Infomotions, Inc.With Lee in Virginia A Story of the American Civil War / Henty, G. A. (George Alfred), 1832-1902



Author: Henty, G. A. (George Alfred), 1832-1902
Title: With Lee in Virginia A Story of the American Civil War
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): vincent; dan; jackson
Contributor(s): Project Gutenberg [Compiler]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 126,511 words (average) Grade range: 9-12 (high school) Readability score: 66 (easy)
Identifier: etext19154
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

Discover what books you consider "great". Take the Great Books Survey.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of With Lee in Virginia, by G. A. Henty

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org


Title: With Lee in Virginia
       A Story of the American Civil War

Author: G. A. Henty

Release Date: September 1, 2006 [EBook #19154]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA ***




Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Paul Ereaut and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net





Transcribers note: Some inconsistencies of spelling, punctuation and
hyphenation have been normalised.


WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA

_A STORY OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR_

BY

G. A. HENTY

AUTHOR OF "WITH CLIVE IN INDIA," "WITH WOLFE IN CANADA," "BY ENGLAND'S
AID," "IN THE REIGN OF TERROR," "THE DRAGON AND THE RAVEN"


NEW YORK
HURST AND COMPANY
PUBLISHERS




PREFACE.


My Dear Lads:

The Great War between the Northern and Southern States of America
possesses a peculiar interest to us, not only because it was a struggle
between two sections of a people akin to us in race and language, but
because of the heroic courage with which the weaker party, with ill-fed,
ill-clad, ill-equipped regiments, for four years sustained the contest
with an adversary not only possessed of immense numerical superiority,
but having the command of the sea, and being able to draw its arms and
munitions of war from all the manufactories of Europe. Authorities still
differ as to the rights of the case. The Confederates firmly believed
that the States, having voluntarily united, retained the right of
withdrawing from the Union when they considered it for their advantage
to do so. The Northerners took the opposite point of view, and an appeal
to arms became inevitable. During the first two years of the war the
struggle was conducted without inflicting unnecessary hardship upon the
general population. But later on the character of the war changed, and
the Federal armies carried widespread destruction wherever they marched.
Upon the other hand, the moment the struggle was over the conduct of the
conquerors was marked by a clemency and generosity altogether unexampled
in history, a complete amnesty being granted, and none, whether soldiers
or civilians, being made to suffer for their share in the rebellion. The
credit of this magnanimous conduct was to a great extent due to Generals
Grant and Sherman, the former of whom took upon himself the
responsibility of granting terms which, although they were finally
ratified by his government, were at the time received with anger and
indignation in the North. It was impossible, in the course of a single
volume, to give even a sketch of the numerous and complicated operations
of the war, and I have therefore confined myself to the central point of
the great struggle--the attempts of the Northern armies to force their
way to Richmond, the capital of Virginia and the heart of the
Confederacy. Even in recounting the leading events in these campaigns, I
have burdened my story with as few details as possible, it being my
object now, as always, to amuse, as well as to give instruction in the
facts of history.

Yours sincerely,

G. A. Henty.




CONTENTS.


CHAPTER

    I. A Virginia Plantation,

   II. Buying a Slave,

  III. Aiding a Runaway,

   IV. Safely Back,

    V. Secession,

   VI. Bull Run,

  VII. The "Merrimac" and the "Monitor,"

 VIII. McClellan's Advance,

   IX. A Prisoner,

    X. The Escape,

   XI. Fugitives,

  XII. The Bushwhackers,

 XIII. Laid Up,

  XIV. Across the Border,

   XV. Fredericksburg,

  XVI. The Search for Dinah,

 XVII. Chancellorsville,

XVIII. A Perilous Undertaking,

  XIX. Free!

   XX. The End of the Struggle,




WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA.




CHAPTER I.

A VIRGINIA PLANTATION.


"I won't have it, Pearson; so it's no use your talking. If I had my way
you shouldn't touch any of the field hands. And when I get my way--that
won't be so very long--I will take very good care you shan't. But you
shan't hit Dan."

"He is not one of the regular house hands," was the reply; "and I shall
appeal to Mrs. Wingfield as to whether I am to be interfered with in the
discharge of my duties."

"You may appeal to my mother if you like, but I don't think that you
will get much by it. You are too fond of that whip, Pearson. It never
was heard on the estate during my father's time, and it shan't be again
when it comes to be mine, I can tell you. Come along, Dan; I want you at
the stables."

Vincent Wingfield turned on his heel, and followed by Dan, a negro lad
of some eighteen years old, he walked toward the house, leaving Jonas
Pearson, the overseer of the Orangery Estate, looking after him with an
evil expression of face.

Vincent Wingfield was the son of an English officer, who, making a tour
in the States, had fallen in love with and won the hand of Winifred
Cornish, a Virginia heiress, and one of the belles of Richmond. After
the marriage he had taken her to visit his family in England; but she
had not been there many weeks before the news arrived of the sudden
death of her father. A month later she and her husband returned to
Virginia, as her presence was required there in reference to business
matters connected with the estate, of which she was now the mistress.

The Orangery, so called from a large conservatory built by Mrs.
Wingfield's grandfather, was the family seat, and the broad lands around
it were tilled by upward of two hundred slaves. There were in addition
three other properties lying in different parts of the State. Here
Vincent, with two sisters, one older and one younger than himself, had
been born. When he was eight years old Major and Mrs. Wingfield had gone
over with their children to England, and had left Vincent there for four
years at school, his holidays being spent at the house of his father's
brother, a country gentleman in Sussex. Then he had been sent for
unexpectedly; his father saying that his health was not good, and that
he should like his son to be with him. A year later his father died.

Vincent was now nearly sixteen years old, and would upon coming of age
assume the reins of power at the Orangery, of which his mother, however,
would be the actual mistress as long as she lived. The four years
Vincent had passed in the English school had done much to render the
institution of slavery repugnant to him, and his father had had many
serious talks with him during the last year of his life, and had shown
him that there was a good deal to be said upon both sides of the
subject.

"There are good plantations and bad plantations, Vincent; and there are
many more good ones than bad ones. There are brutes to be found
everywhere. There are bad masters in the Southern States just as there
are bad landlords in every European country. But even from self-interest
alone, a planter has greater reason for caring for the health and
comfort of his slaves than an English farmer has in caring for the
comfort of his laborers. Slaves are valuable property, and if they are
over-worked or badly cared for they decrease in value. Whereas if the
laborer falls sick or is unable to do his work the farmer has simply to
hire another hand. It is as much the interest of a planter to keep his
slaves in good health and spirits as it is for a farmer to feed and
attend to his horses properly.

"Of the two, I consider that the slave with a fairly kind master is to
the full as happy as the ordinary English laborer. He certainly does not
work so hard, if he is ill he is carefully attended to, he is well fed,
he has no cares or anxieties whatever, and when old and past work he has
no fear of the workhouse staring him in the face. At the same time I am
quite ready to grant that there are horrible abuses possible under the
laws connected with slavery.

"The selling of slaves, that is to say, the breaking up of families and
selling them separately, is horrible and abominable. If an estate were
sold together with all the slaves upon it, there would be no more
hardship in the matter than there is when an estate changes hands in
England, and the laborers upon it work for the new master instead of the
old. Were I to liberate all the slaves on this estate to-morrow and to
send them North, I do not think that they would be in any way benefited
by the change. They would still have to work for their living as they do
now, and being naturally indolent and shiftless would probably fare much
worse. But against the selling of families separately and the use of the
lash I set my face strongly.

"At the same time, my boy, whatever your sentiments may be on this
subject, you must keep your mouth closed as to them. Owing to the
attempts of Northern Abolitionists, who have come down here stirring up
the slaves to discontent, it is not advisable, indeed it is absolutely
dangerous, to speak against slavery in the Southern States. The
institution is here, and we must make the best we can of it. People here
are very sore at the foul slanders that have been published by Northern
writers. There have been many atrocities perpetrated undoubtedly, by
brutes who would have been brutes wherever they had been born; but to
collect a series of such atrocities, to string them together into a
story, and to hold them up, as Mrs. Beecher Stowe has, as a picture of
slave life in the Southern States, is as gross a libel as if anyone were
to make a collection of all the wife-beatings and assaults of drunken
English ruffians, and to publish them as a picture of the average life
of English people.

"Such libels as these have done more to embitter the two sections of
America against each other than anything else. Therefore, Vincent, my
advice to you is, be always kind to your slaves--not over-indulgent,
because they are very like children and indulgence spoils them--but be
at the same time firm and kind to them, and with other people avoid
entering into any discussions or expressing any opinion with regard to
slavery. You can do no good, and you can do much harm. Take things as
you find them and make the best of them. I trust that the time may come
when slavery will be abolished; but I hope, for the sake of the slaves
themselves, that when this is done it will be done gradually and
thoughtfully, for otherwise it would inflict terrible hardship and
suffering upon them as well as upon their masters."

There were many such conversations between father and son, for feeling
on the subject ran very high in the Southern States, and the former felt
that it was of the utmost importance to his son that he should avoid
taking any strong line in the matter. Among the old families of Virginia
there was indeed far less feeling on this subject than in some of the
other States. Knowing the good feeling that almost universally existed
between themselves and their slaves, the gentry of Virginia regarded
with contempt the calumnies of which they were the subject. Secure in
the affection of their slaves, an affection which was afterward
abundantly proved during the course of the war, they scarcely saw the
ugly side of the question. The worst masters were the smallest ones; the
man who owned six slaves was far more apt to extort the utmost possible
work from them than the planter who owned three or four hundred. And
the worst masters of all, were those who, having made a little money in
trade or speculation in the towns, purchased a dozen slaves, a small
piece of land, and tried to set up as gentry.

In Virginia the life of the large planters was almost a patriarchal one;
the indoor slaves were treated with extreme indulgence, and were
permitted a far higher degree of freedom of remark and familiarity than
is the case with servants in an English household. They had been the
nurses or companions of the owners when children, had grown up with
them, and regarded themselves, and were regarded by them, as almost part
of the family. There was, of course, less connection between the
planters and their field hands; but these also had for the most part
been born on the estate, had as children been taught to look up to their
white masters and mistresses, and to receive many little kindnesses at
their hands.

They had been cared for in sickness, and knew that they would be
provided for in old age. Each had his little allotment, and could raise
fruit, vegetables, and fowls, for his own use or for sale, in his
leisure time. The fear of loss of employment, or the pressure of want,
ever present to our English laborers, had never fallen upon them. The
climate was a lovely one, and their work far less severe than that of
men forced to toil in cold and wet, winter and summer. The institution
of slavery assuredly was capable of terrible abuses, and was marked in
many instances by abominable cruelty and oppression; but taken all in
all, the negroes on a well-ordered estate, under kind masters, were
probably a happier class of people than the laborers upon any estate in
Europe.

Jonas Pearson had been overseer in the time of Major Wingfield, but his
authority had at that time been comparatively small, for the major
himself personally supervised the whole working of the estate, and was
greatly liked by the slaves, whose chief affections were, however,
naturally bestowed upon their mistress, who had from childhood been
brought up in their midst. Major Wingfield had not liked his overseer,
but he had never any ground to justify him making a change. Jonas, who
was a Northern man, was always active and energetic; all Major
Wingfield's orders were strictly and punctually carried out, and
although he disliked the man, his employer acknowledged him to be an
excellent servant.

After the major's death, Jonas Pearson had naturally obtained greatly
increased power and authority. Mrs. Wingfield had great confidence in
him, his accounts were always clear and precise, and although the
profits of the estate were not quite so large as they had been in her
husband's lifetime, this was always satisfactorily explained by a fall
in prices, or by a part of the crops being affected by the weather. She
flattered herself that she herself managed the estate, and at times rode
over it, made suggestions, and issued orders, but this was only in fits
and starts; and although Jonas came up two or three times a week to the
house nominally to receive her orders, he managed her so adroitly, that
while she believed that everything was done by her directions, she in
reality only followed out the suggestions which, in the first place,
came from him.

She was aware, however, that there was less content and happiness on the
estate than there had been in the old times. Complaints had reached her
from time to time of overwork and harsh treatment. But upon inquiring
into these matters, Jonas had always such plausible reasons to give that
she was convinced he was in the right, and that the fault was among the
slaves themselves, who tried to take advantage of the fact that they had
no longer a master's eye upon them, and accordingly tried to shirk work,
and to throw discredit upon the man who looked after the interests of
their mistress; and so gradually Mrs. Wingfield left the management of
her affairs more and more in the hands of Jonas, and relied more
implicitly upon him.

The overseer spared no pains to gain the good will of Vincent. When the
latter declared that the horse he rode had not sufficient life and
spirit for him, Jonas had set inquiries on foot, and had selected for
him a horse which, for speed and bottom, had no superior in the State.
One of Mrs. Wingfield's acquaintances, however, upon hearing that she
had purchased the animal, told her that it was notorious for its vicious
temper, and she spoke angrily to Jonas on the subject in the presence of
Vincent. The overseer excused himself by saying that he had certainly
heard that the horse was high spirited and needed a good rider, and that
he should not have thought of selecting it had he not known that Mr.
Vincent was a first-class rider, and would not care to have a horse that
any child could manage.

The praise was not undeserved. The gentlemen of Virginia were celebrated
as good riders; and Major Wingfield, himself a cavalry man, had been
anxious that Vincent should maintain the credit of his English blood,
and had placed him on a pony as soon as he was able to sit on one. A
pony had been kept for his use during his holidays at his uncle's in
England, and upon his return Vincent had, except during the hours he
spent with his father, almost lived on horseback, either riding about
the estate, or paying visits to the houses of other planters.

For an hour or more everyday he exercised his father's horses in a
paddock near the house, the major being wheeled down in an easy-chair
and superintending his riding. As these horses had little to do and were
full of spirit, Vincent's powers were often taxed to the utmost, and he
had many falls; but the soil was light, and he had learned the knack of
falling easily, and from constant practice was able at the age of
fourteen to stick on firmly even without a saddle, and was absolutely
fearless as to any animal he mounted.

In the two years which had followed he had kept up his riding. Every
morning after breakfast he rode to Richmond, six miles distant, put up
his horse at some stable there, and spent three hours at school; the
rest of the day was his own, and he would often ride off with some of
his schoolfellows who had also come in from a distance, and not return
home till late in the evening. Vincent took after his English father
rather than his Virginia mother, both in appearance and character, and
was likely to become as tall and brawny a man as the former had been
when he first won the love of the Virginia heiress.

He was full of life and energy, and in this respect offered a strong
contrast to most of his schoolfellows of the same age. For although
splendid riders and keen sportsmen, the planters of Virginia were in
other respects inclined to indolence; the result partly of the climate,
partly of their being waited upon from childhood by attendants ready to
carry out every wish. He had his father's cheerful disposition and good
temper, together with the decisive manner so frequently acquired by a
service in the army, and at the same time he had something of the warmth
and enthusiasm of the Virginia character.

Good rider as he was, he was somewhat surprised at the horse the
overseer had selected for him. It was certainly a splendid animal, with
great bone and power; but there was no mistaking the expression of its
turned-back eye, and the ears that lay almost flat on the head when
anyone approached him.

"It is a splendid animal, no doubt, Jonas," he said the first time he
inspected it; "but he certainly looks as if he had a beast of a temper.
I fear what was told my mother about him is no exaggeration; for Mr.
Markham told me to-day, when I rode down there with his son, and said we
had bought Wildfire, that a friend of his had had him once, and only
kept him for a week, for he was the most vicious brute he ever saw."

"I am sorry I have bought him now, sir," Jonas said. "Of course I should
not have done so if I had heard these things before; but I was told he
was one of the finest horses in the country, only a little tricky, and
as his price was so reasonable I thought it a great bargain. But I see
now I was wrong, and that it wouldn't be right for you to mount him; so
I think we had best send him in on Saturday to the market and let it go
for what it will fetch. You see, sir, if you had been three or four
years older it would have been different; but naturally at your age you
don't like to ride such a horse as that."

"I shan't give up without a trial," Vincent said shortly. "It is about
the finest horse I ever saw; and if it hadn't been for its temper, it
would have been cheap at five times the sum you gave for it. I have
ridden a good many bad-tempered horses for my friends during the last
year, and the worst of them couldn't get me off."

"Well, sir, of course you will do as you please," Jonas said; "but
please to remember if any harm comes of it, that I strongly advised you
not to have anything to do with it, and I did my best to dissuade you
from trying."

Vincent nodded carelessly, and then turned to the black groom.

"Jake, get out that cavalry saddle of my father's, with the high cantle
and pommel, and the rolls for the knees. It's like an armchair, and if
one can't stick on on that, one deserves to be thrown."

While the groom was putting on the saddle, Vincent stood patting the
horse's head and talking to it, and then taking its rein led it down
into the inclosure.

"No, I don't want the whip," he said, as Jake offered him one. "I have
got the spurs, and likely enough the horse's temper may have been
spoiled by knocking it about with a whip; but we will try what kindness
will do with it first."

"Me no like his look, Massa Vincent; he debble of a hoss dat."

"I don't think he has a nice temper, Jake; but people learn to control
their temper, and I don't see why horses shouldn't. At any rate we will
have a try at it. He looks as if he appreciates being patted and spoken
to already. Of course if you treat a horse like a savage he will become
savage. Now, stand out of the way."

Gathering the reins together, and placing one hand upon the pommel,
Vincent sprang into the saddle without touching the stirrups; then he
sat for a minute or two patting the horse's neck. Wildfire, apparently
disgusted at having allowed himself to be mounted so suddenly, lashed
out viciously two or three times, and then refused to move. For half an
hour Vincent tried the effect of patient coaxing, but in vain.

"Well, if you won't do it by fair means you must by foul," Vincent said
at last, and sharply pricked him with his spurs.

Wildfire sprang into the air, and then began a desperate series of
efforts to rid himself of his rider, rearing and kicking in such quick
succession that he seemed half the time in the air. Finding after a
while that his efforts were unavailing, he subsided at last into sulky
immovability. Again Vincent tried coaxing and patting, but as no success
attended these efforts, he again applied the spur sharply. This time the
horse responded by springing forward like an arrow from a bow, dashed at
the top of his speed across the inclosure, cleared the high fence
without an effort, and then set off across the country.

He had attempted to take the bit in his teeth, but with a sharp jerk as
he drove the spurs in, Vincent had defeated his intention. He now did
not attempt to check or guide him, but keeping a light hand on the reins
let him go his own course. Vincent knew that so long as the horse was
going full speed it could attempt no trick to unseat him, and he
therefore sat easily in his saddle.

For six miles Wildfire continued his course, clearing every obstacle
without abatement to his speed, and delighting his rider with his power
and jumping qualities. Occasionally, only when the course he was taking
would have led him to obstacles impossible for the best jumper to
surmount, Vincent attempted to put the slightest pressure upon one rein
or the other, so as to direct it to an easier point.

At the end of six miles the horse's speed began slightly to abate, and
Vincent, abstaining from the use of his spurs, pressed it with his knees
and spoke to it cheerfully, urging it forward. He now from time to time
bent forward and patted it, and for another six miles kept it going at a
speed almost as great as that at which it had started. Then he allowed
it gradually to slacken its pace, until at last first the gallop and
then the trot ceased, and it broke into a walk.

"You have had a fine gallop, old fellow," Vincent said, patting it; "and
so have I. There's been nothing for you to lose your temper about, and
the next road we come upon we will turn your face homeward. Half a dozen
lessons like this, and then, no doubt, we shall be good friends."

The journey home was performed at a walk, Vincent talking the greater
part of the time to the horse. It took a good deal more than six lessons
before Wildfire would start without a preliminary struggle with his
master, but in the end kindness and patience conquered. Vincent often
visited the horse in the stables, and, taking with him an apple or some
pieces of sugar, spent some time there talking to and petting it. He
never carried a whip, and never used the spurs except in forcing it to
make its first start.

Had the horse been naturally ill-tempered Vincent would probably have
failed, but, as he happened afterward to learn, its first owner had been
a hot-tempered and passionate young planter, who, instead of being
patient with it, had beat it about the head, and so rendered it restive
and bad-tempered. Had Vincent not laid aside his whip before mounting it
for the first time, he probably would never have effected a cure. It was
the fact that the animal had no longer fear of his old enemy the whip,
as much as the general course of kindness and good treatment, that had
effected the change in his behavior.

It was just when Vincent had established a good understanding between
himself and Wildfire that he had the altercation with the overseer, whom
he found about to flog the young negro Dan. Pearson had sent the lad
half an hour before on a message to some slaves at work at the other end
of the estate, and had found him sitting on the ground watching a tree
in which he had discovered a 'possum. That Dan deserved punishment was
undoubted. He had at present no regular employment upon the estate.
Jake, his father, was head of the stables, and Dan had made himself
useful in odd jobs about the horses, and expected to become one of the
regular stable hands. The overseer was of opinion that there were
already more negroes in the stable than could find employment, and had
urged upon Mrs. Wingfield that one of the hands there and the boy Dan
should be sent out to the fields. She, however, refused.

"I know you are quite right, Jonas, in what you say. But there were
always four hands in the stable in my father's time, and there always
have been up to now; and though I know they have an easy time of it, I
certainly should not like to send any of them out into the fields. As to
Dan, we will think about it. When his father was about his age he used
to lead my pony when I first took to riding, and when there is a vacancy
Dan must come into the stable. I could not think of sending him out as a
field hand; in the first place for his father's sake, but still more for
that of Vincent. Dan used to be told off to see that Vincent did not get
into mischief when he was a little boy, and he has run his messages and
been his special boy since he came back. Vincent wanted to have him as
his regular house servant; but it would have broken old Sam's heart if,
after being my father's boy and my husband's, another had taken his
place as Vincent's."

And so Dan had remained in the stable, but regarding Vincent as his
special master, carrying messages for him to his friends, or doing any
odd jobs he might require, and spending no small portion of his time in
sleep. Thus he was an object of special dislike to the overseer; in the
first place because he had not succeeded in having his way with regard
to him, and in the second because he was a useless hand, and the
overseer loved to get as much work as possible out of everyone on the
estate. The message had been a somewhat important one, as he wanted the
slaves for some work that was urgently required; and he lost his temper,
or he would not have done an act which would certainly bring him into
collision with Vincent.

He was well aware that the lad did not really like him, and that his
efforts to gain his good will had failed, and he had foreseen that
sooner or later there would be a struggle for power between them.
However, he relied upon his influence with Mrs. Wingfield, and upon the
fact that she was the life owner of the Orangery, and believed that he
would be able to maintain his position even when Vincent came of age.
Vincent on his side objected to the overseer's treatment of the hands of
which he heard a good deal from Dan, and had already remonstrated with
his mother on the subject.

He, however, gained nothing by this. Mrs. Wingfield had replied that he
was too young to interfere in such matters, that his English ideas would
not do in Virginia, and that naturally the slaves were set against the
overseer; and that now Pearson had no longer a master to support him, he
was obliged to be more severe than before to enforce obedience. At the
same time it vexed her at heart that there should be any severity on the
Orangery Estate, where the best relations had always prevailed between
the masters and slaves and she had herself spoken to Jonas on the
subject.

He had given her the same answer that she had given her son: "The slaves
will work for a master, Mrs. Wingfield, in a way they will not for a
stranger. They set themselves against me, and if I were not severe with
them I should get no work at all out of them. Of course, if you wish it,
they can do as they like; but in that case they must have another
overseer. I cannot see a fine estate going to ruin. I believe myself
some of these Abolition fellows have been getting among them and doing
mischief, and that there is a bad spirit growing up among them. I can
assure you that I am as lenient with them as it is possible to be. But
if they won't work I must make them, so long as I stay here."

And so the overseer had had his way. She knew that the man was a good
servant, and that the estate was kept in excellent order. After all, the
severities of which she had heard complaints were by no means excessive,
and it was not to be expected that a Northern overseer could rule
entirely by kindness, as the owner of an estate could do. A change would
be most inconvenient to her, and she would have difficulty in suiting
herself so well another time. Besides, the man had been with her sixteen
years, and was, as she believed, devoted to her interests. Therefore she
turned a deaf ear to Vincent's remonstrances.

She had always been somewhat opposed to his being left in England at
school, urging that he would learn ideas there that would clash with
those of the people among whom his life was to be spent; and she still
considered that her views had been justified by the result.

The overseer was the first to give his version of the story about Dan's
conduct; for on going to the house Vincent found his sisters, Rosa and
Annie, in the garden, having just returned from a two days' visit to
some friends in Richmond, and stayed chatting with them and listening to
their news for an hour, and in the meantime Jonas had gone in and seen
Mrs. Wingfield and told his story.

"I think, Mrs. Wingfield," he said when he had finished, "that it will
be better for me to leave you. It is quite evident that I can have no
authority over the hands if your son is to interfere when I am about to
punish a slave for an act of gross disobedience and neglect. I found
that all the tobacco required turning, and now it will not be done this
afternoon, owing to my orders not being carried out, and the tobacco
will not improbably be injured in quality. My position is difficult
enough as it is; but if the slaves see that instead of being supported I
am thwarted by your son, my authority is gone altogether. No overseer
can carry on his work properly under such circumstances."

"I will see to the matter, Jonas," Mrs. Wingfield said decidedly. "Be
assured that you have my entire support, and I will see that my son does
not again interfere."

When, therefore, Vincent entered the house and began his complaint, he
found himself cut short.

"I have heard the story already, Vincent. Dan acted in gross
disobedience, and thoroughly deserved the punishment Jonas was about to
give him. The work of the estate cannot be carried on if such conduct is
to be tolerated; and once for all, I will permit no interference on your
part with Jonas. If you have any complaints to make, come to me and make
them; but you are not to interfere in any way with the overseer. As for
Dan, I have directed Jonas that the next time he gives cause for
complaint he is to go into the fields."

Vincent stood silent for a minute, then he said quietly:

"Very well, mother. Of course you can do as you like; but at any rate I
will not keep my mouth shut when I see that fellow ill-treating the
slaves. Such things were never done in my father's time, and I won't see
them done now. You said the other day you would get me a nomination to
West Point as soon as I was sixteen. I should be glad if you would do
so. By the time I have gone through the school, you will perhaps see
that I have been right about Jonas."

So saying, he turned and left the room and again joined his sisters in
the drawing room.

"I have just told mother that I will go to West Point, girls," he said.
"Father said more than once that he thought it was the best education I
could get in America."

"But I thought you had made up your mind that you would rather stop at
home, Vincent?"

"So I had, and so I would have done, but mother and I differ in
opinion. That fellow Jonas was going to flog Dan, and I stopped him this
morning, and mother takes his part against me. You know, I don't like
the way he goes on with the slaves. They are not half so merry and happy
as they used to be, and I don't like it. We shall have one of them
running away next, and that will be a nice thing on what used to be
considered one of the happiest plantations in Virginia. I can't make
mother out; I should have thought that she would have been the last
person in the world to have allowed the slaves to be harshly treated."

"I am sure we don't like Jonas any more than you do, Vincent; but you
see mamma has to depend upon him so much. No, I don't think she can like
it; but you can't have everything you like in a man, and I know she
thinks he is a very good overseer. I suppose she could get another?"

Vincent said he thought that there could not be much difficulty about
getting an overseer.

"There might be a difficulty in getting one she could rely on so
thoroughly," Rosa said. "You see a great deal must be left to him. Jonas
has been here a good many years now, and she has learned to trust him.
It would be a long time before she had the same confidence in a
stranger; and you may be sure that he would have his faults, though,
perhaps, not the same as those of Jonas. I think you don't make
allowance enough for mamma, Vincent. I quite agree with you as to Jonas,
and I don't think mamma can like his harshness to the slaves any more
than you do; but everyone says what a difficulty it is to get a really
trustworthy and capable overseer, and, of course, it is all the harder
when there is no master to look after him."

"Well, in a few years I shall be able to look after an overseer,"
Vincent said.

"You might do so, of course, Vincent, if you liked; but unless you
change a good deal, I don't think your supervision would amount to very
much. When you are not at school you are always on horseback and away,
and we see little enough of you, and I do not think you are likely for a
long time yet to give up most of your time to looking after the estate."

"Perhaps you are right," Vincent said, after thinking for a minute; "but
I think I could settle down, too, and give most of my time to the
estate, if I was responsible for it. I dare say mother is in a
difficulty over it, and I should not have spoken as I did; I will go in
and tell her so."

Vincent found his mother sitting as he had left her. Although she had
sided with Jonas, it was against her will; for it was grievous to her to
hear complaints of the treatment of the slaves at the Orangery. Still,
as Rosa had said, she felt every confidence in her overseer, and
believed that he was an excellent servant. She was conscious that she
herself knew nothing of business, and that she must therefore give her
entire confidence to her manager. She greatly disliked the strictness of
Jonas, but if, as he said, the slaves would not obey him without this
strictness, he must do as he thought best.

"I think I spoke too hastily, mother," Vincent said as he entered; "and
I am sure that you would not wish the slaves to be ill-treated more than
I should. I dare say Jonas means for the best."

"I feel sure that he does, Vincent. A man in his position cannot make
himself obeyed like a master. I wish it could be otherwise, and I will
speak to him on the subject; but it will not do to interfere with him
too much. A good overseer is not easy to get, and the slaves are always
ready to take advantage of leniency. An easy master makes bad work, but
an easy overseer would mean ruin to an estate. I am convinced that Jonas
has our interests at heart, and I will tell him that I particularly wish
that he will devise some other sort of punishment, such as depriving men
who won't work of some of their privileges, instead of using the lash."

"Thank you, mother. At any rate, he might be told that the lash is never
to be used without first appealing to you."

"I will see about it, Vincent, and talk it over with him." And with that
Vincent was satisfied.




CHAPTER II.

BUYING A SLAVE.


Mrs. Wingfield did talk the matter over with the overseer, and things
went on in consequence more smoothly. Vincent, however, adhered to his
wish, and it was arranged that as soon as he could get a nomination he
should go to West Point, which is to the American army what Sandhurst
and Woolwich are to England. Before that could be done, however, a great
political agitation sprang up. The slave States were greatly excited
over the prospect of a Republican president being chosen, for the
Republicans were to a great extent identified with the abolition
movement; and public feeling, which had for some time run high, became
intensified as the time approached for the election of a new president,
and threats that if the Democrats were beaten and a Republican elected
the slave States would secede from the Union, were freely indulged in.

In Virginia, which was one of the most northern of the slave States,
opinion was somewhat divided, there being a strong minority against any
extreme measures being taken. Among Vincent's friends, however, who were
for the most part the sons of planters, the Democratic feeling was very
strongly in the ascendant and their sympathies were wholly with the
Southern States. That these had a right to secede was assumed by them as
being unquestionable.

But, in point of fact, there was a great deal to be said on both sides.
The States which first entered the Union in 1776 considered themselves
to be separate and sovereign States, each possessing power and authority
to manage its own affairs, and forming only a federation in order to
construct a central power, and so to operate with more effect against
the mother country. Two years later the Constitution of the United
States was framed, each State giving up a certain portion of its
authority, reserving its own self-government and whatever rights were
not specifically resigned.

No mention was made in the Constitution of the right of a State to
secede from the Union, and while those who insisted that each State had
a right to secede if it chose to do so declared that this right was
reserved, their opponents affirmed that such a case could never have
been contemplated. Thus the question of absolute right had never been
settled, and it became purely one of force.

Early in November, 1860, it became known that the election of Mr.
Lincoln, the Republican candidate, was assured, and on the 9th of that
month the representatives of South Carolina met at Charleston, and
unanimously authorized the holding of a State convention to meet on the
third week in December. The announcement caused great excitement, for it
was considered certain that the convention would pass a vote of
secession, and thus bring the debated question to an issue. Although
opinion in Virginia was less unanimous than in the more southern States,
it was generally thought that she would imitate the example of South
Carolina.

On the day following the receipt of the news, Vincent, who had ridden
over to the plantations of several of his friends to talk the matter
over, was returning homeward, when he heard the sound of heavy blows
with a whip, and loud curses, and a moment later a shrill scream in a
woman's voice rose in the air.

Vincent checked his horse mechanically with an exclamation of anger. He
knew but too well what was going on beyond the screen of shrubs that
grew on the other side of the fence bordering the road. For a moment he
hesitated, and then muttering, "What's the use!" was about to touch the
horse with the whip and gallop on, when the shriek again rose louder and
more agonizing than before. With a cry of rage Vincent leaped from his
horse, threw the reins over the top of the fence, climbed over it in a
moment, and burst his way through the shrubbery.

Close by, a negro was being held by four others, two having hold of each
wrist and holding his arms extended to full length, while a white lad,
some two years Vincent's senior, was showering blows with a heavy whip
upon him. The slave's back was already covered with weals, and the blood
was flowing from several places. A few yards distant a black girl, with
a baby in her arms, was kneeling on the ground screaming for mercy for
the slave. Just as Vincent burst through the bushes, the young fellow,
irritated at her cries, turned round and delivered a tremendous blow
with the whip on her bare shoulders.

This time no cry came from her lips, but the slave, who had stood
immovable while the punishment was being inflicted upon himself, made a
desperate effort to break from the men who held him. He was
unsuccessful, but before the whip could again fall on the woman's
shoulders, Vincent sprang forward, and seizing it, wrested it from the
hands of the striker. With an oath of fury and surprise at this sudden
interruption, the young fellow turned upon Vincent.

"You are a coward and a blackguard, Andrew Jackson!" Vincent exclaimed,
white with anger. "You are a disgrace to Virginia, you ruffian!"

Without a word the young planter, mad with rage at this interference,
rushed at Vincent; but the latter had learned the use of his fists at
his English school, and riding exercises had strengthened his muscles,
and as his opponent rushed at him, he met him with a blow from the
shoulder which sent him staggering back with the blood streaming from
his lips. He again rushed forward, and heavy blows were exchanged; then
they closed and grappled. For a minute they swayed to and fro; but
although much taller, the young planter was no stronger than Vincent,
and at last they came to the ground with a crash, Vincent uppermost,
Jackson's head as he fell coming with such force against a low stump
that he lay insensible.

The contest had been so sudden and furious that none had attempted to
interfere. Indeed the negroes were so astonished that they had not moved
from the moment when Vincent made his appearance upon the scene. The lad
rose to his feet.

"You had better carry him up to the house and throw water on him," he
said to the negroes, and then turned away. As he did so, the slave who
had been flogged broke from the others, who had, indeed, loosened their
hold, and ran up to Vincent, threw himself on his knees, and taking the
lad's hand pressed it to his lips.

"I am afraid I haven't done you much good," Vincent said. "You will be
none the better off for my interference; but I couldn't help it." So
saying he made his way through the shrubbery, cleared the fence,
mounted, and rode homeward.

"I have been a fool," he said to himself as he rode along. "It will be
all the worse for that poor beggar afterward; still I could not help it.
I wonder will there be any row about it. I don't much expect there will,
the Jacksons don't stand well now, and this would not do them any good
with the people round; besides I don't think Jackson would like to go
into court to complain of being thrashed by a fellow a head shorter than
himself. It's blackguards like him who give the Abolitionists a right to
hold up the slave-owners as being tyrants and brutes."

The Jacksons were newcomers in Virginia. Six years before, the estate,
of which the Cedars, as their place was called, formed a part, was put up
for sale. It was a very large one, and having been divided into several
portions to suit buyers, the Cedars had been purchased by Jackson, who,
having been very successful as a storekeeper at Charleston, had decided
upon giving up the business and leaving South Carolina, and settling
down as a landowner in some other State. His antecedents, however, were
soon known at Richmond, and the old Virginian families turned a cold
shoulder to the newcomer.

Had he been a man of pleasant manners, he would gradually have made his
way; but he was evidently not a gentleman. The habits of trade stuck to
him, and in a very short time there were rumors that the slaves, whom he
had bought with the property, found him a harsh and cruel master. This
in itself would have been sufficient to bring him into disrepute in
Virginia, where as a rule the slaves were treated with great kindness,
and, indeed, considered their position to be infinitely superior to that
of the poorer class of whites. Andrew Jackson had been for a few months
at school with Vincent; he was unpopular there, and from the rumors
current as to the treatment of the slaves on the estate was known by the
nickname of the "slave-driver."

Had Vincent been the son of a white trader, or a small cultivator, he
knew well enough that his position would be a very serious one, and that
he would have had to ride to the border of the State with all speed. He
would have been denounced at once as an Abolitionist, and would have
been accused of stirring up the slaves to rebellion against their
masters; a crime of the most serious kind in the Southern States. But
placed as he was, as the heir of a great estate worked by slaves, such a
cry could hardly be raised against him. He might doubtless be fined and
admonished for interfering between a master and his slave; but the
sympathy of the better classes in Virginia would be entirely with him.
Vincent, therefore, was but little concerned for himself; but he doubted
greatly whether his interference had not done much more harm than good
to the slave and his wife, for upon them Andrew Jackson would vent his
fury. He rode direct to the stables instead of alighting as usual at the
door. Dan, who had been sitting in the veranda waiting for him, ran down
to the stables as he saw him coming.

"Give the horse to one of the others, Dan, I want to speak to you. Dan,"
he went on when he had walked with him a short distance from the
stables, "I suppose you know some of the hands on Jackson's plantation."

Dan grinned, for although there was not supposed to be any communication
between the slaves on the different estates, it was notorious that at
night they were in the habit of slipping out of their huts and visiting
each other.

"I know some ob dem, Marse Vincent. What you want ob dem? Bery bad
master, Marse Jackson. Wust master hereabout."

Vincent related what had happened, to Dan's intense delight.

"Now, Dan," he went on, "I am afraid that after my interference they
will treat that poor fellow and his wife worse than before. I want you
to find out for me what is going on at Jackson's. I do not know that I
can do anything, however badly they treat them; but I have been thinking
that if they ill-treat them very grossly, I will get together a party of
fifteen or twenty of my friends, and we will go in a body to Jackson's
and warn him that, if he behaves with cruelty to his slaves, we will
make it so hot for him that he will have to leave the State. I don't say
that we could do anything; but as we should represent most of the large
estates round here, I don't think old Jackson and his son would like
being sent to coventry. The feeling is very strong at present against
ill-treatment of the slaves. If these troubles lead to war, almost all
of us will go into the army, and we do not like the thought of the
possibility of troubles among the hands when the whites are all away."

"I will find out all about it for you to-night, sah. I don't suspect dat
dey will do nuffin to-day. Andrew Jackson too sick after dat knock
against de tump. He keep quiet a day or two."

"Well, Dan, you go over to-night and find out all about it. I expect I
had better have left things alone, but now I have interfered I shall go
on with it."

Mrs. Wingfield was much displeased when Vincent told her at dinner of
his incident at Jackson's plantation, and even his sisters were shocked
at the interference between a master and his slave.

"You will get yourself into serious trouble with these fanciful notions
of yours," Mrs. Wingfield said angrily. "You know as well as I do how
easy it is to get up a cry against anyone as an Abolitionist, and how
difficult to disprove the accusation; and just at present, when the
passions of every man in the South are inflamed to the utmost, such an
accusation will be most serious. In the present instance there does not
seem that there is a shadow of excuse for your conduct. You simply heard
cries of a slave being flogged. You deliberately leave the road and
enter these people's plantation, and interfere without, so far as I can
see, the least reason for doing so. You did not inquire what the man's
offense was; and he may, for aught you know, have half murdered his
master. You simply see a slave being flogged, and you assault his owner.
If the Jacksons lay complaints against you, it is quite probable that
you may have to leave the State. What on earth can have influenced you
to act in such a mad-brained way?"

"I did not interfere to prevent his flogging the slave, mother, but to
prevent his flogging the slave's wife, which was pure wanton brutality.
It is not a question of slavery one way or the other. Anyone has a right
to interfere to put a stop to brutality. If I saw a man brutally
treating a horse or a dog, I should certainly do so; and if it is right
to interfere to save a dumb animal from brutal ill-treatment, surely it
must be justifiable to save a woman in the same case. I am not an
Abolitionist. That is to say, I consider that slaves on a properly
managed estate, like ours for instance, are just as well off as are the
laborers on an estate in Europe; but I should certainly like to see laws
passed to protect them from ill-treatment. Why, in England there are
laws against cruelty to animals; and a man who brutally flogged a dog or
a horse would get a month's imprisonment with hard labor. I consider it
a disgrace to us that a man here may ill-treat a human being worse than
he might in England a dumb animal."

"You know, Vincent," his mother said more quietly, "that I object as
much as you do to the ill-treatment of the slaves, and that the slaves
here, as on all well-conducted plantations in Virginia, are well
treated; but this is not a time for bringing in laws or carrying out
reforms. It is bad enough to have scores of Northerners doing their best
to stir up mischief between masters and slaves, without a Southern
gentleman mixing himself up in the matter. We have got to stand together
as one people and to protect our State rights from interference."

"I am just as much in favor of State rights as anyone else, mother; and
if, as seems likely, the present quarrel is to be fought out, I hope I
shall do my best for Virginia as well as other fellows of my own age.
But just as I protest against any interference by the Northerners with
our laws, I say that we ought to amend our laws so as not to give them
the shadow of an excuse for interference. It is brutes like the Jacksons
who afford the materials for libels like 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' upon us as
a people; and I can't say that I am a bit sorry for having given that
young Jackson what he deserved."

"Well, I hope there will be no trouble come of it," Mrs. Wingfield said.
"I shouldn't think the Jacksons would like the exposure of their doings,
which would be caused by bringing the matter into court; but if they do,
you may be quite sure that a jury in Richmond at the present time would
find against you."

"I don't suppose that they will do anything, mother. But if they must,
they must; and I don't suppose anything serious will come of it,
anyway."

The next morning Vincent went down early to the stables. As he
approached them Dan came out to meet him.

"Well, Dan, what's your news?"

"Bery great bobbery ober at Jackson's last night, Massa Vincent. Fust of
all I crept round to de huts ob de field hands. Dey all knew nuffin
about it; but one of dem he goes off and gets to hab a talk with a gal
employed in de house who was in de habit of slipping out to see him. She
say when de young un war carried in de old man go on furious; he bring
suit against you, he hab you punished berry much--no saying what he not
going to do. After a time de young un come round, he listen to what the
old man say for some time; den he answer: 'No use going on like dat. Set
all de county families against us if we have suit. As to dat infernal
young villain, me pay him out some other way.' Den de old man say he cut
de flesh off de bones ob dat nigger; but de young one say: 'Mustn't do
dat. You sure to hear about it, and make great bobbery. Find some oder
way to punish him.' Den dey talk together for some time, but girl not
hear any more."

"Well, then, there will be no suit anyhow," Vincent said. "As to paying
me out some other way, I will look after myself, Dan. I believe that
fellow Jackson is capable of anything, and I will be on the lookout for
him."

"Be sure you do, Massa Vincent. You ride about a great deal, dat fellow
bery like take a shot at you from behind tree. Don't you go near dat
plantation, or sure enuff trouble come."

"I will look out, Dan. There is one thing, I always ride fast; and it
wants a very good shot to hit one at a gallop. I don't think they will
try that; for if he missed, as he would be almost sure to do, it would
be a good deal worse for him than this affair would have been had he
brought it into court. You keep your ears open, Dan, and find out how
they are thinking of punishing that poor follow for my interference on
his behalf."

After breakfast a negro arrived with a note for Mrs. Wingfield from Mr.
Jackson, complaining of the unwarrantable and illegal interference by
her son on behalf of a slave who was being very properly punished for
gross misconduct; and of the personal assault upon his son. The writer
said that he was most reluctant to take legal proceedings against a
member of so highly respected a family, but that it was impossible that
he could submit to such an outrage as this.

Although Mrs. Wingfield had expressed her disapproval of Vincent's
conduct on the evening before, there was no trace of that feeling in her
reply to this letter. She wrote in the third person, coldly
acknowledging the receipt of Mr. Jackson's letter, and saying that she
had heard from her son of his interference to put a stop to one of those
brutal scenes which brought discredit upon the Southern States, and that
she considered he had most rightly punished Mr. Jackson, Jr., for his
inhuman and revolting conduct; that she was perfectly aware the
interference had been technically illegal, but that her son was fully
prepared to defend his conduct if called upon to do so in the courts,
and to pay any fine that might be inflicted for his suffering himself to
be carried away by his righteous indignation. She ended by saying that
as Mr. Jackson was a stranger in Virginia, he was perhaps not aware that
the public sentiment of that State was altogether opposed to such acts
of brutality as that of which his son had been guilty.

"What have you been doing to that fellow Andrew Jackson?" one of
Vincent's friends, a young fellow two years older than himself, said to
him a few days later. "There were a lot of us talking over things
yesterday, in Richmond, and he came up and joined in. Something was said
about Abolitionists, and he said that he should like to see every
Abolitionist in the State strung up to a tree. He is always pretty
violent, as you know; but on the present occasion he went further than
usual, and then went on to say that the worst and most dangerous
Abolitionists were not Northern men, but Southerners, who were traitors
to their State. He said: 'For example, there is that young Wingfield. He
has been to England, and has come back with his head filled with
Abolitionist notions;' and that such opinions at the present time were a
danger to the State.

"Two or three of us took the matter up, as you might guess, and told him
he had better mind what he was saying or it would be the worse for him.
Harry Furniss went so far as to tell him that he was a liar, and that if
he didn't like that he could have satisfaction in the usual way. Master
Jackson didn't like it, but muttered something and slunk off. What's the
matter between you?"

"I should not have said anything about it," Vincent replied, "if Jackson
had chosen to hold his tongue; but as he chooses to go about attacking
me, there is no reason why I should keep the matter secret." And he then
related what had taken place.

The young Virginian gave a low whistle.

"I don't say I blame you, Wingfield; but I tell you, you might have got
yourself into an awful mess if the Jacksons had chosen to take it up.
You know how hot the feeling is at present, and it is a serious matter
at any time to interfere between a master and his slaves in the Southern
States. Of course among us our feelings would be all against Jackson;
but among the poorer class of whites, who have been tremendously excited
by the speeches, both in the North and here, the cry of Abolitionist at
the present moment is like a red rag to a bull. However, I understand
now the fellow's enmity to you.

"None of us ever liked him when he was at school with us. He is an
evil-tempered brute, and I am afraid you may have some trouble with him.
If he goes about talking as he did to us, he would soon get up a feeling
against you. Of course it would be nonsense to openly accuse a member of
an old Virginian family of being an Abolitionist; but it would be easy
enough to set a pack of the rough classes of the town against you, and
you might get badly mauled if they caught you alone. The fellow is
evidently a coward, or he would have taken up what Furniss said; but a
coward who is revengeful is a good deal more dangerous than an open foe.
However, I will talk it over with some of the others, and we will see if
we can't stop Andrew Jackson's mouth."

The result of this was that the next day half a dozen of Vincent's
friends wrote a joint letter to Andrew Jackson, saying that they
regarded his statements respecting Vincent as false and calumnious, and
that if he repeated them they would jointly and severally hold him
responsible; and that if, as a result of such accusations, any harm
happened to Vincent, they should know where to look for the originator
of the mischief, and punish him accordingly.

"You should be more careful, Andrew," his father said, as, white with
fury, he showed him his letter. "It was you who were preaching prudence
the other day and warning me against taking steps that would set all the
county families against us; and now, you see, you have been letting your
tongue run, and have drawn this upon yourself. Keep quiet for the
present, my son; all sorts of things may occur before long, and you will
get your chance. Let this matter sleep for the present."

A day or two later when Vincent went down to the stables he saw that Dan
had something to tell him and soon found out that he wished to speak to
him alone.

"What is your news, Dan?"

"I heard last night, Marse Vincent, dat old man Jackson is going to sell
Dinah; dat de wife ob de man dey flogged."

"They are going to sell her!" Vincent repeated indignantly. "What are
they going to do that for?"

"To punish Tony, sah. Dar am no law against dar selling her. I hear dat
dey are going to sell two oder boys, so dat it cannot be said dat dey do
it on purpose to spite Tony. I reckon, sah, dey calculate dat when dey
sell his wife Tony get mad and run away, and den when dey catch him
again dey flog him pretty near to death. Folk always do dat with runaway
slaves; no one can say nuffin agin dem for dat."

"It's an infamous shame that it should be lawful to separate man and
wife," Vincent said. "However, we will see what we can do. You manage to
pass the word to Tony to keep up his spirits, and not let them drive him
to do anything rash. Tell him I will see that his wife does not get
into bad hands, I suppose they will sell the baby too?"

"Yes. Marse Vincent. Natural the baby will go wid de modder."

Vincent watched the list of advertisements of slaves to be sold, and a
day or two later saw a notice to the effect that Dinah Moore, age
twenty-two, with a male baby at her breast, would be sold on the
following Saturday. He mounted his horse and rode into Richmond. He had
not liked to speak to his mother on the subject, for she had not told
him of the letter she had written to Jackson; and he thought that she
might disapprove of any interference in the matter, consequently he went
down to Mr. Renfrew, the family solicitor.

"Mr. Renfrew," he said, "I want some money; can you lend it me?"

"You want money," the solicitor said in surprise. "What on earth do you
want money for? and if you want it why don't you ask your mother for it?
How much do you want?"

"I don't know exactly. About eight hundred dollars, I should think;
though it may be a thousand. I want to buy a slave."

"You want to buy a slave!" repeated Mr. Renfrew. "What on earth do you
want to buy a slave for? You have more than you want now at the
Orangery."

"It's a slave that man Jackson is going to sell next Saturday, on
purpose to spite the poor creature's husband and drive him to
desperation," and Vincent then repeated the whole story of the
circumstances that had led up to the sale.

"It is very abominable on the part of these Jacksons," Mr. Renfrew said,
"but your interference was most imprudent, my young friend; and as you
see, it has done harm rather than good. If you are so quixotic as to
become the champion of every ill-treated slave in the State, your work
is pretty well cut out for you."

"I know that, sir," Vincent replied, smiling, "and I can assure you I
did not intend to enter upon any such crusade; but, you see, I have
wrongly or rightly mixed myself up in this, and I want to repair the
mischief which, as you say, I have caused. The only way I can see is to
buy this negress and her baby."

"But I do not see that you will carry out your object if you do,
Vincent. She will be separated just as much from her husband if you buy
her as if anyone else does. He is at one plantation and she is at
another, and were they ten miles apart or a hundred, they are equally
separated."

"I quite see that, Mr. Renfrew; but, at least she will be kindly
treated, and his mind will be at rest on that score. Perhaps some day or
other the Jacksons may put him up for sale, and then I can buy him, and
they will be reunited. At any rate, the first step is to buy her. Can
you let me have the money? My mother makes me a very good allowance."

"And I suppose you spend it," the lawyer interrupted.

"Well, yes, I generally spend it; but then, you see, when I come of age
I come in for the outlying estates."

"And if you die before, or get shot, or any other accident befalls you,"
Mr. Renfrew said, "they go to your sisters. However, one must risk
something for a client, so I will lend you the money. I had better put
somebody up to bid for you, for after what has happened the Jacksons
would probably not let her go if they knew that you were going to be the
purchaser."

"Thank you very much," Vincent said warmly; "it will be a great weight
off my mind," and with a light heart he rode back to the Orangery.

Vincent said nothing during the next two days to any of his friends as
to the course the Jacksons were taking in selling Tony's wife; for he
thought that if the news got about, some one of his friends who had
heard the circumstances might go down to the auction and make such a
demonstration that Jackson would be obliged to withdraw Dinah from the
sale, in which case he could no doubt dispose of her privately. On the
Saturday he mounted his horse and rode into Richmond, telling Dan to
meet him there. At the hour the sale was announced he went to the yard
where it was to take place.

This was a somewhat quiet and secluded place; for although the sale of
slaves was permitted by law in Virginia, at any rate these auctions were
conducted quietly and with as little publicity as possible. For although
the better classes still regarded slavery as a necessary institution,
they were conscious that these sales, involving as they did the
separation of families, were indefensible, and the more thoughtful would
gladly have seen them abolished, and a law passed forbidding the sale of
negroes save as part and parcel of the estate upon which they worked, an
exception only being made in the case of gross misconduct. Many of the
slave-owners, indeed, forbade all flogging upon their estates, and
punished refractory slaves, in the first place, by the cutting off of
the privileges they enjoyed in the way of holidays, and if this did not
answer, threatened to sell them--a threat which was, in the vast
majority of cases, quite sufficient to insure good behavior; for the
slaves were well aware of the difference between life in the
well-managed establishments in Virginia and that in some of the other
Southern States. Handing his horse to Dan, Vincent joined a knot of four
or five of his acquaintances who had strolled in from mere curiosity.

There were some thirty or forty men in the yard, a few of whom had come
in for the purpose of buying; but the great majority had only attended
for the sake of passing an idle hour. Slaves had fallen in value; for
although all in the South professed their confidence that the law would
never attempt by force of arms to prevent their secession, it was felt
that slave property would in future be more precarious, for the North
would not improbably repeal the laws for the arrest of fugitive slaves,
and consequently all runaways who succeeded in crossing the border would
be lost to their masters.

Upon the other side of the yard Vincent saw Andrew Jackson talking to
two or three men who were strangers to him, and who, he guessed, were
buyers from some of the more southern States. There were in all twelve
lots to be disposed of. Of these two or three were hands who were no
longer fit for field work, and who were bought at very low prices by men
who owned but a few acres of land, and who could utilize them for odd
jobs requiring but little strength. Then there was a stir of attention.
Dinah Moore took her stand upon the platform, with her baby in her arms.
The message which Dan had conveyed from Vincent to her husband had given
her some hope, and though she looked scared and frightened as she
clasped her babe to her breast, she was not filled with such utter
despair as would otherwise have been the case.

The auctioneer stated the advantages of the lot in the same business
like tone as if he had been selling a horse.

"Lot 6. Negro wench, Dinah; age twenty-two; with male child. Strong and
well made, as you see, gentlemen; fit for field work, or could be made a
useful hand about the house; said to be handy and good-tempered. Now
gentlemen, what shall we say for this desirable lot?"

One of the men standing by Andrew Jackson bid a hundred dollars. The bid
was raised to a hundred and fifty by a rough-looking fellow standing in
front of the platform. For some time the bidding was confined to these
two, and it rose until it reached seven hundred and fifty, at which
point the man near the platform retired, and there was a pause.

Vincent felt uncomfortable. He had already been round to Mr. Renfrew,
who had told him that he had deputed an agent to buy; and until the man
near the platform stopped he had supposed that he was the solicitor's
agent.

"Now, gentlemen," the auctioneer said, "surely you are not going to let
this desirable piece of property go for seven fifty? She would be cheap
at double the price. I have sold worse articles for three thousand."

"I will go another twenty-five dollars," a tall man in homespun and a
planter's broad straw hat said quietly.

The contest now recommenced, and by bids of twenty-five dollars at a
time the amount was raised to twelve hundred and fifty dollars.

"That's enough for me," the man standing by Andrew Jackson said; "he may
have her at twelve fifty, and dear enough, too, as times go."

"Will anyone else make an offer?" the auctioneer asked. There was no
response, and the hammer fell.

"What name?"

"Nathaniel Forster," the tall man said; and advancing to the table he
counted out a roll of notes and gave them to the auctioneer, who handed
to him a formal note certifying to his having legally purchased Dinah
Moore and her infant, late the property of Andrew Jackson, Esquire, of
the Cedars, State of Virginia.

The purchaser had evidently made up his mind beforehand to secure the
lot, for he handed a parcel he had been holding to Dinah, and said
briefly, "Slip those things on, my lass."

The poor girl, who had before been simply attired in the scantiest of
petticoats, retired to a corner of the yard, and speedily came forward
again dressed in a neat cotton gown. There were several joking remarks
made by the bystanders, but Dinah's new master took no notice of them,
but with a motion of his hand to her to follow him, walked out of the
yard.

A minute later Vincent followed, and although he had no doubt that the
man was the agent Mr. Renfrew had employed, he did not feel thoroughly
satisfied until he saw them enter the lawyer's office. He quickly
followed. They had just entered the private room of Mr. Renfrew.

"That's right, Wingfield," the lawyer said. "You see we have settled the
business satisfactorily, and I think you have got a fairly cheap
bargain. Just wait a minute and we will complete the transaction."

Dinah gave a start as Vincent entered, but with the habitual
self-repression of a slave, she stood quietly in the corner to which she
had withdrawn at the other end of the room.

The lawyer was busy drawing up a document, and, touching a bell, ordered
a clerk to go across to Mr. Rawlins, justice of the peace, and ask him
to step across the road.

In a minute Mr. Rawlins entered.

"I want you to witness a deed of sale of a slave," Mr. Renfrew said.
"Here are the particulars: 'Nathaniel Forster sells to Vincent Wingfield
his slave, Dinah Moore and her male infant, for the sum of fourteen
hundred dollars.' These are the parties. Forster, sign this receipt."

The man did so. The justice put his signature as witness to the
transaction, dropped into his pocket the fee of five dollars that the
lawyer handed to him, and without a word strolled out again.

"There, Dinah," Mr. Renfrew said, "Mr. Wingfield is now your master."

The girl ran forward, fell on her knees before Vincent, seized his hand
and kissed it, sobbing out her thanks as she did so.

"There, that will do, Dinah," the lawyer said, seeing that Vincent was
confused by her greeting. "I think you are a lucky girl, and have made a
good exchange for the Orangery instead of the Cedars. I don't suppose
you will find Mr. Wingfield a very hard master. What he is going to do
with you I am sure I don't know."

Vincent now went to the door and called in Dan and told him to take
Dinah to the Orangery, then mounting his horse he rode off home to
prepare his mother for the reception of his new purchase.




CHAPTER III.

AIDING A RUNAWAY.


"Well, you are an extraordinary boy, Vincent," Mrs. Wingfield said as
her son told her the story, while his sister burst into fits of laughter
at the idea of Vincent owning a female slave with a baby. "Why did you
not tell me that you wanted the money, instead of going to Mr. Renfrew?
I shall tell him I am very angry with him for letting you have it for
such a purpose."

"I was not sure whether you would let me have it, mother; and if you had
refused, and I had got it afterward from Mr. Renfrew, I should not have
liked to bring her home here."

"That would have been fun," Annie said. "Fancy Vincent's troubles with a
female slave on his hands and nowhere to put her. What would you have
done, Vincent?"

"I suppose I could have got a home for her somewhere," Vincent said
quietly. "I don't think there would have been any difficulty about that.
Still I am glad I didn't have to do so, and one slave more or less can
make no difference here."

"Not at all," Mrs. Wingfield said; "I dare say Chloe will find something
for her to do in the way of washing, and such other light work that she
is fit for about the house. It is not that, but it is years since a
slave was brought into the Orangery; never since I can remember. We
raise more than we want ourselves; and when I see all those children
about, I wonder sometimes what on earth we are to find for them all to
do. Still, it was a scandalous thing of that man Jackson selling the
girl to punish her husband; and, as you say, it was your foolish
interference in the matter that brought it about, so I do not know that
I can blame you for doing what you can to set the matter straight.
Still, except that the knowledge that she is here, and will be well
treated, will be a comfort to the man, I do not see that he will be much
better off, unless, indeed, the Jacksons should try to sell him also, in
which case I suppose you will want to buy him."

"I am afraid they won't do that, mother. Still, somehow or other, in
time they may come together again."

"I don't see how they can, Vincent. However, we need not think of that
now. At any rate I hope there will be no further opportunity for your
mixing yourself up in this business. You have made two bitter enemies
now, and although I do not see that such people as these can do you any
harm, it is always well not to make enemies, especially in times like
these when no one can foresee exactly what may occur."

And so Dinah Moore became an inmate of the Orangery; and though the
girls had laughed at their brother, they were very kind to her when she
arrived with Dan, and made much of her and of her baby. The same night
Dan went over to the Cedars, and managed to have an interview with Tony,
and to tell him that his wife had been bought by Vincent. The joy of the
negro was extreme. The previous message had raised his hopes that
Vincent would succeed in getting her bought by someone who would be kind
to her, but he knew well that she might nevertheless fall to the lot of
some higher bidder and be taken hundreds of miles away, and that he
might never again get news of her whereabouts. He had then suffered
terrible anxiety all day, and the relief of learning that Vincent
himself had bought her, and that she was now installed as a house
servant at the Orangery, but a few miles away, was quite overpowering,
and for some minutes he could only gasp out his joy and thankfulness. He
could hope now that when better times came he might be able to steal
away some night and meet her, and that some day or other, though how he
could not see, they might be reunited. The Jacksons remained in
ignorance that their former slave was located so near to them.

It was for this reason that Mr. Renfrew had instructed his agent to buy
her in his own name instead of that of Vincent; and the Jacksons, having
no idea of the transfer that had subsequently taken place, took no
further interest in the matter, believing that they had achieved their
object of torturing Tony, and avenging upon him the humiliation that
Andrew had suffered at Vincent's hands. Had they questioned their
slaves, and had these answered them truly, they would have discovered
the facts. For although Tony himself said no word to anyone of what he
had learned from Dan, the fact that Dinah was at the Orangery was
speedily known among the slaves; for the doings at one plantation were
soon conveyed to the negroes on the others by the occasional visits
which they paid at night to each other's quarters, or to some common
rendezvous far removed from interruption.

Occasionally Tony and Dinah met. Dan would come up late in the evening
to the house, and a nod to Dinah would be sufficient to send her flying
down the garden to a clump of shrubs, where he would be waiting for her.
At these stolen meetings they were perfectly happy; for Tony said no
word to her of the misery of his life--how he was always put to the
hardest work and beaten on the smallest pretext, how in fact his life
was made so unendurable that the idea of running away and taking to the
swamps was constantly present to him.

As to making his way north, it did not enter his mind as possible.
Slaves did, indeed, at times succeed in traveling through the Northern
States and making their way to Canada, but this was only possible by
means of the organization known as the underground railway, an
association consisting of a number of good people who devoted themselves
to the purpose, giving shelter to fugitive slaves during the day, and
then passing them on to the next refuge during the night. For in the
Northern States as well as the Southern any negro unprovided with papers
showing that he was a free man was liable to be arrested and sent back
to the South a prisoner, large rewards being given to those who arrested
them.

As he was returning from one of these interviews with his wife, Tony was
detected by the overseer, who was strolling about around the slaves'
quarters, and was next morning flogged until he became insensible. So
terrible was the punishment that for some days he was unable to walk. As
soon as he could get about he was again set to work, but the following
morning he was found to be missing. Andrew Jackson at once rode into
Richmond, and in half an hour placards and handbills were printed
offering a reward for his capture. These were not only circulated in the
neighborhood, but were sent off to all the towns and villages through
which Tony might be expected to pass in the endeavor to make his way
north. Vincent soon learned from Dan what had taken place.

"You have no idea, I suppose, Dan, as to which way he is likely to go?"

Dan shook his head.

"Me suppose, massa, dat most likely he gone and hidden in de great woods
by the James River. Bery difficult to find him dere."

"Difficult to find him, no doubt," Vincent agreed. "But he could not
stop there long--he would find nothing to eat in the woods; and though
he might perhaps support himself for a time on corn or roots from the
clearings scattered about through the James Peninsula, he must sooner or
later be caught."

"Dar are runaways in de woods now, Marse Vincent," Dan said; "some ob
dem hab been dar for months."

"But how do they live, Dan?"

"Well, sar, you see dey hab friends on de plantations; and sometimes at
night one of de slaves will steal away wid a basket ob yams and corn
cakes and oder things and put dem down in a certain place in de forest,
and next morning, sure enough, dey will be gone. Dangerous work, dat,
massa; because if dey caught with food, it know for sure dat dey carry
it to runaway, and den you know dey pretty well flog the life out of
dem."

"Yes, I know, Dan; it is a very serious matter hiding a runaway slave,
and even a white man would be very heavily punished, and perhaps
lynched, if caught in the act. Well, make what inquiries you can among
the slaves, and find out if you can whether any of those Jacksons have
an idea which way Tony has gone. But do not go yourself on to Jackson's
place; if you were caught there now it would be an awkward matter for
both of us."

"I will find out, Marse Vincent; but I don't s'pose Tony said a word to
any of the others. He know well enough dat de Jacksons question
eberyone pretty sharp, and perhaps flog dem all round to find out if dey
know anything. He keep it to himself about going away, for suah."

The Jacksons kept up a vigorous hunt after their slave, and day after
day parties of men ranged through the woods, but without discovering any
traces of him. Bloodhounds were employed the first day, but before these
could be fetched from Richmond the scent had grown cold; for Tony had
gone off as soon as the slaves had been shut up for the night, and had
directly he left the hut wrapped leaves round his feet, therefore the
hounds when they arrived from Richmond were unable to take up the scent.

A week after Tony's escape Vincent returned late one evening from a
visit to some friends. Dan, as he took his horse, whispered to him:
"Stop a little on your way to house, Marse Vincent; me hab someting to
tell you."

"What is it, Dan?" Vincent asked as the lad, after putting up his horse
in the stable, came running up to him.

"Me have seen Tony, sah. He in de shrubs ober dar. He want to see Dinah,
but me no take message till me tell you about him. He half starved, sah;
me give him some yams."

"That's right, Dan."

"He pretty nigh desperate, sah; he say dey hunt him like wild beast."

"I will see him, Dan. If I can help him in any way I will do so.
Unfortunately I do not know any of the people who help to get slaves
away, so I can give him no advice as to the best way to proceed. Still I
might talk it over with him. When I have joined him, do you go up to the
house and tell Chloe from me to give you a pile of corn cakes--it's no
use giving him flour, for he would be afraid to light a fire to cook it.
Tell her to give you, too, any cold meat there may be in the house.
Don't tell Dinah her husband is here till we have talked the matter
over."

Dan led Vincent up to a clump of bushes.

"It am all right, Tony," he said; "here is Massa Vincent come to see
you."

The bushes parted and Tony came out into the full moonlight. He looked
haggard and worn; his clothes were torn into strips by the bushes.

"My poor fellow," Vincent said kindly, "I am sorry to see you in such a
state."

A great sob broke from the black.

"De Lord bless you, sah, for your goodness and for saving Dinah from de
hands of dose debils! Now she safe wid you and de child, Tony no care
bery much what come to him--de sooner he dead de better. He wish dat one
day when dey flog him dey had kill him altogether; den all de trouble at
an end. Dey hunt him ebery day with dogs and guns, and soon they catch
him. No can go on much longer like dis. To-day me nearly gib myself up.
Den me thought me like to see Dinah once more to say good-by, so make
great effort and ran a bit furder."

"I have been thinking whether it would be possible to plan some way for
your escape, Tony."

The negro shook his head.

"Dar never escape, sah, but to get to Canada; dat too far, anyway. Not
possible to walk all dat way and get food by the road. Suah to be
caught."

"No, I do not think it will be possible to escape that way, Tony. The
only possible plan would be to get you on board some ship going to
England."

"Ships not dare take negro on board," Tony said. "Me heard dat said many
times--dat against de law."

"Yes, I know it's against the law," Vincent said, "and it's against the
law my talking to you here, Tony; but you see it's done. The difficulty
is how to do it. All vessels are searched before they start, and an
officer goes down with them past Fortress Monroe to see that they take
no one on board. Still it is possible. Of course there is risk in the
matter; but there is risk in everything. I will think it over. Do not
lose heart. Dan will be back directly with enough food to last you for
some days. If I were you I would take refuge this time in White Oak
Swamp. It is much nearer, and I hear it has already been searched from
end to end, so they are not likely to try again; and if you hear them
you can, if you are pressed, cross the Chickahominy and make down
through the woods. Do you come again on Saturday evening--that will give
me four days to see what I can do. I may not succeed, you know; for the
penalty is so severe against taking negroes on board that I may not be
able to find anyone willing to risk it. But it is worth trying."

"De Lord bless you, sah!" Tony said. "I will do juss what you tell me;
but don't you run no risks for me, my life aint worth dat."

"I will take care, Tony. And now here comes Dan with the provisions."

"Can I see Dinah, sah?" Tony pleaded.

"I think you had better not," Vincent replied. "You see the Jacksons
might at any moment learn that she is here, and then she might be
questioned whether she had seen you since your escape; and it would be
much better for her to be able to deny having done so. But you shall see
her next time you come, whether I am able to make any arrangements for
your escape or not. I will let her know to-morrow morning that I have
seen you, and that you are safe at present."

The next morning Vincent rode over to City Point, where ships with a
large draught of water generally brought up, either transferring their
goods into smaller craft to be sent up by river to Richmond, or to be
carried on by rail through the town of Petersburg. Leaving his horse at
a house near the river, he crossed the James in a boat to City Point.
There were several vessels lying here, and for some hours he hung about
the wharf watching the process of discharging. By the end of that time
he had obtained a view of all the captains, and had watched them as they
gave their orders, and had at last come to the conclusion as to which
would be the most likely to suit his purpose. Having made up his mind,
he waited until the one he had fixed upon came ashore. He was a man of
some five and thirty years old, with a pleasant face and good-natured
smile. He first went into some offices on the wharf, and half an hour
later came out and walked toward the railway station. Vincent at once
followed him, and as he overtook him said:

"I want very much to speak to you, sir, if you could spare me a minute
or two."

"Certainly," the sailor said, with some surprise. "The train for
Petersburg does not go for another half hour. What can I do for you?"

"My name is Vincent Wingfield. My father was an English officer, and my
mother is the owner of some large estates near Richmond. I am most
anxious to get a person in whom I am interested on board ship, and I do
not know how to set about it."

"There's no difficulty about that," the captain said, smiling; "you have
only to go to an office and pay for his passage to where he wants to
go."

"I can't do that," Vincent replied; "for unfortunately it is against the
law for any captain to take him."

"You mean he is a negro?" the captain asked, stopping short in his walk
and looking sharply at Vincent.

"Yes, that is what I mean," Vincent said. "He is a negro who has been
brutally ill-treated and has run away from his master, and I would
willingly give a hundred pounds to get him safely away."

"This is a very serious business in which you are meddling, young sir,"
the sailor said. "Putting aside the consequences to yourself, you are
asking me to break the law and to run the risk of the confiscation of my
ship. Even if I were willing to do what you propose, it would be
impossible, for the ship will be searched from end to end before the
hatches are closed, and an official will be on board until we discharge
the pilot after getting well beyond the mouth of the river."

"Yes, I know that," Vincent replied; "but my plan was to take a boat
and go out beyond the sight of land, and then to put him on board after
you have got well away."

"That might be managed, certainly," the captain said. "It would be
contrary to my duty to do anything that would risk the property of my
employers; but if when I am out at sea a boat came alongside, and a
passenger came on board, it would be another matter. I suppose, young
gentleman, that you would not interfere in such a business, and run the
risk that you certainly would run if detected, unless you were certain
that this was a deserving case, and that the man has committed no sort
of crime; for I would not receive on board my ship a fugitive from
justice, whether he was black or white."

"It is indeed a deserving case," Vincent said earnestly. "The poor
fellow has the misfortune of belonging to one of the worst masters in
the State. He has been cruelly flogged on many occasions, and was
finally driven to run away by their selling his wife and child."

"The brutes!" the sailor said. "How you people can allow such a thing to
be done is a mystery to me. Well, lad, under those circumstances I will
agree to do what you ask me, and if your boat comes alongside when I am
so far away from land that it cannot be seen, I will take the man to
England."

"Thank you very much indeed," Vincent said; "you will be doing a good
action. Upon what day do you sail?"

"I shall drop down on Monday into Hampton Roads, and shall get up sail
at daylight next morning. I shall pass Fortress Monroe at about seven in
the morning, and shall sail straight out."

"And how shall I know your ship?" Vincent asked. "There may be others
starting just about the same time."

The sailor thought for a moment. "When I am four or five miles out I
will hoist my owner's flag at the fore-masthead. It is a red flag with a
white ball, so you will be able to make it out a considerable distance
away. You must not be less than ten or twelve miles out, for the pilot
often does not leave the ship till she is some miles past Fortress
Monroe, and the official will not leave the ship till he does. I will
keep a sharp lookout for you, but I cannot lose any time in waiting. If
you do not come alongside I shall suppose that you have met with some
interruption to your plans."

"Thank you very much, sir. Unless something goes wrong I shall be
alongside on Tuesday."

"That's settled," the captain said, "and I must be off, or else I shall
lose my train. By the way, when you come alongside do not make any sign
that you have met me before. It is just as well that none of my crew
should know that it is a planned thing, for if we ever happen to put in
here again they might blab about it, and it is just as well not to give
them the chance. Good-by, my lad; I hope that all will go well. But, you
know, you are doing a very risky thing; for the assisting a runaway
slave to escape is about as serious an offense as you can commit in
these parts. You might shoot half a dozen men and get off scot free, but
if you were caught aiding a runaway to escape, there is no saying what
might come of it."

After taking leave of the captain, Vincent recrossed the river and rode
home. He had friends whose fathers' estates bordered some on the James
and others on the York River, and all of these had pleasure boats. It
was obviously better to go down the York River, and thence round to the
mouth of the James at Fortress Monroe, as the traffic on the York was
comparatively small, and it was improbable that he would be noticed
either going down or returning. He had at first thought of hiring a
fishing boat from some of the free negroes who made their living on the
river. But he finally decided against this; for the fact of the boat
being absent so long would attract its owner's attention, and in case
any suspicion arose that the fugitive had escaped by water, the hiring
of a boat by one who had already befriended the slave and its absence
for so long a time, would be almost certain to cause suspicion to be
directed toward him. He therefore decided upon borrowing a boat from a
friend, and next morning rode to the plantation of the father of Harry
Furniss, this being in a convenient position on the Pamunky, one of the
branches of the York River.

"Are you using that sailboat of yours at present, Harry? Because, if
not, I wish you would let me have the use of it for a week or so."

"With pleasure, Vincent; and my fishing lines and nets as well, if you
like. We very seldom use the boat. Do you mean to keep it here or move
it higher up the river, where it would be more handy for you, perhaps?"

"I think I would rather leave it here, Furniss. A mile or two extra to
ride makes no difference. I suppose it's in the water?"

"Yes; at the foot of the boathouse stairs. There is a padlock and chain.
I will give you the key, so you can go off whenever you like without
bothering to come up to the house. If you just call in at the stable as
you ride by, one of the boys will go down with you and take your horse,
and put him up till you come back again."

"That will do capitally," Vincent replied. "It is some time since I was
on the water, and I seem to have a fancy for a change at present. One is
sick of riding into Richmond and hearing nothing but politics talked of.
Don't be alarmed if you hear at any time that the boat has not come back
at night, for if tide and wind are unfavorable at any time, I might stop
at Cumberland for the night."

"I have often had to do that," Furniss said. "Besides, if you took it
away for a week I don't suppose anyone would notice it; for no one goes
down to the boathouse unless to get the boat ready for a trip."

The next day Vincent rode over to his friend's plantation, sending Dan
off an hour beforehand to bale out the boat and get the masts and sails
into her from the boathouse. The greater part of the next two days was
spent on the water, sometimes sailing, sometimes fishing. The evening
of the second of these days was that upon which Vincent had arranged to
meet Tony again, and an hour after dark he went down through the garden
to the stable; for that was the time the fugitive was to meet him, for
he could not leave his place of concealment until night fell. After
looking at the horses, and giving some instructions to the negroes in
charge, he returned to the shrubbery, and, sending Dan up to summon
Dinah, he went to the bushes where he had before met Tony. The negro
came out as he approached.

"How are you, Tony?"

"Much better dan I was, massa. I have not been disturbed since I saw
you, and, thanks to dat and to de good food and to massa's kind words,
I'm stronger and better now, and ready to do whatever massa think best."

"Well, Tony, I am glad to say that I think I have arranged a plan by
which you will be got safely out of the country. Of course, it may fail;
but there is every hope of success. I have arranged for a boat, and
shall take you down the river, and put you on board a ship bound for
England."

The black clapped his hands in delight at the news.

"When you get there you will take another ship out to Canada, and as
soon as I learn from you that you are there, and what is your address, I
will give Dinah her papers of freedom and send her on to you."

"Oh! massa, it is too much," Tony said, with the tears running down his
cheeks; "too much joy altogeder."

"Well, I hope it will all come right, Tony. Dinah will be here in a
minute or two. Do not keep her long, for I do not wish her absence from
the house to be observed just now. Now, listen to my instructions. Do
you know the plantation of Mr. Furniss, on the Pamunky, near Coal
Harbor?"

"No, sir; but me can find out."

"No, you can't; because you can't see anyone or ask questions. Very
well, then, you must be here again to-morrow night at the same hour. Dan
will meet you here, and act as your guide. He will presently bring you
provisions for to-morrow. Be sure you be careful, Tony, and get back to
your hiding place as soon as you can, and lie very quiet to-morrow until
it is time to start. It would be terrible if you were to be caught now,
just as we have arranged for you to get away."

On the following afternoon Vincent told his mother that he was going
over that evening to his friend Furniss, as an early start was to be
made next morning; they intended to go down the river as far as
Yorktown, if not further; that he certainly should not be back for two
days, and probably might be even longer.

"This new boating freak of yours, Vincent, seems to occupy all your
thoughts. I wonder how long it will last."

"I don't suppose it will last much longer, mother," Vincent said, with a
laugh. "Anyhow, it will make a jolly change for a week. One has got so
sick of hearing nothing talked about but secession, that a week without
hearing the word mentioned will do one lots of good, and I am sure I
felt that if one had much more of it, one would be almost driven to take
up the Northern side, just for the sake of a change."

"We should all disown you, Vin," Annie said, laughing; "we should have
nothing to say to you, and you would be cut by all your friends."

"Well, you see, a week's sailing and fishing will save me from all that,
Annie; and I shall be able to begin again with a fresh stock of
patience."

"I believe you are only half in earnest in the cause, Vincent," his
mother said gravely.

"I am not, indeed, mother. I quite agree with what you and everyone say
as to the rights of the State of Virginia, and if the North should
really try to force us and the other Southern States to remain with
them, I shall be just as ready to do everything I can as anyone else;
but I can't see the good of always talking about it, and I think it's
very wrong to ill-treat and abuse those who think the other way. In
England in the Civil War the people of the towns almost all thought one
way, and almost all those of the counties the other, and even now
opinions differ almost as widely as to which was right. I hate to hear
people always laying down the law as if there could not possibly be two
sides to the case, and as if everyone who differed from them must be a
rascal and a traitor. Almost all the fellows I know say that if it comes
to fighting they shall go into the State army, and I should be quite
willing, if they would really take fellows of my age for soldiers, to
enlist too; but that is no reason why one should not get sick of hearing
nothing but one subject talked of for weeks."

It was nearly dark when Vincent started for his walk of ten miles; for
he had decided not to take his horse with him, as he had no means of
sending it back, and its stay for three days in his friend's stables
would attract attention to the fact of his long absence.

After about three hours' walking he reached the boathouse, having seen
no one as he passed through the plantation. He took the oars and sails
from the boathouse and placed them in the boat, and then sat down in the
stern to await the coming of the negroes. In an hour they arrived; Tony
carrying a bundle of clothes that Dan had by Vincent's orders bought for
him in Richmond, while Dan carried a large basket of provisions. Vincent
gave an exclamation of thankfulness as he saw the two figures appear,
for the day having been Sunday, he knew that a good many men would be
likely to join the search parties in hopes of having a share in the
reward offered for Tony's capture, and he had felt very anxious all day.

"You sit in the bottom of the boat, Tony, and do you steer, Dan. You
make such a splashing with your oar that we should be heard a mile away.
Keep us close in shore in the shadow of the trees; the less we are
noticed the better at this time of night."

Taking the sculls, Vincent rowed quietly away. He had often been out on
boating excursions with his friends, and had learned to row fairly.
During the last two days he had diligently instructed Dan, and after
two long days' work the young negro had got over the first difficulties,
but he was still clumsy and awkward. Vincent did not exert himself. He
knew he had a long night's row before him, and he paddled quietly along
with the stream. The boat was a good-sized one, and when not under sail
was generally rowed by two strong negroes accustomed to the work.

Sometimes for half an hour at a time Vincent ceased rowing, and let the
boat drift along quietly. There was no hurry, for he had a day and two
nights to get down to the mouth of the river, a distance of some seventy
miles, and out to sea, far enough to intercept the vessel. At four
o'clock they arrived at Cumberland, where the Pamunky and Mattapony
Rivers unite and form the York River. Here they were in tidal waters;
and as the tide, though not strong, was flowing up, Vincent tied the
boat to the branch of a tree, and lay down in the bottom for an hour's
sleep, telling Dan to wake him when the tide turned, or if he heard any
noise. Day had broken when the boat drifted round, and Dan aroused him.

The boat was rowed off to the middle of the river, as there could be no
longer any attempt at concealment. Dan now took the bow oar, and they
rowed until a light breeze sprang up. Vincent then put up the mast, and,
having hoisted the sail, took his place at the helm, while Dan went
forward into the bow. They passed several fishing boats, and the smoke
was seen curling up from the huts in the clearings scattered here and
there along the shore. The sun had now risen, and its heat was pleasant
after the damp night air.

Although the breeze was light, the boat made fair way with the tide, and
when the ebb ceased, at about ten o'clock, the mouth of the river was
but a few miles away. The mast was lowered and the sails stowed. The
boat was then rowed into a little creek and tied up to the bushes. The
basket of provisions was opened, and a hearty meal enjoyed, Tony being
now permitted for the first time to sit up in the boat. After the meal
Vincent and Dan lay down for a long sleep, while Tony, who had slept
some hours during the night, kept watch.

At four in the afternoon the tide again slackened, and as soon as it had
fairly turned they pushed out from the creek and again set sail. In
three hours they were at the mouth of the river. A short distance out
they saw several fishing boats, and dropping anchor a short distance
away from these, they lowered their sail, and taking the fishing lines
from the locker of the boat, set to to fish. As soon as it was quite
dark the anchor was hauled up, and Vincent and Dan took the oars, the
wind having now completely dropped. For some time they rowed steadily,
keeping the land in sight on their right hand.

Tony was most anxious to help, but as he had never had an oar in his
hand in his life, Vincent thought that he would do more harm than good.
It was, he knew, some ten miles from the mouth of the York River to
Fortress Monroe, at the entrance to Hampton Roads, and after rowing for
three hours he thought that he could not be far from that point, and
therefore turned the boat's head toward the sea. They rowed until they
could no longer make out the land astern, and then laying on their oars
waited till the morning, Vincent sitting in the stern and often nodding
off to sleep, while the two negroes kept up a constant conversation in
the bow.

As soon as it was daylight the oars were again got out. They could
clearly make out the outline of the coast, and saw the break in the
shore that marked the entrance to Hampton Roads. There was a light
breeze now, but Vincent would not hoist the sail lest it might attract
the attention of someone on shore. He did not think the boat itself
could be seen, as they were some eight or nine miles from the land. They
rowed for a quarter of an hour, when Vincent saw the white sails of a
ship coming out from the entrance.

The breeze was so light that she would, he thought, be nearly three
hours before she reached the spot where they were now, and whether she
headed to the right or left of it he would have plenty of time to cut
her off. For another two hours he and Dan rowed steadily. The wind had
freshened a good deal, and the ship was now coming up fast to them. Two
others had come out after her, but were some miles astern. They had
already made out that the ship was flying a flag at her masthead, and
although they had not been able to distinguish its colors, Vincent felt
sure that it was the right ship; for he felt certain that the captain
would get up sail as soon as possible, so as to come up with them before
any other vessels came out. They had somewhat altered their course, to
put themselves in line with the vessel. When she was within a distance
of about a mile and a half Vincent was able to make out the flag, and
knew that it was the right one.

"There's the ship, Tony," he said; "it is all right, and in a few
minutes you will be on your way to England."

Tony had already changed his tattered garments for the suit of sailor's
clothes that Dan had bought for him. Vincent had given him full
instructions as to the course he was to pursue. The ship was bound for
Liverpool; on his arrival there he was at once to go round the docks and
take a passage in the steerage of the next steamer going to Canada.

"The fare will be about five pounds," he said. "When you get to Canada
you will land at Quebec, and you had better go on by rail to Montreal,
where you will, I think, find it easier to get work than at Quebec. As
soon as you get a place you are likely to stop in, get somebody to write
for you to me, giving me your address. Here are a hundred dollars, which
will be sufficient to pay your expenses to Montreal and leave you about
fifty dollars to keep you till you can get something to do."




CHAPTER IV.

SAFELY BACK.


When the ship came within a few hundred yards, Vincent stood up and
waved his cap, and a minute later the ship was brought up into the wind
and her sails thrown aback. The captain appeared at the side and shouted
to the boat, now but fifty yards away.

"What do you want, there?"

"I have a passenger for England," Vincent replied. "Will you take him?"

"Come alongside," the captain said. "Why didn't he come on board before
I started?"

The boat was rowed alongside, and Vincent climbed on board. The captain
greeted him as a stranger and led the way to his cabin.

"You have managed that well," he said, when they were alone, "and I am
heartily glad that you have succeeded. I made you out two hours ago. We
will stop here another two or three minutes, so that the men may think
you are bargaining for a passage for the negro, and then the sooner he
is on board and you are on your way back the better, for the wind is
rising, and I fancy it is going to blow a good deal harder before
night."

"And won't you let me pay for the man's passage, captain? It is only
fair, anyhow, that I should pay for what he will eat."

"Oh, nonsense!" the captain replied. "He will make himself useful, and
pay for his keep. I am only too glad to get the poor fellow off. Now, we
will have a glass of wine together and then say good-by."

Two minutes later they returned to the deck. Vincent went to the side.

"Jump on board, Tony. I have arranged for your passage." The negro
climbed up the side.

"Good-by, captain, and thank you heartily. Good-by, Tony."

The negro could not speak, but seized the hand Vincent held out to him
and pressed it to his lips. Vincent dropped lightly into his boat and
pushed off from the side of the vessel. As he did so he heard orders
shouted, the yards swung round, and the vessel almost at once began to
move through the water.

"Now, Dan, up with the mast and sail again; but let me put two reefs in
first, the wind is getting up."

In five minutes the sail was hoisted, and with Vincent at the helm and
Dan sitting up to windward, was dashing through the water. Although
Vincent understood the management of a sailing-boat on the calm waters
of the rivers, this was his first experience of sea-sailing; and
although the waves were still but small, he felt somewhat nervous as the
boat dashed through them, sending up at times a sheet of spray from her
bows. But he soon got over this sensation, and enjoyed the lively motion
and fresh wind. The higher points of the land were still visible; but
even had they not been so it would have mattered little, as he had taken
the precaution to bring with him a small pocket-compass. The wind was
from the southwest, and he was therefore able, with the sheet hauled in,
to make for a point where he judged the mouth of the York River lay.

"Golly, massa! how de boat do jump up and down."

"She is lively, Dan, and it would be just as well if we had some ballast
on board; however, she has a good beam and walks along splendidly. If
the wind keeps as it is, we shall be back at the mouth of the York in
three or four hours. You may as well open that basket again and hand me
that cold chicken and a piece of bread; cut the meat off the bones and
put it on the bread, for I have only one hand disengaged, and hand me
that bottle of cold tea. That's right. Now you had better take something
yourself. You must be hungry. We forgot all about the basket in our
interest in the ship."

Dan shook his head.

"A little while ago, massa, me seem bery hungry, now me doesn't feel
hungry at all."

"That's bad, Dan. I am afraid you are going to be seasick."

"Me no feel seasick, massa; only me don't feel hungry."

But in a few minutes Dan was forced to confess that he did feel ill, and
a few moments afterward was groaning in the agonies of seasickness.

"Never mind, Dan," Vincent said cheerfully. "You will be better after
this."

"Me not seasick, massa; de sea have nuffin to do with it. It's de boat
dat will jump up and down instead of going quiet."

"It's all the same thing, Dan; and I hope she won't jump about more
before we get into the river."

But in another half hour Vincent had to bring the boat's head up to the
wind, lower the lug, and tie down the last reef.

"There she goes easier now, Dan," he said, as the boat resumed her
course; but Dan, who was leaning helplessly over the side of the boat,
could see no difference.

Vincent, however, felt that under close sail the boat was doing better,
and rising more easily on the waves which were now higher and farther
apart than before. In another hour the whole of the shore-line was
visible; but the wind had risen so much that, even under her reduced
sail, the boat had as much as she could carry, and often heeled over
until her gunwale was nearly under water. Another hour and the shore was
but some four miles away, but Vincent felt he could no longer hold on.

In the hands of an experienced sailor, who would have humored the boat
and eased her up a little to meet the seas, the entrance to the York
River could no doubt have been reached with safety; but Vincent was
ignorant of the art of sailing a boat in the sea, and she was shipping
water heavily. Dan had for some time been baling, having only undertaken
the work in obedience to Vincent's angry orders, being too ill to care
much what became of them.

"Now, Dan, I am going to bring her head up to the wind, so get ready to
throw off that halyard and gather in the sail as it comes down. That's
right, man, now down with the mast."

Vincent had read that the best plan, when caught in an open boat in a
gale, was to tie the oars and mast, if she had one, together, and to
throw them overboard with the head rope tied to them, as by this means
the boat would ride head to sea. The oars, sculls, mast, and sail were
firmly tied together and launched overboard, the rope being first taken
off the anchor and tied round the middle of the clump of spars.

Vincent carefully payed out the rope till some fifteen yards were over,
then he fastened it to the ring of the head rope, and had the
satisfaction of finding that the boat rode easily to the floating
anchor, rising lightly over the waves, and not shipping a drop of water.
He then took the baler and got rid of the water that had found its way
on board, Dan, after getting down the sail, having collapsed utterly.

"Now, Dan, sit up; there, man, the motion is much easier now, and we are
taking no water on board. I will give you a glass of rum, that will put
new strength into you. It's lucky we put it in the basket in case of
emergency."

The negro, whose teeth were chattering from cold, fright, and
exhaustion, eagerly drank off the spirit. Vincent, who was wet to the
skin with the spray, took a little himself, and then settled himself as
comfortably as he could on the floorboards in the stern of the boat, and
quietly thought out the position. The wind was still rising, and a thick
haze obscured the land. He had no doubt that by night it would be
blowing a gale; but the boat rode so easily and lightly that he believed
she would get through it.

They might, it was true, be blown many miles off the shore, and not be
able to get back for some time, for the gale might last two or three
days. The basket of provisions was, however, a large one. Dan had
received orders to bring plenty and had obeyed them literally, and
Vincent saw that the supply of food, if carefully husbanded, would last
without difficulty for a week. The supply of liquid was less
satisfactory. There was a bottle of rum, and a two-gallon jar, nearly
half empty, of water. The cold tea was finished.

"That would be a poor supply for a week for two of us," Vincent
muttered, as he removed the contents of the basket and stored them
carefully in the locker; "however, if it's going to be a gale there is
sure to be some rain with it, so I think we shall manage very well."

By night it was blowing real heavily, but although the waves were high
the boat shipped but little water. Dan had fallen off to sleep, and
Vincent had been glad to wrap himself in the thick coat he had brought
with him as a protection against the heavy dews when sleeping on the
river. At times sharp rain squalls burst upon them, and Vincent had no
difficulty in filling up the water-bottle again with the baler.

The water was rather brackish, but not sufficiently so to be of
consequence. All night the boat was tossed heavily on the waves. Vincent
dozed off at times, rousing himself occasionally and baling out the
water, which came in the shape of spray and rain. The prospect in the
morning was not cheering. Gray clouds covered the sky and seemed to come
down almost on to the water, the angry sea was crested with white heads,
and it seemed to Vincent wonderful that the boat should live in such a
sea.

"Now, Dan, wake yourself up and get some breakfast," Vincent said,
stirring up the negro with his foot.

"Oh, Lor!" Dan groaned, raising himself into a sitting position from the
bottom of the boat, "dis am awful; we neber see the shore no more,
massa."

"Nonsense, man," Vincent said cheerily; "we are getting on capitally."

"It hab been an awful night, sah."

"An awful night! You lazy rascal, you slept like a pig all night, while
I have been baling the boat and looking out for you. It is your turn
now, I can tell you. Well, do you feel ready for your breakfast?"

Dan, after a moment's consideration, declared that he was. The feeling
of seasickness had passed off, and except that he was wet through and
miserable, he felt himself again, and could have eaten four times the
allowance of food that Vincent handed him. A pannikin of rum and water
did much to restore his life and vitality, and he was soon, with the
light-heartedness of his race, laughing and chatting cheerfully.

"How long dis go on, you tink, sah?"

"Not long, I hope, Dan. I was afraid last night it was going to be a big
gale, but I do not think it is blowing so hard now as it was in the
night."

"Where have we got to now, sah?"

"I don't exactly know, Dan; but I do not suppose that we are very many
miles away from shore. The mast and oars prevent our drifting fast, and
I don't think we are further off now than we were when we left that ship
yesterday. But even if we were four or five times as far as that, we
should not take very long in sailing back again when the wind drops; and
as we have got enough to eat for a week we need not be uncomfortable
about that."

"Not much food for a week, Massa Vincent."

"Not a great deal, Dan; but quite enough to keep us going. You can make
up for lost time when you get to shore again."

In a few hours it was certain that the wind was going down. By midday
the clouds began to break up, and an hour later the sun was shining
brightly. The wind was still blowing strongly, but the sea had a very
different appearance in the bright light of the sun to that which it had
borne under the canopy of dark gray clouds. Standing up in the boat two
hours later, Vincent could see no signs of land.

"How shall we find our way back, Marse Vincent?"

"We have got a compass; besides, we should manage very well even if we
had not. Look at the sun, Dan. There it is right ahead of us. So, you
know that's the west--that's the way we have to go."

"That very useful ob de sun, sah; but suppose we not live in de west de
sun not point de way den."

"Oh, yes, he would, just the same, Dan. We should know whether to go
away from him, or to keep him on the right hand or on the left."

This was beyond Dan. "And I s'pose the moon will show de way at night,
massa?"

"The moon would show the way if she were up, but she is not always up;
but I have got a compass here, and so whether we have the sun or the
moon, or neither of them, I can find my way back to land."

Dan had never seen a compass, and for an hour amused himself turning it
round and round and trying to get it to point in some other direction
than the north.

"Now, Dan," Vincent said at last, "give me that compass, and get out the
food. We will have a better meal than we did this morning, for now that
the wind is going down there's no chance of food running short. When we
have had dinner we will get up the sail again. The sea is not so rough
as it was, and it is certainly not so high as it was before we lowered
the sail yesterday."

"De waves bery big, massa."

"They are big, Dan; but they are not so angry. The heads are not
breaking over as they did last night, and the boat will go better over
these long waves than she did through the choppy sea at the beginning of
the gale."

Accordingly the bundle of spars was pulled up alongside and lifted. The
mast was set up and the sail hoisted. Dan in a few minutes forgot his
fears and lost even his sense of uneasiness as he found the boat mounted
wave after wave without shipping water. Several times, indeed, a shower
of spray flew high up in the air, but the gusts no longer buried her so
that the water came over the gunwale, and it was a long time before
there was any occasion to use the baler. As the sun set it could be seen
that there was a dark line between it and the water.

"There is the land, Dan; and I do not suppose it is more than twenty
miles away, for most of the coast lies low."

"But how we find de York River, massa? Will de compass tell you dat?"

"No, Dan. I don't know whether we have drifted north or south of it. At
ordinary times the current runs up the coast, but the wind this morning
was blowing from the north of west, and may have been doing so all
through the night for anything I know. Well, the great thing is to make
land. We are almost sure to come across some fishing boats, but, if not,
we must run ashore and find a house."

They continued sailing until Vincent's watch told him it was twelve
o'clock, by which time the coast was quite close. The wind now almost
dropped, and, lowering their sail, they rowed in until, on lowering the
anchor, they found that it touched the ground. Then they lay down and
slept till morning. Dan was the first to waken.

"Dar are some houses dere close down by the shore, sah, and some men
getting out a boat."

"That's all right, Dan," Vincent said, as he roused himself and looked
over. "We shall learn soon where we are."

In a quarter of an hour the fishing boat put off, and the lads at once
rowed to it.

"How far are we from the mouth of the York River?" Vincent asked the two
negroes on board.

"About twenty miles, sah. Where you come from?"

"We were off the mouth of the river, and were blown off in the gale."

"You tink yourself bery lucky you get back," one of them said. "Bery
foolish to go out like dat when not know how to get back."

"Well, we have managed to get back now, you see, and none the worse for
it. Now, Dan, up with the sail again."

There was a light wind offshore, and all the reefs being shaken out the
boat ran along fast.

"I should think we are going about five miles an hour, Dan. We ought to
be off the mouth of the river in four hours. We must look out sharp or
else we shall pass it, for many of these islets look just like the mouth
of the river. However, we are pretty sure to pass several fishing boats
on our way, and we shall be able to inquire from them."

There was no need, however, to do this. It was just four hours from the
time of starting when they saw some eight or ten fishing boats ahead of
them.

"I expect that that is the entrance to the river. When we get half a
mile further we shall see it open."

On approaching the fishing boats they recognized at once the appearance
of the shore, as they had noticed it when fishing there before, and were
soon in the entrance to the river.

"It will be high tide in about two hours," Vincent said, "according to
the time it was the other day. I am afraid when it turns we shall have
to get down our sails; there will be no beating against both wind and
tide. Then we must get out oars and row. There is very little tide close
in by the bank, and every little gain will be a help. We have been out
four days. It is Thursday now, and they will be beginning to get very
anxious at home, so we must do our best to get back."

Keeping close under the bank, they rowed steadily, making on an average
about two miles an hour. After five hours' rowing they tied up to the
bank, had a meal, and rested until tide turned; then they again hoisted
their sail and proceeded on their way. Tide carried them just up to the
junction of the two rivers, and landing at Cumberland they procured beds
and slept till morning.

Another long day's work took them up to the plantation of Mr. Furniss,
and fastening up the boat, and carrying the sails and oars on shore,
they started on their walk home.

"Why, Vincent, where have you been all this time?" Mrs. Wingfield said
as her son entered. "You said you might be away a couple of nights, and
we expected you back on Wednesday at the latest, and now it is Friday
evening."

"Well, mother, we have had great fun. We went sailing about right down
to the mouth of the York River. I did not calculate that it would take
me more than twice as long to get back as to get down; but as the wind
blew right down the river it was precious slow work, and we had to row
all the way. However, it has been a jolly trip, and I feel a lot better
for it."

"You don't look any better for it," Annie said. "The skin is all off
your face, and you are as red as fire. Your clothes look shrunk as well
as horribly dirty. You are quite an object, Vincent."

"We got caught in a heavy gale," Vincent said, "and got a thorough
ducking. As to my face, a day or two will set it all to rights again;
and so they will my hands, I hope, for I have got nicely blistered
tugging at those oars. And now, mother, I want some supper, for I am as
hungry as a hunter. I told Dan to go into the kitchen and get a good
square meal."

The next morning, just after breakfast, there was the sound of horses'
hoofs outside the house, and, looking out, Vincent saw Mr. Jackson, with
a man he knew to be the sheriff, and four or five others. A minute later
one of the servants came in, and said that the sheriff wished to speak
to Mrs. Wingfield.

"I will go out to him," Mrs. Wingfield replied. Vincent followed her to
the door.

"Mrs. Wingfield," the sheriff said, "I am the holder of a warrant to
search your slave-huts and grounds for a runaway negro named Anthony
Moore, the property of Mr. Jackson here."

"Do you suppose, sir," Mrs. Wingfield asked angrily, "that I am the sort
of person to give shelter to runaway slaves?"

"No, madam, certainly not," the sheriff replied; "no one would suppose
for a moment that Mrs. Wingfield of the Orangery would have anything to
do with a runaway, but Mr. Jackson here learned only yesterday that the
wife of this slave was here and everyone knows that where the wife is
the husband is not likely to be far off."

"I suppose, sir," Mrs. Wingfield said coldly, "that there was no
necessity for me to acquaint Mr. Jackson formally with the fact that I
had purchased through my agent the woman he sold to separate her from
her husband."

"By no means, madam, by no means; though, had we known it before, it
might have been some aid to us in our search. Have we your permission to
see this woman and to question her?"

"Certainly not," Mrs. Wingfield said; "but if you have any question to
ask I will ask her and give you her answer."

"We want to know whether she has seen her husband since the day of his
flight from the plantation."

"I shall certainly not ask her that question, Mr. Sheriff. I have no
doubt that, as the place from which he has escaped is only a few miles
from here, he did come to see his wife. It would have been very strange
if he did not. I hope that by this time the man is hundreds of miles
away. He was brutally treated by a brutal master, who, I believe,
deliberately set to work to make him run away, so that he could hunt him
down and punish him. I presume, sir, you do not wish to search this
house, and you do not suppose that the man is hidden here. As to the
slave-huts and the plantation, you can, of course, search them
thoroughly; but as it is now more than a fortnight since the man
escaped, it is not likely you will find him hiding within a few miles of
his master's plantation."

So saying, she went into the house and shut the door behind her.

Mr. Jackson ground his teeth with rage, but the sheriff rode off toward
the slave-huts without a word. The position of Mrs. Wingfield of the
Orangery, connected as she was with half the old families of Virginia,
and herself a large slave-owner, was beyond suspicion, and no one would
venture to suggest that such a lady could have the smallest sympathy for
a runaway slave.

"She was down upon you pretty hot, Mr. Jackson," the sheriff said as
they rode off. "You don't seem to be in her good books." Jackson
muttered an imprecation.

"It is certainly odd," the sheriff went on, "after what you were telling
me about her son pitching into Andrew over flogging this very slave,
that she should go and buy his wife. Still, that's a very different
thing from hiding a runaway. I dare say that, as she says, the fellow
came here to see his wife when he first ran away; but I don't think you
will find him anywhere about here now. It's pretty certain from what we
hear that he hasn't made for the North, and where the fellow can be
hiding I can't think. Still the woods about this country are mighty big,
and the fellow can go out on the farms and pick corn and keep himself
going for a long time. But he's sure to be brought up, sooner or later."

A thorough search was made of the slave-huts, and the slaves were
closely questioned, but all denied any knowledge of the runaway. Dan
escaped questioning, as he had taken up Vincent's horse to the house in
readiness for him to start as soon as he had finished breakfast.

All day the searchers rode about the plantation, examining every clump
of bushes, and assuring themselves that none of them had been used as a
place of refuge for the runaway.

"It's no good, Mr. Jackson," the sheriff said at last. "The man may have
been here; he aint here now. The only place we haven't searched is the
house, and you may be quite sure the slaves dare not conceal him there.
Too many would get to know it. No, sir, he's made a bolt of it, and you
will have to wait now till he is caught by chance, or shot by some
farmer or other in the act of stealing."

"I would lay a thousand dollars," Andrew Jackson exclaimed
passionately, "that young Wingfield knows something about his
whereabouts, and has lent him a hand!"

"Well, I should advise you to keep your mouth shut about it till you get
some positive proof," the sheriff said dryly. "I tell you it's no joke
to accuse a member of a family like the Wingfields of helping runaway
slaves to escape."

"I will bide my time," the planter said. "You said that some day you
would lay hands on Tony, dead or alive. You see if some day I don't lay
hands on young Wingfield."

"Well, it seems, Mr. Jackson," the sheriff remarked with a sneer, for he
was out of temper at the ill success of the day's work, "that he has
already laid hands on your son. It seems to me quite as likely that he
will lay hands on you as you on him."

Two days afterward, as Vincent was riding through the streets of
Richmond he saw to his surprise Andrew Jackson in close conversation
with Jonas Pearson.

"I wonder what those two fellows are talking about!" he said to himself.
"I expect Jackson is trying to pump Pearson as to the doings at the
Orangery. I don't like that fellow, and never shall, and he's just the
sort of man to do one a bad turn if he had the chance. However, as I
have never spoken to him about that affair from beginning to end, I
don't see that he can do any mischief if he wants to."

Andrew Jackson, however, had obtained information which he considered
valuable. He learned that Vincent had been away in a boat for five days,
and that his mother had been very uneasy about him. He also learned that
the boat was one belonging to Mr. Furniss, and that it was only quite
lately that Vincent had taken to going out sailing.

After considerable trouble he succeeded in getting at one of the slaves
upon Mr. Furniss' plantation. But he could only learn from him that
Vincent had been unaccompanied, when he went out in the boat, either by
young Furniss or by any of the plantation hands; that he had taken with
him only his own slave, and had come and gone as he chose, taking out
and fastening up the boat himself, so that no one could say when he had
gone out, except that his horse was put up at the stables. The slave
said that certainly the horse had only stood there on two or three
occasions, and then only for a few hours, and that unless Mr. Wingfield
had walked over he could never have had the boat out all night, as the
horse certainly had not stood all night in the stables.

Andrew Jackson talked the matter over with his son, and both agreed that
Vincent's conduct was suspicious. His own people said he had been away
for five days in the boat. The people at Furniss' knew nothing about
this, and therefore there must be some mystery about it, and they
doubted not that that mystery was connected with the runaway slave, and
they guessed that he had either taken Tony and landed him near the mouth
of the York River on the northern shore, or that he had put him on board
a ship. They agreed, however, that whatever their suspicions, they had
not sufficient grounds for openly accusing Vincent of aiding their
runaway.




CHAPTER V.

SECESSION.


While Vincent had been occupied with the affairs of Tony and his wife,
public events had moved forward rapidly. The South Carolina Convention
met in the third week in December, and on the 20th of that month the
Ordinance of Secession was passed. On the 10th of January, three days
after Vincent returned home from his expedition, Florida followed the
example of South Carolina and seceded. Alabama and Mississippi passed
the Ordinance of Secession on the following day; Georgia on the 18th,
Louisiana on the 23d, and Texas on the 1st of February.

In all these States the Ordinance of Secession was received with great
rejoicings: bonfires were lit, the towns illuminated, and the militia
paraded the streets, and in many cases the Federal arsenals were seized
and the Federal forts occupied by the State troops. In the meantime the
Northern slave States--Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky,
and Missouri--remained irresolute. The general feeling was strongly in
favor of their Southern brethren; but they were anxious for peace, and
for a compromise being arrived at. Whether the North would agree to
admit the constitutional right of secession, or whether it would use
force to compel the seceding States to remain in the Union, was still
uncertain; but the idea of a civil war was so terrible a one that the
general belief was that some arrangement to allow the States to go their
own way would probably be arrived at.

For the time the idea of Vincent going to West Point was abandoned.
Among his acquaintances were several young men who were already at West
Point, and very few of these returned to the academy. The feeling there
was very strongly on the side of secession. A great majority of the
students came from the Southern States, as, while the sons of the
Northern men went principally into trade and commerce, the Southern
planters sent their sons into the army, and a great proportion of the
officers of the army and navy were Southerners.

As the professors at West Point were all military men, the feeling among
them, as well as among the students, was in favor of State rights; they
considering that, according to the Constitution, their allegiance was
due first to the States of which they were natives, and in the second
place to the Union. Thus, then, many of the professors who were natives
of the seven States which had seceded resigned their appointments, and
returned home to occupy themselves in drilling the militia and the
levies, who were at once called to arms.

Still all hoped that peace would be preserved, until on the 11th of
April General Beauregard, who commanded the troops of South Carolina,
summoned Major Anderson, who was in command of the Federal troops in
Fort Sumter, to surrender, and on his refusal opened fire upon the fort
on the following day.

On the 13th the barracks of the fort being set on fire, Major Anderson,
seeing the hopelessness of a prolonged resistance, surrendered. The
effect of the news throughout the United States was tremendous, and Mr.
Lincoln at once called out 75,000 men of the militia of the various
States to put down the rebellion--the border States being ordered to
send their proportion. This brought matters to a climax. Virginia, North
Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri all refused to furnish
contingents to act against the Southern States; and Virginia and North
Carolina a few days later passed Ordinances of Secession and joined the
Southern States. Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware were divided in their
counsels.

The struggle that was about to commence was an uneven one. The white
population of the Seceding States was about 8,000,000; while that of the
Northern States was 19,614,885. The North possessed an immense
advantage, inasmuch as they retained the whole of the Federal navy, and
were thereby enabled at once to cut off all communication between the
Southern States and Europe, while they themselves could draw unlimited
supplies of munitions of war of all kinds from across the Atlantic.

Although the people of Virginia had hoped to the last that some peaceful
arrangement might be effected, the Act of Secession was received with
enthusiasm. The demand of Mr. Lincoln that they should furnish troops to
crush their Southern brethren excited the livliest indignation, and
Virginia felt that there was no course open to her now but to throw in
her lot with the other slave States. Her militia was at once called out,
and volunteers called for to form a provisional army to protect the
State from invasion by the North.

The appeal was answered with enthusiasm; men of all ages took up arms;
the wealthy raised regiments at their own expense, generally handing
over the commands to experienced army officers, and themselves taking
their places in the ranks; thousands of lads of from fifteen to sixteen
years of age enrolled themselves, and men who had never done a day's
work in their lives prepared to suffer all the hardships of the campaign
as private soldiers.

Mrs. Wingfield was an enthusiastic supporter of State rights; and when
Vincent told her that numbers of his friends were going to enroll
themselves as soon as the lists were opened, she offered no objection to
his doing the same.

"Of course you are very young, Vincent; but no one thinks there will be
any serious fighting. Now that Virginia and the other four States have
cast in their lot with the seven that have seceded, the North can never
hope to force the solid South back into the Union. Still it is right you
should join. I certainly should not like an old Virginian family like
ours to be unrepresented; but I should prefer your joining one of the
mounted corps.

"In the first place, it will be much less fatiguing than carrying a
heavy rifle and knapsack; and in the second place, the cavalry will for
the most part be gentlemen. I was speaking only yesterday, when I went
into Richmond, to Mr. Ashley, who is raising a corps. He is one of the
best riders in the country, and a splendid specimen of a Virginian
gentleman. He tells me that he has already received a large number of
applications from young volunteers, and that he thinks he shall be able
without any difficulty to get as many as he wants. I said that I had a
son who would probably enroll himself, and that I should like to have
him in his corps.

"He said that he would be glad to put down your name, and that he had
had many applications from lads no older than yourself. He considered
that for cavalry work, scouting, and that sort of thing age mattered
little, and that a lad who was at once a light weight, a good rider,
and a good shot was of as much good as a man."

"Thank you, mother. I will ride into Richmond to-morrow morning and see
Ashley. I have often met him and should like to serve under him very
much. I should certainly prefer being in the cavalry to the infantry."

Rosie and Annie, who were of course enthusiastic for the South, were
almost as pleased as was Vincent when they heard that their mother had
consented to his enrolling himself. So many of the girls of their
acquaintance had brothers or cousins who were joining the army, that
they would have felt it as something of a slur upon the family name had
Vincent remained behind.

On the following morning Vincent rode over and saw Mr. Ashley, who had
just received his commission as major. He was cordially received.

"Mrs. Wingfield was speaking to me about you, and I shall be glad to
have you with me--the more so as you are a capital rider and a good
shot. I shall have a good many in my ranks no older than you are. Did I
not hear a few months since that you bought Wildfire? I thought, when I
heard it, that you would be lucky if you did not get your neck broken in
the course of a week. Peters, who owns the next estate to mine, had the
horse for about three weeks, and was glad enough to get rid of it for
half what he had given for it. He told me that the horse was the most
savage brute he ever saw. I suppose you didn't keep it many days?"

"I have got it still, and mean to ride it with you. The horse is not
really savage. It was hot-tempered, and had, I think, been badly treated
by its first owner. It only wanted kindness and a little patience; and
as soon as it found that it could not get rid of me, and that I had no
intention of ill-treating it, it settled down quietly, after running
away a few times and giving me some little trouble at starting. And now
I would not change it for any horse in the State."

"You must be a first-rate rider," Major Ashley said, "to be able to tame
Wildfire. I never saw the horse, for I was away when Peters had her;
but from his description it was a perfect savage."

"Are we allowed to bring a servant with us?" Vincent asked.

"Yes, if you like. I know that a good many are going to do so, but you
must not make up your mind that you will get much benefit from one. We
shall move rapidly, and each man must shift for himself, but at the same
time we shall of course often be stationary; and then servants will be
useful. At any rate I can see no objection to men having them. We must
be prepared to rough it to any extent when it is necessary, but I see no
reason why at other times a man should not make himself comfortable. I
expect the order to-morrow or next day to begin formally to enroll
volunteers. As I have now put down your name there will be no occasion
for you to come in then. You will receive a communication telling you
when to report yourself.

"I shall not trouble much about uniform at first. High boots and
breeches, a thick felt hat that will turn the edge of a sword, and a
loose coat-jacket of dark-gray cloth. Here is the name of the tailor who
has got the pattern, and will make them. So I should advise you to go to
him at once, for he will be so busy soon that there is no saying when
the whole troop will get their uniforms."

Upon his return home Vincent related to his mother and sisters the
conversation that he had had with Major Ashley.

"Certainly you had better take a servant with you," his mother said. "I
suppose, when you are riding about you will have to cook your dinner and
do everything for yourself; but when you are in a town you should have
these things done for you. Who would you like to take?"

"I should like to take Dan, mother, if you have no objection. He is very
strong and active, and I think would generally be able to keep up with
us; besides, I know he would always stick to me."

"You shall have him certainly, Vincent; I will make him over formally to
you."

"Thank you, mother," Vincent said joyfully; for he had often wished that
Dan belonged to him, as he would then be able to prevent any
interference with him by the overseer or anyone else, and could, if he
liked, give him his freedom--although this would, he knew, be of very
doubtful advantage to the lad as long as he remained in the South.

The next morning the necessary papers were drawn up, and the ownership
of Dan was formally transferred to Vincent. Dan was wild with delight
when he heard that Vincent was now his master, and that he was to
accompany him to the war. It had been known two days before that Vincent
was going, and it seemed quite shocking to the negroes that the young
master should go as a private soldier, and have to do everything for
himself--"just," as they said, "like de poor white trash"; for the
slaves were proud to belong to an old family, and looked down with
almost contempt upon the poorer class of whites, regarding their own
position as infinitely superior.

Four days later Vincent received an official letter saying that the
corps would be mustered in two days' time. The next day was spent in a
long round of farewell visits, and then Vincent mounted Wildfire, and,
with Dan trotting behind, rode off from the Orangery amidst a chorus of
blessings and good wishes from all the slaves who could on any pretext
get away from their duties, and who had assembled in front of the house
to see him start.

The place of meeting for the regiment was at Hanover Courthouse--a
station on the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railway, close to the Pamunky
River, about eighteen miles from the city.

The Orangery was a mile from the village of Gaines, which lay to the
northeast of Richmond, and was some twelve miles from Hanover
Courthouse.

A month was spent in drill, and at the end of that time the corps were
able to execute any simple maneuver. More than this Major Ashley did
not care about their learning. The work in which they were about to
engage was that of scouts rather than that of regular cavalry, and the
requirements were vigilance and attention to orders, good shooting, and
a quick eye. Off duty there was but little discipline. Almost the whole
of the men were in a good position in life, and many of them very
wealthy; and while strict discipline and obedience were expected while
on duty, at all other times something like equality existed between
officers and men, and all were free to live as they chose.

The rations served out were simple and often scanty, for at present the
various departments were not properly organized, and such numbers of men
were flocking to the standards that the authorities were at their wits'
end to provide them with even the simplest food. This mattered but
little, however, to the regiment, whose members were all ready and
willing to pay for everything they wanted, and the country people round
found a ready market for all their chickens, eggs, fruit, and vegetables
at Hanover Courthouse, for here there were also several infantry
regiments, and the normally quiet little village was a scene of bustle
and confusion.

The arms of the cavalry were of a very varied description. Not more than
a dozen had swords; the rest were armed with rifles or shot-guns, with
the barrels cut short to enable them to be carried as carbines. Many of
them were armed with revolvers and some carried pistols so antiquated
that they might have been used in the Revolutionary War. A certain
number of tents had been issued for the use of the corps. These,
however, were altogether insufficient for the numbers, and most of the
men preferred to sleep in shelters composed of canvas, carpets,
blankets, or any other material that came to hand, or in arbors
constructed of the boughs of trees, for it was now April and warm enough
to sleep in the open air.

In the third week in May the order came that the corps was to march at
once for Harper's Ferry--an important position at the point where the
Shenandoah River runs into the Potomac, at the mouth of the Shenandoah
Valley. The order was received with the greatest satisfaction. The
Federal forces were gathering rapidly upon the northern banks of the
Potomac, and it was believed that, while the main army would march down
from Washington through Manassas Junction direct upon Richmond, another
would enter by the Shenandoah Valley, and, crossing the Blue Ridge
Mountains, come down on the rear of the Confederate army, facing the
main force at Manassas. The cavalry marched by road, while the infantry
were dispatched by rail as far as Manassas Junction, whence they marched
to Harper's Ferry. The black servants accompanied the infantry.

The cavalry march was a pleasant one. At every village through which
they passed the people flocked out with offerings of milk and fruit. The
days were hot, but the mornings and evenings delightful; and as the
troops always halted in the shade of a wood for three or four hours in
the middle of the day, the marches, although long, were not fatiguing.
At Harper's Ferry General Johnston had just superseded Colonel Jackson
in command. The force there consisted of eleven battalions of infantry,
sixteen guns, and after Ashley's force arrived, three hundred cavalry.
Among the regiments there Vincent found many friends, and learned what
was going on.

He learned that Colonel Jackson had been keeping them hard at work. Some
of Vincent's friends had been at the Virginia Military Institute at
Lexington, where Jackson was professor of natural philosophy and
instructor of artillery.

"He was the greatest fun," one of the young men said; "the stiffest and
most awkward-looking fellow in the Institute. He used to walk about as
if he never saw anything or anybody. He was always known as Old Tom, and
nobody ever saw him laugh. He was awfully earnest in all he did, and
strict, I can tell you, about everything. There was no humbugging him.
The fellows liked him because he was really so earnest about
everything, and always just and fair. But he didn't look a bit like a
soldier except as to his stiffness, and when the fellows who had been at
Lexington heard that he was in command here they did not think he would
have made much hand at it; but I tell you, he did. You never saw such a
fellow to work.

"Everything had to be done, you know. There were the guns, but no horses
and no harness. The horses had to be got somehow, and the harness
manufactured out of ropes; and you can imagine the confusion of nine
battalions of infantry, all recruits, with no one to teach them except a
score or two of old army and militia officers. Old Tom has done wonders,
I can tell you. You see, he is so fearfully earnest himself everyone
else has got to be earnest. There has been no playing about anything,
but just fifteen hours' hard work a day. Fellows grumbled and growled
and said it was absurd, and threatened to do all sorts of things. You
see, they had all come out to fight, if necessary, but hadn't bargained
for such hard work as this.

"However, Jackson had his way, and I don't suppose anyone ever told him
the men thought they were too hard worked. He is not the sort of man one
would care about remonstrating with. I don't know yet whether he is as
good at fighting as he is at working and organizing; but I rather expect
a fellow who is so earnest about everything else is sure to be earnest
about fighting, and I fancy that, when he once gets into the thick of
it, he will go through with it. He had such a reputation as an oddity at
Lexington that there were a lot of remarks when he was made colonel and
sent here; but there is no doubt that he has proved himself the right
man so far, and although his men may grumble they believe in him.

"My regiment is in his brigade, and I will bet any money that we have
our share of fighting. What sort of man is Johnston? He is a fine
fellow--a soldier, heart and soul. You could tell him anywhere, and we
have a first-rate fellow in command of the cavalry--Colonel Stuart--a
splendid, dashing fellow, full of life and go. His fellows swear by him.
I quite envy you, for I expect you will astonish the Yankee horsemen.
They are no great riders up there, you know, and I reckon the first time
you meet them you will astonish them."

[Illustration: Map--GENL. LEE'S CAMPAIGNS IN VIRGINIA.]

Here he suddenly stopped, stood at attention, and saluted.

Vincent at once did the same, although, had he not been set the example
by his friend, he would never have thought of doing so to the figure who
had passed.

"Who is it?" he asked, as his companion resumed his easy attitude.

"Why, that's Old Tom."

"What! Colonel Jackson!" Vincent said in surprise, "Well, he is an
odd-looking fellow!"

The figure that had passed was that of a tall, gaunt man, leaning
awkwardly forward in his saddle. He wore an old gray coat, and there was
no sign of rank, nor particle of gold lace upon the uniform. He wore on
his head a faded cadet cap, with the rim coming down so far upon his
nose that he could only look sideways from under it. He seemed to pay
but little attention to what was going on around him, and did not enter
into conversation with any of the officers he met.

The brigade commanded by Jackson was the 1st of the Army of the
Shenandoah, and consisted of the 2d, 4th, 5th, and 27th Virginians, to
which was shortly added the 33d. They were composed of men of all ranks
and ages, among them being a great number of lads from fifteen and
upward; for every school had been deserted. Every boy capable of
carrying a musket had insisted upon joining, and among them were a whole
company of cadets from Lexington. The regiments selected their own
officers, and among these were many who were still lads. Many of the
regiments had no accouterments, and were without uniforms, and numbers
carried no better arms than a double-barreled shot-gun; but all were
animated with the same spirit of enthusiasm in their cause, and a
determination to die rather than to allow the invaders to pass on
through the fertile valleys of their native land.

Of all these valleys that of the Shenandoah was the richest and most
beautiful. It was called the Garden of Virginia; and all writers agreed
in their praises of the beauties of its fields and forests, mountains
and rivers, its delicious climate, and the general prosperity which
prevailed among its population.

It was a pleasant evening that Ashley's horse spent at Harper's Ferry on
the day they marched in. All had many friends among the other Virginia
regiments, and their campfires were the center toward which men trooped
by scores. The rest was pleasant after their hard marches; and, although
ready to do their own work when necessary, they appreciated the
advantage of having their servants again with them to groom their horses
and cook their food.

The negroes were not less glad at being again with their masters. Almost
all were men who had, like Dan, been brought up with their young owners,
and felt for them a strong personal attachment, and, if it had been
allowed, would gladly have followed them in the field of battle, and
fought by their side against the "Yankees." Their stay at Harper's Ferry
was to be a short one. Colonel Stuart, with his 200 horse, was scouting
along the whole bank of the Potomac, watching every movement of the
enemy, and Ashley's horse was to join them at once.

It was not difficult for even young soldiers to form an idea of the
general nature of the operations. They had to protect the Shenandoah
Valley, to guard the five great roads by which the enemy would advance
against Winchester, and not only save the loyal inhabitants and rich
resources of the valley from falling into the hands of the Federals, but
what was of even greater importance, to prevent the latter from marching
across the Blue Ridge Mountains, and falling upon the flank of the main
Confederate army at Manassas.

The position was a difficult one, for while "the grand army" was
assembling at Alexandria to advance against Manassas Junction, McClellan
was advancing from the northwest with 20,000 men, and Patterson from
Pennsylvania with 18,000.

In the morning, before parading his troop, 100 strong, Ashley called
them together and told them that, as they would now be constantly on the
move and scattered over a long line, it was impossible that they could
take their servants with them.

"I should never have allowed them to be brought," he said, "had I known
that we should be scouting over such an extensive country; at the same
time, if we can manage to take a few on it would certainly add to our
comfort. I propose that we choose ten by lot to go on with us. They must
be servants of the troop and not of individuals. We can scatter them in
pairs at five points, with instructions to forage as well as they can,
and to have things in readiness to cook for whoever may come in off duty
or may for the time be posted there. Henceforth every man must groom and
see to his own horse, but I see no reason, military or otherwise, why we
shouldn't get our food cooked for us; and it will be just as well, as
long as we can, to have a few bundles of straw for us to lie on instead
of sleeping on the ground.

"Another ten men we can also choose by lot to go to Winchester; which
is, I imagine, the point we shall move to if the enemy advance, as I
fancy they will, from the other side of the Shenandoah Valley. The rest
must be sent home."

Each man accordingly wrote his name on a piece of paper, and placed it
in a haversack. Ten were then drawn out; and their servants were to
accompany the troop at once. The servants of the next ten were to
proceed by train to Winchester, while the slaves of all whose names
remained in the bag were to be sent home at once, provided with passes
permitting them to travel. To Vincent's satisfaction his name was one of
the first ten drawn, and Dan was therefore to go forward. The greater
part of the men evaded the obligation to send their servants back to
Richmond by dispatching them to friends who had estates in the
Shenandoah Valley, with letters asking them to keep the men for them
until the troop happened to come into their neighborhood.

At six o'clock in the morning the troop mounted and rode to Bath, thirty
miles away. It was here that Stuart had his headquarters, whence he sent
out his patrols up and down the Potomac, between Harper's Ferry on the
east and Cumberland on the west. Stuart was away when they arrived, but
he rode in a few hours afterward.

"Ah, Ashley! I am glad you have arrived," he said as he rode up to the
troop, who had hastily mounted as he was seen approaching. "There is
plenty for you to do, I can tell you; and I only wish you had brought a
thousand men instead of a hundred. I am heartily glad to see you all,
gentlemen," he said to the troop. "I am afraid just at first that the
brightness of your gray jackets will put my men rather to shame; but we
shall soon get rid of that. But dismount your men, Ashley; there is
plenty for them and their horses to do without wasting time in parade
work. There is very little of that here, I can tell you. I have not seen
a score of my men together for the last month."

Vincent gazed with admiration at the young leader, whose name was soon
to be celebrated throughout America and Europe. The young Virginian--for
he was not yet twenty-eight years old--was the _beau ideal_ of a cavalry
officer. He was singularly handsome, and possessed great personal
strength and a constitution which enabled him to bear all hardships. He
possessed unfailing good spirits, and had a joke and laugh for all he
met; and while on the march, at the head of his regiment, he was always
ready to lift up his voice and lead the songs with which the men made
the woods resound.

He seemed to live in his saddle, and was present at all hours of the
night and day along the line he guarded, seeing that the men were
watchful and on the alert, instructing the outposts in their duty, and
infusing his own spirit and vigilance among them. He had been educated
at West Point, and had seen much service with the cavalry against the
Indians in the West. Such was the man who was to become the most famous
cavalry leader of his time. So far he had not come in contact with the
enemy, and his duties were confined to obtaining information regarding
their strength and intentions, to watching every road by which they
could advance, and to seeing that none passed North to carry information
to the enemy as to the Confederate strength and positions, for even in
the Shenandoah Valley there were some whose sympathies were with the
Federals.

These were principally Northern men settled as traders in the towns, and
it was important to prevent them from sending any news to the enemy. So
well did Stuart's cavalry perform this service, and so general was the
hostility of the population against the North, that throughout the whole
of the war in Virginia it was very seldom that the Northern generals
could obtain any trustworthy information as to the movements and
strength of the Confederates, while the latter were perfectly informed
of every detail connected with the intentions of the invaders.

The next morning Ashley's troop took up their share of the work at the
front. They were broken up into parties of ten, each of which was
stationed at a village near the river, five men being on duty night and
day. As it happened that none of the other men in his squad had a
servant at the front, Vincent was able without difficulty to have Dan
assigned to his party. A house in the village was placed at their
disposal, and here the five off duty slept and took their meals while
the others were in the saddle. Dan was quite in his element, and turned
out an excellent cook, and was soon a general favorite among the mess.




CHAPTER VI.

BULL RUN.


The next fortnight passed by without adventure. Hard as the work was,
Vincent enjoyed it thoroughly. When on duty by day he was constantly on
the move, riding through the forest, following country lanes,
questioning everyone he came across; and as the men always worked in
pairs, there was no feeling of loneliness. Sometimes Ashley would draw
together a score of troopers, and crossing the river in a ferry-boat,
would ride twenty miles north, and dashing into quiet villages, astonish
the inhabitants by the sight of the Confederate uniform. Then the
villagers would be questioned as to the news that had reached them of
the movements of the troops; the post-office would be seized and the
letters broken open; any useful information contained in them being
noted. But in general questions were readily answered; for a
considerable portion of the people of Maryland were strongly in favor of
the South, and were only prevented from joining it by the strong force
that held possession of Baltimore, and by the constant movement of
Federal armies through the State. Vincent was often employed in carrying
dispatches from Major Ashley to Stuart, being selected for that duty as
being the best mounted man in the troop. The direction was always a
vague one. "Take this letter to Colonel Stuart, wherever he may be," and
however early he started, Vincent thought himself fortunate if he
carried out his mission before sunset; for Stuart's front covered over
fifty miles of ground, and there was no saying where he might be.
Sometimes, after riding thirty or forty miles, and getting occasional
news that Stuart had passed through ahead of him, he would learn from
some outpost that the colonel had been there but ten minutes before, and
had ridden off before he came, and then Vincent had to turn his horse
and gallop back again, seldom succeeding in overtaking his active
commander until the latter had halted for his supper at one or other of
the villages where his men were stationed. Sometimes by good luck he
came upon him earlier, and then, after reading the dispatch, Stuart
would, if he were riding in the direction where Ashley's command lay,
bid him ride on with him, and would chat with him on terms of friendly
intimacy about people they both knew at Richmond, or as to the details
of his work, and sometimes they would sit down together under the shade
of some trees, take out the contents of their haversacks, and share
their dinners.

"This is the second time I have had the best of this," the colonel
laughed one day; "my beef is as hard as leather, and this cold chicken
of yours is as plump and tender as one could wish to eat."

"I have my own boy, colonel, who looks after the ten of us stationed at
Elmside, and I fancy that in the matter of cold rations he gives me an
undue preference. He always hands me my haversack when I mount with a
grin, and I quite understand that it is better I should ask no questions
as to its contents."

"You are a lucky fellow," Stuart said. "My own servant is a good man,
and would do anything for me; but my irregular hours are too much for
him. He never knows when to expect me; and as he often finds that when I
do return I have made a meal an hour before at one of the outposts, and
do not want the food he has for hours been carefully keeping hot for me,
it drives him almost to despair, and I have sometimes been obliged to
eat rather than disappoint him. But he certainly has not a genius for
cooking, and were it not that this riding gives one the appetite of a
hunter, I should often have a good deal of difficulty in devouring the
meal he puts into my haversack."

But the enemy were now really advancing, and on the 12th of June a
trooper rode in from the extreme left, and handed Vincent a dispatch
from Colonel Stuart.

"My orders were," he said, "that, if you were here, you were to carry
this on at all speed to General Johnston. If not, someone else was to
take it on."

"Any news?" Vincent asked, as, aided by Dan, he rapidly saddled
Wildfire.

"Yes," the soldier said; "2000 of the enemy have advanced up the western
side, and have occupied Romney, and they say all Patterson's force is on
the move."

"So much the better," Vincent replied, as he jumped into the saddle. "We
have been doing nothing long enough, and the sooner it comes the
better."

It was a fifty-mile ride; but it was done in five hours, and at the end
of that time Vincent dismounted in front of General Johnston's quarters.

"Is the general in?" he asked the sentry at the door.

"No, he is not in; but here he comes," the soldier replied, and two
minutes later the general, accompanied by three or four officers, rode
up.

Vincent saluted, and handed him the dispatch. The general opened it and
glanced at the contents.

"The storm is going to burst at last, gentlemen," he said to the
officers. "Stuart writes me that 2000 men, supposed to be the advance of
McClellan's army, are at Romney, and that he hears Patterson is also
advancing from Chambersburg on Williamsport. His dispatch is dated this
morning at nine o'clock. He writes from near Cumberland. No time has
been lost, for that is eighty miles away, and it is but five o'clock
now. How far have you brought this dispatch, sir?"

"I have brought it from Elmside, general; twenty miles on the other side
of Bath. A trooper brought it in just at midday, with orders for me to
carry it on at once."

"That is good work," the general said. "You have ridden over fifty miles
in five hours. You must be well mounted, sir."

"I do not think there is a better horse in the State," Vincent said,
patting Wildfire's neck.

The general called an orderly.

"Let this man picket his horse with those of the staff," he said, "and
see that it has forage at once. Take the man to the orderlies' quarters,
and see that he is well cared for."

Vincent saluted, and, leading Wildfire, followed the orderly. When he
had had a meal, he strolled out to see what was going on. Evidently some
movement was in contemplation. Officers were riding up or dashing off
from the general's headquarters. Two or three regiments were seen
marching down from the plateau on which they were encamped into the
town. Bells rang and drums beat, and presently long trains of railway
wagons, heavily laden, began to make their way across the bridge. Until
next morning the movement continued unceasingly; by that time all the
military stores and public property, together with as much private
property, belonging to inhabitants who had decided to forsake their
homes for a time rather than to remain there when the town was occupied
by the enemy, as could be carried on in the available wagons, had been
taken across the bridge. A party of engineers, who had been all night
hard at work, then set fire both to the railway bridge across the river
and the public buildings in the town. The main body of troops had moved
across in the evening. The rearguard passed when all was in readiness
for the destruction of the bridge.

General Johnston had been preparing for the movement for some time; he
had foreseen that the position must be evacuated as soon as the enemy
began to advance upon either of his flanks, and a considerable portion
of his baggage and military stores had some time previously been sent
into the interior of Virginia. The troops, formed up on the high grounds
south of the river, looked in silence at the dense volumes of smoke
rising. This was the reality of war. Hitherto their military work had
been no more than that to which many of them were accustomed when called
out with the militia of their State; but the scene of destruction on
which they now gazed brought home to them that the struggle was a
serious one--that it was war in its stern reality which had now begun.

The troops at once set off on their march, and at night bivouacked in
the woods around Charleston. The next day they pushed across the country
and took up a position covering Winchester; and then the enemy, finding
that Johnston's army was in front of them, ready to dispute their
advance, recrossed the river, and Johnston concentrated his force round
Winchester.

Vincent joined his corps on the same afternoon that the infantry marched
out from Harper's Ferry, the general sending him forward with dispatches
as soon as the troops had got into motion.

"You will find Colonel Stuart in front of the enemy; but more than that
I cannot tell you."

This was quite enough for Vincent, who found the cavalry scouting close
to Patterson's force, prepared to attack the enemy's cavalry, should it
advance to reconnoiter the country, and to blow up bridges across
streams, fell trees, and take every possible measure to delay the
advance of Patterson's army, in its attempt to push on toward Winchester
before the arrival of General Johnston's force upon the scene.

"I am glad to see you back, Wingfield," Major Ashley said, as he rode
up. "The colonel tells me that in the dispatch he got last night from
Johnston the general said that Stuart's information reached him in a
remarkably short time, having been carried with great speed by the
orderly in charge of the duty. We have scarcely been out of our saddles
since you left. However, I think we have been of use, for we have been
busy all round the enemy since we arrived here in the afternoon, and I
fancy he must think us a good deal stronger than we are. At any rate, he
has not pushed his cavalry forward at all; and, as you say Johnston will
be up to-morrow afternoon, Winchester is safe anyhow."

After the Federals had recrossed the river, and Johnston had taken up
his position round Winchester, the cavalry returned to their old work of
scouting along the Potomac.

On the 20th of June movements of considerable bodies of the enemy were
noticed; and Johnston at once dispatched Jackson with his brigade to
Martinsburg, with orders to send as much of the rolling-stock of the
railroad as could be removed to Winchester, to destroy the rest, and to
support Stuart's cavalry when they advanced. A number of locomotives
were sent to Winchester along the highroad, drawn by teams of horses.
Forty engines and three hundred cars were burned or destroyed, and
Jackson then advanced and took up his position on the road to
Williamsport, the cavalry camp being a little in advance of him. This
was pleasant for Vincent, as, when off duty, he spent his time with his
friends and schoolfellows in Jackson's brigade.

On the 2d of July the scouts rode into camp with the news that a strong
force was advancing from Williamsport. Jackson at once advanced with the
5th Virginia Infantry, numbering 380 men and one gun, while Stuart, with
100 cavalry, started to make a circuitous route, and harassed the flank
and rear of the enemy. There was no intention on the part of Jackson of
fighting a battle, his orders being merely to feel the enemy, whose
strength was far too great to be withstood, even had he brought his
whole brigade into action, for they numbered three brigades of infantry,
500 cavalry, and some artillery.

For some hours the little Confederate force skirmished so boldly that
they checked the advance of the enemy, whose general naturally supposed
that he had before him the advanced guard of a strong force, and
therefore moved forward with great caution. Then the Confederates, being
threatened on both flanks by the masses of the Federals, fell back in
good order. The loss was very trifling on either side, but the fact that
so small a force had for hours checked the advance of an army greatly
raised the spirits and confidence of the Confederates. Stuart's small
cavalry force, coming down upon the enemy's rear, captured a good many
prisoners--Colonel Stuart himself capturing forty-four infantry. Riding
some distance ahead of his troop to find out the position of the enemy,
he came upon a company of Federal infantry sitting down in a field,
having no idea whatever that any Confederate force was in the
neighborhood. Stuart did not hesitate a moment, but riding up to them
shouted the order, "Throw down your arms, or you are all dead men!"
Believing themselves surrounded, the Federals threw down their arms, and
when the Confederate cavalry came up were marched off as prisoners.

Jackson, on reaching his camp, struck his tents and sent them to the
rear, and formed up his whole brigade in order of battle. The Federals,
however, instead of attacking, continued their flank movement, and
Jackson fell back through Martinsburg and halted for the night a mile
beyond the town.

Next day he again retired, and was joined six miles further on by
Johnston's whole force. For four days the little army held its position,
prepared to give battle if the enemy advanced; but the Federals, though
greatly superior in numbers, remained immovable at Martinsburg, and
Johnston, to the great disgust of his troops, retired to Winchester. The
soldiers were longing to meet the invaders in battle, but their general
had to bear in mind that the force under his command might at any moment
be urgently required to join the main Confederate army and aid in
opposing the Northern advance upon Richmond.

Stuart's cavalry kept him constantly informed of the strength of the
enemy gathering in his front. Making circuits round Martinsburg, they
learned from the farmers what number of troops each day came along; and
while the Federals knew nothing of the force opposed to them, and
believed that it far outnumbered their own, General Johnston knew that
Patterson's force numbered about 22,000 men, while he himself had been
joined only by some 3000 men since he arrived at Winchester.

On the 18th of July a telegram from the government at Richmond announced
that the Federal grand army had driven in General Beauregard's pickets
at Manassas, and had begun to advance, and Johnston was directed, if
possible, to hasten to his assistance. A few earthworks had been thrown
up at Winchester, and some guns mounted upon them, and the town was left
under the protection of the local militia. Stuart's cavalry was posted
in a long line across the country to prevent any news of the movement
reaching the enemy. As soon as this was done the infantry, 8300 strong,
marched off. The troops were in high spirits now, for they knew that
their long period of inactivity was over, and that, although ignorant
when and where, they were on their march to meet the enemy.

They had no wagons or rations; the need for speed was too urgent even to
permit of food being cooked. Without a halt they pressed forward
steadily, and after two days' march, exhausted and half famished, they
reached the Manassas Gap Railroad. Here they were put into trains as
fast as these could be prepared, and by noon on the 20th joined
Beauregard at Manassas. The cavalry had performed their duty of
preventing the news of the movement from reaching the enemy until the
infantry were nearly a day's march away, and then Stuart reassembled his
men and followed Johnston. Thus the Confederate plans had been
completely successful. Over 30,000 of the enemy, instead of being in
line of battle with the main army, were detained before Winchester,
while the little Confederate force which had been facing them had
reached Beauregard in time to take part in the approaching struggle.

In the North no doubt as to the power of the grand army to make its way
to Richmond was entertained. The troops were armed with the best weapons
obtainable, the artillery was numerous and excellent, the army was well
fed, and so confident were the men of success that they regarded the
whole affair in the light of a great picnic. The grand army numbered
55,000 men, with nine regiments of cavalry and forty-nine rifle-guns. To
oppose these, the Confederate force, after the arrival of Johnston's
army, numbered 27,833 infantry, thirty-five smooth-bore guns, and 500
cavalry. Many of the infantry were armed only with shot-guns and old
fowling-pieces, and the guns were small and ill-supplied with
ammunition. There had been some sharp fighting on the 18th, and the
Federal advance across the river of Bull Run had been sharply repulsed,
therefore their generals determined, instead of making a direct attack
on the 31st against the Confederate position, to take a wide sweep
round, cross the river higher up, and falling upon the Confederate left
flank, to crumple it up.

All night the Federal troops had marched, and at daybreak on the 21st
nearly 40,000 men were in position on the left flank of the
Confederates. The latter were not taken by surprise when Stuart's
cavalry brought in news of the Federal movement, and General Beauregard,
instead of moving his troops toward the threatened point, sent orders to
General Longstreet on the right to cross the river as soon as the battle
began, and to fall upon the Federal flank and rear.

Had this movement been carried out, the destruction of the Federal army
would probably have been complete; but by one of those unfortunate
accidents which so frequently occur in war and upset the best laid
plans, the order in some way never came to hand, and when late in the
day the error was discovered, it was too late to remedy it.

At eight o'clock in the morning two of the Federal divisions reached the
river, and while one of them engaged the Confederate force stationed at
the bridge, another crossed the river at a ford. Colonel Evans, who
commanded the Confederate forces, which numbered but fifteen companies,
left 200 men to continue to hold the bridge, while with 800 he hurried
to oppose General Hunter's division, which had crossed at the ford.

This consisted of 16,000 infantry, with cavalry and artillery, and
another division of equal force had crossed at the Red House Ford,
higher up. To check so great a force with this handful of men seemed all
but impossible; but Colonel Evans determined to hold his ground to the
last, to enable his general to bring up re-enforcements. His force
consisted of men of South Carolina and Louisiana, and they contested
every foot of the ground.

The regiment which formed the advance of the Federals charged, supported
by an artillery fire, but was repulsed. As the heavy Federal line
advanced, however, the Confederates were slowly but steadily pressed
back, until General Bee, with four regiments and a battery of artillery,
came up to their assistance. The newcomers threw themselves into the
fight with great gallantry, and maintained their ground until almost
annihilated by the fire of the enemy, who outnumbered them by five to
one. As, fighting desperately, they fell back before Hunter's division,
the Federals, who had crossed at Red House Ford, suddenly poured down
and took them in flank.

Swept by a terrible musketry fire, these troops could no longer resist,
and in spite of the efforts of their general, who rode among them
imploring them to stand firm until aid arrived, they began to fall back.
Neither entreaties nor commands were of avail; the troops had done all
that they could, and broken and disheartened they retreated in great
confusion. But at this moment, when all seemed lost, a line of
glittering bayonets was seen coming over the hill behind, and the
general, riding off in haste toward them, found Jackson advancing with
the first brigade.

Unmoved by the rush of the fugitives of the brigades of Bee and Evans,
Jackson moved steadily forward, and so firm and resolute was their
demeanor that Bee rode after his men, and pointing with his sword to the
first brigade, shouted, "Look, there is Jackson standing like a stone
wall!" The general's words were repeated, and henceforth the brigade was
known as the Stonewall Brigade, and their general by the nickname of
Stonewall Jackson, by which he was ever afterward known. The greater
part of the fugitives rallied, and took up their position on the right
of Jackson, and the Federal forces, who were hurrying forward assured of
victory, found themselves confronted suddenly by 2600 bayonets. After a
moment's pause they pressed forward again, the artillery preparing a way
for them by a tremendous fire.

Jackson ordered his men to lie down until the enemy arrived within fifty
yards, and then to charge with the bayonet. Just at this moment Generals
Johnston and Beauregard arrived on the spot, and at once seeing the
desperate nature of the situation, and the whole Federal army pressing
forward against a single brigade, they did their best to prepare to meet
the storm. First they galloped up and down the disordered lines of Bee,
exhorting the men to stand firm; and seizing the colors of the 4th
Alabama, Johnston led them forward and formed them up under fire.

Beauregard hurried up some re-enforcements and formed them on the left
of Jackson, and thus 6500 infantry and artillery, and Stuart's two
troops of cavalry, stood face to face with more than 20,000 infantry and
seven troops of regular cavalry, behind whom, at the lower fords, were
35,000 men in reserve. While his men were lying down awaiting the
attack, Jackson rode backward and forward in front of them as calm and
as unconcerned to all appearance as if on the parade ground, and his
quiet bravery greatly nerved and encouraged the young troops.

All at once the tremendous artillery fire of the enemy ceased, and their
infantry came on in massive lines. The four Confederate guns poured in
their fire and then withdrew behind the infantry. When the line came
within fifty yards of him, Jackson gave the word, his men sprang to
their feet, poured in a heavy volley, and then charged. A wild yell rose
from both ranks as they closed, and then they were mingled in a
desperate conflict. For a time all was in wild confusion, but the ardor
and courage of Jackson's men prevailed, and they burst through the
center of the Federal line.

Immediately Jackson had charged, Beauregard sent forward the rest of the
troops, and for a time a tremendous struggle took place along the whole
line. Generals Bee and Barlow fell mortally wounded at the head of
their troops. General Hampton was wounded, and many of the colonels
fell. So numerous were the Federals, that although Jackson had pierced
their center, their masses drove back his flanks and threatened to
surround him. With voice and example he cheered on his men to hold their
ground, and the officers closed up their ranks as they were thinned by
the enemy's fire, and for an hour the struggle continued without marked
advantage on either side.

Jackson's calmness was unshaken even in the excitement of the fight. At
one time an officer rode up to him from another portion of the field and
exclaimed, "General, I think the day is going against us!" To which
Jackson replied in his usual curt manner, "If you think so, sir, you had
better not say anything about it."

The resolute stand of the Confederates enabled General Beauregard to
bring up fresh troops, and he at last gave the word to advance.

Jackson's brigade rushed forward on receiving the order, burst through
the Federals with whom they were engaged, and, supported by the
reserves, drove the enemy from the plateau. Then the Federals, though
vastly superior in force, brought up the reserves, and prepared to renew
the attack; but 1700 fresh men of the Army of the Shenandoah came upon
the field of battle, Smith and Early brought up their divisions from the
river, and the whole Southern line advanced at the charge, and drove the
enemy down the slopes and on toward the ford.

A panic seized them, and their regiments broke up and took to headlong
flight, which soon became an utter rout. Many of them continued their
flight for hours, and for a time the Federal army ceased to exist; and
had the Confederates advanced, as Jackson desired that they should do,
Washington would have fallen into their hands without a blow being
struck in its defense.

This, the first great battle of the war, is sometimes known as the
battle of Manassas, but more generally as Bull Run.

With the exception of one or two charges, the little body of Confederate
horse did not take any part in the battle of Bull Run. Had they been
aware of the utter stampede of the Northern troops, they could safely
have pressed forward in hot pursuit as far as Washington, but being
numerically so inferior to the Federal cavalry, and in ignorance that
the Northern infantry had become a mere panic-stricken mob, it would
have been imprudent in the extreme for such a handful of cavalry to
undertake the pursuit of an army.

Many of the Confederates were of opinion that this decisive victory
would be the end of the war, and that the North, seeing that the South
was able as well as willing to defend the position it had taken up,
would abandon the idea of coercing it into submission. This hope was
speedily dissipated. The North was indeed alike astonished and
disappointed at the defeat of their army by a greatly inferior force,
but instead of abandoning the struggle, they set to work to retrieve the
disaster, and to place in the field a force which would, they believed,
prove irresistible.

Vincent Wingfield saw but little of the battle at Bull Run. As they were
impatiently waiting the order to charge, while the desperate conflict
between Jackson's brigade and the enemy was at its fiercest, a shell
from one of the Federal batteries burst a few yards in front of the
troop, and one of the pieces, striking Vincent on the side, hurled him
insensible from his horse. He was at once lifted and carried by Dan and
some of the other men-servants, who had been told off for this duty, to
the rear, where the surgeons were busily engaged in dressing the wounds
of the men who straggled back from the front. While the conflict lasted
those unable to walk lay where they fell, for no provision had at
present been made for ambulance corps, and not a single man capable of
firing a musket could be spared from the ranks. The tears were flowing
copiously down Dan's cheeks as he stood by while the surgeons examined
Vincent's wound.

"Is he dead, sah?" he sobbed as they lifted him up from his stooping
position.

"Dead!" the surgeon repeated. "Can't you see he is breathing, and did
you not hear him groan when I examined his side? He is a long way from
being a dead man yet. Some of his ribs are broken, and he has had a very
nasty blow; but I do not think there is any cause for anxiety about him.
Pour a little wine down his throat, and sprinkle his face with water.
Raise his head and put a coat under it, and when he opens his eyes and
begins to recover, don't let him move. Then you can cut up the side of
his jacket and down the sleeve, so as to get it off that side
altogether. Cut his shirt open, and bathe the wound with some water and
bit of rag of any sort; it is not likely to bleed much. When it has
stopped bleeding put a pad of linen upon it, and keep it wet. When we
can spare time we will bandage it properly."

But it was not until late at night that the time could be spared for
attending to Vincent; for the surgeons were overwhelmed with work, and
the most serious cases were, as far as possible, first attended to. He
had soon recovered consciousness. At first he looked with a feeling of
bewilderment at Dan, who was copiously sprinkling his face with water,
sobbing loudly while he did so. As soon as the negro perceived that his
master had opened his eyes he gave a cry of delight.

"Thank de Lord, Marse Vincent! Dis child tought you dead and gone for
sure."

"What's the matter, Dan? What has happened?" Vincent said, trying to
move, and then stopping suddenly with a cry of pain.

"You knocked off your horse, sah, wid one of de shells of dem cussed
Yanks."

"Am I badly hurt, Dan?"

"Bery bad, sah; great piece of flesh pretty nigh as big as my hand come
out ob your side, and doctor says some ob de ribs broken. But de doctor
not seem to make much ob it; he hard sort ob man dat. Say you get all
right again. No time to tend to you now. Hurry away just as if you some
poor white trash instead of Massa Wingfield ob de Orangery."

Vincent smiled faintly.

"It doesn't make much difference what a man is in a surgeon's eyes, Dan.
The question is how badly he is hurt, and what can be done for him?
Well, thank God it's no worse. Wildfire was not hurt, I hope?"

"No, sah; he is standing tied up by dat tree. Now, sah, de doctor say me
cut your jacket off and bave de wound."

"All right, Dan; but be a little careful with the water, you seem to be
pretty near drowning me as it is. Just wipe my face and hair, and get
the handkerchief from the pocket of my jacket, and open the shirt collar
and put the handkerchief inside round my neck. Then see how the battle
is going on. The roar seems louder than ever."

Dan went forward to the crest of a slight rise of the ground whence he
could look down upon the field of battle, and made haste to return.

"Can't see bery well, sah; too much smoke. But dey in de same place
still."

"Look round, Dan, and see if there are any fresh troops coming up."

Dan again went to the rise of ground.

"Yes, sah; lot of men coming ober de hill behind."

"That's all right, Dan. Now you can see about this bathing my side."

As soon as the battle was over, Major Ashley rode up to where Vincent
and five or six of his comrades of the cavalry were lying wounded.

"How are you getting on, lads? Pretty well, I hope?" he asked as he
dismounted.

"First-rate, major," one of the men answered. "We all of us took a turn
as soon as we heard that the Yanks were whipped."

"Yes, we have thrashed them handsomely," the major said. "Ah, Wingfield!
I am glad to see you are alive. I thought, when you fell, it was all
over with you."

"I am not much hurt, sir," Vincent replied. "A flesh wound and some ribs
are broken, I hear; but they won't be long mending, I hope."

"It's a nasty wound to look at," the major said, as Dan lifted the pad
of wet linen. "But with youth and health you will soon get round it,
never fear."

"Ah, my poor lad! yours is a worse case," he said as he bent over a
young fellow who was lying a few paces from Vincent.

"It's all up with me, major," he replied faintly; "the doctor said he
could do nothing for me. But I don't mind, now we have beaten them. You
will send a line to the old people, major, won't you, and say I died
doing my duty? I've got two brothers, and I expect they will send one on
to take my place."

"I will write to them, my lad," the major said, "and tell them all about
you." He could give the lad no false hopes, for already a gray shade was
stealing over the white face, and the end was close at hand; in a few
minutes he ceased to breathe.

Late in the evening the surgeons, having attended to more urgent cases,
came round. Vincent's wound was now more carefully examined than before,
but the result was the same. Three of the ribs were badly fractured, but
there was no serious danger.

"You will want quiet and good nursing for some time," the principal
surgeon said. "There will be a train of wounded going off for Richmond
the first thing in the morning, and you shall go by it. You had better
get a door," he said to some of the troopers, who had come across from
the spot where the cavalry were bivouacked to see how their comrades
were getting on, "and carry him down and put him in the train. One has
just been sent off and another will be made up at once, so that the
wounded can be put in it as they are taken down. Now I will bandage the
wound, and it will not want any more attention until you get home."

A wad of lint was placed upon the wound and bandaged tightly round the
body.

"Remember you have got to lie perfectly quiet, and not attempt to move
till the bones have knit. I am afraid that they are badly fractured, and
will require some time to heal up again."

A door was fetched from an outhouse near, and Vincent and two of his
comrades, who were also ordered to be sent to the rear, were one by one
carried down to the nearest point on the railway, where a train stood
ready to receive them, and they were then laid on the seats.

All night the wounded kept arriving, and by morning the train was packed
as full as it would hold, and with two or three surgeons in charge
started for Richmond. Dan was permitted to accompany the train, at
Vincent's urgent request, in the character of doctor's assistant, and he
went about distributing water to the wounded, and assisting the surgeons
in moving such as required it.

It was night before the train reached Richmond. A number of people were
at the station to receive it; for as soon as the news of the battle had
been received, preparations had been made for the reception of the
wounded, several public buildings had been converted into hospitals, and
numbers of the citizens had come forward with offers to take one or more
of the wounded into their houses. The streets were crowded with people,
who were wild with joy at the news of the victory which, as they
believed, had secured the State from further fear of invasion. Numbers
of willing hands were in readiness to carry the wounded on stretchers to
the hospitals, where all the surgeons of the town were already waiting
to attend upon them.

Vincent, at his own request, was only laid upon a bed, as he said that
he would go home to be nursed the first thing in the morning. This being
the case, it was needless to put him to the pain and trouble of being
undressed. Dan had started, as soon as he saw his master carried into
the hospital, to take the news to the Orangery; being strictly charged
by Vincent to make light of his injury, and on no account whatever to
alarm them. He was to ask that the carriage should come to fetch him the
first thing in the morning.

It was just daybreak when Mrs. Wingfield drove up to the hospital. Dan
had been so severely cross-examined that he had been obliged to give an
accurate account of Vincent's injury. There was bustle and movement even
at that early hour, for another train of wounded had just arrived. As
she entered the hospital she gave an exclamation of pleasure, for at the
door were two gentlemen in conversation, one of whom was the doctor who
had long attended the family at the Orangery.

"I am glad you are here, Dr. Mapleston; for I want your opinion before I
move Vincent. Have you seen him?"

"No, Mrs. Wingfield; I did not know he was here. I have charge of one of
the wards, and have not had time to see who are in the others. I
sincerely hope Vincent is not seriously hurt."

"That's what I want to find out, doctor. His boy brought us news late
last night that he was here. He said the doctors considered that he was
not in any danger; but as he had three ribs broken, and a deep flesh
wound from the explosion of a shell, it seems to me that it must be
serious."

"I will go up and see him at once, Mrs. Wingfield, and find out from the
surgeon in charge of his ward exactly what is the matter with him." Dan
led the way to the bed upon which Vincent was lying. He was only dozing,
and opened his eyes as they came up.

"My poor boy!" Mrs. Wingfield said, struggling with her tears at the
sight of his pale face, "this is sad indeed."

"It is nothing very bad, mother," Vincent replied cheerfully; "nothing
at all to fret about. The wound is nothing to the injuries of most of
those here. I suppose, doctor, I can be moved at once?"

Dr. Mapleston felt his pulse.

"You are feverish, Vincent; but perhaps the best thing for you would be
to get you home while you can be moved. You will do far better there
than here. But I must speak to the surgeon in charge of you first, and
hear what he says."

"Yes, I think you can move him," the surgeon of the ward said. "He has
got a nasty wound, and the ticket with him said that three ribs were
badly fractured; but I made no examination, as he said he would be
fetched the first thing this morning. I only put on a fresh dressing and
bandaged it. The sooner you get him off the better, if he is to be
moved. Fever is setting in, and he will probably be wandering by this
evening. He will have a much better chance at home, with cool rooms and
quiet and careful nursing, than he can have here; though there would be
no lack of either comforts or nurses, for half the ladies in the town
have volunteered for the work, and we have offers of all the medical
comforts that could be required were the list of wounded ten times as
large as it is."

A stretcher was brought in, and Vincent was lifted as gently as possible
upon it. Then he was carried down stairs and the stretcher placed in the
carriage; which was a large open one, and afforded just sufficient
length for it. Mrs. Wingfield took her seat beside him, Dan mounted the
box beside the coachman.

"I will be out in an hour, Mrs. Wingfield," Dr. Mapleston said. "I have
got to go round the ward again, and will then drive out at once. Give
him lemonade and cooling drinks; don't let him talk. Cut his clothes off
him, and keep the room somewhat dark, but with a free current of air. I
will bring out some medicine with me."

The carriage drove slowly to avoid shaking, and when they approached the
house Mrs. Wingfield told Dan to jump down and come to the side of the
carriage. Then she told him to run on as fast as he could ahead, and to
tell her daughters not to meet them upon their arrival, and that all the
servants were to be kept out of the way, except three men to carry
Vincent upstairs. The lad was consequently got up to his room without
any excitement, and was soon lying on his bed with a sheet thrown
lightly over him.

"That is comfortable," he said, as his mother bathed his face and hands
and smoothed his hair. "Where are the girls, mother?"

"They will come in to see you now, Vincent; but you are to keep quite
quiet, you know, and not to talk." The girls stole in and said a few
words, and left him alone again with Mrs. Wingfield. He did not look to
them so ill as they had expected, for there was a flush of fever on his
cheeks. Dr. Mapleston arrived a little later, examined and redressed the
wound, and comforted Mrs. Wingfield with the assurance that there was
nothing in it likely to prove dangerous to life.

"Our trouble will be rather with the effect of the shock than with the
wound itself. He is very feverish now, and you must not be alarmed if by
this evening he is delirious. You will give him this cooling draught
every three hours; he can have anything in the way of cooling drinks he
likes. If he begins to wander, put cloths dipped in cold water and wrung
out on his head, and sponge his hands with water with a little Eau de
Cologne in it. If he seems very hot set one of the women to fan him, but
don't let her go on if it seems to worry him. I will come round again at
half-past nine this evening and will make arrangements to pass the night
here. We have telegrams saying that surgeons are coming from Charleston
and many other places, so I can very well be spared."

When the doctor returned in the evening, he found, as he had
anticipated, that Vincent was in a high state of fever. This continued
four or five days, and then gradually passed off; and he woke up one
morning perfectly conscious. His mother was sitting on a chair at the
bedside.

"What is the time, mother?" he asked. "Have I been asleep long?"

"Some time, dear," she answered gently; "but you must not talk. You are
to take this draught and go off to sleep again; when you wake you may
ask any questions you like." She lifted the lad's head, gave him the
draught and some cold tea, then darkened the room, and in a few minutes
he was asleep again.




CHAPTER VII.

THE "MERRIMAC" AND THE "MONITOR."


It was some weeks before Vincent was able to walk unaided. His
convalescence was somewhat slow, for the shock to the system had been a
severe one. The long railway journey had been injurious to him, for the
bandage had become somewhat loose and the broken pieces of bone had
grated upon each other, and were much longer in knitting together than
they would have been had he been treated on the spot.

As soon as he could walk he became anxious to rejoin his troop, but the
doctor said that many weeks must elapse before he would be able to
undergo the hardships of a campaign. He was reconciled to some extent to
the delay by letters from his friends with the troop and by the perusal
of the papers. There was nothing whatever doing in Virginia. The two
armies still faced each other, the Northerners protected by the strong
fortifications they had thrown up round Washington--fortifications much
too formidable to be attacked by the Confederates, held as they were by
a force immensely superior to their own, both in numbers and arms.

The Northerners were indeed hard at work, collecting and organizing an
army which was to crush out the rebellion. General Scott had been
succeeded by McClellan in the supreme command, and the new general was
indefatigable in organizing the vast masses of men raised in the North.
So great were the efforts that, in a few months after the defeat of Bull
Run, the North had 650,000 men in arms.

But while no move had at present been made against Virginia there was
sharp fighting in some of the border States, especially in Missouri and
Kentucky, in both of which public opinion was much divided, and
regiments were raised on both sides.

Various operations were now undertaken by the Federal fleet at points
along the coast, and several important positions were taken and
occupied, it being impossible for the Confederates to defend so long a
line of seacoast. The South had lost rather than gained ground in
consequence of their victory at Bull Run. For a time they had been
unduly elated, and were altogether disposed to underrate their enemies
and to believe that the struggle was as good as over. Thus, then, they
made no effort at all corresponding to the North; but as time went on,
and they saw the vastness of the preparations made for their conquest,
the people of the Southern States again bestirred themselves.

Owing to the North having the command of the sea, and shutting up all
the principal ports, they had to rely upon themselves for everything,
while the North could draw arms and ammunition and all the requisites of
war from the markets of Europe. Foundries were accordingly established
for the manufacture of artillery, and factories for muskets, ammunition,
and percussion caps. The South had, in fact, to manufacture everything
down to the cloth for her soldiers' uniforms and the leather for their
shoes; and, as in the past she had relied wholly upon the North for such
goods, it was for a time impossible to supply the troops with even the
most necessary articles.

The women throughout the States were set to work spinning and weaving
rough cloth and making uniforms from it. Leather, however, cannot be
produced all at once, and indeed, with all their efforts, the
Confederate authorities were never, throughout the war, able to provide
a sufficient supply of boots for the troops, and many a battle was won
by soldiers who fought almost barefooted, and who reshod themselves for
the most part by stripping the boots from their dead foes. Many other
articles could not be produced in the Southern States, and the
Confederates suffered much from the want of proper medicines and
surgical appliances.

For these and many other necessaries they had to depend solely upon the
ships which succeeded in making their way through the enemy's cruisers
and running the blockade of the ports. Wine, tea, coffee, and other
imported articles soon became luxuries beyond the means of all, even the
very wealthy. All sorts of substitutes were used; grain, roasted and
ground, being chiefly used as a substitute for coffee. Hitherto the
South had been principally occupied in raising cotton and tobacco,
depending chiefly upon the North for food; and it was necessary now to
abandon the cultivation of products for which they had no sale, and to
devote the land to the growth of maize and other crops for food.

By the time that the long period of inaction came to a close, Vincent
had completely recovered his strength, and was ready to rejoin the ranks
as soon as the order came from Colonel Stuart, who had promised to send
for him directly there was a prospect of active service.

One of Vincent's first questions, as soon as he became convalescent, was
whether a letter had been received from Tony. It had come, he was told,
among the last batch of letters that crossed the frontier before the
outbreak of hostilities, and Mrs. Wingfield had, as he had requested,
opened it. As had been arranged, it had merely contained Tony's address
at a village near Montreal; for Vincent had warned him to say nothing in
the letter, for there was no saying, in the troubled times which were
approaching when Tony left, into whose hands it might fall.

Vincent had, before starting, told his mother of the share he had taken
in getting the negro safely away, and Mrs. Wingfield, brought up, as she
had been, to regard those who assisted runaway slaves to escape in the
same light as those who assisted to steal any other kind of property,
was at first greatly shocked when she heard that her son had taken part
in such an enterprise, however worthy of compassion the slave might be,
and however brutal the master from whose hands he had fled. However, as
Vincent was on the point of starting for the war to meet danger, and
possibly death, in the defense of Virginia, she had said little, and
that little was in reference rather to the imprudence of the course he
had taken than to what she regarded in her own mind as its folly, and
indeed its criminality.

She had, however, promised that as soon as Tony's letter arrived she
would, if still possible, forward Dinah and the child to him, supplying
her with money for the journey, and giving her the papers freeing her
from slavery which Vincent had duly signed in the presence of a justice.
When the letter came, however, it was already too late. Fighting was on
the point of commencing, all intercourse across the border was stopped,
the trains were all taken up for the conveyance of troops, and even a
man would have had great difficulty in passing northward, while for an
unprotected negress with a baby such a journey would have been
impossible.

Mrs. Wingfield had therefore written four times at fortnightly intervals
to Tony, saying that it was impossible to send Dinah off at present, but
that she should be dispatched as soon as the troubles were over, upon
receipt of another letter from him saying that his address was
unchanged, or giving a new one. These letters were duly posted, and it
was probable that one or other of them would in time reach Tony, as
mails were sent off to Europe, whenever an opportunity offered for them
to be taken by a steamer running the blockade from a Southern port.
Dinah, therefore, still remained at the Orangery. She was well and
happy, for her life there was a delightful one indeed after her toil and
hardship at the Jacksons'; and although she was anxious to join her
husband, the knowledge that he was well and safe from all pursuit, and
that sooner or later she would join him with her child, was sufficient
to make her perfectly contented.

During Vincent's illness she had been his most constant attendant; for
her child now no longer required her care, and passed much of its time
down at the nursery, where the young children of the slaves were looked
after by two or three aged negresses past active work. She had therefore
begged Mrs. Wingfield to be allowed to take her place by the bedside of
her young master, and, after giving her a trial, Mrs. Wingfield found her
so quiet, gentle, and patient that she installed her there, and was able
to obtain the rest she needed, with a feeling of confidence that Vincent
would be well attended to in her absence.

When Vincent was well enough to be about again, his sisters were
surprised at the change that had taken place in him since he had started
a few months before for the war. It was not so much that he had grown,
though he had done so considerably, but that he was much older in manner
and appearance. He had been doing man's work,--work requiring vigilance,
activity, and courage,--and they could no longer treat him as a boy. As
he became stronger he took to riding about the plantation; but not upon
Wildfire, for his horse was still with the troop, Colonel Stuart having
promised to see that the animal was well cared for, and that no one
should ride upon it but himself.

"I hope you like Jonas Pearson better than you used to do, Vincent,"
Mrs. Wingfield said a day or two before he started to rejoin his troop.

"I can't say I do, mother," he replied shortly. "The man is very civil
to me now--too civil, in fact; but I don't like him, and I don't believe
he is honest. I don't mean that he would cheat you, though he may do so
for anything I know; but he pretends to be a violent Secessionist,
which, as he comes from Vermont, is not natural, and I imagine he would
sing a different tune if the bluecoats ever get to Richmond. Still I
have nothing particular to say against him, except that I don't like
him, and I don't trust him. So long as everything goes on well for the
Confederacy I don't suppose it matters, but if we should ever get the
worst of it you will see that fellow will be mischievous.

[Illustration: Map--THE COUNTRY BETWEEN RICHMOND AND FORT MONROE.]

"However, I hear that he has obeyed your orders, and that there has been
no flogging on the estate since I went away. In fact, as far as I can
see, he does not keep anything like such a sharp hand over the slaves as
he used to do; and in some of the fields the work seems to be done in a
very slovenly way. What his game is I don't know; but I have no doubt
whatever that he has some game in his mind."

"You are a most prejudiced boy," Mrs. Wingfield said, laughing. "First
of all the man is too strict, and you were furious about it; now you
think he is too lenient, and at once you suspect he has what you call a
game of some sort or other on. You are hard to please, indeed."

Vincent smiled. "Well, as I told you once before, we shall see. I hope I
am wrong, and that Pearson is all that you believe him to be. I own that
I may be prejudiced against him, but nothing will persuade me that it
was not from him that Jackson learned that Dinah was here, and it was to
that we owe the visit of the sheriff and the searching the plantation
for Tony. However, whatever the man is at heart, he can, as far as I
see, do you no injury as long as things go on as they are, and I
sincerely trust he will never have an opportunity of doing so."

During the winter Vincent had made the acquaintance of many of the
Southern leaders. The town was the center of the movement, the heart of
the Confederacy. It was against it, as the capital of the Southern
States, that the efforts of the Northerners were principally directed,
and to it flocked the leading men from all parts of the country.
Although every Virginian family had some of its members at the front,
and a feeling of anxiety reigned everywhere, a semblance of gayety was
kept up. The theater was opened, and parties and balls given in order to
keep up the spirits of the people by the example of those of higher
rank.

These balls differed widely in appearance from those of eighteen months
before. The gentlemen were almost all in uniform, and already calicoes
and other cheap fabrics were worn by many of the ladies, as foreign
dress materials could no longer be purchased. Mrs. Wingfield made a
point of always attending these entertainments with her daughters, which
to the young people afforded a cheerful break in the dullness and
monotony of their usual life; for owing to the absence of almost all the
young men with the army, there had been a long cessation of the pleasant
interchange of visits, impromptu parties, and social gatherings that had
formed a feature in the life of Virginia.

The balls would have been but dull affairs had only the residents of
Richmond been present; but leave was granted as much as possible to
officers stationed with regiments within a railway run of the town, and
as these eagerly availed themselves of the change from the monotony of
camp life, the girls had no reason to complain of want of partners.
Here, and at the receptions given by President Davis, Vincent met all
the leaders of the Confederacy, civil and military. Many of them had
been personal friends of the Wingfields before the Secession movement
began, and among them was General Magruder, who commanded the troops
round Richmond.

Early in the winter the general had called at the Orangery. "We are
going to make a call upon the patriotism of the planters of this
neighborhood, Mrs. Wingfield," he said, during lunch time. "You see our
armies are facing those of the Federals opposite Washington, and can
offer a firm front to any foe marching down from the North; but
unfortunately they have command of the sea, and there is nothing to
prevent their embarking an army on board ship and landing it in either
the James or the York rivers, and in that case they might make a rush
upon Richmond before there would be time to bring down troops to our
aid. I am therefore proposing to erect a chain of works between the two
rivers, so as to be able to keep even a large army at bay until
re-enforcements arrive; but to do this a large number of hands will be
required, and we are going to ask the proprietors of plantations to
place as many negroes as they can spare at our disposal."

"There can be no doubt as to the response your quest will meet with,
general. At present we have scarcely enough work for our slaves to do. I
intend to grow no tobacco next year, for it will only rot in the
warehouse, and a comparatively small number of hands are required to
raise corn crops. I have about a hundred and seventy working hands on
the Orangery, and shall be happy to place a hundred at your disposal for
as long a time as you may require them. If you want fifty more, you can
of course have them. Everything else must at present give way to the
good of the cause."

"I thank you much, Mrs. Wingfield, for your offers, and will put your
name down the first on the list of contributors."

"You seem quite to have recovered now," he said to Vincent a few minutes
afterward.

"Yes; I am ashamed of staying here so long, general. But I feel some
pain at times; and as there is nothing doing at the front, and my doctor
says that it is of importance I should have rest as long as possible, I
have stayed on. Major Ashley has promised to recall me as soon as there
is a prospect of active work."

"I think it is quite likely that there will be active work here as soon
as anywhere else," the general said. "We know pretty well what is doing
at Washington, and though nothing has been decided upon, there is a
party in favor of a landing in force here; and if so, we shall have hot
work. What do you say? If you like, I will get you a commission and
appoint you one of my aids-de-camp. Your knowledge of the country will
make you useful, and as Ashley has specially mentioned your name in one
of his dispatches, you can have the commission by asking for it.

"If there is to be fighting round here, it will be of more interest to
you defending your own home than in taking part in general engagements
for the safety of the State. It will, too, enable you to be a good deal
at home; and although, so far, the slaves have behaved extremely well,
there is no saying exactly what may happen if the Northerners come among
us. You can rejoin your own corps afterward, you know, if nothing comes
of this."

Vincent was at first inclined to decline the offer, but his mother and
sisters were so pleased at having him near them that he finally accepted
with thanks, being principally influenced by the general's last
argument, that possibly there might be trouble with the slaves in the
event of a landing in the James Peninsula by the Northerners. A few days
later there came an official intimation that he had received a
commission in the cavalry, and had at General Magruder's request been
appointed to his staff, and he at once entered upon his new duties.

Fortress Monroe, at the entrance of Hampton Roads, was still in the
hands of the Federals, and a large Federal fleet was assembled here, and
was only prevented from sailing up the James River by the _Merrimac_, a
steamer which the Confederates had plated with railway iron. They had
also constructed batteries upon some high bluffs on each side of the
river. In a short time 5000 negroes were set to work erecting batteries
upon the York River at Yorktown and Gloucester Point, and upon a line of
works extending from Warwick upon the James River to Ship Point on the
York, through a line of wooded and swampy country intersected by streams
emptying themselves into one or other of the rivers.

This line was some thirty miles in length, and would require 25,000 men
to guard it; but Magruder hoped that there would be sufficient warning
of an attack to enable re-enforcements to arrive in time to raise his
own command of about 10,000 men to that strength. The negroes worked
cheerfully, for they received a certain amount of pay from the State;
but the work was heavy and difficult, and different altogether to that
which they were accustomed to perform. The batteries by the sides of the
rivers made fair progress, but the advance of the long line of works
across the peninsula was but slow. Vincent had, upon receiving his
appointment, written at once to Major Ashley, sending his letter by Dan,
who was ordered to bring back Wildfire. Vincent stated that, had he
consulted his personal feeling, he should have preferred remaining in
the ranks of his old corps; but that, as the fighting might be close to
his home, and there was no saying what might be the behavior of the
slave population in the event of a Northern invasion, he had, for the
sake of his mother and sisters, accepted the appointment, but as soon as
the danger was over he hoped to rejoin the corps and serve under his
former commander.

Dan, on his return with Wildfire, brought a letter from the major saying
that, although he should have been glad to have had him with him, he
quite agreed with the decision at which he had, under the circumstances,
arrived. Vincent now took up his quarters at the camp formed a short
distance from the city, and much of his time was spent in riding to and
from the peninsula, seeing that the works were being carried out
according to the plan of the general, and reporting upon the manner in
which the contractors for the supply off food to the negroes at work
there performed their duties. Sometimes he was away for two or three
days upon this work; but he generally managed once or twice a week to
get home for a few hours.

The inhabitants of Richmond and its neighborhood were naturally greatly
interested in the progress of the works for their defense, and parties
were often organized to ride or drive to Yorktown, or to the batteries
on the James River, to watch the progress made. Upon one occasion
Vincent accompanied his mother and sisters, and a party of ladies and
gentlemen from the neighboring plantations, to Drury's Bluff, where an
intrenched position named Fort Darling had been erected, and
preparations made to sink vessels across the river, and close it against
the advance of the enemy's fleet, should any misfortune happen to the
_Merrimac_.

Several other parties had been made up, and each brought provisions with
them, General Magruder and some of his officers received them upon their
arrival, and conducted them over the works. After this the whole party
sat down to a picnic meal on the ground, and no stranger could have
guessed that the merry party formed part of a population threatened with
invasion by a powerful foe. There were speeches and toasts, all of a
patriotic character, and General Magruder raised the enthusiasm to the
highest point by informing them that in a few days--the exact day was a
secret, but it would be very shortly--the _Merrimac_, or, as she had
been rechristened, the _Virginia_, would put out of Norfolk Harbor, and
see what she could do to clear Hampton Roads of the fleet that now
threatened them. As they were riding back to Richmond the general said
to Vincent:

"I will tell you a little more than I told the others, Wingfield. I
believe the _Merrimac_ will go out the day after to-morrow. I wish I
could get away myself to see the affair; but, unfortunately, I cannot do
so. However, if you like to be present, I will give you three days'
leave, as you have been working very hard lately. You can start early
to-morrow, and can get down by train to Norfolk in the evening. I should
advise you to take your horse with you, and then you can ride in the
morning to some spot from which you will get a fair view of the Roads,
and be able to see what is going on."

"Thank you very much, sir," Vincent said. "I should like it immensely."

The next morning Vincent went down to Norfolk. Arriving there, he found
that, although there was a general expectation that the _Merrimac_
would shortly go out to try her strength with the enemy, nothing was
known of the fact that the next morning had been fixed for the
encounter; the secret being kept to the last, lest some spy or adherent
of the North might take the news to the fleet. After putting up his
horse Vincent went down to the navy yard, off which the _Merrimac_ was
lying.

This ship had been sunk by the Federals when, at the commencement of
hostilities, they had evacuated Norfolk. Having been raised by the
Confederates, the ship was cut down, and a sort of roof covered with
iron was built over it, so that the vessel presented the appearance of a
huge sunken house. A ram was fixed to her bow, and she was armed with
ten guns. Her steam-power was very insufficient for her size, and she
could only move through the water at the rate of five knots an hour.

"She is an ugly-looking thing," a man observed to Vincent, as he gazed
at the ship.

"Frightfully ugly," Vincent agreed. "She may be a formidable machine in
the way of fighting, but one can scarcely call her a ship."

"She is a floating battery, and if they tried their best to turn out the
ugliest thing that ever floated they could not have succeeded better.
She is just like a Noah's ark sunk down to the eaves of her roof."

"Yes, she is a good deal like that," Vincent agreed. "The very look of
her ought to be enough to frighten the Federals, even if she did nothing
else."

"I expect it will not be long before she gives them a taste of her
quality," the man said. "She has got her coal and ammunition on board,
and there's nothing to prevent her going out this evening if she wants
to."

"It will be worth seeing when she does go out to fight the Northerners,"
Vincent said. "It will be a new experiment in warfare, and, if she turns
out a success, I suppose all the navies in the world will be taking to
cover themselves up with iron."

The next morning, which was the 8th of March,--a date forever memorable
in naval annals,--smoke was seen pouring out from the funnels of the
_Merrimac_, and there were signs of activity on board the _Patrick
Henry_, of six guns, and the _Jamestown_, _Raleigh_, _Beaufort_, and
_Teazer_, little craft carrying one gun each, and at eleven o'clock they
all moved down the inlet on which Norfolk is situated. The news that the
_Merrimac_ was going out to attack the enemy had now spread, and the
whole population of Norfolk turned out and hastened down toward the
mouth of the inlet on horseback, in vehicles, or on foot, while Vincent
rode to the batteries on Sewell's Point, nearly facing Fortress Monroe.

He left his horse at a farmhouse a quarter of a mile from the battery;
for Wildfire was always restless under fire, and it was probable that
the batteries would take a share in the affair. At one o'clock some of
the small Federal lookout launches were seen to be at work signaling, a
bustle could be observed prevailing among the large ships over by the
fortress, and it was evident that the _Merrimac_ was now visible to them
as she came down the inlet. The _Cumberland_ and _Congress_ men-of-war
moved out in that direction, and the _Minnesota_ and the _St. Lawrence_,
which were at anchor, got under way, assisted by steam tugs.

The _Merrimac_ and the fleet of little gunboats were now visible from
the battery, advancing against the _Cumberland_ and _Congress_. The
former opened fire upon her at a distance of a mile with the heavy pivot
guns, but the _Merrimac_, without replying, continued her slow and
steady course toward them. She first approached the _Congress_, and as
she did so a puff of smoke burst, from the forward end of her
pent-house, and the water round the _Congress_ was churned up by a hail
of grape-shot. As they passed each other both vessels fired a broadside.
The officers in the fort, provided with glasses, could see the effect of
the _Merrimac's_ fire in the light patches that showed on the side of
the _Congress_, but the _Merrimac_ appeared entirely uninjured. She now
approached the _Cumberland_, which poured several broadsides into her,
but altogether without effect.

The _Merrimac_, without replying, steamed straight on and struck the
_Cumberland_ with great force, knocking a large hole in her side, near
the water line. Then backing off, she opened fire upon her.

For half an hour the crew of the _Cumberland_ fought with great bravery.
The ships lay about three hundred yards apart, and every shot from the
_Merrimac_ told on the wooden vessel. The water was pouring in through
the breach. The shells of the _Merrimac_ crushed in through her side,
and at one time set her on fire; but the crew worked their guns until
the vessel sank beneath their feet. Some men succeeded in swimming to
land, which was not far distant, others were saved by small boats from
the shore, but nearly half of the crew of 400 men were either killed in
action or drowned.

The _Merrimac_ now turned her attention to the _Congress_, which was
left to fight the battle alone, as the _Minnesota_ had got aground, and
the _Roanoke_ and _St. Lawrence_ could not approach near enough to
render them assistance from their draught of water. The _Merrimac_
poured broadside after broadside into her, until the officer in command
and many of the crew were killed. The lieutenant who succeeded to the
command, seeing there was no prospect of help, and that resistance was
hopeless, hauled down the flag. A gunboat was sent alongside, with
orders that the crew should leave the _Congress_ and come on board, as
the ship was to be burned. But the troops and artillery lining the shore
now opened fire on the little gunboat, which consequently hauled off.
The _Merrimac_, after firing several more shells into the _Congress_,
moved away to attack the _Minnesota_, and the survivors of the 200 men
who composed the crew of the _Congress_ were conveyed to shore in small
boats. The vessel was set on fire either by her own crew or the shells
of the _Merrimac_, and by midnight blew up.

Owing to the shallowness of the water the _Merrimac_ could not get near
enough to the _Minnesota_ to use her own small guns to advantage, and
the gunboat was driven off by the heavy ten-inch gun of the Federal
frigate, and, therefore, at seven o'clock the _Merrimac_ and her
consorts returned to Norfolk. The greatest delight was felt on shore at
the success of the engagement, and on riding back to Norfolk Vincent
learned that the ram would go out again next morning to engage the rest
of the Federal fleet.

She herself had suffered somewhat in the fight. Her loss in men was only
two killed and eight wounded; but two of her guns had the muzzles shot
off, the armor was damaged in some places, and, most serious of all, she
had badly twisted her ram in running into the _Cumberland_. Still it
appeared that she was more than a match for the rest of the Federal
fleet, and that these must either fly or be destroyed.

As the general had given him three days' leave, Vincent was able to stay
to see the close of the affair, and early next morning again rode down
to Sewell's Point, as the _Merrimac_ was to start at daybreak. At six
o'clock the ironclad came out from the river and made for the
_Minnesota_, which was still aground. The latter was seen to run up a
signal, and the spectators saw an object which they had not before
perceived coming out as if to meet the ram. The glasses were directed
toward it, and a general exclamation of surprise was heard.

"What is the thing? It looks like a raft with two round turrets upon it,
and a funnel." A moment's consideration, and the truth burst upon them.
It was the ship they had heard of as building at New York, and which had
been launched six weeks before. It was indeed the _Monitor_, which had
arrived during the night, just in time to save the rest of the Federal
fleet. She was the first regular ironclad ever built. She was a turret
ship, carrying two very heavy guns, and showing only between two and
three feet above the water.

The excitement upon both shores as these adversaries approached each
other was intense. They moved slowly, and not until they were within a
hundred yards distance did the _Monitor_ open fire, the _Merrimac_
replying at once. The fire for a short time was heavy and rapid, the
distance between the combatants varying from fifty to two hundred yards.
The _Monitor_ had by far the greatest speed, and was much more easily
turned than the Confederate ram, and her guns were very much heavier,
and the _Merrimac_, while still keeping up the fight, made toward the
mouth of the river.

Suddenly she turned and steamed directly at the _Monitor_, and before
the latter could get out of her way struck her on the side; but the ram
was bent, and her weak engines were insufficient to propel her with the
necessary force. Consequently she inflicted no damage on the _Monitor_,
and the action continued, the turret ship directing her fire at the iron
roof of the ram, while the latter pointed her guns especially at the
turret and pilot-house of the _Monitor_. At length, after a battle which
had lasted six hours, the _Monitor_ withdrew, one of the plates of her
pilot house being seriously damaged and her commander injured in the
eyes.

When her foe drew off the _Merrimac_ steamed back to Norfolk. There were
no men killed in either battle, and each side claimed a victory; the
Federals upon the ground that they had driven off the _Merrimac_, the
Confederates because the _Monitor_ had retreated from the fight. Each
vessel, however, held the strength of the other in respect; the
_Monitor_ remaining as sentinel over the ships and transports at
Fortress Monroe, while the _Merrimac_ at Norfolk continued to guard the
entrance into the James River.

As soon as the fight was over Vincent Wingfield, greatly pleased that he
had witnessed so strange and interesting a combat, rode back to Norfolk,
and the same evening reached Richmond, where his description of the
fight was received with the greatest interest and excitement.




CHAPTER VIII.

McCLELLAN'S ADVANCE.


It was not until three weeks after the fight between the ironclads that
the great army under General McClellan arrived off Fortress Monroe, the
greater portion of the troops coming down the Potomac in steam
transports. Vast quantities of stores had been accumulated in and around
the fortress. Guns of a size never before used in war were lying on the
wharfs in readiness to be placed in batteries, while Hampton Roads were
crowded with transports and store vessels watched over by the _Monitor_
and the other warships. McClellan's army was a large one, but not so
strong a force as he had intended to have taken with him, and as soon as
he arrived at Fortress Monroe he learned that he would not be able to
expect much assistance from the fleet. The _Merrimac_ completely closed
the James River; and were the more powerful vessels of the fleet to move
up York River, she would be able to sally out and destroy the rest of
the fleet and the transports.

As it was most important to clear the peninsula between the two rivers
before Magruder should receive strong re-enforcements, a portion of the
troops were at once landed, and on the 4th of April 56,000 men and one
hundred guns disembarked and started on their march against Yorktown. As
soon as the news of the arrival of the Northern army at Fortress Monroe
reached Richmond fresh steps were taken for the defense of the city.
Magruder soon found that it would be impossible with the force at his
command to hold the line he had proposed, and a large body of negroes
and troops were set to work to throw up defenses between Yorktown and a
point on the Warwick River thirteen and a half miles away.

A portion of this line was covered by the Warwick Creek which he dammed
up to make it unfordable, and erected batteries to guard the dams.
Across the intervening ground a weak earthwork with trenches was
constructed, there being no time to raise stronger works; but Magruder
relied chiefly upon the swampy and difficult nature of the country, and
the concealment afforded by the forest, which rendered it difficult for
the enemy to discover the weakness of the defenders.

He posted 6000 men at Yorktown and Gloucester Point, and the remaining
5000 troops under his command were scattered along the line of works to
the Warwick River. He knew that if McClellan pushed forward with all his
force he must be successful; but he knew also that, if the enemy could
be held in check for a few days, assistance would reach him from General
Johnston's army.

Fortunately for the Confederates the weather, which had been fine and
clear during the previous week, changed on the very day that McClellan
started. The rain came down in torrents, and the roads became almost
impassable. The columns struggled on along the deep and muddy tracks all
day, and bivouacked for the night in the forests. The next morning they
resumed their march, and on reaching the first line of intrenchments
formed by the Confederates found them deserted, and it was not until
they approached the Warwick Creek that they encountered serious
opposition. Had they pushed forward at once they would have
unquestionably captured Richmond. But McClellan's fault was
over-caution, and he believed himself opposed by a very much larger
force than that under the command of Magruder; consequently, instead of
making an attack at once, he began regular siege operations against the
works on Warwick Creek and those at Yorktown.

The delay saved Richmond. Every day re-enforcements arrived, and by the
time that McClellan's army, over 100,000 strong, had erected their
batteries and got their heavy guns into position, Magruder had been
re-enforced by some 10,000 men under General Johnston, who now assumed
the command, while other divisions were hurrying up from Northern and
Western Virginia. Upon the very night before the batteries were ready to
open, the Confederates evacuated their positions and fell back, carrying
with them all their guns and stores to the Chickahominy River, which ran
almost across the peninsula at a distance of six miles only from
Richmond.

The Confederates crossed and broke down the bridges, and prepared to
make another stand. The disappointment of the Federals was great. After
ten days of incessant labor and hardship they had only gained possession
of the village of Yorktown, and a tract of low, swampy country. The
divisions in front pressed forward rapidly after the Confederates; but
these had managed their plan so well that all were safely across the
stream before they were overtaken.

The dismay in Richmond had for a few days been great. Many people left
the town for the interior, taking their valuables with them, and all was
prepared for the removal of the State papers and documents. But as the
Federals went on with their fortifications, and the re-enforcements
began to arrive, confidence was restored, and all went on as before.

The great Federal army was so scattered through the forests, and the
discipline of some of the divisions was so lax, that it was some days
before McClellan had them ranged in order on the Chickahominy. Another
week elapsed before he was in a position to undertake fresh operations;
but General Johnston had now four divisions on the spot, and he was too
enterprising a general to await the attack. Consequently he crossed the
Chickahominy, fell upon one of the Federal divisions and almost
destroyed it, and drove back the whole of their left wing. The next
morning the battle was renewed, and lasted for five hours.

It was fortunate indeed for the Confederates that the right wing of the
Northern army did not, while the action was going on, cross the river
and march straight upon Richmond; but communication was difficult from
one part of the army to another, owing to the thick forests and the
swampy state of the ground, and being without orders they remained
inactive all day. The loss on their side had been 7000 men, while the
Confederates had lost 4500; and General Johnston being seriously
wounded, the chief command was given to General Lee, by far the ablest
soldier the war produced. Satisfied with the success they had gained,
the Confederates fell back across the river again.

On the 4th of June, General Stuart--for he had now been
promoted--started with 1200 cavalry and two guns and in forty-eight
hours made one of the most adventurous reconnoissances ever undertaken.
First the force rode out to Hanover Courthouse, where they encountered
and defeated, first, a small body of cavalry, and afterward a whole
regiment. Then, after destroying the stores there, they rode round to
the Pamunky, burned two vessels and a large quantity of stores, captured
a train of forty wagons, and burned a railway bridge.

Then they passed right round the Federal rear, crossed the river, and
re-entered the city with 165 prisoners and 200 horses, having effected
the destruction of vast quantities of stores, besides breaking up the
railways and burning bridges.

Toward the end of June McClellan learned that Stonewall Jackson, having
struck heavy blows at the two greatly superior armies which were
operating against him in the valley of the Shenandoah, had succeeded in
evading them, and was marching toward Richmond.

He had just completed several bridges across the river, and was about to
move forward to fight a great battle when the news reached him.
Believing that he should be opposed by an army of 200,000 men, although,
in fact, the Confederate army, after Jackson and all the available
re-enforcements came up, was still somewhat inferior in strength to his
own, he determined to abandon for the present the attempt upon Richmond,
and to fall back upon the James River.

Here his ships had already landed stores for his supply, for the river
was now open as far as the Confederate defenses at Fort Darling.
Norfolk Navy Yard had been captured by the 10,000 men who formed the
garrison of Fortress Monroe. No resistance had been offered, as all the
Confederate troops had been concentrated for the defense of Richmond.
When Norfolk was captured the _Merrimac_ steamed out to make her way out
of the river; but the water was low, and the pilot declared that she
could not be taken up. Consequently she was set on fire and burned to
the water's edge, and thus the main obstacle to the advance of the
Federal fleet was removed.

They had advanced as far as Fort Darling, and the ironclad gunboats had
engaged the batteries there. Their shot, however, did little damage to
the defenders upon the lofty bluffs, while the shot from the batteries
so injured the gunboats that the attempt to force the passage was
abandoned. While falling back to a place called Harrison's Landing on
the James River, the Federals were attacked by the Confederates, but
after desperate fighting on both sides, lasting for five days, they
succeeded in drawing off from the Chickahominy with a loss of fifty
guns, thousands of small-arms, and the loss of the greater part of their
stores.

All idea of a further advance against Richmond was for the present
abandoned. President Lincoln had always been opposed to the plan, and a
considerable portion of the army was moved round to join the force under
General Pope, which was now to march upon Richmond from the north.

From the commencement of the Federal advance to the time when, beaten
and dispirited, they regained the James River, Vincent Wingfield had
seen little of his family. The Federal lines had at one time been within
a mile of the Orangery. The slaves had some days before been all sent
into the interior, and Mrs. Wingfield and her daughters had moved into
Richmond, where they joined in the work, to which the whole of the
ladies of the town and neighborhood devoted themselves, of attending to
the wounded, of whom, while the fighting was going on, long trains
arrived every day at the city.

Vincent himself had taken no active part in the fighting. Magruder's
division had not been engaged in the first attack upon McClellan's
force; and although it had taken a share in the subsequent severe
fighting, Vincent had been occupied in carrying messages from the
general to the leaders of the other divisions, and had only once or
twice come under the storm of fire to which the Confederates were
exposed as they plunged through the morasses to attack the enemy. As
soon as it was certain that the attack was finally abandoned, and that
McClellan's troops were being withdrawn to strengthen Pope's army,
Vincent resigned his appointment as aid-de-camp, and was appointed to
the 7th Virginia Cavalry, stationed at Orange, where it was facing the
Federal cavalry. Major Ashley had fallen while protecting the passage of
Jackson's division, when hard pressed by one of the Federal armies in
West Virginia.

No action in the war had been more brilliant than the manner in which
Stonewall Jackson had baffled the two armies--each greatly superior in
force to his own--that had been specially appointed to destroy him if
possible, or at any rate to prevent his withdrawing from the Shenandoah
Valley and marching to aid in the defense of the Confederate capital.
His troops had marched almost day and night, without food, and depending
entirely upon such supplies as they could obtain from the scattered
farmhouses they passed.

Although Richmond was for the present safe, the prospect of the
Confederates was by no means bright. New Orleans had been captured; the
blockade of the other ports was now so strict that it was difficult in
the extreme for a vessel to make her way in or out; and the Northerners
had placed flotillas of gunboats on the rivers, and by the aid of these
were gradually making their way into the heart of several of the States.

"Are you thinking of going out to the Orangery again soon, mother?"
Vincent asked on the evening before setting out on the march north.

"I think not, Vincent. There is so much to do in the hospitals here
that I cannot leave. I should be ashamed to be living in luxury at the
Orangery with the girls while other women are giving up their whole time
nursing the wounded. Besides, although I do not anticipate that after
the way they have been hurled back the Northerners will try again for
some time, now they are in possession of Harrison's Landing they can at
any moment advance. Besides, it is not pleasant being obliged to turn
out of one's house and leave everything to their mercy. I wrote
yesterday to Pearson to bring the slaves back at once and take up the
work, and I shall go over occasionally to see that everything is in
order; but at any rate for a time we will stop here."

"I think that is best, mother. Certainly I should feel more comfortable
knowing that you are all at Richmond than alone out there."

"We should be no worse off than thousands of ladies all over the State,
Vincent. There are whole districts where every white capable of using a
gun has gone to the war, leaving nothing but women and slaves behind,
and we have not heard of a single case in which there has been trouble."

"Certainly there is no chance of trouble with your slaves, mother; but
in some of the other plantations it may not be so. At any rate the quiet
conduct of the slaves everywhere is the very best answer that could be
given to the accusations that have been made as to their cruel
treatment. At present the whole of the property of the slave-owners
throughout the Southern States is at their mercy, and they might burn,
kill, and destroy; and yet in no single instance have they risen against
what are called their oppressors, even when the Federals have been close
at hand.

"Please keep your eye on Dinah, mother. I distrust that fellow Jackson
so thoroughly that I believe him capable of having her carried off and
smuggled away somewhere down south, and sold there if he saw a chance. I
wish, instead of sending her to the Orangery, you would keep her as one
of your servants here."

"I will if you wish it, Vincent; but I cannot believe for a moment that
Jackson or anyone else would venture to meddle with any of my slaves."

"Perhaps not, mother; but it is best to be on the safe side. Anyhow, I
shall be glad to know that she is with you. Young Jackson will be away,
for I know he is in one of Stuart's troops of horse, though I have never
happened to run against him since the war began."

The firing had hardly ceased before Harrison's Landing, when General
Jackson, with a force of about 15,000 men, composed of his own division,
now commanded by General Winder, General Ewell's division, and a portion
of that of General Hill, started for the Rapidan to check General Pope,
who, plundering and wasting the country as he advanced, was marching
south, his object being to reach Gordonsville, where he would cut the
line of railway connecting Richmond with West Virginia. Vincent was glad
that the regiment to which he had been appointed would be under
Jackson's command, and that he would be campaigning again with his old
division, which consisted largely of Virginian troops and contained so
many of his old friends.

With Jackson, too, he was certain to be engaged in stirring service, for
that general ever kept his troops upon the march; striking blows where
least expected, and traversing such an extent of country by rapid
marches that he and his division seemed to the enemy to almost
ubiquitous.

It was but a few hours after he received his appointment that Vincent
took train from Richmond to Gordonsville, Dan being in the horse-box
with Wildfire in the rear of the train. His regiment was encamped a mile
or two away, and he at once rode on and reported himself to Colonel
Jones, who commanded it.

"I am glad to have you with me, sir," the colonel said. "I had the
pleasure of knowing your father, and am an old friend of your mother's
family. As you were in Ashley's horse and have been serving on
Magruder's staff, you are well up in your duties; and it is a comfort
to me that the vacancy has been filled up by one who knows his work
instead of a raw hand. We have had a brush or two already with the
enemy; but at present we are watching each other, waiting on both sides
till the generals have got their infantry to the front in readiness for
an advance. Jackson is waiting for Hill's division to come up, and I
believe Pope is expecting great re-enforcements from McClellan."

A few days later Colonel Jones was ordered to take charge of the pickets
posted on the Rapidan, but before reaching Orange a gentleman rode up at
full speed and informed them that the enemy were in possession of that
town. Colonel Jones divided his regiment into two parts, and with one
charged the Federal cavalry in the main street of Orange, while the
other portion of the regiment, under Major Marshall, attacked them on
the flank. After a sharp fight the enemy were driven from the place; but
they brought up large re-enforcements, and pouring in a heavy fire,
attacked the town on both sides, and the Confederates had to fall back.
But they made another stand a little way out of the town, and drove back
the Federal cavalry who were pressing them.

Although the fight had been but a short one, the losses in the cavalry
ranks had been serious. Colonel Jones, while charging at the head of his
men, had received a saber-wound, and Major Marshall was taken prisoner.

Five days later, on the 7th of August, Jackson received intelligence
that General Burnside, with a considerable portion of McClellan's force,
had embarked, and was on the way to join Pope. He determined to strike a
blow at once, and marched with his entire force from Gordonsville for
Barnett Ford on the Rapidan.

At daybreak next morning the cavalry crossed the river and attacked and
routed a body of Federal cavalry on the road to Culpeper Courthouse. On
the following day Jackson came up with his infantry to a point about
eight miles from Culpeper, where Pope's army, 32,000 strong, were
stationed upon the crest of a hill. General Ewell's division, which was
the only one then up, at once advanced, and after a severe artillery
fight, gained a point on a hill where his guns could command the enemy's
position.

Jackson's division now came up, and as it was moving into position
General Winder was killed by a shell. For some hours Jackson did not
attempt to advance, as Hill's division had not come up. Encouraged by
this delay, the enemy at five o'clock in the afternoon took the
offensive and advanced through some cornfields lying between the two
armies and attacked Ewell's division on the Confederate right; while
shortly afterward they fell with overwhelming strength on Jackson's
left, and, attacking it in front, flank, and rear, drove it back, and
pressed upon it with such force that the day appeared lost.

At this moment Jackson himself rode down among the confused and wavering
troops, and by his voice and example rallied them. At the same moment
the old Stonewall Brigade came up at a run and poured their fire into
the advancing enemy. Jackson led the troops he had rallied forward. The
Stonewall Brigade fell upon the enemy's flank and drove them back with
terrible slaughter. Other brigades came up, and there was a general
charge along the whole Confederate line, and the Federals were driven
back a mile beyond the position they had occupied at the commencement of
the fight to the shelter of some thick woods; 400 prisoners were taken
and over 5000 small-arms.

The battle was known as Cedar Run, and it completely checked Pope's
advance upon Richmond. The troops were too much exhausted to follow up
their victory, but Jackson urged them to press forward. They moved a
mile and a half in advance, and then found themselves so strongly
opposed that Jackson, believing that the enemy must have received
re-enforcements, halted his men. Colonel Jones was sent forward to
reconnoiter, and discovered that a large force had joined the enemy.

For two days Jackson remained on the field he had won; his troops had
been busy in burying the dead, in collecting the wounded and sending
them to the rear, and in gathering the arms thrown away by the enemy in
their flight. Being assured that the enemy were now too strong to be
attacked by the force under his command, Jackson fell back to Orange
Courthouse. There was now a few days' delay, while masses of troops were
on both sides moving toward the new field of action. McClellan marched
his troops across the James Peninsula from Harrison's Landing to
Yorktown, and there the greater portion were embarked in transports and
taken up the Rappahannock to Aquia Creek, landed there, and marched to
Fredericksburg.

Lee, instead of attacking McClellan on his march across the peninsula,
determined to take his army north at once to join Jackson and attack
Pope before he was joined by McClellan's army. But Pope, although
already largely re-enforced, retired hastily and took up a new position
so strongly fortified that he could not be attacked. General Stuart had
come up with Lee, and was in command of all the cavalry.

"We shall see some work now," was the remark round the fires of the 7th
Virginia Cavalry. Hitherto, although they had been several times engaged
with the Federals, they had been forced to remain for the most part
inactive owing to the vast superiority in force of the enemy's cavalry;
but now that Stuart had come up they felt certain that, whatever the
disparity of numbers, there would soon be some dashing work to be done.

Except when upon actual duty the strict lines of military discipline
were much relaxed among the cavalry, the troopers being almost all the
sons of farmers and planters and of equal social rank with their
officers, many of whom were their personal friends or relatives. Several
of Vincent's schoolfellows were in the ranks, two or three of them were
fellow-officers, and these often gathered together round a camp fire and
chatted over old schooldays and mutual friends.

Many of these had already fallen, for the Virginia regiments of
Stonewall Jackson's brigade had been terribly thinned; but the loss of
so many friends and the knowledge that their own turn might come next
did not suffice to lessen the high spirits of these brave young men. The
hard work, the rough life, the exposure and hardship, had braced and
invigorated them all, and they were attaining a far more vigorous
manhood than they would ever have possessed had they grown up in the
somewhat sluggish and enervating life led by young planters.

Many of these young men had, until the campaign began, never done half
an hour's hard work in their lives. They had been waited upon by slaves,
and their only exercise had been riding. For months now they had almost
lived in the saddle, had slept in the open air, and had thought
themselves lucky if they could obtain a sufficient meal of the roughest
food to satisfy their hunger once a day. In this respect, however, the
cavalry were better off than their comrades of the infantry, for
scouting as they did in small parties over a wide extent of country,
they were sure of a meal and a hearty welcome whenever they could spare
time to stop for half an hour at the house of a farmer.

"It's a glorious life, Wingfield! When we chatted over the future at
school we never dreamed of such a life as this, though some of us did
talk of entering the army; but even then an occasional skirmish with
Indians was the limit of our ideas."

"Yes, it is a glorious life!" Vincent agreed. "I cannot imagine anything
more exciting. Of course, there is the risk of being shot, but somehow
one never seems to think of that. There is always something to do and to
think about; from the time one starts on a scout at daybreak to that
when one lies down at night one's senses are on the stretch. Besides we
are fighting in defense of our country and not merely as a profession,
though I don't suppose, after all, that makes much difference when one
is once in for it. As far as I have read, all soldiers enjoy
campaigning, and it does not seem to make any difference to them who are
the foe or what they are fighting about. But I should like to feel a
little more sure that we shall win in the long run."

There was a chorus of indignant protests against there being any
possible doubts as to the issue.

"Why, we have thrashed them every time we have met them, Wingfield."

"That is all very well," Vincent said. "Here in Virginia we have held
our own, and more than held it. We have beat back Scott and McClellan,
and now we have thrashed Pope; and Stonewall Jackson has won a dozen
battles in West Virginia. But you must remember that in other parts they
are gradually closing in; all the ports not already taken are closely
blockaded. They are pushing all along the lines of the great rivers; and
worst of all, they can fill up their vacancies with hired emigrants, and
as fast as one army disappears another takes its place. I believe we
shall beat them again and again, and shall prove, as we have proved
before, that one Southerner fighting for home and liberty is more than a
match for two hired soldiers, even with a good large sprinkling of
Yankees among them. But in the long run I am not sure that we shall win,
for they can go on putting big armies into the field, while some day we
must get used up.

"Of course it is possible that we may some day capture Washington, and
that the North may get weary of the tremendous drain of money and men
caused by their attempt to conquer us. I hope it may be so, for I should
like to think that we should win in the long run. I never feel any doubt
about our winning a battle when we begin. My only fear is that we may
get used up before the North are tired of it."

"I did not expect to hear you talk so, Wingfield, for you always seem to
be in capital spirits."

"I am in capital spirits," Vincent replied, "and ready to fight again
and again, and always confident we shall lick the Yankees; the fact that
I have a doubt whether in the long run we shall outlast them does not
interfere in the slightest degree with my comfort at present. I am very
sorry though that this fellow Pope is carrying on the war so brutally,
instead of in the manner in which General McClellan and the other
commanders have waged it. His proclamation that the army must subsist
upon the country it passes through gives a direct invitation to the
soldiers to pillage, and his order that all farmers who refuse to take
the oath to the Union are to be driven from their homes and sent down
South means ruin to all the peaceful inhabitants, for there is scarcely
a man in this part of Virginia who is not heartily with us."

"I hear," one of the other officers said, "that a prisoner who was
captured this morning says that Pope already sees that he has made a
mistake, and that he yesterday issued a fresh order saying that the
proclamation was not meant to authorize pillage. He finds that the
inhabitants who before, whatever their private sentiments were,
maintained a sort of neutrality, are now hostile, that they drive off
their cattle into the woods, and even set fire to their stacks, to
prevent anything from being carried off by the Yanks; and his troops
find the roads broken up and bridges destroyed and all sorts of
difficulties thrown in their way."

"It does not always pay--even in war--to be brutal. I am glad to see he
has found out his mistake so soon," another officer said. "McClellan
waged war like a gentleman; and if blackguards are to be allowed to
carry fire and sword through the land they will soon find it is a game
that two can play at, and matters will become horribly embittered."

"We shall never do that," Vincent said. "Our generals are all gentlemen,
and Lee and Jackson and many others are true Christians as well as true
soldiers, and I am sure they will never countenance that on our side,
whatever the Northerners may do. We are ready to fight the hordes of
Yankees and their hired soldiers as often as they advance against us,
but I am sure that none of us would fire a homestead or ill-treat
defenseless men and women. It is a scandal that such brutalities are
committed by the ruffians who call themselves Southerners. The
guerrillas in Missouri and Tennessee are equally bad, whether on our
side or the other, and if I were the President I would send down a
couple of regiments, and hunt down the fellows who bring dishonor on our
cause. If the South cannot free herself without the aid of ruffians of
this kind, she had better lay down her arms at once."

"Bravo, Wingfield! Spoken like a knight of chivalry!" one of the others
laughed. "But many of these bands have done good, nevertheless. They
have kept the enemy busy there, and occupied the attention of a very
large force who might otherwise have been in the woods yonder with Pope.
I agree with you, it would be better if the whole thing were fought out
with large armies, but there is a good deal to be said for these bands
you are so severe upon. They are composed of men who have been made
desperate by seeing their farms harried and their buildings burned by
the enemy. They have been denounced as traitors by their neighbors on
the other side, and if they retaliate I don't know that they are to be
altogether blamed. I know that if my place at home were burned down, and
my people insulted and ill-treated, I should be inclined to set off to
avenge it."

"So would I," Vincent agreed, "but it should be upon those who did the
wrong, not upon innocent people."

"That is all very well, but if the other side destroy your people's
farms, it is only by showing them that two can play at the game that you
can make them observe the laws of war. I grant it would be very much
better that no such thing should take place; but if the Northerners
begin this sort of work they may be sure that there will be retaliation.
Anyhow, I am glad that I am an officer in the 7th Virginia and not a
guerrilla leader in Missouri. Well, all this talking is dry work. Has no
one got a full canteen?"

"I have," Vincent said. "Dan managed to buy a gallon of rum at a
farmhouse yesterday. I think the farmer was afraid that the enemy might
be paying him a visit before many days, and thought it best to get rid
of his spirits. Anyhow, Dan got the keg at ordinary city prices, as well
as that pair of fine turkeys he is just bringing along for our supper.
So you had better each get your ration bread and fall to."

There was a cheer as Dan placed the turkeys down in the center of the
group, and soon the whole party, using their bread as plates, fell to
upon them, and afterward joined in many a merry song, while Dan handed
round the jar of spirits.




CHAPTER IX.

A PRISONER.


The party round the fire were just about to disperse when the captain of
Vincent's troop approached. He took the horn of spirits and water that
Vincent held up to him and tossed it off.

"That is a stirrup-cup, Wingfield."

"What! are we for duty, captain?" Vincent asked as he rose to his feet.

"Yes; our troop and Harper's are to muster. Get the men together
quietly. I think it is a serious business; each of the regiments
furnishes troops, and I believe Stuart himself takes the command."

"That sounds like work, indeed," Vincent said. "I will get the troop
together, sir."

"There are to be no trumpet calls, Wingfield; we are to get off as
quietly as possible."

Most of the men were already fast asleep, but as soon as they learned
that there was a prospect of active work all were full of life and
animation. The girths of the saddles were tightened, swords buckled on,
and revolvers carefully examined before being placed in the holsters.
Many of the men carried repeating rifles, and the magazines were filled
before these were slung across the riders' shoulders.

In a few minutes the three troops were mounted and in readiness for a
start, and almost directly afterward Colonel Jones himself rode up and
took the command. A thrill of satisfaction ran through the men as he did
so, for it was certain that he would not himself be going in command of
the detachment unless the occasion was an important one. For a few
minutes no move was made.

"I suppose the others are going to join us here," Vincent said to the
officer next him.

"I suppose so," he replied. "We lie in the middle of the cavalry brigade
with two regiments each side of us, so it is likely enough this is the
gathering place. Yes, I can hear the tramping of horses."

"I felt a spot of rain," Vincent said. "We have been having lightning
for some time, and I fear we are in for a wet ride."

The contingent from the other regiments soon arrived, and just as the
last came up General Stuart himself appeared and took his place at the
head of the party, now some 500 strong. Short as the time had been since
Vincent felt the first drop, the rain was now coming down in torrents.
One by one the bright flames of the fires died down, and the darkness
became so intense that Vincent could scarcely see the officer on his
right hand.

"I hope the man who rode up with the general, and is no doubt to be our
guide, knows the country well. It is no joke finding our way through a
forest on such a night as this."

"I believe Stuart's got eyes like a cat," the officer said. "Sometimes
on a dark night he has come galloping up to a post where I was in
command, when one could scarcely see one's hand before one. It never
seems to make any difference to him; day or night he rides about at a
gallop."

"He trusts his horse," Vincent said. "That's the only way in the dark.
They can see much better than we can, and if men would but let them go
their own way instead of trying to guide them, they would seldom run
against anything. The only thing is to lie well down on the horse's
neck, otherwise one might get swept out of the saddle by a bough. It's a
question of nerve. I think not many of us would do as Stuart does, and
trust himself entirely to his horse's instinct."

The word was now passed down the line that perfect silence was to be
observed, and that they were to move forward in column, the ranks
closing up as much as possible, so as not to lose touch of each other.
With heads bent down, and blankets wrapped around them as cloaks, the
cavalry rode off through the pouring rain. The thunder was crashing
overhead, and the flashes of lightning enabled them to keep their places
in close column. They went at a rapid trot, and even those who were
ready to charge a body of the enemy, however numerous, without a
moment's hesitation, experienced a feeling of nervousness as they rode
on in the darkness through the thick forest on their unknown errand.
That they were going northward they knew, and knew also, after a short
time, that they must be entering the lines of the enemy. They saw no
signs of watch-fires, for these would long since have been quenched by
the downpour. After half an hour's brisk riding all knew, by the sharp
sound of the beat of the horses' hoofs, that they had left the soft
track through the forest and were now upon a regular road.

"Thank goodness for that!" Vincent said in a low tone to his next
neighbor. "I don't mind a brush with the enemy, but I own I don't like
the idea that at any moment my brains may be knocked out by the branch
of a tree."

"I agree with you," the other replied; "and I fancy every man felt the
same."

There was no doubt as to this. Hitherto no sound had been heard save the
jingling of accouterments and the dull heavy sound of the horses' tread;
but now there could be heard mingled with these the buzz of voices, and
occasionally a low laugh. They were so accustomed to wet that the
soaking scarcely inconvenienced them. They were out of the forest now,
and felt sure of their guide; and as to the enemy, they only longed to
discover them.

For another hour the rapid advance continued, and all felt sure that
they must now have penetrated through the enemy's lines and be well in
his rear. At last they heard a challenge of sentry. Then Stuart's voice
shouted, "Charge!" and at full gallop they rode into the village at
Catlet's Station on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, where General
Pope had his headquarters. Another minute and they were in the midst of
the enemy's camp, where the wildest confusion reigned. The Federal
officers rushed from their tents and made off in the darkness; but the
soldiers, who were lying on the line of railroad, leaped to their feet
and opened a heavy fire on their invisible foes. Against this the
cavalry, broken up in the camp with its tents, its animals, and its
piles of baggage, could do little, for it was impossible to form them up
in the broken and unknown ground.

The quarters of Pope were soon discovered; he himself had escaped,
leaving his coat and hat behind. Many of his officers were captured, and
in his quarters was found a box of official papers, which were
invaluable, as among them were copies of his letters asking for
re-enforcements, lists giving the strength and position of his troops,
and other particulars of the greatest value to the Confederates. No time
was lost, as the firing would set the whole Federal army on the alert,
and they might find their retreat cut off. Therefore, placing the
prisoners in the center, and taking the box of papers with them, the
cavalry were called off from the camp, and without delay started on
their return ride.

They did not take the road by which they had come, but made a long
detour, and just as daylight was breaking re-entered the Confederate
lines, without having encountered a foe from the time of their leaving
Catlet's Station. Short as their stay in camp had been, few of the men
had returned empty-handed. The Northern army was supplied with an
abundance of excellent food of all descriptions, forming the strongest
possible contrast to the insufficient rations upon which the Confederate
troops existed, and the troopers had helped themselves to whatever they
could lay hands upon in the darkness and confusion.

Some rode in with a ham slung on each side of their saddle, others had
secured a bottle or two of wine or spirits. Some had been fortunate
enough to lay hand on some tins of coffee or a canister of tea, luxuries
which for months had been unknown to them save when they were captured
from the enemy. The only article captured of no possible utility was
General Pope's coat, which was sent to Richmond, where it was hung up
for public inspection; a wag sticking up a paper beside it, "This is the
coat in which General Pope was going to ride in triumph into Richmond.
The coat is here, but the general has not yet arrived."

The Confederates had lost but two or three men from the fire of the
Federal infantry, and they were in high spirits at the success of their
raid. No sooner had General Lee informed himself of the contents of the
papers and the position of the enemy's forces than he determined to
strike a heavy blow at him; and General Jackson, who had been sharply
engaged with the enemy near Warrenton, was ordered to make a long
detour, to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains through Thoroughfare Gap, to
fall upon Pope's rear and cut his communications with Washington, and,
if possible, to destroy the vast depot of stores collected at Manassas.

The cavalry, under Stuart, were to accompany him. The march would be a
tremendous one, the danger of thus venturing into the heart of the
enemy's country immense, but the results of such an expedition would, if
successful, be great; for Lee himself was to advance with his army on
Pope's flank, and there was therefore a possibility of the utter defeat
of that general before he could be joined by the army marching to
re-enforce him from Fredericksburg.

It was on Monday, the 25th of August, that Jackson started on his march,
ascending the banks of the Rapahannock, and crossed the river at the
ford, dragging his artillery with difficulty up the narrow and rocky
road beyond. There was not a moment to be lost, for if the news reached
the enemy the gorge known as Thoroughfare Gap would be occupied, and the
whole object of the movement would be defeated. Onward the force pushed,
pressing on through fields and lanes without a single halt, until at
night, hungry and weary but full of spirit, they marched into the little
town of Salem, twenty miles from their starting place. They had neither
wagons nor provisions with them, and had nothing to eat but some ears of
corn and green apples plucked on the road.

It was midnight when they reached Salem, and the inhabitants turned out
in blank amazement at the sight of Confederate troops in that region,
and welcomed the weary soldiers with the warmest manifestations. At
daylight they were again upon the march, with Stuart's cavalry, as
before, out upon each flank. Thoroughfare Gap was reached, and found
undefended, and after thirty miles' marching the exhausted troops
reached the neighborhood of Manassas. The men were faint from want of
food, and many limped along barefooted; but they were full of
enthusiasm.

Just at sunset, Stuart, riding on ahead, captured Bristoe, a station on
the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, four miles from Manassas. As they
reached it a train came along at full speed. It was fired at, but did
not stop, and got safely through to Manassas. Two trains that followed
were captured; but by this time the alarm had spread, and no more trains
arrived. Jackson had gained his point. He had placed himself on the line
of communication of the enemy, but his position was a dangerous one
indeed. Lee, who was following him, was still far away. An army was
marching from Fredericksburg against him, another would be dispatched
from Washington as soon as the news of his presence was known, and Pope
might turn and crush him before Lee could arrive to his assistance.

Worn out as the troops were, it was necessary at once to gain possession
of Manassas, and the 21st North Carolina and 21st Georgia volunteered
for the service, and joined by Stuart with a portion of his cavalry,
marched against it. After a brief contest the place was taken, the enemy
stationed there being all taken prisoners. The amount of arms and stores
captured was prodigious. Eight pieces of artillery, 250 horses, 3
locomotives, and tens of thousands of barrels of beef, pork, and flour,
with an enormous quantity of public stores and the contents of
innumerable sutlers' shops.

The sight of this vast abundance to starving men was tantalizing in the
extreme. It was impossible to carry any of it away, and all that could
be done was to have at least one good meal. The troops therefore were
marched in, and each helped himself to as much as he could consume, and
the ragged and barefooted men feasted upon canned salmon and lobsters,
champagne, and dainties of every description forwarded for the use of
officers. Then they set to work to pile the enormous mass of stores
together and to set it on fire. While they were engaged at this a
brigade of New Jersey troops, which had come out from Washington to save
Manassas, was attacked and utterly routed. Ewell's division had remained
at Bristoe, while those of Hill and Jackson moved to Manassas, and in
the course of the afternoon Ewell saw the whole of Pope's army marching
against him.

He held them in check for some hours, and thus gave the troops at
Manassas time to destroy completely the vast accumulation of stores, and
when Stuart's cavalry, covering the retreat, fell back at nightfall
through Manassas, nothing but blackened cinders remained where the
Federal depots had been situated. The blow to the Northerners was as
heavy as it was unexpected. Pope had no longer either provisions for his
men or forage for his cattle, and there was nothing left for him but to
force his way past Jackson and retire upon Washington.

[Illustration: Map--THE SECOND BATTLE OF BULL RUN.]

Jackson had now the option of falling back and allowing the enemy to
pass, or of withstanding the whole Federal army with his own little
force until Lee came up to the rescue. He chose the latter course, and
took up a strong position. The sound of firing at Thoroughfare Gap was
audible, and he knew that Longstreet's division of Lee's army was hotly
engaged with a force which, now that it was too late, had been sent to
hold the gorge. It was nearly sunset before Pope brought up his men to
the attack. Jackson did not stand on the defensive, but rushed down and
attacked the enemy--whose object had been to pass the position and press
on--with such vigor that at nine o'clock they fell back.

An hour later a horseman rode up with the news that Longstreet had
passed the Gap and was pressing on at full speed, and in the morning
his forces were seen approaching, the line they were taking bringing
them up at an angle to Jackson's position. Thus their formation as they
arrived was that of an open V, and it was through the angle of this V
that Pope had to force his way. Before Longstreet could arrive, however,
the enemy hurled themselves upon Jackson, and for hours the Confederates
held their own against the vast Federal army, Longstreet's force being
too far away to lend them a hand. Ammunition failed, and the soldiers
fought with piles of stones, but night fell without any impression being
made upon these veterans. General Lee now came up with General Hood's
division, and hurled this against the Federals and drove them back. In
the evening Longstreet's force took up the position General Lee had
assigned to it, and in the morning all the Confederate army had arrived,
and the battle recommenced.

The struggle was long and terrible; but by nightfall every attack had
been repulsed, and the Confederates, advancing on all sides, drove the
Northerners, a broken and confused crowd, before them, the darkness
alone saving them from utter destruction. Had there been but one hour
more of daylight the defeat would have been as complete as was that in
the battle of Bull Run, which had been fought on precisely the same
ground. However, under cover of the darkness, the Federals retreated to
Centreville, whence they were driven on the following day.

In the tremendous fighting in which Jackson's command had for three long
days been engaged, the cavalry bore a comparatively small part. The
Federal artillery was too powerful to permit the employment of large
bodies of cavalry, and although from time to time charges were made when
an opportunity seemed to offer itself, the battle was fought out by the
infantry and artillery. When the end came Jackson's command was for a
time _hors de combat_. During the long two-days' march they had at least
gathered corn and apples to sustain life; but during these three-days'
fighting they had had no food whatever, and many were so weak that they
could no longer march.

They had done all that was possible for men to do; had for two days
withstood the attack of an enemy of five times their numbers, and had,
on the final day, borne their full share in the great struggle, but now
the greater part could do no more, thousands of men were unable to drag
themselves a step further, and Lee's army was reduced in strength for
the time by nearly 20,000 men. All these afterward rejoined it; some, as
soon as they recovered, limped away to take their places in the ranks
again, others made their way to the depot at Warrenton, where Lee had
ordered that all unable to accompany his force should rendezvous until
he returned and they were able to rejoin their regiments.

Jackson marched away and laid siege to Harper's Ferry, an important
depot garrisoned by 11,000 men, who were forced to surrender just as
McClellan with a fresh army, 100,000 strong, which was pressing forward
to its succor, arrived within a day's march. As soon as Jackson had
taken the place he hurried away with his troops to join Lee, who was
facing the enemy at the Antietam River. Here, upon the following day,
another terrible battle was fought; the Confederates, though but 39,000
strong, repulsing every attack by the Federals and driving them with
terrible slaughter back across the river.

Their own loss, however, had been very heavy, and Lee, knowing that he
could expect no assistance, while the enemy was constantly receiving
re-enforcements, waited for a day to collect his wounded, bury his dead,
and send his stores and artillery to the rear, and then retired,
unpursued, across the Rappahannock. Thus the hard-fought campaign came
to an end.

Vincent Wingfield was not with the army that retired across the
Rappahannock. A portion of the cavalry had followed the broken Federals
to the very edge of the stream, and just as they reined in their horses
a round shot from one of the Federal batteries carried away his cap,
and he fell as if dead from his horse. During the night some of the
Northerners crossed the stream to collect and bring back their own
wounded who had fallen near it, and coming across Vincent, and finding
that he still breathed, and was apparently without a wound, they carried
him back with them across the river as a prisoner.

Vincent had indeed escaped without a wound, having been only stunned by
the passage of the shot that had carried away his cap, and missed him by
the fraction of an inch. He had begun to recover consciousness just as
his captors came up, and the action of carrying him completely restored
him. That he had fallen into the hands of the Northerners he was well
aware; but he was unable to imagine how this had happened. He remembered
that the Confederates had been, up to the moment he fell, completely
successful, and he could only imagine that in a subsequent attack the
Federals had turned the tables upon them.

How he himself had fallen, or what had happened to him, he had no idea.
Beyond a strange feeling of numbness in the head he was conscious of no
injury, and he could only imagine that his horse had been shot under
him, and that he must have fallen upon his head. The thought that his
favorite horse was killed afflicted him almost as much as his own
capture. As soon as his captors perceived that their prisoner's
consciousness had returned they at once reported that an officer of
Stuart's cavalry had been taken, and at daybreak next morning General
McClellan, on rising, was acquainted with the fact, and Vincent was
conducted to his tent.

"You are unwounded, sir," the general said in some surprise.

"I am, general," Vincent replied. "I do not know how it happened, but I
believe that my horse must have been shot under me, and that I must have
been thrown and stunned; however, I remember nothing from the moment
when I heard the word halt, just as we reached the side of the stream,
to that when I found myself being carried here."

"You belong to the cavalry?"

"Yes, sir."

"Was Lee's force all engaged yesterday?"

"I do not know," Vincent said. "I only came up with Jackson's division
from Harper's Ferry the evening before."

"I need not have questioned you," McClellan said. "I know that Lee's
whole army, 100,000 strong, opposed me yesterday."

Vincent was silent. He was glad to see that the Federal general, as
usual, enormously overrated the strength of the force opposed to him.

"I hear that the whole of the garrison of Harper's Ferry were released
on parole not to serve again during the war. If you are ready to give me
your promise to the same effect I will allow you to return to your
friends; if not you must remain a prisoner until you are regularly
exchanged."

"I must do so, then, general," Vincent said quietly. "I could not remain
home and remain inactive while every man in the South is fighting for
the defense of his country, so I will take my chance of being
exchanged."

"I am sorry you choose that alternative," McClellan said. "I hate to see
brave men imprisoned if only for a day; and braver men than those across
yonder stream are not to be found. My officers and men are astonished.
They seem so thin and worn as to be scarce able to lift a musket, their
clothes are fit only for a scarecrow, they are indeed pitiful objects to
look at; but the way in which they fight is wonderful. I could not have
believed, had I not seen it, that men could have charged as they did
again and again across ground swept by a tremendous artillery and
musketry fire; it was wonderful! I can tell you, young man, that even
though you beat us we are proud of you as our countrymen; and I believe
that if your General Jackson were to ride through our camp, he would be
cheered as lustily and heartily by our men as he is by his own."

Some fifty or sixty other prisoners had been taken; they had been
captured in the hand-to-hand struggle that had taken place on some parts
of the field, having got separated from their corps and mixed up with
the enemy, and carried off the field with them as they retired. These,
for the most part, accepted the offered parole; but some fifteen, like
Vincent, preferred a Northern prison to promising to abstain from
fighting in defense of their country, and in the middle of the day they
were placed together in a tent under a guard at the rear of the camp.

The next morning came the news that Lee had fallen back. There was
exultation among the Federals, not unmingled with a strong sense of
relief; for the heavy losses inflicted in the previous fighting had
taken all the ardor of attack out of McClellan's army, and they were
glad indeed that they were not to be called upon to make another attempt
to drive the Confederates from their position. Vincent was no less
pleased at the news. He knew how thin were the ranks of the Confederate
fighting men, and how greatly they were worn and exhausted by fatigue
and want of food, and that, although they had the day before repulsed
the attacks of the masses of well-fed Northerners, such tremendous
exertions could not often be repeated, and a defeat, with the river in
their rear, approachable only by one rough and narrow road, would have
meant a total destruction of the army.

The next morning Vincent and his companions were put into the train and
sent to Alexandria. They had no reason to complain of their treatment
upon the way. They were well fed, and after their starvation diet for
the last six weeks their rations seemed to them actually luxurious. The
Federal troops in Alexandria, who were for the most part young recruits
who had just arrived from the North and West, looked with astonishment
upon these thin and ragged men, several of whom were barefooted. Was it
possible that such scarecrows as these could in every battle have driven
back the well-fed and cared-for Northern soldiers!

"Are they all like this?" one burly young soldier from a Western State
asked their guard.

"That's them, sir," the sergeant in charge of the party replied. "Not
much to look at, are they? But, by gosh, you should see them fight! You
wouldn't think of their looks then."

"If that's soldiering," the young farmer said solemnly, "the sooner I am
back home again the better. But it don't seem to me altogether strange
as they should fight so hard, because I should say they must look upon
it as a comfort to be killed rather than to live like that."

A shout of laughter from the prisoners showed the young rustic that the
objects of his pity did not consider life to be altogether intolerable
even under such circumstances, and he moved away meditating on the
discomforts of war, and upon the remarks that would be made were he to
return home in so sorrowful a plight as that of these Confederate
prisoners.

"I bargained to fight," he said, "and though I don't expect I shall like
it, I shan't draw back when the time comes; but as to being starved till
you are nigh a skeleton, and going about barefooted and in such rags as
a tramp wouldn't look at, it aint reasonable." And yet, had he known it,
among those fifteen prisoners more than half were possessors of wide
estates, and had been brought up from their childhood in the midst of
luxuries such as the young farmer never dreamed of.

Among many of the soldiers sympathy took a more active form, and men
pressed forward and gave packets of tobacco, cigars, and other little
presents to them, while two or three pressed rolls of dollar notes into
their hands, with words of rough kindness.

"There aint no ill feeling in us, Rebs. You have done your work like
men, and no doubt you thinks your cause is right, just as we does; but
it's all over now, and maybe our turn will come next to see the inside
of one of your prisons down south. So we are just soldiers together, and
can feel for each other."

Discipline in small matters was never strictly enforced in the American
armies, and the sergeant in charge offered no opposition to the soldiers
mingling with the prisoners as they walked along.

Two days later they were sent by railway to the great prison at Elmira,
in the State of New York. When they reached the jail the prisoners were
separated; Vincent, who was the only officer, being assigned quarters
with some twenty others of the same rank. The prisoners crowded round
him as he entered, eager to hear the last news from the front, for they
had heard from their guards only news of constant victories won by the
Northerners; for every defeat was transformed by the Northern papers
into a brilliant victory, and it was only when the shattered remains of
the various armies returned to Alexandria to be re-formed that the truth
gradually leaked out. Thus Antietam had been claimed as a great Northern
victory, for, although McClellan's troops had in the battle been hurled
back, shattered and broken, across the river, two days afterward Lee had
retired.

One of the prisoners, who was also dressed in cavalry uniform, hung back
from the rest, and going to the window looked out while Vincent was
chatting with the others. Presently he turned round, and Vincent
recognized with surprise his old opponent Jackson. After a moment's
hesitation he walked across the room to him.

"Jackson," he said, "we have not been friends lately, but I don't see
why we should keep up our quarrel any longer; we got on all right at
school together; and now we are prisoners together here it would be
foolish to continue our quarrel. Perhaps we were both somewhat to blame
in that affair. I am quite willing to allow I was, for one, but I think
we might well put it aside now."

Jackson hesitated, and then took the hand Vincent held out to him.

"That's right, young fellows," one of the other officers said. "Now that
every Southern gentleman is fighting and giving his life, if need be,
for his country, no one has a right to have private quarrels of his own.
Life is short enough as it is, certainly too short to indulge in
private animosities. A few weeks ago we were fighting side by side, and
facing death together; to-day we are prisoners; a week hence we may be
exchanged, and soon take our places in the ranks again. It's the duty of
all Southerners to stand shoulder to shoulder, and there ought to be no
such thing as ill-feeling among ourselves."

Vincent was not previously aware that Jackson had obtained a commission.
He now learned that he had been chosen by his comrades to fill a vacancy
caused by the death of an officer in a skirmish just before Pope fell
back from the Rappahannock, and that he had been made prisoner a few
days afterward in a charge against a greatly superior body of Federal
cavalry.

The great majority of the officers on both sides were at the
commencement of the war chosen by their comrades, the elections at first
taking place once a year. This, however, was found to act very badly. In
some cases the best men in the regiment were chosen; but too often the
men who had the command of money, and could afford to stand treat and
get in supplies of food and spirits, were elected. The evils of the
system were found so great, indeed, that it was gradually abandoned; but
in cases of vacancies occurring in the field, and there being a
necessity for at once filling them up, the colonels of the regiments had
power to make appointments, and if the choice of the men was considered
to be satisfactory, their nominee would be generally chosen.

In the case of Jackson, the colonel had hesitated in confirming the
choice of the men. He did not for a moment suspect him to be wanting in
courage; but he regarded him as one who shirked his work, and who won
the votes of the men rather by a fluent tongue and by the violence of
his expressions of hatred against the North than by any soldierly
qualities.

Some of the officers had been months in prison, and they were highly
indignant at the delays that had occurred in effecting their exchange.
The South, indeed, would have been only too glad to get rid of some of
their numerous prisoners, who were simply an expense and trouble to
them, and to get their own men back into their ranks. They could ill
spare the soldiers required to guard so large a number of prisoners, and
a supply of food was in itself a serious matter.

Thus it was at Harper's Ferry, and upon a good many other occasions,
they released vast numbers of prisoners on their simple paroles not to
serve again. The North, however, were in no hurry to make exchange; and
moreover, their hands were so full with their enormous preparations that
they put aside all matters which had not the claim of urgency.




CHAPTER X.

THE ESCAPE.


The discipline in the prison at Elmira was not rigorous. The prisoners
had to clean up the cells, halls, and yard, but the rest of their time
they could spend as they liked. Some of those whose friends had money
were able to live in comparative luxury and to assist those who had no
such resources; for throughout the War there was never any great
difficulty in passing letters to and from the South. The line of
frontier was enormous and it was only at certain points that hostilities
were actively carried on, consequently letters and newspapers were
freely passed, and money could be sent in the same way from one part of
the country to another.

At certain hours of the day hawkers and venders of such articles as were
in most demand by the prisoners were allowed to enter the yard and to
sell their wares to the Confederates. Spirits were not allowed to be
carried in, but tobacco and all kinds of food were permitted to pass.
Vincent had at Alexandria written a letter to his mother, and had given
it to a man who represented that he made it his business to forward
letters to an agent at Richmond, being paid for each letter the sum of a
dollar on its delivery. Vincent, therefore, felt confident that the
anxiety that would be felt at home, when they learned that he was among
the missing at the battle of Antietam, would be relieved.

He was fairly supplied with money. He had, indeed, had several hundred
dollars with him at the time he was captured; but these were entirely in
Confederate notes, for which he got but half their value in Northern
paper at Alexandria. He himself found the rations supplied in the prison
ample, and was able to aid any of his fellow-prisoners in purchasing
clothes to replace the rags they wore when captured.

One day Vincent strolled down as usual toward the gate, where, under the
eye of the guard, a row of men and women, principally negroes and
negresses, were sitting on the ground with their baskets in front of
them containing tobacco, pipes, fruit, cakes, needles and thread,
buttons, and a variety of other articles in demand, while a number of
prisoners were bargaining and joking with them. Presently his eye fell
upon a negro before whom was a great pile of watermelons. He started as
he did so, for he at once recognized the well-known face of Dan. As soon
as the negro saw that his master's eye had fallen upon him he began
loudly praising the quality of his fruit.

"Here, massa officer, here bery fine melyons, ripe and sweet; no green
trash; dis un good right through. Five cents each, sah. Bery cheap,
dese."

"I expect they cost you nothing, Sambo," one of the Confederate soldiers
said as he bought a melon. "Got a neighbor's patch handy, eh?"

Dan grinned at the joke, and then selecting another from the bottom of
his pile in the basket, offered it to Vincent.

"Dis fine fruit, sah. Me sure you please with him!"

Vincent took the melon and handed Dan five cents. A momentary glance was
exchanged, and then he walked away and sat down in a quiet corner of the
yard and cut open the melon. As he expected, he found a note rolled up
in the center. A small piece of the rind had been cut out and the pulp
removed for its reception. The bit of rind had then been carefully
replaced so that the cut would not be noticed without close inspection.
It was from one of his fellow-officers, and was dated the day after his
capture. He read as follows:

"My Dear Wingfield:

"We are all delighted this afternoon to hear that instead, as we had
believed, of your being knocked on the head you are a prisoner among the
Yanks. Several of us noticed you fall just as we halted at the river,
and we all thought that, from the way in which you fell, you had been
shot through the head or heart. However, there was no time to inquire in
that terrific storm of shot and shell. In the morning, when the burying
parties went down, we could find no signs of you, although we knew
almost to a foot where you had fallen.

"We could only conclude at last that you had been carried off in the
night by the Yanks, and as they would hardly take the trouble of
carrying off a dead body, it occurred to us that you might, after all,
be alive. So the colonel went to Lee, who at once sent a trumpeter with
a flag down to the river to inquire, and we were all mightily pleased,
as you may imagine, when he came back with the news that you were not
only a prisoner, but unwounded, having been only stunned in some way.
From the way you fell we suppose a round shot must have grazed your
head; at least that is the only way we can account for it.

"Your horse came back unhurt to the troop, and will be well cared for
until you rejoin us, which we hope will not be long. Your boy kept the
camp awake last night with his howlings, and is at present almost out of
his mind with delight. He tells me he has made up his mind to slip
across the lines and make his way as a runaway to Alexandria, where you
will, of course, be taken in the first place. He says he's got some
money of yours; but I have insisted on his taking another fifty dollars,
which you can repay me when we next meet. As he will not have to ask
for work, he may escape the usual lot of runaways, who are generally
pounced upon and set to work on the fortifications of Alexandria and
Washington.

"He intends to find out what prison you are taken to, and to follow you,
with some vague idea of being able to aid you to escape. As he cannot
write, he has asked me to write this letter to you, telling you what his
idea is. He will give it to you when he finds an opportunity, and he
wishes you to give him an answer, making any suggestion that may occur
to you as to the best way of his setting about it. He says that he shall
make acquaintances among the negroes North, and will find someone who
will read your note to him and write you an answer. I have told him that
if he is caught at the game he is likely to be inside a prison a bit
longer than you are, even if worse doesn't befall him. However, he makes
light of this, and is bent upon carrying out his plans, and I can only
hope he will succeed.

"I have just heard that we shall fall back across the Rappahannock
to-morrow, and I imagine there will not be much hard fighting again
until spring, long before which I hope you will be in your place among
us again. We lost twenty-three men and two officers (Ketler and Sumner)
yesterday. Good-by, old fellow! I need not say keep up your spirits, for
that you are pretty sure to do.

"Yours truly,
"James Sinclair."

After the first start at seeing Dan, Vincent was scarcely surprised, for
he had often thought over what the boy would do, and had fancied that
while, if he supposed him dead, he would go straight back to the
Orangery, it was quite possible that, should he hear that he was a
prisoner, Dan might take it into his head to endeavor to join him. As to
his making his escape, that did not appear to be a very difficult
undertaking now that he had a friend outside. The watch kept up was not
a very vigilant one, for such numbers of prisoners were taken on both
sides that they were not regarded as of very great importance, and
indeed the difficulty lay rather in making across the country to the
Southern border than in escaping from prison; for with a friend outside,
with a disguise in readiness, that matter was comparatively easy. All
that was required for the adventure was a long rope, a sharp file, and a
dark night.

The chief difficulty that occurred to Vincent arose from the fact that
there were some twenty other prisoners in the same ward. He could hardly
file through the bars of the window unnoticed by them, and they would
naturally wish to share in his flight; but where one person might
succeed in evading the vigilance of the guard, it was unlikely in the
extreme that twenty would do so, and the alarm once given all would be
recaptured. He was spared the trouble of making up his mind as to his
plans, for by the time he had finished his letter the hour that the
hucksters were allowed to sell their goods was passed, and the gates
were shut and all was quiet.

After some thought he came to the conclusion that the only plan would be
to conceal himself somewhere in the prison just before the hour at which
they were locked up in their wards. The alarm would be given, for the
list of names was called over before lock-up, and a search would of
course be made. Still, if he could find a good place for concealment, it
might succeed, since the search after dark would not be so close and
minute as that which would be made next morning. The only disadvantage
would be that the sentries would be specially on the alert, as, unless
the fugitive had succeeded in some way in passing out of the gates in
disguise, he must still be within the walls, and might attempt to scale
them through the night. This certainty largely increased the danger, and
Vincent went to bed that night without finally determining what had
better be done.

The next morning, while walking in the grounds, he determined the place
he would choose for his concealment if he adopted the plan he had
thought of the evening before. The lower rooms upon one side of the
building were inhabited by the governor and officers of the prison, and
if he were to spring through an open window unnoticed just as it became
dusk, and hide himself in a cupboard or under a bed there, he would be
safe for a time, as, however close the search might be in other parts of
the building, it would be scarcely suspected, at any rate on the first
alarm, that he had concealed himself in the officers' quarters. There
would, of course, be the chance of his being detected as he got out of
the window again at night, but this would not be a great risk. It was
the vigilance of the sentries that he most feared, and the possibility
that, as soon as the fact of his being missing was known, a cordon of
guards might be stationed outside the wall in addition to those in the
yard. The danger appeared to him to be so great that he was half
inclined to abandon the enterprise. It would certainly be weary work to
be shut up there for perhaps a year while his friends were fighting the
battles of his country; but it would be better after all to put up with
that than to run any extreme risk of being shot.

When he arrived at this conclusion he went upstairs to his room to write
a line to Dan. The day was a fine one, and he found that the whole of
the occupants of the room had gone below. This was an unexpected bit of
good fortune, and he at once went to the window and examined the bars.
They were thick and of new iron, but had been hastily put up. The
building had originally been a large warehouse, and when it had been
converted into a prison for the Confederate prisoners the bars had been
added to the windows. Instead, therefore, of being built into solid
stone and fastened in by lead, they were merely screwed on to the wooden
framework of the windows, and by a strong screw-driver a bar could be
removed in five minutes. This altogether altered the position. He had
only to wait until the rest of the occupants of the room were asleep and
then to remove the bar and let himself down.

He at once wrote:

"I want twenty yards of strong string, and the same length of rope that
will bear my weight; also a strong screw-driver. When I have got this I
will let you know night and hour. Shall want disguise ready to put on."

He folded the note up into a small compass, and at the hour at which Dan
would be about to enter he sauntered down to the gate. In a short time
the venders entered, and were soon busy selling their wares. Dan had, as
before, a basket of melons. Vincent made his way up to him.

"I want another melon," he said, "as good as that you sold me last
night."

"Dey all de same, sah. First-rate melyons, dese; just melt away in your
mouf like honey."

He held up one of the melons, and Vincent placed in his hands the
coppers in payment. Between two of them he had placed the little note.
Dan's hands closed quickly on the coins, and dropping them into his
pocket he addressed the next customer, while Vincent sauntered away
again. This time the melon was a whole one, and Vincent divided it with
a couple of other prisoners, for the fruit was too large for one person
to consume, being quite as large as a man's head.

The next day another melon was bought, but this time Vincent did not
open it in public. Examining it closely, he perceived that it had been
cut through the middle, and no doubt contained a portion of the rope. He
hesitated as to his next step. If he took the melon up to his room he
would be sure to find some men there, and would be naturally called upon
to divide the fruit; and yet there was nowhere else he could hide it.
For a long time he sat with his back to the wall and the melon beside
him, abusing himself for his folly in not having told Dan to send the
rope in small lengths that he could hide about him. The place where he
had sat down was one of the quietest in the yard, but men were
constantly strolling up and down. He determined at last that the only
possible plan was in the first place to throw his coat over his melon,
to tuck it up underneath it, then to get hold of one end of the ball of
rope that it doubtless contained and to endeavor to wind it round his
body without being observed. It was a risky business, and he would
gladly have tossed the melon over the wall had he dared to do so; for if
he were detected, not only would he be punished with much more severe
imprisonment, but Dan might be arrested and punished most severely.

Unfortunately the weather was by no means hot, and it would look strange
to take off his coat; besides, if he did so, how could he coil the rope
round him without being observed? So that idea was abandoned. He got up
and walked to an angle in the wall, and there sat down again, concealing
the melon as well as he could between him and the wall when anyone
happened to come near him. He pulled the halves apart and found, as he
had suspected, it was but a shell, the whole of the fruit having been
scooped out. But he gave an exclamation of pleasure on seeing that
instead, as he feared, of a large ball of rope being inside, the
interior was filled with neatly made hanks, each containing several
yards of thin but strong rope, together with a hank of strong string.

Unbuttoning his coat, he thrust them in; then he took the melon rind and
broke it into very small pieces and threw them about. He then went up to
his room and thrust the hanks, unobserved, one by one among the straw
which, covered by an army blanket, constituted his bed. To-morrow, no
doubt, Dan would supply him somehow with a screw-driver. On going down
to the gate next day he found that the negro had changed his commodity,
and that this time his basket contained very large and fine cucumbers.
These were selling briskly, and Vincent saw that Dan was looking round
anxiously, and that an expression of relief came over his face as he
perceived him. He had, indeed, but eight or ten cucumbers left.

"Cucumbers to-day, sah? Bery fine cucumbers--first-rate cucumbers dese."

"They look rather over-ripe," Vincent said.

"Not a bit, sah; dey just ripe. Dis bery fine one--ten cents, dis."

"You are putting up your prices, darky, and are making a fortune out of
us," Vincent said as he took the cucumber, which was a very large and
straight one. He had no difficulty with this, as with the melon; a sharp
twist broke it in two as he reached the corner he had used the day
previously. It had been cut in half, one end had been scooped out for
the reception of the handle of the screw-driver and the metal been
driven in to the head in the other half. Hiding it under his jacket, he
felt that he was now prepared for escape.

He now asked himself whether he should go alone or take one or more of
his comrades into his confidence, and finally determined to give a young
Virginian officer named Geary, with whom he had been specially friendly
during his imprisonment, and Jackson, a chance of escape. He did not
like the latter, but he thought that, after the reconciliation that had
taken place between them, it was only right to take him rather than a
stranger. Drawing them aside, then, he told them that he had arranged a
mode of escape; it was impossible that all could avail themselves of it,
but that they were welcome to accompany him. They thanked him heartily
for the offer, and, when he explained the manner in which he intended to
make off, agreed to try their fortunes with him.

"I propose," he said, "as soon as we are fairly beyond the prison, we
separate, and each try to gain the frontier as best he can. The fact
that three prisoners have escaped will soon be known all over the
country, and there would be no chance whatever for us if we kept
together. I will tell my boy to have three disguises ready; and when we
once put aside our uniforms I see no reason why, traveling separately,
suspicion should fall upon us; we ought to have no difficulty until at
any rate we arrive near the border, and there must be plenty of points
where we can cross without going anywhere near the Federal camps."

The others at once agreed that the chances of making their way
separately were much greater than if together. This being arranged,
Vincent passed a note next day to Dan, telling him to have three
disguises in readiness, and to be at the foot of the western wall,
halfway along, at twelve o'clock on the first wet night. A string would
be thrown over, with a knife fastened to it. He was to pull on the
string till the rope came into his hand, and to hold that tight until
they were over. Vincent chose this spot because it was equally removed
from the sentry-boxes at the corners of the yard, and because there was
a stone seat in the yard to which one end of the rope could be attached.

That night was fine, but the next was thick and misty. At nine o'clock
all were in bed, and he lay listening to the clocks in the distance. Ten
struck, and eleven, and when he thought it was approaching twelve he got
up and crept to the window. He was joined immediately by the others; the
screw-driver was set to work; and, as he expected, Vincent found no
trouble whatever with the screws, which were not yet rusted in the wood,
and turned immediately when the powerful screw-driver was applied to
them. When all were out the bar was carefully lifted from its place and
laid upon the floor.

The rope was then put round one of the other bars and drawn through it
until the two ends came together. These were then dropped to the ground
below. Geary went first, Jackson followed, and Vincent was soon standing
beside them. Taking one end of the rope, he pulled it until the other
passed round the bar and fell at their feet. All three were barefooted,
and they stole noiselessly across the yard to the seat, which was nearly
opposite their window. Vincent had already fastened his clasp-knife to
the end of the string, and he now threw it over the wall, which was
about twenty feet high.

He had tied a knot at forty feet from the end, and, standing close to
the wall, he drew in the string until the knot was in his hand. Another
two yards, and he knew that the knife was hanging a yard from the ground
against the wall. He now drew it up and down, hoping that the slight
noise the knife made against the wall might aid Dan in finding it. In
two or three minutes he felt a jerk, and knew that Dan had got it. He
fastened the end of the string to the rope and waited. The rope was
gradually drawn up; when it neared the end he fastened it to the stone
seat.

"Now," he said, "up you go, Geary."

The order in which they were to ascend had been settled by lot, as Geary
insisted that Vincent, who had contrived the whole affair, should be the
first to escape; but Vincent declined to accept the advantage, and the
three had accordingly tossed up for precedence.

Geary was quickly over, and lowered himself on the opposite side. The
others followed safely, but not without a good deal of scraping against
the wall, for the smallness of the rope added to the difficulty of
climbing it. However, the noise was so slight that they had little fear
of attracting attention, especially as the sentries would be standing in
their boxes, for the rain was now coming down pretty briskly. As soon as
they were down Vincent seized Dan by the hand.

"My brave boy," he said, "I owe you my freedom, and I shan't forget it.
Now, where are the clothes?"

"Here dey are, sah. One is a rough suit, like a working man's, another
is a black-and-white sort of suit--a check suit; de oder one is for
you--a clargy's suit, sir. You make very nice young minister, for sure."

"All right, Dan!" Vincent said, laughing; "give me the minister's suit."

"Then I will be the countryman," Geary said.

There was a little suppressed laughter as they changed their clothes in
the dark; and then, leaving their uniforms by the wall, they shook hands
and started at once in different directions, lest they might come across
someone who would, when the escape was known, remember four men having
passed him in the dark.

"Now, Dan, what is the next move?" Vincent asked, as they walked off.
"Have you fixed upon any plan?"

"No special plan, sah, but I have brought a bag; you see I have him in
my hand."

"I suppose that's what you carried the clothes in?"

"No, sir; I carried dem in a bundle. Dis bag has got linen, and boots,
and oder tings for you, sah. What I tink am de best way dis. Dar am a
train pass trou here at two o'clock and stop at dis station. Some people
always get out. Dar is an hotel just opposite the station, and some of
de passengers most always go there. I thought de best way for you would
be to go outside the station. Just when the train come in we walk across
de road wid the oders and go to hotel. You say you want bedroom for
yo'self, and that your sarvant can sleep in de hall. Den in de morning
you get up and breakfast and go off by de fust train."

"But then they may send down to look at the passengers starting, and I
should be taken at once."

"De train go out at seven o'clock, sah. I don't expect they find that
you have got away before dat."

"No, Dan. We all turn out at seven, and I shall be missed then; but it
will be some little time before the alarm is given, and they find out
how we got away, and send out search-parties. If the train is anything
like punctual we shall be off long before they get to the station."

"Besides, sah, dar are not many people knows your face, and it not
likely de bery man dat know you come to the station. Lots of oder places
to search, and dey most sure to tink you go right away--not tink you
venture to stop in town 'til the morning."

"That is so, Dan, and I think your plan is a capital one."

Dan's suggestion was carried out, and at seven o'clock next morning they
were standing on the platform among a number of other persons waiting
for the train. Just as the locomotive's whistle was heard the sound of a
cannon boomed out from the direction of the prison.

"That means some of the prisoners have escaped," one of the porters on
the platform said. "There have been five or six of them got away in the
last two months, but most of them have been caught again before they
have gone far. You see, to have a chance at all, they have got to get
rid of their uniforms, and as we are all Unionists about here that aint
an easy job for 'em to manage."

Everyone on the platform joined in the conversation, asking which way
the fugitive would be likely to go, whether there were any cavalry to
send after him, what would be done to him if he were captured, and other
questions of the same kind, Vincent joining in the talk. It was a relief
to him when the train drew up, and he and Dan took their place in it,
traveling, however, in different cars. Once fairly away, Vincent had no
fear whatever of being detected, and could travel where he liked, for
outside the prison there were not ten people who knew his face
throughout the Northern States. It would be difficult for him to make
his way down into Virginia from the North, as the whole line of frontier
there was occupied by troops, and patrols were on the watch night and
day to prevent persons from going through the lines. He therefore
determined to go west to St. Louis, and from there work his way down
through Missouri. After two days' railway traveling they reached St.
Louis, a city having a large trade with the South, and containing many
sympathizers with the Confederate cause. Vincent, having now no fear of
detection, went at once to an hotel, and taking up a newspaper, one of
the first paragraphs that met his eye was headed:

"ESCAPE OF THREE CONFEDERATE OFFICERS FROM ELMIRA.

"Great excitement was caused on Wednesday at Elmira by the discovery
that three Confederate officers had, during the night, effected their
escape from prison. One of the bars of the window of the ward on the
first floor in which they were, with fifteen other Confederate officers,
confined, had been removed; the screws having been taken out by a large
screw-driver which they left behind them. They had lowered themselves
to the yard, and climbed over the wall by means of a rope which was
found in position in the morning. The rest of the prisoners professed an
entire ignorance of the affair, and declared that, until they found the
beds unoccupied in the morning, they knew nothing of the occurrence.

"This is as it may be, but it is certain they must have been aided by
traitors outside the prison, for the rope hung loose on the outside of
the wall, and must have been held by someone there as they climbed it.
The inside end was fastened to a stone seat, and they were thus enabled
to slide down it on the other side. Their uniforms were found lying at
the foot of the wall, and their accomplice had doubtless had disguises
ready for them. The authorities of the prison are unable to account for
the manner in which the screw-driver and rope were passed in to them, or
how they communicated with their friends outside."

       *       *       *       *       *

Then followed the personal description of each of the fugitives, and a
request that all loyal citizens would be on the lookout for them, and
would at once arrest any suspicious character unable to give a
satisfactory account of himself. As Vincent sat smoking in the hall of
the hotel he heard several present discussing the escape of the
prisoners.

"It does not matter about them one way or the other," one of the
speakers said. "They seem to be mere boys, and whether they escape or
not will not make any difference to anyone. The serious thing is that
there must be some traitors among the prison officials, and that next
time perhaps two or three generals may escape, and that would be a
really serious misfortune."

"We need not reckon that out at present," another smoker said. "We
haven't got three of the rebel generals yet, and as far as things seem
to be going on, we may have to wait some time before we have. They are
pretty well able to take care of themselves, I reckon."

"They are good men, some of them, I don't deny," the first speaker
said; "but they might as well give up the game. In the spring we shall
have an army big enough to eat them up."

"So I have heard two or three times before. Scott was going to eat them
up, McClellan was going to eat them up, then Pope was going to make an
end of 'em altogether. Now McClellan is having a try again, but somehow
or other the eating up hasn't come off yet. It looks to me rather the
other way."

There was an angry growl from two or three of those sitting round, while
others uttered a cordial "That's so."

"It seems to me, by the way you put it, that you don't wish to see this
business come to an end."

"That's where you are wrong now. I do wish to see it come to an end. I
don't want to see tens of thousands of men losing their lives because
one portion of these States wants to ride rough-shod over the other. The
sooner the North looks this affair squarely in the face and sees that it
has taken up a bigger job than it can carry through, and agrees to let
those who wish to leave it go if they like, the better for all parties.
That's what I think about it."

"I don't call that Union talk," the other said angrily.

"Union or not Union, I mean to talk it, and I want to know who is going
to prevent me?"

The two men rose simultaneously from their chairs, and in a second the
cracks of two revolvers sounded. As if they had only been waiting for
the signal, a score of other men leaped up and sprang at each other.
They had, as the altercation grew hotter, joined in with exclamations of
anger or approval, and Vincent saw that although the Unionists were the
majority, the party of sympathizers with the South was a strong one.
Having neither arms nor inclination to join in a broil of this kind he
made his escape into the street the instant hostilities began, and
hurried away from the sound of shouts, oaths, the sharp cracks of
pistols, and the breaking of glass. Ten minutes later he returned. The
hotel was shut up, but an angry mob were assembled round the door
shouting, "Down with the rebels! down with the Secessionists!" and were
keeping up a loud knocking at the door. Presently a window upstairs
opened, and the proprietor put out his head.

"Gentlemen," he said, "I can assure you that the persons who were the
cause of this disturbance all left the hotel by the back way as soon as
the affair was over. I have sent for the police commissioner, and upon
his arrival he will be free to search the house, and to arrest anyone
concerned in this affair."

The crowd were not satisfied, and renewed their knocking at the door;
but two or three minutes later an officer, with a strong body of police,
arrived on the spot. In a few words he told the crowd to disperse,
promising that the parties concerned in the affair would be arrested and
duly dealt with. He then entered the house with four of his men, leaving
the rest to wait. Vincent entered with the constables, saying that he
was staying at the house. The fumes of gunpowder were still floating
about the hall, three bodies were lying on the floor, and several men
were binding up their wounds. The police officer inquired into the
origin of the broil, and all present concurred in saying that it arose
from some Secessionists speaking insultingly of the army of the Union.

Search was then made in the hotel, and it was found that eight persons
were missing. One of the killed was a well-known citizen of the town; he
was the speaker on the Union side of the argument. The other two were
strangers, and no one could say which side they espoused. All those
present declared that they themselves were Union men, and it was
supposed that the eight who were missing were the party who had taken
the other side of the question. The evidence of each was taken down by
the police officer. Vincent was not questioned, as, having entered with
the constables, it was supposed he was not present at the affair.

In the morning Vincent read in the local paper a highly colored account
of the fray. After giving a large number of wholly fictitious details,
it went on to say: "The victims were Cyrus D. Jenkins, a much-esteemed
citizen and a prominent Unionist; the other two were guests at the
hotel; one had registered as P. J. Moore of Vermont, the other as James
Harvey of Tennessee. Nothing is as yet known as to the persons whose
rooms were unoccupied, and who had doubtless made their escape as soon
as the affray was over; but the examination of their effects, which will
be made by the police in the morning, will doubtless furnish a clew by
which they will be brought to justice."

Having read this, Vincent looked for the news as to the escape from
Elmira, being anxious to know whether his companions had been as
fortunate as himself in getting clear away. He was startled by reading
the following paragraph: "We are enabled to state that the police have
received a letter stating that one of the officers who escaped from
Elmira prison has adopted the disguise of a minister, and is traveling
through the country with a black servant. At present the authorities are
not disposed to attach much credit to this letter, and are inclined to
believe that it has been sent in order to put them on a wrong scent.
However, a watch will doubtless be kept by the police throughout the
country for a person answering to this description." Accustomed to rise
early, Vincent was taking his breakfast almost alone, only two or three
of the other guests having made their appearance. He finished his meal
hastily, and went out to Dan, who was lounging in front of the hotel.

"Dan, go upstairs at once, pack the bag, bring it down and go out with
it immediately. I will pay the bill. Don't stop to ask questions now."

Vincent then walked up to the desk at the end of the hall, at which a
clerk was sitting reading the paper. Sincerely hoping that the man's eye
had not fallen on this paragraph, he asked if his account was made out.
As he had fortunately mentioned on the preceding evening that he should
be leaving in the morning, the bill was ready; and the clerk, scarce
looking up from the paper, handed it to him. Vincent paid him the
amount, saying carelessly, "I think I have plenty of time to catch the
train for the East?"

The clerk glanced at the clock.

"Yes, it goes at eight, and you have twenty minutes. It's only five
minutes' walk to the station."




CHAPTER XI.

FUGITIVES.


On leaving the hotel Vincent walked a short distance and then stopped
until Dan came up to him.

"Anything de matter, sah?"

"Yes, Dan. There is a notice in the paper that the police have obtained
information that I am traveling disguised as a minister, and have a
negro servant with me."

"Who told dem dat?" Dan asked in surprise.

"We can talk about that presently, Dan; the great thing at present is to
get away from here. The train for the South starts at ten. Give me the
bag, and follow me at a distance. I will get you a ticket for Nashville,
and as you pass me in the station I will hand it to you. It must not be
noticed that we are traveling together. That is the only clew they have
got."

Dan obeyed his instructions. The journey was a long one. The train was
slow and stopped frequently; passengers got in and out at every station.
The morning's news from the various points at which the respective
forces were facing each other was the general topic of conversation, and
Vincent was interested in seeing how the tone gradually changed as the
passengers from St. Louis one by one left the train and their places
were taken by those of the more southern districts. At first the
sentiment expressed had been violently Northern, and there was no
dissent from the general chorus of hope and expectation that the South
were on their last legs and that the rebellion would shortly be stamped
out; but gradually, as the train approached the State of Tennessee, the
Unionist opinion, although expressed with even greater force and
violence, was by no means universal. Many men read their papers in
silence and took no part whatever in the conversation, but Vincent could
see from the angry glances which they shot at the speakers that the
sentiments uttered were distasteful to them. He himself had scarcely
spoken during the whole journey. He had for some time devoted himself to
the newspaper, and had then purchased a book from the newsboy who
perambulated the cars. Presently a rough-looking man, who had been among
the wildest and most violent in his denunciation of the South, said,
looking at Vincent:

"I see by the papers to-day that one of the cursed rebel officers who
gave them the slip at Elmira is traveling in the disguise of a minister.
I guess it's mighty unpleasant to know that even if you meet a parson in
a train, like as not he is a rebel in disguise. Now, mister, may I ask
where you have come from and where you are going to?"

"You may ask what you like," Vincent said quietly; "but I am certainly
not going to answer impertinent questions."

A hum of approval was heard from several of the passengers.

"If you hadn't got that black coat on," the man said angrily, "I would
put you off the car in no time."

"Black coat or no black coat," Vincent said, "you may find it more
difficult than you think. My profession is a peaceful one; but even a
peaceful man, if assaulted, may defend himself. You say it's unpleasant
to know that if you travel with a man in a black coat he may be a
traitor. It's quite as unpleasant to me to know that if I travel with a
man in a brown one he may be a notorious ruffian, and may as likely as
not have just served his time in a penitentiary."

Two or three of the passengers laughed loudly. The man, starting up,
crossed the car to where Vincent was sitting and laid his hand roughly
on his shoulder.

"You have got to get out!" he said. "No man insults Jim Mullens twice."

"Take your hand off my shoulder," Vincent said quietly, "or you will be
sorry for it."

The man shifted his hold to the collar of Vincent's coat amid cries of
shame from some of the passengers, while the others were silent, even
those of his own party objecting to an assault upon a minister. It was
only the fact that the fellow was a notorious local ruffian that
prevented their expressing open disapproval of the act. As the man
grasped Vincent's collar with his right hand Vincent saw his left go
under his coat toward the pocket in the back of the trousers where
revolvers were always carried. In an instant he sprang to his feet, and
before the man, who was taken by surprise at the suddenness of the
movement, could steady himself, he struck him a tremendous blow and at
the same moment springing at his throat, threw him backward on to the
floor of the carriage. As he fell the man drew out his revolver, but
Vincent grasped his arm and with a sharp twist wrenched the revolver
from his grasp, and, leaping up, threw it out of the open window. The
ruffian rose to his feet for a moment half-dazed by the violence with
which he had fallen, and poured out a string of imprecations upon
Vincent. The latter stood calmly awaiting a fresh attack. For a moment
the ruffian hesitated, and then, goaded to fury by the taunting laughter
of the lookers-on, was about to spring upon him when he was seized by
two or three of the passengers.

"I reckon you have made a fool enough of yourself already," one of them
said; "and we are not going to see a minister ill-treated, not if we
know it."

"You need not hold him," Vincent said. "It is not because one wears a
black coat and is adverse to fighting that one is not able to defend
one's self. We all learn the same things at college, whether we are
going into the Church or any other profession. You can let him alone if
he really wants any more, which I do not believe. I should be ashamed of
myself if I could not punish a ruffian of his kind."

"Let me get at him!" yelled Mullens; and the men who held him, taking
Vincent at his word, released him. He rushed forward, but was received
with another tremendous blow on the mouth. He paused a moment in his
rush, and Vincent, springing forward, administered another blow upon the
same spot, knocking him off his legs on to the floor. On getting up he
gave no sign of a desire to renew the conflict. His lips were badly cut
and the blood was streaming from his mouth, and he looked at Vincent
with an air of absolute bewilderment. The latter, seeing that the
conflict was over, quietly resumed his seat; while several of the
passengers came up to him, and, shaking him warmly by the hand,
congratulated him upon having punished his assailant.

"I wish we had a few more ministers of your sort down this way," one
said. "That's the sort of preaching fellows like this understand. It was
well you got his six-shooter out of his hand, for he would have used it
as sure as fate. He ought to have been lynched long ago, but since the
troubles began, these fellows have had all their own way. But look to
yourself when he gets out; he belongs to a gang who call themselves
Unionists, but who are nothing but plunderers and robbers. If you take
my advice, when you get to the end of your journey you will not leave
the station, but take a ticket straight back North. I tell you your life
won't be safe five minutes when you once get outside of the town. They
daren't do anything there, for, though folks have had to put up with a
great deal, they wouldn't stand the shooting of a minister; still,
outside the town I would not answer for your life for an hour."

"I have my duties to perform," Vincent said, "and I shall certainly
carry them through; but I am obliged to you for your advice. I can quite
understand that ruffian," and he looked at Mullens, who, with his
handkerchief to his mouth, was sitting alone in a corner--for the rest
had all drawn away from him in disgust--and glaring ferociously at him,
"will revenge himself, if he has the opportunity. However, as far as
possible, I shall be on my guard."

"At any rate," the man said, "I should advise you, when you get to
Nashville, to charge him with assault. We can all testify that he laid
hands on you first. That way he will get locked up for some days anyhow,
and you can go away about your business, and he won't know where to find
you when he gets out."

"Thank you--that would be a very good plan; but I might lose a day or
two in having to appear against him. I am pressed for time and have some
important business on hand, and I have no doubt I shall be able to throw
him off my track, finish my business, and be off again before he can
come across me."

"Well, I hope no harm will come of it," the other said. "I like you, and
I never saw anyone hit so quickly and so hard. It's a downright pity you
are a preacher. My name's John Morrison, and my farm is ten miles from
Nashville, on the Cumberland River. If you should be going in that
direction, I should be right glad if you would drop in on me."

The real reason that decided Vincent against following the advice to
give his assailant in charge was that he feared he himself might be
questioned as to the object of his journey and his destination. The
fellow would not improbably say that he believed he was the Confederate
officer who was trying to escape in the disguise of a clergyman and that
he had therefore tried to arrest him. He could, of course, give no
grounds for the accusation, still questions might be asked which would
be impossible for him to answer; and, however plausible a story he might
invent, the lawyer whom the fellow would doubtless employ to defend him
might suggest that the truth of his statements might be easily tested by
the dispatch of a telegram, in which case he would be placed in a most
awkward situation. It was better to run the risk of trouble with the
fellow and his gang than to do anything which might lead to inquiries
as to his identity.

When the train reached Nashville, Vincent proceeded to an hotel. It was
already late in the afternoon, for the journey had occupied more than
thirty hours. As soon as it was dark he went out again and joined Dan,
whom he had ordered to follow him at a distance and to be at the corner
of the first turning to the right of the hotel as soon as it became
dark. Dan was at the point agreed upon, and he followed Vincent until
the latter stopped in a quiet and badly lighted street.

"Things are going badly, Dan. I had a row with a ruffian in the train,
and he has got friends here, and this will add greatly to our danger in
getting to our lines. I must get another disguise. What money have you
left?"

"Not a cent, sah. I had only a five-cent piece left when we left St.
Louis, and I spent him on bread on de journey."

"That is bad, Dan. I did not think your stock was so nearly expended."

"I had to keep myself, sah, and to pay for de railroad, and to buy dem
t'ree suits of clothes, and to make de nigger I lodged with a present to
keep him mouth shut."

"Oh, I know you have had lots of expenses, Dan, and I am sure that you
have not wasted your money; but I had not thought about it. I have only
got ten dollars left, and we may have a hundred and fifty miles to
travel before we are safe. Anyhow, you must get another disguise, and
trust to luck for the rest. We have tramped a hundred and fifty miles
before now without having anything beyond what we could pick up on the
road. Here's the money. Get a rough suit of workingman's clothes, and
join me here in an hour's time. Let us find out the name of the street
before we separate, for we may miss our way and not be able to meet
again."

Passing up into the busy streets, Vincent presently stopped and
purchased a paper of a newsboy who was running along shouting, "News
from the war! Defeat of the rebels! Fight in a railway car near
Nashville! A minister punishes a border ruffian!"

"Confound those newspaper fellows!" Vincent muttered to himself as he
walked away. "They pick up every scrap of news. I suppose a reporter got
hold of someone who was in the car." Turning down a quiet street, he
opened the paper and, by the light of the lamp, read a graphic and
minute account of the struggle in the train.

"I won't go back to the hotel," he said to himself. "I shall be having
reporters to interview me. I shall be expected to give them a history of
my whole life: where I was born, and where I went to school, and whether
I prefer beef to mutton, and whether I drink beer, and a thousand other
things. No, the sooner I am away the better. As to the hotel, I have
only had one meal, and they have got the bag with what clothes there
are; that will pay them well." Accordingly, when he rejoined Dan, he
told him that they would start at once.

"It is the best way, anyhow," he said. "To-morrow, no doubt, the fellow
I had the row with will be watching the hotel to see which way I go off,
but after once seeing me go to the hotel he will not guess that I shall
be starting this evening. What have you got left, Dan?"

"I got two dollars, sah."

"That makes us quite rich men. We will stop at the first shop we come to
and lay in a stock of bread and a pound or two of ham."

"And a bottle of rum, sah. Bery wet and cold, sleeping out of doors now,
sah. Want a little comfort, anyhow."

"Very well, Dan; I think we can afford that."

"Get one for half a dollar, massa. Could not lay out half a dollar
better."

Half an hour later they had left Nashville behind them, and were
tramping along the road toward the east, Dan carrying a bundle in which
the provisions were wrapped, and the neck of the bottle of rum sticking
out of his pocket. As soon as they were well in the country Vincent
changed his clothes for those Dan had just brought him, and making the
others up into a bundle, continued his way.

"Why you not leave dem black clothes behind, sah? What good take dem wid
you?"

"I am not going to carry them far, Dan. The first wood or thick clump of
bushes we come to I shall hide them away; but if you were to leave them
here they would be found the first thing in the morning, and perhaps be
carried into the town and handed over to the police, and they might put
that and the fact of my not having returned to the hotel--which is sure
to be talked about--together, and come to the conclusion that either
Mullens was right and that I was an escaped Confederate, or that I had
been murdered by Mullens. In either case they might get up a search, and
perhaps send telegrams to the troops in the towns beyond us. Anyhow,
it's best the clothes should not be found."

All night they tramped along, pausing only for half an hour about
midnight, when Dan suggested that as he had only had some bread to
eat--and not too much of that--during the last forty-eight hours, he
thought that he could do with some supper. Accordingly the bundle was
opened, and they sat down and partook of a hearty meal. Dan had wisely
taken the precaution of having the cork drawn from the bottle when he
bought it, replacing it so that it could be easily extracted when
required, and Vincent acknowledged that the spirit was a not unwelcome
addition to the meal. When morning broke they had reached Duck's River,
a broad stream crossing the road.

Here they drew aside into a thick grove, and determined to get a few
hours' sleep before proceeding. It was nearly midday before they woke
and proceeded to the edge of the trees. Vincent reconnoitered the
position.

"It is just as well we did not try to cross, Dan. I see the tents of at
least a regiment on the other bank. No doubt they are stationed there
to guard the road and railway bridge. This part of the country is pretty
equally divided in opinion, though more of the people are for the South
than for the North; but I know there are guerrilla parties on both sides
moving about, and if a Confederate band was to pounce down on these
bridges and destroy them it would cut the communication with their army
in front, and put them in a very ugly position if they were defeated. No
doubt that's why they have stationed that regiment there. Anyhow, it
makes it awkward for us. We should be sure to be questioned where we are
going, and as I know nothing whatever of the geography of the place, we
should find it very difficult to satisfy them. We must cross the river
somewhere else. There are sure to be some boats somewhere along the
banks; at any rate, the first thing to do is to move further away from
the road."

They walked for two or three miles across the country. The fields for
the most part were deserted, and although here and there they saw
cultivated patches, it was evident that most of the inhabitants had
quitted that part of the country, which had been the scene of almost
continued fighting from the commencement of the war; the sufferings of
the inhabitants being greatly heightened by the bands of marauders who
moved about plundering and destroying under the pretense of punishing
those whom they considered hostile to the cause in whose
favor--nominally, at least--they had enrolled themselves. The sight of
ruined farms and burned houses roused Vincent's indignation; for in
Virginia private property had, up to the time of Pope's assuming command
of the army, been respected, and this phase of civil war was new and
very painful to him.

"It would be a good thing," he said to Dan, "if the generals on both
sides in this district would agree to a month's truce, and join each
other in hunting down and hanging these marauding scoundrels. On our
side Mosby and a few other leaders of bands composed almost entirely of
gentlemen have never been accused of practices of this kind; but, with
these exceptions, there is little to choose between them."

After walking for four or five miles they again sat down till evening,
and then, going down to the river, endeavored to find a boat by which
they could cross, but to their disappointment no craft of any kind was
visible, although in many places there were stages by the riverside,
evidently used by farmers for unloading their produce into boats.
Vincent concluded at last that at some period of the struggle all the
boats must have been collected and either sunk or carried away by one of
the parties to prevent the other crossing the river.

Hitherto they had carefully avoided all the farmhouses that appeared to
be inhabited; but Vincent now determined to approach one of them and
endeavor to gain some information as to the distance from the next
bridge, and whether it was guarded by troops, and to find out, if
possible, the position in which the Northern forces in Tennessee were at
present posted--all of which points he was at present ignorant of. He
passed two or three large farmhouses without entering, for although the
greater part of the male population were away with one or other of the
armies, he might still find two or three hands in such buildings.
Besides, it was now late, and whatever the politics of the inmates they
would be suspicious of such late arrivals, and would probably altogether
refuse them admittance. Accordingly another night was spent in the wood.

The next morning, after walking a mile or two, they saw a house at which
Vincent determined to try their fortune. It was small, but seemed to
have belonged to people above the class of farmer. It stood in a little
plantation, and was surrounded by a veranda. Most of the blinds were
down, and Vincent judged that the inmates could not be numerous.

"You remain here, Dan, and I will go and knock at the door. It is better
that we should not be seen together." Vincent accordingly went forward
and knocked at the door. An old negress opened it.

"We have nothing for tramps," she said. "De house am pretty well cleared
out ob eberything." She was about to shut the door when Vincent put his
foot forward and prevented its closing. "Massa Charles," the negress
called out, "bring yo' shot-gun quick; here am tief want to break into
the house."

"I am neither a thief nor a tramp," Vincent said; "and I do not want
anything, except that I should be glad to buy a loaf of bread if you
have one that you could spare. I have lost my way, and I want to ask
directions."

"Dat am pretty likely story," the old woman said. "Bring up dat
shot-gun, quick, Massa Charles."

"What is it, Chloe?" another female voice asked.

"Here am a man pretend he hab lost his way and wants to buy a loaf. You
stand back, Miss Lucy, and let your brudder shoot de villain dead."

"I can assure you I am not a robber, madam," Vincent said through the
partly opened door. "I am alone, and only beg some information, which I
doubt not you can give me."

"Open the door, Chloe," the second voice said inside; "that is not the
voice of a robber."

The old woman reluctantly obeyed the order and opened the door, and
Vincent saw in the passage a young girl of some sixteen years old. He
took off his hat.

"I am very sorry to disturb you," he said, "but I am an entire stranger
here, and am most desirous of crossing the river, but can find no boat
with which to do so."

"Why did you not cross by the bridge?" the girl asked. "How did you miss
the straight road?"

"Frankly, because there were Northern troops there," Vincent said, "and
I wish to avoid them, if possible."

"You are a Confederate?" the girl asked, when the old negress
interrupted her:

"Hush, Miss Lucy! don't you talk about dem tings; der plenty of mischief
done already. What hab you to do wid one side or de oder?"

The girl paid no attention to her words, but stood awaiting Vincent's
answer. He did not hesitate. There was something in her face that told
him that, friend or foe, she was not likely to betray a fugitive, and he
answered:

"I am a Confederate officer, madam. I have made my escape from Elmira
prison, and I am trying to find my way back into our lines."

"Come in, sir," the girl said, holding out her hand. "We are
Secessionists, heart and soul. My father and my brother are with our
troops--that is, if they are both alive. I have little to offer you, for
the Yankee bands have been here several times, have driven off our
cattle, emptied our barns, and even robbed our hen nests, and taken
everything in the house they thought worth carrying away. But whatever
there is, sir, you are heartily welcome to. I had a paper yesterday--it
is not often I get one--and I saw there that three of our officers had
escaped from Elmira. Are you one of them?"

"Yes, madam. I am Lieutenant Wingfield."

"Ah! then you are in the cavalry. You have fought under Stuart," the
girl said. "The paper said so. Oh, how I wish we had Stuart and
Stonewall Jackson on this side! We should soon drive the Yankees out of
Tennessee."

"They would try to, anyhow," Vincent said, smiling, "and if it were
possible they would assuredly do it. I was in Ashley's horse with the
Stonewall division through the first campaign in the Shenandoah Valley
and up to Bull Run, and after that under Stuart. But is not your brother
here? Your servant called to him."

"There is no one here but ourselves," the girl replied. "That was a
fiction of Chloe's, and it has succeeded sometimes when we have had
rough visitors. And now, what can I do for you, sir? You said you wanted
to buy a loaf of bread, and therefore, I suppose, you are hungry. Chloe,
put the bacon and bread on the table, and make some coffee. I am afraid
that is all we can do, sir, but such as it is you are heartily welcome
to it."

"I thank you greatly," Vincent replied, "and will, if you will allow me,
take half my breakfast out to my boy, who is waiting over there."

"Why did you not bring him in?" the girl asked. "Of course he will be
welcome, too."

"I did not bring him in before because two men in these days are likely
to alarm a lonely household; and I would rather not bring him in now,
because, if by any possibility the searchers, who are no doubt after me,
should call and ask you whether two men, one a white and the other a
negro, had been here, you could answer no."

"But they cannot be troubling much about prisoners," the girl said.
"Why, in the fighting here and in Missouri they have taken many
thousands of prisoners, and you have taken still more of them in
Virginia; surely they cannot trouble themselves much about one getting
away."

"I am not afraid of a search of that kind," Vincent said; "but,
unfortunately, on my way down I had a row in the train with a ruffian
named Mullens, who is, I understand, connected with one of these bands
of brigands, and I feel sure that he will hunt me down, if he can."

The girl turned pale.

"Oh!" she said, "I saw that in the paper too, but it said that it was a
minister. And it was you who beat that man and threw his revolver out of
the window? Oh, then, you are in danger indeed, sir. He is one of the
worst ruffians in the State, and is the leader of the party who stripped
this house and threatened to burn it to the ground. Luckily I was not at
home, having gone away to spend the night with a neighbor. His band have
committed murders all over the country, hanging up defenseless people on
pretense that they were Secessionists. They will show you no mercy, if
they catch you."

"No. I should not expect any great mercy, if I fell into their hands,
Miss Lucy. I don't know your other name."

"My name is Kingston. I ought to have introduced myself to you at once."

"Now you understand, Miss Kingston, how anxious I am to get across the
river, and that brings me to the question of the information I want you
to give me. How far is it from the next bridge on the south, and are
there any Federal troops there?"

"It is about seven miles to the bridge at Williamsport; we are just
halfway between that and the railway bridge at Columbus. Yes, there are
certainly troops there."

"Then I see no way for it but to make a small raft to carry us across,
Miss Kingston. I am a good swimmer, but the river is full and of
considerable width; still, I think I can get across. But my boy cannot
swim a stroke."

"I know where there is a boat hid in the wood near the river," the girl
said. "It belongs to a neighbor of ours, and when the Yankees seized the
boats he had his hauled up and hidden in the woods. He was a Southerner,
heart and soul, and thought that he might be able sometimes to take
useful information across the river to our people; but a few weeks
afterward his house was attacked by one of these bands--it was always
said it was that of Mullens--and he was killed, defending it to the
last. He killed several of the band before he fell, and they were so
enraged that, after plundering it, they set it on fire and fastened the
door, and his wife and two maidservants were burned to death."

"I wish instead of throwing his pistol out of the window, I had blown
his brains out with it," Vincent said; "and I would have done so, if I
had known what sort of fellow he was. However, as to the boat, can you
give me instructions where to find it, and is it light enough for two
men to carry?"

"Not to carry, perhaps, but to push along. It is a light boat he had for
pleasure. He had a large one, but that was carried away with the
others. I cannot give you directions, but I can lead you to the place."

"I should not like you to do that," Vincent said. "We might be caught,
and your share in the affair might be suspected."

"Oh there is no fear of that," the girl said; "besides, I am not afraid
of danger."

"I don't think it is right, Miss Kingston, for a young lady like you to
be living here alone with an old servant in such times as these. You
ought to go into a town until it's all over."

"I have no one to go to," the girl said simply. "My father bought this
place and moved here from Georgia only six years ago, and all my friends
are in that State. Except our neighbors round here I do not know a soul
in Tennessee. Besides, what can I do in a town? We can manage here,
because we have a few fowls, and some of our neighbors last spring
plowed an acre or two of ground and planted corn for us, and I have a
little money left for buying other things; but it would not last us a
month if we went into a town. No, I have nothing to do but to stay here
until you drive the Yankees back. I will willingly take you down to the
boat to-night. Chloe can come with us and keep me company on the way
back. Of course it would not be safe to cross in the daytime."

"I thank you greatly, Miss Kingston, and shall always remember your
kindness. Now, when I finish my meal, I will go out and join my boy, and
will come to you at eight o'clock; it will be quite dark then."

"Why should you not stay here till then, Mr. Wingfield? It is very
unlikely that anyone will come along."

"It is unlikely, but it is quite possible," Vincent replied; "and were I
caught here by Mullens, the consequence would be very serious to you as
well as to myself. No, I could not think of doing that. I will go out,
and come back at eight o'clock. I shall not be far away; but if anyone
should come and inquire, you can honestly say that you do not know where
I am."

"I have two revolvers here, sir; in fact I have three. I always keep one
loaded, for there is never any saying whether it may not be wanted; and
the other two I picked up last spring. There was a fight about a quarter
of a mile from here, and it was after it was over and they had moved
away, for the Confederates won that time and chased them back toward
Nashville, I went with Chloe with some water and bandages to see if we
could do anything for the wounded. We were at work there till evening,
and I think we did some good. As we were coming back I saw something in
a low bush, and going there found a Yankee officer and his horse both
lying dead; they had been killed by a shell, I should think. Stooping
over to see if he was quite dead I saw a revolver in his belt and
another in the holster of his saddle, so I took them out and brought
them home, thinking I might give them to some of our men, for we were
then, as we have always been, very short of arms; but I have never had
an opportunity of giving them away, and I am very glad now that I have
not. Here they are, sir, and two packets of cartridges, for they are of
the same size as those of the pistol my father gave me when he went
away. You are heartily welcome to them."

"Thank you extremely," Vincent said as he took the pistols and placed
the packets of ammunition in his pocket. "We cut two heavy sticks the
night we left Nashville so as to be able to make something of a fight;
but with these weapons we shall feel a match for any small parties we
may meet. Then at eight o'clock I will come back again."

"I shall be ready," the girl said; "but I wish you would have stopped,
there are so many things I want to ask you about, and these Yankee
papers, which are all we see now, are full of lies."

"They exaggerate their successes and to some extent conceal their
defeats," Vincent said; "but I do not think it is the fault of the
newspapers, whose correspondents do seem to me to try and tell the truth
to their readers, but of the official dispatches of the generals. The
newspapers tone matters down, no doubt, because they consider it
necessary to keep up the public spirit; but at times they speak out
pretty strongly, too. I am quite as sorry to leave as you can be that I
should go, Miss Kingston, but I am quite sure that it is very much the
wisest thing for me to do. By the way, if I should not be here by
half-past eight I shall not come at all, and you will know that
something has occurred to alter our plans. I trust there is no chance of
anything doing so, but it is as well to arrange so that you should not
sit up expecting me. Should I not come back you will know that I shall
be always grateful to you for your kindness, and that when this war is
over, if I am alive, I will come back and thank you personally."

"Good-by till this evening!" the girl said. "I will not even let myself
think that anything can occur to prevent your return."

"Golly, Massa Vincent, what a time you hab been!" Dan said when Vincent
rejoined him. "Dis chile began to tink dat somefing had gone wrong, and
was going in anoder five minutes to knock at the door to ask what dey
had done to you."

"It is all right, Dan. I have had breakfast, and have brought some for
you; here is some bread and bacon and a bottle of coffee."

"Dat good, massa; my teeth go chatter, chatter wid sleeping in these
damp woods; dat coffee do me good, sah. After dat I shall feel fit for
anyting."




CHAPTER XII.

THE BUSHWHACKERS.


"By the way, Dan," Vincent said when the negro had finished his meal,
"we have not talked over that matter of my clothes. I can't imagine how
that letter saying that one of us was disguised as a minister and would
have a negro servant came to be written. Did you ever tell the people
you lodged with anything about the disguise?"

"No, sah, neber said one word to dem about it; dey know nothing
whatsoeber. De way me do wid your letter was dis. Me go outside town and
wait for long time. At last saw black fellow coming along. Me say to
him, 'Can you read?' and he said as he could. I said 'I got a letter, I
want to read him. I gib you a quarter to read him to me;' so he said
yes, and he read the letter. He a long time of making it out, because he
read print, but not read writing well. He spell it out word by word, but
I don't tink he understand dat it come from prison, only dat it come
from someone who wanted some rope and a turn-screw. Me do just the same
way wid de second letter. As for de clothes, me buy dem dat day, make
dem up in bundle, and not go back to lodging at all. Me not know how
anyone could know dat I buy dat minister clothes for you, sah. Me told
de storekeeper dat dey was for cousin of mine, who preach to de colored
folk, and dat I send him suit as present. Onless dat man follow me and
watch me all de time till we go off together, sah, me no see how de
debbil he guess about it."

"That's quite impossible, Dan; it never could have been that way. It is
very strange, for it would really seem that no one but you and I and the
other two officers could possibly know about it."

"Perhaps one ob dem want to do you bad turn, massa, and write so as to
get you caught and shut up again."

Vincent started at this suggestion. Was it possible that Jackson could
have done him this bad turn after his having aided him to make his
escape! It would be a villainous trick; but then he had always thought
him capable of villainous tricks, and it was only the fact that they
were thrown together in prison that had induced him to make up his
quarrel with him; but though Jackson had accepted his advances, it was
probable enough that he had retained his bad feeling against him, and
had determined, if possible, to have his revenge on the first
opportunity.

"The scoundrel," he said to himself, "after my getting him free, to
inform against me! Of course I have no proof of it, but I have not the
least doubt that it was he. If we ever meet again, Mr. Jackson, I will
have it out with you."

"You got two pistols, sah," Dan said presently. "How you get dem?"

"The lady of the house gave them to me, Dan; they are one for you and
one for me."

"Dis chile no want him, sah; not know what to do wid him. Go off and
shoot myself, for sure."

"Well, I don't suppose you would do much good with it, Dan. As I am a
good shot, perhaps I had better keep them both. You might load them for
me as I fire them."

"Bery well, sah: you show me how to load, me load."

Vincent showed Dan how to extricate the discharged cartridge cases and
to put in fresh ones, and after a quarter of an hour's practice Dan was
able to do this with some speed.

"When we going on, sah?" he said as, having learned the lesson, he
handed the pistol back to Vincent.

"We are not going on until the evening, Dan. When it gets dark the lady
is going to take us to a place where there is a boat hidden, and we
shall then be able to cross the river."

"Den I will hab a sleep, sah. Noting like sleeping when there is a
chance."

"I believe you could sleep three-quarters of your time, Dan. However,
you may as well sleep now if you can, for there will be nothing to do
till night."

Vincent went back to the edge of the wood, and sat down where he could
command a view of the cottage. The country was for the most part covered
with wood, for it was but thinly inhabited except in the neighborhood of
the main roads. Few of the farmers had cleared more than half their
ground; many only a few acres. The patch, in which the house with its
little clump of trees stood nearly in the center, was of some forty or
fifty acres in extent, and though now rank with weeds, had evidently
been carefully cultivated, for all the stumps had been removed, and the
fence round it was of a stronger and neater character than that which
most of the cultivators deemed sufficient.

Presently he heard the sound of horses' feet in the forest behind him,
and he made his way back to a road which ran along a hundred yards from
the edge of the wood. He reached it before the horseman came up, and lay
down in the underwood a few yards back. In a short time two horsemen
came along at a walking pace.

"I call this a fool's errand altogether," one of them said in a
grumbling tone. "We don't know that they have headed this way; and if
they have, we might search these woods for a month without finding
them."

"That's so," the other said; "but Mullens has set his heart on it, and
we must try for another day or two. My idea is that when the fellow
heard what sort of a chap Mullens was, he took the train back that night
and went up North again."

Vincent heard no more, but it was enough to show him that a sharp hunt
was being kept up for him; and although he had no fear of being caught
in the woods, he was well pleased at the thought that he would soon be
across the water and beyond the reach of his enemy. He went back again
to the edge of the clearing and resumed his watch. It was just getting
dusk, and he was about to join Dan when he saw a party of twelve men
ride out from the other side of the wood and make toward the house.
Filled with a vague alarm that possibly someone might have caught sight
of him and his follower on the previous day, and might, on being
questioned by the searchers, have given them a clew as to the direction
in which they were going, Vincent hurried to the spot where he left Dan.
The negro jumped up as he approached.

"Me awake long time, sah. Began to wonder where you had got to."

"Take your stick and come along, Dan, as fast as you can."

Without another word Vincent led the way along the edge of the wood to
the point where the clump of trees at the back of the house hid it from
his view.

"Now, Dan, stoop low and get across to those trees."

Greatly astonished at what was happening, but having implicit faith in
his master, Dan followed without a question.

It was but ten minutes since Vincent had seen the horsemen, but the
darkness had closed in rapidly, and he had little fear of his approach
being seen. He made his way through the trees, and crept up to the
house, and then kept close along it until he reached the front. There
stood the horses with the bridles thrown over their necks. The riders
were all inside the house.

"Look here, Dan," he whispered, "you keep here perfectly quiet until I
join you again or you hear a pistol shot. If you do hear a shot, rush at
the horses with your stick and drive them off at full gallop. Drive them
right into the woods if you can, and then lie quiet till you hear me
whistle for you. If you don't hear my whistle you will know something
has happened to me, and then you must make your way home as well as
can."

"Oh, Master Vincent!" Dan began; but Vincent stopped him.

"It's no use talking, Dan; you must do as I order you. I hope all will
be well; but it must be done, anyhow."

"Let me come and load your pistol and fight with you, sah."

"You can do more good stampeding the horses, Dan. Perhaps, after all,
there will be no trouble."

So saying, leaving Dan with the tears running down his cheeks, Vincent
went to the back of the house and tried the door there. It was fastened.
Then he went to the other side; and here the light streaming through the
window, which was open, and the sound of loud voices, showed him the
room where the party were. He crept cautiously up and looked in. Mullens
was standing facing Lucy Kingston; the rest of the men were standing
behind him. The girl was as pale as death, but was quiet and composed.

"Now," Mullens said, "I ask you for the last time. You have admitted
that a man has been here to-day and that you gave him food. You say he
is not in the house; and as we have searched it pretty thoroughly, we
know that's right enough. You say you don't know where he is, and that
may be true enough in a sense; but I have asked you whether he is coming
back again, and you won't answer me. I just give you three seconds;" and
he held out his arm with a pistol in it. "One!" As the word "Two" left
his lips, a pistol cracked and Mullens fell back with a bullet in his
forehead.

At the same time Vincent shouted at the top of his voice, "Come on,
boys; wipe 'em out altogether! Don't let one of them escape!" As he
spoke he discharged his pistol rapidly into the midst of the men, who
were for the moment too taken by surprise to move, and every shot took
effect upon them. At the same moment there was a great shouting outside,
and the trampling of horses' feet. One or two of the men hastily
returned Vincent's fire, but the rest made a violent rush to the door.
Several fell over the bodies of their comrades, and Vincent had emptied
one of his revolvers and fired three shots with the second before the
last of those able to escape did so. Five bodies remained on the floor.
As they were still seven to one against him, Vincent ran to the corner
of the house, prepared to shoot them as they came round; but the
ruffians were too scared to think of anything but escape, and they could
be heard running and shouting across the fields.

Vincent ran into the house. He had seen Lucy Kingston fall prostrate at
the same instant as the ruffian facing her. Strung up to the highest
tension, and expecting in another second to be shot, the crack of
Vincent's pistol had brought her down as surely as the bullet of Mullens
would have done. Even in the excitement of firing, Vincent felt thankful
when he saw her fall, and knew that she was safe from the bullets
flying about. When he entered the room he found the old negress lying
beside her, and thought at first that she had fallen in the fray. He
found that she was not only alive, but unhurt, having, the instant she
saw her young mistress fall, thrown herself upon her to protect her from
harm.

"Am dey all gone, sah?" she asked, as Vincent somewhat roughly pulled
her off the girl's body.

"They have all gone, Chloe; but I do not know how soon they may be back
again. Get your mistress round as soon as you can. I am sure that she
has only fainted, for she fell the instant I fired, before another
pistol had gone off."

Leaving the old woman to bring Miss Kingston round, he reloaded his
pistols and went to the door. In a few minutes the sound of horses
galloping was heard.

"Halt, or I fire!" he shouted.

"Don't shoot, sah! don't shoot! it am me!" and Dan rode up, holding a
second horse by the bridle. "I thought I might as well get two ob dem,
so I jump on de back ob one and get hold ob anoder bridle while I was
waiting to hear your pistol fire. Den de moment I heard dat, I set de
oders off, and chased dem to de corner where de gate was where dey came
in at, and along de road for half a mile; dey so frightened dey not stop
for a long time to come. Den I turn into de wood and went through de
trees, so as not to meet dem fellows, and lifted two of de bars of the
fence, and here am I. You are not hurt, massa?"

"My left arm is broken, I think, Dan; but that is of no consequence. I
have shot five of these fellows--their leader among them--and I expect
three of the others have got a bullet somewhere or other in them. There
was such a crowd round the door that I don't think one shot missed. It
was well I thought of stampeding the horses; that gave them a greater
fright than my pistols. No doubt they thought that there was a party of
our bushwhackers upon them. Now, Dan, you keep watch, and let me know
if you see any signs of their returning. I think they are too shaken up
to want any more fighting; but as there are seven of them, and they may
guess there are only two or three of us, it is possible they may try
again."

"Me don't tink dey try any more, sah. Anyhow, I look out sharp." So
saying, Dan, fastening up one of the horses, rode the other in a circle
round and round the house and little plantation, so that it would not be
possible for anyone to cross the clearing without being seen. Vincent
returned to the house, and found Miss Kingston just recovering
consciousness. She sat upon the ground in a confused way.

"What has happened, nurse?"

"Never mind at present, deary. Juss you keep yourself quiet, and drink a
little water."

The girl mechanically obeyed. The minute she put down the glass her eye
fell upon Vincent, who was standing near the door.

"Oh, I remember now!" she said, starting up. "Those men were here, and
they were going to shoot me. One--two--and then he fired, and it seemed
that I fell dead. Am I not wounded?"

"He never fired at all, Miss Kingston; he will never fire again. I shot
him as he said 'two,' and no doubt the shock of the sudden shot caused
you to faint dead away. You fell the same instant that he did."

"But where are the others?" the girl said with a shudder. "How imprudent
of you to come here! I hoped you had seen them coming toward the house."

"I did see them, Miss Kingston, and that was the reason I came. I was
afraid they might try rough measures to learn from you where I was
hidden. I arrived at the window just as the scoundrel was pointing his
pistol toward you, and then there was no time to give myself up, and I
had nothing to do for it but to put a bullet through his head in order
to save you. Then I opened fire upon the rest, and my boy drove off
their horses. They were seized with a panic and bolted, thinking they
were surrounded. Of course I kept up my fire, and there are four of them
in the next room besides their captain. And now, if you please, I will
get you, in the first place, to bind my arm tightly across my chest, for
one of their bullets hit me in the left shoulder, and has, I fancy,
broken it."

The girl gave an exclamation of dismay.

"Do not be alarmed, Miss Kingston; a broken shoulder is not a serious
matter, only I would rather it had not happened just at the present
moment; there are more important affairs in hand. The question is, What
is to become of you? It is quite impossible that you should stay here
after what has happened. Those scoundrels are sure to come back again."

"What am I to do, Chloe?" the girl asked in perplexity. "I am sure we
cannot stay here. We must find our way through the woods to Nashville,
and I must try and get something to do there."

"There is another way, Miss Kingston, if you like to try it," Vincent
said. "Of course it would be toilsome and unpleasant, but I do not think
it would be dangerous, for even if we got caught there would be no fear
of your receiving any injury from the Federal troops. My proposal is
that you and Chloe should go with us. If we get safely through the
Federal lines I will escort you to Georgia and place you with your
friends there."

The girl looked doubtful for a moment, and then she shook her head.

"I could not think of that, sir. It would be difficult enough for you to
get through the enemy by yourselves. It would add terribly to your
danger to have us with you."

"I do not think so," Vincent replied. "Two men would be sure to be
questioned and suspected, but a party like ours would be far less likely
to excite suspicion. Every foot we get south we shall find ourselves
more and more among people who are friendly to us, and although they
might be afraid to give shelter to men, they would not refuse to take
women in. I really think, Miss Kingston, that this plan is the best. In
the first place, it would be a dangerous journey for you through the
woods to Nashville, and if you fall into the hands of any of those
ruffians who have been here you may expect no mercy. At Nashville you
will have great difficulty in obtaining employment of any kind, and even
suppose you went further north your position as a friendless girl would
be a most painful one. As to your staying here, that is plainly out of
the question. I think that there is no time to lose in making a
decision. Those fellows may go to the camp at the bridge, give their
account of the affair, declare that they have been attacked by a party
of Confederate sympathizers, and return here with a troop of horse."

"What do you say, Chloe?" Lucy asked.

"I'se ready to go wid you whereber you like, Miss Lucy; but I do tink
dat, in times like dis, dat a young gal is best wid her own folk. It may
be hard work getting across, but as to danger dar can't be much more
danger than dar has been in stopping along here, so it seems to me best
to do as dis young officer says."

"Very well, then, I will, sir. We will go under your protection, and
will give you as little trouble as we can. We will be ready in five
minutes. Now, Chloe, let us put a few things together. The fewer the
better. Just a small bundle which we can carry in our hands."

In a few minutes they returned to the room, Chloe carrying a large
basket, and looking somewhat ruffled.

"Chloe is a little upset," the girl said, smiling, "because I won't put
my best clothes on; and the leaving her Sunday gown behind is a sore
trouble to her."

"No wonder, sah," Chloe said. "Why, dey say dat thar am no pretty
dresses in de 'Federacy, and dat blue gown wid red spots is just as good
as new, and it am downright awful to tink dat dose fellows will come
back and take it."

"Never mind, Chloe," Vincent said, smiling. "No doubt we are short of
pretty dresses in the South, but I dare say we shall be able to find you
something that will be almost as good. But we must not stand talking.
You are sure you have got everything of value, Miss Kingston?"

"I have got my purse," she said, "and Chloe has got some food. I don't
think there is anything else worth taking in the house."

"Very well, we will be off," Vincent said, leading the way to the door.

A minute later Dan rode past, and Vincent called him and told him they
were going to start.

"Shall we take de horses, sah?"

"No, Dan. We are going to carry out our original plan of crossing the
river in a boat, and I think the horses would be rather in our way than
not. But you had better not leave them here. Take them to the farther
side of the clearing, and get them through the fence into the forest,
then strike across as quickly as you can and join us where we were
stopping to-day. Miss Kingston and her servant are going with us. They
cannot stay here after what has taken place."

Dan at once rode off with the two horses, and the others walked across
to the edge of the clearing and waited until he rejoined them.

"Now, Miss Kingston, you must be our guide at present."

"We must cross the road, first," the girl said. "Nearly opposite to
where we are there is a little path through the wood, leading straight
down to the river. The boat lies only a short distance from it."

The path was a narrow one, and it was very dark under the trees.

"Mind how you go," Vincent said, as the girl stepped lightly on ahead.
"You might get a heavy fall if you caught your foot in a root."

She instantly moderated her pace. "I know the path well, but it was
thoughtless of me to walk so fast. I forgot you did not know it, and if
you were to stumble you might hurt your arm terribly. How does it feel
now?"

"It certainly hurts a bit," Vincent replied in a cheerful tone; "but now
it is strapped tightly to me it cannot move much. Please do not worry
about me."

"Ah!" she said, "I cannot forget how you got it--how you attacked twelve
men to save me!"

"Still less can I forget, Miss Kingston, how you, a young girl,
confronted death rather than say a word that would place me in their
power."

"That was quite different, Mr. Wingfield. My own honor was pledged not
to betray you, who had trusted me."

"Well, we will cry quits for the present, Miss Kingston; or, rather, we
will be content to remain for the present in each other's debt."

A quarter of an hour's walking brought them to the river.

"Now," Lucy said, "we must make our way about ten yards through these
bushes to the right."

With some difficulty they passed through the thick screen of bushes, the
girl still leading the way.

"Here it is," she said; "I have my hand upon it." Vincent was soon
beside her, and the negress quickly joined them.

"There are no oars in the boat," Vincent said, feeling along the seat.

"Oh, I forgot! They are stowed away behind the bushes on the right; they
were taken out, so that if the Yankees found the boat it would be of no
use to them."

Dan made his way through the bushes, and soon found the oars. Then,
uniting their strength, they pushed the boat through the high rushes
that screened it from the river.

"It is afloat," Vincent said. "Now, Dan, take your place in the bow."

"I will row, Mr. Wingfield. I am a very good hand at it. So please take
your seat with Chloe in the stern."

"Dan can take one oar, anyhow," Vincent replied; "but I will let you row
instead of me. I am afraid I should make a poor hand of it with only one
arm."

The boat pushed quietly out. The river was about a hundred yards wide at
this point. They had taken but a few strokes when Vincent said:

"You must row hard, Miss Kingston, or we shall have to swim for it. The
water is coming through the seams fast."

The girl and Dan exerted themselves to the utmost; but, short as was the
passage, the boat was full almost to the gunwale before they reached the
opposite bank, the heat of the sun having caused the planks to open
during the months it had been lying ashore.

"This is a wet beginning," Lucy Kingston said, laughing, as she tried to
wring the water out of the lower part of her dress. "Here, Chloe; you
wring me and I will wring you."

"Now, Dan, get hold of that head-rope," Vincent said; "haul her up
little by little as the water runs out over the stern."

"I should not trouble about the boat, Mr. Wingfield; it is not likely we
shall ever want it again."

"I was not thinking of the boat; I was thinking of ourselves. If it
should happen to be noticed at the next bridge as it drifted down, it
would at once suggest to anyone on the lookout for us that we had
crossed the river; whereas, if we get it among the bushes here, they
will believe that we are hidden in the woods or have headed back to the
North; and we shall be a long way across the line, I hope, before they
give up searching for us in the woods on the other side."

"Yes; I didn't think of that. We will help you with the rope."

The boat was very heavy, now that it was full of water. Inch by inch it
was pulled up, until the water was all out except near the stern. Dan
and Vincent then turned it bottom upward, and it was soon hauled up
among the bushes.

"Now, Miss Kingston, which do you think is our best course? I know
nothing whatever of the geography here."

"The next town is Mount Pleasant; that is where the Williamsport road
passes the railway. If we keep south we shall strike the railway, and
that will take us to Mount Pleasant. After that the road goes on to
Florence on the Tennessee River. The only place that I know of on the
road is Lawrenceburg. That is about forty miles from here, and I have
heard that the Yankees are on the line from there right and left. I
believe our troops are at Florence; but I am not sure about that,
because both parties are constantly shifting their position, and I hear
very little, as you may suppose, of what is being done. Anyhow, I think
we cannot do better than go on until we strike the railway, keep along
by that till we get within a short distance of Mount Pleasant, and then
cross it. After that we can decide whether we will travel by the road or
keep on through the woods. But we cannot find our way through the woods
at night; we should lose ourselves before we had gone twenty yards."

"I am afraid we should, Miss Kingston."

"Please call me Lucy," the girl interrupted. "I am never called anything
else, and I am sure this is not a time for ceremony."

"I think that it will be better; and will you please call me Vincent? It
is much shorter and pleasanter using our first names; and as we must
pass for brother and sister, if we get among the Yankees, it is better
to get accustomed to it. I quite agree with you that it will be too dark
to find our way through the woods unless we can discover a path. Dan and
I will see if we can find one. If we can, I think it will be better to
go on a little way at any rate, so as to get our feet warm and let our
clothes dry a little."

"They will not dry to-night," Lucy said. "It is so damp in the woods
that even if our clothes were dry now they would be wet before morning."

"I did not think of that. Yes, in that case I do not see that we should
gain anything by going farther; we will push on for two or three hundred
yards, if we can, and then we can light a fire without there being any
chance of its being seen from the other side."

"That would be comfortable, Mr.--I mean Vincent," the girl agreed. "That
is, if you are quite sure that it would be safe. I would rather be wet
all night than that we should run any risks."

"I am sure if we can get a couple of hundred yards into this thick wood
the fire would not be seen through it," Vincent said; "of course I do
not mean to make a great bonfire which would light up the forest."

For half an hour they forced their way through the bushes, and then
Vincent said he was sure that they had come far enough. Finding a small
open space, Dan and Lucy, and the negress set to work collecting leaves
and dry sticks. Vincent had still in his pocket the newspaper he had
bought in the streets of Nashville, and he always carried lights. A
piece of the paper was crumpled up and lighted, a few of the driest
leaves that they could find dropped upon it, then a few twigs, until at
last a good fire was burning.

"I think that is enough for the present," Vincent said. "Now we will
keep on adding wood as fast as it burns down, so as to get a great pile
of embers, and keep two or three good big logs burning all night."

He then gave directions to Dan, who cut a long stick and fastened it to
two saplings, one of which grew just in front of the fire. Then he set
to work and cut off branches, and laid them sloping against it, and soon
had an arbor constructed of sufficient thickness to keep off the night
dews.

"I think you will be snug in there," Vincent said when he had finished,
"The heat of the fire will keep you dry and warm, and if you lie with
your heads the other way I think your things will be dry by the morning.
Dan and I will lie down by the other side of the fire. We are both
accustomed to sleep in the open air and have done so for months."

"Thank you very much," she said. "Our things are drying already, and I
am as warm as toast; but, indeed you need not trouble about us. We
brought these warm shawls with us on purpose for night work in the
forest. Now, I think we will try the contents of the basket Dan has been
carrying."

The basket, which was a good-sized one, was opened. Chloe had, before
starting, put all the provisions in the house into it, and it contained
three loaves, five or six pounds of bacon, a canister of tea,
loaf-sugar, a small kettle, and two pint mugs, besides a number of odds
and ends. The kettle Dan had, by Chloe's direction, filled with water
before leaving the river, and this was soon placed among the glowing
embers.

"But you have brought no teapot, Chloe!"

"Dar was not no room for it, Miss Lucy. We can make tea bery well in de
kettle."

"So we can. I forgot that. We shall do capitally."

The kettle was not long in boiling. Chloe produced some spoons and
knives and forks from the basket.

"Spoons and forks are luxuries, Chloe," Vincent said, laughing. "We
could have managed without them."

"Yes, sah; but me not going to leave massa's silver for dose villains to
find."

Lucy laughed. "At any rate, Chloe, we can turn the silver into money if
we run short. Now the kettle is boiling."

It was taken off the fire, and Lucy poured some tea into it from the
canister, and then proceeded to cut up the bread. A number of slices of
bacon had already been cut-off, and a stick thrust through them, and
Dan, who was squatted at the other side of the fire holding it over the
flames, now pronounced them to be ready. The bread served as plates, and
the party were soon engaged upon their meal, laughing and talking over
it as if it had been an ordinary picnic in the woods, though at times
Vincent's face contracted from the sharp twitching of pain in his
shoulder. Vincent and Lucy first drank their tea, and the mugs were then
handed to Dan and Chloe.

"This is great fun," Lucy said, "If it goes on like it all through our
journey, we shall have no need to grumble. Shall we, Chloe?"

"If you don't grumble, Miss Lucy, you may be quite sure dat Chloe will
not. But we hab not begun our journey at present; and I spec dat we
shall find it pretty hard work before we get to de end. But neber mind
dat; anyting is better dan being all by ourselves in dat house. Terrible
sponsibility dat!"

"It was lonely," the girl said, "and I am glad we are away from it,
whatever happens. What a day this has been! Who could have dreamed, when
I got up in the morning, that all this would take place before night? It
seems almost like a dream, and I can hardly believe"--and here she
stopped with a little shiver as she thought of the scene she had passed
through with the band of bushwhackers.

"I would not think anything at all about it," Vincent said. "And now I
should recommend your getting to sleep as soon as you can. We will be
off at daybreak and it is just twelve o'clock now."

Five minutes later Lucy and her old nurse were snugly ensconced in their
little bower, while Vincent and Dan stretched themselves at full length
on the other side of the fire. In spite of the pain in his shoulder
Vincent dozed off occasionally, but he was heartily glad when he saw the
first gleam of light in the sky. He woke Dan.

"Dan, take the kettle down to the river and fill it. We had better have
some breakfast before we make our start. If you can't find your way
back, whistle, and I will answer you."

Dan, however, had no occasion to give the signal. It took him little
more than five minutes to traverse the distance that had occupied them
half an hour in the thick darkness, and Vincent was surprised when he
appeared again with the kettle. Not until it was boiling, and the bacon
was ready, did Vincent raise his voice and call Lucy and the nurse.

"This is reversing the order of things altogether," the girl said as
she came out and saw breakfast already prepared. "I shall not allow it
another time, I can tell you."

"We are old campaigners, you see," Vincent said, "and accustomed to
early movements. Now please let us waste no time, as the sooner we are
off the better."

In a quarter of an hour breakfast was eaten and the basket packed, and
they were on their way. Now the bright, glowing light in the east was
sufficient guide to them as to the direction they should take, and
setting their face to the south they started through the forest. Soon
they came upon a little stream running through the wood, and here
Vincent suggested that Lucy might like to bathe her face, a suggestion
which was gratefully accepted. He and Dan went a short distance down the
streamlet, and Vincent bathed his face and head.

"Dan, I will get you to undo this bandage and get off my coat; then I
will make a pad of my handkerchief and dip it in the water and you can
lay it on my shoulder, and then help me on again with my coat. My arm is
getting horribly painful."

Vincent's right arm was accordingly drawn through the sleeve and the
coat turned down so as to enable Dan to lay the wet pad on the shoulder.

"It has not bled much," Vincent said, looking down at it.

"No, sah; not much blood on de shirt."

"Pull the coat down as far as the elbow, Dan, and bathe it for a bit."

Using his cap as a baler, Dan bathed the arm for ten minutes, then the
wet pad was placed in position, and with some difficulty the coat got on
again. The arm was then bandaged across the chest, and they returned to
the women, who were beginning to wonder at the delay.




CHAPTER XIII.

LAID UP.


"You must see a surgeon, whatever the risk," Lucy said when the others
joined them, for now that it was light she could see by the paleness of
Vincent's face, and the drawn expression of the mouth, how much he had
suffered.

"You have made so light of your wound that we have not thought of it
half as much as we ought to do, and you must have thought me terribly
heartless to be laughing and talking when you were in such pain. But it
will never do to go on like this; it is quite impossible for you to be
traveling so far without having your shoulder properly attended to."

"I should certainly be glad to have it looked to," Vincent replied. "I
don't know whether the bullet's there or if it has made its way out, and
if that could be seen to, and some splints or something of that sort put
on to keep things in their right place, no doubt I should be easier; but
I don't see how it is to be managed. At any rate, for the present we
must go on, and I would much rather that you said nothing about it.
There it is, and fretting over it won't do it any good, while if you
talk of other things I may forget it sometimes."

In two hours they came upon the railway, whose course lay diagonally
across that they were taking. They followed it until they caught sight
of the houses of Mount Pleasant, some two miles away, and then crossed
it. After walking some distance farther they came upon a small clearing
with a log-hut, containing apparently three or four rooms, in the
center.

"We had better skirt round this," Vincent suggested.

"No," Lucy said in a determined voice, "I have made up my mind I would
go to the first place we came to and see whether anything can be done
for you. I can see you are in such pain you can hardly walk, and it
will be quite impossible for you to go much further. They are sure to be
Confederates at heart here, and even if they will not take us in, there
is no fear of their betraying us; at any rate we must risk it."

Vincent began to remonstrate, but without paying any attention to him
the girl left the shelter of the trees and walked straight toward the
house. The others followed her. Vincent had opposed her suggestion, but
he had for some time acknowledged to himself that he could not go much
further. He had been trying to think what had best be done, and had
concluded that it would be safest to arrange with some farmer to board
Lucy and her nurse for a time, while he himself with Dan went a bit
farther; and then, if they could get no one to take them in, would camp
up in the woods and rest. He decided that in a day or two, if no
improvement took place in his wound, he would give himself up to the
Federals at Mount Pleasant, as he would there be able to get his wound
attended to.

"I don't think there is anyone in the house," Lucy said, looking back
over her shoulder; "there is no smoke coming from the chimney, and the
shutters are closed, and besides the whole place looks neglected."

Upon reaching the door of the house it was evident that it had been
deserted. Lucy had now assumed the command.

"Dan," she said, "there is no shutter to the window of that upper room.
You must manage to climb up there and get in at that window, and then
open the door to us."

"All right, missie, me manage dat," Dan said cheerfully. Looking about
he soon found a long pole which would answer his purpose, placed the end
of this against the window and climbed up. It was not more than twelve
feet above the ground. He broke one of the windows, and inserting his
hand undid the fastening and climbed in at the window. A minute later
they heard a grating sound, and then the lock shut back under the
application of his knife, and the door swung open.

"That will do nicely," Lucy said, entering. "We will take possession.
If the owners happen to come back we can pay them for the use of the
place."

The furniture had been removed with the exception of a few of the heavy
articles, and Chloe and Lucy at once set to work, and with bunches of
long grass swept out one of the rooms. Dan cut a quantity of grass and
piled it upon an old bedstead that stood in the corner, and Lucy
smoothed it down.

"Now, sir," she said peremptorily to Vincent, "you will lie down and
keep yourself quiet, but first of all I will cut your coat off."

One of the table-knives soon effected the work, and the coat was rolled
up as a pillow. Dan removed his boots, and Vincent, who was now beyond
even remonstrating, laid himself down on his cool bed.

"Now, Chloe," Miss Kingston said when they had left Vincent's room, "I
will leave him to your care. I am sure that you must be thoroughly
tired, for I don't suppose you have walked so many miles since you were
a girl."

"I is tired, missie: but I am ready to do anything you want."

"I only want you to attend to him, Chloe. First of all you had better
make some tea. You know what is a good thing to give for a fever, and if
you can find anything in the garden to make a drink of that sort, do;
but I hope he will doze off for some time. When you have done, you had
better get this place tidy a little; it is in a terrible litter.
Evidently no one has been in since they moved out."

The room, indeed, was strewed with litter of all sorts, rubbish not
worth taking away, old newspapers, and odds and ends of every
description. Lucy looked about among these for some time, and with an
exclamation of satisfaction at last picked up two crumpled envelopes.
They were both addressed "William Jenkins, Woodford, near Mount
Pleasant."

"That is just what I wanted," she said.

"What am you going to do, Miss Lucy?"

"I am going to Mount Pleasant," she said.

"Lor a marcy, dearie, you are not going to walk that distance! You must
have walked twelve miles already."

"I should, if it were twice as far, Chloe. There are some things we must
get. Don't look alarmed, I shall take Dan with me. Now, let me see. In
the first place there are lemons for making drink and linseed for
poultices, some meat for making broth, and some flour, and other things
for ourselves; we may have to stay here for some time. Tell me just what
you want and I will get it."

Chloe made out a list of necessaries.

"I shan't be gone long," the girl said. "If he asks after me or Dan,
tell him we are looking about the place to see what is useful. Don't let
him know I have gone to Mount Pleasant, it might worry him."

Dan at once agreed to accompany the girl to Mount Pleasant when he heard
that she was going to get things for his master. Looking about he found
an old basket and they started without delay by the one road from the
clearing which led, they had no doubt, to the town. It was about two
miles distant, and was really but a large village. A few Federal
soldiers from the camp hard by were lounging about the streets, but
these paid no attention to them. Lucy soon made her purchases, and then
went to the house that had been pointed out to her as being inhabited by
the doctor who attended to the needs of the people of Mount Pleasant and
the surrounding district. Fortunately he was at home. Lucy looked at him
closely as he entered the room and took his seat. He was a middle-aged
man with a shrewd face, and she at once felt that she might have
confidence in it.

"Doctor," she said, "I want you to come out to see someone who is very
ill."

"What is the matter with him? or is it him or her?"

"It is--it's----" and Lucy hesitated, "a hurt he has got."

"A wound, I suppose?" the doctor said quietly. "You may as well tell me
at once, as for me to find out when I get there; then I can take
whatever is required with me."

"Yes, sir. It is a wound," Lucy said. "His shoulder is broken, I
believe, by a pistol bullet."

"Umph!" the doctor said. "It might have been worse. Do not hesitate to
tell me all about it, young lady. I have had a vast number of cases on
hand since these troubles began. By the way, I do not know your face,
and I thought I knew everyone within fifteen miles around."

"I come from the other side of the Duck River. But at present he is
lying at a place called Woodford, but two miles from here."

"Oh, yes! I know it. But I thought it was empty. Let me see, a man named
Jenkins lived there. He was killed at the beginning of the troubles in a
fight near Murfreesboro. His widow moved in here; and she has married
again and gone five miles on the other side. I know she was trying to
sell the old place."

"We have not purchased it, sir; we have just squatted there. My friend
was taken so bad that we could go no further. We were trying, doctor, to
make our way further south."

"Your friend, whoever he is, did a very foolish thing to bring a young
lady like yourself on such a long journey. You are not a pair of runaway
lovers, are you?"

"No, indeed," Lucy said, flushing scarlet; "we have no idea of such a
thing. I was living alone, and the house was attacked by bushwhackers,
the band of a villain named Mullens."

"Oh! I saw all about that in the Nashville paper this morning. They were
attacked by a band of Confederate plunderers, it said."

"They were attacked by one man," the girl replied. "They were on the
point of murdering me when he arrived. He shot Mullens and four of his
band and the rest made off, but he got this wound. And as I knew the
villains would return again and burn the house and kill me, I and my old
nurse determined to go southward to join my friends in Georgia."

"Well, you can tell me more about it as we go," the doctor said. "I will
order my buggy round to the door, and drive you back. I will take my
instruments with me. It is no business of mine whether a sick man is a
Confederate or a Federal; all my business is to heal him."

"Thank you very much, doctor. While the horse is being put in I will go
down and tell the negro boy with me to go straight on with a basket of
things I have been buying."

"Where is he now?" the doctor asked.

"I think he is sitting down outside the door, sir."

"Then you needn't go down," the doctor said. "He can jump up behind and
go with us. He will get there all the quicker."

In five minutes they were driving down the village, with Dan in the back
seat. On the way the doctor obtained from Lucy a more detailed account
of their adventures.

"So he is one of those Confederate officers who broke prison at Elmira,"
he said. "I saw yesterday that one of his companions was captured."

"Was he, sir? How was that?"

"It seems that he had made his way down to Washington, and was staying
at one of the hotels there as a Mr. James of Baltimore. As he was going
through the streets he was suddenly attacked by a negro, who assaulted
him with such fury that he would have killed him had he not been dragged
off by passers-by. The black would have been very roughly treated, but
he denounced the man he had attacked as one of the Confederate officers
who had escaped from the prison. It seems that the negro had been a
slave of his who had been barbarously treated, and finally succeeded in
making his escape and reaching England, after which he went to Canada;
and now that it is safe for an escaped slave to live in the Northern
States without fear of arrest or ill-treatment, he had come down to
Washington with the intention of engaging as a teamster with one of the
Northern armies, in the hope, when he made his way to Richmond, of being
able to gain some news of his wife, whom his master had sold before he
ran away from him."

"It served the man right!" Lucy said indignantly. "It's a good thing
that the slaves should turn the table sometimes upon masters who
ill-treat them."

"You don't think my patient would ill-treat his slaves?" the doctor
asked with a little smile.

"I am sure he wouldn't," the girl said indignantly. "Why, the boy behind
you is one of his slaves, and I am sure he would give his life for his
master."

Dan had overheard the doctor's story and now exclaimed:

"No, sah. Massa Vincent de kindest ob masters. If all like him, de
slaves eberywhere contented and happy. What was de name of dat man, sah,
you was speaking of?"

"His name was Jackson," the doctor answered.

"I tought so," Dan exclaimed in excitement. "Massa never mentioned de
names ob de two officers who got out wid him, and it war too dark for me
to see their faces, but dat story made me tink it must be him. Bery bad
man dat; he libs close to us, and Massa Vincent one day pretty nigh kill
him because he beat dat bery man who has catched him now on de street ob
Washington. When dat man sell him wife Massa Vincent buy her so as to
prevent her falling into bad hands. She safe now wid his mother at de
Orangery--dat's the name of her plantation."

"My patient must be quite an interesting fellow, young lady," the doctor
said, with a rather slight twinkle of his eye. "A very knight-errant!
But there is the house now; we shall soon see all about him."

Taking with him the case of instruments and medicines he had brought,
the doctor entered Vincent's room. Lucy entered first; and although
surprised to see a stranger with her, Vincent saw by her face that there
was no cause for alarm.

"I have brought you a doctor," she said. "You could not go on as you
were, you know. So Dan and I have been to fetch one."

The doctor now advanced and took Vincent's hand.

"Feverish," he said, looking at his cheeks, which were now flushed. "You
have been doing too much, I fancy. Now let us look at this wound of
yours. Has your servant got any warm water?" he asked Lucy.

Lucy left the room, and returned in a minute with a kettleful of warm
water and a basin, which was among the purchases she had made at Mount
Pleasant.

"That is right," the doctor said, taking it from her. "Now we will cut
open the shirt-sleeve. I think, young lady, you had better leave us,
unless you are accustomed to the sight of wounds."

"I am not accustomed to them, sir; but as thousands of women have been
nursing the wounded in the hospitals, I suppose I can do so now."

Taking a knife from the case, the doctor cut open the shirt from the
neck to the elbow. The shoulder was terribly swollen and inflamed, and a
little exclamation of pain broke from Lucy.

"That is the effect of walking and inattention," the doctor said. "If I
could have taken him in hand within an hour of his being hit, the matter
would have been simple enough; but I cannot search for the ball, or in
fact do anything, till we have reduced the swelling. You must put warm
poultices on every half hour, and by to-morrow I hope the inflammation
will have subsided, and I can then see about the ball. It evidently is
somewhere there still, for there is no sign of its having made its exit
anywhere. In the meantime you must give him two tablespoonfuls of this
cooling draught every two hours, and to-night give him this sleeping
draught. I will be over to-morrow morning to see him. Do not be uneasy
about him; the wound itself is not serious, and when we have got rid of
the fever and inflammation I have no doubt we shall pull him round
before long."

"I know the wound is nothing," Vincent said; "I have told Miss Kingston
so all along. It is nothing at all to one I got at the first battle of
Bull Run, where I had three ribs badly broken by a shell. I was laid up
a long time over that business. Now I hope in a week I shall be fit to
travel."

The doctor shook his head. "Not as soon as that. Still we will hope it
will not be long. Now all you have to do is to lie quiet and not worry,
and to get to sleep as quick as you can. You must not let your patient
talk, Miss Kingston. It will be satisfactory to you, no doubt," he went
on, turning to Vincent, "to know that there is no fear whatever of your
being disturbed here. The road leads nowhere, and is entirely out of the
way of traffic. I should say you might be here six months without even a
chance of a visitor. Everyone knows the house is shut up, and as you
have no neighbor within half a mile no one is likely to call in. Even if
anyone did by accident come here you would be in no danger; we are all
one way of thinking about here."

"Shall we make some broth for him?" Lucy asked after they had left the
room.

"No; he had better take nothing whatever during the next twenty-four
hours except his medicine and cooling drinks. The great thing is to get
down the fever. We can soon build him up afterward."

By nightfall the exertions of Dan, Lucy, and Chloe had made the house
tidy. Beds of rushes and grass had been made in the room upstairs for
the women, and Dan had no occasion for one for himself, as he was going
to stop up with his master. He, however, brought a bundle of rushes into
the kitchen, and when it became dark threw himself down upon them for a
few hours' sleep, Lucy and her old nurse taking their place in Vincent's
room and promising to rouse Dan at twelve o'clock.

During the early part of the night Vincent was restless and uneasy, but
toward morning he became more quiet and dozed off, and had but just
awoke when the doctor drove up at ten o'clock. He found the inflammation
and swelling so much abated that he was able at once to probe for the
ball. Chloe was his assistant. Lucy felt that her nerves would not be
equal to it, and Dan's hand shook so that he could not hold the basin.
In a quarter of an hour, which seemed to Lucy to be an age, the doctor
came out of the room.

"There is the bullet, Miss Kingston."

"And is he much hurt, sir?"

"It is a nasty wound," the doctor replied. "The collar-bone is badly
broken, and I fancy the head of the bone of the upper arm, to put it in
language you will understand, is fractured; but of that I cannot be
quite sure. I will examine it again to-morrow, and will then bandage it
in its proper position. At present I have only put a bandage round the
arm and body to prevent movement. I should bathe it occasionally with
warm water, and you can give him a little weak broth to-day. I think, on
the whole, he is doing very well. The feeling that you are all for the
present safe from detection has had as much to do with the abatement of
the fever as my medicine."

The next morning the report was still satisfactory. The fever had almost
disappeared, and Vincent was in good spirits. The doctor applied the
splints to keep the shoulder up in its proper position, and then tightly
bandaged it.

"It depends upon yourself now," he said, "whether your shoulders are
both of the same width as before or not. If you will lie quiet, and give
the broken bones time to reunite, I think I can promise you that you
will be as straight as before; but if not--putting aside the chances of
inflammation--that shoulder will be lower than the other, and you will
never get your full strength in it again. Quiet and patience are the
only medicines you require, and as there can be no particular hurry for
you to get south, and as your company here is pleasant and you have two
good nurses, there is no excuse for your not being quiet and contented."

"Very well, doctor. I promise that, unless there is a risk of our being
discovered, I will be as patient as you can wish. As you say, I have
everything to make me contented and comfortable."

The doctor had a chat with Lucy, and agreed with her that perhaps it
would be better to inform the mistress of the house that there were
strangers there. Some of the people living along the road might notice
him going or coming, or see Dan on his way to market, and might learn
that the house was inhabited, and communicate the fact to their old
neighbor.

"I will see her myself, Miss Kingston, and tell her that I have sent a
patient of mine to take up his quarters here. I will say he is ready to
pay some small sum weekly as long as he occupies the house. I have no
doubt she would be willing enough to let you have it without that; for,
although I shall say nothing actually, I shall let her guess from my
manner that it is a wounded Confederate, and that will be enough for
her. Still I have no doubt that the idea of getting a few dollars for
the rent of an empty house will add to her patriotism. People of her
class are generally pretty close-fisted, and she will look upon this as
a little pocket-money. Good-by! I shall not call to-morrow, but will be
round next day again."

On his next visit the doctor told Lucy that he had arranged the matter
with her landlady, and that she was to pay a dollar a week as rent. "I
should not tell your patient about this," he said. "It will look to him
as if I considered his stay was likely to be a long one, and it might
fidget him."

"How long will it be, doctor, do you think?"

"That I cannot say. If all goes well, he ought in a month to be fairly
cured; but before starting upon a journey which will tax his strength, I
should say at least six weeks."

Ten days later Vincent was up, and able to get about. A pile of grass
had been heaped up by the door, so that he could sit down in the sun and
enjoy the air. Lucy was in high spirits, and flitted in and out of the
house, sometimes helping Chloe, at others talking to Vincent.

"What are you laughing at?" she asked as she came out suddenly on one of
these occasions.

"I was just thinking," he said, "that no stranger who dropped in upon us
would dream that we were not at home here. There is Dan tidying up the
garden; Chloe is quite at her ease in the kitchen, and you and I might
pass very well for brother and sister."

"I don't see any likeness between us--not a bit."

"No, there is no personal likeness; but I meant in age and that sort of
thing. I think, altogether, we have a very homelike look."

"The illusion would be very quickly dispelled if your stranger put his
head inside the door. Did anyone ever see such a bare place?"

"Anyhow, it's very comfortable," Vincent said, "though I grant that it
would be improved by a little furniture."

"By a great deal of furniture, you mean. Why, there isn't a chair in the
house, nor a carpet, nor a curtain, nor a cupboard, nor a bed; in fact
all there is is the rough dresser in the kitchen and that plank table,
and your bedstead. I really think that's all. Chloe has the kettle and
two cooking-pots, and there is the dish and six plates we bought."

"You bought, you mean," Vincent interrupted.

"We bought, sir; this is a joint expedition. Then there is the basin and
a pail. I think that is the total of our belongings."

"Well, you see, it shows how little one can be quite comfortable upon,"
Vincent said. "I wonder how long it will be before the doctor gives me
leave to move. It is all very well for me who am accustomed to
campaigning, but it is awfully rough for you."

"Don't you put your impatience down to my account, at any rate until you
begin to hear me grumble. It is just your own restlessness, when you
are pretending you are comfortable."

"I can assure you that I am not restless, and that I am in no hurry at
all to be off on my own account. I am perfectly contented with
everything. I never thought I was lazy before, but I feel as if I could
do with a great deal of this sort of thing. You will see that you will
become impatient for a move before I do."

"We shall see, sir. Anyhow, I am glad you have said that, because now,
whatever you may feel, you will keep your impatience to yourself."

Another four weeks passed by smoothly and pleasantly. Dan went into the
village once a week to do the shopping, and the doctor had reduced his
visits to the same number. He would have come oftener, for his visits to
the lonely cottage amused him; but he feared that his frequent passage
in his buggy might attract notice. So far, no one else had broken the
solitude of their lives. If the doctor's calls had been noticed, the
neighbors had not taken the trouble to see who had settled in Jenkins'
old place. His visits were very welcome, for he brought newspapers and
books, the former being also purchased by Dan whenever he went into the
village, and thus they learnt the course of events outside.

Since Antietam nothing had been done in Northern Virginia; but Burnside,
who had succeeded McClellan, was preparing another great army, which was
to march to Richmond and crush out the rebellion. Lee was standing on
the defensive. Along the whole line of the frontier, from New Orleans to
Tennessee, desultory fighting was going on, and in these conflicts the
Confederates had generally the worse of things, having there no generals
such as Lee, Jackson, and Longstreet, who had made the army of Virginia
almost invincible.

At the last of these visits the doctor told Vincent that he considered
he was nearly sufficiently restored in health to be able to start on
their journey.

"At one time I was almost afraid that your shoulder would never be quite
square again. However, as you can see for yourself, it has come out
quite right; and although I should not advise you to put any great
strain on your left arm, I believe that in a very short time it will be
as strong as the other."

"And now, doctor, how much am I in debt to you? Your kindness cannot be
repaid, but your medical bill I will discharge as soon as I get home. We
have not more than twenty dollars left, which is little enough for the
journey there is before us. You can rely that the instant I get to
Richmond I will send you the money. There is no great difficulty in
smuggling letters across the frontier."

"I am very pleased to have been able to be of service to you," the
doctor said. "I should not think of accepting payment for aid rendered
to an officer of our army; but it will give me real pleasure to receive
a letter saying you have reached home in safety. It is a duty to do all
we can for the brave men fighting for our cause. As I have told you, I
am not a very hot partisan, for I see faults on both sides. Still I
believe in the principle of our forefathers that each State has its own
government and is master of its own army, joining with the others for
such purposes as it may think fit. If I had been a fighting man, I
should certainly have joined the army of my State; but as it is, I hope
I can do more good by staying and giving such aid and comfort as I can
to my countrymen. You will, I am sure, excuse my saying that I think you
must let me aid you a little farther. I understand you to say that Miss
Kingston will go to friends in Georgia, and I suppose you will see her
safely there. Then you have a considerable journey to make to Richmond,
and the sum that you possess is utterly inadequate for all this. It will
give me real pleasure if you will accept the loan of a hundred dollars,
which you can repay when you write to me from Richmond. You will need
money for the sake of your companions rather than your own. When you
have once crossed the line you will then be able to appear in your
proper character."

Vincent grasped the doctor's hand, and with suffused eyes replied:
"Thank you greatly, doctor. I will accept your offer as frankly as it
was made. I had intended telegraphing for money as soon as I was among
our own people, but there would be delay in receiving it, and it will be
much more pleasant to push on at once."

"By the way, you cannot cross at Florence, for I hear that Hood has
fallen back across the river, the forces advancing against him from this
side being too strong to be resisted. But I think that this is no
disadvantage to you, for it would have been far more difficult to pass
the Federals and get to Florence than to make for some point on the
river as far as possible from the contending armies."

"We talked that over the last time you were here, doctor, and you know
we agreed it was better to run the risk of falling into the hands of the
Yankee troops than into those of one of those partisan bands whose
exploits are always performed at a distance from the army. However, if
Hood has retreated across the Tennessee, there is an end of that plan,
and we must take some other route. Which do you advise?"

"The Yankees will be strong all around the great bend of the river to
the west of Florence and along the line to the east, which would, of
course, be your direct way. The passage, however, is your real
difficulty, and I should say that, instead of going in that direction,
you had better bear nearly due south. There is a road from Mount
Pleasant that strikes into the main road from Columbia up to Camden. You
can cross the river at that point without any question or suspicion, as
you would be merely traveling to the west of the State. Once across you
could work directly south, crossing into the State of Mississippi, and
from there take the cars through Alabama to Georgia.

"It seems a roundabout way, but I think you would find it far the
safest, for there are no armies operating upon that line. The
population, at any rate as you get south, are for us, and there are, so
far as I have heard, very few of these bushwhacking bands about, either
on one side or the other. The difficult part of the journey is that up
to Camden, but as you will be going away from the seat of war instead of
toward it, there will be little risk of being questioned."

"I had thought of buying a horse and cart," Vincent said. "Jogging along
a road like that, we should attract no attention. I gave up the idea
because our funds were not sufficient, but, thanks to your kindness, we
might manage now to pick up something of the sort."

The doctor was silent for a minute.

"If you will send Dan over to me to-morrow afternoon, I will see what
can be done," he said. "It would certainly be the safest plan by far;
but I must think it over. You will not leave before that, will you?"

"Certainly not, doctor. In any case we should have stayed another day to
get a few more things for our journey."

The next afternoon Dan went over to Mount Pleasant. He was away two
hours longer than they had expected, and they began to feel quite uneasy
about him, when the sound of wheels was heard, and Dan appeared, driving
a cart. Vincent gave a shout of satisfaction in which Lucy and Chloe
joined.

"Here am de cart. Me had to go five miles from de town to get him. Dat
what took me so long. Here am a letter, sah, from the doctor. First-rate
man dat. Good man all ober."

The letter was as follows:

"My Dear Mr. Wingfield:

"I did not see how you would be able to buy a cart, and I was sure that
you could not obtain one with the funds in your possession. As, from
what you have said, I knew that you would not in the least mind the
expense, I have taken the matter upon myself, and have bought from your
landlady a cart and horse, which will, I think, suit you well. I have
paid for them a hundred and fifty dollars, which you can remit me, with
the hundred I handed you yesterday. Sincerely trusting that you may
succeed in carrying out your plans in safety, and with kind regards to
yourself and Miss Kingston,

"I remain, yours truly,
"James Spencer."


"That is a noble fellow," Vincent said, "and I trust, for his sake as
well as our own, that we shall get safely through. Now, Lucy, I think
you had better go into town the first thing, and buy some clothes of
good homely fashion. Dan can go with you and buy a suit for me--those
fitted for a young farmer. Then we shall look like a young farmer and
his sister jogging comfortably along to market; we can stop and buy a
stock of goods at some farm on the way."

"That will be capital," the girl said.

Lucy started early the next morning for the town, and the shopping was
satisfactorily accomplished. They returned by eleven o'clock. The new
purchases were at once donned, and half an hour later they set off in
the cart: Vincent sitting on the side driving; Lucy in the corner facing
him, on a basket turned upside down; Dan and Chloe on a thick bag of
rushes in the bottom of the cart.




CHAPTER XIV.

ACROSS THE BORDER.


Dan, on his return with the cart, had brought back a message from its
late owner to say that if she could in any way be of use to them, she
should be glad to aid them. Her farm lay on the road they were now
following, and they determined therefore to stop there. As the cart drew
up at the door the woman came out.

"Glad to see you," she said; "come right in. It's strange now you should
have been lodging in my house for more than six weeks and I should never
have set eyes on you before. The doctor talked to me a heap about you,
but I didn't look to see quite such a young couple."

Lucy colored hotly, and was about to explain that they did not stand in
the supposed relationship to each other, but Vincent slightly shook his
head. It was not worth while to undeceive the woman, and although they
had agreed to pass as brother and sister, Vincent was determined not to
tell an untruth about it unless deceit was absolutely necessary for
their safety.

"And you want to get out of the way without questions being asked, I
understand?" the woman went on. "There are many such about at present. I
don't want to ask no questions; the war has brought trouble enough on
me. Now is there anything I can do? If so, say it right out."

"Yes, there is something you can do for us. We want to fill up our cart
with the sort of stuff you take to market--apples and pumpkins, and
things of that sort. If we had gone to buy them anywhere else, there
might have been questions asked. From what the doctor said you can let
us have some."

"I can do that. The storeroom's chuck-full; and it was only a few days
ago I said to David it was time we set about getting them off. I will
fill your cart, sir, and not overcharge you neither. It will save us the
trouble of taking it over to Columbia or Camden, for there's plenty of
garden truck round Mount Pleasant, and one cannot get enough to pay for
the trouble of taking them there."

The cart was soon filled with apples, pumpkins, and other vegetables,
and the price put upon them was very moderate.

"What ought we to ask for these?" Vincent soon inquired. "One does not
want to be extra cheap or dear."

The woman informed them of the prices they might expect to get for the
produce; and they at once started, amid many warm good wishes from her.

Before leaving the farm the woman had given them a letter to her sister,
who lived a mile from Camden.

"It's always awkward stopping at a strange place," she said, "and
farmers don't often put up at hotels when they drive in with garden
truck to a town, though they may do sometimes; besides it's always nice
being with friends. I will just write a line to Jane and tell her you
have been my tenants at Woodford, and where you are going, and ask her
to take you in for the night and give you a note in the morning to
anyone she or her husband may know, a good bit along that road."

When they reached the house it was dark, but, directly Vincent showed
the note, the farmer and his wife heartily bade them come in.

"Your boy can put up the horse at the stable, and you are heartily
welcome. But the house is pretty full, and we can't make you as
comfortable as we should wish at night; but still we will do our best."

Vincent and Lucy were soon seated by the fire. Their hostess bustled
about preparing supper for them, and the children, of whom the house
seemed full, stared shyly at the newcomers. As soon as the meal was over
Chloe's wants were attended to, and a lunch of bread and bacon taken out
by the farmer to Dan in the stables. The children were then packed off
to bed, and the farmer and his wife joined Vincent and Lucy by the fire.

"As to sleeping," the woman said, "John and I have been talking it over,
and the best way we can see is that you should sleep with me, ma'am, and
we will make up a bed on the floor here for my husband and yours."

"Thank you, that will do very nicely; though I don't like interfering
with your arrangements."

"Not at all, ma'am--not at all; it makes a nice change having someone
come in, especially of late, when there is no more pleasure in going
about in this country, and people don't go out after dark more than they
can help. Ah, it's a bad time! My sister says you are going west, but I
see you have got your cart full of garden truck. How you have raised it
so soon, I don't know; for Liza wrote to me two months since as she
hadn't been able to sell her place, and it was just a wilderness. Are
you going to get rid of it at Camden to-morrow?"

Vincent had already been assured as to the politics of his present host
and hostess, and he therefore did not hesitate to say:

"The fact is, madam, we are anxious to get along without being
questioned by any Yankee troops we may fall in with; and we have bought
the things you see in the cart from your sister, as, going along with a
cart full, anyone we met would take us for farmers living close by, on
their road to the next market town."

"Oh, oh! that's it!" the farmer said significantly. "Want to get through
the lines, eh?"

Vincent nodded.

"Didn't I think so!" the farmer said, rubbing his hands. "I thought
directly my eyes hit upon you that you did not look the cut of a
granger. Been fighting--eh? and they are after you?"

"I don't think they are after me here," Vincent said. "But I have seen a
good deal of fighting with Jackson and Stuart; and I am just getting
over a collar bone, which was smashed by a Yankee bullet."

"You don't say!" the farmer exclaimed. "Well, I should have gone out
myself, if it hadn't been for Jane and the children. But there are such
a lot of them that I could not bring myself to run the chances of
leaving them all on her hands. Still, I am with our army, heart and
soul."

"Your wife's sister told me that you were on the right side," Vincent
said, "and that I could trust you altogether."

"Now, if you tell me which road you want to go, I don't mind if I get on
my horse to-morrow and ride with you a stage, and see you put up for the
night. I know lots of people, and I am sure to be acquainted with
someone, whichever road we may go. We are pretty near all the right side
about here, though, as you get further on, there are lots of Northern
men. Now, what are your ideas as to the roads?"

Vincent told him the route he intended to take.

"You ought to get through there right enough," the farmer said. "There
are some Yankee troops moving about to the west of the river, but not
many of them; and even if you fell in with them, with your cargo of
stuff they would not suspect you. Anyhow, I expect we can get you passed
down so as to be among friends. So you fought under Jackson and Stuart,
did you? Ah, they have done well in Virginia! I only wish we had such
men here. What made you take those two darkies along with you? I should
have thought you would have got along better by yourself."

"We couldn't very well leave them," Vincent said; "the boy has been with
me all through the wars, and is as true as steel. Old Chloe was Lucy's
nurse, and would have broken her heart had she been left behind."

"They are faithful creatures when they are well treated. Mighty few of
them have run away all this time from their masters, though in the parts
the Yankees hold there is nothing to prevent their bolting if they have
a mind to it. I haven't got no niggers myself. I tried them, but they
want more looking after than they are worth; and I can make a shift with
my boys to help me, and hiring a hand in busy times to work the farm.
Now, sir, what do you think of the lookout?"

The subject of the war fairly started, his host talked until midnight,
long before which Lucy and the farmer's wife had gone off to bed.

"We will start as soon as it is light," the farmer said, as he and
Vincent stretched themselves upon a heap of straw covered with blankets
that was to serve as their bed, Chloe having hours before gone up to
share the bed of the negro girl who assisted the farmer's wife in her
management of the house and children.

"It's best to get through Camden before people are about. There are
Yankee soldiers at the bridge, but it will be all right you driving in,
however early, to sell your stuff. Going out you aint likely to meet
with Yankees; but as it would look queer, you taking your garden truck
out of the town, it's just as well to be on the road before people are
about. Once you get five or six miles the other side you might be going
to the next place to sell your stuff."

"That is just what I have been thinking," Vincent said, "and I agree
with you the earlier we get through Camden the better."

Accordingly, as soon as daylight appeared, the horse was put in the
cart, the farmer mounting his own animal, and with a hearty good-by from
his wife the party started away. The Yankee sentinels at each end of the
bridge were passed without questions, for, early as it was, the carts
were coming in with farm produce. As yet the streets of the town were
almost deserted, and the farmer, who, before starting, had tossed a
tarpaulin into the back of the cart, said:

"Now, pull that over all that stuff, and then anyone that meets us will
think that you are taking out bacon and groceries, and such like, for
some store way off."

This suggestion was carried out, and Camden was soon left behind. A few
carts were met as they drove along. The farmer knew some of the drivers
and pulled up to say a few words to them. After a twenty-mile drive they
stopped at another farm, where their friend's introduction insured them
as cordial a welcome as that upon the preceding evening. So, step by
step, they journeyed on, escorted in almost every case by their host of
the night before, and meeting with no interruption. Once they passed a
strong body of Federal cavalry, but these, supposing that the party
belonged to the neighborhood, asked no questions; and at last, after
eight days' traveling, they passed two posts which marked the boundary
between Tennessee and Alabama.

For the last two days they had been beyond the point to which the
Federal troops had penetrated. They now felt that all risk was at an
end. Another day's journey brought them to a railway station, and they
learned that the trains were running as usual, although somewhat
irregular as to the hours at which they came along or as to the time
they took upon their journey. The contents of the cart had been left at
the farm at which they stopped the night before, and Vincent had now no
difficulty in disposing of the horse and cart, as he did not stand out
for price, but took the first offer made. Two hours later a train came
along, and the party were soon on their way to Rome in Georgia; after
their arrival there they went to Macon, at which place they alighted and
hired a conveyance to take them to Antioch, near which place Lucy's
relatives resided.

The latter part of the journey by rail had been a silent one. Lucy felt
none of the pleasure that she had expected at finding herself safely
through her dangers and upon the point of joining relations who would be
delighted to see her, and she sat looking blankly out of the window at
the surrounding country. At last Vincent, who had been half an hour
without speaking said:

"Are you sorry our journey is just over, Lucy?"

The girl's lip quivered, but she did not speak for a moment. "Of course
it is unpleasant saying good-by when people have been together for some
time," she said with an effort.

"I hope it will not be good-by for long," he said. "I shall be back here
as soon as this horrible war is over."

"What for?" the girl asked, looking round in surprise. "You live a long
way from here, and you told me you knew nobody in these parts."

"I know you," Vincent said, "and that is quite enough. Do you not know
that I love you?"

The girl gave a start of surprise, her cheek flushed but her eyes did
not drop as she looked frankly at him.

"No, Vincent," she said after a pause, "I never once thought you loved
me--never once. You have not been a bit like what I thought people were
when they felt like that."

"I hope not, Lucy. I was your protector then, I have tried my best to
be what people thought me--your brother; but now that you are just home
and among your own people, I think I may speak and tell you how I feel
toward you, and how I loved you since the moment I first saw you. And
you, Lucy, do you think you could care for me?"

"Not more than I do now, Vincent. I love you with all my heart. I have
been trying so hard to believe that I didn't because I thought you did
not care for me that way."

For some minutes no further word was spoken. Vincent was the first to
speak:

"It is horrid to have to sit here in this stiff, unnatural way, Lucy,
when one is inclined to do something outrageous from sheer happiness.
These long, open cars, where people can see from end to end what
everyone is doing, are hateful inventions. It is perfectly absurd, when
one finds one's self the happiest fellow living, that one is obliged to
look as demure and solemn as if one was in church."

"Then you should have waited, sir," the girl said.

"I meant to have waited, Lucy, until I got to your home; but as soon as
I felt that there was no longer any harm in speaking, out it came; but
it's very hard to have to wait for hours, perhaps."

"To wait for what?" Lucy asked demurely.

"You must wait for explanations until we are alone, Lucy. And now I
think the train begins to slacken, and it is the next station at which
we get out."

"I think, Lucy," Vincent said, when they had approached the house of her
relatives, "you and Chloe had better get out and go in by yourselves and
tell your story. Dan and I will go to the inn, and I will come round in
an hour. If we were to walk in together like this, it would be next to
impossible for you to explain how it all came about."

"I think that would be the best plan. My two aunts are the kindest
creatures possible, but no doubt they will be bewildered at seeing me so
suddenly. I do think it would be best to let me have a talk with them,
and tell them all about it, before you appear upon the scene."

"Very well, then, in an hour I will come in."

When they arrived at the gate, therefore, Vincent helped Lucy and Chloe
to alight, and then, jumping into the buggy again, told the driver to
take him to the hotel.

After engaging a room and enjoying a bath, Vincent sallied out into the
little town, and was fortunate enough to succeed in purchasing a suit of
tweed clothes, which, although they scarcely fitted as if they had been
made for him, were still an immense improvement upon the rough clothes
in which he had traveled. Returning to the hotel, he put on his new
purchases, and then walked to the house of Lucy's aunts, which was a
quarter of a mile outside the town.

Lucy had walked up the little path through the garden in front of the
house, and turning the handle of the door, had entered unannounced and
walked straight into the parlor. The two elderly ladies rose with some
surprise at the entry of a strange visitor. It was three years since she
had paid her last visit there, and for a moment they did not recognize
her.

"Don't you know me, aunts?"

"Why, goodness me!" the eldest exclaimed, "if it isn't our little Lucy
grown into womanhood! My dear child, where have you sprung from?" And
the two ladies warmly embraced their niece, who, as soon as they
released her from their arms, burst into a fit of crying, and it was
some time before she could answer the questions showered upon her.

"It is nothing, aunts," she said at last, wiping her eyes; "but I am so
glad to be with you again, and I have gone through so much, and I am so
happy, and it's so nice being with you again! Here is Chloe waiting to
speak to you, aunts. She has come with me all the way."

The old negress, who had been waiting in the passage, was now called in.

"Why, Chloe, you look no older than when you went away from here six
years ago," Miss Kingston said. "But how did you get through the lines?
We have been terribly anxious about you. Your brother was here only a
fortnight ago, and he and your father were in a great way about you, and
reproached themselves bitterly that they did not send you to us before
the troubles began, which certainly would have been a wiser step, as I
told them. Of course your brother said that, when they left you to join
the army, they had no idea that matters were going so far, or that the
Yankees would drive us out of Tennessee, or they would never have
dreamed of leaving you alone. However, here you are, so now tell me all
about it."

Lucy told the story of the various visits of the Federal bushwhackers to
the house, and how she had narrowly escaped death for refusing to betray
the Confederate officer who had come to the house for food. Her recital
was frequently interrupted by exclamations of indignation and pity from
her aunts.

"Well, aunts, after that," she went on, "you see it was impossible for
me to stop there any longer. No doubt they came back again a few hours
afterward and burned the house, and had I been found there, I should
have been sure to be burned in it, so Chloe agreed with me that there
was nothing to do but to try and get through the lines and come to you."

"Quite right, my dear. It was clearly the best thing for you to come to
us--indeed, the only thing. But how in the world did you two manage to
travel alone all that distance and get through the Federal lines?"

"You see, we were not alone, aunts," Lucy said; "the Confederate officer
and his servant were coming through and, of course, they took care of
us. We could never have got through alone, and as Chloe was with me, we
got on very nicely; but we have been a long time getting through, for in
the fight, where he saved my life and killed five of the band, he had
his shoulder broken by a pistol bullet, and we had to stop in a
farmhouse near Mount Pleasant, and he was very ill for some time, but
the doctor who attended him was a true Southerner, and so we were quite
safe till he was able to move again."

"And who is this officer, Lucy?" Miss Kingston asked rather anxiously.

"He is a Virginia gentleman, auntie. His mother has large estates near
Richmond. He was in the cavalry with Stuart, and was made prisoner while
he was lying wounded and insensible at Antietam; and I think, auntie,
that--that--" and she hesitated--"some day we are going to be married."

"Oh, that's it, is it?" the old lady said kindly. "Well, I can't say
anything about that until I see him, Lucy. Now tell us the whole story,
and then we shall be better able to judge about it. I don't think, my
dear, that, while you were traveling under his protection, he ought to
have talked to you about such things."

"He didn't, auntie; not until we were half a mile from the station here.
I never thought he cared for me the least bit; he was just like a
brother to me--just like what Jack would have been, if he had been
bringing me here."

"That's right, my dear; I am glad to hear it. Now, let us hear all about
it."

Lucy told the whole story of her escape and her adventures, and when she
had finished, her aunts nodded to each other.

"That's all very satisfactory, Lucy. It was a difficult position to be
placed in, though I don't see how it was to be avoided, and the young
man really seems to have behaved very well. Don't you think so, Ada?"
The younger Miss Kingston agreed, and both were prepared to receive
Vincent with cordiality when he appeared.

The hour had been considerably exceeded when Vincent came to the door.
He felt it rather an awkward moment when he was ushered into the
presence of Lucy's aunts, who could scarcely restrain an exclamation of
surprise at his youth, for, although Lucy had said nothing about his
age, they expected to meet an older man--the impression being gained
from the recital of his bravery in attacking, single-handed, twelve
men, and by the manner in which he had piloted the party through their
dangers.

"We are very glad to see you--my sister Ada and myself," Miss Kingston
said, shaking hands cordially with their visitor. "Lucy has been telling
us all about you; but we certainly expected, from what you had gone
through, that you were older."

"I am two or three years older than she is, Miss Kingston, and I have
gone through so much in the last three years that I feel older than I
am. She has told you, I hope, that she has been good enough to promise
to be my wife some day?"

"Yes, she has told us that, Mr. Wingfield; and although we don't know
you personally, we feel sure--my sister Ada and I--from what she has
told us of your behavior while you have been together, that you are an
honorable gentleman, and we hope and believe that you will make her
happy."

"I will do my best to do so," Vincent said earnestly. "As to my
circumstances, I shall, in another year, come into possession of estates
sufficient to keep her in every comfort."

"I have no doubt that that is all satisfactory, Mr. Wingfield, and that
her father will give his hearty approval when he hears all the
circumstances of the case. Now, if you will go into the next room, Mr.
Wingfield, I will call her down"--for Lucy had run upstairs when she
heard Vincent knock. "I dare say you will like a quiet talk together,"
she added, smiling, "for she tells me you have never been alone together
since you started."

Lucy required several calls before she came down. A new shyness, such as
she had never before felt, had seized her, and it was with flushed
cheeks and timid steps that she at last came downstairs, and it needed
an encouraging--"Go in, you silly child, your lover will not eat you,"
before she turned the handle and went into the room where Vincent was
expecting her.

Vincent had telegraphed from the first station at which he arrived
within the limits of the Confederacy to his mother, announcing his safe
arrival there, and asking her to send money to him at Antioch. Her
letter in reply reached him three days after his arrival. It contained
notes for the amount he wrote for; and while expressing her own and his
sisters' delight at hearing he had safely reached the limits of the
Confederacy, she expressed not a little surprise at the out-of-the-way
place to which he had requested the money to be sent.

"We have been examining the maps, my dear boy," she said, "and find that
it is seventy or eighty miles out of your direct course, and we have
puzzled ourselves in vain as to why you should have made your way there.
The girls guess that you have gone there to deliver in person some
message from one of your late fellow-prisoners to his family. I am not
good at guessing, and am content to wait until you return home. We hope
that you will leave as soon as you get the remittance. We shall count
the hours until we see you. Of course we learned from a Yankee paper
smuggled through the lines that you had escaped from prison, and have
been terribly anxious about you ever since. We are longing to hear your
adventures."

A few hours after the receipt of this letter, Vincent was on his way
home. It was a long journey. The distance was considerable, and the
train service greatly disordered and unpunctual. When within a few hours
of Richmond he telegraphed, giving the approximate time at which he
might be expected to arrive. The train, however, did not reach Richmond
until some hours later. The carriage was waiting at the station, and the
negro coachman shouted with pleasure at the sight of his young master.

"Missis and the young ladies come, sah; but de station master he say de
train no arrive for a long time, so dey wait for you at de town house,
sah."

Dan jumped up beside the coachman and Vincent leaped into the carriage,
and in a few minutes later he was locked in the arms of his mother and
sisters.

"You grow bigger and bigger, Vincent," his mother said after the first
greeting was over. "I thought you must have done when you went away
last, but you are two or three inches taller and ever so much wider."

"I think I have nearly done now, mother--anyhow as to height. I am six
feet one."

"You are a dreadful trouble to us, Vincent," Annie said. "We have awful
anxiety whenever we hear of a battle being fought, and it was almost a
relief to us when we heard that you were in a Yankee prison. We thought
at least you were out of danger for some time; but since the news came
of your escape it has been worse than ever, and as week passed after
week without hearing anything of you we began to fear that something
terrible had happened to you."

"Nothing terrible has happened at all, Annie. The only mishap I had was
getting a pistol bullet in my shoulder which laid me up for about six
weeks. There was nothing very dreadful about it," he continued, as
exclamations of alarm and pity broke from mother and sister. "I was well
looked after and nursed. And now I will tell you my most important piece
of news, and then I will give you a full account of my adventures from
the time when Dan got me out of prison, for it is entirely to him that I
owe my liberty."

"Well, what is the piece of news?" Annie asked.

"Guess!" Vincent replied, smiling.

"You have got promoted?" his mother said.

He shook his head.

"Is it about a lady?" Annie asked.

Vincent smiled.

"Oh, Vincent, you are not engaged to be married! That would be too
ridiculous!"

Vincent laughed and nodded.

"Annie is right, mother; I am engaged to be married."

Mrs. Wingfield looked grave, Rosie laughed, and Annie threw her arms
round his neck and kissed him.

"You dear, silly old boy!" she said. "I am glad, though it seems so
ridiculous. Who is she, and what is she like?"

"We needn't ask where she lives," Rosie said. "Of course it is in
Antioch, though how in the world you managed it all in the two or three
days you were there I can't make out."

Mrs. Wingfield's brow cleared. "At any rate, in that case, Vincent, she
is a Southerner. I was afraid at first it was some Yankee woman who had
perhaps sheltered you on your way."

"Is she older than you, Vincent?" Annie asked suddenly. "I shouldn't
like her to be older than you are."

"She is between sixteen and seventeen," Vincent replied, "and she is a
Southern girl, mother, and I am sure you will love her, for she saved my
life at the risk of her own, besides nursing me all the time I was ill."

"I have no doubt I shall love her, Vincent, for I think, my boy, that
you would not make a rash choice. I think you are young, much too young,
to be engaged; still, that is a secondary matter. Now tell us all about
it. We expected your story to be exciting, but did not dream that
love-making had any share in it."

Vincent accordingly told them the whole story of his adventures from the
time of his first meeting Dan in prison. When he related the episode of
Lucy's refusal to say whether he would return, although threatened with
instant death unless she did so, his narrative was broken by the
exclamations of his hearers.

"You need not say another word in praise of her," his mother said. "She
is indeed a noble girl, and I shall be proud of such a daughter."

"She must be a darling!" Annie exclaimed. "Oh, Vincent, how brave she
must be! I don't think I ever could have done that, with a pistol
pointing straight at you, and all those dreadful men round, and no hope
of a rescue; it's awful even to think of."

"It was an awful moment, as you may imagine," Vincent replied. "I shall
never forget the scene, or Lucy's steadfast face as she faced that man;
and you see at that time I was a perfect stranger to her--only a
fugitive Confederate officer whom she shielded from his pursuers."

"Go on, Vincent; please go on," Annie said. "Tell us what happened
next."

Vincent continued his narrative to the end, with, however, many
interruptions and questions on the part of the girls. His mother said
little, but sat holding his hand in hers.

"It has been a wonderful escape, Vincent," she said when he had
finished. "Bring your Lucy here when you like and I shall be ready to
receive her as my daughter, and to love her for her own sake as well as
yours. She must be not only a brave girl but a noble girl, and you did
perfectly right to lose not a single day after you had taken her safely
home in asking her to be your wife. I am glad to think that some day the
Orangery will have so worthy a mistress. I will write to her at once.
You have not yet told us what she is like, Vincent."

"I am not good at descriptions, but you shall see her photograph, when I
get it."

"What, haven't you got one now?"

"She had not one to give me. You see, when the troubles began she was
little more than a child, and since that time she has scarcely left
home, but she promised to have one taken at once and send it to me, and
then, if it is a good likeness, you will know all about it."

"Mother, when you write to-night," Rosie said, "please send her your
photograph and ours, and say we all want one of our new relative that is
to be."

"I think, my dear, you can leave that until we have exchanged a letter
or two. You will see Vincent's copy, and can then wait patiently for
your own."

"And now, mother, I have told you all of my news; let us hear about
everyone here. How are all the old house hands, and how is Dinah? Tony
is at Washington, I know, because I saw in the paper that he had made a
sudden attack upon Jackson."

Mrs. Wingfield's face fell.

"That is my one piece of bad news, Vincent. I wish you hadn't asked the
question until to-morrow, for I am sorry that anything should disturb
the pleasure of this first meeting; still, as you have asked the
question, I must answer it. About ten days ago a negro came, as I
afterward heard from Chloe, to the back entrance and asked for Dinah. He
said he had a message for her. She went and spoke to him, and then ran
back and caught up her child. She said to Chloe, 'I have news of my
husband. I think he is here. I will soon be back again.' Then she ran
out, and she has never returned. We have made every inquiry we could,
but we have not liked to advertise for her, for it may be that she has
met her husband, and that he has persuaded her to make off at once with
him to Yorktown or Fortress Monroe."

"This is bad news indeed, mother," Vincent said. "No, I do not think for
a moment that she has gone off with Tony. There could be no reason why
she should have left so suddenly without telling anyone, for she knew
well enough that you would let her go if she wished it; and I feel sure
that neither she nor Tony would act so ungratefully as to leave us in
this manner. No, mother, I feel sure that this has been done by Jackson.
You know I told you I felt uneasy about her before I went. No doubt the
old rascal has seen in some Northern paper an account of his son having
been attacked in the streets of Washington, and recaptured by Tony, and
he has had Dinah carried off from a pure spirit of revenge. Well,
mother," he went on in answer to an appealing look from her, "I will not
put myself out this first evening of my return, and will say no more
about it. There will be plenty of time to take the matter up to-morrow.
And now about all our friends and acquaintances. How are they getting
on? Have you heard of any more of my old chums being killed since I was
taken prisoner at Antietam?"

It was late in the evening before Vincent heard all the news.
Fortunately, the list of casualties in the Army of Virginia had been
slight since Antietam; but that battle had made many gaps among the
circle of their friends, and of these Vincent now heard for the first
time, and he learned, too, that although no battle had been fought since
Antietam, on the 17th of September, there had been a sharp skirmish near
Fredericksburg, and that the Federal army, now under General Burnside,
who had succeeded McClellan, was facing that of Lee, near that town, and
that it was believed that they would attempt to cross the Rappahannock
in a few days.

It was not until he had retired for the night that Vincent allowed his
thoughts to turn again to the missing woman. Her loss annoyed and vexed
him much more than he permitted his mother to see. In the first place,
the poor girl's eagerness to show her gratitude to him upon all
occasions, and her untiring watchfulness and care during his illness
from his wound, had touched him, and the thought that she was now
probably in the hands of brutal taskmasters was a real pain to him. In
the next place, he had, as it were, given his pledge to Tony that she
should be well cared for until she could be sent to join him. And what
should he say now when the negro wrote to claim her? Then, too, he felt
a personal injury that the woman should be carried off when under his
mother's protection, and he was full of indignation and fury at the
dastardly revenge taken by Jackson. Upon hearing the news he had at once
mentally determined to devote himself for some time to a search for
Dinah; but the news that a great battle was expected at the front
interfered with his plan. Now that he was back, capable of returning to
duty, his place was clearly with his regiment; but he determined that
while he would rejoin at once, he would, as soon the battle was over, if
he were unhurt, take up the search. His mother and sisters were greatly
distressed when, at breakfast, he told them that he must at once report
himself as fit for duty, and ready to join his regiment.

"I was afraid you would think so," Mrs. Wingfield said, while the girls
wept silently; "and much as I grieve at losing you again so soon, I can
say nothing against it. You have gone through many dangers, Vincent,
and have been preserved to us through them all. We will pray that you
may be so to the end. Still, whether or not, I, as a Virginia woman,
cannot grudge my son to the service of my country, when all mothers are
making the same sacrifice; but it is hard to give you up when but
yesterday you returned to us."




CHAPTER XV.

FREDERICKSBURG.


As soon as breakfast was over Vincent mounted Wildfire, which had been
sent back after he had been taken prisoner, and rode into Richmond.
There he reported himself at headquarters as having returned after
escaping from a Federal prison and making his way through the lines of
the enemy.

"I had my shoulder-bone smashed in a fight with some Yankees," he said,
"and was laid up in hiding for six weeks; but have now fairly recovered.
My shoulder, at times, gives me considerable pain, and although I am
desirous of returning to duty and rejoining my regiment until the battle
at Fredericksburg has taken place, I must request that three months'
leave be granted to me after that to return home and complete my cure,
promising, of course, to rejoin my regiment at once should hostilities
break out before the spring."

"We saw the news that you had escaped," the general said, "but feared,
as so long a time elapsed without hearing from you, that you had been
shot in attempting to cross the lines. Your request for leave is
granted, and a note will be made of your zeal in thus rejoining on the
very day after your return. The vacancy in the regiment has been filled
up, but I will appoint you temporarily to General Stuart's staff, and I
shall have great pleasure in to-day filling up your commission as
captain. Now let me hear how you made your escape. By the accounts
published in the Northern papers it seemed that you must have had a
confederate outside the walls."

Vincent gave a full account of his escape from prison and a brief sketch
of his subsequent proceedings, saying only that he was in the house of
some loyal people in Tennessee when it was attacked by a party of Yankee
bushwhackers; that these were beaten off in the fight, but that he
himself had a pistol bullet in his shoulder. He then made his way on
until compelled by his wound to lay up for six weeks in a lonely
farmhouse near Mount Pleasant; that afterward, in the disguise of a
young farmer, he had made a long detour across the Tennessee River and
reached Georgia.

"When do you leave for the front, Captain Wingfield?"

"I shall be ready to start to-night, sir."

"In that case I will trouble you to come here again this evening. There
will be a fast train going through with ammunition for Lee at ten
o'clock, and I shall have a bag of dispatches for him, which I will
trouble you to deliver. You will find me here up to the last moment. I
will give orders that a horse-box be attached to the train."

After expressing his thanks Vincent took his leave. As he left the
general's quarters, a young man, just alighting from his horse, gave a
shout of greeting.

"Why, Wingfield, it is good to see you! I thought you were pining again
in a Yankee dungeon, or had got knocked on the head crossing the lines.
Where have you sprung from, and when did you arrive?"

"I only got in yesterday after sundry adventures which I will tell you
about presently. When did you arrive from the front?"

"I came down a few days ago on a week's leave on urgent family
business," the young man laughed, "and I am going back again this
afternoon by the four o'clock train."

"Stay till ten," Vincent said, "and we will go back together. There is a
special train going through with ammunition, and as everything will
make way for that it will not be long behind the four o'clock, and
likely enough may pass it on the way. There is a horse-box attached to
it, and as I only take one horse there will be room for yours."

"I haven't brought my horse down," Harry Furniss said; "but I will
certainly go with you by the ten o'clock. Then we can have a long talk.
I don't think I have seen you since the day you asked me to lend you my
boat, two years ago."

"Can you spare me two hours now?" Vincent asked. "You will do me a very
great favor if you will."

Harry Furniss looked at his watch. "It is eleven o'clock now; we have a
lot of people to lunch at half-past one, and I must be back by then."

"You can manage that easy enough," Vincent replied; "in two hours from
the time we leave here you can be at home."

"I am your man, then, Vincent. Just wait five minutes--I have to see
someone in here."

A few minutes later Harry Furniss came out again and mounted.

"Now which way, Vincent? and what is it you want me for?"

"The way is to Jackson's place at the Cedars; the why I will tell you
about as we ride."

Vincent then recounted his feud with the Jacksons, of which, up to the
date of the purchase of Dinah Moore, his friend was aware, having been
present at the sale. He now heard of the attack upon young Jackson by
Tony, and of the disappearance of Dinah Moore.

"I should not be at all surprised, Wingfield, if your surmises are
correct, and that the old scoundrel has carried off the girl to avenge
himself upon Tony. Of course, if you could prove it, it would be a very
serious offense; for the stealing of a slave, and by force too, is a
crime with a very heavy penalty, and has cost men their lives before
now. But I don't see that you have anything like a positive proof,
however strong a case of suspicion it may be.

"I don't see what you are going to say when you get there."

"I am going to tell him that, if he does not say what he has done with
the girl, I will have his son arrested for treachery as soon as he sets
foot in the Confederacy again."

"Treachery?" Furniss said in surprise. "What treachery has he been
guilty of? I saw that he was one of those who escaped with you, and I
rather wondered at the time at you two being mixed up together in
anything. I heard that he had been recaptured through some black fellow
that had been his slave, but I did not read the account. Have you got
proof of what you say?"

"Perhaps no proof that would hold in a court of law," Vincent replied,
"but proof enough to make it an absolute certainty to my mind."

Vincent then gave an account of their escape, and of the anonymous
denunciation of himself and Dan.

"Now," he said, "no one but Dan knew of the intended escape, no one knew
what clothes he had purchased, no one could possibly have known that I
was to be disguised as a preacher and Dan as my servant. Therefore the
information must have been given by Jackson."

"I have not the least doubt but that the blackguard did give it,
Wingfield; but there is no proof."

"I consider that there is a proof--an absolute and positive proof,"
Vincent asserted, "because no one else could have known it."

"Well, you see that, as a matter of fact, the other officer did know it,
and might possibly have given the information."

"But why should he? The idea is absurd. He had never had a quarrel with
me, and he owed his liberty to me."

"Just so, Wingfield. I am as certain that it was Jackson as you are,
because I know the circumstances; but you see there is no more absolute
proof against one man than against the other. It is true that you had
had a quarrel with Jackson some two years before, but you see you had
made it up and had become friends in prison--so much so that you
selected him from among a score of others in the same room to be the
companion of your flight. You and I, who know Jackson, can well believe
him guilty of an act of gross ingratitude--of ingratitude and treachery;
but people who do not know would hardly credit it as possible that a man
could be such a villain. The defense he would set up would be that in
the first place there is no shadow of evidence that he more than the
other turned traitor. In the second place he would be sure to say that
such an accusation against a Confederate officer is too monstrous and
preposterous to be entertained for a moment; and that doubtless your
negro, although he denies the fact, really chattered about his doings to
the negroes he was lodging with, and that it was through them that
someone got to know of the disguise you would wear. We know that it
wasn't so, Wingfield; but ninety-nine out of every hundred white men in
the South would rather believe that a negro had chattered than that a
Confederate officer had been guilty of a gross act of treachery and
ingratitude."

Vincent was silent. He felt that what his companion said was the truth;
and that a weapon by which he had hoped to force the elder Jackson into
saying what he had done with Dinah would probably fail in its purpose.
The old man was too astute not to perceive that there was no real proof
against his son, and would therefore be unlikely at once to admit that
he had committed a serious crime and to forego his revenge.

"I will try, at any rate," he said at last; "and if he refuses I will
publish the story in the papers. When the fellow gets back from
Yankee-land he may either call me out or demand a court of inquiry. I
may not succeed in getting a verdict from twelve white men, but I think
I can convince everyone of our own class that the fellow did it; and
when this battle that is expected is over I have got three months'
leave, and I will move heaven and earth to find the woman; and if I do,
Jackson will either have to bolt or to stand a trial, with the prospect
of ten years' imprisonment if he is convicted. In either case we are not
likely to have his son about here again; and if he did venture back and
brought an action against me, his chance of getting damages would be a
small one."

Another half-hour's ride brought them to the Cedars. They dismounted at
the house, and fastening their horses to the portico knocked at the
door. It was opened by a negro.

"Tell your master," Vincent said, "that Mr. Wingfield wishes to speak to
him."

Andrew Jackson himself came to the door.

"To what do I owe the very great pleasure of this visit, Mr. Wingfield?"
he said grimly.

"I have come to ask you what you have done with Dinah Moore, whom, I
have every ground for believing, you have caused to be kidnaped from my
mother's house."

"This is a serious charge, young gentleman," Andrew Jackson said, "and
one that I shall call upon you to justify in the law courts. Men are not
to be charged with criminal actions even by young gentlemen of good
Virginian families."

"I shall be quite ready to meet you there, Mr. Jackson, whenever you
choose; but my visit here is rather to give you an opportunity of
escaping the consequences that will follow your detection as the author
of the crime; for I warn you that I will bring the crime home to you,
whatever it costs me in time and money. My offer is this: produce the
woman and her child, and not only shall no prosecution take place, but I
will remain silent concerning a fact which affects the honor of your
son."

Andrew Jackson's face had been perfectly unmoved during this
conversation until he heard the allusion to his son. Then his face
changed visibly.

"I know nothing concerning which you can attack the honor of my son, Mr.
Wingfield," he said with an effort to speak as unconcernedly as before.

"My charge is as follows," Vincent said quietly: "I was imprisoned at
Elmira with a number of other officers, among them your son. Thinking
that it was time for the unpleasantness that had been existing between
us to come to an end, I offered him my hand. This he accepted and we
became friends. A short time afterward a mode of escape offered itself
to me, and I proved the sincerity of my feelings toward him by offering
to him and another officer the means of sharing my escape. This they
accepted. Once outside the walls, I furnished them with disguises that
had been prepared for them, assuming myself that of a minister. We then
separated, going in different directions, I myself being accompanied by
my negro servant, to whose fidelity I owed our escape. Two days
afterward an anonymous writer communicated to the police the fact that I
had escaped in the disguise of a minister, and was accompanied by my
black servant. This fact was only known to the negro, myself, and the
two officers. My negro, who had released me, was certainly not my
betrayer; the other officer could certainly have had no possible motive
for betraying me. There remains, therefore, only your son, whose
hostility to me was notorious, and who had expressed himself with
bitterness against me on many occasions, and among others in the hearing
of my friend Mr. Furniss here. Such being the case, it is my intention
to charge him before the military authorities with this act of
treachery. But, as I have said, I am willing to forego this and to keep
silence as to your conduct with reference to my slave Dinah Moore, if
you will restore her and her child uninjured to the house from which you
caused her to be taken."

The sallow cheeks of the old planter had grown a shade paler as he
listened to Vincent's narrative, but he now burst out in angry tones:

"How dare you, sir, bring such an infamous accusation against my son--an
accusation, like that against myself, wholly unsupported by a shred of
evidence? Doubtless your negro had confided to some of his associates
his plans for assisting you to escape from prison, and it is from one of
these that the denunciation has come. Go, sir, report where you will
what lies and fables you have invented; but be assured that I and my son
will seek our compensation for such gross libels in the courts."

"Very well, sir," Vincent said, as he prepared to mount his horse; "if
you will take the trouble to look in the papers to-morrow, you will see
that your threats of action for libel have no effect whatever upon me."

"The man is as hard as a rock, Wingfield," Furniss said, as they rode
off together. "He wilted a little when you were telling your story, but
the moment he saw you had no definite proofs he was, as I expected he
would be, ready to defy you. What shall you do now?"

"I shall ride back into Richmond again and give a full account of my
escape from the jail, and state that I firmly believe that the
information as to my disguise was given by Jackson, and that it was the
result of a personal hostility which, as many young men in Richmond are
well aware, has existed for some time between us."

"Well, you must do as you like, Wingfield, but I think it will be a
risky business."

"It may be so," Vincent said; "but I have little doubt that long before
Jackson is exchanged I shall have discovered Dinah, and shall prosecute
Jackson for theft and kidnaping, in which case the young man will hardly
venture to prosecute me or indeed to show his face in this part of the
country."

That evening the two young officers started for the front, and the next
morning the Richmond papers came out with a sensational heading,
"Alleged Gross Act of Treachery and Ingratitude by a Confederate
Officer."

It was the 10th of December when Vincent joined the army at
Fredericksburg. He reported himself to General Stuart, who received him
with great cordiality.

"You are just in time, Wingfield," he said. "I believe that in another
twenty-four hours the battle will be fought. They have for the last two
days been moving about in front, and apparently want us to believe that
they intend to cross somewhere below the town; but all the news we get
from our spies is to the effect that these are only feints and that they
intend to throw a bridge across here. We know, anyhow, they have got two
trains concealed opposite, near the river. Burnside is likely to find it
a hard nut to crack. Of course they are superior in number to us, as
they always are; but as we have always beat them well on level ground I
do not think their chances of getting up these heights are by any means
hopeful. Then, too, their change of commanders is against them.
McClellan fought a drawn battle against us at Antietam and showed
himself a really able general in the operations in front of Richmond.
The army have confidence in him, and he is by far the best man they have
got so far, but the fools at Washington have now for the second time
displaced him because they are jealous of him. Burnside has shown
himself a good man in minor commands, but I don't think he is equal to
command such a vast army as this; and besides, we know from our friends
at Washington that he has protested against this advance across the
river, but has been overruled. You will see Fredericksburg will add
another to the long list of our victories."

Vincent shared a tent with another officer of the same rank in General
Stuart's staff. They sat chatting till late, and it was still dark when
they were suddenly aroused by an outbreak of musketry down at the river.

"The general was right," Captain Longmore, Vincent's companion
exclaimed. "They are evidently throwing a bridge across the river, and
the fire we hear comes from two regiments of Mississippians who are
posted down in the town under Barksdale."

It was but the work of a minute to throw on their clothes and hurry out.
The night was dark and a heavy fog hung over the river. A roar of
musketry came up from the valley. Drums and bugles were sounding all
along the crest. At the same moment they issued out General Stuart came
out from his tent, which was close by.

"Is that you, Longmore? Jump on your horse and ride down to the town.
Bring back news of what is going on."

A few minutes later an officer rode up. Some wood had been thrown on the
fire, and by its light Vincent recognized Stonewall Jackson.

"Have you any news for us?" he asked.

"Not yet; I have sent an officer down to inquire. The enemy have been
trying to bridge the river."

"I suppose so," Jackson replied. "I have ordered one of my brigades to
come to the head of the bank as soon as they can be formed up, to help
Barksdale if need be, but I don't want to take them down into the town.
It is commanded by all the hills on the opposite side, and we know they
have brought up also all their artillery there."

In a few minutes Captain Longmore returned.

"The enemy have thrown two pontoon bridges across, one above and one
below the old railway bridge. The Mississippians have driven them back
once, but they are pushing on the work and will soon get it finished;
but General Barksdale bids me report that with the force at his command
he can repulse any attempt to cross."

The light was now breaking in the east, but the roar of musketry
continued under the canopy of fog. Generals Lee, Longstreet, and others
had now arrived upon the spot, and Vincent was surprised that no orders
were issued for troops to re-enforce those under General Barksdale.
Presently the sun rose, and as it gained in power the fog slowly lifted,
and it was seen that the two pontoon bridges were complete; but the fire
of the Mississippians was so heavy that although the enemy several times
attempted to cross they recoiled before it. Suddenly a gun was fired
from the opposite height, and at the signal more than a hundred pieces
of artillery opened fire upon the town. Many of the inhabitants had left
as soon as the musketry fire began, but the slopes behind it soon
presented a sad spectacle. Men, women, and children poured out from the
town, bewildered with the din and terrified by the storm of shot and
shell that crashed into it. Higher and higher the crowd of fugitives
made their way until they reached the crest; among them were weeping
women and crying children, many of them in the scantiest attire and
carrying such articles of dress and valuables as they had caught up when
startled by the terrible rain of missiles. In a very few minutes smoke
began to rise over the town, followed by tongues of flame, and in half
an hour the place was on fire in a score of places.

All day the bombardment went on without cessation and Fredericksburg
crumbled into ruins. Still, in spite of this terrible fire, the
Mississippians clung to the burning town amid crashing walls, falling
chimneys, and shells exploding in every direction. As night fell the
enemy poured across the bridges, and Barksdale, contesting every foot of
ground, fell back through the burning city and took up a position behind
a stone wall in its rear.

Throughout the day not a single shot had been fired by the Confederate
artillery, which was very inferior in power to that of the enemy, as
General Lee had no wish finally to hinder the passage of the Federals;
the stubborn resistance of Barksdale's force being only intended to give
him time to concentrate all his army as soon as he knew for certain the
point at which the enemy was going to cross; and he did not wish,
therefore, to risk the destruction of any of his batteries by calling
down the Federal fire upon them.

During the day the troops were all brought up into position. Longstreet
was on the left and Jackson on the right, while the guns, forty-seven in
number, were in readiness to take up their post in the morning on the
slopes in front of them. On the extreme right General Stuart was posted
with his cavalry and horse artillery. The night passed quietly and by
daybreak the troops were all drawn up in their positions.

As soon as the sun rose it was seen that during the night the enemy had
thrown more bridges across and that the greater portion of the army was
already over. They were, indeed, already in movement against the
Confederate position, their attack being directed toward the portion of
the line held by Jackson's division. General Stuart gave orders to Major
Pelham, who commanded his horse artillery, and who immediately brought
up the guns and began the battle by opening fire on the flank of the
enemy. The guns of the Northern batteries at once replied, and for some
hours the artillery duel continued, the Federal guns doing heavy
execution. For a time attacks were threatened from various points, but
about ten o'clock, when the fog lifted, a mass of some 55,000 troops
advanced against Jackson. They were suffered to come within eight
hundred yards before a gun was fired, and then fourteen guns opened upon
them with such effect that they fell back in confusion.

At one o'clock another attempt was made, covered by a tremendous fire of
artillery. For a time the columns of attack were kept at bay by the fire
of the Confederate batteries, but they advanced with great resolution,
pushed their way through Jackson's first line, and forced them to fall
back. Jackson brought up his second line and drove the enemy back with
great slaughter until his advance was checked by the fire of the
Northern artillery.

All day the fight went on, the Federals attempting to crush the
Confederate artillery by the weight of their fire in order that their
infantry columns might again advance. But although outnumbered by more
than two to one, the Confederate guns were worked with great resolution,
and the day passed and darkness began to fall without their retiring
from the positions they had taken up. Just at sunset General Stuart
ordered all the batteries on the right to advance. This they did, and
opened their fire on the Northern infantry with such effect that these
fell back to the position near the town that they had occupied in the
morning.

On the left an equally terrible battle had raged all day, but here the
Northern troops were compelled to cross open ground between the town
and the base of the hill and suffered so terribly from the fire that
they never succeeded in reaching the Confederate front. Throughout the
day the Confederates held their position with such ease that General Lee
considered the affair as nothing more than a demonstration in force to
feel his position and expected an even sterner battle on the following
day. Jackson's first and second lines, composed of less than 15,000 men,
had repulsed without difficulty the divisions of Franklin and Hooker,
55,000 strong; while Longstreet, with about the same force, had never
been really pressed by the enemy, although on that side they had a force
of over 50,000 men.

In the morning the Northern army was seen drawn up in battle array as if
to advance for fresh assault, but no movement was made. General Burnside
was in favor of a fresh attack, but the generals commanding the various
divisions felt that their troops, after the repulse the day before, were
not equal to the work, and were unanimously of opinion that a second
assault should not be attempted. After remaining for some hours in order
of battle they fell back into the town and two days later the whole army
recrossed the Rappahannock River. The loss of the Confederates was 1800
men, who were for the most part killed or wounded by the enemy's
artillery, while the Federal loss was no less than 13,771. General
Burnside soon afterward resigned his command, and General Hooker, an
officer of the same politics as the President and his advisers, was
appointed to succeed him.

The cavalry had not been called upon to act during the day, and
Vincent's duties were confined to carrying orders to the commanders of
the various batteries of artillery posted in that part of the field, as
these had all been placed under General Stuart's orders. He had many
narrow escapes by shot and fragments of shells, but passed through the
day uninjured.

General Lee has been blamed for not taking advantage of his victory and
falling upon the Federals on the morning after the battle; but although
such an assault might possibly have been successful he was conscious of
his immense inferiority in force, and his troops would have been
compelled to have advanced to the attack across ground completely swept
by the fire of the magnificently served Northern artillery posted upon
their commanding heights. He was, moreover, ignorant of the full extent
of the loss he had inflicted upon the enemy, and expected renewed attack
by them. He was therefore, doubtless, unwilling to risk the results of
the victory he had gained and of the victory he expected to gain should
the enemy renew their attack, by a movement which might not be
successful, and which would at any rate have cost him a tremendous loss
of men, and men were already becoming scarce in the Confederacy.

As soon as the enemy had fallen back across the river and it was certain
that there was little chance of another forward movement on their part
for a considerable time, Vincent showed to General Stuart the permit he
had received to return home until the spring on leave, and at once
received the general's permission to retire from the staff for a time.

He had not been accompanied by Dan on his railway journey to the front,
having left him behind with instructions to endeavor by every means to
find some clew as to the direction in which Dinah had been carried off.
He telegraphed on his way home the news of his coming, and found Dan at
the station waiting for him.

"Well, Dan, have you obtained any news?" he asked as soon as his horse
had been moved from its box, and he had mounted and at a foot-pace left
the station, with Dan walking beside him.

"No, sah; I hab done my best, but I cannot find out anything. The
niggers at Jackson's all say dat no strangers hab been dere wid de old
man for a long time before de day dat Dinah was carried off. I have been
over dar, massa, and hab talked wid the hands at de house. Dey all say
dat no one been dere for a month. Me sure dat dey no tell a lie about
it, because dey all hate Massa Jackson like pison. Den de lawyer, he am
put de advertisement you told him in the papers: Five hundred dollars
to whoever would give information about de carrying off of a female
slave from Missy Wingfield, or dat would lead to de discovery of her
hiding-place. But no answer come. Me heard Missy Wingfield say so last
night."

"That's bad, Dan; but I hardly expected anything better. I felt sure the
old fox would have taken every precaution, knowing what a serious
business it would be for him if it were found out. Now I am back I will
take the matter up myself, and we will see what we can do. I wish I
could have set about it the day after she was carried away. It is more
than a fortnight ago now, and that will make it much more difficult than
it would have been had it been begun at once."

"Well, Vincent, so you have come back to us undamaged this time," his
mother said after the first greeting. "We were very anxious when the
news came that a great battle had been fought last Friday; but when we
heard the next morning the enemy had been repulsed so easily we were not
so anxious, although it was not until this morning that the list of
killed and wounded was published, and our minds set at rest."

"No, mother; it was a tremendous artillery battle, but it was little
more than that--at least on our side. But I have never heard anything at
all like it from sunrise to sunset. But, after all, an artillery fire is
more frightening than dangerous, except at comparatively close quarters.
The enemy must have fired at least fifty shots for every man that was
hit. I counted several times, and there were fully a hundred shots a
minute, and I don't think it lessened much the whole day. I should think
they must have fired two or three hundred rounds at least from each gun.
The roar was incessant, and what with the din they made, and the replies
of our own artillery, and the bursting of shells, and the rattle of
musketry, the din at times was almost bewildering. Wildfire was hit with
a piece of shell, but fortunately it was not a very large one, and he is
not much the worse for it, but the shock knocked him off his legs; of
course I went down with him, and thought for a moment I had been hit
myself. No; it was by far the most hollow affair we have had. The enemy
fought obstinately enough, but without the slightest spirit or dash, and
only once did they get up anywhere near our line, and then they went
back a good deal quicker than they came."

"And now you are going to be with us for three months, Vincent?"

"I hope so, mother; at least if they do not advance again. I shall be
here off and on. I mean to find Dinah Moore if it is possible, and if I
can obtain the slightest clew I shall follow it up and go wherever it
may lead me."

"Well, we will spare you for that, Vincent. As you know, I did not like
your mixing yourself up in that business two years ago, but it is
altogether different now. The woman was very willing and well conducted,
and I had got to be really fond of her. But putting that aside, it is
intolerable that such a piece of insolence as the stealing of one of our
slaves should go unpunished. Therefore, if you do find any clew to the
affair, we will not grumble at your following it up, even if it does
take you away from home for a short time. By the bye, we had letters
this morning from a certain young lady in Georgia, inclosing her
photograph, and I rather fancy there is one for you somewhere."

"Where is it, mother?" Vincent asked, jumping from his seat.

"Let me think," Mrs. Wingfield replied. "Did either of you girls put it
away, or where can it have been stowed?"

The girls both laughed.

"Now, Vincent, what offer do you make for the letter? Well, we won't
tease you," Annie went on as Vincent gave an impatient exclamation.
"Another time we might do so, but as you have just come safely back to
us I don't think it would be fair, especially as this is the very first
letter. Here it is!" and she took out of the workbox before her the
missive Vincent was so eager to receive.




CHAPTER XVI.

THE SEARCH FOR DINAH.


"By the bye, Vincent," Mrs. Wingfield remarked next morning at
breakfast, "I have parted with Pearson."

"I am glad to hear it, mother. What! did you discover at last that he
was a scamp?"

"Several things that occurred shook my confidence in him, Vincent. The
accounts were not at all satisfactory, and it happened quite
accidentally that when I was talking one day with Mr. Robertson, who, as
you know, is a great speculator in tobacco, I said that I should grow no
more tobacco, as it really fetched nothing. He replied that it would be
a pity to give it up, for so little was now cultivated that the price
was rising, and the Orangery tobacco always fetched top prices. 'I think
the price I paid for your crop this year must at any rate have paid for
the labor--that is to say, paid for the keep of the slaves and something
over.' He then mentioned the price he had given, which was certainly a
good deal higher than I had imagined. I looked at my accounts next
morning, and found that Pearson had only credited me with one-third of
the amount he must have received, so I at once dismissed him. Indeed, I
had been thinking of doing so some little time before, for money is so
scarce and the price of produce so low that I felt I could not afford to
pay as much as I had been giving him."

"I am afraid I have been drawing rather heavily, mother," Vincent put
in.

"I have plenty of money, Vincent. Since your father's death we have had
much less company than before, and I have not spent my income. Besides,
I have a considerable sum invested in house property and other
securities. But I have, of course, since the war began been subscribing
toward the expenses of the war--for the support of hospitals and so on.
I thought at a time like this I ought to keep my expenses down to the
lowest point, and to give the balance of my income to the State."

"How did Jonas take his dismissal, mother?"

"Not very pleasantly," Mrs. Wingfield replied, "especially when I told
him that I had discovered he was robbing me. However, he knew better
than to say much, for he has not been in good odor about here for some
time. After the fighting near here there were reports that he had been
in communication with the Yankees. He spoke to me about it at the time;
but as it was a mere matter of rumor, originating, no doubt, from the
fact that he was a Northern man by birth, I paid no attention to them."

"It is likely enough to be true," Vincent said. "I always distrusted the
vehemence with which he took the Confederate side. How long ago did this
happen?"

"It is about a month since I dismissed him."

"So lately as that! Then I should not be at all surprised if he had some
hand in carrying off Dinah. I know he was in communication with Jackson,
for I once saw them together in the street, and I fancied at the time
that it was through him that Jackson learned that Dinah was here. It is
an additional clew to inquire into, anyhow. Do you know what has become
of him since he left you?"

"No; I have heard nothing at all about him, Vincent, from the day I gave
him a check for his pay in this room. Farrell, who was under him, is now
in charge of the Orangery. He may possibly know something of his
movements."

"I think Farrell is an honest fellow," Vincent said. "He was always
about, doing his work quietly; never bullying or shouting at the hands,
and yet seeing that they did their work properly. I will ride out and
see him at once."

As soon as breakfast was over Vincent started, and found Farrell in the
fields with the hands.

"I am glad to see you back, sir," the man said heartily.

"Thank you, Farrell. I am glad to be back, and I am glad to find you in
Pearson's place. I never liked the fellow, and never trusted him."

"I did not like him myself, sir, though we always got on well enough
together. He knew his work and got as much out of the hands as anyone
could do; but I did not like his way with them. They hated him."

"Have you any idea where he went when he left here?"

"No, sir; he did not come back after he got his dismissal. He sent a man
in a buggy with a note to me, asking me to send all his things over to
Richmond. I expect he was afraid the news might get here as soon as he
did, and that the hands would give him an unpleasant reception, as
indeed I expect they would have done."

"You don't know whether he has any friends anywhere in the Confederacy
to whom he would be likely to go?"

"I don't know about friends, sir; but I know he has told me he was
overseer, or partner, or something of that sort, in a small station down
in the swamps of South Carolina. I should think, from things he has let
drop, that the slaves must have had a bad time of it. I rather fancy he
made the place too hot for him, and had to leave; but that was only my
impression."

"In that case he may possibly have made his way back there," Vincent
said. "I have particular reasons for wishing to find out. You don't know
anything about the name of the place?" The man shook his head.

"He never mentioned the name in my hearing."

"Well, I must try to find out; but I don't quite see how to set about
it," Vincent said. "By the way, do you know where his clothes were sent
to?"

"Yes; the man said that he was to take them to Harker's Hotel. It's a
second-rate hotel not far from the railway station."

"Thank you; that will help me. I know the house. It was formerly used by
Northern drummers and people of that sort."

After riding back to Richmond and putting up his horse, Vincent went to
the hotel there. Although but a second-rate hotel it was well filled,
for people from all parts of the Confederacy resorted to Richmond, and
however much trade suffered, the hotels of the town did a good business.
He first went up to the clerk in a little office at the entrance.

"You had a man named Pearson," he said, "staying here a month ago. Will
you please tell me on what day he left?"

The clerk turned to the register, and said, after a minute's
examination:

"He came on the 14th of November, and he left on the 20th."

This was two days after the date on which Dinah had been carried off.

In American hotels the halls are large and provided with seats, and are
usually used as smoking and reading rooms by the male visitors to the
hotel. At Harker's Hotel there was a small bar at the end of the hall,
and a black waiter supplied the wants of the guests seated at the
various little tables. Vincent seated himself at one of these and
ordered something to drink. As the negro placed it on the table he said:

"I will give you a dollar if you will answer a few questions."

"Very good, sah. Dat am a mighty easy to earn dollar."

"Do you remember, about a month ago, a man named Pearson being here?"

The negro shook his head.

"Me not know de names ob de gentlemen, sah. What was de man like?"

"He was tall and thin, with short hair and a gray goatee--a regular
Yankee."

"Me remember him, sah. Dar used to be plenty ob dat sort here. Don't see
dem much now. Me remember de man, sah, quite well. Used to pass most of
de day here. Didn't seem to have nuffin to do."

"Was he always alone, or did he have many people here to see him?"

"Once dar war two men wid him, sah, sitting at dat table ober in de
corner. Rough-looking fellows dey war. In old times people like dat
wouldn't come to a 'spectable hotel, but now eberyone got rough clothes,
can't get no others, so one don't tink nuffin about it; but dose fellows
was rough-looking besides dar clothes. Didn't like dar looks nohow. Dey
only came here once. Dey was de only strangers that came to see him. But
once Massa Jackson--me know him by sight--he came here and talk wid him
for a long time. Dey talk in low voice, and I noticed dey stopped
talking when anyone sat down near dem."

"You don't know where he went to from here, I suppose?"

"No, sah; dat not my compartment. Perhaps de outside porter will know.
Like enough he takes his tings in hand-truck to station. You like to see
him, sah?"

"Yes, I should like to have a minute's talk with him. Here is your
dollar."

The waiter rang a bell, and a minute later the outdoor porter presented
himself.

"You recommember taking some tings to station for a tall man with gray
goatee, Pomp?" the waiter asked. "It was more dan three weeks ago. I
tink he went before it was light in de morning. Me seem to remember
dat."

The negro nodded.

"Me remember him bery well, sah. Tree heavy boxes and one bag, and he
only gave me a quarter dollar for taking dem to de station. Mighty mean
man dat."

"Do you know what train he went by?"

"Yes, sah, it was de six o'clock train for de Souf."

"You can't find out where his luggage was checked for?"

"I can go down to station, sah, and see if I can find out. Some of de
men thar may remember."

"Here is a dollar for yourself," Vincent said, "and another to give to
any of the men who can give you the news. When you have found out come
and tell me. Here is my card and address."

"Bery well, sah. Next time me go up to station me find about it, for
sure, if anyone remember dat fellow."

In the evening the negro called at the house and told Vincent that he
had ascertained that a man answering to his description, and having
luggage similar to that of Pearson, had had it checked to Florence in
South Carolina.

Vincent now called Dan into his counsel and told him what he had
discovered. The young negro had already given proof of such intelligence
that he felt sure his opinion would be of value.

"Dat all bery plain, sah," Dan said when Vincent finished his story. "Me
no doubt dat old rascal Jackson give money to Pearson to carry off de
gal. Ob course he did it just to take revenge upon Tony. Pearson he go
into de plot, because, in de fust place, it vex Missy Wingfield and you
bery much; in de second place, because Jackson gib him money; in de
third place, he get hold of negro slave worf a thousand dollar. Dat all
quite clear. He not do it himself, but arrange wid oder fellows, and he
stop quiet at de hotel for two days after she gone so dat no one can
'spect his having hand in de affair."

"That is just how I make it out, Dan; and now he has gone off to join
them."

Dan thought for some time.

"Perhaps dey join him thar, sah, perhaps not; perhaps him send him
baggage on there and get out somewhere on de road and meet dem."

"That is likely enough, Dan. No doubt Dinah was taken away in a cart or
buggy. As she left two days before he did, they may have gone from forty
to sixty miles along the road, or to some place where he may have joined
them. The men who carried her off may either have come back or gone on
with him. If they wanted to go South they would go on; if they did not,
he would probably have only hired them to carry her off and hand her
over to him when he overtook them. I will look at the time-table and see
where the train stops. It is a fast train I see," after consulting it.
"It stops at Petersburg, fifteen miles on, and at Hicks Ford, which is
about fifty miles. I should think the second place was most likely, as
the cart could easily have gone there in two days. Now, Dan, you had
better start to-morrow morning, and spend two days there, if necessary;
find out, if you can, if on the 20th of last month anyone noticed a
vehicle of any kind, with two rough-looking men in it, and with,
perhaps, a negro woman. She might not have been noticed, for she may
have been lying tied up in the bottom of the cart, although it is more
likely they frightened her by threats into sitting up quiet with them.
They are sure not to have stopped at any decent hotel, but will have
gone to some small place, probably just outside the town.

"I will go with you to Mr. Renfrew the first thing in the morning and
get him to draw up a paper testifying that you are engaged in lawful
business, and are making inquiries with a view to discovering a crime
which has been committed, and recommending you to the assistance of the
police in any town you may go to. Then, if you go with that to the head
constable at Hicks Ford, he will tell you which are the places at which
such fellows as these would have been likely to put up for the night,
and perhaps send a policeman with you to make inquiries. If you get any
news, telegraph to me at once. I will start by the six o'clock train on
the following morning. Do you be on the platform to meet me, and we can
then either go straight on to Florence, or, should there be any
occasion, I will get out there; but I don't think that is likely.
Pearson himself will to a certainty, sooner or later, go to Florence to
get his luggage, and the only real advantage we shall get, if your
inquiries are successful, will be to find out for certain whether he is
concerned in the affair. We shall then only have to follow his traces
from Florence."

Two days later Mr. Renfrew received a telegram from the head constable
at Hicks Ford:

     "The two men with cart spent day here, 20th ult. Were joined that
     morning by another man--negro says Pearson. One man returned
     afternoon, Richmond. Pearson and the other drove off in buggy. A
     young negress and child were with them. Is there anything I can
     do?"

Mr. Renfrew telegraphed back to request that the men, who were kidnaping
the female slave, should if possible be traced, and the direction they
took ascertained. He then sent the message across to Vincent, who at
once went to his office.

"Now," the lawyer said, "you must do nothing rashly in this business,
Vincent. They are at the best of times a pretty rough lot at the edge of
these Carolina swamps, and at present things are likely to be worse than
usual. If you were to go alone on such an errand you would almost
certainly be shot. In the first place these fellows would not give up a
valuable slave without a struggle; and, in the next place, they have
committed a very serious crime. Therefore it is absolutely necessary
that you should go armed with legal powers and backed by the force of
the law. In the first place, I will draw up an affidavit and sign it
myself, to the effect that a female slave, the property of Vincent
Wingfield, has, with her male child, been kidnaped and stolen by Jonas
Pearson and others, acting in association with him, and that we have
reason to know that she has been conveyed into South Carolina. This I
will get witnessed by a justice of the peace, and will then take it up
to the State House. There I will get the usual official request to the
Governor of South Carolina to issue orders that the aid of the law shall
be given to you in recovering the said Dinah Moore and her child, and
arresting her abductors. You will obtain an order to this effect from
the Governor, and armed with it you will, as soon as you have
discovered where the woman is, call upon the sheriff of the county to
aid you in recovering her and in arresting Pearson and his associates."

"Thank you, sir. That will certainly be the best way. I run plenty of
risks in doing my duty as an officer of the State, and I have no desire
whatever to throw my life away at the hands of ruffians such as Pearson
and his allies."

Two hours later Vincent received from Mr. Renfrew the official letter to
the Governor of South Carolina, and at six o'clock next morning started
for Florence. On the platform of the station at Hicks Ford Dan was
waiting for him.

"Jump into the car at the end, Dan; I will come to you there, and you
can tell me all the news. We are going straight on to Columbia. Now,
Dan," Vincent went on when he joined him--for in no part of the United
States were negroes allowed to travel in any but the cars set apart for
them--"what is your news? The chief constable telegraphed that they had,
as we expected, been joined by Pearson here."

"Yes, sah, dey war here for sure. When I got here I go straight to de
constable and tell him dat I was in search of two men who had kidnaped
Captain Wingfield's slave. De head constable he Richmond man, and ob
course knew all about de family; so he take de matter up at once and
send constable wid me to seberal places whar it likely dat the fellows
had put up, but we couldn't find nuffin about dem. Den next morning we
go out again to village four mile out of de town on de north road, and
dare we found sure 'nough dat two men, wid negro wench and chile, had
stopped dere. She seem bery unhappy and cry all de time. De men say dey
bought her at Richmond, and show de constable of de village de paper dat
dey had bought female slabe Sally Moore and her chile. De constable
speak to woman, but she seem frightened out of her life and no say
anyting. Dey drive off wid her early in de morning. Den make inquiries
again at de town and at de station. We find dat a man like Pearson get
out. He had only little hand-bag with him. He ask one of de men at de
station which was de way to de norf road. Den we find dat one of de
constables hab seen a horse and cart wid two men in it, with negro woman
and child. One of de men look like Yankee--dat what make him take notice
of it. We 'spose dat oder man went back to Richmond again."

"That is all right, Dan, and you have done capitally. Now at Florence we
will take up the hunt. It is a long way down there; and if they drive
all the way, as I hope they will, it will take them a fortnight, so that
we shall have gained a good deal of time on them. The people at the
station are sure to remember the three boxes that lay there for so long
without being claimed. Of course they may have driven only till they got
fairly out of reach. Then they may either have sold the horse and cart,
or the fellow Pearson has with him may have driven it back. But I should
think they would most likely sell it. In that case they would not be
more than a week from the time they left Richmond to the time they took
train again for the South. However, whether they have got a fortnight or
three weeks' start of us will not make much difference. With the
description we can give of Pearson, and the fact that there was a
negress and child, and those three boxes, we ought to be able to trace
him."

It was twelve at night when the train arrived at Florence. As nothing
could be done until next morning, Vincent went to an hotel. As soon as
the railway officials were likely to be at their offices he was at the
station again. The tip of a dollar secured the attention of the man in
the baggage room.

"Three boxes and a black bag came on here a month ago, you say, and lay
here certainly four or five days--perhaps a good deal longer. Of course
I remember them. Stood up in that corner there. They had been checked
right through. I will look at the books and see what day they went. I
don't remember what sort of men fetched them away. Maybe I was busy at
the time, and my mate gave them out. However, I will look first and see
when they went. What day do you say they got here?"

"They came by the train that left Richmond at six o'clock on the morning
of the 20th."

"Then they got in late that night or early next morning. Ah, the train
was on time that day, and got in at half-past nine at night. Here they
are--three boxes and a bag, numbered 15,020, went out on the 28th. Yes,
that's right enough. Now I will just ask my mate if he remembers about
their going out."

The other man was called. Oh, yes! he remembered quite well the three
boxes standing in the corner. They went out some time in the afternoon.
It was just after the train came in from Richmond. He noticed the man
that asked for them. He got him to help carry out the boxes and put them
into a cart. Yes, he remembered there was another man with him, and a
negress with a child. He wondered at the time what they were up to, but
supposed it was all right. Yes, he didn't mind trying to find out who
had hired out a cart for the job. Dare say he could find out by
to-morrow--at any rate he would try. Five dollars was worth earning,
anyway.

Having put the matter in train, Vincent, leaving Dan at Florence, went
down at once to Charleston. Here, after twenty-four hours' delay, he
obtained a warrant for the arrest of Jonas Pearson and others on the
charge of kidnaping, and then returned to Florence. He found that the
railway man had failed in obtaining any information as to the cart, and
concluded it must have come in from the country on purpose to meet the
train.

"At any rate," Vincent said, "it must be within a pretty limited range
of country. The railway makes a bend from Wilmington to this place and
then down to Charleston, so this is really the nearest station to only a
small extent of country."

"That's so," the railway man said. He had heard from Dan a good deal
about the case, and had got thoroughly interested in it. "Either Marion
or Kingstree would be nearer, one way or the other, to most of the
swamp country. So it can't be as far as Conwayborough on the north, or
Georgetown on the south, and it must lie somewhere between Jeffries'
Creek and Lynch's Creek; anyhow it would be in Marion County--that's
pretty nigh sure. So, if I were you, I would take rail back to Marion
Courthouse, and see the sheriff there and have a talk over the matter
with him. You haven't got much to go upon, because this man you are
after has been away from here a good many years and won't be known;
besides, likely enough he went by some other name down here. Anyhow, the
sheriff can put you up to the roads and the best way of going about the
job."

"I think that would be the best way," Vincent said. "We shall be able to
see the county map, too, and to learn all the geography of the place."

"You have got your six-shooters with you, I suppose, because you are
likely as not to have to use them?"

"Yes, we have each got a Colt; and as I have had a good deal of
practice, it would be awkward for Pearson if he gives me occasion to use
it."

"After what I hear of the matter," the man said, "I should say your best
plan is just to shoot him at sight. It's what would serve him right. You
bet there will be no fuss over it. It will save you a lot of trouble
anyway."

Vincent laughed.

"My advice is good," the man went on earnestly. "They are a rough lot
down there, and hang together. You will have to do it sudden, whatever
you do, or you will get the hull neighborhood up agin you."

On reaching Marion Courthouse they sought out the sheriff, produced the
warrant signed by the State authority, and explained the whole
circumstances.

"I am ready to aid you in any way I can," the sheriff said when he
concluded; "but the question is, where has the fellow got to? You see he
may be anywhere in this tract," and he pointed out a circle on the map
of the county that hung against the wall. "That is about fifty mile
across, and a pretty nasty spot, I can tell you. There are wide swamps
on both sides of the creek, and rice grounds and all sorts. There aint
above three or four villages altogether, but there may be two or three
hundred little plantations scattered about, some big and some little. We
haven't got anything to guide us in the slightest; not a thing, as I can
see."

"The man who was working under Pearson, when he was with us, told me he
had got the notion that he had had to leave on account of some trouble
here. Possibly that might afford a clew."

"It might do so," the sheriff said. "When did he come to you?"

"I think it was when I was six or seven years old. That would be about
twelve or thirteen years ago; but, of course, he may not have come
direct to us after leaving here."

"We can look, anyway," the sheriff said, and, opening a chest, he took
out a number of volumes containing the records of his predecessors.
"Twelve years ago! Well, this is the volume. Now, Captain Wingfield, I
have got some other business in hand that will take me a couple of
hours. I will leave you out this volume and the one before it and the
one after it, and if you like to go through them you may come across the
description of some man that agrees with that of the man you are in
search of."

It took Vincent two hours and a half to go through the volume, but he
met with no description answering to that of Pearson.

"I will go through the first six months of the next year," he said to
himself, taking up that volume, "and the last six months of the year
before."

The second volume yielded no better result, and he then turned back to
the first of the three books. Beginning in July, he read steadily on
until he came to December. Scarcely had he begun the record of that
month when he uttered an exclamation of satisfaction.

"December the 2d.--Information laid against a gang at Porter's station,
near Lynch's Creek. Charged with several robberies and murders in
different parts of the country. Long been suspected of having stills in
the swamps. Gang consists of four besides Porter himself. Names of gang,
Jack Haverley, Jim Corben, and John and James Porter. Ordered out posse
to start to-morrow."

"December 5th.--Returned from Porter's Station. Surprised the gang. They
resisted. Haverley, Corben, and Jas. Porter shot. John Porter escaped,
and took to the swamp. Four of posse wounded; one, William Hannay,
killed. Circulated description of John Porter through the country. Tall
and lean; when fifteen years old shot a man in a brawl, and went North.
Has been absent thirteen years. Assumed the appearance of a Northern man
and speaks with the Yankee twang. Father was absent at the time of
attack. Captured three hours after. Declares he knows nothing about
doings of the gang. Haverley and Corben were friends of his sons. Came
and went when they liked. Will be tried on the 15th."

On the 16th there was another entry:

"William Porter sentenced to three years' imprisonment for giving
shelter to a gang of robbers. Evidence wanting to show he took any
actual part in their crimes."

The sheriff had been in and out several times during the five hours that
Vincent's search had taken up. When he returned again Vincent pointed
out the entry he had found.

"I should not be at all surprised if that's our man," the sheriff said.
"I know old Porter well, for he is still alive and bears a pretty bad
reputation still, though we have never been able to bring him to book. I
remember all the circumstances of that affair, for I served upon the
posse. While Porter was in prison his house was kept for him by a
married daughter and her husband. There was a strong suspicion that the
man was one of the gang too, but we couldn't prove it. They have lived
there ever since. They have got five or six field hands, and are said to
be well off. We have no doubt they have got a still somewhere in the
swamps, but we have never been able to find it. I will send a man off
to-morrow to make inquiries whether any stranger has arrived there
lately. Of course, Pearson will not have kept that name, and he will not
have appeared as John Porter, for he would be arrested on a fresh
warrant at once for his share in that former business. I think, Captain
Wingfield, you had better register at the hotel here under some other
name. I don't suppose that he has any fear of being tracked here; still
it is just possible his father may have got somebody here and at
Florence to keep their eyes open and let him know if there are any
inquiries being made by strangers about a missing negress. One cannot be
too careful. If he got the least hint, his son and the woman would be
hidden away in the swamps before we could get there, and there would be
no saying when we could find him."

Vincent took the sheriff's advice, and entered his name in the hotel
books as Mr. Vincent. Late in the evening the sheriff came round to him.

"I have just sent summonses to six men. I would rather have had two or
three more, but young men are very scarce around here now; and as with
you and myself that brings it up to eight that ought to be sufficient,
as these fellows will have no time to summon any of their friends to
their assistance. Have you a rifle, Captain Wingfield?"

"No; I have a brace of revolvers."

"They are useful enough for close work," the sheriff said, "but if they
see us coming, and barricade their house and open fire upon us, you will
want something that carries further than a revolver. I can lend you a
rifle as well as a horse, if you will accept them."

Vincent accepted the offer with thanks. The next morning at daylight he
went round to the sheriff's house, where six determined-looking men,
belonging to the town or neighboring farms, were assembled. Slinging the
rifle that the sheriff handed him across his back, Vincent at once
mounted, and the party set off at a brisk trot.

"My man came back half an hour ago," the sheriff said to Vincent as they
rode along. "He found out that a man answering to your description
arrived with another at Porter's about a fortnight ago, and is staying
there still. Whether they brought a negress with them or not no one
seems to have noticed. However, there is not a shadow of doubt that it
is our man, and I shall be heartily glad to lay hold of him; for a
brother of mine was badly wounded in that last affair, and though he
lived some years afterward he was never the same man again. So I have a
personal interest in it, you see."

"How far is it to Porter's?"

"About thirty-five miles. We shall get there about two o'clock, I
reckon. We are all pretty well mounted and can keep at this pace, with a
break or two, till we get there. I propose that we dismount when we get
within half a mile of the place. We will try and get hold of someone who
knows the country well, and get him to lead three of us round through
the edge of the swamp to the back of the house. It stands within fifty
yards of the swamp. I have no doubt they put it there so that they might
escape if pressed, and also to prevent their being observed going
backward and forward to that still of theirs."

This plan was followed out. A negro lad was found who, on the promise of
a couple of dollars, agreed to act as guide. Three of the party were
then told off to follow him, and the rest, after waiting for half an
hour to allow them to make the detour, mounted their horses and rode
down at a gallop to the house. When they were within a short distance of
it they heard a shout, and a man who was lounging near the door ran
inside. Almost instantly they saw the shutters swing back across the
windows, and when they drew up, fifty yards from the door, the barrels
of four rifles were pushed out through slits in the shutters.

The sheriff held up his hand. "William Porter, I want a word with you."

A shutter in an upper room opened, and an elderly man appeared with a
rifle in his hand.

"William Porter," the sheriff said, "I have a warrant for the arrest of
two men now in your house on the charge of kidnaping a female slave, the
property of Captain Wingfield here. I have no proof that you had any
share in the matter, or that you were aware that the slave was not
honestly obtained. In the second place, I have a warrant for the arrest
of your son John Porter, now in your house and passing, recently, under
the name of Jonas Pearson, on the charge of resisting and killing the
officers of the law on the 5th of December, 1851. I counsel you to hand
over these men to me without resistance. You know what happened when
your sons defied the law before, and what will happen now if you refuse
compliance."

"Yah!" the old man shouted. "Do you suppose we are going to give in to
five men? Not if we know it. Now, I warn you, move yourself off while I
let you; else you will get a bullet in you before I count three."

"Very well, then. You must take the consequences," the sheriff replied,
and at once called the party to fall back.

"We must dismount," he said in answer to Vincent's look of surprise.
"They would riddle us here on horseback in the open. Besides, we must
dismount to break in the door."

They rode back a quarter of a mile, and then dismounted. The sheriff
took two heavy axes that hung from his saddle, and handed them to two of
the men.

"I reckon we shall have trouble," he said. "However, I hope we shan't
have to use these. My idea is to crawl up through the cornfield until we
are within shooting distance, and then to open fire at the loopholes.
They have never taken the trouble to grub up the stumps, and each man
must look out for shelter. I want to make it so hot for them that they
will try to bolt to the swamp, and in that case they will be covered by
the men there. I told them not to fire until they got quite close; so
they ought to dispose of three of them, and as they have got pistols
they will be able to master the others; besides, when we hear firing
behind, we shall jump up and make a rush round. Do you, sir, and James
Wilkins here, stop in front. Two of them might make a rush out behind,
and the others, when they have drawn us off, bolt in front."

Several shots were fired at the party as they made their way across to
the end of the field, where the tall stalks of maize were still
standing, though the corn had been gathered weeks before. As soon as
they reached the shelter they separated, each crawling through the maize
until they arrived within fifty yards of the house. There were, as the
sheriff had said, many stumps still standing, and each ensconced himself
behind one of these, and began to reply to the fire that the defenders
kept up whenever they saw a movement among the cornstalks.

At such a distance the shutters were but of slight advantage to the
defenders of the house; for the assailants were all good shots, and the
loopholes afforded excellent targets at such a distance. After a few
shots had been fired from the house the fire of the defenders ceased,
the men within not daring to protrude the rifles through the loopholes,
as every such appearance was instantly followed by a couple of shots
from the corn patch.

"Give me one of those axes," the sheriff said. "Now, Withers, do you
make a rush with me to the door. Get your rifle loaded before you start,
and have your revolver handy in your belt. Now, Captain Wingfield, do
you and the other two keep a sharp lookout at the loopholes, and see
that they don't get a shot at us as we run. Now, Withers!" and the
sheriff ran forward. Two rifles were protruded through the loopholes.
Vincent and his companions fired at once. One of the rifles gave a
sharp jerk and disappeared, the other was fired, and Withers dropped his
ax, but still ran forward. The sheriff began an onslaught at the door,
his companion's right arm being useless. A minute later the sharp crack
of rifles was heard in the rear, and the sheriff and two men rushed in
that direction, while Vincent and the other lay watching the door.
Scarcely had the sheriff's party disappeared round the house when the
door was thrown open, and Pearson ran out at full speed. Vincent leaped
to his feet.

"Surrender," he said, "or you are a dead man!"

Jonas paused for a moment with a loud imprecation, and then, leveling a
revolver, fired. Vincent felt a moment's pain in the cheek, but before
he could level his rifle his companion fired, and Pearson fell forward
dead. A minute later the sheriff and his party ran round.

"Have you got him?" he asked.

"He will give no more trouble, sheriff," the young man who fired said.
"I fancy I had him plum between the eyes. How about the others?"

"Dick Matheson is killed; he got two bullets in his body. The other man
is badly wounded. There are no signs of old Porter."

They now advanced to the door, which stood open. As the sheriff entered
there was a sharp report, and he fell back, shot through the heart. The
rest made a rush forward. Another shot was fired, but this missed them,
and before it could be repeated they had wrested the pistol from the
hand of Matheson's wife. She was firmly secured, and they then entered
the kitchen, where, crouched upon the floor, lay seven or eight negro
men and women in an agony of terror. Vincent's question, "Dinah, where
are you?" was answered by a scream of delight; and Dinah, who had been
covering her child with her body, leaped to her feet.

"It's all right, Dinah," Vincent said; "but stay here, we haven't
finished this business yet."

"I fancy the old man's upstairs," one of the men said. "It was his
rifle, I reckon, that disappeared when we fired."

It was as he expected. Porter was found dead behind the loophole, a
bullet having passed through his brain. The deputy sheriff, who was with
the party, now took the command. A cart and horse were found in an
out-building; in these the wounded man, who was one of those who had
taken part in the abduction of Dinah, was placed, together with the
female prisoner and the dead body of the sheriff. The negroes were told
to follow; and the horses having been fetched, the party mounted and
rode off to the next village, five miles on their way back. Here they
halted for the night, and the next day they went on to Marion
Courthouse, Vincent hiring a cart for the conveyance of Dinah and the
other women. It was settled that Vincent's attendance at the trial of
the two prisoners would not be necessary, as the man would be tried for
armed resistance to the law, and the woman for murdering the sheriff.
The facts could be proved by other witnesses, and as there could be no
doubt about obtaining convictions, it would be unnecessary to try the
charge against the man for kidnaping. Next day, accordingly, Vincent
started with Dinah and Dan for Richmond. Two months afterward he saw in
the paper that Jane Matheson had been sentenced to imprisonment for
life, the man to fourteen years.




CHAPTER XVII.

CHANCELLORSVILLE.


The news of the fight between the sheriff's posse and the band at
Lynch's Creek was telegraphed to the Richmond papers by their local
agent upon the day after it occurred. The report said that Captain
Wingfield, a young officer who had frequently distinguished himself, had
followed the traces of a gang one of whom was a notorious criminal who
had evaded the pursuit of the law and escaped from that section fifteen
years ago, and had, under an assumed name, been acting as overseer at
Mrs. Wingfield's estate of the Orangery. These men had carried off a
negress belonging to Mrs. Wingfield, and had taken her South. Captain
Wingfield, having obtained the assistance of the sheriff with a posse of
determined men, rode to the place which served as headquarters of the
gang. Upon being summoned to surrender, the men opened fire upon the
sheriff and his posse. A sharp fight ensued, in which the sheriff was
killed and one of his men wounded; while the four members of the gang
were either killed or taken prisoners. It was reported that a person
occupying a position as a planter in the neighborhood of Richmond is
connected with this gang.

The reporter had obtained his news from Vincent, who had purposely
refrained from mentioning the names of those who had fallen. He had
already had a conversation with the wounded prisoner. The latter had
declared that he had simply acted in the affair as he had been paid to
do by the man he knew in Richmond as Pearson, who told him that he
wanted him to aid in carrying off a slave woman, who was really his
property, but had been fraudulently taken from him. He had heard him say
that there was another interested in the affair, who had his own reasons
for getting the woman out of the way, and had paid handsomely for the
job. Who that other was Pearson had never mentioned.

Vincent saw that he had no absolute evidence against Jackson, and
therefore purposely suppressed the fact that Pearson was among the
killed in hopes that the paragraph would so alarm Jackson that he would
at once decamp. His anticipations were entirely justified; for upon the
day of his return to Richmond he saw a notice in the paper that the
Cedars, with its field hands, houses, and all belonging to it, was for
sale. He proceeded at once to the estate agent, and learned from him
that Jackson had come in two days before and had informed him that
sudden and important business had called him away, and that he was
starting at once for New York, where his presence was urgently required,
and that he should attempt to get through the lines immediately. He had
asked him what he thought the property and slaves would fetch. Being
acquainted with the estate, he had given him a rough estimate, and had,
upon Jackson's giving him full powers to sell, advanced him two-thirds
of the sum. Jackson had apparently started at once; indeed, he had told
him that he should take the next train as far North as he could get.

Vincent received the news with great satisfaction. He had little doubt
that Jackson had really made down to the South, and that he would try to
cross the lines there, his statement that he intended to go direct North
being merely intended to throw his pursuers off his track should a
warrant be issued against him. However, it mattered little which way
Jackson had gone, so that he had left the State. There was little chance
of his ever returning; for even when he learned that his confederate in
the business had been killed in the fight, he could not be certain that
the prisoner who had been taken was not aware of the share he had in the
business.

A fortnight later Vincent went down into Georgia and brought back Lucy
Kingston for a visit to his mother. She had already received a letter
from her father in reply to one she had written after reaching her
aunts' protection, saying how delighted he was to hear that she had
crossed the lines, for that he had suffered the greatest anxiety
concerning her and had continually reproached himself for not sending
her away sooner. He said he was much pleased with her engagement to
Captain Wingfield, whom he did not know personally, but of whom he heard
the most favorable reports from various Virginia gentlemen to whom he
had spoken since the receipt of her letter.

Lucy remained at Richmond until the beginning of March, when Vincent
took her home to Georgia again, and a week after his return rejoined the
army on the Rappahannock. Every effort had been made by the Confederate
authorities to raise the army of General Lee to a point that would
enable him to cope with the tremendous force the enemy were collecting
for the ensuing campaign. The drain of men was now telling terribly, and
Lee had at the utmost 40,000 to oppose the 160,000 collected under
General Hooker.

The first fight of the campaign had already taken place when Vincent
rejoined the army. A body of 3000 Federal cavalry had crossed the river
on the 17th of March, at Kelly's Ford, but had been met by General Fitz
Lee with about 800 cavalry, and after a long and stubborn conflict had
been driven back with heavy loss across the river. It was not until the
middle of April that the enemy began to move in earnest. Every ford was
watched by Stuart's cavalry, and the frequent attempts made by the
Federal horse to push across to obtain information were always defeated.

On the 27th of April General Hooker's preparations were complete. His
plan of action was that 20,000 men should cross the river near the old
battlefield of Fredericksburg, and thus lead the Confederates to believe
that this was the point of attack. The main body were, however, to cross
at Kelly's Ford, many miles higher up the river, and to march down
toward Fredericksburg. The other force was then to recross, march up the
river, cross at Kelly's Ford, and follow and join the main army. At the
same time the Federal cavalry, which was very numerous and
well-organized, was, under General Stoneman, to strike down through the
country toward Richmond, and thus cut the Confederate communication with
their capital, and so prevent Longstreet's division, which was lying
near Richmond, from rejoining Lee.

The passage of the river was effected at the two fords without
resistance on the 29th of April, and upon the same day the cavalry
column marched South. General Lee directed a portion of his cavalry
under General Fitz Lee to harass and delay this column as much as
possible. Although he had with him but a few hundred men he succeeded in
doing good service in cutting off detached bodies of the enemy,
capturing many officers and men, and so demoralizing the invaders that,
after pushing on as far as the James River, Stoneman had to retreat in
great haste across the Rapidan River.

Hooker, having crossed the river, marched on to Chancellorsville, where
he set to to intrench himself, having sent word to General Sedgwick, who
commanded the force that had crossed near Fredericksburg, to recross,
push round, and join him as soon as possible. Chancellorsville was a
large brick mansion standing in the midst of fields surrounded by
extensive forests. The country was known as the Wilderness. Within a
range of many miles there were only a few scattered houses, and dense
thickets and pine-woods covered the whole country. Two narrow roads
passed through the woods, crossing each other at Chancellorsville; two
other roads led to the fords known as Ely's Ford and the United States
Ford. As soon as he reached Chancellorsville Hooker set his troops to
work cutting down trees and throwing up earthworks for infantry and
redoubts for artillery, erecting a double line of defenses. On these he
mounted upward of a hundred pieces of artillery, commanding the narrow
roads by which an enemy must approach, for the thickets were in many
places so dense as to render it impossible for troops to force their way
through them.

When Sedgwick crossed the river, Lee drew up his army to oppose him; but
finding that no more troops crossed, and that Sedgwick did not advance,
he soon came to the conclusion this was not the point at which the enemy
intended to attack, and in twenty-four hours one of Stuart's horsemen
brought the news that Hooker had crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's
Ford and the Rapidan at Ely's Ford. Lee at once left one division to
face General Sedgwick, and ordered the three others to join General
Anderson, who with 8000 men had fallen back before Hooker's advance, and
taken his post at Tabernacle Church, about halfway between
Fredericksburg and Tabernacle. Lee himself rode forward at once and
joined Anderson.

Jackson led the force from Fredericksburg, and pressed the enemy back
toward Chancellorsville until he approached the tremendous lines of
fortifications, and then fell back to communicate with Lee. That night a
council of war was held, and it was agreed that an attack upon the front
of the enemy's position was absolutely impossible. Hooker himself was so
positive that his position was impregnable that he issued a general
order of congratulation to his troops, saying that "the enemy must now
ingloriously fly or give us battle on our own ground, where certain
destruction awaits him."

Jackson then suggested that he should work right round the Wilderness in
front of the enemy's position, march down until well on its flank, and
attack it there, where they would be unprepared for an assault. The
movement was one of extraordinary peril. Lee would be left with but one
division in face of an immensely superior force; Jackson would have to
perform an arduous march, exposed to an attack by the whole force of the
enemy; and both might be destroyed separately without being able to
render the slightest assistance to each other. At daybreak on the 2d of
May Jackson mustered his troops for the advance. He had in the course of
the night caught a severe cold. In the hasty march he had left his
blankets behind him. One of his staff threw a heavy cape over him as he
lay on the wet ground. During the night Jackson woke, and thinking that
the young officer might himself be suffering from the want of his cape,
rose quietly, spread the cape over him, and lay down without it. The
consequence was a severe cold, which terminated in an attack of
pneumonia that, occurring at a time when he was enfeebled by his wounds,
resulted in his death. If he had not thrown that cape over the officer
it is probable that he would have survived his wounds.

At daybreak the column commenced its march. It had to traverse a narrow
and unfrequented road through dense thickets, occasionally crossing
ground in sight of the enemy, and at the end to attack a tremendous
position held by immensely superior forces. Stuart with his cavalry
moved on the flank of the column whenever the ground was open, so as to
conceal the march of the infantry from the enemy. As the rear of the
column passed a spot called the Furnace, the enemy suddenly advanced and
cut off the 23d Georgia, who were in the rear of the column, and
captured the whole regiment with the exception of a score of men. At
this point the road turned almost directly away from Chancellorsville,
and the enemy believed that the column was in full retreat, and had not
the least idea of its real object.

So hour after hour the troops pressed on until they reached the turnpike
road passing east and went through Chancellorsville, which now lay
exactly between them and the point that they had left in the morning.
Jackson's design was to advance upon this line of road, to extend his
troops to the left and then to swing round, cut the enemy's retreat to
the fords, and capture them all. Hooker had already been joined by two
of Sedgwick's army corps, and had now six army corps at
Chancellorsville, while Jackson's force consisted of 22,000 men. Lee
remained with 13,000 at Tabernacle. The latter general had not been
attacked, but had continued to make demonstrations against the Federal
left, occupying their attention and preventing them from discovering how
large a portion of his force had left him.

It was at five o'clock in the evening that Jackson's troops, having
gained their position, advanced to the attack. In front of them lay
Howard's division of the Federals, intrenched in strong earthworks
covered by felled trees; but the enemy were altogether unsuspicious of
danger, and it was not until with tumultuous cheers the Confederates
dashed through the trees and attacked the intrenchment that they had any
suspicion of their presence. They ran to their arms, but it was too
late. The Confederates rushed through the obstacles, climbed the
earthworks, and carried those in front of them, capturing 700 prisoners
and five guns. The rest of the Federal troops here, throwing away
muskets and guns, fled in wild confusion. Steadily the Confederates
pressed on, driving the enemy before them, and capturing position after
position, until the whole right wing of the Federal army was routed and
disorganized. For three hours the Confederates continued their march
without a check; but owing to the denseness of the wood, and the
necessity of keeping the troops in line, the advance was slow, and night
fell before the movement could be completed. One more hour of daylight
and the whole Federal army would have been cut off and captured, but by
eight o'clock the darkness in the forest was so complete that all
movement had to be stopped.

Half an hour later one of the saddest incidents of the war took place.
General Jackson with a few of his staff went forward to reconnoiter. As
he returned toward his lines, his troops in the dark mistook them for a
reconnoitering party of the enemy and fired, killing or wounding the
whole of them, General Jackson receiving three balls. The enemy, who
were but a hundred yards distant, at once opened a tremendous fire with
grape toward the spot, and it was some time before Jackson could be
carried off the field. The news that their beloved general was wounded
was for some time kept from the troops; but a whisper gradually spread,
and the grief of his soldiers was unbounded, for rather would they have
suffered a disastrous defeat than that Stonewall Jackson should have
fallen.

General Stuart assumed the command; General Hill, who was second in
command, having, with many other officers, been wounded by the
tremendous storm of grape and canister that the Federals poured through
the wood when they anticipated an attack. At daybreak the troops again
moved forward in three lines, Stuart placing his thirty guns on a slight
ridge, where they could sweep the lines of the Federal defenses. Three
times the position was won and lost; but the Confederates fought with
such fury and resolution, shouting each time they charged the Federal
ranks, "Remember Jackson," that the enemy gradually gave way, and by ten
o'clock Chancellorsville itself was taken, the Federals being driven
back into the forest between the house and the river.

[Illustration: Map--THE BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE May 2nd. & 3rd. 1863.]

Lee had early in the morning begun to advance from his side to the
attack, but just as he was moving forward the news came that Sedgwick
had recrossed at Fredericksburg, captured a portion of the Confederate
force there, and was advancing to join Hooker. Lee at once sent two of
his three little divisions to join the Confederates who were opposing
Sedgwick's advance, while, with the three or four thousand men remaining
to him, he all day made feigned attacks upon the enemy's position,
occupying their attention there, and preventing them from sending
re-enforcements to the troops engaged with Stuart. At night he himself
hurried away, took the command of the troops opposed to Sedgwick,
attacked him vigorously at daybreak, and drove him with heavy loss back
across the river. The next day he marched back with his force to join in
the final attack upon the Federals; but when the troops of Stuart and
Lee moved forward they encountered no opposition. Hooker had begun to
carry his troops across the river on the night he was hurled back out of
Chancellorsville, and the rest of his troops had crossed on the two
following nights.

General Hooker issued a pompous order to his troops, after getting
across the river, to the effect that the movement had met with the
complete success he had anticipated from it; but the truth soon leaked
out. General Sedgwick's force had lost 6000 men, Hooker's own command
fully 20,000 more; but splendid as the success was, it was dearly
purchased by the Confederates at the price of the life of Stonewall
Jackson. His arm was amputated the day after the battle; he lived for a
week, and died not so much from the effect of his wound as from the
pneumonia, the result of his exposure to the heavy dew on the night
preceding his march through the Wilderness.

During the two days' fighting Vincent Wingfield had discharged his
duties upon General Stuart's staff. On the first day the work had been
slight, for General Stuart, with the cannon, remained in the rear, while
Jackson's infantry attacked and carried the Federal intrenchments. Upon
the second day, however, when Stuart assumed the command, Vincent's
duties had been onerous and dangerous in the extreme. He was constantly
carrying orders from one part of the field to the other, amid such a
shower of shot and shell that it seemed marvelous that anyone could
exist within it. To his great grief Wildfire was killed under him, but
he himself escaped without a scratch. When he came afterward to try to
describe the battle to those at home, he could give no account of it.

"To me," he said, "it was simply a chaos of noise and confusion. Of what
was going on I knew nothing. The din was appalling. The roar of the
shells, the hum of grape and canister, the whistle of bullets, the
shouts of men, formed a mighty roar that seemed to render thinking
impossible. Showers of leaves fell incessantly, great boughs of trees
were shorn away, and trees themselves sometimes came crashing down as a
trunk was struck full by a shell. The undergrowth had caught fire, and
the thick smoke, mingled with that of the battle, rendered it difficult
to see or to breathe. I had but one thought, that of making my way
through the trees, of finding the corps to which I was sent, of
delivering my message, and finding the general again. No, I don't think
I had much thought of danger, the whole thing was somehow so tremendous
that one had no thought whatever for one's self. It was a sort of
terrible dream, in which one was possessed of the single idea to get to
a certain place. It was not till at last we swept across the open ground
down to the house, that I seemed to take any distinct notice of what was
going on around me. Then, for the first time, the exulting shouts of the
men, and the long lines advancing at the double, woke me up to the fact
that we had gained one of the most wonderful victories in history, and
had driven an army of four or five times our own strength from a
position that they believed they had made impregnable."

The defeat of Hooker for a time put a stop to any further advance
against Richmond from the North. The Federal troops whose term of
service was up returned home, and it was months before all the efforts
of the authorities of Washington could place the army in a condition to
make a renewed advance. But the Confederates had also suffered heavily.
A third of the force with which Jackson had attacked had fallen, and
their loss could not be replaced, as the Confederates were forced to
send everyone they could raise to the assistance of the armies in the
West, where Generals Banks and Grant were carrying on operations with
great success against them. The important town of Vicksburg, which
commanded the navigation of the Mississippi, was besieged, and after a
resistance lasting for some months, surrendered, with its garrison of
25,000 men, on the 3d of July, and the Federal gunboats were thus able
to penetrate the Mississippi and its confluents into the heart of the
Confederacy.

Shortly after the battle of Chancellorsville Vincent was appointed to
the command of a squadron of cavalry that was detached from Stuart's
force and sent down to Richmond to guard the capital from any raids by
bodies of Federal cavalry. It had been two or three times menaced by
flying bodies of horsemen, and during the cavalry advance before the
battle of Chancellorsville small parties had penetrated to within three
miles of the city, cutting all the telegraph wires, pulling up the
rails, and causing the greatest terror. Vincent was not sorry for the
change. It took him away from the great theater of the war, but after
Chancellorsville he felt no eager desire to take part in future battles.
His duties would keep him near his home, and would give ample scope for
the display of watchfulness, dash, and energy. Consequently he took no
part in the campaign that commenced in the first week in June.

Tired of standing always on the defensive, the Confederate authorities
determined to carry out the step that had been so warmly advocated by
Jackson earlier in the war, and which might at that time have brought it
to a successful termination. They decided to carry the war into the
enemy's country. By the most strenuous efforts Lee's army was raised to
75,000 men, divided into three great army corps, commanded by
Longstreet, Ewell, and Hill. Striking first into Virginia, they drove
the Federals from Winchester, and chased them from the State with the
loss of nearly 4000 prisoners and thirty guns. Then they entered
Maryland and Pennsylvania, and concentrating at Gettysburg they met the
Northern army under Meade, who had succeeded Hooker. Although great
numbers of the Confederates had seen their homes wasted and their
property wantonly destroyed, they preserved the most perfect order in
their march through the North, and the Federals themselves testify to
the admirable behavior of the troops, and to the manner in which they
abstained from plundering or inflicting annoyance upon the inhabitants.

At Gettysburg there was three days' fighting. In the first a portion
only of the forces were engaged, the Federals being defeated and 5000 of
their men taken prisoners. Upon the second the Confederates attacked the
Northerners, who were posted in an extremely strong position, but were
repulsed with heavy loss. The following day they renewed the attack, but
after tremendous fighting again failed to carry the height. Both parties
were utterly exhausted. Lee drew up his troops the next day, and invited
an attack from the Federals; but contented with the success they had
gained they maintained their position, and the Confederates then fell
back, Stuart's cavalry protecting the immense trains of wagons loaded
with the stores and ammunition captured in Pennsylvania.

But little attempt was made by the Northerners to interfere with their
retreat. On reaching the Potomac, they found that a sudden rise had
rendered the fords impassable. Intrenchments and batteries were thrown
up, and for a week the Confederate army held the lines, expecting an
attack from the enemy, who had approached within two miles; but the
Federal generals were too well satisfied with having gained a success,
when acting on the defensive in a strong position, to risk a defeat in
attacking the position of the Confederates, and their forces remained
impassive until pontoon bridges were thrown across the river, and the
Confederate army, with their vast baggage train, had again crossed into
Virginia. The campaign had cost the Northern army 23,000 men in killed,
wounded, and prisoners, besides a considerable number of guns. The
Confederates lost only two guns, left behind in the mud, and 1500
prisoners, but their loss in killed and wounded at Gettysburg exceeded
10,000 men. Even the most sanguine among the ranks of the Confederacy
were now conscious that the position was a desperate one. The Federal
armies seemed to spring from the ground. Strict discipline had taken
the place of the disorder and insubordination that had first prevailed
in their ranks. The armies were splendidly equipped. They were able to
obtain any amount of the finest guns, rifles, and ammunition of war from
the workshops of Europe; while the Confederates, cut off from the world,
had to rely solely upon the make-shift factories they had set up, and
upon the guns and stores they captured from the enemy.

The Northerners had now, as a blow to the power of the South, abolished
slavery, and were raising regiments of negroes from among the free
blacks of the North, and from the slaves they took from their owners
wherever their armies penetrated the Southern States. Most of the
Confederate ports had been either captured or were so strictly blockaded
that it was next to impossible for the blockade-runners to get in or
out, while the capture of the forts on the Mississippi enabled them to
use the Federal flotillas of gunboats to the greatest advantage, and to
carry their armies into the center of the Confederacy.

Still, there was no talk whatever of surrender on the part of the South,
and, indeed, the decree abolishing slavery, and still more the action of
the North in raising black regiments, excited the bitterest feeling of
animosity and hatred. The determination to fight to the last, whatever
came of it, animated every white man in the Southern States, and,
although deeply disappointed with the failure of Lee's invasion of the
North, the only result was to incite them to greater exertions and
sacrifices. In the North an act authorizing conscription was passed in
1863, but the attempt to carry it into force caused a serious riot in
New York, which was only suppressed after many lives had been lost and
the city placed under martial law.

While the guns of Gettysburg were still thundering, a Federal army of
18,000 men under General Gillmore, assisted by the fleet, had laid siege
to Charleston. It was obstinately attacked and defended. The siege
continued until the 5th of September, when Fort Wagner was captured; but
all attempts to take Fort Sumter and the town of Charleston itself
failed, although the city suffered greatly from the bombardment. In
Tennessee there was severe fighting in the autumn, and two desperate
battles were fought at Chickamauga on the 19th and 20th of September,
General Bragg, who commanded the Confederate army there, being
reinforced by Longstreet's veterans from the army of Virginia. After
desperate fighting the Federals were defeated, and thirty-six guns and
vast quantities of arms captured by the Confederates. The fruits of the
victory, however, were very slight, as General Bragg refused to allow
Longstreet to pursue, and so to convert the Federal retreat into a rout,
and the consequence was that this victory was more than balanced by a
heavy defeat inflicted upon them in November at Chattanooga by Sherman
and Grant. At this battle General Longstreet's division was not present.

The army of Virginia had a long rest after their return from Gettysburg,
and it was not until November that the campaign was renewed. Meade
advanced, a few minor skirmishes took place, and then, when he reached
the Wilderness, the scene of Hooker's defeat, where Lee was prepared to
give battle, he fell back again across the Rappahannock.

The year had been an unfortunate one for the Confederates. They had lost
Vicksburg, and the defeat at Chattanooga had led to the whole State of
Tennessee falling into the hands of the Federals, while against these
losses there was no counterbalancing success to be reckoned.

In the spring of 1864 both parties prepared to the utmost for the
struggle. General Grant, an officer who had shown in the campaign in the
West that he possessed considerable military ability, united with
immense firmness and determination of purpose, was chosen as the new
commander-in-chief of the whole military force of the North. It was a
mighty army, vast in numbers, lavishly provided with all materials of
war. The official documents show that on the 1st of May the total
military forces of the North amounted to 662,000 men. Of these the force
available for the advance against Richmond numbered 284,630 men. This
included the Army of the Potomac, that of the James River, and the army
in the Shenandoah Valley--the whole of whom were in readiness to move
forward against Richmond at the orders of Grant.

To oppose these General Lee had less than 53,000 men, including the
garrison of Richmond and the troops in North Carolina. Those stationed
in the seaport towns numbered in all another 20,000; so that, if every
available soldier had been brought up, Lee could have opposed a total of
but 83,000 men against the 284,000 invaders.

In the West the numbers were more equally balanced. General Sherman, who
commanded the army of invasion there, had under his orders 230,000 men,
but as more than half this force was required to protect the long lines
of communication and to keep down the conquered States, he was able to
bring into the field for offensive operations 99,000 men, who were faced
by the Confederate army under Johnston of 58,000 men. Grant's scheme was
that, while the armies of the North were, under his own command, to
march against Richmond, the Army of the West was to invade Georgia and
march upon Atlanta.

His plan of action was simple, and was afterward stated by himself to be
as follows: "I determined first to use the greatest number of troops
practicable against the main force of the enemy, preventing him from
using the same force at different seasons against first one and then
another of our armies, and the possibility of repose for refitting and
producing necessary supplies for carrying on resistance. Second, to
hammer continuously against the armed force of the enemy and his
resources, until, by mere attrition if in no other way, there should be
nothing left to him but submission."

This was a terrible programme, and involved an expenditure of life far
beyond anything that had taken place. Grant's plan, in fact, was to
fight and to keep on fighting, regardless of his own losses, until at
last the Confederate army, whose losses could not be replaced, melted
away. It was a strategy that few generals have dared to practice, fewer
still to acknowledge.

On the 4th of May the great Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan and
advanced toward Chancellorsville. Lee moved two divisions of his army to
oppose them. Next morning the battle began at daybreak on the old ground
where Lee had defeated Hooker the year before. All day long the division
of Ewell supported the attack of the army corps of Sedgwick and Hancock.
Along a front of six miles, in the midst of the thick forest, the battle
raged the whole of the day. The Confederates, in spite of the utmost
efforts of the Northerners, although re-enforced in the afternoon by the
army corps of General Burnside, held their position, and when night put
an end to the conflict the invaders had not gained a foot of ground.

As soon as the first gleam of light appeared in the morning the battle
recommenced. The Federal generals, Sedgwick, Warren, and Hancock, with
Burnside in reserve, fell upon Hill and Ewell. Both sides had thrown up
earthworks and felled trees as a protection during the night. At first
the Confederates gained the advantage; but a portion of Burnside's corps
was brought up and restored the battle, while on the left flank of the
Federals Hancock had attacked with such vigor that the Confederates
opposed to him were driven back.

At the crisis of the battle Longstreet, who had marched all night,
appeared upon the ground, drove back Hancock's men, and was on the point
of aiding the Confederates in a decisive attack upon the enemy, when,
riding rapidly forward into the wood to reconnoiter, he was, like
Jackson, struck down by the fire of his own men. He was carried to the
rear desperately, and it was feared for a time mortally, wounded; and
his loss paralyzed the movement which he had prepared. Nevertheless,
during the whole day the fight went on with varying success; sometimes
one side obtaining a slight advantage, the other then regaining the
ground they had lost.

[Illustration: Map--THE BATTLE OF THE WILDERNESS May 5th. to 9th. 1864.]

Just as evening was closing in a Georgia brigade, with two other
regiments, made a detour, and fell furiously upon two brigades of the
enemy, and drove them back in headlong rout for a mile and a half,
capturing their two generals and many prisoners. The artillery, as on
the previous day, had been little used on either side, the work being
done at short range with the rifle, the loss being much heavier among
the thick masses of the Northerners than in the thinner lines of the
Confederates. Grant had failed in his efforts to turn Lee's right and to
accomplish his direct advance; he therefore changed his base and moved
his army round toward Spottsylvania.

Lee soon perceived his object, and succeeded in carrying his army to
Spottsylvania before the Federals reached it.

On the afternoon of Monday the 9th, there was heavy fighting, and on the
10th another pitched battle took place. This time the ground was more
open, and the artillery was employed with terrible effect on both sides.
It ended, however, as the previous battles had done, by the Confederates
holding their ground.

Upon the next day there was but little fighting. In the night the
Federals moved quietly through the wood and at daybreak four divisions
fell upon Johnston's division of Ewell's corps, took them completely by
surprise, and captured the greater part of them.

But Lee's veterans soon recovered from their surprise and maintained
their position until noon. Then the whole Federal army advanced, and the
battle raged till nightfall terminated the struggle, leaving Lee in
possession of the whole line he had held, with the exception of the
ground lost in the morning.

For the next six days the armies faced each other, worn out by incessant
fighting, and prevented from moving by the heavy rain which fell
incessantly. They were now able to reckon up the losses. The Federals
found that they had lost, in killed, wounded, or missing, nearly 30,000
men; while Lee's army was diminished by about 12,000.

While these mighty battles had been raging the Federal cavalry under
Sheridan had advanced rapidly forward, and, after several skirmishes
with Stuart's cavalry, penetrated within the outer intrenchments round
Richmond. Here Stuart, with two regiments of cavalry, charged them and
drove them back, but the gallant Confederate officer received a wound
that before night proved fatal. His loss was a terrible blow to the
Confederacy, although his successor in the command of the cavalry,
General Wade Hampton, was also an officer of the highest merit.

In the meantime General Butler, who had at Fortress Monroe under his
command two corps of infantry, 4000 cavalry, and a fleet of gunboats and
transports, was threatening Richmond from the east. Shipping his men on
board the transports he steamed up the James River, under convoy of the
fleet, and landed on a neck of land known as Bermuda Hundred. To oppose
him all the troops from North Carolina had been brought up, the whole
force amounting to 19,000 men, under the command of General Beauregard.
Butler, after various futile movements, was driven back again to his
intrenched camp at Bermuda Hundred, where he was virtually besieged by
Beauregard with 10,000 men, the rest of that general's force being sent
up to re-enforce Lee.

In West Virginia, Breckenridge, with 3500 men, was called upon to hold
in check Sigel, with 15,000 men. Advancing to Staunton, Breckenridge was
joined by the pupils of the military college at Lexington, 250 in
number, lads of from fourteen to seventeen years of age. He came upon
Sigel on the line of march and attacked him at once. The Federal general
placed a battery in a wood and opened fire with grape. The commander of
the Lexington boys ordered them to charge, and, gallantly rushing in
through the heavy fire, they charged in among the guns, killed the
artillerymen, drove back the infantry supports, and bayoneted their
colonel. The Federals now retired down the valley to Strasburg, and
Breckenridge was able to send a portion of his force to aid Lee in his
great struggle.

After his six days' pause in front of Lee's position at Spottsylvania,
Grant abandoned his plan of forcing his way through Lee's army to
Richmond, and endeavored to outflank it; but Lee again divined his
purpose, and moved round and still faced him. After various movements
the armies again stood face to face upon the old battle-grounds on the
Chickahominy. On the 3d of June the battle commenced at half-past four
in the morning. Hancock at first gained an advantage, but Hill's
division dashed down upon him and drove him back with great slaughter;
while no advantage was gained by him in other parts of the field. The
Federal loss on this day was 13,000, and the troops were so dispirited
that they refused to renew the battle in the afternoon.

[Illustration: Map--BATTLE of COLD HARBOR May 31st. to June 12th. 1864.]

Grant then determined to alter his plan altogether, and sending
imperative orders to Butler to obtain possession of Petersburg, embarked
Smith's corps in transports, and moved with the rest of his army to join
that general there. Smith's corps entered the James River, landed, and
marched against Petersburg. Beauregard had at Petersburg only two
infantry and two cavalry regiments under General Wise, while a single
brigade fronted Butler at Bermuda Hundred. With this handful of men he
was called upon to defend Petersburg and to keep Butler bottled up in
Bermuda Hundred until help could reach him from Lee. He telegraphed to
Richmond for all the assistance that could be sent to him, and was
re-enforced by a brigade, which arrived just in time, for Smith had
already captured a portion of the intrenchments, but was now driven out.

The next day Beauregard was attacked both by Smith's and Hancock's
corps, which had now arrived. With 8000 men he kept at bay the assaults
of two whole army corps, having in the meantime sent orders to Gracie,
the officer in command of the brigade before Butler, to leave a few
sentries there to deceive that general, and to march with the rest of
his force to his aid. It arrived at a critical moment. Overwhelmed by
vastly superior numbers, many of the Confederates had left their posts,
and Breckenridge was in vain trying to rally them when Gracie's brigade
came up. The position was reoccupied and the battle continued.

At noon Burnside with his corps arrived and joined the assailants; while
Butler, discovering at last that the troops in front of him were
withdrawn, moved out and barred the road against re-enforcements from
Richmond. Nevertheless, the Confederates held their ground all the
afternoon and until eleven o'clock at night, when the assault ceased.

At midnight Beauregard withdrew his troops from the defenses that they
were too few to hold, and set them to work to throw up fresh
intrenchments on a shorter line behind. All night the men worked with
their bayonets, canteens, and any tools that came to hand.

It was well for them that the enemy were so exhausted that it was noon
before they were ready to advance again, for by this time help was at
hand. Anderson, who had succeeded to the command of Longstreet's corps,
and was leading the van of Lee's army, forced his way through Butler's
troops and drove him back into Bermuda Hundred, and leaving one brigade
to watch him marched with another into Petersburg just as the attack was
recommenced. Thus re-enforced, Beauregard successfully defeated all the
assaults of the enemy until night fell. Another Federal army corps came
up before morning, and the assault was again renewed, but the
defenders, who had strengthened their defenses during the night, drove
their assailants back with terrible loss. The whole of Lee's army now
arrived, and the rest of Grant's army also came up, and that general
found that, after all his movements, his way to Richmond was barred as
before. He was indeed in a far worse position than when he had crossed
the Rapidan, for the morale of his army was much injured by the repeated
repulses and terrible losses it had sustained. The new recruits that had
been sent to fill up the gaps were far inferior troops to those with
which he had commenced the campaign. To send forward such men against
the fortifications of Petersburg, manned by Lee's veteran troops, was to
court defeat, and he therefore began to throw up works for a regular
siege.

Fighting went on incessantly between the outposts, but only one great
attempt was made during the early months of the siege to capture the
Confederate position. The miners drove a gallery under the works, and
then drove other galleries right and left under them. These were charged
with eight thousand pounds of powder. When all was ready, masses of
troops were brought up to take advantage of the confusion which would be
caused by the explosion, and a division of black troops were to lead the
assault. At a quarter to five in the morning of the 30th of July the
great mine was exploded, blowing two guns, a battery, and its defenders
into the air, and forming a huge pit two hundred feet long and sixty
feet wide. Lee and Beauregard hurried to the scene, checked the panic
that prevailed, brought up troops, and before the great Federal columns
approached the breech the Confederates were ready to receive them. The
assault was made with little vigor, the approaches to the breech were
obstructed by abattis, and instead of rushing forward in a solid mass
they occupied the great pit, and contented themselves with firing over
the edge of the crater, where regiments and divisions were huddled
together. But the Confederate batteries were now manned, and from the
works on either side of the breech, and from behind, they swept the
approaches, and threw shell among the crowded mass. The black division
was now brought up and entered the crater, but only added to the
confusion. There was no officer of sufficient authority among the
crowded mass there to assume the supreme command. No assistance could be
sent to them, for the arrival of fresh troops would but have added to
the confusion. All day the conflict went on, the Federals lining the
edge of the crater, and exchanging a heavy musketry fire with the
Confederate infantry, while the mass below suffered terribly from the
artillery fire. When night closed, the survivors of the great column
that had marched forward in the morning, confident that victory was
assured to them, and that the explosion would lay Petersburg open to
capture, made their retreat, the Confederates, however, taking a
considerable number of prisoners. The Federal loss in killed, wounded,
and captured was admitted by them to be 4000; the Confederate accounts
put it down at 6000.

After this terrible repulse it was a long time before Grant again
renewed active operations, but during the months that ensued his troops
suffered very heavily from the effects of fever, heightened by the
discouragement they felt at their want of success, and at the tremendous
losses they had suffered since they entered Virginia on their forward
march to Richmond.




CHAPTER XVIII.

A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING.


Vincent Wingfield had had an arduous time of it with his squadron of
cavalry. He had taken part in the desperate charge that checked the
advance of Sheridan's great column of cavalry, which approached within
three miles of Richmond--the charge that had cost the gallant Stuart his
life; and the death of his beloved general had been a heavy blow for
him. Jackson and Stuart, two of the bravest and noblest spirits of the
Confederate army, were gone. Both had been personally dear to Vincent,
and he felt how grievous was their loss to the cause for which he was
fighting; but he had little time for grief. The enemy, after the
tremendous battles of the Wilderness, swung their army round to Cold
Harbor, and Vincent's squadron was called up to aid Lee in his struggle
there. Then they were engaged night and day in harassing the enemy as
they marched down to take up their new base at Petersburg, and finally
received orders to ride round at full speed to aid in the defense of
that place.

They had arrived in the middle of the second day's fighting, and
dismounting his men, Vincent had aided the hard-pressed Confederates in
holding their lines till Longstreet's division arrived to their
assistance. A short time before the terrible disaster that befell the
Federals in the mine they exploded under the Confederate works, he was
with General Wade Hampton, who had succeeded General Stuart in the
command of the cavalry, when General Lee rode up.

"They are erecting siege works in earnest," General Lee said. "I do not
think that we shall have any more attacks for the present. I wish I knew
exactly where they are intending to place their heavy batteries. If I
did, we should know where to strengthen our defenses and plant our
counter-batteries. It is very important to find this out; and now that
their whole army has settled down in front of us, and Sheridan's cavalry
are scouring the woods, we shall get no news, for the farmers will no
longer be able to get through to tell us what is going on."

"I will try and ride round if you like, general," Vincent said. "By
making a long detour one could get into the rear of their lines and pass
as a farmer going into camp to sell his goods."

"It would be a very dangerous service, sir," General Lee said. "You know
what the consequence would be if you were caught?"

"I know the consequence," Vincent said; "but I do not think, sir, that
the risk is greater than one runs every time one goes into battle."

"Perhaps not," General Lee replied; "but in one case one dies fighting
for one's country, by an honorable death; in the other----" and he
stopped.

"In the other one is shot in cold blood," Vincent said quietly. "One
dies for one's country in either case, sir; and it does not much matter,
so far as I can see, whether one is killed in battle or shot in cold
blood. As long as one is doing one's duty, one death is surely as
honorable as the other."

"That is true enough," General Lee said, "although it is not the way men
generally view the matter. Still, sir, if you volunteer for the work, I
shall not feel justified in refusing the opportunity of acquiring
information that may be of vital consequence to us. When will you
start?"

"In half an hour, sir. I shall ride back to Richmond, obtain a disguise
there, and then go round by train to Burksville Junction, and then ride
again until I get round behind their lines. Will you give me an order
for my horse and myself to be taken?"

"Very well, sir," General Lee said. "So be it! May God be with you on
your way and bring you safely back!"

Vincent rode off to his quarters.

"Dan," he said, "I am going away on special duty for at least three
days. I have got a couple of letters to write, and shall be ready to
start in half an hour. Give the horse a good feed and have him at the
door again by that time."

"Am I to go with you, sah?"

"No, Dan; I must go by myself this time."

Dan felt anxious as he went out, for it was seldom that his master ever
went away without telling him where he was going, and he felt sure that
the service was one of unusual danger; nor was his anxiety lessened
when, at the appointed time, Vincent came out and handed him two
letters.

"You are to keep these letters, Dan, until I return, or till you hear
that something has happened to me. If you hear that, you are to take one
of these letters to my mother, and take the other yourself to Miss
Kingston. Tell her before you give it her what has happened, as gently
as you can. As for yourself, Dan, you had your letters of freedom long
ago, and I have left you five hundred dollars; so that you can get a
cabin and patch of your own, and settle down when these troubles are
over."

"Let me go with you, master," Dan said, with the tears streaming down
his cheeks. "I would rather be killed with you a hundred times than get
on without you."

"I would take you if I could, Dan; but this is a service that I must do
alone. Good-by, my boy; let us hope that, in three or four days at the
outside, I shall be back here again, safe and sound."

He wrung Dan's hand, and then started at a canter and kept on at that
pace until he reached Richmond. A train with stores was starting for the
south in a few minutes; General Lee's order enabled Vincent to have a
horse-box attached at once, and he was soon speeding on his way. He
alighted at Burksville Junction, and there purchased some rough clothes
for himself and some country-fashioned saddlery for his horse. Then,
after changing his clothes at an inn and putting the fresh saddlery on
his horse, he started.

It was getting late in the afternoon, but he rode on by unfrequented
roads, stopping occasionally to inquire if any of the Federal cavalry
had been seen in the neighborhood, and at last stopped for the night at
a little village inn. As soon as it was daybreak he resumed his journey.
He had purchased at Burksville some colored calico and articles of
female clothing, and fastened the parcel to the back of his saddle. As
he rode forward now he heard constant tales of the passing of parties of
the enemy's cavalry, but he was fortunate enough to get well round to
the rear of the Federal lines before he encountered any of them. Then he
came suddenly upon a troop.

"Where are you going to, and where have you come from?"

"Our farm is a mile away from Union Grove," he said, "and I have been
over to Sussex Courthouse to buy some things for my mother."

"Let me see what you have got there," the officer said. "You are rebels
to a man here, and there's no trusting any of you."

Vincent unfastened the parcel and opened it. The officer laughed.

"Well, we won't confiscate them as contraband of war."

So saying, he set spurs to his horse and galloped on with his troop.
Vincent rode on to Union Grove, and then, taking a road at random, kept
on till he reached a small farmhouse. He knocked at the door, and a
woman came out.

"Mother," he said, "can you put me up for a couple of days? I am a
stranger here, and all the villages are full of soldiers."

The woman looked at him doubtfully.

"What are you doing here?" she asked at last. "This aint a time for
strangers; besides, a young fellow like you ought to be ashamed to show
yourself when you ought to be over there with Lee. My boys are both
there and my husband. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, a
strong-looking young fellow like you, to be riding about instead of
fighting the Yankees. Go along! you will get no shelter here. I would
scorn to have such as you inside the door."

"Perhaps I have been fighting there," Vincent said significantly. "But
one can't be always fighting, and there are other things to do
sometimes. For instance, to find out what the Yankees are doing and what
are their plans."

"Is that so?" the woman asked doubtfully.

"That is so," he answered earnestly. "I am an officer in Wade Hampton's
cavalry, and now Sheridan's troopers have cut off all communication, I
have come out to find for General Lee where the Yankees are building
their batteries before Petersburg."

"In that case you are welcome," the woman said. "Come straight in! I
will lead your horse out and fasten him up in the bush, and give him a
feed there. It will never do to put him in the stable; the Yankees come
in and out, and they'd take him off sharp enough if their eyes fell on
him. I think you will be safe enough, even if they do come. They will
take you for a son of mine, and if they ask any questions I will answer
them sharp enough."

"I wonder they have left you a feed of corn," Vincent said, when the
woman returned after taking away his horse.

"It's no thanks to them," she answered; "they have cleared out
everything that they could lay their hands on. But I have been expecting
it for months, and, as I have had nothing to do since my man and boys
went away, I have been digging a great pit in the wood over there, and
have buried most all my corn, and have salted my pigs down and buried
them in barrels; so they didn't find much. They took the old horse and
two cows; but I hope the old horse will fall down the first time they
uses him, and the cow meat will choke them as eats it. Now, is there
anything as I can do to help you?"

"I want a basket with some eggs and chickens or vegetables to take into
their camp to sell, but I am afraid I have not much chance of getting
them."

"I can help you there, too," the woman said, "I turned all my chickens
into the wood the day I heard the Yankees had landed. They have got
rather wild like; but I go out and give them some corn every evening. I
expect, if we look about, we shall find some nests; indeed I know there
are one or two of them sitting. So, if you will come out with me, we can
soon knock down five or six of the creatures, and maybe get a score or
two of eggs. As for vegetables, a horde of locusts couldn't have
stripped the country cleaner than they have done."

They went out into the wood. Six hens were soon killed, and hunting
about they discovered several nests and gathered about three dozen eggs.
Vincent aided in plucking the chickens, and they then returned to the
house.

"You had best take a bite before you go," she said. "It's noon now, and
you said you started at daybreak. Always get a meal when you can, say
I."

She produced a loaf and some bacon from a little cupboard hidden by her
bed, and Vincent, who, now he thought of it, was feeling hungry, made a
hearty meal.

"I will pay you for these chickens and eggs at once," he said. "There's
no saying whether I shall come back again."

"I will not say no to your paying for the chickens and eggs," she said,
"because money is scarce enough, and I may have long to wait before my
man and the boys come back; but as to lodging and food I would not touch
a cent. You are welcome to all I have when it's for the good cause."

Vincent started with the basket on his arm, and after walking three
miles came upon the Federal camps.

Some of the regiments were already under canvas, others were still
bivouacked in the open air, as the storeships carrying the heavy baggage
had not yet arrived. The generals and their staffs had taken up their
quarters in the villages. Vincent had received accurate instructions
from his hostess as to the position of the various villages, and avoided
them carefully, for he did not want to sell out his stock immediately.
He had indeed stowed two of the fowls away in his pocket, so that, in
case anyone insisted upon buying up all his stock, he could place these
in his basket and still push on.

He avoided the camps as much as he could. He could see the smoke rising
in front of him, and the roar of guns was now close at hand. He saw on
his right an elevated piece of ground, from which a good view could be
obtained of the fortifications upon which the Federals were working. A
camp had been pitched there, and a large tent near the summit showed
that some officer of superior rank had his quarters here. He made a
detour so as to come up at the back of the hill, and when he reached the
top he stood looking down upon the line of works.

They were nearly half a mile distant. The intervening ground had already
been stripped of its hedges, and the trees cut down to form gabions,
fascines, and platforms for the cannon. Thousands of men were at work;
but in some parts they were clustered much more thickly than in others,
and Vincent had no difficulty in determining where the principal
batteries were in course of construction along this portion of the
position. He was still gazing intently when two horsemen rode up from
behind.

"Hallo, you, sir! What are you looking at?" one of them asked sharply.
"What are you spying about here?"

Vincent turned slowly round with a silly smile on his lips.

"I am spying all them chaps at work," he said. "It reminds me for all
the world of an ant-hill. Never did see so many chaps before. What be
they a-doing? Digging a big drain or making a roadway, I guess."

"Who are you, sir?" the officer asked angrily.

"Seth Jones I be, and mother's sent me to sell some fowls and eggs. Do
you want to buy any? Fine birds they be."

"Why, Sheridan," laughed the other officer, "this is a feather out of
your cap. I thought your fellows had cleared out every hen-roost within
twenty miles of Petersburg already."

"I fancy they have emptied most of them," the general said grimly.
"Where do you come from, lad?"

"I comes from over there," Vincent said, jerking his thumb back. "I
lives there with mother. Father and the other boys they have gone
fighting Yanks; but they wouldn't take me with them 'cause I aint sharp
in my wits, though I tells them I could shoot a Yank as well as they
could if they showed me."

"And who do you suppose all those men are?" General Sheridan asked,
pointing toward the trenches.

"I dunno," Vincent replied. "I guess they be niggers. There be too many
of them for whites; besides, whites aint such fools to work like that.
Doesn't ye want any fowl?" and he drew back the cloth and showed the
contents of the basket.

"Take them as a matter of curiosity, general," the other officer
laughed. "It will be a downright novelty to you to buy chickens."

"What do you want for them, boy?"

"Mother said as I wasn't to take less nor a dollar apiece."

"Greenbacks, I suppose?" the officer asked.

"I suppose so. She didn't say nothing about it; but I have not seen
aught but greenbacks for a long time since."

"Come along, then," the officer said; "we will take them."

They rode up to the large tent, and the officers alighted, and gave
their horses to two of the soldiers.

"Give your basket to this soldier."

"I want the basket back again. Mother would whop me if I came back
without the basket again."

"All right," the officer said; "you shall have it back in a minute."

Vincent stood looking anxiously after the orderly.

"Do you think that boy is as foolish as he seems?" General Sheridan
asked his companion. "He admits that he comes of a rebel family."

"I don't think he would have admitted that if he hadn't been a fool. I
fancy he is a half-witted chap. They never would have left a fellow of
his age behind."

"No, I think it's safe," Sheridan said; "but one can't be too particular
just at present. See, the trees in front hide our work altogether from
the rebels, and it would be a serious thing if they were to find out
what we are doing."

"That boy could not tell them much, even if he got there," the other
said; "and from this distance it would need a sharp eye and some
military knowledge to make out anything of what is going on. Where does
your mother live, boy?"

"I aint going to tell you," Vincent said doggedly. "Mother said I wasn't
to tell no one where I lived, else the Yankee thieves would be a-coming
down and stealing the rest of our chickens."

The officers laughed.

"Well, go along, boy; and I should advise you not to say anything about
Yankee thieves another time, for likely enough, you will get a broken
head for your pains."

Vincent went off grumbling, and with a slow and stumbling step made his
way over the brow of the hill and down through the camps behind. Here he
sold his last two fowls and his eggs, and then walked briskly on until
he reached the cottage from which he had started.

"I am glad to see you back," the woman said as he entered. "How have you
got on?"

"Capitally," he said. "I pretended to be half an idiot, and so got
safely out, though I fell into Sheridan's hands. He suspected me at
first, but at last he thought I was what I looked--a fool. He wanted to
know where you lived, but I wouldn't tell him. I told him you told me
not to tell anyone, 'cause, if I did, the Yankee thieves would be
clearing out the rest of the chickens."

"Did you tell him that, now?" the woman said in delight; "he must have
thought you was a fool. Well, it's a good thing the Yanks should hear
the truth sometimes. Well, have you done now?"

"No, I have only seen one side of their works yet. I must try round the
other flank to-morrow. I wish I could get something to sell that
wouldn't get bought up by the first people I came to--something I could
peddle among the soldiers."

"What sort of thing?"

"Something in the way of drinks, I should say," Vincent said. "I saw a
woman going among the camps. She had two tin cans and a little mug. I
think she had lemonade or something of that sort."

"It wouldn't be lemonade," the woman said. "I haven't seen a lemon for
the last two years; but they do get some oranges from Florida. Maybe it
was that, or perhaps it was spirits and water."

"Perhaps it was," Vincent agreed; "though I don't think they would let
anyone sell spirits in the camp."

"I can't get you any lemons or oranges neither," the woman said; "but I
might make you a drink out of molasses and herbs, with some spirits in
it. I have got a keg of old rye buried away ever since my man went off,
six months ago; I am out of molasses, but I dare say I can borrow some
from a neighbor, and as for herbs they are about the only thing the
Yankees haven't stole. I think I could fix you up something that would
do. As long as it has got spirits in it, it don't much matter what you
put in besides, only it wouldn't do to take spirits alone. You can call
it plantation drink, and I don't suppose anyone will ask too closely
what it's made of."

"Thank you, that will do capitally."

The next morning Vincent again set out, turning his steps this time
toward the right flank of the Federal position. He had, in the course of
the evening, made a sketch of the ground he had seen, marking in all the
principal batteries, with notes as to the number of guns for which they
seemed to be intended.

"Look here," he said to the woman before leaving; "I may not be as lucky
to-day as I was yesterday. If I do not come back to-night, can you find
anyone you can trust to take this piece of paper round to Richmond? Of
course he would have to make his way first up to Burksville Junction,
and then take train to Richmond. When he gets there he must go down to
Petersburg and ask for General Lee. I have written a line to go with it,
saying what I have done this for, and asking the general to give the
bearer a hundred dollars."

"I will take it myself," the woman said; "not for the sake of the
hundred dollars, though I aint saying as it wouldn't please the old
man, when he comes back, to find I had a hundred dollars stored away;
but for the cause. My men are all doing their duty, and I will do mine.
So you trust me, and if you don't come back by daybreak to-morrow
morning, I will start right away with these letters. I will go out at
once and hide them somewhere, in case the Yanks should come and make a
search. If you are caught they might, like enough, trace you here, and
then they would search the place all over and maybe set it alight. If
you aint here by nightfall I shall sleep out in the wood, so if they
come they won't find me here. If anything detains you, and you aint back
till after dark, you will find me somewhere near the tree where your
horse is tied up."

Provided with a large can full of a liquor that the woman compounded,
and which Vincent, on tasting, found to be by no means bad, he started
from the cottage. Again he made his way safely through the camps, and
without hindrance lounged up to a spot where a large number of men
belonging to one of the negro regiments were at work.

"Plantation liquor?" he said, again assuming a stupid air, to a black
sergeant who was with them. "First-rate stuff, and only fifteen cents a
glass."

"What plantation liquor like?" the negro asked. "Me not know him."

"First-rate stuff!" Vincent repeated. "Mother makes it of spirit and
molasses and all sorts. Fifteen cents a glass."

"Well, I will take a glass," the sergeant said. "Mighty hot work dis in
de sun; but don't you say nuffin about the spirit. Ef dey ask you, just
you say molasses and all sorts, dat's quite enough. De white officer
won't let spirits be sold in de camp.

"Dat berry good stuff," he said, smacking his lips as he handed back the
little tin measure. "You sell him all in no time." Several of the
negroes now came round, and Vincent disposed of a considerable quantity
of his plantation liquor. Then he turned to go away, for he did not
want to empty his can at one place. He had not gone many paces when a
party of three or four officers came along.

"Hallo, you, sir, what the deuce are you doing here?" one asked angrily.
"Don't you know nobody is allowed to pass through the lines?"

"I didn't see no lines. What sort of lines are they? No one told me
nothing about lines. My mother sent me out to sell plantation liquor,
fifteen cents a glass."

"What's it like?" one of the officers said, laughing. "Spirits, I will
bet a dollar, in some shape or other. Pour me out a glass. I will try it
anyhow."

Vincent filled the little tin mug and handed it to the officer. As he
lifted his face to do so there was a sudden exclamation:

"Vincent Wingfield!" and another officer, drawing his sword, attacked
him furiously, shouting, "A spy! Seize him! A Confederate spy!"

Vincent recognized with astonishment, in the Federal officer rushing at
him with uplifted sword, his old antagonist, Jackson. Almost
instinctively he whirled the can, which was still half full of liquor,
round his head and dashed it full in the face of his antagonist, who was
knocked off his feet by the blow. With a yell of rage he started up
again and rushed at Vincent. The latter snatched up a shovel that was
lying close by and stood his ground. The officers were so surprised at
the suddenness of the incident and the overthrow of their companion, and
for a moment so amused at the latter's appearance, covered as he was
from head to foot with the sticky liquor and bleeding from a cut
inflicted by the edge of the can, that they were incapable of
interference.

Blinded with rage, and with the liquid streaming into his eyes, Jackson
rushed at Vincent. The latter caught the blow aimed at him on the edge
of the shovel, and then swinging his weapon round, smote his antagonist
with all his strength, the edge of the shovel falling fairly upon his
head. Without a cry the traitor fell dead in his tracks. The other
officers now drew their swords and rushed forward. Vincent, seeing the
futility of resistance, threw down his shovel. He was instantly seized.

"Hallo, there!" the senior officer called to the men, who had stopped in
their work and were gazing at the sudden fray that had arisen, "a
sergeant and four men!" Four of the negro soldiers and a sergeant at
once stepped forward. "Take this man and conduct him to the village. Put
him in a room, and stay there with him. Do you, sergeant, station
yourself at the door, so that I shall know where to find you. Put on
your uniforms and take your guns." The men put on their coats, which
they had removed while at work, shouldered their muskets, and took their
places, two on each side of the prisoner. The officers then turned to
examine their prostrate comrade.

"It's all over with him," one said, stooping down; "the shovel has cut
his skull nearly in half. Well, I fancy he was a bad lot. I don't
believe in Southerners who come over to fight in our ranks; besides, he
was at one time in the rebel army."

"Yes, he was taken prisoner," another said. "Then his father, who had to
bolt from the South, because, he said, of his Northern sympathies, but
likely enough for something else, came round, made interest somehow and
got his son released, and then someone else got him a commission with
us. He always said he had been obliged to fight on the other side, but
that he had always been heart and soul for the North; anyhow, he was
always blackguarding his old friends. I always doubted the fellow. Well,
there's an end of him; and anyhow he has done useful service at last by
recognizing this spy. Fine-looking young fellow that! He called him
Vincent Wingfield. I seem to remember the name; perhaps I have read it
in some of the rebel newspapers we got hold of; likely enough someone
will know it. Well, I suppose we had better have Jackson carried into
camp."

Four more of the negroes were called out, and these carried the body
into the camp of his regiment. An officer was also sent from the
working party to report the capture of a spy to his colonel.

"I will report it to the general," the latter said; "he rode along here
about a quarter of an hour ago, and may not be back again for some
hours. As we have got the spy fast it cannot make any difference."

As he marched back to the village Vincent felt that there was no hope
for him whatever. He had been denounced as a spy, and, although the lips
that had denounced him had been silenced forever, the mischief had been
done. He could give no satisfactory account of himself. He thought for a
moment of declaring that a mistake had been made, but he felt that no
denial would counterbalance the effect of Jackson's words. The fury,
too, with which the latter had attacked him would show plainly enough
that his assailant was absolutely certain as to his identity, and even
that there had been a personal feud between them. Then he thought that
if he said that he was the son of the woman in the hut she would bear
him out in the assertion. But it was not likely that this would be
accepted as against Jackson's testimony; besides, inquiry among her
neighbors would certainly lead to the discovery that she was speaking an
untruth, and might even involve her in his fate as his abettor. But most
of all he decided against this course because it would involve the
telling of a lie.

Vincent considered that while in disguise, and doing important service
for his country, he was justified in using deceit; but merely for the
purpose of saving his own life, and that perhaps uselessly, he would not
lie. His fate, of course, was certain. He was a spy, and would be shot.
Vincent had so often been in the battlefield, so often under a fire from
which it seemed that no one could come alive, that the thought that
death was at hand had not for him the terrors that possess those
differently circumstanced. He was going to die for the Confederacy as
tens of thousands of brave men had died before, and he rejoiced over the
precaution he had taken as to the transmission of his discoveries on
the previous day, and felt sure that General Lee would do full justice
to his memory, and announce that he had died in doing noble service to
the country.

He sighed as he thought of his mother and sisters; but Rose had been
married in the spring, and Annie was engaged to an officer in General
Beauregard's staff. Then he thought of Lucy away in Georgia, and for the
first time his lips quivered and his cheek paled.

The negro guards, who had been enlisted but a few weeks, were wholly
ignorant of their duties, and having once conveyed their prisoner into
the room, evidently considered that all further necessity for military
strictness was at an end. They had been ordered to stay in the room with
the prisoner, but no instruction had been given as to their conduct
there. They accordingly placed their muskets in one corner of the room,
and proceeded to chatter and laugh without further regarding him.

Under other circumstances this carelessness would have inspired Vincent
with the thought of escape, but he knew that it was out of the question
here. There were Federal camps all round, and a shout from the negroes
would send a hundred men in instant pursuit of him. There was nothing
for him to do but to wait for the end, and that end would assuredly come
in the morning. From time to time the door opened, and the negro
sergeant looked in. Apparently his ideas on the subject of discipline
were no stricter than those of his men, for he made no remark as to
their carelessness. Presently, when he looked in, the four soldiers were
standing at the window, watching a regiment passing by on its way to
take its share of the work in the trenches. Vincent, who was sitting at
a table, happened to look up, and was astonished at seeing the sergeant
first put his finger on his lips, then take off his cap, put one hand on
his heart, and gesticulate with the other.

Vincent gazed at him in blank surprise, then he started and almost
sprang to his feet, for in the Yankee sergeant he recognized Tony
Moore; but the uplifted hand of the negro warned him of the necessity of
silence. The negro nodded several times, again put his hand on his
heart, and then disappeared. A thrill of hope stirred every vein in
Vincent's body. He felt his cheeks flush and had difficulty in
maintaining his passive attitude. He was not, then, utterly deserted; he
had a friend who would, he was sure, do all in his power to aid him.

It was extraordinary indeed that it should be Tony who was now his
jailer; and yet, when he thought it over, it was not difficult to
understand. It was natural enough that he should have enlisted when the
black regiments were raised. He had doubtless heard his name shouted out
by Jackson, and had, as Vincent now remembered, stepped forward as a
sort of volunteer when the officer called for a sergeant and four men.

Yes, Tony would doubtless do all in his power to save him. Whether it
would be possible that he could do so was doubtful; but at least there
was a hope, and with it the feeling of quiet resignation with which
Vincent had faced what appeared to be inevitable at once disappeared,
and was succeeded by a restless longing for action. His brain was busy
at once in calculating the chances of his being ordered for instant
execution or of the sentence being postponed till the following morning,
and, in the latter case, with the question of what guard would be
probably placed over him, and how Tony would set about the attempt to
aid him to escape.

Had the general been in camp when he was brought in he would probably
have been shot at sunset, but if he did not return until the afternoon
he would most likely order the sentence to be carried out at daybreak.
In any case, as he was an officer, some time might be granted him to
prepare for death. Then there was the question whether he would be
handed over to a white regiment for safe-keeping or left in the hands of
the black regiment that had captured him. No doubt, after the sentence
was passed, the white officers of that regiment would see that a much
stricter watch than that now put over him was set.

It was not probable that he would still be in charge of Tony, for as the
latter would be on duty all day, he would doubtless be relieved. In that
case how would he manage to approach him, and what means would he use to
direct the attention of the sentries in another direction? He thought
over the plans he himself would adopt were he in Tony's place. The first
thing would be, of course, to make the sentries drunk if possible. This
should not be a difficult task with men whose notions of discipline were
so lax as those of the negroes; but it would be no easy matter for Tony
to obtain spirits, for these were strictly prohibited in the Federal
camp. Perhaps he might help Tony in this way. He fortunately had a small
notebook with a pencil in his pocket, and as his guards were still at
the window he wrote as follows:


"I am captured by the Yankees. So far as I can see, my only chance of
escape is to make the sentries drunk. The bearer is absolutely to be
trusted. Give him his canteen full of spirits, and tell him what I have
written here."


He tore this page out, folded it up, and directed it to Mrs. Grossmith,
Worley Farm, near Union. Presently Tony looked in again and Vincent held
up the note. The sergeant stepped quickly forward and took it, and then
said sharply to the men:

"Now den, dis not keeping guard. Suppose door open and dis fellow run
away. What dey say to you? Two of you keep your eye on dis man. Suppose
Captain Pearce come in and find you all staring out window. He kick up
nice bobbery."

Thus admonished to do their duty, two of the negroes took up their
muskets and stood with their backs to the door, with their eyes fixed on
the prisoner with such earnestness that Vincent could not suppress a
smile. The negroes grinned responsively.

"Dis bad affair young sah," one said; "bery bad affair. Ob course we
soldiers ob de Union, and got to fight if dey tell us; but no like dis
job ob keeping guard like dis."

"It can't be helped," Vincent said; "and of course you must do your
duty. I am not going to jump up the chimney or fly through the window,
and as there are four of you, to say nothing of the sergeant outside,
you needn't be afraid of my trying to escape."

"No, sah, dat not possible nohow; we know dat bery well. Dat's why we no
trouble to look after you. But as de sargeant say watch, of course we
must watch. We bery pleased to see you kill dat white officer. Dat
officer bery hard man and all de men hate him, and when you knock him
down we should like to hab given cheer. We all sorry for you; still you
see, sah, we must keep watch. If you were to get away, dar no saying
what dey do to us."

"That's all right," Vincent said; "I don't blame you at all. As you say,
that was a very bad fellow. I had quarreled with him before, because he
treated his slaves so badly."




CHAPTER XIX.

FREE!


It was not until late in the afternoon that a white officer entered, and
ordered the soldiers to conduct the prisoner to the general's tent.

"What is your name, sir, and who are you?" the general asked as he was
brought in. "I hear that you were denounced by Lieutenant Jackson as
being a spy, and that he addressed you as Vincent Wingfield. What have
you got to say to the charge?"

"My name is Vincent Wingfield, sir," Vincent replied quietly. "I am upon
the staff of General Wade Hampton, and in pursuance of my duty I came
here to learn what I could of your movements and intentions."

The general was silent for a moment.

"Then, sir, as you are an officer, you must be well aware of the
consequence of being discovered in disguise here. I regret that there is
no course open to me but to order you to be shot as a spy to-morrow
morning."

One of the officers who were standing by the general here whispered to
him.

"Ah, yes! I remember," he said. "Are you the same officer, sir, who
escaped from Elmira?"

"I am, sir," Vincent replied; "and at the same time aided in the escape
of the man who denounced me to-day, and who then did his best to have me
arrested by sending an anonymous letter stating the disguise in which I
was making my way through the country. I was not surprised to find that
he had carried his treachery further, and was now fighting against the
men whom he had formerly served."

"He deserved the fate that has befallen him," the general said. "Still
this does not alter your position. I regret that I must order my
sentence to be carried out."

"I do not blame you, sir. I knew the risks I ran when I accepted the
mission. My only regret is that I failed in supplying my general with
the information he required."

The general then turned to the officer who had brought Vincent up.

"This officer will remain in charge of your men for to-night, Captain
Pearce. You will see that the sentence is carried into effect at
daybreak. I need not tell you that a vigilant guard must be placed over
him."

Vincent was again marched back to the village, but the officer halted
the party when he arrived there.

"Stop here a few minutes, sergeant," he said. "That room is required for
an officer's quarters. I will look round and find another place."

In a few minutes he returned, and Vincent was conducted to a shed
standing in the garden of one of the houses.

"Place one man on guard at the door and another behind," the officer
said to the sergeant. "Let the other two relieve them, and change the
watch once an hour."

The sergeant saluted.

"De men hab been on duty since daylight, sah, and none ob us hab had
anyting to eat."

"Oh, I forgot that!" the officer replied. "Very well, I will send
another party to relieve you at once."

In ten minutes another sergeant and four men arrived at the spot, and
Tony and his companions returned to the camp.

As soon as Tony had devoured a piece of bread he left the camp, walked
with careless gait through the camps behind, and went on until he
reached a village in which were comparatively few soldiers. He went up
to a woman who was standing at a door.

"Missus," he said, "I hab got a letter to take, and I aint bery sure as
to de name. Will you kindly tell me what is de address writ on this
paper?"

The woman looked at it.

"'Mrs. Grossmith, Worley Farm, near Union.' That's about two miles along
the road. If you go on, anyone will tell you which is Mrs. Grossmith's."

Tony hurried on, for he wanted to get back to the camp before it was
dark. He had no difficulty in finding Worley Farm.

"Now then, what do you want?" its owner said sharply, as she opened the
door in reply to his knock. "There's nothing for you here. You can look
round if you like. It's been all stripped clean days ago, so I tell
you."

"Me no want anyting, ma'am. Me hab a letter for you."

The woman in surprise took the note and opened it. She read it through
and looked earnestly at Tony.

"He says you are to be trusted," she said. "Is that so?"

"I would gib my life for him twenty times over," Tony replied. "He got
me away from a brutal master and bought my wife out of slavery for me.
What does he say, ma'am? For de Lord sake tell me. Perhaps he tell me
how to get him clar."

The woman read out the contents of the note.

"Dat's it, missus, sure enough; dat's the way," he exclaimed in delight.
"Me tink and tink all day, and no manage to tink of anyting except to
shoot de sentry and fight wid de oders and get him out; but den all de
oder sojers come running down, and no chance to escape. If me can get de
spirits dat's easy enough. Me make dem all drunk as hogs."

"I can give you that," the woman said. "Is there anything else you will
want? What are you going to do with him if you get him free? They will
hunt you down like vermin."

"I tought we might get down to de river and get ober somehow. Dere will
be no getting troo der cavalry. Dey will hab dem on ebery road."

"Well, you want some clothes, anyhow; you can't go about in these
soldier clothes. The first Yank you came across would shoot you for a
deserter, and the first of our men as a traitor. Well, by the time you
get back to-night,--that is, if you do come back,--I will get up a chest
I've got buried with my men's clothes in them. They didn't want to take
them away to the war with them, so I hid them up."

She had by this time dug up the keg from its hiding-place, and now
filled Tony's canteen.

"Tank you, missus; de Lord bress you for what you've done, wheder I get
Massa Wingfield off or wheder we bofe get killed ober de job. But I must
get back as fast as I can. Ef it was dark before I got back to camp dey
would wonder whar I had been."

"Oh, you have plenty of time," the woman said; "it won't be dark till
eight o'clock, and it's not seven yet. I will set to and boil a big
chunk of pork and bake some cakes. It's no use getting out of the hands
of the Yanks and then going and getting starved in the swamps."

When Tony got back to his regiment he strolled over to the shed where
Vincent was confined. Two sentinels were on duty, the sergeant and the
two other men were lying at full length on the ground some twenty yards
away. Their muskets were beside them, and it was evident to Tony, by the
vigilant watch that they kept on the shed, that their responsibility
weighed heavily upon them, and that Captain Pearce had impressed upon
them that, if the prisoner escaped, they would certainly be shot.

"Well, Sergeant John Newson," Tony began, "I hab just walked over to see
how you getting on. It am a mighty 'sponsible business dis. I had six
hours of him, and it make de perspiration run down my back to tink what
a job it would be for me if dat fellow was to run away."

"Dat's just what dis chile feel, Sergeant Tony Moore; I am zactly like
dat, and dat's what these men feel, too. We am all on guard. De captain
say put two on guard at de shed and let de oders relieb dem ebery hour.
So dey shall; but dose off duty must watch just de same. When it gets
dark we get close up, so as to be ready to jump in directly we hear a
stir. Dis fellow no fool us."

"Dat's the way Sergeant Newson, dat am de way. Neber close your eye, but
keep a sharp look on dem. It's a pity dat you not in camp to-night."

"How am dat, how am dat?" the sergeant asked.

"To tell you de truf, sergeant, tree or four ob us hab smuggled in some
spirits, and you are one of dose who would hab come in for a share of it
if you had been dere."

"Golly!" the sergeant exclaimed; "but dat is bery unfortunate. Can't you
manage to bring me a little here?"

"Well, you know, it's difficult to get out ob camp."

"Oh, you could get through! Dere is no fear about you being caught."

"I don't know," Tony replied with an air of reluctance. "Well, I will
see about it. Ef I can crawl troo de sentries, and bring some for you
and de oders, I will. It will help keep you awake and keep out de
damp."

"Dat's right down good ob you," the other said cordially. "You a good
man, Tony Moore; and if I can do as much for you anoder time, I do it."

Having settled this, Tony went round to the hospital tent in rear of the
regiment, having tied up his face with a handkerchief.

"Well, what is it, sergeant?" the negro who acted as an orderly, and
sometimes helped the surgeon mix his drugs, asked. "De doctor am gone
away, and I don't 'spect he come back again to-night."

"Dat am bery bad ting," Tony said dolefully. "Can't you do something for
me, Sam Smith? I tink you know quite as much about de medicines as de
doctor himself."

"Not quite so much, sergeant, not quite so much; but I'se no fool, and
my old mother she used to make medicine for de plantation and knew a
heap about herbs, so it am natural dat I should take to it. What can I
gib you?"

"Well, Sam, you see, sometimes I'se 'flicted dre'fful wid de
faceache--him just go jump, jump, jump, as if he bust right up. Mose
times I find de best ting am to put a little laudabun in my mouf, and a
little on bit of rag and put him outside. De best ting would be for you
to gib me little bottle of him; den when de pain come on I could jes
take him, and not be troubling you ebery day. And, Sam, jus you
whisper--I got hold of a little good stuff. You gib me tin mug; me share
what I hab got with you."

The negro grinned with delight, and going into the tent brought out a
tin mug.

"Dat's all right, Sam; but you hab no brought de bottle of laudabun. You
just fetch dat, and I gib you de spirit."

The negro went in again, and in two minutes returned with a small bottle
of laudanum.

"Dat's a fair exchange," Tony said, taking it, and handing to the man
his mug half full of spirit.

"Dat am someting like," the black said, looking with delight at the
liberal allowance. "Me drink him de last ting at night, den me go to
sleep and no one 'spect nuffin'. Whereber you get dat spirit?"

"Neber you mind, Sam!" Tony said with a grin. "Dar's more where dat
comes from, and maybe you will get anoder taste ob it."

Then, after leaving the hospital tent, he poured half the spirits away,
for he had not now to depend upon the effect of that alone; and it were
better not to give it too strong, for that might arouse the suspicion of
the guard. Then he uncorked the bottle of laudanum.

"I don't know how much to gib," he said to himself. "No good to kill
dem. Me don't 'spect dis stuff bery strong. Dose rogues sell all sorts
of stuff to de Government. Anyting good enough for de soldier. Dey gib
him rotten boots, and rotten cloth, and bad powder, and all sorts of
tings. I 'spect dey gib him bad drugs, too. However, me must risk it.
Dis bottle not bery big, anyhow--won't hold more dan two or three
teaspoon. Must risk him."

So saying, he poured the contents of the vial into the canteen, and
then, going to a water-cart, filled it up. He waited until the camp was
quiet, and then, taking off his boots and fastening in his belt his own
bayonet and that of one of the men sleeping near, he quietly and
cautiously made his way out of camp. There were no sentries placed here,
for there was no fear whatever of an attack, and he had little
difficulty in making his way round to the back of the village to the
spot where Vincent was confined. He moved so quietly that he was not
perceived until he was within a few yards of the shed.

"Sergeant Newson, am you dere?"

"Bless me! what a start you hab given me, for suah," the sergeant said.
"I did not hear you coming."

"You didn't s'pose I was coming along shouting and whistling, Sergeant
Newson? Don't you talk so loud! Dar am no saying who's about."

"Hab you brought de stuff?"

"You don't suppose I should hab come all dis way to tell you I hab not
got it. How am do prisoner?"

"Oh, he's dere all right. My orders was to look in at dat little winder
ebery five minutes, and dat when it began to get dark me was to tie him
quite tight, and me hab done so. And one ob de sentries goes in every
five minutes and feels to see if de ropes are tight. He am dar, sure
enough."

"Dat's quite right, Sergeant Newson. I knew, when you came to 'lieve me,
as de captain knew what he was doing when he choose you for dis job. He
just pick out de man he considers de very best in de regiment. Now, here
is de spirit; and fuss-rate stuff it am, too."

"Golly, but it am strong!" the sergeant said, taking a long gulp at the
canteen. "Dat warm de cockles ob de heart in no time. Yes, it am good
stuff--just de ting for dis damp air. I hear as a lot of de white
soldiers are down wid de fever already, and dere will be lots and lots
more ef we stop here long. Here, you two men, take a drink of dis; but
mind, you mustn't tell no one 'bout it. Dis a secret affair."

The two negroes each took a long drink, and returned the canteen with
expressions of approval.

"De oder men are on duty," the sergeant said with the air of a man who
knew his business; "dey mustn't hab none of it, not until dey comes off.
As we are de relief, it am proper and right dat we drink a drop out ob a
canteen ef we want it."

"Quite so, Sergeant Newson," Tony said in a tone of admiration. "Dat's
de way to manage dese tings--duty first and pleasure afterward."

"It am nearly time to relieve guard," the other said; "and den dey can
hab a drink."

In five minutes the two soldiers relieved those on guard, and they,
also, took a long drink at the canteen, to which the sergeant also again
applied his lips.

"Now I must be going," Tony said. "I will leave the canteen with you,
sergeant. I have got some more of the stuff over there, and I dare say
you will like another drink before morning."

Then he stole away, but halted and lay down twenty yards distant. In ten
minutes he heard the sergeant say:

"I feel as if I could do jus five minutes' sleep. You keep your eyes on
de shed, and ef you hear any officer coming his rounds you wake me up."

Tony waited another half hour and then crawled up. The sergeant was
lying on his back sound asleep; the two men with him were on their
faces, with their rifles pointing toward the shed, as if they had
dropped off to sleep while they were staring at it. Then he crawled on
to the shed. The soldier on sentry at the back had grounded his musket
and was leaning against the shed fast asleep, while the one at the door
had apparently slid down in a sitting position and was snoring.

"I hope I haben't given it to dem too strong," Tony said to himself;
"but it can't be helped anyhow."

He opened the door and entered the shed.

"Are you awake, Marse Wingfield?"

"Yes, I am awake, Tony. Thank God you have come! How did you manage it?"

"I hab managed it, sah, and dey are all fast asleep," Tony said, as he
cut the ropes which bound Vincent.

"Now, sah, let's be going, quick. Dar am no saying when dey may come
round to look after de guards. Dat's what I hab been worrying about de
last quarter ob an hour."

Vincent sprang to his feet as the ropes fell from him, and grasped
Tony's hand.

"Here am a baynet, sah. I hope we shan't want to use dem, but dar am no
saying."

They made their way cautiously across the fields till they approached
another camp. A few sentries were walking up and down in front of it,
but they crawled round these and passed through the space between the
regiment and that next to it. Several other camps were passed and then,
when Vincent knew that they were well in rear of the whole of them,
they rose to their feet and started forward at a run. Suddenly Tony
touched Vincent, and they both stood still. A distant shout came through
the air, followed by another and another.

"I 'spect dey hab found out we have gone, sah. Dey go round two or three
times in de night to see dat de sentries are awake. Now, sah, come
along."

They were on the road now, and ran at full speed until they approached
Union. They left the track as they neared the village, and as they did
so they heard the sound of a horse at full gallop behind them.

"That's an orderly taking the news of our escape. Sheridan's cavalry are
scattered all over the country, and there are two squadrons at Union
Grove. The whole country will be alive at daybreak."

Making their way through the fields they soon struck the track leading
to Worley Farm, and in a few minutes were at the door. The woman opened
it at once.

"I have been watching for you," she said, "and I am real glad you have
got safe away. Wait a minute and I will strike a light."

"You had better not do that," Vincent said. "They have got the alarm at
Union Grove already, and if anyone caught sight of a light appearing in
your window, it would bring them down here at once.

"They can't see the house from Union," the woman said. "Still, perhaps
it will be best. Now, sir, I can't do anything for you, because my men's
clothes are the same sort of cut as yours; but here's a suit for this
man."

Thanking her warmly Vincent handed the things to Tony.

"Make haste and slip them on, Tony; and make your other things up into a
bundle and bring them with you for a bit. We must leave nothing here,
for they will search the whole country to-morrow. We will take the horse
away, too; not that we want it, but it would never do for it to be found
here."

"Will you take your letter again?" the woman asked.

"No, I will leave it with you. It will be no use now, if I get through,
but if you hear to-morrow or next day that I am caught, please carry it
as we arranged. What is this?" he asked, as the woman handed him a
bundle.

"Here are eight or ten pounds of pork," she said, "and some corn cakes.
If you are hiding away you will want something, and I reckon, anyhow,
you won't be able to make your way to our people for a bit. Now, if you
are ready, I will start with you."

"You will start with us!" Vincent repeated in surprise.

"Certainly I will start with you," the woman said. "How do you think you
would be able to find your way a dark night like this? No, sir; I will
put you on your way till morning. But, in the first place, which line do
you mean to take?"

"I do not think there is much chance of getting back the way I came,"
Vincent said. "By morning Sheridan's cavalry will have got a description
of me, and they will be scouring the whole country. The only chance will
be to go north and cross the river somewhere near Norfolk."

"I think, sah, you better go on wid your horse at once. No use wait for
me. I come along on foot, find my own way."

"No, Tony, I shall certainly not do that. We will either get off or be
taken together. Well, I think the best plan will be to go straight down
to the river. How far is it away?"

"About fifteen miles," the woman said.

"If we get there we can get hold of a boat somehow, and either cross and
then make straight for Richmond on foot, or go up the river in the boat
and land in the rear of our lines. That we can settle about afterward.
The first thing is to get to the river bank. We are not likely to meet
with any interruption in that direction. Of course the cavalry are all
on the other flank, and it will be supposed that I shall try either to
work round that way or to make straight through the lines. They would
hardly suspect that I shall take to the river, which is covered with
their transports and storeships."

"I think that is the best plan," the woman said. "There are scarcely any
villages between this and the river. It's only just when you cross the
road between Petersburg and Williamsburg that you would be likely to
meet a soul, even in the daytime. There is scarce even a farmhouse
across this section. I know the country pretty well. Just stop a minute
and I will run up to the wood and fetch down the horse. There's a big
wood about a mile away, and you can turn him in there."

A few minutes later they started, Vincent leading the horse and Tony
carrying the bundle of food and his cast-off uniform. The woman led them
by farm roads, sometimes turning off to the right or left, but keeping
her way with a certainty which showed how well she was acquainted with
the country. Several times they could hear the dull sound of bodies of
cavalry galloping along the roads; but this died away as they got
further into the country. The horse had been turned loose a mile from
their starting place. Vincent removed the bridle and saddle, saying: "He
will pick up enough to feed on here for some time. When he gets tired of
the woods he can work his way out into a clearing."

Here Tony hid away his uniform among some thick bushes, and the three
walked steadily along until the first tinge of daylight appeared on the
sky. Then the woman stopped.

"The river is not more than half a mile in front of you," she said; "so
I will say good-by."

"What will you do?" Vincent asked. "You might be questioned as you get
near home."

"I am going to put up at the last house we passed," she said; "about
three miles back. I know the people there, and they will take me in. I
will stop there for a day or two, maybe, then walk back, so I shall have
a true story to tell. That's all right."

Vincent said good-by to her, with many hearty thanks for the services
she had rendered him, and had almost to force her to take notes for two
hundred dollars from the bundle he had sewn up in the lining of his
coat.

"You have saved my life," he said, "and some day I hope to be able to do
more to show my gratitude; but you must take this, anyhow, to tide you
over the hard time, and find food for your husband and sons when they
come back from the war."

As soon as the woman had turned back Vincent and Tony continued on their
way. The former had, as soon as they were fairly out from the Federal
camp, told Tony in a few words that his wife was safe at home and their
boy flourishing, and he now gave him further details of them.

"And how came you to enter the army, Tony?"

"Well, sah, dare wasn't much choice about it. De Northern people, dey
talk mighty high about der love for de negro, but I don't see much of it
in der ways. Why, sah, dey is twice as scornful ob a black man as de
gentlemen in de Souf. I list in de army, sah, because dey say dey go to
Richmond, and den I find Dinah and de boy."

"Well, Tony, I little thought when I did you a service that it would be
the means of you being able to save my life some day."

"Not much in dat, sah. You sabe my life, because dey would, for suah,
hab caught me and killed me. Den you save my wife for me, den you pay
out dat Jackson, and now you hab killed him. I could hab shouted for
joy, sah, when I saw you hit him ober de head wid de shovel, and I saw
dat dis time he gib no more trouble to no one. I should hab done for him
bery soon, sah. I had my eye upon him, and the fust time we got into
battle he got a ball in his back. Lucky he didn't see me. He not officer
ob my company, and me look quite different in de uniform to what me was
when I worked on de plantation; but I knew him, and wheneber I see him
pass I hang down my head and I say to myself, 'My time come soon, Massa
Jackson; my time come bery soon, and den we get quits.'"

"It is wrong to nourish revenge, Tony; but I really can't blame you very
much as to that fellow. Still, I should have blamed you if you had
killed him--blamed you very much. He was a bad man, and he treated you
brutally, but, you see, he has been already punished a good deal."

"Yes, you knock him down, sah. Dat bery good, but not enough for Tony."

"But that wasn't all, Tony. You see, the affair set all my friends
against him, and his position became a very unpleasant one. Then, you
see, if it hadn't been for you he would probably have got through to our
lines again after he had escaped with me. Then, you see, his father, out
of revenge, stole Dinah away."

"Stole Dinah!" Tony exclaimed, stopping in his walk. "Why, sah, you hab
been telling me dat she is safe and well wid Mrs. Wingfield."

"So she is, Tony. But he stole her for all that, and had her carried
down into Carolina; but I managed to bring her back. It's a long story,
but I will tell you about it presently. Then the knowledge that I had
found Dinah, and the fear of punishment for his share of taking her
away, caused old Jackson to fly from the country, getting less than a
quarter of the sum his estate would have fetched two or three years ago.
That was what made him and his son turn Unionists. So, you see, Jackson
was heavily punished for his conduct to you, and it did not need for you
to revenge yourself."

"So he was, sah, so he was," Tony said thoughtfully. "Yes, it does seem
as if all dese tings came on kinder one after de oder, just out ob dat
flogging he gabe me: and now he has got killed for just de same cause,
for if he hadn't been obliged to turn Unionist he wouldn't have been in
dat dar battery at de time you came dere. Yes, I sees dat is so, sah;
and I'se glad now I didn't hab a chance ob shooting him down, for I
should have done so for suah, ef I had."

They had now reached the river. The sun was just showing above the
horizon, and the broad sheet of water was already astir. Steamers were
making their way up from the mouth of the river, laden with stores for
the army. Little tugs were hurrying to and fro. Vessels that had
discharged their cargo were dropping down with the tide, while many
sailing vessels lay at anchor, waiting for the turn of tide to make
their way higher up. Norfolk was, however, the base from which the
Federal army drew the larger portion of its stores; as there were great
conveniences for landing here, and a railway thence ran up to the rear
of their lines. But temporary wharves and stages had been erected at the
point of the river nearest to their camps in front of Petersburg, and
here the cattle and much of the stores required for the army were
landed. At the point at which Vincent and Tony had struck the river the
banks were somewhat low. Here and there were snug farms, with the ground
cultivated down to the river. The whole country was open and free from
trees, except where small patches had been left. It was in front of one
of these that Vincent and Tony were now standing.

"I do not think there is any risk of pursuit now, Tony. This is not the
line on which they will be hunting us. The question is--how are we to
get across?"

"It's too far to swim, sah."

"I should think it was," Vincent said with a laugh. "It's three or four
miles, I should say, if it's a foot. The first question is--where are we
to get a boat? I should think that some of these farmhouses are sure to
have boats, but the chances are they have been seized by the Yankees
long ago. Still they may have some laid up. The Yanks would not have
made much search for these, though they would no doubt take all the
larger boats for the use of the troops or for getting stores ashore.
Anyhow, I will go to the next farmhouse and ask."

"Shall I go, sah?"

"No, Tony, they would probably take you for a runaway. No, I will go.
There can be no danger. The men are all away, and the women are sure to
be loyal. I fancy the few who were the other way before will have
changed their minds since the Yanks landed."

They followed the bank of the river for a quarter of a mile, and then
Vincent walked on to a small farmhouse standing on the slope fifty yards
from the water. Two or three children, who were playing outside, at once
ran in upon seeing a stranger, and a moment later two women came out.
They were somewhat reassured when they saw Vincent approaching alone.

"What is it, stranger?" one of them asked. "Do you want a meal? We have
got little enough to offer you, but what there is you are welcome to.
The Yanks have driven off our cows and pigs and the two horses, and have
emptied the barns, and pulled up all the garden stuff, and stole the
fowls, and carried off the bacon from the beams, so we have got but an
empty larder. But, as far as bread and molasses go, you are welcome."

"Thank you," Vincent said; "I am not in want of food. What I am in want
of is a boat."

"Boat!" the woman repeated in surprise.

"Yes, I want to get across to the other side, or else to get up the
river and land between Petersburg and Bermuda."

"Sakes alive!" the woman exclaimed; "what do you want to do that for?"

"I will tell you," Vincent replied. "I know I can trust my life to any
woman in the Confederacy. I am one of General Wade Hampton's officers,
and I have come through their lines to find out what they are doing. I
have been caught once, but managed to slip through their hands, but
there is no possibility of making my way back across the country, for
the Yankee cavalry are patrolling every road, and the only chance I have
is of getting away by boat."

"Step right in, sir," the woman said. "It's a real pleasure to us to
have one of our officers under our roof."

"I have a friend with me," Vincent said; "a faithful negro, who has
helped me to escape, and who would be hung like a dog if they could lay
hands on him."

"Bring him in, sir," the woman said hospitably. "I had four or five
niggers till the Yanks came, but they all ran away 'cause they knew they
would either be set to work or made to fight; so they went. They said
they would come back again when the trouble is over; maybe they will and
maybe they won't. At first the niggers about here used to look for the
Yanks coming, but as the news got about of what happened to those they
took from their masters, they concluded they were better off where they
were. Call your boy in, sir; call him in!"

Vincent gave a shout, and Tony at once came up. "Thank you, we don't
want anything to eat," Vincent went on, as the woman began to put some
plates on the table. "We have just had a hearty meal, and have got
enough food for three or four days in that bundle. But we want a boat,
or, if we can't find that, some sailors' clothes. If I had them I would
keep along the river down to Norfolk. The place will be full of sailors.
We should not be likely to be noticed there."

"I can't help you in that," the woman said; "but there are certainly
some boats laid up along the shore. Now, Maria, who has got boats that
haven't been taken?"

"I expect the Johnsons have got one," the other woman replied. "They had
a small boat the boys and girls used to go out fishing in. I don't think
the Yanks have got that. I expect they hid it away somewhere; but I
don't know as they would let you have it. She is a close-fisted woman is
Sarah Johnson."

"I could pay her for its value," Vincent said.

"Oh, well, if you could pay her she would let you have it. I don't say
she wouldn't, anyhow, seeing as you are an officer and the Yanks are
after you. Still, she is close is Sarah Johnson, and I don't know as she
is so set on the Confederacy as most people. I tell you what I will do,
sir. I will go down and say as a stranger wants to buy her boat, and no
questions asked. She is just to show where the boat is hidden, and you
are to pay for it and take it away when you want it."

"That would be a very good plan," Vincent said, "if you wouldn't mind
the trouble."

"The trouble is nothing," she said. "Johnson's place aint above a mile
along the shore."

"I will go with you until you get close to the house," Vincent said;
"then, when you hear what she wants for the boat, I will give you the
money for it, and you can show me where it is hidden."

This was accordingly done. Mrs. Johnson, after a considerable amount of
bargaining with Vincent's guide, agreed to take twenty dollars for the
boat, and, upon receiving the money, sent one of her boys with her to
show her where it was hidden. It was in a hole that had been scooped out
in the steep bank some ten feet above the water's edge, and was
completely hidden from the sight of anyone rowing past by a small clump
of bushes. When the boy had returned to the farmhouse the woman took
Vincent to the spot, and they then went back together.

Here he and Tony had a long talk as to whether it would be better to put
out at once or to wait till nightfall. It was finally determined that it
was best to make an immediate start. A boat rowed by two men would
attract little attention. It might belong to any of the ships at anchor
in the river, and might be supposed to have gone on shore to fetch eggs
or chickens, or with a letter or a message.

"You see, both shores are in the hands of the Yankees," Vincent said,
"and there will not be any suspicion of a boat in the daytime. At night
we might be hailed, and, if we gave no answer, fired upon, and that
might bring a gunboat along to see what was the matter. No, I think it
will be far best to go on boldly. There are not likely to be any bodies
of Federal troops on the opposite shore except at Fortress Monroe, and
perhaps opposite the point where they have got their landing below
Petersburg. Once ashore we shall be safe. The peninsula opposite is
covered with forest and swamp, and we shall have no difficulty in
getting through, however many troops they may have across it. You know
the place pretty well, don't you, Tony?"

Tony nodded. "Once across, sah, all de Yank army wouldn't catch us. Me
know ob lots ob hiding places."

"Them broad hats will never do," the woman said; "but I have got some
blue nightcaps I knitted for my husband. They are something like the
caps I have seen some sailors wear; anyhow, they will pass at a
distance, and when you take your coats and vests off, them colored
flannel shirts will be just the right thing."

"That will do capitally, and the sooner we are off the better," Vincent
said, and after heartily thanking the two women, and bestowing a present
upon each of the children, they started along the shore.

The boat was soon got into the water, the oars put out, and they
started. The tide was just low now, and they agreed to pull along at a
short distance from the shore until it turned. As soon as it did so the
vessels at anchor would be getting up sail to make up to the landing
place, and even had anyone on board noticed the boat put out, and had
been watching it, they would have other things to think about.

"It is some time since we last rowed in a boat together, Tony."

"About three years, sah; dat time when you get me safe away. I had a bad
fright dat day you left me, sah. It came on to blow bery hard, and some
ob de men told me dat dey did not tink you would ever get back to shore.
Dat made me awful bad, sah; and me wish ober and ober again dat me hab
died in de forest instead of your taking me off in a boat and trowing
away your life. I neber felt happy again, sah, till I got your letter up
in Canady, and knew you had got back safe dat day."

"We had a narrow squeak of it, Tony, and were blown some distance up. We
were nearly swamped a score of times, and Dan quite made up his mind
that it was all up with us. However, we got through safe, and I don't
think a soul except perhaps Jackson and that rascally overseer of ours,
who afterward had a hand in carrying off your wife, and lost his life in
consequence, ever had a suspicion we had been doing more than a long
fishing expedition. I will tell you all about it when we are going
through the woods. Now I think it's pretty nearly dead water, and we
will begin to edge across."




CHAPTER XX.

THE END OF THE STRUGGLE.


Vincent directed his course so that, while the boat's head was still
pointing up the stream, and she was apparently moving in the same
direction as the ships, she was gradually getting out to the middle of
the river. Had he tried to row straight across, suspicion might at once
have been excited. In half an hour they were in the middle of the
stream. A vessel passing under full sail swept along at a distance of a
hundred yards, and they were hailed. Vincent merely waved his hand and
continued his course.

"I dare say those fellows wonder what we are up to, Tony; but they are
not likely to stop to inquire. In another quarter of an hour we shall be
pretty safe. Ah! there's a fellow who might interfere with us," he
added, looking round. "Do you see that little black thing two miles
ahead of us? That's a steam launch. If she sees us making over, she's
likely enough to come and ask us some questions. We had better head a
little more toward the shore now. If it comes to a race, every foot is
of importance."

Up to now they had been rowing in an easy and leisurely manner, avoiding
all appearance of haste. They now bent to their oars, and the boat began
to travel a good deal faster through the water. Vincent glanced over his
shoulder frequently at the steam launch.

"She is keeping straight on in the middle of the channel, Tony;
evidently she hasn't noticed us yet."

Ten minutes after passing the ship he exclaimed sharply:

"Row, Tony, as hard as you can! The launch has just passed that ship,
and has changed her course. I expect the captain has called their
attention to us. It's a race now."

The boat, at the moment the launch changed her course, was rather more
than halfway between the center of the channel and the shore. The launch
was in the center of the channel, and three-quarters of a mile higher
up. She had evidently put on steam as she started to cut off the boat,
for there was now a white wave at her bow.

"I think we shall do it, Tony," Vincent said. "I don't suppose she can
go above eight miles an hour, and we are certainly going four, and she
has more than twice as far to travel as we have."

Those on board the launch were evidently conscious that they were likely
to lose the race, for in a few minutes they began to open fire with
their rifles.

"Fire away!" Vincent said. "You aint likely to hit us a thousand yards
off, and we haven't another three hundred to row."

The bullets whistled overhead, but none of them struck the water within
many yards of the boat, and the launch was still four or five hundred
yards away when the bow of the boat touched the shore. Several muskets
were discharged, and Vincent and Tony leaped out and plunged into the
bushes that came down to the water's edge. The launch sent up a sharp
series of whistles, and random shots were for some time fired into the
bushes.

"It is lucky she didn't carry a small gun in her bows," Vincent said,
"for though seven or eight hundred yards is a long range for a rifle,
they might likely enough have hit us if they had had a gun. Now, Tony,
we shall have to be careful, for those whistles are no doubt meant as
an alarm; and although she cannot tell who we are, she will probably
steam up, and if they have any forces opposite Bermuda will give them
news that two suspicious characters have landed, and they will have
parties out to look for us."

"Dey can look as long as dey like, sah. Ef dose slave-hunters can't find
people in de swamps what chance you tink dose soldiers have? None at
all! Dey haven't got no reward before dere eyes, and dey won't want to
be going in ober dere shoes into the mud and dirting dere uniforms. No
fear ob dem, sah. Dey make as much noise when dey march in de wood as a
drove ob pigs. You can hear dem a quarter ob a mile away."

They tramped on through the woods through which McClellan's force had so
painfully made their way during their first advance against Richmond.
From time to time they could hear noises in the forest--shouts, and once
or twice the discharge of firearms.

"Dey call dat hunting, I s'pose," Tony said scornfully.

They kept steadily on until it began to grow dark in the forest. They
were now in the White Oak Swamp and not eight miles from Richmond, and
they thought it better to pause until it became quite dark, for they
might be picked up by any raiding party of cavalry. Vincent was in high
spirits. Now that he had succeeded in his enterprise, and had escaped
almost by a miracle, he was eager to get back to Richmond and carry his
news down to General Lee. Tony was even more anxious to push on. At
last, after three years' absence, he was to see his wife and child
again, and he reluctantly agreed to Vincent's proposal for a halt.

"We shan't stop very long, Tony; and I own I am waiting quite as much
because I am hungry and want to eat, and because I am desperately tired,
as from any fear of the enemy. We walked twenty miles last night from
Union Grove to the river; then I walked to the boat, back to the farm,
and then back to the boat again--that's three more miles--and we have
gone another twenty now. I am pretty nearly dead beat, I can tell you."

"I'se tired, too, sah; but I feel I could go on walking all night if I
was to see Dinah in de morning."

"Well, I couldn't, Tony; not to see anyone. I might be willing enough,
but my legs wouldn't take me."

They ate a hearty meal, and almost as soon as they had finished Vincent
stood up again.

"Well, Tony, I can feel for your impatience, and so we'll struggle on. I
have just been thinking that when I last left my mother, a week since,
she said she was thinking of going out to the Orangery for a month
before the leaves fell, so it is probable that she may be there now. It
is only about the same distance as it is to Richmond, so we will go
straight there. I shall lose a little time, of course; but I can be
driven over to Richmond, so it won't be too much. Besides, I can put on
a pair of slippers. That will be a comfort, for my feet feel as if they
were in vises. A cup of tea won't be a bad thing, too."

During their walk through the wood Vincent related the circumstances of
the carrying away of Dinah, and of her rescue. When he had finished Tony
said:

"Well, Massa Wingfield, I don't know what to say to you. I tought I owed
you enuff before, but it war nothing to dis. Just to tink dat you should
take all dat pains to fetch Dinah back for me! I dunno how it came to
you to do it. It seems to me like as if you been sent special from
heaben to do dis poor nigger good. Words aint no good, sah; but if I
could give my life away a hundred times for you I would do it."

It took them nearly three hours' walking before they came in sight of
the Orangery.

"There are lights in the windows," Vincent said. "Thank goodness, they
are there!"

Vincent limped slowly along until he reached the house.

"You stay out here, Tony. I will send Dinah out to you directly. It
will be better for her to meet you here alone."

Vincent walked straight into the drawing room, where his mother and
Annie were sitting.

"Why, Vincent!" Mrs. Wingfield exclaimed, starting up, "what has
happened to you? What are you dressed up like that for? Is anything the
matter?"

"Nothing is the matter, mother, except that I am as tired as a dog. Yes,
my dress is not quite fit for a drawing room," he laughed, looking down
at the rough trousers, splashed with mud to the waist, and his flannel
shirt, for they had not waited to pick up their coats as they left the
boat; "but nothing is the matter, I can assure you. I will tell all
about it directly, but first please send for Dinah here."

Mrs. Wingfield rang the bell on the table beside her.

"Tell Dinah I want to speak to her at once," she said to the girl that
answered it. Dinah appeared in a minute.

"Dinah," Vincent said, "has your boy gone to bed?"

"Yes, sah; been gone an hour ago."

"Well, just go to him, and put a shawl round him, and go out through the
front door. There is someone standing there you will be glad to see."

Dinah stood with open eyes, then her hands began to tremble.

"Is it Tony, sah; for de Lord's sake, is it Tony?"

Vincent nodded, and, with a little scream of joy, she turned and ran
straight to the front door. She could not wait now even to fetch her
boy, and in another moment she was clasped in her husband's arms.

"Now, Vincent, tell us all about it," his mother said. "Don't you see we
are dying of curiosity?"

"And I am dying of fatigue," Vincent said; "which is a much more painful
sort of death, and I can think of nothing else until I have got these
boots off. Annie, do run and tell them to bring me a pair of slippers
and a cup of tea, and I shall want the buggy at the door in half an
hour."

"You are not going away again to-night, Vincent, surely?" his mother
said anxiously. "You do look completely exhausted."

"I am exhausted, mother. I have walked seven or eight and forty miles,
and this cavalry work spoils one for walking altogether."

"Walked forty-eight miles, Vincent! What on earth have you done that
for?"

"Not from choice, I can assure you, mother; but you know the old saying,
'Needs must when the devil drives,' and in the present case you must
read 'Yankee' instead of 'the gentleman in black.'"

"But has Petersburg fallen?" Mrs. Wingfield asked in alarm.

"No; Petersburgh is safe, and is likely to continue so. But you must
really be patient, mother, until I have had some tea, then you can hear
the story in full."

When the servant came in with the tea, Vincent told her that she was to
tell Dinah, whom she would find in the veranda, to bring her husband
into the kitchen, and to give him everything he wanted. Then, as soon as
he had finished tea, he told his mother and sister the adventures he had
gone through. Both were crying when he had finished.

"I am proud of you, Vincent," his mother said. "It is hard on us that
you should run such risks; still I do not blame you, my boy, for, if I
had ten sons, I would give them all for my country."

Vincent had just finished his story when the servant came in and said
that the buggy was at the door.

"I will go in my slippers, mother, but I will run up and change my other
things. It's lucky I have got a spare suit here. Any of our fellows who
happened to be going down to-night in the train would think that I was
mad, were I to go like this."

It was one o'clock in the morning when Vincent reached Petersburg. He
went straight to his quarters, as it would be no use waking General Lee
at that hour. A light was burning in his room, and Dan was asleep at
the table with his head on his arms. He leaped up with a cry of joy as
his master entered.

"Well, Dan, here I am safe again," Vincent said cheerily. "I hope you
had not begun to give me up."

"I began to be terribly frightened, sir--terribly frightened. I went dis
afternoon and asked Captain Burley if he had any news ob you. He said
'No'; and asked me ef I knew where you were. I said 'No, sah;' that I
knew nuffin about it except that you had gone on some dangerous job. He
said as dey had heard nuffin had happened to you. Still I was bery
anxious, and tought I would sit up till de last train came in from
Richmond. Den I tink I dropped off to sleep."

"I think you did, Dan. Well, I am too tired to tell you anything about
it now, but I have one piece of news for you: Tony has come back to his
wife."

"Dat's good news, sah; bery good news. I had begun to be afraid dat Tony
had been shot or hung or someting. I know Dinah hab been fretting about
him, though she neber said much, but when I am at home she allus asks me
all sorts of questions 'bout him. She bery glad woman now."

The next morning Vincent went to General Lee's quarters.

"I am heartily glad to see you back," the general said warmly as he
entered. "I have blamed myself for letting you go. Well, what success
have you had?"

"Here is a rough plan of the works, general. I have not had time to do
it out fairly, but it shows the positions of all their principal
batteries, with a rough estimate as to the number of guns that each is
intended to carry."

"Excellent!" the general said, glancing over the plan. "This will give
us exactly the information we want. We must set to with our
counter-works at once. The country is indeed indebted to you, sir. So
you managed to cheat the Yankees altogether?"

"I should have cheated them, sir; but, unfortunately, I came across an
old acquaintance who denounced me, and I had a narrow escape of being
shot."

"Well, Captain Wingfield, I must see about this business and give orders
at once. Will you come and breakfast with me at half-past eight? Then
you can give me an account of your adventures."

Vincent returned to his quarters, and spent the next two hours in making
a detailed drawing of the enemy's positions and batteries, and then, at
half-past eight, walked over to General Lee's quarters. The general
returned in a few minutes with General Wade Hampton and several other
officers, and they at once sat down to breakfast. As the meal was
proceeding an orderly entered with a telegram for the general. General
Lee glanced through it.

"This, gentlemen, is from the minister of war. I acquainted him by
telegraph this morning that Captain Wingfield, who had volunteered for
the dangerous service, had just returned from the Federal lines with a
plan of the positions and strength of all the works that they are
erecting. I said that I trusted that such distinguished service as he
had rendered would be at once rewarded with promotion, and the minister
telegraphs to me now that he has this morning signed this young
officer's commission as major. I heartily congratulate you, sir, on your
well-earned step. And now, as I see you have finished your breakfast,
perhaps you will give us an account of your proceedings."

Vincent gave a detailed account of his adventures, which were heard with
surprise and interest.

"That was a narrow escape indeed," the general said, as he finished. "It
was a marvelous thing your lighting upon this negro, whom you say you
had once had an opportunity of serving, just at that moment; and
although you do not tell us what was the nature of the service you had
rendered him, it must have been a very considerable service or he would
never have risked his life in that way to save yours. When these negroes
do feel attachment for their masters, there are no more faithful and
devoted fellows. Well, in your case certainly a good action has met with
its reward; if it had not been for him there could be no question that
your doom was sealed. It is a strange thing, too, your meeting that
traitor. I remember reading about that escape of yours from the Yankee
prison. He must have been an ungrateful villain, after your taking him
with you."

"He was a bad fellow altogether, I am afraid," Vincent said; "and the
quarrel between us was a long-standing one."

"Whatever your quarrel was," the general said hotly, "a man who would
betray even an enemy to death in that way is a villain. However, he has
gone to his account, and the country can forgive his treachery to her,
as I have no doubt you have already done his conduct toward yourself."

A short time afterward Vincent had leave for a week, as things were
quiet at Petersburg.

"Mother," he said, on the morning after he got home, "I fear that there
is no doubt whatever now how this struggle will end. I think we might
keep Grant at bay here, but Sherman is too strong for us down in
Georgia. We are already cut off from most of the Southern States, and in
time Sherman will sweep round here, and then it will be all over. You
see it yourself, don't you, mother?"

"Yes, I am afraid it cannot continue much longer, Vincent. Well, of
course, we shall fight to the end."

"I am not talking of giving up, mother; I am looking forward to the
future. The first step will be that all the slaves will be freed. Now,
it seems to me that, however attached they may be to their masters and
mistresses, they will lose their heads over this, flock into the towns,
and nearly starve there; or else take up little patches of land,
cultivate them, and live from hand to mouth, which will be ruin to the
present owners as well as to them. Anyhow, for a time all will be
confusion and disorder. Now, my idea is this: If you give all your
slaves their freedom at once, offer them patches of land for their own
cultivation, and employ them for wages, you will find that a great many
of them will stop with you." There is nowhere for them to go at present
and nothing to excite them, so, before the general crash comes, they
will have settled down quietly to work here in their new positions, and
will not be likely to go away.

"It is a serious step to take, Vincent," Mrs. Wingfield said, after
thinking the matter over in silence for some time. "You do not think
there is any probability of the ultimate success of our cause?"

"None, mother; I do not think there is even a possibility. One by one
the Southern States have been wrested from the Confederacy. Sherman's
march will completely isolate us. We have put our last available man in
the field, and tremendous as are the losses of the enemy they are able
to fill up the gaps as fast as they are made. No, mother, do not let us
deceive ourselves on that head. The end must come, and that before long.
The slaves will unquestionably be freed, and the only question for us is
how to soften the blow. There is no doubt that our slaves, both at the
Orangery and at the other plantations, are contented and happy; but you
know how fickle and easily led the negroes are, and in the excitement of
finding themselves free and able to go where they please, you may be
sure that the greater number will wander away. My proposal is that we
should at once mark out a plot of land for each family, and tell them
that as long as they stay here it is theirs, rent free; they will be
paid for their work upon the estates, three, four, or five days a week,
as they can spare time from their own plots. In this way they will be
settled down, and have crops upon their plots of land, before the whole
black population is upset by the sudden abolition of slavery."

"But suppose they won't work at all, even for wages, Vincent?"

"I should not give them the option, mother; it will be a condition of
their having their plots of land free that they shall work at least
three days a week for wages."

"I will think over what you say, Vincent, and tell you my decision in
the morning. I certainly think your plan is a good one."

The next morning Mrs. Wingfield told Vincent that she had decided to
adopt his plan. He at once held a long consultation with the overseer,
and decided which fields should be set aside for the allotments,
choosing land close to the negroes' quarters and suitable for the
raising of vegetables for sale in the town.

In the afternoon Mrs. Wingfield went down with him. The bell was rung
and the whole of the slaves assembled. Vincent then made them a speech.
He began by reminding them of the kind treatment they had always
received, and of the good feeling that had existed between the owners of
the Orangery and their slaves. He praised them for their good conduct
since the beginning of the troubles, and said that his mother and
himself had agreed that they would now take steps to reward them, and to
strengthen the tie between them. They would all be granted their freedom
at once, and a large plot of land would be given to each man, as much as
he and his family could cultivate with an average of two days a week
steady labor.

Those who liked would, of course, be at liberty to leave; but he hoped
that none of them would avail themselves of this freedom, for nowhere
would they do so well as by accepting the offer he made them. All who
accepted the offer of a plot of land, rent free, must understand that it
was granted them upon the condition that they would labor upon the
estate for at least three days a week, receiving a rate of pay similar
to that earned by other freed negroes. Of course they would be at
liberty to work four or five days a week if they chose; but at least
they must work three days, and anyone failing to do this would forfeit
his plot of land. "Three days' work," he said, "will be sufficient to
provide all necessaries for yourselves and families, and the produce of
your land you can sell, and will so be able to lay by an ample sum to
keep yourselves in old age. I have already plotted out the land, and you
shall cast lots for choice of the plots. There will be a little delay
before all your papers of freedom can be made out, but the arrangement
will begin from to-day, and henceforth you will be paid for all labor
done on the estate."

Scarcely a word was spoken when Vincent concluded. The news was too
surprising to the negroes for them to be able to understand it all at
once. Dan and Tony, to whom Vincent had already explained the matter,
went among them, and they gradually took in the whole of Vincent's
meaning. A few received the news with great joy, but many others were
depressed rather than rejoiced at the responsibilities of their new
positions. Hitherto they had been clothed and fed, the doctor attended
them in sickness, their master would care for them in old age. They had
been literally without a care for the morrow, and the thought that, in
the future, they would have to think of all these things for themselves
almost frightened them. Several of the older men went up to Mrs.
Wingfield and positively declined to accept their freedom. They were
quite contented and happy, and wanted nothing more. They had worked on
the plantation since they had been children, and freedom offered them no
temptations whatever.

"What had we better do, Vincent?" Mrs. Wingfield asked.

"I think, mother, it will be best to tell them that all who wish can
remain upon the old footing, but that their papers will be made out, and
if, at any time, they wish to have their freedom they will only have to
say so. No doubt they will soon become accustomed to the idea, and,
seeing how comfortable the others are with their pay and the produce of
their gardens, they would soon fall in with the rest. Of course it will
decrease the income from the estate, but not so much as you would think.
They will be paid for their labor, but we shall have neither to feed nor
clothe them; and I think we shall get better labor than we do now, for
the knowledge that those who do not work steadily will lose their plots
of land and have to go out in the world to work, their places being
filled by others, will keep them steady."

"It's an experiment, Vincent, and we shall see how it works."

"It's an experiment I have often thought I should like to make, mother,
and now, you see, it is almost forced upon us. To-morrow I will ride
over to the other plantations and make the same arrangements."

During the month of August many battles took place round Petersburg. On
the 12th the Federals attacked, but were repulsed with heavy loss, and
2500 prisoners were taken. On the 21st the Confederates attacked, and
obtained a certain amount of success, killing, wounding, and capturing
2400 men. Petersburg was shelled day and night, and almost continuous
fighting went on. Nevertheless, up to the middle of October the
positions of the armies remained unaltered. On the 27th of that month
the Federals made another general attack, but were repulsed with a loss
of 1500 men. During the next three months there was little fighting, the
Confederates having now so strengthened their lines by incessant toil
that even General Grant, reckless of the lives of his troops as he was,
hesitated to renew the assault.

But in the South General Sherman was carrying all before him. Generals
Hood and Johnston, who commanded the Confederate armies there, had
fought several desperate battles, but the forces opposed to them were
too strong to be driven back. They had marched through Georgia to
Atlanta and captured that important town on the 1st of September, and
obtained command of the network of railways, and thus cut off a large
portion of the Confederacy from Richmond. Then Sherman marched south,
wasting the country through which he marched, and capturing Savannah on
the 21st of September.

While he was so doing, General Hood had marched into Tennessee, and
after various petty successes, was defeated, after two days' hard
fighting, near Nashville. In the third week in January, 1865, Sherman
set out with 60,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry from Savannah, laying
waste the whole country--burning, pillaging, and destroying. The town of
Columbia was occupied, sacked, and burned, the white men and women and
even the negroes being horribly ill-treated.

The Confederates evacuated Charleston at the approach of the enemy,
setting it in flames rather than allow it to fall into Sherman's hands.
The Federal army then continued its devastating route through South
Carolina, and at the end of March had established itself at Goldsboro,
in North Carolina, and was in readiness to aid Grant in his final attack
on Richmond.

Lee, seeing the imminence of the danger, made an attack upon the enemy
in front of Petersburg, but was repulsed. He had now but 37,000 men with
which to oppose an enemy of nearly four times that strength in front of
him, while Sheridan's cavalry, 10,000 strong, threatened his flank, and
Sherman with his army was but a few days' march distant. There was
fierce fighting on the 29th, 30th, and 31st of March, and on the 2d of
April the whole Federal army assaulted the positions at Petersburg, and
after desperate fighting succeeded in carrying them. The Confederate
troops, outnumbered and exhausted as they were by the previous week's
marching and fighting, yet retained their discipline, and Lee drew off
with 20,000 men and marched to endeavor to effect a junction with
Johnston, who was still facing Sherman.

But his men had but one day's provisions with them. The stores that he
had ordered to await them at the point to which he directed his march
had not arrived there when they reached it, and, harassed at every foot
of their march by Sheridan's cavalry and Ord's infantry, the force
fought its way on. The horses and mules were so weak from want of food
that they were unable to drag the guns, and the men dropped in numbers
from fatigue and famine. Sheridan and Ord cut off two corps, but General
Lee, with but 8000 infantry and 2000 cavalry, still pressed forward
toward Lynchburg. But Sheridan threw himself in the way, and, finding
that no more could be done, General Lee and the infantry surrendered and
a few days later Generals Lee and Grant met and signed terms of peace.
General Johnston's army surrendered to General Sherman, and the long
and desperate struggle was at an end.

It was a dreadful day in Richmond when the news came that the lines of
Petersburg were forced, and that General Lee no longer stood between the
city and the invaders. The President and ministers left at once, and
were followed by all the better class of inhabitants who could find
means of conveyance. The negroes and some of the lower classes at once
set to work to pillage and burn, and the whole city would have been
destroyed had not a Federal force arrived and at once suppressed the
rioting.

Whatever had been the conduct of the Federal troops during the last year
of the war, however great suffering they had inflicted upon the unarmed
and innocent population of the country through which they marched, the
terms of peace that General Grant agreed upon, and which were, although
with some reluctance, ratified by the government, were in the highest
degree liberal and generous. No one was to be injured or molested for
the share he had taken in the war. A general amnesty was granted to all,
and the States were simply to return to the position in the Union that
they occupied previous to the commencement of the struggle.

More liberal terms were never granted by a conqueror to the vanquished.

Vincent was with the cavalry who escaped prior to Lee's surrender, but
as soon as the terms of peace were ratified the force was disbanded and
he returned home. He was received with the deepest joy by his mother and
sister.

"Thank God, my dear boy, that all is over, and you have been preserved
to us. We are beaten, but no one can say that we are disgraced. Had
every State done its duty as Virginia has we should never have been
overpowered. It has been a terrible four years, and there are few
families indeed that have no losses to mourn."

"It was well you were not in Richmond, mother, the day of the riots."

"Yes; but we had our trouble here, too, Vincent. A number of the slaves
from the plantations came along this way, and wanted our hands to join
them to burn down their quarters and the house, and to march to
Richmond. Tony and Dan, hearing of their approach, armed themselves with
your double-barreled guns, went down and called out the hands, and armed
them with hoes and other implements. When the negroes came up there was
a desperate quarrel, but our hands stood firm, and Tony and Dan declared
that they would shoot the first four men that advanced, and at last they
drew off and made their way to Richmond.

"Your plan has succeeded admirably. One or two of the hands went to
Richmond next day, but returned a day or two afterward and begged so
hard to be taken on again that I forgave them. Since then everything has
been going on as quietly and regularly as usual, while there is scarcely
a man left on any of the estates near."

"And now, mother, that I find things are quiet and settled here, I shall
go down to Georgia and fetch Lucy home. I shall be of age in a few
months, and the house on the estate that comes to me then can be
enlarged, and will do very well."

"Not at all, Vincent. Annie will be married next month. Herbert Rowsell
was here two days ago, and it's all settled. So I shall be alone here.
It will be very lonely and dull for me, Vincent, and I would rather give
up the reins of government to Lucy and live here with you, if you like
the plan."

"Certainly, I should like it, mother; and so, I am sure, would Lucy."

"Well, at any rate, Vincent, we will try the experiment, and if it does
not work well I will take possession of the other house."

"There is no fear of that, mother--none whatever."

"And when are you thinking of getting married, Vincent?"

"At once, mother. I wrote to Lucy the day we were disbanded, saying that
I should come in a week, and would allow another week and no longer for
her to get ready."

"Then, in that case, Vincent, Annie and I will go down with you. Annie
will not have much to do to get ready for her own wedding. It must, of
course, be a very quiet one, and there will be no array of dresses to
get; for I suppose it will be some time yet before the railways are open
again and things begin to come down from the North."

Happily Antioch had escaped the ravages of war, and there was nothing to
mar the happiness of the wedding. Lucy's father had returned, having
lost a leg in one of the battles of the Wilderness a year before, and
her brother had also escaped. After the wedding they returned to their
farm in Tennessee, and Mrs. Wingfield, Annie, Vincent, and Lucy went back
to the Orangery.

For the next three or four years times were very hard in Virginia, and
Mrs. Wingfield had to draw upon her savings to keep up the house in its
former state; while the great majority of the planters were utterly
ruined. The negroes, however, for the most part remained steadily
working on the estate. A few wandered away, but their places were easily
filled; for the majority of the freed slaves very soon discovered that
their lot was a far harder one than it had been before, and that freedom
so suddenly given was a curse rather than a blessing to them.

Thus, while so many went down, the Wingfields weathered the storm, and
the step that had been taken in preparing their hands for the general
abolition of slavery was a complete success.

With the gradual return of prosperity to the South the prices of produce
improved, and ten years after the conclusion of the rebellion the income
of the Orangery was nearly as large as it had been previous to its
outbreak. Vincent, two years after the conclusion of the struggle, took
his wife over to visit his relations in England, and, since the death of
his mother, in 1879, has every year spent three or four months at home,
and will not improbably, ere long sell his estates in Virginia and
settle here altogether.





End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of With Lee in Virginia, by G. A. Henty

*** END OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA ***

***** This file should be named 19154.txt or 19154.zip *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:
        http://www.gutenberg.org/1/9/1/5/19154/

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Paul Ereaut and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net


Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial
redistribution.



*** START: FULL LICENSE ***

THE FULL PROJECT GUTENBERG LICENSE
PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU DISTRIBUTE OR USE THIS WORK

To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at
http://gutenberg.org/license).


Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United
States.

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or
1.E.9.

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (www.gutenberg.org),
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided
that

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.

1.F.

1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

1.F.2.  LIMITED WARRANTY, DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES - Except for the "Right
of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal
fees.  YOU AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE, STRICT
LIABILITY, BREACH OF WARRANTY OR BREACH OF CONTRACT EXCEPT THOSE
PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH F3.  YOU AGREE THAT THE FOUNDATION, THE
TRADEMARK OWNER, AND ANY DISTRIBUTOR UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WILL NOT BE
LIABLE TO YOU FOR ACTUAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR
INCIDENTAL DAMAGES EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH
DAMAGE.

1.F.3.  LIMITED RIGHT OF REPLACEMENT OR REFUND - If you discover a
defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER
WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTIBILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE.

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.


Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at http://www.pglaf.org.


Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive
Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at
http://pglaf.org/fundraising.  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email
business@pglaf.org.  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at http://pglaf.org

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director
     gbnewby@pglaf.org


Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit http://pglaf.org

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit: http://pglaf.org/donate


Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.


Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.


Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

     http://www.gutenberg.org

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.

Colophon

This file was acquired from Project Gutenberg, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts (http://infomotions.com/alex/) by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is etext19154, and it should be available from the following URL:

http://infomotions.com/etexts/id/etext19154



Infomotions, Inc.

Infomotions Man says, "Give back to the 'Net."