head, and shouted "Forward." 

"How did you find out, Kankakee?" 
Si asked, as they slowed down to cross 
a muddy ford. 

"Well, Dan Kilp, a measly hungry 
guard, that Foster didn't kill when he laid 
out Jabo Turnbull, come in shortly after 
you left, and said that if we'd gtvb him 
something to eat he'd tell us something 
that we ought to know. We filled hiui 
up pretty well, and then he told us that 
while he was laying out he overheard two 
rebel scouts talking. They'd bin sent out 
to see who Avas down at the stockade, 
and if a train coming up from Savannah 
could not be got past the junction. They 
was going back to report to their com- 
pany that it could gobble up everybody 
there easy, and hold the junction. Fos- 
ter Walsh was sure the man was telling 
the truth, and started me on the jump 
for you." 

"Hello, Sergeant; caught up v.'ith you 
at last," said Surgeon I5rookes, reigning 
in his foaming stead alongside of Si. 

"Hooray! three cheers for the Surgeon!" 
shouted the boys. "He's a brick." 

"Why, Doctor, I'm astonished," said Si. 
"Why didn't you stay with your wife? 
We didn't expect you to come with us." 
"I've told Sophronia right along that 
our marriage must not interfere an in- 
stant with my duty. We only married to 
make sure that we should not lose one 
another. The ambulances have come up 
for those men back at the house, and nov\r 
my whole duty is with those at the stock- 
ade. I'm sure I can save some of their 
lives by being with them. And I want 
to be with your squad, anyhow." 

They were relieved to find, as they 
came near the hospital grounds, that they 
were ahead of the rebels. 

Foster A^'alsh, who had been on . the 
anxious look-out, came out to meet them, 
carrying in his hand a long hickory stick 
about an inch thick, which he had freshly 
cut and trimmed into a serviceable 
weapon. 

"I've got the roads barricaded," he 
said, "with a good high fence across thp 



202 



61 KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



one that they're likely to come in on. 
Salamagundy, Uncle Ephraim and Ham 
Stoughton, who felt able to use a gun, 
are down there behind it." . , c.. 

"But von hain't any gun, said bl. 
"Can't vou find one for yourself?" _ 

"No- "l shall not use one. I pronjised 
the Lord I wouldn't shed any more tlood 
during the war. But I cut this stick, 
which I think I can use to effect in help- 
ing stop them, if they come to close quar- 
ters." , , . ,„ 

"You're sure they're coming, are you? 

"O, yes: they can't be more than two 
or three miles away this time. I sent Dan 
Ivilp out for more information, and he 
climbed a tall hickory and saw them com- 
ing." 

Si had his boys dismount and securely 
tie their horses, when they ran down to 
the barricade. 

" 'Fore God I'm powerful glad yo uns 
done come." said Uncle Ephraim. "I wuz 
moutily afeared dat Aunt Minervy Ann'd 
be a widder dis arternoon." 

Thev took nositions behind the barri- 
cade, extending it with logs and stumps 
to the ri.^ht and left, with Foster Walsh 
leaning on his stick in a clear place at the 
left flank and waited the attack. 

They did not have long to wait. They 
soon saw the rebels coming straight up 
the road in a column of fours, and riding 
at a sharp trot, without advance guard or 
flankers. 

'"They intend to ride right over us,' 
said Si. "Steady, boys. Don't fire till 
they come closer. Me and Shorty, and 
Radbone and Grimshaw will try to bust 
the head of their column. The rest of 
yon wait till they come closer." 

The four fired and brought down a 
couple of horses. 

"Forward, men!" shouted the Captain, 
whom it flashed upon Si he had seen be- 
fore, as he leaped his horse across one 
of the fallen ones. "Forward I Hide riv:ht 
over them!" 

There was a wild turmoil of shots, yells 
and curses, as the others opened fire, and 
the rebel cavalry dashed their horses for- 



ward. In spite of his losses the rebel 
Captain drove straight at the barricade, 
and leaped it in the face of Si and Shorty, 
Radbone and ■ Grimshaw, who jumped 
back a little ways to finish loading their 
guns. Then they brought the Captain 
and the man who had followed and their 
horses down with shots, and joined the 
rest in beating down the others with their 
gun-barrels. Four or five had tried to 
ride around the line to the left, but had 
encountered Foster "Walsh, swinging his 
hickory like a saber, and dismounting all 
who came in reach of his long arm. 

All the guns on both sides were now 
empty, and when the rebels behind saw 
the fate of their Captain and those who 
followed him, they turned and galloped 
off. 

"Ain't you Capt. Alfred Sutton?" in- 
quired Si, as, looking around the field, 
he came up to where the wounded oflQcer 
sat up beside his dead horse. 

"Yes; that's my name." 

"Are you badly wounded?" 

"It seems I've got a bullet through my 
shoulder," responded the officer, feeling 
there with his hand. "I think it hasn't 
done anything more than break a small 
bone or two, but it's bleeding pretty 
badly." 

"I guess that can be stopped." said Si, 
kindly. "Here comes your brother-in-law. 
He'll take care of you." 

"My brother-in-laAv?" gasped the Cap- 
tain. "I haven't any." 

"O. yes you have," said Si cheerfully. 
You're playing in better luck than you 
thought. A brand-new brother-in-law. 
Not worn a bit. Just out of the preach- 
ei-s hands today. Here he comes now. 
Surgeon Brookes, this is Capt. Alfred 
Sutton, brother to the lady who was once 
of the same name." 

"Capt. Alfred Sutton," said the Sur- 
geon, rushing forward. "I hope yoa 
haven't killed him." 

"Oh, no," ansAvered Shorty. "He's only 
hurt a little. Somrthing that you can 
soon cooper up. It'll help you to get aC' 
quainted with your family." 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



203 



. i8 h 



<■■': born I 



awofa giMAFTEE XXXV. 



THE- GRM^/ B^TTLE^; WHldH NEVER CAME OFF— SHERMAN SHREWDLY 

lif s^S' ..:- ;" :: .--o.. OUTMANUVERS' BRAGG. 



'•I'm getting real homesick \.j be back 
■tfitli the regiment," Si confided to Shorty, 
as they sat by the fire and smoked, after 
the others had turned in. "I hate to be 
so long away from Col. McGillicuddy and 
the rest." 

"Ditto here." echoed Shorty. 

"Of course, we hain't loafed any since 
we've bin aAvay," Si argued with himst?lf. 
'"We've earned our hardtack and pork 
nearly every day, I think." 

'•But what does that matter, if Col. Mc- 
Gillicuddy and the regiment don't know 
itV" grumbled Shorty. •'I'd give more for 
their knowing it than all the world be- 
side." 

"Of course they do know it," Si tried 
to convince himself. "They know it when 
we tell it to 'em, and when they hear it 
from other sources. And they know that 
M-e've always put in full time, wherever 
we've been." 

"But it ain't like having Col. McGil- 
licuddy actually . see it, and of reporting 
to him every night. Then the tally's kept 
straight, and there can be no pollyfoxing. 
Let's get back to the old regiment as 
soon's we can. There's home." 

"That's my idee, too. We've been run- 
ning an independent campaign long 
enough. It ain't fair to Col. McGilli- 
cuddy. He get's big pay for bossing us. 
Let's give him a chance to earn his 
money." 

'•There's no use of our hunting for any 
more escaped prisoners now," agreed 
Shorty. "We're to the end of that lay. 
And the big fight for Augusty's healing 
to a head. Everything points that way. 
I heard the cannon up to the northeast all 
day. We ought to be with the regiment 
when the grand culminating fracas comes 
off, and we can't start too soon." 

"They say that old Bragg is again in 
command at Angusty," continued Si, "and 
that he proposes to give us a Stone River 
and Chickamaugy rolled into one, with 
some extras thrown in." 

"That's reason enough for our going to 
the regiment at once. Let's start first 
thing in the morning." 

"Can't do it. Must provide for these 
convalescents first. But something tells 
me that some of our men'U be along to- 
morrow, and then we can turn them over 
and skis out." 



In the morning they could see no signs 
of the army, except the smoke of the 
burning railroad in the distance. But 
that kept coming nearer, and before noon 
the advance of the Seventeenth Corps 
came along the railroad, destroying it as ' 
they came. 

I'resently the bugle blew the halt for - 
dinner, and the men, after making their 
coffee by the heat of the burning ties, 
wandered tip to take a look at the prison 
of which they had heard so much. A tall, 
wiry man with red hair and the double 
stars of a Major-General rode by with • 
his staff, Avas received with cheers by the 
men, looked for a little bit curiously at 
the prison and its suinnindings, and then 
went oft" some distance to a clear knoll in ' 
the woods, and dismounted for dinner. 

"That's Gen. Frank P. Blair, command- 
ing our corps," one of the Army of the 
Tennessee hoys explained to Si. "He's a 
dandy, and don't let it slip your mind, ' 
He's always right up where the main busi- 
ness is going on, and does his full share." 

"Do you know where the Fourteenth 
Corps is?" asked Si. 

"No; only it's to the left somewhere. ' 
Hain't seen nothing of it since we left 
Milledgeville. The Fifteenth Corps is off ' 
there to the right, somewhere. That's 
the only one I know anything about. It ' 
had the job of tearing up this railroad ' 
until we relieved it, and then it sidled off 
to the right to look after Hardee and ' 
McLaws, who was said to be coming up ^ 
Avith a million men or more to eat us up 
without salt. Lord, if you'd listen to these 
citizens our graves are already dug, but I 
don't believe the Fifteenth Corps had to 
put out nior'n a skinuish line yet." 

Still louder and more enthusiastic 
cheering broke out in another direction. 
Caps were thrown in the air, and men 
seen to run from every side. 

"That must be Old Billy himself," said 
Si. 

"That's just who it is," echoed Shorty, 
as the rugged face and towering form 
of the commander of the Union army ap- 
peared coming through the crowd on f^ tall, 
quick-stepping horse, which seemed to 
share his master's impatience in motion. 

'"Take arms; fall in, boys," shouted Si. 
"He's coming our way. Present arms!" 

The General's quick, roving eye seemed, 



^H 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



: to take in and comprehend everything as 
he returned the salute; the prison with 

iall itrpast horrors, the poor convalescents 
J^ing from their beds to feast their eyes 

, upon him: the sweep of the landscape and 

,"ts strategic possibilities; the present sit- 
uation of the troops, and each individual 

^ *" "Danmied scoundrels 1 Damned scoun- 
^drelsl" he remarked savagely, as he sur- 
veyed the stockade. "Made a regular hell 
.on earth here for our men let they 
: whine about my barbarity. Burning 100 
.Atiantas wouldn't pay up for Auderson- 
: ville and this place. Colonel he contin- 
ued, speaking to an ofhcer of the Seven- 
teenth Corps, and pointing toward the fine 
junction depot at Millen. /"What ai-e you 
sparing that building f or .' Burn it^ 
••Ostcihar.s, with the Fifteenth Corps, 
: must be about over there by this time, he 
continued, speaking, to his staff Hes 
due at Scarboro tonight, and that Fljing 
Dutch-ran is always on time. Ihat road 

■ there must lead to Scarboro. One of you 
take it and see if you can find Howard 
or Osterhaus." . . • ^ c- 

"Heilo," he went on. turning to bi. 

- "What are you L'ourtoenth Corps men do- 

• ing here".' ' ^ , 

■ ^'Col McGillicuddy sent us out here to 
pick up escaping prisoners, and we got 
quite a lot of them." answered Si. VV e 

' mi^hed on here, run off the guard, and 

got fortv or fifty prisoners, that we ve 

been waiting to turn over." ^ ^ . ^ 

-All ridit! All right: Good 30b. 

■ Nichols, go in and see that those sick are 

• out in charge of some one. You're re- 
lieved, Sergeant. Get back to your regi- 
ment as soon as you can." 

"That's what we want to do. General. 

Can vou tell us where our Corps is?" 

- "Yes- it is going into camn around 

'Lumpkin's Station, on the Augusta Rail- 

!r road about 10 miles from here, m that 

-direction Take that road there, and it'll 

lead vou right to it. Make haste, and 

•I you'll get there before nigut. ' 

''Thank you, Genieral, ' sa.a bi, salut- 

i ^Emboldened by the General's frank, 
friendly manner, Shorty asked: 

'• A re we going to get a chance to whale 
«"• the 'life out of old Bragg up there at 
^Augusty, General?" 

f> "Don't know. Don t know. Tell more 
, ?bout that in a day or two. Bragg's up 
-there, with all the men he can gather. 

- Where's Blair? I want to find Blair." 

■ "Gen. Blair's right over there, General," 

• S3 id Shorty, pointing him out. 

" -Vttention, forward march!" command- 
er' Si "Three cheers for Gen. Sherman." 
When thev rode blithely through the 
o-cn pine woods to the northeast they 
found the country full of troops closing up 
t ' fird the Millen & Augusta Railroad. 
1 "Th^ •■ looks like a battle, sure," re- 
■3 ij"'"'ked Si. , , , , 

a Thoy ha J to pass directly through the 



Twentieth Corps, formed of the , old 
Eleventh and Twelfth Corps of the Army 
of the Potomac. •. 

There were recognitions and salutations 
on al! sides, and everybody said: ; .,,; 

"We're up against old Bragg again. 
But we've licked him every time, and we'll 
do it again at Augusta, and that'll end 
the war." , . 

"Kilpatrick's out there with his cavalry 
fixing up things for a big battle. Directly 
the infantry '11 have to go in and settle 
Bragg's hash." -,, 

Herds of cattle and trains of wagons 
were being closed up to the main body, 
as if in anticipation of a battle. 

AVhenever the boys crossed a hill-top 
they would catch the faint, sullen boom 
of Kilpatrick's guns off toward Waynes- 
boro, where he and Jo Wheeler were set- 
tling the usual preliminaries to a great 
conflict. 

"From the sound it sometimes seems to 
me that we're driving them, and then 
again it appears like we're being driven," 
remarked Si, irritably. "That's the way 
with the tormented cavalry. A plaguey 
regiment of them'll fight all over a whole 
condemned, measly County, and j'ou never 
can tell whether they're, licking or being 
licked, until they run back behind the in- 
fantry, with their tails betwix their legs." 

"Never mind, Si," said Shorty, more 
cheerful. "The cavalry's just putting in 
the time, as usual, until Sherman gets 
good and ready. By tomorrow he'll have 
the army all up, and then you'll see the 
fur fly. We'll be in plenty of time. We're 
getting near the Corps. See the acorns 
on them wagons there?" 

The sight of the familiar old corps 
badge gave new impetus to their progress, 
and tlianks to it they had little trouble in 
making their way through the throng of 
teams and cattle and other impedimenta 
of the rear of an army, and soon came 
in sight of their division flag. Then it 
was only a short distance to the camp of 
the 200th Ind. where they were received 
with enthusiasm. 

Soon there pushed through the crowd 
of handshaking, cheering boys surround- 
ing them Aunt Minerva Ann. vibrating 
between the maintenance of her stately 
dignity as "de chief cook-lady ob de reji- 
inint" and her palpitating eagerness to 
see little Pete. 

The attention and praise which Aunt 
Minerva Ann had gotten from the officers 
— especially the Adjutant, and more es- 
pecially the Colonel — seemed to her far 
more than any other colored woman had 
received in the world, and lior •■'atu-al 
vanity grew like a mushroom. She was 
ceitain that Col. McGillicuddy was the 
greatest man in the world, and much of 
his greatness reflected directly upon the 
sable matron who was the presiding 
genius of his household. She remembered 
all the airs put on by those colored aristo- 



.ON- THE MARCH TQ THE SJRA. 



205 



crats, the housftkeepors on the plantations, 
and assumed (>vei;y one horself, with addi- 
tloufs of her own invehtion. She was always 
remenibeivd by the oflicera. when the fac- 
tories and depots were being destroyed, 
and any piece of linery discovered was 
-i>ure to- be given h«'r. She was conse- 
ffuently the best dressed of any of the 
"culled ladies" in the Corps, and her tur- 
ban of yellow silk, a remnant of cloth con- 
fiscated- at Milledm'ville, was a jiforgeous 
creation that excited general adniii-ation 
and jeal-Ous envy. It was the joy of her 
life, for it far outshone those which the 
favored -house-Servants used to wear as a 
1)adge of their superiority to the field 
hands. 

She stalked down from regimental head- 
quarters, with her turban showing like 
an exaggerated sunflower, the boys made 
way for her, as they always did, and she 
addressed the youngster with the voice 
of awful authority: 

"Pete, yo' young wagabond, why don' 
yo' come sti-aight' I' headquarters, an' 
report t' yer Auntie, who's bin powerfully 
worried 'bout you'? Don't yo' know yer 
duty better'n datV What yo' loalin' down 
hyah wid dese high privates, when yo' 
ortcr come straight t' headquarters V Don't 
let dis happen agin." 

Then headquarters manner had to suc- 
cumb to maternal affection, and she 
caught Pete's head to her ample bosom, 
murmuring ecstatically: 

"O, yo' dariin' leetle honey lamb. Why 
fo' yo' done stay away so long f'om yer 
ole Auntie, when yo' mus've kuowed she 
wuz jes' a-dyin' fo' t' see yo'V Yo' jes' 
come straight away up t' headquarters, 
whar I gib yo' de bes' meal yo' ebber had 
in all yo' bo'n days. Ebbery time I cook 
pumfin' nice, I done lay away a leetle bite 
fo' yo'. Yo' done got t' eat hit all up. 
Come right along. Y'o' done c:ot back, 
too, has yo', Eph? 'Xpected dat. Can't 
lose yo'. Come 'long, too. Pve got 
enough fo' bofe ob yo'." 

"Sergeant," said Col. McG-illicuddy. 
coming up with the Adjutant, "I am very 
glad to see you back. I know you hava 
been doing good work. I have heard of 
it from several sources. But we need 
you here now. The rebels promise to give 
us the time of our lives before we get 
Augusta, and have our old friend Bragg 
up there in command." 

"Thank you. Colonel. We heard some- 
thing of that, and hurried back as soou's 
possible," answered Si. "We didn't want 
you to go into a fight without us. Whaf s 
'old Bragg going to give us this time. 
Colonel? Stone River, Tullyhomy, or 
Chickamauga?" 

"Can't say just what sort of an en- 
tei-taiument Mr. Bragg has in store for us. 
AU that we can do is to be ready for any- 
thing that he may choose to set up." 
- "We'll Ite that -all right," said Shorty 
confidently. 

*'Welli from the looks of tMngs, serious 



business will begin about tomorrow. Turn! 
your horses over temporarily to th& Quar- 
termaster. Toil him it's only temporary, 
for you may n*!ed them again. Until this 
thing's over you'll slay with ymiE- com- 
pany. Get enough to eat and all tlie sleep 
and rest you can tonight, so's to" be ia 
tine shape for tomorrow." 

"Thank you, Colonel. We'll be with 
you to the end tomorrow." 

As they had now been fully three months 
without any real fighting, the imminence 
of the great battle solu'rcd every one. Tlie 
comiianies were carefully inspected, the 
cartndge-boxes were filled, the guns were 
all seem l.o be in good order, all unnecessary 
things were piled into the wagons, the 
haversacks and canteens were filled, and 
then the companies were dismissed and 
the men set th<'mselveb to writing letters 
hom<.', or sut aiouiid and talked of the 
I)r()babilities, while the otlicers gathered ia 
groups and discussed the operations. 

By ihe light of a blazing jfile of pine- 
knots Si wrote a short letter to bis Wife: 

"Dere Annabel: Though weve bLri,,wakliI 
up the snakes in CJeorgy . since we Ifeft 
Atlanty, we are all well, nobody evea 
wounded. Col. IMcCillicuddy sa.v-s that 
uie and the boys have done- mighty well, 
and when he's satisfied Fm proud. 

"We are now about to have a great bat- 
tle for the big city of Augusty, and we 
expect the rebels will make a he old fight 
before they give it up. P.ut we are liound 
to lick them. I c-xpect to come through all 
right as I always have, but if I doau't, I 
daon't — that's all. He love you all the 
salm. 

"Love to all. 

"^Yours till death, 

"SI." ; 

Shorty, seeking the seclusion which tha 
severity of the intellectual labor and his 
own incurable shamefacedness about any- 
thing connected with Maria demanded, 
had built a little fire behind a screen o£ 
bushes, and lying fiat on his blanket be- 
fore it with his paper on a board in front 
of him, strained fingers, eyes and brain 
over this missive to his soul's idol: 

Deer Miss Maria:- I fele as hungry as 
a bear at the end of a long Winter to hear 
from you, but there ain't no hopes till wo 
get out of this wilderness of (ieorgy, 
which there's no telling when it will be. 
AVe can only trust in God &; Billy Sher- 
man, who probably know where he's a- 
coming out, which is more than anybody 
else duz. 

We are up against old Little-More- 
Grape Bragg again, & this time Augusty, 
Georgy, is the stake. Its our move, & 
we'll land in the king-row, as usual. But 
we expect a regular snollygoster of a 
fight, for if the rebels lose Augusty they'll 
lose all their factories for making powder 
aud cannon, & might as well hang up tlie 



20t5^ 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY*, 



fiddle. Of course, there'll be a pile of 
nibbing out done in the course of the 
ruction, but I expect to draw my rasshuns 
as yousuale the day after, but if they 
should happen to spel my name Dennis 
I rite this to let U no that I think moar 
of U than all the world beside, & hate 
worst of all the thot of going off some- 
where whare U ain't, & won't never kun% 
TJ maik all the briteness of this world fG<5 
me. 

LuT to all. 

Yores alwais, 

WM. B. ELLIOTT. 

Corporal. Co. Q, 200th Injianny Vol- 
unteer Infantry. 

These letters were handed to the Chap- 
lain to mail when opportunity should 
come. 

Pete Skidmore would not eat any of 
Aunt Minerva Ann's good things unless 
Sandy Baker were brought along to share, 
and while the boys were eating and en- 
joying, as only boys can. Aunt Minerva 
Ann delivered the lecture to Pete that she 
had been carefully preparing during his 
long absence: 

"Now dis's de las' time I's gwine t' let 
yo' go rampagin' 'round de country wid 
big men, gittin' into all sorts ob danger, 
jes' 'kase dey does. Yo's too leetle t' run 
wid big, rough men. Yo's jes' lack one 
ob deni leetle fices, dat wants t" run an' 
bark wid de mastiffs an' bloodhounds. 
Fus' t'ing yo' know one ob de big dogs 
snap yo' up, an' yo' won't be a good 
mouthfull fo' him. Y^o' hear dat? Yo's 
got no mudder wid yo' t' look out fo' yo,' 
an' I's done got t' be yer mudder. Yo's 
gwine t' stay right hyah at home, wid de 
rijimint, whar yo' won't be in no danger, 
arter dis. Me an' de Cunnell's fixed dat. 
Yo's t' be de Cunnell's orderly, an' yo' 
kin had yo' yer white mewel t' ride all de 
same. Dat's what I'se done fo' yo', kase 
yo's my own boy, an' I's yer mammy." 

"But what's Sandy going to do?" pro- 
tested Pete. "I ain't going to leave 
Sandy." 

"But yo' mus'," said Aunt Minerva 
'Ann, with determination. She had the 
common womanly belief that Pete's com- 
panion was the one who led him into all 
sorts of troubles, and wan resolved to 
break up the companionship. "Sandy he 
go back t' de company an' stay dar, 'mong 
de common folks. Yo' stay hyah at head- 
quarters wid de quality. Dat's de Cun- 
nell's orders." 

"Yes, Skidmore," said the Adjutant, 
coming up in time to hear the last. 
"Y'ou've been detailed as the Colonel's 
Orderly. Go down and get your mule and 
bring him up. Aunt ^Minerva Ann will 
fix a place for you to sleep." 

"But I won't leave Sandy," protested 
Pete. "Sandy 's my partner." 

*'Wellj I guess I can fix that," an- 



swered the Adjutant good-humoredly. "I 
need an Orderly, too. I'll detail Baker 
for mine. Go down and get your horse, 
Baker, and report to me." 

"Dar's all my pains fo' noffln," grum- 
bled Aunt Minerva Ann. "I wanted t' 
git rid ob dat Baker boy, who's bin leau'.ui' 
leetle Pete into all sorts ob debbilmeat. 
But I'll had him hyah, whar I kin keep 
my eye on him. Eph, I wants yo' t' go 
into battle termorrow" — 

"I's a-gwine t', 'Nerv," answered Uncle 
Ephraim, Nvith his mouthfull. 

"An' I wants yo' t' stan' right up t' de 
rack, fodder or no fodder, jes' lack a 
white man, an' not go t' giggin' back lack 
yo' allers does, when I ain't wid yo'. Y'o' 
hear dat.' I wants yo' t' kill a rebel, sho', 
or nebber come back to me." 

"i^ook hyah, 'Nerve," said Uncle Eph- 
raim, angrily. "Y'o' jes' stop a-bossin* 
me. Yo' haint my boss no mo' since wc's 
free. I's yo' boss. Sarjint Klegg's my 
boss now. I don't mind no one else. Yo' 
go ax him if ebber I gig back. Yo' jes' 
shet yer mouf." 

Stunned for an instant at this mutiny. 
Aunt Minerva Ann soon rallied enough, 
to look around for a stick to enforce her 
authority, but Uncle Ephraim thought it 
was time to go out aud take a look at the 
way the Colonel's horses had been cared 
for during his absence, and then find his 
way back to Co. Q. 

The bugles roused them all before day- 
light, for the coming fray, and soon the 
whole country roundabout was resounding 
with the notes of busy preparation. Camp- 
fires blazed up everywhere, as far as the 
eyes could reach, to get the men's break- 
fasts. Orderly-Sergeants were calling the 
rolls in sharp, nervous rhythm; officers 
were shouting pre-cmptory orders for 
quick action in getting things ready to 
move, while back among the trains there 
was a turmoil with teamsters shouting 
and cursing, and mules braying, in the 
usual morning storm of hitching up and 
pulling out into line in readiness tor any 
contingency. 

With daylight came sounds from the 
front indicating that the whole line of cav- 
alry, miles long, had begun the action. 

Kolling volleys and storms of cheerr- in- 
dicated that one regiment after another 
of the horsemen going into action, and 
these were answered by other volleys and 
rebel yells, ■j.hen tlie cannon began mak- 
ing the Winter air shudder with their 
thunders. 

The regiments of the Fourteenth Corps 
formed up promptly and then consolidated 
into brigades, which in turn united into 
divisions, and mpved forward to ih^- po- 
sitions assigned to them. 

It was a thrilling and imposing sight 
to see the horde of men scattered around 
their campfires, extending over many 
square miles, quickly, and without mis- 
lakes and fonlusiou, come together in a 



THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



207 




'AUNT MINERVA HAD FOLLOWED THE REGIMENT DOWN THE HILL AND 
WAS SITTING ON HER MULE BEHIND THEM." 



long, well-ordered line of battle, reaching 
through the open fields and woods, over 
the hilltops and across the ravines, as far 
as the eye could reach. 

Batteries galloped up to the commanding 
positions, unlimbered at a run, and the 
gunners spi-ang to their pieces ready to 
launch out a volcano of destruction. Trees 
were hastily chopped down in front to 
give them better range. 

The uproar of the cavalry battle mo- 



mentarily grew louder and steadily drift- 
ed back toward the infantry line. 

Presently came an order for the brig- 
ade to which the 200th Ind. belonged to 
advance through the woods and support 
the cavalry. 

"The old story," remarked Si. ''Now 
trouble begins in earnest. Keep cool, 
boys. Wait for orders, and fire low." 

"Uncle Ephraim," remonstrated Harry 
Joslj'n, "you must try to keep stop better, 



208 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



or youll have .to go to the left of the 
line. . You're tramping my heels clear off 
me." 

The brigade moved forward to the brow 
of a hill which commanded a good view 
of the exciting scene' of the cavalry bat- 
tle. 

For miles to the right and left the 
country was tilled with men and horses 
in all the wild excitement and manifold 
diversity of incidents of a great cavalry 
combat. Some regiments were dismounted 
r.nd tiring from behind the cover of fences, 
some were charging on foot, some were 
mounted and charging and counter-charg- 
ing by regiments, while many others were 
lighting in squads or as single individuals. 
Batteries of flying artillery, Union and 
rebel, were galloping hither and yon, has- 
tily unlimbering from time to time to get 
in their shots where they thought they 
were most needed, either on one another, 
or to assist their side at a critical mo- 
ment. 

It was a bewildering storm of noise 
and intense action. 

"Good Lawd A'mighty. Angel Gabriel, 
is de Judgment Day gwine t' be lack dat?" 
they heard Aunt Minerva Ann ejaculate, 
and looking around, saw her seated on a 
mule in the rear. 

"For heaven's sake. Aunty, what are 
you doing hei-e?" exclaimed Si. "Go away. 
This is no place for you. 

"Fs come t' look fo' Leetle Pete, an' 
I's gwine t' stay hyah as long as he does," 
she replied determinedly. "Pete, yo' keep 
away from down dar. D'yo' min'? Yo' 
stay right by de Gunnel, whar you'll be 
safe." 

The idea of nearness to the Colonel be- 
ing a place of safety brought a guffaw 
from the whole regiment. 

As the brigade took its position a regi- 
ment of cavalry directly in front made a 
gallant charge upon the rebel line, and 
drove a portion back over the meadow in- 
to the woods, and. the brigade cheered it 
lustily. In a minute the regiment was 
seen coming back with a whole rebel brig- 
ade after it. yelling and shooting. 

"Col. McGillicuddy," commanded the 
Brigadier-General, "advance with your 
regiment and help that cavalry out." 

"Attention, 200th Ind.!" commanded 
Col. McGillicuddy. "Forward, double- 
quick! March!" 

The regiment rushed down the hill to 
a high fence at the foot. The Union 
cavalry bugles sounded, and the regiment 
whirled to the right, and passed by the 
200th Ind.'s left, uncovering its front. 

"Lire!" commanded Col. McGillicuddy,' 
and the rebel rush stopped, whirled around 
and rode back toward the cover of the 
woods, leaving the meadow dotted with 
dead and wounded. Scores of riderless' 
horses galloped with it. 

"I'm slio', Eph., you' didn't hit a man 
dat time," said Aunt Minerva Ann's voice. 



"I watched de man yo' aimed at, an' he 
rid right off. Dar he is now, waving 
his sword, and yelling at his men t' git 
togedder." 

As the boys reloaded they looked 
around to see that Aunt Minerva had fol- 
lowed the regiment down the hill, and 
was sitting on her mule directly behind 
them. 

"Yo' t'ink I can't shoot! Yo' t'ink I 
can't hit a man, 'Nerve," said Uncle Eph- 
raim, angrily. "Yo' jes' wach me now 
bring dat feller down." 

He sprang over the fence, ran forward 
to the little creek, waded it, and lay down 
behind a log on the opposite bank. In an 
instant his gun cracked, and the rebel offi- 
cer was seen to go down. 

"Hello! What yo' t'ink ob dat,- 'Nerve?" 
shouted Uncle Ephraim, throwing up his 
bauds and his- gun in exultation. 

"I believe- yo' only done hit his boss," 
said Aunt Minerva Ann, with determined 
disparagement. "See dar, dey's helpin' 
him up. I tole yo' so." 

Before they could determine this the 
view was cut off by a battery of artillery 
galloping out in front of the rebels, and 
unlimbering on a slight rise. 

"Grab a root! Grab a root!" yelled ev- 
erybody, "i^ay low! It's coming!" 

"Jump down off that mule. Aunt Min- 
erva," ordered Si, as he crouched behind 
the fence. 

She slid to the ground, and just in time, 
for the volley from the battery sent the 
rails flying in every direction. That was 
that battery's last effort, for before its 
guns could be reloaded it rece;ived such, a 
crushing volley from a couple of Union 
batteries that its survivors began lamely 
pulling their guns back by hand. 

Everybody's blood was now up, and the 
rest of the brigade advanced, followed by 
the rest of the division, and the rebel 
cavnlry abandoned the field. 

The Union line advanced to the top 
of the hill, and there saw across the val- 
ley the rebel army busily engaged in cut- 
ting down trees, making abatis, and pre- 
paring for a desperate resistance to the 
assault. 

The artillery began a noisy cannonade 
and the cavalry, clearing the infantry's 
front, resumed its stormy combat far up 
the valley to the left. 

The 200th Ind. was pushed" forward to 
reconnoiter the rebel position, and as night 
came on halted on a spur of hill-top run- 
ning toward the rebel works, and built big 
camp-fires, which brought iheni. occasional 
long-range shells from the rebel lines. 
. "I wonder what ,that order to build big 
fires means; Shorty'?" inquired Si. "We 
never did that . before, before a big fight. 
See, they're building them everywhere. 
It. must be to show the, rest of the army 
where we are. Well, let's get, something 
to eat and lay dovrn. We're likely to 
have a big day tomorrow." 



ON -THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



They were waked early the next morn- 
ing, to go through the tiresome ordeal of 
standing to arms until after daybreak. 

The\' saw the long line of camp-fires 
still glinunering, but they neard none of 
the noises of preparation for the coming 
battle, which they had expected. As the 
day dawned they could see no troops to 
the light or left of their brigade. There 
was only a little crackling of cavalry 
tgliting off in the distant. 

"Whafs up uowV" asked Si, wondering- 
ly. 

"It means." said the Adjutant, yawn- 
ing, "that the much-talked-of battle for 
Augusta is off. Postponed indefinitely, 
on account of pressing engagements else- 
where. Sherman don"t want Augusta, 
and never did. The whole thing was a 
grand bluff to make old Bragg hive all his 
troops up here at Augusta, and. leave 
Sherman free for other jobs. The whole 
army 'is now marching toward the sea, 
and we are to bring up in the rear. Sher- 
man's played it very fine on Bragg, and 
manuvered him clear out of his way. Only 



I wish some other corps than the Four- 
teenth had been used to make the bluff 
and bring up in the rear. I was mad as a 
hornet last night about midnight, when 
1 was told how we were all fooled, as 
Avell as old Bragg; but that's war, and 
we've got to take our share of it, as well 
as other people." 

"Hooray for Billy Sherman," said Si. 
"I had hoped that we'd end the war today; 
but it's all right, if Sherman's outwitted 
Bragg so bauly." 

. "Just think of the strain upon my feel- 
ings," remarked Shorty, angrily. _ "I d© 
hate to make up my mind for a big fight, 
and then be disappointed. I'd give any- 
thing," he ac^^ed to himself, "if I could 
only get that letter bacK, from the Chap- 
lain that I -wi-ote to Maria. How she'll 
have the laugh on me when she gets it." 

, "Let your men get. breakfast. Captain," 
said Col. McGillicuddy. "1 don't think the 
rebels have found out yet that the army- 
is gone, and they'll stick close to their 
works. We are to bring up the. rear to- 
day." 



CHAPTEE XXXVI. 



Fir.ST DAYS OF THE .GREAT FLANK MARCH ON SAVANTs^\H— KEEPING UP 
THE ILLUSION OF THE ATTACK ON AVGUSTA— THE BOYS GET FOOLED 
IN TURN. 



Though' it was -a little to its liking that 
the Whip-I'oor-Will Brigade became the 
rear guard of the whole army in it.s new 
and momentous movement, and that the 
20Uth Ind. became the tail-end of the brig- 
ade, yet it was compensated for by the 
fun of the huge joke perpetrated upon 
their old ■ eneuiy— Gen. Bragg — and the 
army which had been hastily assembled to 
deleiid Augusta. 

At the first streaks of light the rebels 
had resumed their vigorous and noisy 
chopping along their whole line to cover 
their front v.ith infernally-entangling 
abatis. 

As the light grew the boys looked with 
a glee they had never felt before in con- 
templating such woiks. the long embank- 
ments of freshly-turned earth, which mo- 
mentarily grew stronger from the inces- 
sant stream of shovelfuls of earth coming 
up from the ditches; the obstructions ev- 
erywhere, the artillerymen working like 
beavers to get their guns placed, the fever- 
ish effort in every direction to get ready 
for the impending attack. 

"Go it, you condemned whangdoodles," 
chuckled Si, as he munched his bread aad 



meat and sipped his coffee. "Work the 
daylights out o' your tormented hides, you 
seeds o' perdition. It's the first time I 
ever enjoyed seeing you build them things, 
and I like to see you racking your plaguey 
bones, and wearing out your rotten car- 
kisses in building traps that we've no 
mind to go into." , ■ 

"Never did see such cussed fools as 
rebels, anj'how." Shorty remarked sar- 
donically. "The oftener Uncle Billy flanks 
'em the easier it seems to be, and the 
more certain they are that he aint a-going 
to do it again. Most everybody else in 
this neck of woods has long since found 
out that the thing that Billy Sherman 
makes the most show of going to do is the 
thing that he has no idee of doing. But 
a punkiu' headed rebel never drops on to 
that."' ' ■ ■ ■ 

"They haint no more sense than Pete 
Bohannon's old sow," said Si. "You know 
Pete Bohannon's farm joins pap's on the 
north, and he's got a field of splendid bot- 
tom corn land. Pete had an old sow 
that was too cunning to live, and she'd 
rather steal tha:n have her feed given her. 
Ske kept getting into his com field ia a 



210 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



way that puzzled him, until one day he 
tracked her u|i, and found that there was 
a big; crooked, hollow log, that he'd ysed 
for part of his fence, that she went 
through. He got at it and turned the log 
over so that both ends was outside the 
field, and then he got off a little way aud 
watched her. Up she come, and crawled 
through the log, and Pete nearly bust with 
laughing when he saw the look she gave at 
finding herself on the same side of the 
fence that she was when she went in. 
But she was a determined old beast, and 
she knowed that she had got into the corn- 
field by crawling through that log, and she 
turned around and went in again, and 
kept it up until she wore herself down to 
skin and bone. She'd rather starve try- 
ing to steal corn than go with the rest of 
the hogs to the trough and get it in a re- 
spectable way. That's the same way with 
these rebels." 

"Good morning. Col. McGillicuddy," said 
the Brigadier-General, coming up, with a 
look of amusement on his face. "Our 
friends over there on the hill are wonder- 
fully industrious this morning, aren't they? 
I always like to encourage industry, es- 
pecially when people are so harmlessly 
employed. They might be doing so much 
worse. We've an hour or two to spare, 
while the trains are getting well out of 
the way, and I propose to put in the time 
entertaining these * industrious gen- 
tlemen. The battery has some 
shells that they're doubtful about, 
and I'm going to let them try them 
on those works. I've sent the 1st Osh- 
kosh about a mile over there to the right, 
to make a noisy reconnoissance, and I 
want you to do the same with your regi- 
ment out there in front. Make all the 
noise and bluster that you can, but don't 
get anybody hurt." 

"That salient out there," answered the 
Colonel, pointing to a projection in the 
rebel lines toward the left, "is where I had 
supposed the main assault would be de- 
livered. The rebels seem to think so, too, 
from the way they're working to cover it 
with abatis. I think I'll go through some 
of the motions I'd thought out in case I 
had the honor to lead the assault." 

"Very good," said the General. "I'll tell 
the battery to pitch a few shells over there 
as a guaranty of good faith. Don't push 
your men too far; keep them well under 
cover. We don't want to lose any of 
them in this fooling." 

"Serg't Klegg," said the Colonel, "do 
you see where that tongue of brush runs 
down the hill, away over there to the 
left?" 

"Yes, sir," 

"Well, take your squad over there, and 
get as near those abatis-builders as you 
safely can, and raise all the particular 
thunder that your tempestuous disposition 
incliaes to, so long as you don't get any 



of your men hurt. I'll amuse t'B.eni from . 
this flank." 

The 200th Ind. had run up against so 
many abatis, and particularly that in front 
of Kenesaw, that there was vengefulness 
in Si's heart against the .builders of the 
infernal contrivance. He got all his boys 
well under cover behind logs, trees and 
piled-up chunks, at the edge of the brush, 
within good, though long range: of the 
choppers and pilers, and then tlipy, all be- 
gan murderous sharpshooting on the abatis 
builders. The rebels stopped dropping and 
ran back to the cover of the, works. A 
man near the lower edge of the abatis, 
who had been struck down by Shorty's 
bullet, arose and tried to hobble after 
them, and then fell again. Si ordered the 
rest to stop firing, and going to the front 
shouted: 

"Say, you fellers! Come out and get 
that man. We won't shoot. But get him 
in quick. We're going to salivate you 
condemned galoots, for the Lord's sake." 

A couple of rebels sprang over the 
works, and hastily carried the man back 
and as soon as they gained cover the 
whole squad fired again, and were an- 
swered by a crashing volley from the 
200th Ind. on the other flank. The rebels 
manned the works and -began replying. 
A rebel cannon sent a shell over into the 
woods where Si was, and then the Union 
battery crashed a volley into the salient. 

"AVhy, there's nothin' the matter with 
those shells," said Si, watching the dirt 
and logs fly. "AVhat was the General 
talking about? Nothing doubtful about 
them." 

The other regiments were now at work 
with tearing volleys, and the rebels were 
swarming into their works, to repulse the 
threatened assault. 

An idea occurred to Si. From the foot 
of the hill, from their coverts. Si and his 
squad kept up a steady fire, aiming delib-. 
erately, and producing visible commotions 
in the gathering mass which led them to 
believe that their shots were taking effect. 

But presently Si noticed something 
■which alarmed him. An officer, with his 
glasses lying on the bank, and only show- 
ing the top of his head, was clearly study- 
ing their position, and the movements in- 
side the works seemed to indicate the 
possibility that he had discovered the 
weakness of the detachment, and was med- 
itating a sally, Avhich would expose the 
bluff the brigade was making. This would 
mean no end of trouble. A plan at once 
presented itself to Si, and he proceeded to 
put it into execution. Calling Shorty's at- 
tention to the field-glasses, he asked him 
to put in his closest shooting at them, to 
get rid of their owner, or at least shake 
his nerves and confuse his vision. Si 
then crawled down through the brush and 
Aveeds to the little creek at the bottom of 
the hill. On the other side of the creek 
a fence of dry pine rails, pieced out with 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



211 



plumps and bruKh, ran up to the abatis. 
The wind was blowing quite a strong 
breeze in that direction, and Si conceived 
that a lire might run up that way, and 
burn the abatis, and cover the scene with 
smolve. He crossed the creek, and gained 
the corner of the' fence, which was tilled 
with dry brush and weeds. He furtively 
gathered some more together, from as far 
as he could rdaCh, struck a match and at 
once the whole was in a blaze, when he 
ran back to Ms place. The strong wind 
sent the fire a'Ipng the fence and weeds, 
. and it caughttitt the "trash" of the abatis. 
'•Hold on, boys! Cease firing," shouted 
Si. "Now all load up," he continued, 
"take a good aim at the top of the works, 
and then we'll yell at the top of our voices. 
They'll think the charge is coming, and 
jump up to meet it. Then pour it in to 
them. Every man bring down his meat." 

"All ready'?" he inquired. "Hooray for 
Injiannyl Hooray for the 200th Injianny 
.Volunteers! Hooray for Abe Lincoln!" 

The rebels swarmed on the works. Ev- 
ery shot from Si and his companions 
brought down a man. The rebel front 
blazed with a volley, but at the same in- 
stant the flames rushed through the fallen 
timber of the abatis, and raised a vail of 
fire and smoke all around the rebel front. 
The rebels seemed to think that the Yan- 
kee charge was coming straight on through 
this. They could see nothing beyond the 
fire, but Si could hear the shouts of the 
rebel otliccrs as they rushed their men to 
the threatened point, and lined them up on 
the works. 

Thi' sweeping volleys were directed 
dov.n the face of the hill, to meet an 
enemy supposed to be advancing up it, 
and only the stray shots of excited men 
came over as far as where the boys were, 
but Si said: 

"I guess we'd better get back into the 
ravine, where we'll be entirely out of 
range. I hear them bringing up a battery, 
and it'll Le sifting canister through that 
abatis to beat the band. Get back into 
the gulch, boys." 

They gathered there, and listened 
amusedly to the roar of the cannon and 
the fearful hurtling of the canister through 
the limbs of the abatis. They would 
break out into cheers at times to convey 
the idea of reinforcements coming in. Oc- 
casionally they would catch glimpses 
through the smoke and flames of the can- 
noneers working like demons. Where they 
were they were as safe as if at home, ex- 
cept that an occasional wild shot, strik- 
ing on a tree, would bound back. 

"I'm much obliged to those gentlemen 
for all these fireworks, I'm sure," re- 
marked Si. "I've often wanted to look 
at a battle when I'd have nothing on m.y 
mind to disturb me, and now I'm satisfied, 
I'd like to stay longer, and see this to the 
end, but I guess v\-e've had the best of the 
show, now, and have kicked up iniQiis.;i 



Kjlllabaloo to satisfy the Colonel. Let's 
get back to the regiment. Forward, 
march!" 

On the way tliey met Aunt Minerva 
Ann on her mule, tearing through the 
woods in search of them. The low-hang- 
ing limbs had torn off her gaudy turban, 
and the brush had whipped into tatters 
the gay calico skirt of which she was so 
proud — the first calico she had ever worn. 
The spuds of wool on her head had lost 
their trim plaiting, the strings binding 
them were loose, and they were frazzled 
like wisps of black tow. Tears stood in 
her big eyes and coursed down her cheeks. 
At the sight of Pete marching along, safe 
and unharmed, she burst out with a min- 
gled croon of joy, thanksgiving, wrath, 
and reproach: 

"O, yo' worrisome leetle brat, I'se jes' 
gwine t' skin yo' alibe, so I is. Au's yo's 
not hurt eben a leetle mite, when I t'ink, 
ebbery time dat one of dem big cannons 
go off dat time, sho's preachin' yo's 
blowed allt' pieces. I jes' died my own 
self, whenebber one ob dem awful can- 
nons bow-wowed, lack de crack ob doom. 
I nebber 'spected ,t' see yo' alibe agin, yo' 
darlin' leetle honey-boy, an' now yo" come 
straight up t' de Gunnel, an' I'll see he'll 
hab ebbery bit ob hide took offen yo' for 
runnin' away, so he will. If he don't I'll 
done kill yo' my own-self." 

"Well, Sergeant," said Col. McGilli- 
cuddy, when they reached the regiment, 
"you certainly have stirred up a bobbery 
over there, that'll give our vis-a-vis some- 
thing to think on for some hours. They 
are clearly expecting the main attack from 
that side, and as we have no objection to 
their thinking that way, the liattery's 
moved over to throw a few shells in to the 
force they've massed there. That youns* 
Lieutenant who is in command of the 
battery takes a deep professional pride 
in the number of rebels that he can knock 
out, and he thinks it a finer chance than 
he's had since he came into command. 
After he works off all the shots that the 
General's allowed — and I think the Gen- 
eral entirely too stingy in his limit — he 
vrill fall back by that road running down 
there, and we'll bring up the rear. You'd 
better go over there to the Quartermaster 
and get your horses, and act as rear-guard 
to the regiment." 

The march to rejoin the Corps was 
very deliberate, as a number of trains, 
coming in from various directions, had 
to be covered by the brigade, and the 
2(J0th Ind. must keep a proper dis- 
tance in the rear to make sure of this. 

After the excitement of the morning 
this was very stupid work, and presently 
became irritating. There was just enough 
movement to keep the boy.-" from gettii,ig 

any re-ji, wnich they needed after, tuo 
early morning routing out ss.nd the subse- 
quent excitement, and not euotigh progress i 
to secure them the stimulus of a march. 



212 



BI KLEGG 'AND SHORTY. 



Si was onloi-fd to habitually Icecp on the 
next range of hills behind the regiment, 
BO as to give timely notice of any pursuit, 
or the approach of the rebel cavalry. 

But the long hours passed without a 
sign of a rebel of any kind, to break the 
nionotonv of watching for the regiment to 
move forward off the next hill, and start- 
ing to follow it, finding that it had re- 
considered, and come back to its hill, till 
the trains could be gotten across a ford, 
or some other obstruction overcome. 

It was the first time that they had had 
to bring up the rear for so long a time 
that they had forgotten nil about the 
annoyances of that position on the march, 
and it was such a contrast to the exciting 
rushes they had lately beon making as to 
be very exasperating. Everybotly grew 
sleepy, tired, and savagely irritable. Harry 
and Monty had their usual mill over noth- 
ing in particular; Alf and Gid came to 
blows as to whether the army was start- 
ed for Savannah or Charleston; Radbone 
and Grimshaw quarreled over the merits 
of wood-burning and coal-burning loco- 
motives, and Si spoke crossly to Shorty 
about moving off before he was certain the 
regiment was going. 

Uncle Ephraim had returned to the 
headquarters, to look after the Colonel's 
horses, and he and Aunt Minerva Ann had 
a bitter wordy strife over whether he, as 
hostler had any right to "boss de chief 
cook-lady ob de rijimint." 

There was some friction at headquarters 
between Pete and Sandy over Abednegd 
having kicked Sandy's horse. 

"It'd put us all in better humor. 
Shorty," suggested Si, "if we had some- 
thing good to eat. You might ride over 
to some of those houses there, and see if 
you can't pick up something." 

"'Bout as much sense as your suggesta- 
tions usually have," snorted Shorty. 
"What do you suppose is left after Kil- 
patrick's Cavalry and the Fourteenth 
Corp's both been .over the ground? And 
the 1st Oshkosh's right ahead of us, too. 
Why, a crow couldn't smell out enough ia 
a Township to make an Irish stew." 

To add to their discomfort, a search- 
ing, drenching rain set in, which soon 
made them all wet as drowned rats. 

This did not facilitate progress at all, 
but rather made it more aggravatingly 
slow. The mules, as was their wont, be- 
came discouraged, and the drivers more 
profane, blundering, and helpless. 

The roads at once became muddy 
ditches, the creeks rushing torrents, and 
the crossings blind and confusing. 

"There's always shades and differences 
in mi.sery," remarked Si, philosophically, 
as from the top of the hill he watched 
the whole brigade struggling to get the 
trains across an overflowed swamp. At 
that distance the men. plodding aroimd 
in the mud, looked like a great flock of 
disconsolate turkeys and chickens, in a 
dreai-y, steaming barnyaxd, on a sad» rainy 



day. Faint echoes of yells and curses 
came back through the drizzled mist. "I 
guess I'd rather' be here "fll'Sii'mucI park- 
ing down there with the boys and mxiles. 
But we'll, stand it till we get into camp, 
boys. It can't last <^uch longer. , To- 
morrow it'll be the -'1st Oshkosh's turn 
to bring up th« rear." 

"Hello, there's some rebel cavalry, at 
last," exclaimed Shorty, pointing tq the 
hill in the rear. "Now we'll have some- 
thing to keep off the blues. Come on, 
gents; we're out here tojvs-elcome you with 
bloody hands to hosi'^vfj^lble graves." - 

There seemed to be '20 or 30 o^ the 
rebels, -btit they showed no desire for a 
closer asquaintance. They remained on 
the hill out of range of musketry, and 
seemed to be simply watching the progress 
of the column. 

"Torment the plaguey guerrillas," 
grumbled Si; "they'll just hang around 
now. and watch for a chance to rush us, 
or cut out a wagon. They'll be there and 
everywhere, and we can't get rid of 'em, 
because they won't stand for a fight, and 
they'll scatter all over the country if wo 
attempt to charge 'em. But tomorrow the 
1st Oshkosh '11 have to look out for 'em." 
• Pete came back with a doleful account 
of the trouble the brigade was having in 
getting the trains across the swamp, and 
the probability that they would not make 
camp by midnight, at which they all ex- 
pressed savage discontent, in their various 
methods, ranging from Shorty's fluent pro- 
fanity to Si's more decent, but none-the- 
less bitter "Condemn the luck," and "Tor- 
ment it." 

Si sent Pete back to the Colonel with 
the report of the appearance of the rebel 
cavalry, and tried to relieve his feelings 
by starting on a charge across the valley 
at the rebels. But at the first sign of a 
movement against them these broke and 
disappeared, leaving Si angrier than ever. 

The trains were finally worried across 
the swamp, and Si followed at a distance, 
only to find when he reached the hill be- 
yond that the rebels were coming down 
from the hill behind, and making their 
way through the swamp by paths which 
they alone knew. 

Darkness now closed down, making it 
all the more necessary for Si to be watch- 
ful. So the wearisome hours dragged 
on till past midnight, with Si and his men 
standing in the rain, beside their shiv- 
ering, hungry horses, and waiting till they 
nearly dropped from fatigue for Pete to 
bring the news that the trains had at 
length been gotten over another swamp, 
and they could move back to the next hill. 

At last, when it seemed that flesh and 
blood could stand it no longer. Pete report- 
ed that the trains had at last been closed 
up near the column, and they would go 
into camp, but Si must remain where he 
was in observation of the rebel cavalry. 

"Torment , it," said Si, "that means 
standing guard the rest of the night, with 



ox THE MAECH TO THE SEA.. 



21' 




HE STRUCK A MATCH AND AT ONCE THE WHOLE WAS IN A BLAZE. 



no fires. But it can't last always," he 
added, cheerfully, for the benefit o*f the 
rest. "It'll be only a few hours now till 
daybreak, and then we'll go to the head 
of the column, and the Wisconsin Badgers 
'11 have this fun all to themselves. Plague 
take them, they deserve just such a job 
as this." 

There was nothing for the hungry 
horses to eat, not even soft green branches, 
for they were in one of those lonely pitch- 
pine forests, which are destitute of all 
small growth. Nor was there anything for 



the boys. They had got so used to living on 
the country that they had forgotten their 
old care about full haversacks. Si divided 
his squad into two watches, one under arvv- 
self and the other under Shorty, a'-^^ 
while the relief that was off gained a i->» 
tie sleep lying at the roots of the tall pine.!; 
ihc: other' kept a sharp lookout for t«-i 
luriving rerjpi cavairy. 

At length the welcome daylight ap- 
peared, but the chill, drenching rain 
showed no signs of abatement. They all- 
stoo4 to horse to wait the onset of reb/1 



214 



BI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



cavalry, whioh would be made then if 
ever. None came, however, but as tlu; 
light grew f<trouger they saw their old 
acquaintances gathering on the hill in the 
rear, with little show of desire for closer 
company. 

Tired and hungry as they had ever been 
in their lives, Si and the rest waited pa- 
tiently for the orders to come up and join 
the regiment and get their breakfasts. 

At last Pete appeared, and he was in 
such a rage that he began shouting as 
soon as he came in sight: 

"Say, do you know what that blasted 
old dodderer of a Colonel of the 1st Osh- 
kosh has went and done? Well, he pre- 
tended that there was a lot of rebels out 
in his front somewhere, and the first thing 
this morning he pushed out after them. 
He's miles away, somewhere, and can't 
be got back, so the order's come that 
we've got to bring up the rear today, 
again, or until we come to him. None of 
us believe that there's any rebels out there, 
and that it's only a trick of his to get out 
of doing rear-guard today. The Colonel's 
hotter'n a hornet about it. But he says 
you've got to stay where you are and look 
out for that cavalry. Uncle Eph's bring- 
ing you back some grub." 

A yell of rage Aveut up from every 
throat, and Shorty wound up a general de- 
nunciation of the tricky Wisconsin men 
by a distinct promise to maul the head off 
of the first 1st Oshkosh man he could 
find. 

Just then Uucle Ephraim came up with 
a camp kettle of hot coffee swinging from 
a pole, and balanced across his horse by a 
hickory basket full of hardtack and fried 
pork. For awhile they all forgot their 
rage in the avidity with which they at- 
tacked the grateful viands. Then they 
found a straggling corn-lield near, which 
was too unpromising to attract the atten- 
tion of the foragers, but which yielded 
them enough to give their horses a good 
breakfast. 

"Now," said Si, "if those whangrtoodles 
out there could be got in range of a good 
volley which would scatter them, I'd feel 
like life was worth living again." 

The i-ebels continued as ofUsh as ever, 
and the same dreary program of the day 
before began to be carried out in the 
same pelting rain. 

The rebel cavalry was growing stronger 
from lionr to hour, and as there would be 
frequent rushes forward of little groups, 
it seemiHl to act a little more boldly, 
though never within good musket range. 
Si became worried at what they might 
do, and besides was getting so savage over 
the annoying duty of bringing up the rear, 
that he thirsted to hurt somebody, by way 
of diversion. He rodu forward to the 
Colonel, and unfolded a plan for trapping 
the rebels. The wagons were then cross- 
ing a creek with a wide margin of swamp 
and thick woods on the far side. The 
trains were to go on over the next rise, 



II n ue preiTy nsKy |)us)l|1(;,!?.s lor you, 
ergeant," said the Colcuiel,;,^'^'ti!:' rebels 
ay wipe you off the foxc'e/ut'llfy',farth, iu 
)ite of all the rest or the'^co^lp.any.'.' .' J 



Rud the Colonel was to Jeave the rest of 
Co. Q hidden behind the (TcsI-, \\-hilo Sf 
was to file to the right, iiiiHicdiatcly at'lm- 
crossing, go down and hiilc tii '{lu- Ihifkot, 
and wait until the rebels _.sh(i(il<I rnmt; over; 
when he was to make, a ru^^lr: niul got be'-' 
tween them and the swamp, \vluii, at the 
sound of the boy's yell^, .po.^'Q''\Vould a(l- 
vance up the'iiill and datcli ihfe reTifels be- 
tween two tires. . ^-f.o'^ ■ 

"It'll; be pretty risky bti6ji|i0?i;",'f6r you, 

Sergeant, 

may 
spi 

"Let us look out for oiirselvl^s"^ 'Colorful; 
said Si, confidently. "We're in the habit 
of getting out of bad scrapes, and one of 
them will be relief to this beastly work." 

"Go ahead, then," answered the Colonel. 
"I feel that way myself, just now. It'll 
be a great relief to shoot somebody." 

Si led his squad through the swamp, 
turned off to the right a half-mile below 
the crossing, concealed his men and horses 
in a dense brake of cane and young sap- 
lings, and waited. The rebels watched the 
column labor over the hill and disappear, 
leaving no one on the summit. 

Si, Avatching cautiously through the 
brush, saw them come through the swanip 
and advance sloAvly toward the rise be- 
yond. He waited till they had all cleared 
the swamp, and there was quite a strip of 
open pine-woods betAveen them and the 
covering thickets. Then he gave the order 
to mount, and they dashed out for the 
rebels, yelling like Indians. The rest of 
Co. Q appeared on top of the hill, and 
opened fire. When Si got near enough to 
see clearly the stampeded mass he was 
amazed at the sight. There was no thought 
of resistance on the part of the rebels. 
Many of them, as soon as they saw their 
retreat was cut off, had slipped from their 
horses, and AA'ere kneeling in ' the mud,' 
Avith their hands uplifted, begging that 
their lives might be spared. Si checked, 
his squad at the strange sight, and looked 
the croAvd Over carefully. It was mostly 
poor old Avhite men, in all possible stages 
of decrepitude, with a few negroes among 
them. What guns appeared Avere squirrel- 
rifles and shotguns, some of them flint- 
locks. The horses were all old, and bad 
specimens of bone-racks. But each Avas 
loaded doAvn Avith the most astonishing col- 
lection of things thrown aAvay by soldiers 
on the march or in camp. There were- 
buckles and bits of harness broken in the 
struggles of the mules Avith the ba;d roada 
and obdurate crossings; broken whiffle- 
trees, pieces of chains, mule-shoes, linch- 
pins, saddles, bridles and lines, blankets, 
haversacks, canteens, boots and shoes, 
coals and pantaloons, hats, caps, under- 
clothing, cups, knives, cooking utensils, 
pieces of tents, and so on through the 
whole litter to be found in the camps and 
line of march of a large army. Many of 
the things had been thrown away as use- 
less, and others had been lost in the strug- 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA- 



215 



gles with the roads and crossings. But 
anything that was either cloth, iron, or 
leather was a treasure trove to the poor 
whites of the South. They could make 
use of it sohiehow or somewhere. Every- 
thing had been eagerly hunted down, and 
the lucky iindcr had bound it securely to 
his saddle with strips of paw-paw baru 
and withes. 

*'P"or God's sake, don't hurt we'uns. 
Mister," begg'^d an old man, whom Si 
recognized as somewhat the leader of the 
crowd. "We'uns haint bin a-doin' nothiu' 
wrong. We'uus wuz a-follerin' you'uns 
up to gether the things what you'uns 



throwed away. We'uns haint stole noth- 
in', nor hurt none o' you'uns, nor didn't 
intend to. We'uns '11 give all this truck 
back, if you'uns say so. Only don't hurt 
none o' we'uns." Please don't. Mister." 

"The devil," said Shorty, in deep dis- 
gust, giving a kick to a pile of the old 
trumpery. "All this flummery oA^er a gang 
of spavined, windsucking old camp-follow- 
ers. Say, I'll kill the first galoot that lisps 
a word of this to the 1st Oshkosh." 

"You can't always fool other people," 
echoed Si in deep dejection. "Sometimes 
you get it on you, and get it bad. Tor- 
ment the luck." 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 



THE LONG MARCH THROUGH THE PINE BARRENS— FORAGE BECOMES 
PRECIOUS, AND PETE BRINGS ON A PRIZE FIGHT. 



For the next few days the army 
marched through the apparently endless 
plains of sandy pine barren which con- 
stitute lower Georgia. 

There was something weirdly malancholy 
in the vast stretches of sand, with giant 
pitch pines, standing as far apart as tele- 
graph poles, a ragged little cluster of the 
limbs at their very tops, and nothing on 
the starved ground below but thinly-grow- 
ing wire-grass. 

The pines had evidently completed their 
growth centuries before, and since drawn 
up into their great, tall trunks all the 
nutriment there was in soil around them, 
for there were no flowers, no herbage, no 
thickets, no shrubs, no young saplings 
growing up to take their places. It was 
a barren desert, modified only by the pines' 
rigid, rugged, unkindly, uncompromising 
columns and every few miles a sluggish 
creek, wandering through a wide-spreading, 
fetid, malarious swamp, which grew rank 
with briars, vines, cane, and fat weeds. 

It was a wonderful and depressing 
change from the towering mountains, with 
their dense forests and tangled laurel 
thickets of northern Georgia, and the rich 
farming country in the center of the State. 

The men had gotten used to the moun- 
tains, the woods and the thickets. They had 
learned their qualities and limitations, and 
how to make use of them for their own 
defense, and for offense against their 
enemies. 

It was the same with the hills and the 
rolling landscape in the middle of the 
State, It was goroetUing like tbejr ow« 



homes, the country with which they were 
familiar. 

But there was something vague, somber 
and mysterious iu this great starved 
waste, where one could see for miles 
through the wide spaces between the 
giant pillars of pines, and yet feel that one 
was not seeing. There might be some 
lurking danger hidden where no hiding- 
place could be seen. It seemed as if the 
army were drifting off into some shoreless 
soa, which would disperse and scatter its 
fragments. 

More disturbing than phantom fears 
was the fact that food was running low. 
No longer the comfortable farmhouses and 
gathered crops of Middle Georgia to 
forage from for the man and beast. There 
were few plantations in the piney barrens. 
In the scattered cabins dwelt tlie poorest 
and most ignorant people of the State, 
descendants of the paupers and jailbirds 
who in early times had been transported 
to the colony, to get thorn out of England, 
and be slaves of the land-owners in build- 
ing up the new country. 

There had been food enough and more 
than enough for the whole army on every 
day's march in INIiddle Georgia. The rear- 
guard found plenty after everybody else 
had taken all they wanted. Now. there 
was not enough anywhere for the ad- 
vance guard even, and every ear of corn 
and flitch of meat disappeared before the 
main body came up. 

The Generals and Colonels began to 
look with austere parsimony on the ration 
•v\agons and the daily is$ues, No more 



216 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



prodigality, no more cnrelessness. Noth- 
ing must be wasted. Every ration wason 
njust be lirought throush, no matter what 
the trouble. The standard regulation ra- 
tion only must be issued, and that with 
scrupulous exactness as to weight. Noth- 
ing must be lavished on the swarming 
negroes following the army. There was 
now no telling where the march would end, 
and more supplies be obtained. An ob- 
struction to the forward movement by 
the force Avhich llaruee yrr.6 gathering iu 
front would point toward siege diet, until 
a battle could be fought. 

The first to grumble at this was Aunt 
Minerva Ann, and she grumbled more than 
the whole regiment. 

Col. McGillicuddy was one of those offl-' 
cers who believed in the same rule for 
himself as for his men, and when the 
stinting of rations began, he commejiced 
it on his headquarters and himself. 

"Fer de Lawd's sake!" she exclaimed, 
in sour discontent, as she surveyed tlie 
meager allowance issued her for the ra- 
tions for the day. "What sort ob truck 
dat t' git a 'spectable brcakfuss wid? 
'Cept de coffee, fer which Fadder Ab'um 
be thanked, hit's jes' lack gibbin' out per- 
vizions fer de niggar quarters, only haint 
so good. Dat dar pork haint no lean 
streaks — all fat, an' fries right down t' 
a cracklin'. All grease an' no meat. An' 
dat wheat bread, hard as chips, no more 
stick t' de ribs dan a ssow-ball t' a 
shingle. How kin dey' spect a 'spectable 
cook-lady t' git up a breakfuss outeu sich 
truck as'dis fer de Cunnel ob de regiment? 
Why. hit wouldn't do fer ole Eph, de 
mornin's dat I's mad at him. De CunneTll 
starve t' deff, an' den I'll be blamed. If 
ole Eph wuz worf his salt, which haint, 
he'd go out iu de country an' git some 
aigs, an' hams, an' yams, an' sich like." 

'•Aigs, ole woman." hooted Uncle 
Ephraim. "Yo' ole fool, whar d'yo' 'spect 
t' git aigs in de piney-barrens? Whar de 
chickens? Whar dey roost? A chicken 
hab't had wings lack Noah's dove t' fly 
up t' de top ob dese ole pines t' voose. 
Talk a leetle sense, won't yo', fer a 
change?" 

"Eggs, Auntie?" echoed Shorty. "If 
there's an egg in this back-lot of the 
United States it'd have to be laid by the 
American eagle, and then it'd belong to 
Uncle Billy Sherman. Nobody else'd have 
any right to it." 

"That's all right Auntie," said Si cheer- 
fully. . "Just stand it for a few days. 
We're coming down to the rice planta- 
tions. Then we'll have plenty to eat again. 
You know rice" — , , 

"Nebber seed none ob hit," remarked 
Aunt Minerva sullenly. She was not in 
the humor to be pleased with anything. 

"Well it's the nicest stuff to eat," con- 
tinued Si, jubilantly. "Makes the nicest 
custards and puddings. You just ought 
to eat some of the custards and puddings 
njofher used to make. Never could get 



enough of them. And it's-so easy to. 900k. 
You just put it in and boil- it.'-- and' Si 
stopped, choked with the meinoi-ies ,-of-,-his 
first attempt at boiling' vif^r^i -"Qni-y you 
mustn't put too much iyjthe-.l^^ttjie.at first, 
and must keep it well-stirred so. it woja't 
burn," ■ •£( " -,_.-- -■ 

"Don't want , no rice,, -iKti- uddt^i" new- 
fangled truck," . answeivd .A<i.ut .■Minerva 
Ann obdurately. "All J. y\aiit is siune 
good corji-meal, hams, b%ijoii,;j coUanls, 
aigs, an' yams. I know:. hy^Yat;-t cook dem, 
an' dey's goud enough fer ajjji^lys When 
I get f hebben ail L- -sp^gbs i as ,: enough 
young coUards an' ole bactHi, an' yaller 
corn. pone. . De white angels kin had all 
deir wheat bread an' fancy fixings, fer all 
ob me." 

The Brigade Wagonmaster came up, 
swearing about the disappearance of fod- 
der from his pile during the night, and 
suspiciously scrutinized where Si and the 
rest had fed their horses, but he found 
nothing there to satisfactorily trace his 
missing forage, and passed on, grumbling 
and swearing, to the other regiments. 

Presently the Chief Hostler at Brigade 
Headquarters came by with the same' 
thing on his mind. He was not so fluently 
profane as the Chief Wagonmaster— no- 
body in the army could swear with the 
ease and finish of a Chief AVagonmaster, 
but he said enough to reveal that he was 
very angry, and would do something ter- 
rible to the man he canght stealing his 
forage. Si and Shorty and the rest only 
laughed indifferently at him. Their withers 
w.ere unwrung. They had managed to pick 
up forage enough during the day for their 
hoi-ses, and so lacked any motive for steal- 
ing from the general stock. 

But in the meanwhile Abednego was 
faring better than any horse in camp. 

That day's march took them still deeper 
into the great waste, still farther from 
even such reminders of "God's country" 
as they found in middle Georgia, and no 
nearer as they could see toward any 
proper coming-out place. Rations and 
forage were still scantier. Aunt Minerva 
Ann became still sourer, and the Wagon- 
master raged more furiously around about 
the thefts from his forage-pile. He was 
sure the forage had been taken by men 
right there in the brigade, and he was 
going to stop it, if he had to kill some- 
body. He was going to have a guard 
stationed with strict orders to shoot any- 
one caught stealing from the forage-pile. 

"Go on! Go on! You old mule-skin- 
ner," Shorty jeered him. "Don't be let- 
ting off your hot air around us. We haint 
none of your pine-shavings and burdock 
weeds that you feed your mules on. We 
manage to get some real feed for our 
horses." 

Shorty took a turn up to where Abed- 
nego was tethered in a little hollow sur- 
rounded by bushes. The mule had a lih- 
ei'al supply of corn blades lying around 
him, and the contMited ex^iression on his 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



2ir 



conntenanoe contrasted sharply with the 
whinnyingrs of dissatisfaction which came 
from the corrals at night. Some uneaten 
corn lying near told the story. It was a 
kind not found in that part of the State, 
but had been hauled from further up the 
country. 

"Pete, that Chief Wagonmaster's awful 
hot about Some one stealing his forage," 
said Shorty. "He threatens to do some 
shooting. I want you to let his stuff alone. 
You'll get into trouble." 

"Let him shoot," replied Pete. "Abed- 
nego's going' to have enough to eat, no 
matter if the rest of us have to go on 
short rations. He has to carry me and 
work hard all day. I may go hungry, but 
he shan't." 

"Well, I tell you to stop it, that's all," 
said Shorty, decisively, passing on. 

That night there was a lively banging 
about of fire-arms, but when the regiment 
sprang to arms, it was found to be neither 
picket-firing nor a raid of rebel cavalry. 
It came from the neighborhood of the 
forage-piles, and from the teamster 
guards, blazing away with the rusty guns 
caiTied in their wagons. 

The next morning the Brigade Wagon-, 
master came around with a story of more 
stealing, and of several of the thieves hav- 
ing been shot by his guards, and in spite 
of his efforts to conceal it. Si and Shorty 
saw clearly that he was spying around 
among their squad for wounded men as 
well as for signs of the forage taken. 

Again they were able to present a clean 
bill of health to his scrutiny. None of 
them had been hit by the shots, and their 
forage had been gathered on the inhospi- 
table line of march. But Shorty, presently 
going by Ahednego, saw that he was far- 
ing sumptuously on the far-fetched corn 
and "roughness," and the mule seemed to 
favor him with a shrewd wink of his off 
eye as to what fools Chief Wagonmasters 
were, on general principles. 

"Did you get hurt last night, Pete?" 
he asked severely. 

"N-a-h! Get hui't by them teamsters? 
Well, I guess not. A teamster- couldn't 
hit nothing if he had the best gun ever 
made, and they hadn't cleaned them guns 
since they left Chattanoogy last Spring. 
I'd 'a bin more afraid of a lot of old 
women with broomsticks." 

"Now, Pete, I tell you again to stop 
that. That moth-eaten mule of yours can 
get along on short rations for a few days 
jiist as well as the Colonel's horse and 
ours can. He lived all Summer on noth- 
ing, and had to browse for it. I want you 
to let the forage pile alone. Some of those 
teamsters '11 kill you.. They'd like 
to have a chance to even up on a 
soldier and you'd be a huckleberry 
for them, you young brat. Stop it, 
now, I tell you. I'm not going to have 
you running any risks for a picayune, 
shave-tailed, lop-eared mule, that wasn't 



worth picking up in the first place, and's 
got worthlesser every day since." 

If Shorty had turned around suddenly 
as he walked away, he would have seen 
caught on Pete's face an angry sulk at the 
opporbrium hurled at his pet," and a stub- 
born determination to do as he pleased 
about forage. 

"Taps" had sounded, and Shorty wag 
just knocking the ashes out of his pipe, 
preparatory to turning in, when a hulla- 
baloo broke out in the direction of theJ 
forage pile. Shots were tired, and shouts 
of "There he goes!" Catch him I" "Kill 
him!" 

Instinctively feeling that Pete was the 
source of this disturbance. Shorty ran to- 
ward the forage pile. There he saw, by 
the light of a pitch-pine fire, across which 
Pete was unwisely running, that young- 
ster, with a sheaf of corn-blades under one 
arm, and a nose-bag full of corn in the 
other hand. 

Pete was loyally heading for the 1st 
Oshkosh, to give the impression that the 
thief was from that regiment, and not the 
200th Ind. 

After him were a number of infuriated 
teamsters, some throwing clubs, some ti-y- 
ing to run him down, and some to head 
him off. They all wanted to get hold of 
him to make an example of such depreda- 
tors, as well as from a teamsters' chronic 
itching to thrash a soldier when they could 
get a chance. 

Shorty rushed to the rescue. But before 
he could reach Pete, the latter had been 
overtaken by his enemies, hampered as he 
was by his load. But Pete had swung his 
nose-bag in the first one's face, and 
knocked him down, and then adroitly trip- 
ped the second, so that he fell headlong. 
This was only temporary relief, for the 
rest were quickly on top of him. He was 
knocked down, and being: kicked, when 
Shorty jumped in and began knocking 
right and left, until he came to the Chief 
Wagonmaster, who was a foeman worthy 
of his steel, and was giving him pretty 
nearly as good as he sent, until the pro- 
vost-guard rushed up to restore peace by 
the summary process of knocking down 
with their gun-barrels every one who 
showed a disposition to fight, especially if 
he were a teamster, until they came to 
Shorty and the Chief Wagonmaster. They 
were so evenly-matched, and putting up 
so pretty a tight that the Sergeant did not 
have the heart to interfere. 

Instinctively, he and his men formed" a 
ring to see it out, and Shorty was just on 
the point off getting in his favorite butt- 
of-the-ear knock-out blow, when one of the 
guards in a loud whisper: 

"Cheese it, boys! Here comes the Lieu- 
tenant." 

"I'll see you later," said Shorty, drop- 
ping his fists. 

"Say, that's a go," cordially answered 
the Chief Wagonmaster. "You're a 



SIS 



er'iiLiMy liNi) ssoRTi; 



mighty goofl one, and I'd like to have this 
out, fair and square. We'll stand off this 
Lieutenant." 

"I'm with you," answered Shorty. 

"Here, what's all this row about?" de- 
manded the Lieutenant, as he rushed up. 
•'Take all these men off to the guard-fire. 
Sergeant, buck-and-gag tlie ring leaders." 

"We ai'nt to blame," groaned the man 
whom Pete had knocked over with the 
nose-bag. "That little Avhelp there's bin 
stealing forage every night, and" — 

"No row at all. Lieutenant," said the 
Chief Wagonmaster, giving him a furtive 
kick to enjoin silence. "Me and this gent 
here waS' having a little sparring match 
for the Brigade Belt, and we was enjoy- 
ing ourselves, being very well matched, 
and" — 

"Twan't nothing of the kind," groaned 
the man whom Pete had tripped, and who 
was only regaining the breath which, had 
been knocked out of him. "That little 
scamp there 'd bin stealing' forage. You 
Bee, he's loaded down with it now. And 
we" — , 

"Take that boy away and buck-and-gag 
him," cotiimanded the Lieutenant, sternly. 
Then turning to the Chief Wagonmaster, 
be said with an interested, tone: 

"You are pretty well-matched. Shuck, for 
a fact. Y'^ou seem at last to've run up 
against some one who could hold you level 
• — something I've been wanting for a long 
time. I'd like to see the mill. But you 
ought to have more sense than to stir up 
such a row after taps. Put it off till we 
halt to-morrow afternoon, and send me a 
bid. Don't forget. I want to see it, sure. 
Sergeant, buck-and-gag those two fellows 
who have been jumping that little boy. 
The rest of you get to your tents, quick 
as scat, and keep quiet. Be glad you get 
off so lucky," 

"It's an engagement, sure, for to-mor- 
row afternoon, is it. Shuck?" anxiously 
inquired Shorty, as they turned to go their 
respective ways. 

"Yes; just as soon as we've halted and 
fed the mules," answered the Chief 
Wagonmaster, cordially. "Come down to 
the wagons, and we'll find a place where 
we won't be disturbed. Bring your friends. 
Say, Lieiitenant," he called after the offi- 
cer. "I'd let that boy off. I think this 
*s his first offense, and he didn't get much, 
after all." 

"Shuck, you're a gentleman," said 
Shorty, putting out his hand. "I'm glad 
to meet you, and I'll be glad to see you 
to-morrow." 

"All right, my boy," responded the Chief 
Wagonmaster, shaking hands. "I think 
I've got on to the way you handle your 
left, and I'm going to wake you up. Any- 
how, it'll be a satisfaction to find out just 
who's the best man in the brigade." 

"Only stealing forage," whispered the 
Sergeant to the man who was to do the 



bucking; "don't be hard on thatJjoy. But 
give it to them mangy mule-skti&Bei's." 

The result was that while the nnlueky 
teamsters were tied till the strings cut into 
their wrists, and riuidly gUt^'ge^d; I'cte was 
at but little more incdnvpHii'uce than ili:it 
of having to sit for some tinu' in one posi- 
tion. In an hour, however, all, . were re- 
leased. 

Then the teamistors wanted trt tnke their 
spite out by cultin-j,- Pete. h;it the; f^ergeant 
sent them to their <|uartiTs with ii couple 
of cuffs of their own to think al^niit. 

"Yon big hulks." hr said, • y:.iU shan't 
impose on a boy when I'lu around. Xow, 
you little rascal, get hack to y.ior qnartors, 
and let the forage pile alone after this." 

The most serious punishment to Pete 
was tliat he had got Shorty into a light 
with the Chief Wagonmaster, who was 
the bnlly of the brigade, and unlimited 
confidence as Pete had in his protector, he 
feared th'at he would not be a match for 
the brawny, loud-voiced tyrant who ruled 
the trains and the corrals, the big-limbed, 
turbulent teamstersj by sheer force of 
muscle. Pete had seen him quiet so many 
di'unken, riotous teamsters with a single 
blow of his big fists, that he felt a dread 
of him. He got so worked up over the 
matter that he waked up Sandy and pro-- 
posed that they get their jifuns and as*^- 
sassinate the Chief Wagonmaster. 1>ut''' 
Sandy, after mature reflection, decided- 
that it would be better to fake their guns 
to the place of meeting, and only use them 
in the emergency of the Wagonmaster get- 
ting much the better of Shorty, as to 
whith he had some doubt. 

The news of the proposed fight spread 
rapidly through the brigade, on the march 
next day, and everybody was keenly 
anxious for the march to end and camp 
be made. The 200th Ind. were of course, 
confident that Shorty would simply wipe 
up the earth with any other man in the 
brigade, unless it were Si Klegg. While 
the 1st Oshkosh, to which the big luml)er- 
woods foreman. Shuck Dilworth belonged, 
had never seen him whipped and did not 
believe that he could be. 

The Corps finally halted at a point in 
the endless stretch of sand, not apparent- 
ly because it had gotten anywhere, but 
because the orders were to halt and go 
into camp at 3 o'clock. The trains were 
parked, the mules unhitched and fed, the 
men got their dinners, and everybody was 
on the alert for the combat. 

"I want you to act as my second. Si," 
said Shorty, as he prepared himself by a 
careful wash, and had Alf Russell cut his 
redundant hair close to his head. "I'll 
tell you what to do." 

"I'll do nothing of the kind," said Si, 
firmly. "You know I'm dead against 
prize-fighting, and I'll have nothing to do 
with it. The church is set against such 
Things, and any how I don't believe they're 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



21? 




*'AFTEE HIM WERE A NUMBER OF INFURIATED TEAMSTERS, SOME THROW- 
ING CLUBS." 



tight. There's nothing between yon and 
Shuck Dil worth, and you've no business 
to tight. It's down right wicked, and I 
won"t countenance it. I won't go near 
it, and if you take my advice you'll keep 
away." ■ 

And let Shuck Dilworth and the 1st 
Oshkosh crow over me and us?" Shorty 
answered savagely. "Much I will." 

If Shuck starts to croAving, then lick 
him. That'll be all right, for he's insult- 
ing you. If any of the 1st Oshkosh crowa 



over the 200th Ind. in my presence. III 
lick him, because he's insulting the regi- 
ment. We can manage to keep the peace, 
somehow. The 1st Oshkosh wants this 
light to come off, becauje they haven't 
made anything like the record of the 200th 
Injianny, and they think they can even up 
by having that big two-tisted shoulder- 
jolting lumber-boss lick you. That's an- 
other thing that makes it wicked. Let 
them make their record same as we've 
done, and not by fighting fn-camp." 



220 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



"Tom Radbone, you have been at 
fights," said Shorty, "You know what's 
to he done. Will you be my second?" 

"You do me proud,' murmured Tom, 
blushing at the honor. 

"And I'll be time-keeper and referee," 
feaid Abe Grimstead. producing the silver 
■watch of his railroad days. 

"Good; we're all right now," said 
Shorty. "You'll not have to call time on 
me, remember. I'll tee the mark every 
time, before the oO seconds is up. Y'ou 
hold the watch on the othei- fellow. He's 
dull and soggy. Been living too high back 
there in the middle coudlr.v. If he'd been 
out there with us in the care he wouldn't 
have so much meat on him. Come along, 
I guess they're ready by this time." 

Shorty had pulled off his shirt, drawn 
his cartridge belt tightly around his waist, 
and with his pantaloons tied at the bot- 
toms was ready for the ring. He threw 
his blouse over his bare shoulders and 
stepped off lively, followed by the most of 
Co. Q. 

Pete and Sandy, in spite of remon- 
strances, carried their gun, but no one 
knew that they had been freshly loaded 
and capped. They secured a position 
which commanded a full view of the ring. 
The remainder of the 200lh Ind. had al- 
ready gathered there, and raised a cheer 
as Shorty strode up, shied his cap into the 
ring and leaped in after it. 

The ring had been made in a piece of 
Boft yet firm sand, from which every 
chunk, aud twig-stump had been care- 
fully removed. It Avas inclosed by a 
picket-rope, fastened to stout stakes driven 
into the ground. The burly Wagonmas- 
ter of the Kankakees. armed with a heavy 
pine-knot cluli, officiated as ring-master, 
aud maintained order around the rope. 

The officers of the 200th Ind., who had 
been making a strong show of knowing 
nothing about what was going on, came 
slipping along after their men, and taking 
unobtrusive places in the rear of the spec- 
tators. Some of them wore private's 
blouses. The officers of the Kankakee 
regiment and the 1st Oshkosh did the 
same. 

Presently, Col. McGilliciiddy, the Major 
and the Adjutant, seemed to think that 
they ougM to make a reconnoissance of 
the woods out in that direction, aud only 
Si and the Chaplain were left in camp.^ 

Soon after Shorty's arrival a cheer from 
the side of the 1st Oshkosh, announced the 
appearance of Shuck Dilworth, who sent 
his cap into the ring, and jumping in after 
it. 

it, threw his coat off his bare shoulders, 
walked to the scratch, and shook hands 
with Shorty. Tom Radbone dropped his 
sponge and Avater-bottlc, and coming up, 
reached his hand across those of Shuck 
and Shorty, and clasped that of Denny 
Mulcnhy. Shuck's second. 

Abe Grimstead was chosen as time- 



keeper, and Jem Wilcox, an Efiglfehi 
Orderly-Seargeant of the ;Kafi.kakee's-,4;t^- 
eree. ; - :i .■ J^ v; ■:^.i.' 

The seconds tos.sed_-Up_foriCorner.^,"'3n<I 
Shuck got the one withithfiaafteruQOjjs.ua; 
at his back, at which the Wiscoi!isiB:4)Qys 
cheered. :. :- t.' zo ic- . jj^l 

Then the knowing ones 66ithei200th..ln"d-.. 
looked, the two men oven "and-: heaileued lUP 
their comrades. - ' .:-. :: ■; 

Shuck was certainly- taileir and broader 
than Shorty, his muscles, sto'crdrodl; in great 
lumps, and his tists wer^icsrw&Smous. He 
clearly outweighed - as^ SifelHiasiiButneacheA. 
Shorty. ■ : - ;. -..-ai ;{-,::{ 

But. as Shorty had predicted, fat living 
and the easy life of riding around and 
bossing others had told on hirn. He was. 
undoubtedly getting fat, and this would 
tell on his wind also. 

On the other hand. Shorty was in the 
pink of condition. His fair skin shone 
like satin, his tendons stood out like whip- 
cords, and there was no loose bagginess 
anywhere. Ho stepped around like a 
game-cock, with his toes more on the 
ground than his heels. . 

There was intense excitement, as Abe j 
Grimstead called time, and the two faced 
each other with a grin at the scratch. 

The first round v.-as an exhibition of I 
scientific sparring, which excited the ad- ' 
miration of all, and showed both to be 
adepts in the manly art. It ended with a 
clinch, from which they promptly broke at 
the command of the referee, and each re- 
tired to his corner to be sponged off by 
his second. 

They came up grinning again, but with 
more determination showing in their fa,ces. 
There was a little less science now, and 
more effort to land blows. Shuck at length 
sent a crusher through Shorty's light 
guard, and Shorty tried to jump away 
from the long arm, but the last of its 
force reached his mouth. Shuck followed 
it with a rush, and they did not break 
away so promptly this time at the ref- 
eree's order. When they did it was seen 
that Shorty's lips were bleeding, and the 
enthusiastic Badgers claimed first blood- 

"Say, you must wind him, and either 
keep outside, or get inside them long arms 
of his," said Tom Radbone "to Shorty, 
while the latter was seated on his knee be- 
ing sponged off. "If he gets a good lick ; 
in on you. it'll be a settler." 

"I'lr do both," fsaid Shorty. "I'll work : 
his wind out of him this round, and the 
next I'll finish him up." 

The next round, in spite of the jeers of 
the Wisconsin boys. Shorty danced around 
the giant, eluding his smashing blows, 
which were every second becoming wilder, 
while tormenting him with lightning like 
passes. In the clinch they both went to 
the ground together, aud Shuck lay there 
till his second lifted him aiul carried him 
back. Shorty, however, was up instantly,, 
and seated himself on Radbone's kheei 



I 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



221 



"111 finish him in about three seconds," 
he said. 

The excited Wisconsin boys were now- 
yelling at Shuck to force the fighting. 

"Force him I Push him to the ropes! 
Sail rigiit in and smash himl Grind him 
to pieces 1" 

The blood of both men was up, and they 
uo longer grinned when they came to the 
scratch. They both had a look of vicious 
determination, and Shuck's long right arm 
shot out in a Smashing blow, which 
reached Shorty's ribs with a resounding 
thud. But Shorty stayed right inside the 
big man's guard, and rained blows on his 
chest, which took away his remaining 
wind. Then as the Wisconsin man stag- 
gered. Shorty saw his opportunity, and 
delivered his famous settling blow on the 
jugular vein which sent his opponent to 
ithe ground in a heap. 

The 200th Ind. yelled themselves hoarse. 

"Time I" called Abe Grimstead, as calm- 
ly as he could. 

Shuck made a spasmodic effort, but 
could not rise from his second's knee. 

"One, two, three, four, five," counted 
Abe slowly and distinctly, following the 



movements of the second hand; "six, 
seven, eight." 

Denny Mulcahy threw up his sponge, in 
acknowledge of defeat and the Kankakees 
joined the Indianians in the chorus of 
victory. 

"What's this? What's this?" cut the 
hubbub like a knife, in the clear command- 
ing tones of the General, who came rid- 
ing up. "A prize-fight in camp? Shame- 
ful! And I did not know a word of it? 
Outrageous. Why wasn't I notified in 
time to see it? I never get to hear any- 
thing at headquarters. Adjutant-General, 
why didn't you find this out, so I couid 
be here? Officers present, too! Fine state 
of discipline. Some of them in private's 
uniform. Scandalous! Splendid-looking 
fellows, both of them. Game, skillful and 
good condition, you say? A beauty of a 
fight? Just my luck to have missed it. 
I'll have something to say to you officers 
about this breach of discipline. You men 
go to your quarters at once. Adjutant- 
General, send a bottle of whisky with my 
compliments to the man that got beaten, 
and say that I hope he'll have better luck 
next time." 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

EATIONS GET DOWN TO THE LOW DIET POINT— SUCCESSFUL SKIRMISH 
FOR A RICE PLANTATION— DIFFICULTIES OF A NEW KIND OF FOOD. 



There was no longer any doubt as to 
the objective of the army, for it was ap- 
proaching the principal city in Georgia — 
the seaport of Savannah. Occasional 
prisoners, picked up from McLaws's com- 
mand, told of a great force being collected 
there to oppose them; of powerful forti- 
fications, heavy guns, and flooded' rice- 
fields, which they could not pass. 

More apprehension was felt on account 
of food, which was running lower every 
day, and there was absolutely nothing m 
the country. Rations were being cut down 
until Si and Shorty began to fear a re- 
turn of Chattanooga conditions. 

Though it was hard work finding forage 
for them, Si and his squad retained their 
horses, and were kept at the front, scout- 
ing, and looking for prisoners who might 
be trying to escape from Savannah. 

One day, when both men and horses 
were feeling the grip of hunger sorely, they 
came out of the open pines, upon culti- 
vated fields, lying near the Savannah 
Kiver. 

"Queerest-looking farm I ever saw," 
said Si, studying the landscape. "Seems 



to be all medder, with banks of earth for 
fences, and ditches running between. 
Raises lots of hay, though, from them 
stacks standing around the house." 

His fuither reflections were cut short 
by a series of shots coming from behind 
the stacks. 

"A handful o' rebel cavalry over there, 
after forage," he remarked, dismounting, 
and getting behind a tree, which example 
was followed by the rest. "Guess we need 
that hay for ourselves, and had better 
drive 'em away. Queer looking hay, 
though. Yaller as straw. Must be straw 
• — it's bound up in sheaves. But they ain't 
raising no wheat nor oats down this way. 
Can this be that rice we've bin hearing 
so much about? Never thought about how 
rice growed before. Thought probably it 
growed like seeds in a gourd. Anyway, 
there's something over there that them 
fellers want, and if they want it, we need 
it, and we must drive 'em away. Take 
good co\er, boys. Don't any of you > get 
hit. We'll work up through tliem swamp 
medders and get over there to the house." 

Before them lay a number of rice fields, 



222 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



of about five or six acres each, separated 
from one another by banks two or three 
feet high, and ditches. The level surface 
was covered with a high, yellow stubble, 
and fringes of brush grew along the 
banks. 

One hundred yards from the house, and 
runuing from the Savannah River, ran a 
larger ditch, about six or seven feet wide, 
and having Osage orange trees growing 
at intervals along its banks. 

Putting himself in the center, Shorty 
on the extreme right, and Harry Joslyn On 
the left, Si deployed his squad into a long 
line, and began a cautious advance. 

Leaving the large pine behind which 
he was taking observation, he ran down 
the slope, and gained the cover of the near- 
est bank, though a rebel, stepping out 
from behind of one of the stacks, took a 
long shot at him. 

He lay there a minute to recover his 
breath and his steadiness of hand, and 
watched the rebel reload his gun, cap it, 
and then sheltering himself behind the 
stack, gaze warily out for his foe. Si 
took careful aim across the bank, and 
fired. His bullet knocked out a bunch of 
straw into the rebel's face, disturbing his 
aim. and sending his return shot wild. 

"What's the matter? Old gun's getting 
to carrj' to the left again," he commented, 
as he turned over to load. "Needs clean- 
ing. Must 've got a rust-spot inside." 

IB^rom the popping to the right and left. 
Si could see that the others were getting 
into position and to work. 

Feeling secure behind the network of 
rice-fields and ditches, the rebels were dis- 
posed to be quite saucy, and show them- 
selves recklessly. They indulged in a 
great many bantering gestures and rough 
taunts. 

"You're at the end o' your rope, 
Y'anks," they shouted. "Yo'uns can't git 
no furdcr. We'uns 's a-gwine to bury all 
yo'uns in these hyah swamps." 

"Look out, Yanks; the alligators's arter 
yo'uns. They'll done cotch yo'uns sure." 

"Alligators like Yankee meat even bet- 
ter' n they do nigger meat or dog-meat. 
We'uns 's a-gwiue to fatten 'em on 
yo'uns." 

"Look out, thar, Yank; thar's a great 
big 'gater arter you now." 

•'Yo'uns ain't a-foutin' no Jawgy goober- 
grabbers no\y. Yo'uns 've run up agin 
South Caroliuy gentlemen, an' we'uns '11 
make yo'uns wish yo'uns 'd never bin 
born." 

"Come out from behine them mud-banks, 
an' show yo'selves, like we'uns do. Don't 
sneak thar like the pole-cats yo'uns is, but 
stand up an' be men.' 

"Is ole Kilpatrick over thar? I want to 
git a pop at him. He's my meat, when- 
e\er I lay ejes on him." 

"We'uns 've got a thousand Yanks 
buried over hyah now, an' we'uns 's a- 
gwine to put yo'uns with 'em." 



The man in front of Si vTi^ partiisiu- 
larly and ingeniously insitlti'nl' 'hi ' his 
gestures. Si fired at him, in 'the midst-'of 
one of his antics, holding Ma guin enough 
to the right to correct its ^t^^iation, biit- 
its only effect was to njalw- t^i^T I'^bcl piit 
his thumb to his nose, and taTie'fi. deri^ii^'^■ 
"sight" at Si. - ■- '\ '' ■-"■'- 

But he fired back, and "St tisVjk'advantage 
of his re-loading to jump the' ditch in 
front, and rush through tlib -stublde to' 
the next bank. The rebel fir^. again as- 
Si dropped behind tire co.Vi^i'^^J'liti^ made 
the rebel think he haTl'lci'l?M"him. ^He 
dropped his gun, fiopped his'?OTtoS like 'a- 
rooster, and crowed. IIopir?g to catch 
him in this Si fired without properly aim- 
ing, and only stimulated the rebel's chanti- 
cleering. 

From the I'ebels' jibes at their shooting, 
the freedom of exposure, the guffaws, and 
the obscene taunts. Si knew that the rest 
were doing no better marksmanship, and 
he became a little hot and anxious. 

He whistled, and everybody's attention 
was drawn to him. "Pass the word 
along," he said, loud enough for those next 
to him to hear, "to draw their fire, and - 
then we'll make a rush for that big ditch 
in front. Then somebody will have to 
fish, cut bait, or go ashore, in short meter.' 
There ain't any more of them than there 
is of us, so there's no fear o' them rush- 
ing us." 

Following Si's motions, they all fired al- 
most simultaneously, and the instant the 
rebels returned the volley they sprang up 
and ran for the big bank, which they 
reached before their enemies finished re- 
loading. 

"Now, you pot-bellied, clay-chawing 
traitors," yelled Shorty, "we're after your 
scalps, and are going to have 'em. Salt' 
peter won't save you, you splay-footed, 
knock-kneed, mud-gorging mongrels. We're 
after South Carolinians. They're the 
Seccsh offal that we're going to fatten the 
alligators on. If you want to save your 
worthless li-^es dig out there, for we'll 
be on top of you the next minute. Git I I 
say." 

"My sakcs, how owdashiously that thar 
Yankee talks, Sarjint," they overheard 
one of the rebels call out. "Jes' like 
we'uns. He must be a bodashiously bad 
man. Can't yo' kill him? If yo' can't 
mebbe we'uns better had go. He's awful 
sassy." 

"Shet up, Niggerpeas," said the Ser- 
geant, who had been doing the crowing. 
"Keep behind the stack and 'tend to your 
shootin'. They'uns kin never git across 
that big ditch thar, an' we'uns kin whoop 
'em back, spite o' themselves." 

Si secured a good place behind the roots 
of an Osage orange, about six inches in 
diameter, and which had outgrown the 
bai)k, so that its roots formed a gnarled 
revetment. The other boys found simi- 
lar shelters. 



•©K THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



223 



Lying theve, fully protected, Si thrust a 
little strip of s\-oolen rag through the holes 
in the head of his ramroad, and deliber- 
ately cleaned the inside of his gunbarrel, 
while the Sqiith Carolinians were scraping 
the top of the bank with bullets in their 
endeavor to rjeach him. 

"Say, South Carolina," he called out, 
when he had-hnished and loaded his gun, 
"you fellers are only tolerable shots. It'ou 
wouldn't get more'n the hide and taller 
prize in ai:^., Injianuy shooting-match. 
We're Injiannians, and Ave're alter your 
meat. We'll get it if you stay there five 
minutes longer. We've been hunting for 
South Carolinians ever since the begin- 
ning of the war, to pay yoa up for start- 
ing it. You're the first we've come across, 
and we're going to salivate you for keeps." 

"Lordy, that thar Yank talks nigh as 
bad as t'other one," exclaimed Nigger- 
peas's voice. "That thar hull crowd must 
be rantankorous. Mebbe we'uns better 
had shab outen hyah, afore hit's too late." 

"Shet up that yamp o' your'n, Niggar- 
peas, I done tell you," said the Sergeant 
savagely. "We'uns ain't a-skeered o' no 
Yankees that ever wore blue britches, an' 
stole niggers," he shouted back at Si. 
"We'uns 'II feed every one o' yo'uns to 
the cattish in that ditch, afore the sun 
goes down. Hyah goes fer yer own 
skelp." 

He fired, and cut the bark on the tree 
so close to Si's head that he felt the 
chips strike him on the forehead. 

"Pretty good shot, reb," Si shouted 
back, "but here's a better." He fired at 
the only part of the rebel exposed — his 
arm, while he was reloading — and tore 
up his sleeve. 

Jeering and taunting now stopped. Each 
side was too seriously intent upon killing 
to waste words. They were so close to- 
gether, and all such good marksmen, that 
the exposure of so much as a cap-rim or 
a part of the sleeve was sure to get a 
bullet through it. Both sides were as 
desperately savage as hungry panthers, 
and as feline in their careful crouching. 
The South Carolinians were clearly as 
veteran on the firing line as the Indian- 
ians, and took their cover as skillfully. 
Neither side had so far been able to score 
a disabling hit. 

After a sharp interchange of shots for 
a fev/ minutes both stopped, apparently 
for a brief breathing spell. 

"Say," called out the rebel Sergeant 
from behind the stack, "whar'd yo'uns say 
yo'uns wuz from'/" 

"Injianny,' replied Si, wiping his gun 
out carefully. 

"Injianny? Whar's that?" 

"That's a State out West, you ignorant 
saphead." 

"Never beared tell on hit afore. But 
yo'uns ain't at all like them Yankees 
M-e'uns 've bin foutin' in the Army o' the 
Potomac, They'uus 'd gome light out, in 



hull droves, fer we'uns to shoot at. Why 
(lon'r yo'uns do that-a-way?" 

"None o' your condeuuned business," an- 
swered Si. "We ain't fighting that way. 
When we fight rattlesnakes we fight the 
best way to kill 'em. Same with pizen 
South Carolinians." 

While the rebel's attention was at- 
tracted by the conversation, Shorty put 
into execution a plan he had been con- 
sidering for some minutes. In the mid- 
dle of the field in front of him lay a large 
scow which had been used for carrying 
the loads of rice-sheaves. It had ap- 
parently floated in there when tho field 
was flooded, and been left when the water 
was drained off. If he could gain it he 
Mould have good cover, and at the same 
time be able to send in his bulkts behind 
the stacks, with an enfilade fire. 

He sprang up, and with a leap of his 
loL\g legs cleared the wide ditch in front 
and gained the cover of the scow. Tom 
Radbone jumped up to follow his example, 
but hesitated at the width of the ditch, 
and the possibilities of alligators. A 
rebel noticed him and hastily fired, cut- 
ting the ground under his heel, at which 
Tom jumped with such alarm that he 
cleared the ditch and joined Shorty. As 
soon as the two got their nerves calmed 
down to shooting key, they put in some 
bullets with such effect as to demoralize 
the rebels, who became excited, and 
started to run for their horses. This gave 
Si an opportunity to shoot the Sergeant 
through the shoulder, and Uncle Ephraim 
to put a r,ullet in a South Carolina leg. 

Wounded and all gained their horses 
and dashed away, before the boys could 
get across the ditch and reach the house. 
They left a two-horse wagon they were 
loading with "paddy," or "rough rice." 

As soon as the excitement of the fight 
was over the boys all became as hungry 
as bears, and there was a rabid search 
for something to eat. They brought their 
horses up to the house, but the yellow 
rice straw seemed as uninviting as the 
stacks left by the thrashers at home, and 
there was nothing else. Even the place 
of weeds and grass about a Northern 
house was taken by stalks of "volunteer" 
rice. When, however, they took the 
bridles off, they were astonished to see the 
horses eagerly attack the straw. 

"Looks a good deal like oats, and yet it 
ain't oats," said Si, investigating the con- 
tents of the sacks. "'Tain't wheat, 
neither, nor rye, nor barley. Looks more 
like oats, tJiough, than anything else." 

Farmer-like, he took up a grain and 
tried to rub off the husk, between his 
thumb and forefinger. It would not rub 
off, and taking out his knife, he pealed the 
grain. Then the white, pearly seed re- 
vealed itself clearly. 

"Why, boys, this must be rice," he ex- 
claimed. "Who'd 'a though o' that chalky 
bird-shot growing this way? If I'd evec 



224 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 




«'HE CLEARED THE WIDE DITCH IN FEONT AND GAINED THE COVER OF 

THE SCOW." 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



225 



tlioii,<;-ht alioiit it ;it all before, I'd "vo su;)- 
ppsod it gvav>'Vtl like s^eds in a cucumbo'r. 
Bilf'how'iii sin do they get the husk off? 
If they have to peal it off with a knife 
they'd starve to death while glutting ready 
for dinner. AVe can't boil it whole. A 
"bran-mash may do for a sick horse, bnt 
it 'd t6ar our gizzards out, and leave us 
looJving like a framo-buiUliag with the 
w'eathei'-boardiug off." 
i Meanwhile the resourceful Sandy 
Baker had been spying around the house, 
with the other hungry boys, tor some- 
thing to eat. He found nothing, for it 
was a inere cabin for the shelter of the 
slaves during the rice season, and con- 
tained nothing, even of the ordinary sup- 
plies and comforts of the negro quarters. 
But Sandy spied a big block, hollowed out 
iu the center, like a mortar, arid near it 
a much-used, pestle. Around it Avas the' 
accumulation of .years of chaff, some rot-, 
ted into black earth, the rest in different 
stages, to the fresh layer of the past sea- 
son. He studied the chaff", the possiljle 
uses of such an instrument as the block- 
mortar, the worn end of the pestle, and 
then saw the whole thing. He dipped 
and rubbed the water out of the mortar, 
went to the sacks, tilled his cap full of th"e 
rough rice, poured it into the mortar, and 
began beating it with the pestle. The 
others gathered around and watched him 
curiously. After a minute of hard pound- 
ing he stopped, fanned the chaff' aside with 
his cap, and, sure enough, there were a 
quantity of the naked white grains cover- 
ing the bottoii) of the mortar.' 

■ "You've called the turn, Sandy," said 
Shorty, 'looking' 'at the result. "I_)inner's 
in sight, only, we'll have to work for it." 

■ "That's certainly the trick, and that's 
what they used that old dingus for," com-' 
meuted Si,. studying the clumsy block and' 
pestle; "Great Scott I what'd these folks 
think of a thrashing-machine, or a clover-' 
hullei'? It'd scare their condemned dumb 
souls out of o' them. They'd think the- 
devil was in it, sure." 

They Were too hungry, however, to- 
waste too much time in comment and ' 
criticism. They brought up one of the- 
sacks, and while one of them wielded 
the pestle, the others found a big iron 
kettle, in which the rice had been cooked, 
filled it with water and built a lire under 
it. They spread their blankets on the 
ground, and threw the rice, as fast as it 
was pounded out, up into the air, to blow 
away the chaff and dust. It was tire- 
some, dirty work. The sharp awns of 
the rice got in their collars, their noses and 
tiieir eyes, and irritated them intolerably. 

"Plagued if ever I'd eat rice puddings 
or custards, even if mother did make 
them." grumbled Si, as he wiped the sting- 
ing beards off" his sweaty neck, "if I had 
to get 'em by such work as this. It's a 
thousand times worse than thrashing 

8 Sli 



buckwheat, and these tormented lunkheads 
haven't ^ ensc enon,L-:ii to get up even a 
fanning-mill." 

I'hey niunaged to fan out most of the 
remaining dirt with their caps and bits of 
shingle, and then threw the rice into the 
kettle. Mindful of his first experience in 
cooking rice. Si restrained them to a 
double-handful for each man. 

"If we only had a little meat," re- 
marked Si, "we'd have a nice stew. Look 
through your haversacks, boys, and see if 
you haven't some chunks of ¥at i>oyk 
that' re left over." " 

Each one managed to find a greasy 
remnant of his rations, which he tossed 
into the kettle. 

"I'll git yo' some meat, boys," remarked 
Uncle Ephraim, carefully selecting a limb 
of Osage orange, which he ttimmed to 
a long, light club. 

They watched him with interest, as he 
made his way back through the rice-field. 
At every few steps a rabbit would start 
up, at which Uncle Ephraim w<iul(l strike 
at, invariably missing, miich' in the boy's 
amusement, for he woukl ninke no chase. 
Instead, he Avould move to the light or 
left a few steps, and wait, with his club 
raised. Presently the rabbit, making a 
circle, would come hopping to near where 
it started from, and then fall. under Uncle 
Ephraim's unerring blow. 

"Dar's a hare apiece for each ol> us," he 
said, coming back Avith his hands full, and 
sitting down to skin them. "White man 
mouty good fer many t'ings, but he jest 
haint no sense at all 'bout hunting hares. 
Nigger'U kill more hares iu a day dan 
a white man iu a j^ear. 'Way to do is to 
let dem do de runuin', an' jest wait for 
dem." 

Some onions growing wild on the banks 
were discovered, and collards which had 
escaped gathering. 

"I declare," Si remarked, satisfiedly, as 
he carefully stirred the mass to keep from 
any danger of burning, "we're going to 
have one of our regular old-time feasts. 
If this eats as good as it looks and smells 
I'll take back all I've ever said against 
rice, and the ration wagons can go hang. 
We needn't be so plaguey particular 
about Avhen we get to our ships. We can 
live on this a long Avhile." 

It did eat quite as good as they ex- 
pected, and they ate of the hot, fragrant, 
luscious mass until, as Shorty expressed 
it, "there aint a wrinkle left on me, either 
inside or outside, and I feel just nice and 
smooth." 

They gathered up the rest of the 
cleaned rice to carry back to Col. McGilli- 
cuddy and Capt. Everett, loaded the re- 
maining sacks into the wagon, piled on top 
suflicient straw to last their horses until 
the next day, aud returned to the regi- 
ment. 

They were astonished to find theinselvea 



225 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



received with cheers. The brigade had 
only quarter-rations that day, and theirs 
was the first forage wagon which had 
come into camp for days. It looked so full 
and comfort-bringing as to arouse the 
livliest hopes. 

They drove to the Colonel's tent, re- 
ported, and handed him a portion of the 
cleaned rice. He ordered the sacks turned 
over to the Commissary for issue to the 
companies. 

Shorty took a liberal portion of the 
cleaned rice up to his late antagonist, 
Chief Wagonmaster Shuck Dilworth, who 
received it with great gratification, and 
the immediate restoration of cordial re- 
lations between him and Shorty. 

"Glad to see you. Corporal," said the 
Commissary, as Shorty brought the wagon 
up, while Si went to report to the Cap- 
, tain. "We need something badly, and 
apparently you've managed to get a good 
load. What's this?" he continued, open- 
ing one of the sacks and taking out a 
handfuh 

"Why, that's rice," answered Shorty, 
with a pained look at the officer's incom- 
prehensible ignorance. "Real Georgia 
rice — first class, I tell you. We've just 
filled up on it ourselves, and it's mighty 
good eating." 

"Rice?" echoed the officer, turning over 
some of the grains in his hand. "Does 
rice grow like that?" 

"Certainly. How did you expect it to 
grow?" answered Shorty in his most 
superior manner. "On trees, like hickory 
nuts, or in the ground, like potatoes?" 

"Of course not — of course not," an- 
swered the officer, trying to recover him- 
self. "Rice is a grain, I believe, and must 
therefore grow like grain. But it's very 
white, and this must be some other kind." 
"No," answered Shorty, implacably, 
"this is perfectly white, when you peel "it 
— beautiful white as you ever saw." 

"Just so, just so," said the Commissary, 
hopelessly trying to understand the con- 
struction of the grains, and avoid appear- 
ing to know less than an enlisted man. 
"But how do you peel it?" 

"Different folks have different ways," 
said Shorty, loftily. "Some who are very 
particular, and not in a hurry, take a 
case-knife; some folks use a common husk- 
ing-peg, and others just run 'em through a 
corn-sheller." 

"Stuff! nonsense!" said the Commissary, 
who was a cock-sure fellow, and disposed 
to be airy with the enlisted men. "Don't 
talk that way to me, Corporal. I know 
better than that." 

"Probably you do," said Shorty, with an 
injured air. "The Government pays you 
$200 a month for knowing all about com- 
missary matters. It only pays me $16 a 
month, and all I'm expected to know is 
how to stand guard and do the facings. 
3ut it's your rice, you can husk it as you 



please. The Colonel ordered us to turn 
it over to you, and here it is." 

"Confound the rough, rasping stuff," 
grumbled the Commissary. "I don't know 
anything about how to handle it. Here, 
Sergeant, just issue this to the companies. 
Let them find out how to handle it as best 
they can. The Government didn't com- 
mission me for a thresher, miller or 
general manufacturer — only to receive and 
issue what is given me. If the men want 
to eat that stuff whole, it's none of my 
business. Let the Surgeons look out for 
the consequences." 

There was a commotion in the regiment 
after the rice was distributed, and anxious 
inquiries from all sides as to what was to 
be done to reduce it to an eatable condi- 
tion. 

After enjoying their superiority of 
knowledge for awhile, and jibing the 
others about their lamentable ignorance 
of a common article of food, Si and the 
rest came down, and explained to Co. Q 
the process of pounding. Si cut down a 
young maple, and hollowed out the trunk 
into a trough, in which the rice was 
quickly pounded huskless with the 
butts of the guns. But Si had 
forgotten the ink-making qualities of the 
maple, and was horrified by finding the 
rice turned black as it boiled. There were 
a few moments of awe-struck silence, but 
Si examined the improvised mortar again, 
and decided that it was sure-enough maple 
and nothing poisonous. 

"It'll be nothin worse than sucking your 
pens when you used to go to school, boys," 
he assured them. 

"You can just chaw a little blotting 
paper afterward and you'll be all right," 
Shorty added. 

Co. A, Co. Q's rival in all things, was 
still more unfortunate. They cut down a 
young pine tree to make the trough, but 
after laborious pounding, found that they 
had been pounding the rice and chaff into 
a stiff paste with the turpentine and rosiu 
exuding from the green wood, and so had 
lost their rations entirely. 

The other companies took a choice of 
evils, and borrowed Co. Q's trough, pre- 
ferring to be poisoned rather than starved. 
The Colonel came wandering down, 
overlooking with interest the labors of the 
men in getting supper, and noting the 
success of the devices for hulling the rice. 
As he reached Si he remarked: 

"That was a very brilliant operation of 
yours, today. Sergeant, and the regiment 
is indebted to you for a most welcome sup- 
ply of food. We certainly needed it, and 
I am sure the boys will work out some 
way to make the rice palatable. It is all 
right, as food, and as there is plenty of it 
down in this country, we can manage to 
live on it for a while, if we should miss 
connection with our ships. Plenty of ra- 
tions have been sent to meet us, but they. 






®Sr THE MAKCH TO THE SEA. 



227 



ttaay not bo where wo coiik> out, and our 
fril^iiils, till' ('iiciim. nuiv^-iiitfi-posc nhsia- 
clo« to niir (wiiHi.K tint at ;ill. Wo nnist 
be iiroparoil tor ii'inor,s;oiK'ii's, and wo must 
rely cuvtho rioo iilaiitations to help us out. 
I ii;fv€' heon talking to the (loneral to 
have you sent over to the right, toward 
the ■sea, to try to make ^our way to the _ 
coast, to listen fertile siiiiiiil ,gitns of our 
shi^i's, nncl-enLk'av^or to get into coimnuui- 
cation with- them. I thiaik it will be done. 
. Biit-that's .fiirtlier along. .Just now I have 
soiUtt intei'miL troubles of mj own. That 
clea'ii'ed ■ dee .y'6u Jji'uiigJat me is beaiitit'nl, 
and I thank yon again fof it. , Aunt. Min- 
erva Ann is a treasure, and the best eook 
I believe in the division, if not the Corps. 
But sli-e has her peculiarities. One of 
them is that she does not know anything 
about rice, and resents being taught. She 
has a prejudice against it because she has 
heard it was the food. of the 'low-country 
niggers,' whom she despises as being about 
on the level with the beasts of the held, 
and to have anything to do with it would 
reduce her to their level. I'm as hungry 
as the rest of you, but s'he is in the sulks, 
and will absolutely not touch the rice." 
"Confound her cranky stubbornness," 
said Si, but then rellecting how much he 
owed to Aunt IMinerva's courage and firm- 
ness he added, "I think I can bring her 
around. Colonel. l"m her oldest friend in 
the regiment. I'll go up and see her." 
I "I Avish you would." said the Colonel, 
! "for I'm getting hungrier every minute, 
and there's absolutely nothing but that 
rice.". 

Si found Aunt Minerva Ann seated in 
a hickory rocking cliair, taken from snme 
house, and one of the most valued oi the 
possessions of the time when she could 
call herself and anything else her very 
own. It went along in the headquarters 
wagon, no matter what else was left. Seat- 
ed in it, as she ha-tV often seen her mistress 
at home, she felt that she was really an 
independent woman, and the queen of all 
around her. Her black brow was cor- 
rugated with unshakable determination, 
and with one leg thrown over the other, 
she rocked back and forth and crooned: 

"Dar's a home in Hebben, what a joy- 
ful thought, 

As de pore.nian toils -in his weary lot;" 
a sure sign that there was a lot of\sullen 
thunder in her atmosphere. Around her 
Avere the fire burning under the kettles 
full of water, and the scorned rice, spread 
out on a piece of shelter-tent. 

"Why, Aunty, what's the matter? Why 
ain't you cooking supper?" Si exclaimed, 
cheerfully. "JMot sick, are you?" 



"No, not a mite sick," answered she. 
".fes" mad, dat's all. Dey 'spects me, de 
chief rocik lady ob de rijimint, t' go t' 
W(uk an' cook up a lot ob hog-feed. Dat's 
a insult, so hit is. Nobody eats rice-, but 
hogs an' dem low-down swamp niggers, 
who isn't nmch better. Den dey axes me 
t' <-()ok dat stuff fer de Gunnel ob de 
rijiment. Xebber do hit long's I lib. . 
Wouldn't dirty my kittles wid hit. Neb- 
ber git hit out agin in de world. I've 
hearn folks say dat hit sticks tighter dau 
hair t' a dog's back." 

"But the Colonel's very hungry." 

"Well, he'll had t' be hungry. Hit's no 
stuff fer a gentleman t' eat. Better bo 
hongry dan eat dat low-down nigger- 
grub." 

"Come, now, Aunt Minerva iVnn, be 
reasonable." 

"I is reasonable,' I done tell you. I'se 
reasonabler dan dem what wants me t' 
make up a mess of slop fer de head-maa 
ob de rijiment. He's too nice t' eat dat 
truck, an' you knows hit. I'd be ashamed 
t' set hit afore him, an" he'd 'spise me fer 
hit.' 

"But I tell you the Colonel's very 
hungry." 

"Well, let him send some ob you men 
off t' git something fit for him t' eat. You 
orter git suthin' better'u dat truck. Nice 
lot ob soljers you is' t' git nulflu' better'u 
dat." 

_ "But Aunty. I tell you there's nothing 
else to be had in the country, just now, 
and we must eat that or starve. We've 
just eaten a lot of it, and it goes very 
A\ell, I tell you. But I just met poor little 
I 'etc. V, ho didn't get to go with us, and 
he's so hungry that he could hardly keep 
the tears back. I never saw Pete so 
hungry in all my life. You know a boy 
gets much hungrier than a man. He 
needs food or his growth '11 be stunted." 

"What dat? What dat?" exclaimed the 
negress, aroused to sudden interest. 
"Leetle Pete so hongry dat he cryin'? If 
he don't git sumfin t' eat hit'll stunt his 
growth? I habn't seed dat brat dis whole 
day, an' fought he off agin wid yo'uns, 
tryin' by turns t' break his neck an' git his 
belly-full, as usual. Yo' say dat rice's rayly 
good t' eat, an' yo' likes hit? Fetch him 
up hyah, an' he shall hab all he kin stuff." 

She sprang from her chair, and began 
fanning the dust and chaff out of the rice. 

"Colonel," said Si, hunting up the offi- 
cer in the camp, "I've brought Aunt 
JNIinerva Ann around. I guess she's got 
supper about ready for you," 



22a 



SI KLEGG AND SHOUT Y. 



( 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

NEARING SAVANNAH— STRUGGLES WITH THE SWAMPS AND I\I0RAS5ES. 
TORPEDOES IN THE ROAD. 



Except the Fifteenth Corps, the entire 
army was now pressing down the long, 
narrow peninsula lying between the Sa- 
vannah and the Ogeechee Rivers, and 
■which grew narrower as the city was ap- 
proached, until now it was nowhere more 
than IS miles wide. 

This was so cut up by creeks, swamps, 
rice-canals and dikes that it afforded 
splendid opportunities for the rebels to 
obstruct the onward march of the army, 
and at that time any prolonged halt would 
mean starvation. There was nothing in 
the country but rice, with most of that 
behind the rebel lines, and 60,000 men 
would eat a great deal of rice every day. 
The rebels had all the will in the world 
to give this obstruction, and they fully 
comprehended how fatal it might be to 
tie bold invaders. Trees were felled 
across the roads and into the fords; lines 
of ritie-pits covered the distance between 
beads of swamps running to the rivers on 
either flanks; ugly forts rose to command 
tlie crossings, and the long lines of cause- 
ways through the marshes; the gates 
were shut, and the rice fields and dikes 
were flooded: and heavy skirmish lines 
would obstinately cling to the high banks 
and dispute further progress, while a mile 
or more away cannon much heavier than 
field-guns, and indicating the presence of 
regular siege works, would bellow out sul- 
lenly, and send their shells roaring 
, through the melancholy wastes. Then 
^ would come the swift deployment of heads 
.' of columns, eager search for hog-paths 
{through the swamps, weary floundering of 
f skirmish lines through the mud and flood 
•.of rice-fields, the cutting down trees under 
rfiro to make foot-bridges for daring skir- 
(Diishers to rush across and gain positions 
,of advantage, and the final coming up 
.against a solid line that seemed to finally 
'bar the way. 

But the Fifteenth Corps was flying 
light on the south side of the Ogeechee, 
and bringing all these plans to naught by 
**a-gittin' 'round our eends," as the rebel 
prisnneis expressed it. 

Behind such obstructions as filled the 
tongue of land between the Savannah and 
the Ogeechee 10,000 men could have held 
Sherman's army back for months. The 
10,000 men were there, but over beyond 
the sluggish Ogeechee the agile Fifteenth 
Corps was roaming at will, finding fords 



and crossings, and perpetually coming in 
behind the obstinate obstructors, threat- 
ening them with capture. 

The tall, wide-scattered, somber pines 
were now giving way to sturdy live-oaks, 
from whose hundred arms hung long fes- 
toons of the funereal-looking Spanish 
moss, giving a graveyard gloominess" 
wherever there was a grove. 

The dismal swamps, the endless maze 
of flooded rice-fields, the ghostly drapings 
on the strange-looking trees, the barren- 
ness of the uncanny laud, the awful stor- 
ies of the alligators and other slimy mon- 
sters a hundred times more horrible, 
which were circulating among the negroes, 
and especially the anxious look upon the 
faces of the Colonel and the Adjutant, 
the way they and the other oflScers would 
move off to one side, and talk in low tones 
about rations, the arrival of the ships, 
prospects of coming into communication 
with our fleet, and the necessity of the 
most careful husbanding of supplies, filled 
Aunt Minerva's soul with corroding fears. 

"Dis seems de very roostin'-place fer 
harnts," she said to Uncle Ephraim, one 
evening, as she detained him by her side. 
Her independence of him and occasional 
fine scorn were all very well when they 
were back on the highlands. Now she 
wanted his supporting presence all the 
time. "Dis's de very hatchin'-place fer 
dem. Dey breed down hyali like skeetera 
in a duck-pond. Dem long things a-hang- 
in' from de trees is deir clothes in which 
dey go t' visit deir friends in de grave- 
yards. An' hit's gittin' wusser an' wus- 
ser. Ebery day we's a'gittin furder inter 
dcse awful swamps. Eph. doesnt yo' 
know some Bible verses yo' kin say dat'll 
be good t' keep off de sperits?" 

"I useter, but I done forgot all dat con- 
jure bizniss since I come inter de army. 
Sergeant Si says hit's plum wicked t' 
conjure, and Corpril Elliott he laffs an' 
says hit's wuss dan wicked — hit's dam 
foolishness, only fit fer niggers and pore 
whites." 

"Ephum McGillicuddy Klegg," gasped 
Aunt Minerva Ann, "'how dares yo' use 
cuss-words in sich a place as dis? Some- 
thing may fly away wid yo' any miunit." 

"Stop talkin' dat fool nigger-chatter," 
said Uncle Ephraim, imitating Si's man- 
ner of sweeping aside the superstitions 
©f slave-days. "Mustn't t'ink aa' talk 



ON THE MAKCH TO THE SEA. 



229 



dat-a-way, now dat yn's free. NiifBu' fly 
w'ay wid nobody in Sherman's army. De;: 
ain't de kind dat's flied away wid." 

"Well, den, hit may come swimmin' an' 
creepin' along froo dis black water, an' 
kotch yo' an' drag yo' down under de 
roots ob de trees, 'mong de nasty slimy 
mess ob weeds an' water-grass; wluir moc- 
I ''sins long as a fence-rail '11 bite yo', an' 
>":ii4ettSs:..)flggeE'iv:a saWrlQsE. Tvid mmifs big- 
or'n a barn-door, and teef like a cotton- 
gin "11 swaller yo'," said xVinit jNIinei-v-a 
Ann, bursting into tears. "Better pray, 
Eph, dan say cuss-words. If we'uns ever 
-^it bn'-dr.y grciiiud iigin den yo' kin cuss 
all yo' wants t'. an' I won't say a word." 

ijncle Ephraini shuddered. lie lui'J 
thought too much of those awful thiugs 
himself. 

" 'Spoct I had better stop cussin' tiP 
we'uns git outen yah," he conceded. "P.ut 
den Corpril Elliott, he goes right along, 
cussin' like a house a-lire ebberyting down 
hyah, an' sayin' dat he don't gib a 
d^:— Cer de rebels an' all deir works. O, 
Lord, fergib me, I done said d — again, 
an' I didn't mean ter, nt all." 

"I'splum uigh skeered t' deff all de 
time," said- Aunt Minerva Ann, between 
sobs of uncontrollable weeping. "I's Ifiu 
AVatchin' de Gunnel an de Adjutant. Dey's 
awfully skeered, spite ob deir tryin' t' not 
let on, De Cuunel's face so long dat he 
could' eat outen a churn, an' de Adjutant 
he nebber sing nor whistle no more. I 
oberheard him sayin' sumthin' t' de Cun- 
nfcl 'bout nebber gittin' outeu dese awful 
swamps; de furder in we went de wuss 
tangled up we got, an' hit made- my heart 
jes' stand still. I'm not gwine t' sleep a 
wink dis night. I's gwine to sot by de 
fire, an' be ready if de Angel Gabriel. he 
blow his barn." 

"Well, Sarjint Klegg ain't skeered a 
mite," said Uncle Ephiaim, by way of en- 
couragement. "Sarjiut Klegg, he' say hit 
niake no difference — we's bound t' lick 
■ de rebels, any way, an' dat right off. 
Once dey got behiiie rocks an' mountains, 
but we licked dem out jest de' same as 
we're gwine t' do when dey're behine mud 
an' water. Corpril Elliott he jes' cusses 
all de time, an' says he don't gib a d — , 
O, Lord,-dar I done said hit agin." 

"An' dem big guns, dey's a-shootin" 
now," groaned Aunt Minerva Ann. "Big- 
gei-'n a cotton-gin, an' heller like a whole 
field o' bulls. I t'ink I jes' die ebbex-y 
time 1 hears one of dem roarin'." 

"Sarjint Klegg, he say dat dey don't 
'mount t' nuffin', only t' make a noise, an' 
he hopes our ships '11 hear dem. Corpril 
Elliott he jes' rips an' cusses when dey 
shoot, an' says he don't gib a d — how 
many dey has ob dem. O, Lord, dar I 
said hit agin. What shall I doV" 

"An' dis rice," moaned Aunt Minerva 
Ann. "Nuflin' t'. eat but rice. No more 
-fit t' eat dan basswood shavin's, no more 
•heart in hit dan beeswax. One peck of 



good ole yaller meal wuf more'n a wagon- 
load ob rice. Ebberybody starve t' death 
purty soon, though he full t' de nock wid 
dat cold, clanuiiy rice. Look at hit, dar 
'a de pot. Not half so much life in hit 
as ole whitewash. An' dar's leetle 

-Pete" 

- "Pete don't seemed t' be i;kcered a mite, 
nudder." interjected Uncle Ephraim. 

"Dat's de aggravaLin' part ob hit," 
burst out the obdurate Aunt Minerva Aun. 
"He's like de rest ob yo' — hain't sense 
enough t' be rayly skeered. Me an' de 
Cuunel's got t' be skeered fer de whole 
rijimint. Dat's allers de way hit is wid 
a pore woman." 

And her weeping became more vocifer- 
ous. 

The army was now within 15 mUes of 
Savannah, and the resistance of the rebels 
was hourly becoming more obstinate. The 
Ogeecliee IJiver was sinking into such a 
maze of swamps, channels, canals, ditches 
and creeks that the Fifteenth Corps was 
having much trouble in hudiug the flauii 
of the rebel force. 

A long, precious day, while the rations 
were running still lower, was spent in 
bitter bickering between the skirmishers, 
wallowing in the nuid, wading througU 
the (likes, forcing their way through the 
miry brakes of cane and briars, and the 
rebels, who were mainly better off In 
knowing the country better and standing 
on the defensive. But the indefatigable 
Yankees would come upon them in the 
most unexpected ways, and through places 
that they had reckoned as absolutely im- 
passable, their flanks would be turned in 
a way that they had deemed impossible, 
and in the race back fopr cover many ol 
them would be captured. 

Meanwhile the marches lagged most 
aggravatingly, and everybody became still 
more morose, anxious and fretful. 

The 2U0th lud. was in advance on one 
of the roads, when the army came up in 
front of works which covered all the high 
ground between a network of creeks and 
swamps running down to the Savannaii, 
with a similar maze of morasses extend- 
ing to the Ogeechee. The 200th Ind. was 
constantly edged off to the right, and the 
Ogeechee, as the line was extended by 
ofher regiments coming up, and so got 
farther and farther into the swamps. As 
the regiment had gone in left in front, 
Co. Q, with Si and his squad on the flank, 
and got the very worst of the swamp. 
They plunged straight ahead, guiding 
themselves by the sound of the firing \.o 
their left, and making their way the i^pst 
they could through the terrible grovah, 
which, besides cane and weeds, the in- 
evitable tall cypress, with its cone-like top 
and immense "knees," embraced a w^-ld 
of strange trees. There was no use look- 
ing for paths or "good places;" all whs 
alike, and any way to get through had oi 
be taJien, ,The thicli growtU jnade J 



»530f 



SI KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



dnsky twilight all aroimd, except where 
some unusually large cypress had driven 
back the growth with its far-spreading 
knees, and let in a little more light 
through its thick but now bare branches. 
Getting through was not the only ditE- 
culty. One never knew where to step. A 
Beemingly solid hammock of ground would, 
when the foot landed on it, turn out to 
be a mass of ooze, which would let the 
unlucky stepper in up to his waist. Then 
the rest would scramble to get him out. 
and save his gun and cartridge-bos fro: ,' 
being wet. 

At last, inexpressibly wet and muddy, 
covei'ed with swamp-slime, they gathered 
on the wide knees of a great cypress, to 
rest, get their bearings, and take a fresh 
start. 

They looked around, and everywhere saw 
some wild animal gazing with astonish- 
ment on these first invaders of their 
haunts. Blue herons gave a shriek of 
alarm, and vanished like a flash of light. 
A panther turned its yellow eyes on them, 
screamed, and ran up a tree. Foxes 
looked, barked and vanished in the thicK 
growth. Flocks of raft-ducks covered an 
open spot of water in the distance. 

"Great Jehosephat," muttered Shorty, 
listening to the tiring away off to the left, 
"what a place this'd be to hunt in when 
you ain't hunting something else." 

"Lucky it's Winter," remarked Si, "or 
there'd be more snakes around here than 
any man with the jim-jams ever saw. it 
must literally squirm with 'em. Seems to 
me, Shorty, if we point for that big mag- 
nolia over there, we'll keep in line with 
the boys, and be most likely to come out 
on the flanks of them rebels that's doing 
the shooting. Put your cartridge-beits 
around your necks, boys, and you'll be 
most likely to keep your boxes dry. Better 
put your gun-slings over your shoulders, 
guns butts up, so's you can use both hands 
at the next plunge. Take another good 
long breath, and we'll start. Keep as 
close together as possible, so's to help one 
another." 

"Say, what a funny big hole," said 
Pete, who, boy-like, was attending to 
everything else than the business in hand. 
^^Something's gone in there. I wonder 
.what it is. I'm going to see." 

He pic-ked up a bit of i-otten limb, ran 
it dovm into the hole, and felt it almost 
instantly snapped off. 

"Hello, there's something down there, 
for a fact. See how it broke this stick 
off," he called out. 

Sandy rushed over, and ran his gun 
down the hole. Something grabbed it 
and tried to pull it out of his hand. "Come 
here, Pete, quick, and help me," he shout- 
ed. 'It's trying to get my gun away." 

Pete caught hold, but the gun was be- 
ing pulled down, in spite of all the boys 
could do, when Si caught hold of the 
ptock. 3ut it required both his hands, 



and all his strength to pull the gun back, 
and as he slowly did so the long, saw-like 
jaws of a young alligator came into view, 
with the gun-barrel held between them as 
in a vise. 

This was a startler, but Si's nerve was 
superior to it. He held onto the stock and 
continued to pull. Abe Grimstead caught 
on to help him. and a reptile between 
three and four feet long was brought to 
the surface. He was vicious over the dis- 
turbance and full of fight. A lightning 
sweep of his tail struck the too-curious 
Pete's ankles, and knocked the youngster's 
feet from under him. 

Uncle Ephraim, who had followed the 
squad with far more reluctance than ne 
had ever done before, and kept every in- 
stant as near to Si as possible, gave a yell 
of horror, and, falling on his knees, be- 
gan to pray. Shorty jumped at the rep- 
tile, and struck it across the neck with his 
gun-barrel. There was an exciting punch- 
ing with the gun muzzles and striking 
with the barrels by the others for a fe^v 
minutes, with the alligator's tail getting 
in some vengeful work on their legs, but 
they were too many for him, and he finally 
gave up the gun-barrel and the ghost. 

"Pete, you little brat,'' said Shorty, as 
he wiped the sweat ofl: his forehead, and 
made ready to renew the advance, "you 
stop hunting around for holes. We 
hain't lost none." 

"Yes," added Si. panting a little with 
the exertion, "if the alligators want to 
crawl into their dens and sleep during this 
ruction, let 'em. We hain't no business 
disturbing 'em." 

" 'Fore God," gasped Uncle Ephraim, 
surveying with terrified eyes the direction 
in which they were going, "you don't see 
no more ob dem holes ober dar, does yo? 
I's sho' t' die if I stays hyah, an' one o'o 
dem t'ings'll eat me if I go ober dar. 
What's dis nigger a-gwine t' do, I'd like 
t' know." 

"Come along. Uncle Eph," said Si 
cheerfully, as he started. "I guess the 
alligators won't bother us if we let them 
alone. This is Winter, when they'd rather 
sleep than eat — even a colored brother."' 

"Don't know 'bout dat," muttered 
Uncle Ephraim, doubtfully, as he ginger- 
ly followed Si. "Allers beared dat 'gators 
's powerfully fond ob niggers." 

They were getting far more knowing 
now about swamps, and gained the big 
magnolia with less trouble than they had 
previously experienced, but they were all 
very careful to avoid suspicious-looking 
holes. 

They came to another broad, table-like 
cypress knee, upon which they gathered, 
listened to the distant firing and tried to 
get their bearings. They felt that they 
were now getting toward the edge of the 
swamp, and approaching firm ground. 

Making as little noise as possible, and 
avoiding shaking the bushes, they gained 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA, 



231 




'UNCLE EPHRAIM GAVE A YELL OF HORROR AND FALLING TO HI3 
KNEES BEGAN TO PRAY-'* 



238 



m KLEGG AND SHORTY. 



the solid ground. They halted and listened 
again. Thev were certainly much nearer 
the thick oi: the firing, which s«emed a 
mile or more away, and more to the front. 
••I guess we've got in the rear of them, 
Si," said Shorty. -'But where do you sup- 
pose the regiment is? 1 hain't heard or 
seen a thing of it since we made that long 
circuit to the right, more'n an hour ago.'^* 
-Hush!" whispered Si. I hear voices. 
Thev all became silent, while Si, turn- 
ing sidewise, edged his way cautiously 
through the brake, without breaking a 
twig or shaking the brush-tops. 

Shoitv followed in the same way. keep- 
ing just" in sight of Si, so as to receive his 
signals, and Uncle Ephraim, his fear of 
alligators having abated on the dry 
ground, followed after Shorty. 

The voices became more distinct, and 
were approaching. Presently Si was able 
to make out that they were rebels, and 
someone in command giving orders. 

He turned and signaled Shorty to come 
up cautiously, and bring the others. 

"I can't see nothing nowhere of the 
resimcut," he said, briefly explaining the 
situation to Shorty, "but I feel sure Uvat 
we've got ahead of them and in behind 
the rebel line. The lay of the land looks 
that way. I should judge our boys must 
be back 'there a full half-mile to the left, 
working through the upper part of the 
swamp. These are rebels coming. What 
must we do"?" 

"Jump 'em, of course," answered Shor- 
tv, looking at the cap of his gun. 
' "Exactly," accorded Si. "Boys, look 
carefully to your locks, and make sure 
that your guns '11 go off. Better put on 
fresh caps." 

Though the rebels could not be seen, they 
were now quite near, and pushing down a 
faint, vine-entangled trace, which Si had 
noticed, before he stepped back behind the 
cover of a densely growing orange tree. 

"There's a lot of Yanks working their 
•way through the swamps over there," said 
the commander, "aiming to get around our 
flanks and take us in the rear. I want to 
lay for them and surprise them. There's 
a big Cyprus laying out there that we'll 
get behind, and lay for 'em, as they come 
out o' the swamp, into the clear ground. 
Every man keep down, and be careful not 
to show himself until I give the order. 
Then every man raise his head above the 
log, pick out his man, aim below the belt, 
and let him have it. Don't let a shot be 
wasted; take plenty of time aiming, but 
make sure you get your man. Then we'll 
jump up and finish the rest with our re- 
volvers. We mustn't let a mangy hound 
of them get away." 

"Who is that pleasant, amiable gentle- 
man '^ He's an old acquaintance. Where 
have I heard his kind, gentle voice be- 
fore'?" whispered Shorty. 

"So've I heard it before, and not long 
ago," answered Si, "Who can be be?' 



The rebels had passed on by this time, 
leaving a pretty broad trail, into which 
Si entered and followed. Presently he 
came to where the brush was not so thick, 
and looking cautiously out he could see the 
rebel officer lining his men behind the 
fallen Cyprus. 

Away in front of a cleared space before 
the prostrate trunk, the shaking bushes 
in the swamp, and the sound of Col. Mc- 
Gillicuddy's sweet, penetrating voice, en- 
couraging, urging and commanding, 
showed where the 200th Ind. was w-orking 
its laborious way through the morass. 

"Steady, men," said the rebel oflScer. 
"Deploy more there to the left. Don't 
make so much noise. Every man keep 
down till I give the order. Rest your car- 
bines on top of the log, and take careful 
aim. Steady, now." 

Si looked around to see that all of his 
boys were up and cocked his gun. "Come 
forward a little more into line, there, 
boys," he said in a loud whisper. "Pick 
out your man, each of you. I'll take the 
fellow in command. "Don't fire till I give 
the word, or till I do." 

"Let's belt into 'em at once," said 
Shorty. "I'll bust that Sergeant there." 
"No," answered Si. "I'll not fire into 
their backs, without giving 'em a chance." 
"Ahem," he continued, in a loud, pen- 
etrating voice. 

The startled rebel officer whirled 
around. 

"Sorry to disturb your arrangements, 
just as they're finished," said Si. "But 
if you dou't surrender at once off goes 
your head." 

The rebel glanced along the line, and 
it seemed as if the brush was filled with 
Yankees with leveled guns. 

"What's your rank?" he shouted. "I'm 

a Major" 

"No back talk," said Si sternly. "I've 
got rank enough for you. Drop that 
sword, or I'll drop you." 

"Lay down your guns, men," said the 
rebel. "The woods are plum full of Yan- 
kees." 

"Leave them guns where they are," 
commanded Si, "and move over toward 
that oak on the right. Pete, rush through 
that clear space, and yell to Col. McGilli- 
cuddy to come on; we're here." 

The firing away toward the center sud- 
denly stopped, and was followed by the 
deep-throated Union cheer, as the men 
rushed over the line lately held by the 
lebols. 

"For de Lawd's sake," ejaculated Uncle 
Ephraim, scanning the rebel prisoners, "ir 
dey'uns ain't dat Jeff Davis Cavalry, dat 
tried o' roast we'uns alibe in de cave." 

"That's so," said Shorty with an oath. 
"Why didn't we shoot 'em down as soon 
as we saw 'em? Let's kill 'em now." 
"No, we f^an't now," §gid ^'- eve 



ON THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 



233 



down. Shorty's gun. "They'vo surnm- 
d'f-iecL- Tcju-bad. we didn't know it lio- 

"Hello, Sei-geaiit," ^aid Col. McGilli- 
cuddy,- coming up, badly draggled with