Part 2 out of 3
said a word about it; and this, together with his uniform kindness toward
the men under his command, and the respect he always showed his brother
officers, had made him very popular with the ship's company; and when the
mate--who was never better pleased than when he could do Frank a
service-passed the word along the line that Mr. Nelson had called for
volunteers, the men flocked around him in all directions. The mate quickly
selected the required number, and Frank led them toward the place where
they had left the beef.
The woods were very thick, and, of course, the rebels, who were hidden in
the bushes, on the other side of the levee, knew nothing of what was going
on. Frank sent two of his men to the levee, to watch the motions of the
rebels, with orders not to fire unless they attempted to advance; and then
pulled off his coat, and set to work, with the others, cutting up the
beef. This was soon accomplished; and, after getting it all ready to carry
to the vessel, Frank, after consulting with the mate, concluded that the
rebels ought to be punished for what they had done, and he determined to
try the effect of a cross-fire upon them.
He cautiously advanced his men to the levee, when he found that the rebels
had been growing bolder; and one of them, who was mounted on a powerful
iron-gray horse, would frequently ride out from his concealment, and
advance toward the place where the men under the executive officer were
stationed, coolly deliver his fire, and then retreat out of range of their
guns, to reload.
"Now, boys," said Frank, "if that fellow tries that again, I'll put a
stopper on his shooting for awhile."
The rebel, who, of course, was entirely ignorant of the proximity of
Frank's party, soon reappeared, and rode rapidly down the levee, until he
came directly opposite the place where Frank and his men were concealed,
and then drew up his horse, and settled himself in his saddle, for a good
shot. But at that instant the report of Frank's musket echoed through the
woods, and the horse on which the rebel was mounted fell to the ground,
with a bullet in his brain. Before the astonished guerrilla could
extricate himself from the saddle, Frank, with more recklessness than
prudence, had bounded out of his concealment, and seized him by the collar
with one hand, at the same time attempting to draw his revolver with the
"You're my prisoner!" he exclaimed.
But the rebel had no sooner regained his feet, than he seized Frank around
the body, and, lifting him from his feet, threw him heavily to the ground.
Frank's revolver had become entangled in his belt in such a manner that he
could not draw it, and he now saw how foolhardy he had been, for his
antagonist was a man of almost twice his size, and possessed of enormous
strength. But Frank still retained his presence of mind, and, in falling,
he managed to catch the rebel by the hair, and pulled him to the ground
with him. He clung to him with a death-grip, and the guerrilla, after
trying in vain to break his hold, attempted to draw a knife from his belt.
Frank seized it at the same moment, when each used all his skill and
strength to obtain possession of it.
Both parties gazed in utter amazement, as this singular struggle went on
and neither dared to fire a shot, for fear of hitting their own man. At
length the mate, who, with his men, had watched the progress of the
conflict, with their feelings worked up to the highest pitch of
excitement, discovered that the rebel, by his superior strength, was
gaining the advantage; and he knew that the only way to save his officer
was to drive the rebels from their position.
"Steady there, lads!" he exclaimed; "fix bayonets."
The order was promptly obeyed.
"Ready, now! Aim! Fire! Charge bayonets! Forward, double-quick!"
The sailors broke from their concealment with a loud yell, and rushed
toward the rebel line. They were soon overtaken by the men under command
of the executive officer, who, not wishing to be outdone by their
comrades, had come to their assistance.
The rebels were taken completely by surprise, and, after delivering a
straggling fire, rapidly retreated.
The charge made by the sailors infused new courage into Frank, who
increased his exertions, and struggled furiously for the possession of the
"Hold on," exclaimed the rebel; "I'll surrender, if you will promise me
"I guess you'll surrender any way," said Frank; "and you may be sure that
you will be well treated."
"Let go my hair, then," said the rebel; "and let me get up."
Frank accordingly released his hold, and the rebel rose to his feet, and
was immediately seized by the mate, who, with his men, was just returning
from the pursuit of the rebels.
After the prisoner had delivered up his weapons, they marched back to the
place where they had left the beef, and then started for the vessel.
Every one was soon made acquainted with the particulars of the fight, and
Frank was again the hero of the mess-room.
A Union Family.
After two days' sail, the Ticonderoga arrived at Phillips's Landing, where
she had been ordered to take her station; for the Admiral had received
information that the rebel General Marmaduke was preparing to cross the
river, with his forces, at that place.
They came to anchor in front of a large plantation, owned by the man after
whom the place was named. In a short time, a boat, rowed by two stout
negroes, and which contained two ladies and a gentleman, came alongside.
The captain received them, as they came upon the quarter-deck, and the
gentleman, after introducing himself as Mr. Phillips, and apologizing for
the liberty they had taken in coming on board, asked if the captain could
furnish them with some Northern papers. They lived in an out-of-the-way
place, he said, where boats seldom landed, for fear of the guerrillas, and
they were entirely ignorant of what was going on.
The captain seemed much pleased with his visitors. After complying with
their request, he conducted them down into the cabin, where they passed an
hour in conversation. When they were about to take their departure, they
invited the captain and his officers to call on them, and assured them
that there were no rebels in the vicinity.
The captain was an old sailor, and had been in the service so long that he
was inclined to be suspicious of any thing that looked like friendship on
the part of a person living in an enemy's country. But, after calling on
Mr. Phillips's family a few times, without discovering any thing to
confirm his suspicions, he allowed both officers and men to go ashore at
all times; and soon quite an intimacy sprung up between them and the
people of the plantation, and dinner parties and horseback rides were the
order of the day.
Frank had been elected caterer of his mess, and as he was obliged to
furnish provisions, he had a good excuse for being ashore most of his
time. He became a regular visitor at the plantation, and was soon well
acquainted with each member of the family. They all professed to be
unconditional Union people, with the exception of the youngest daughter,
who boldly stated that her sympathies were, and always had been, with the
South; and she and Frank had many a long argument about the war.
Things went on thus for a considerable time, when, early one morning, as
Frank was on his way to the plantation, to buy his marketing, a negro met
him, as he was ascending the hill that led to the quarters, and said:
"I'd like to speak just one word with you, young master."
"Well, what is it, uncle?" said Frank; "talk away."
"Let us move on, this way first, for I don't want them to see us from the
Frank followed the negro behind one of the cabins, and the latter
"I'm afraid you and all the officers on your boat will be captured one of
"What do you mean?" inquired Frank, in surprise, half inclined to think
that the negro was crazy.
"I suppose you don't know that my master and mistress, and all the white
folks on the plantation, are rebels, do you?"
"No; and I don't believe they are."
"Yes, they are. My master is a Major in the rebel army; and that Miss
Annie you come to see every day has got a sweetheart in the army, and she
tells him every thing you say. Besides, they send a mail across the river,
here, twice every month. I took one across myself, night before last."
"I believe you're lying to me, you old rascal," exclaimed Frank.
"No, young master," answered the negro; "every word I have told you is
gospel truth. You see, my daughter waits on Miss Annie, and I find out
"You say Miss Phillips has a sweetheart in the army?"
"Yes; and he was here to see her not long ago. He is a lieutenant, and has
gone up to Conway's Point, with two cannons, to fire into steamers. His
name is Miller; and you would know him from a long scar on his left cheek.
Wasn't Miss Annie on board your boat two days ago?"
"Yes, I believe so."
"Well, she stole a book."
"A book!" repeated Frank. "What kind of a book?"
"I don't know the name of it. It was a small book, and had lead fastened
to the covers."
"By gracious!" exclaimed Frank, "that was the captain's signal-book."
"Yes; she told my daughter that she took it out of the captain's room."
Frank did not stop to buy any marketing, but hastily catching up his
basket, he hurried back to the vessel.
"Orderly," he exclaimed, as he approached the marine who always stood at
the cabin door, "ask the captain if I may see him."
"He hasn't got up yet, sir."
"That makes no difference. Tell him that I have something particular to
say to him."
The orderly went into the cabin, and, in a few moments, returned, and
"The captain says walk in, sir."
"Captain," said Frank, after he had closed the door carefully behind him,
"have you lost your signal-book?"
"No, I guess not;" answered the captain, in a tone of surprise. "What
makes you ask?"
"I heard, a few moments ago, that it had been stolen from you."
"I have not had occasion to use it for two or three weeks," answered the
captain, getting out of bed; "but I know exactly where I put it;" and he
opened a drawer in the sideboard, and commenced to overhaul the contents.
"Set me down for a landlubber," he exclaimed, at length, "if it hasn't
been stolen. It isn't here, at any rate."
Frank then related the conversation which had taken place between himself
and the negro, and the captain continued:
"Well, I always thought those folks had some object in view, or they would
not have been so friendly. I can't reproach myself for neglecting my duty,
for I watched them pretty closely."
"I wonder how that girl knew that the signal-book was in that drawer,"
"I suppose she must have seen me put it in there," said the captain. "Now,
the question is, now to go to work to recover it. It will do no good to
search the house."
"If you will leave the matter in my hands, sir," said Frank, "I will agree
to recover the signal-book, and capture that mail-bag which they intend to
send across the river in a few days."
"Well," said the captain, "it was you who first knew that the signal-book
was gone, and I believe you ought to have the honor of sifting the matter
to the bottom. Find out all you can, and call on me for any assistance you
Frank immediately returned to the plantation, and started toward the
quarters, in quest of the negro who had given him the information, whom he
found chopping wood in front of one of the cabins.
"See here, uncle," he exclaimed, "I want you to keep me posted on all that
goes on here on the plantation; and tell your daughter to find out when
that rebel lieutenant is coming here again, and when they intend to send
that mail across the river."
"I will do my best, young master," answered the negro. "But you won't tell
any one what I have said to you? I shall be killed, sure, if you do"
"No, uncle, I shan't betray you; so don't be afraid," said Frank; and,
after purchasing some articles which they needed in the mess, he returned
on board the boat.
A week passed on, but nothing further was developed. The officers of the
vessel still continued to visit the plantation, and Mr. Phillips and his
family always seemed glad to see them, and evidently did all in their
power to make their visits agreeable.
As soon as Frank had time to think the matter over, he wondered why he had
not known that something suspicious was going on. He remembered now that
Mr. Phillips had often questioned him closely concerning the manner in
which the gun-boats were stationed along the river, and the distance they
were apart. And he thought of other questions which had been asked him by
the family, which, although they did not seem strange at the time, now
seemed suspicious. At first he had been inclined to doubt the negro's
story; but his doubts were soon removed by the appearance of a transport,
which was completely riddled with shot; and her captain reported that they
had been fired into by a battery of two guns, at Conway's Point. Frank
knew that it was the work of the rebel lieutenant, and he hoped that it
would soon be his fortune to meet him face to face.
One evening, just after supper, the negro appeared on the bank, with some
chickens in his hand, which was a signal to Frank that he had something to
communicate. He immediately set off alone, in a skiff. When he reached the
shore, the negro informed him that the rebel lieutenant was expected at the
plantation that evening, and that he would bring with him the mail, which
was to be carried across the river at midnight.
After paying the negro for his chickens, in order to deceive any one who
might be watching them, Frank returned to the vessel, and informed the
captain that, if he would give him twenty men, he would fulfill his
promise. He did not acquaint him with what he had learned, however, for
fear that the captain would send an officer with him, and thus rob him of
the laurels now almost within his grasp.
As soon as it was dark, Frank picked out the men he wished to accompany
him, and started off. His first care was to quietly surround the house,
after he had placed his men to his satisfaction, he removed his sword,
thrust a brace of revolvers into his pocket, and walked up and knocked at
the door. It was opened by the youngest of the girls, who started back and
turned pale when she saw the young officer; but instantly recovering her
presence of mind, she exclaimed:
"Good evening, Mr. Nelson; walk in. Allow me to introduce to you my
cousin, Mr. Williams," she continued, as they entered the parlor.
As she spoke, a tall, handsome young man rose from his seat, and made a
low bow. It was none other than Lieutenant Miller; for there was the scar
on his cheek, which had been described to him by the negro.
After returning the rebel's salutation, Frank seated himself on the sofa,
"I shall trouble you only a moment. I merely came here on a little matter
of business. I understand that there is a rebel mail to be carried across
the river, from this house, to-night."
The suddenness with which this announcement was made was astounding. Mrs.
Phillips appeared ready to faint; Annie turned very pale; and the
lieutenant raised his hand to his breast, as if about to draw a weapon.
"What do you mean, sir?" inquired Mr. Phillips, with well-feigned
"I mean," answered Frank, "that, since we anchored opposite this house, we
have been associating with the worst kind of rebels. Put down your hand,
Lieutenant Miller! If I see you make that move again, I shall be obliged
to shoot you. You have professed to be Union people," continued Frank,
settling himself back in his seat, and coolly crossing his legs, "and have
been treated as such; you have, however, attempted to betray us, by
communicating such of our plans and movements as you could learn to the
rebels. But you have been discovered at last. You, gentlemen, will please
consider yourselves my prisoners. Miss Phillips, have the kindness to
produce that mail-bag, and the signal-book you took from the captain. If
you refuse, I shall be obliged to take you on board the ship, as a
The girl saw that there was no alternative, and she pulled from under the
sofa, where Frank sat, the mail-bag, which appeared to be well filled with
letters, and dispatched a servant to her room after the signal-book, which
was to have been sent across the river with the mail.
After Frank had relieved the lieutenant of his weapons, he called two of
his men into the house, and, after delivering the prisoners into their
charge, returned to the vessel.
That evening the captain examined the mail, and found several letters
which showed, beyond a doubt, that their prisoners were connected with the
rebel army; and they were, accordingly, sent to the Admiral, on the first
steamer that went up the river.
About two weeks afterward, the captain of the Ticonderoga received orders
to proceed with his vessel to Helena, and take command of an expedition
which was preparing to start down the Yazoo Pass. They found the fleet,
consisting of the Manhattan, six "tin-clads," and several transports,
loaded with troops, assembled in Moon Lake, which was about six miles from
the Mississippi River; and, on the 23d day of February, they entered the
pass, the Ticonderoga leading the way.
The west shore of Moon Lake was bounded by a swamp, through which ran the
pass, which was just wide enough to admit one good-sized vessel. It was
filled with trees, which stood so close together that it seemed impossible
to work a passage through them; and the men on deck were constantly in
danger of being killed by falling limbs. They advanced slowly, sometimes
making not more than four miles in a day; and it was almost two weeks
before they reached Coldwater River.
A Spunky Rebel.
In the afternoon of the day of their arrival, the Ticonderoga tied up in
front of a large plantation-house. As soon as the vessel was made fast to
the bank, the captain turned to the executive officer, and exclaimed:
"Mr. Smith, please call away one company of small-armed men. Mr. Nelson,"
he continued, turning to Frank, "I wish you to take command of the
company, and go ashore and search that house for fire-arms, and bring on
board all you find."
"Very good, sir," answered Frank; and he hurried down to his room to
buckle on his sword and revolver.
In a few minutes the company was formed on deck, and Frank marched them
out on the bank and then up to the house. His first care was to surround
the building, so that, in case there were any men in it, their escape
would be entirely cut off. He then, in company with the boatswain's mate
and two men, walked up and knocked at the door. After some delay, the
summons was answered by a negro woman, who scowled upon him, and waited
for him to make known his wants.
"Is your master or mistress in?" inquired Frank.
"Yes, missus is h'ar," answered the woman, gruffly.
"Well, I should like to see her."
"Den you stay h'ar, an' I'll ax her if she wants to see you."
"No, aunty, that won't do. I must see her, whether she wants to see me or
not;" and Frank unceremoniously entered the house, followed by his men.
"Now, where is your mistress, aunty?" he inquired.
"She's up stairs," answered the woman.
"Well, then," said Frank, turning to the boatswain's mate, "you come with
me, and let the others remain here until we return."
Frank then ascended the stairs, and very easily found his way to the room
where the lady was; and, as he entered, he politely removed his cap.
"Well, sir," said the lady, in no very pleasant tone, "what do you wish?"
"I have been ordered to come here and search your house for fire-arms,"
"I suppose I shall be obliged to submit to it, for I have not the power to
prevent you; if I had, I should certainly use it. But, I hope you will be
gentleman enough not to steal every thing we have in the house."
Frank's face reddened to the very roots of his hair at this insult, and he
replied, in a voice choked with indignation:
"No, madam, we shall disturb nothing. I hope you do not take us for
thieves;" and he turned and tried a door, (several of which opened off the
room in which the lady was sitting), but it was fastened on the other
"That's a bed-room," exclaimed the lady, angrily. "I hope you are not
going in there!"
"Certainly I am, madam. I am going into every nook and corner of your
house. My orders were to search your building, and I intend to obey them.
Is there any one in here?"
"Yes, sir; my daughters are in there."
"Then, why don't they open this door?" and Frank, who was getting out of
patience, pounded loudly upon the door with the butt of his revolver.
"Is that you, mother?" inquired a voice from the room.
"No," answered Frank, "it isn't mother; but open this door."
"Yes, in a minute."
"Open this door immediately," repeated Frank, who began to suspect that he
had been purposely delayed.
But the persons in the room made no reply; when the boatswain's mate, at
a sign from Frank, raised his foot, and, with one kick of his heavy boot,
sent the door from its hinges. Loud screams issued from the room, which,
as Frank entered, he found to be occupied by two young ladies, who,
judging from the overturned work-basket, and the half-finished articles of
apparel which were scattered about over the floor, had been engaged in
"Don't be alarmed, ladies," said Frank, "you shall not be harmed. Jack,"
he continued, turning to the boatswain's mate, "just examine that bed."
"Oh, don't," exclaimed one of the young ladies, "don't, for mercy's sake.
Do go away from here."
"Ellen," exclaimed her mother, who had followed Frank into the room,
"don't make a child of yourself. I am surprised at you."
"We shall leave every thing just as we find it," said Frank, who was a
good deal surprised at the conduct of the girl. "All we want is the
fire-arms, if you have any in the house."
"Yes, we have got some here," said Ellen, "and I will get them for you;"
and she drew out from the bed-clothes two beautifully-finished rifles, a
quantity of ammunition, a cavalry sword, and a double-barreled shot-gun.
"There," she exclaimed, as she handed them to Frank; "there are no more in
this room. Now, do go away."
"Ellen," said her mother, who was evidently very anxious about the girl's
conduct, "will you keep quiet?"
"Don't say any thing to him, Ellen," said her sister, whose name was Mary;
"don't ask any favors of a Yankee. Let him stay here till doomsday if"--
She was interrupted by a loud scream from Ellen; and the mate, who had
been "reconnoitering" under the bed, exclaimed:
"Here you are! Come out o' that, you son of a sea-cook;" and he seized
something which struggled and fought furiously, but all to no purpose, for
the mate soon pulled into sight tall man, dressed in the uniform of a
Ellen screamed and cried louder than ever, and even her mother could not
refrain from shedding tears; but Mary, although pale as death, retained
her haughty look, and was evidently too proud to manifest any feeling in
the presence of a Federal officer.
"I knowed there was something of this kind goin' on, sir," said Jack,
turning to his officer, and giving his pants a hitch; "I knowed, by the
way the young lady handed over them we'pons, that there was something
about that bed she didn't want us to see."
"Yes, Ellen," said the rebel, "I have to thank you for my capture. If it
hadn't been for your crying and whimpering, I might have"--
"Escaped," exclaimed Jack. "No, sir; not so easy. Don't go to jawin' her,
now, 'cause yer ketched. Come, now," he continued, "let's have yer
The rebel coolly handed out two silver-mounted revolvers, which the mate
thrust into his belt.
"Now, I hope you're satisfied," said Mary, impatiently; "and are ready to
go and leave us in peace."
"Not quite," answered Frank. "I have not yet obeyed my orders. As I said
before, I must see the inside of every room in your house. Jack, send two
men on board the ship with that prisoner."
"Ay, ay, sir," answered the mate, touching his cap. "Come, you corn-fed,
The mother and sisters of the rebel crowded around him, to say good-by;
and, in spite of the unladylike, and even insulting manner with which they
had treated him, Frank could not help pitying them.
When the mate had seen the prisoner safe on the boat, he went back, and
Frank continued his search. But no more weapons or prisoners being found,
he and his men returned on board, well satisfied with their success.
After supper, as Frank was walking up and down the deck, arm in arm with
one of his brother officers, the orderly approached, and, touching his
cap, informed him that the captain wished to see him.
"Mr. Nelson," said the captain, as Frank entered the cabin, "come here."
Frank followed the captain to one of the after windows, and the latter
"Do you see _that_?"
Frank looked in the direction indicated by the captain, and was surprised
to see a rebel flag floating from one of the windows of the house.
"Yes, sir; I see it," said Frank.
"Well, sir, go over there, and tell those women to have that flag taken in
and sent on board this ship. Don't touch it yourself: they put it out
there, and they must take it in. That's a pretty piece of impudence,
indeed--a rebel flag floating in the breeze in the face of a Federal
vessel of war!" and the eccentric captain paced up and down his cabin, in
a state of considerable excitement.
Frank started off, and in a few moments again stood before the mistress of
"You're here again, sir, are you?" she asked, petulantly.
"Yes, ma'am," replied Frank, not the least annoyed by the tone in which he
was addressed, or the sharp glances which the ladies threw at him, "I'm
here; and I came to tell you that the captain wishes you to have that
rebel flag removed from your window, and sent on board the ship."
"Is there any thing else your captain wants?" inquired Mary, with a
"No, ma'am, not at present; but he wishes that flag taken down
The ladies made no reply. After a moment's pause, Frank inquired:
"Do you intend to comply with his orders?"
"I did not put the flag up there," said the mother.
"It makes no difference who put it up there, madam," said Frank, warmly,
"it must come down; and I would advise you not to hesitate long, for the
captain is not one who can be trifled with."
As Frank ceased speaking, Mary touched a signal-bell, which stood on the
table near her. A servant appeared almost instantly, and the young lady
"Show this man out."
Frank, who saw that it would do no good to remain, put on his cap and
followed the servant down stairs.
"Well, what did they say?" inquired the captain, when Frank again entered
"They didn't say any thing, sir," replied Frank. "They neither said they
would, nor they would not, take it down."
Frank was careful not to say a word about the manner in which they had
treated him, for he knew it would only irritate the captain, and make
"They didn't say whether they would take it down or not, eh!" exclaimed
the captain. "Please help yourself to a chair, Mr. Nelson, and, in a few
moments, I will give you your orders."
Frank accordingly took a seat, and the captain stationed himself at the
window, with his watch in his hand. Frank knew by this that the captain
had granted the rebels a few moments' grace; and he also knew that, unless
the flag came down soon, and was sent on board the vessel, something
unpleasant would happen. At length the allotted time expired, and the
"Mr. Nelson, take a dozen men, and go ashore. Give those women just ten
minutes to remove their furniture, and then fire the house. No building
shall float a secesh flag, and stand, while I have the power to burn it."
This time the ladies made no remark when Frank entered the room where they
were sitting, for they knew by his looks that they were about to receive
the punishment their folly merited.
"Madam," said Frank, speaking in a tone which showed how much he dreaded
to break the intelligence, "I am ordered to burn your house."
"Yes," answered the mother, bitterly; "I expected that to be your next
errand. I suppose your brutal captain will feel perfectly satisfied when
he sees us deprived of a home."
"I thought the Yankees were too gallant to make war on women and
children," chimed in Mary. "That has always been their boast," continued
she, very spitefully.
"So they are," replied Frank. "But the captain is one who will not
tolerate an exhibition of treason in any one, be it man, woman, or child.
You have no one to blame but yourselves. But we have no time to waste in
argument. I will give you ten minutes in which to remove your furniture
and will assist you, if you wish it."
"We can take care of ourselves," said the mother. "No one asked you for
Frank made no reply; and the ladies, assisted by their servants,
immediately commenced the removal of the most valuable articles; and when
the time had expired, a straw-bed was pulled into the middle of the floor,
a match was applied to it, and the house was soon enveloped in flames.
Frank could not help pitying the women, who were thus obliged to stand by
and witness the destruction of their home. But he knew that they had
brought it on themselves, and that they deserved it; and, besides, he had
only done his duty, for he was acting under orders.
The women, however, did not seem to be in the least concerned; for when
the roof fell in with a crash, Mary commenced the rebel air, "Bonnie Blue
Flag," and sang it through to the end. Frank admired her "spunk," even
though her sympathies were enlisted in a bad cause.
He remained until the house was entirely consumed, and then returned on
board his vessel.
Frank a Prisoner.
In the afternoon of the following day, while it was Frank's watch on
deck, as the Ticonderoga came suddenly around an abrupt bend in the river,
a puff of smoke rose from behind an embankment, about half a mile in
advance, while a shell whistled over the vessel, and dropped into the
water without exploding.
Frank immediately requested the pilot to blow four whistles, which was a
signal to the other boats that they were attacked; and, after sending the
messenger-boy below to report to the captain, he raised his glass to his
eye, and found that they were directly in front of a good-sized fort,
built of cotton bales and embankments, and mounting at least five heavy
guns. A flag-staff rose from the center of the fort, and supported the
"stars and bars," which flaunted defiantly in the breeze. This was Fort
Pemberton, the only formidable fortification the rebels had between the
Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers.
The captain came on deck immediately, and ordered the vessel to be
stopped; and, when the other boats came up, they were ordered to take
their stations along the bank, on each side of the river, out of range of
the guns of the fort. When the entire fleet had assembled, the
Ticonderoga, in company with the Manhattan, steamed down, and opened fire
on the fort, with a view to ascertain its strength. The fort replied
vigorously, and, after an hour's firing, the vessels withdrew.
The next morning, at an early hour, the troops were landed, but, for some
reason, it was afternoon before they were ready to march. At three o'clock
they were drawn up in line in the woods, about two miles from the fort,
where the men stacked arms, and stretched themselves out in the shade of
In the mean time the iron-clads had been preparing for the fight. The
magazines were opened and lighted; the casemates covered with a coat of
grease, to glance the shot which might strike them; the men were at their
stations, and when all was ready, they steamed down toward the fort, the
Ticonderoga leading the way.
Frank, by attention to his duties, had rapidly learned the gun-drill, and
had been promoted to the command of one of the guns in the turret. He
thought he had become quite accustomed to the noise of bullets, but he
could not endure the silence that then reigned in the ship. The men,
stripped to the waist, stood at their guns as motionless as so many
statues; and, although Frank tried hard to exhibit the same indifference
that they did, his mind was exceedingly busy, and it seemed to him that he
thought of every thing he had done during his life. Oh, how he longed to
hear the order passed to commence firing! Any thing was preferable to that
At length, the captain came into the turret, where he always took his
station in action, and glanced hastily at the countenance of each of the
officers and men. He seemed satisfied with his examination, for he
immediately took his stand where he could see all that was going on, and
gave orders to the pilot to head the vessel directly toward the fort; and
then every thing relapsed into that horrible silence again. But this did
not continue long; for, the moment they came within range, the fort opened
on them, and a solid shot struck the casemate directly over Frank's gun,
with a force that seemed to shake the entire vessel. Frank glanced at the
captain, and saw him standing with his elbow on the starboard gun, and his
head resting on his hand, watching the fort as coolly as though they had
been engaged only in target practice.
The shells from the fort continued to fall around them, but the captain
neither changed his position nor gave the order to fire. The port-holes in
the turret were all closed, with the exception of the one at which the
captain stood, and, of course, no one could see what was going on. Frank
began to grow impatient. He did not like the idea of being shot at in that
manner without returning the fire. At length the captain inquired:
"What have you in your gun, Mr. Nelson?"
"A five-second shell, sir," answered Frank, promptly.
"Very well. Run out your gun and give them a shot."
The men sprang to their stations in an instant; the ports flew open with a
crash, and the heavy gun was ran out as easily as though it had been a
twelve-pounder. The first captain seized the lock string; there was a
deafening report, and an eleven-inch shell went booming into the fort. The
force of the discharge ran the gun back into the turret again, and the
ports closed as if by magic. They did not close entirely, however, for
there was a space of about four inches left between them, to allow for the
action of the rammer in loading. The gun was sponged, the cartridge driven
home, and the gunner's mate stood at the muzzle of the gun, removing the
cap from a shell, when a percussion shell from the fort struck in the
space between the shutters and exploded. The discharge set fire to the
shell which the gunner's mate was holding in his hand, and the unfortunate
man was blown almost to atoms.
In naval actions there is nothing which will carry such terror and dismay
among a ship's company as the bursting of one of their own shells; and the
scene which followed the explosion in the turret of the Ticonderoga
beggars all description. Old seamen, who had been in many a hard-fought
battle, and had stood at their guns under the most deadly fire the enemy
could pour upon them, without flinching, now deserted their stations, and
ran about through the blinding and suffocating smoke that filled the
turret, with blanched cheeks, trampling each other under their feet, and
utterly disregarding the commands of their officers, who ran among them
with drawn swords, and endeavored to force them back to their guns. It was
some time before quiet was restored, and then Frank found, to his horror,
that, out of twenty-five men which had composed his gun's crew, only ten
were left. Four had been instantly killed, and eleven badly wounded. The
deck was slippery with blood, and the turret was completely covered with
it. The shrieks and groans of the wounded and dying were awful. Frank had
never before witnessed such a scene, and, for a moment, he was so sick he
could scarcely stand. But he had no time to waste in giving away to his
feelings. After seeing the dead and wounded carried below, he returned to
his station, and, with what was left of his gun's crew, fought bravely
during the remainder of the action.
The fight continued until after dark, when the captain, knowing that it
would be impossible to capture the fort without the assistance of the
troops, ordered a retreat.
That same night a consultation of the naval and military commanders was
held, and it was decided to renew the attack on the following morning. A
battery of two thirty-pounder Parrotts was taken off one of the
"tin-clads" and mounted on the bank, about half a mile back in the woods,
and a mile from the fort. Captain Wilson, who commanded one of the
mosquito boats, was ordered to take command of it, and Frank, at his own
request, was permitted to accompany him as his aid. He started early the
next morning with fifty men, who had been detailed from the gun-boats, and
at sunrise was at his station.
The battery was masked, and the rebels knew nothing of its existence. The
captain's orders were, not to fire until they heard the action opened by
the iron-clads. Twenty-eight men were required to man the guns, and the
others, armed with Spencer rifles, were to act as sharp-shooters. Frank,
to his surprise, soon learned that this was all the support they were to
have, the troops having been ordered to take the same station they had
occupied the day before, and to hold themselves in readiness to charge
upon the fort, as soon as the iron-clads had silenced the guns.
About ten o'clock the fort commenced firing, and Frank knew that the
gun-boats were again under way. At length a loud report, which he could
have recognized among a thousand, blended with the others, and, in
obedience to the order of the captain, the men tore away the bushes which
had masked the battery, and the fight became general.
Frank directed his fire upon a pile of cotton-bales, which protected one
of the largest guns of the fort; but, as fast as he knocked them down, the
rebels would recklessly spring out of the fort and put them up again. At
length Captain Wilson ordered she sharp-shooters to advance five hundred
yards nearer the fort. The rebels soon discovered this, and the
cotton-bales were allowed to remain where they had fallen.
In half an hour that part of the fort was completely demolished; and the
rebels, being without protection against the sharp-shooters, were obliged
to abandon the gun.
While Frank was congratulating himself on the fine shooting he had done,
and wondering why the troops were not ordered to charge, he was startled
by the rapid report of muskets behind him. Three of his men fell dead
where they had stood; and Frank turned just in time to see a party of
rebels issuing from the woods. They came on with loud yells; and one of
them, who appeared to be the leader, called out:
"Surrender, now, you infernal Yankees. Shoot down the first one who
resists or attempts to escape," he added, turning to his men.
"Stand to your guns, my lads!" shouted Captain Wilson. "Don't give ground
The sailors, always accustomed to obedience, gathered around their
officers, and poured a murderous fire upon the advancing enemy, from their
revolvers. The rebels, who were greatly superior in numbers, returned the
fire, and the captain fell, mortally wounded. But the sailors stubbornly
stood their ground, until the rebels closed up about them, and Frank saw
that escape was impossible. But he fought like a young tiger, and
determined that he would die before he would surrender; for even death was
preferable to a long confinement in a Southern prison.
"Drop that pistol!" exclaimed a rebel, pointing his rifle directly at
Frank's head, "or I'll blow your brains out."
"Blow away!" exclaimed Frank, seizing the rebel's rifle, with a quick
movement, and firing his revolver full in his face; "I'll never surrender
as long as I have strength left to stand on my feet. Give it to 'em,
The next moment Frank was prostrated by a severe blow on the head from the
butt of a musket, and the sailors, finding that both their officers were
gone, lost all heart, and threw down their weapons.
The rebels had scarcely time to collect their prisoners and retreat, when
the troops, who had heard the noise of the conflict, and started to the
rescue, arrived. But they were too late; for in less than half an hour
Frank and his men were safe in the fort, and confined under guard.
Frank, as may be supposed, was not at all pleased with the prospect
before him. He had often heard escaped prisoners relate sad stories of
the treatment they had received while in the hands of the rebels; and,
as he knew that they cherished an especial hatred toward gun-boatmen,
he could not hope to fare very well.
The place where he was confined was in the lower part of the fort,
directly in range of the shells from the iron-clads, and Frank
expected to be struck by them every moment, for the pieces flew about
him in all directions. Oh, how he prayed that the fort might be taken!
He could see that one of their heaviest guns was dismounted, and a
large detail of men was constantly occupied in carrying off the dead
The firing continued until four o'clock in the afternoon, and then
the gun-boats suddenly withdrew. The rebels cheered loudly as they
disappeared around a bend in the river, and Frank gave up all hope:
nothing now remained for him but a long captivity.
That evening, as soon as it was dark, he, with the other prisoners,
was marched on board the General Quitman, a large steamer, lying just
below the fort, and carried to Haines' Bluff, and from thence they
went by rail to Vicksburg. Here Frank was separated from his men, and
confined, for two days, with several army officers, in a small room in
the jail. Early on the third morning he was again taken out, and sent
across the river, into Louisiana, with about three hundred others.
Their destination, he soon learned, was Tyler, a small town in
Texas, where most of the Union prisoners captured in Mississippi were
They were guarded by a battalion of cavalry, under command of the
notorious Colonel Harrison, who called themselves the "Louisiana
Wild-cats." Frank had never before seen this noted regiment, and he
found that they were very appropriately named; for a more ferocious
looking set of men he had never met. They all wore long hair and
whiskers; and their faces looked as though they had never been
acquainted with soap and water. They were armed with rifles,
Bowie-knives, and revolvers, and seemed to take pleasure in boasting
of the number of women and children and unarmed men they had slain.
They had not made more than a day's march, when Frank found that his
troubles were just commencing. He was not accustomed to marching, and
his feet soon became so swollen that he could scarcely stand on them.
The heat was almost intolerable; the roads were very dusty, and the
places where they were allowed to obtain water were many miles apart.
Besides, as if to add to their sufferings, the rebels were continually
stealing from the prisoners, and, finally, some of them were left with
scarcely any clothing; and if the poor fellows ventured to remonstrate
against such treatment, they were shot or bayoneted on the spot.
On the fourth day of the march, Frank noticed a soldier, just in
advance of him, who was so weak that he could scarcely keep his feet.
He had been wounded in the arm, at the late battle before Vicksburg,
but not the least notice had been taken of it by the rebels, and he
was suffering the most intense agony. Frank, although scarcely able to
sustain himself, owing to the swollen condition of his feet, offered
his assistance, which the poor fellow was glad enough to accept. But
he continued to grow weaker every moment, and, finally, in spite of
Frank's exertions, fell prostrate in the road.
"What's the matter here?" inquired the colonel, who happened to be
"This man isn't able to go any further," replied Frank.
"Then he doesn't need any of your help, you young Abolitionist; get
back to your place! Here, Stiles," he continued, beckoning to one of
his men and bending upon him a glance of peculiar meaning, "you stay
here until this man dies."
The colonel rode up to the head of the column again, and Frank was
obliged to move on with the others. But he could not relieve his mind
of a feeling that something more dreadful than any thing he had yet
seen was about to take place. He frequently turned and looked back,
and saw the man lying where he had fallen, and the rebel, who had
dismounted from his horse, standing over him, leaning on his rifle. At
length a bend in the road hid them from sight. In a few moments, Frank
heard the report of a gun, and presently the rebel rode up, with the
coat, pants, and boots which had once belonged to the soldier, hanging
on his arm. Such scenes as this were enacted every day; but, for some
unaccountable reason, Frank was not molested, beyond having his boots
stolen one night while he was asleep. He had made up his mind that he
would escape at the first opportunity; but he was in no condition to
travel, and, besides, the sight of several ferocious blood-hounds,
which accompanied the rebels, was enough to deter him from making the
After a march of two weeks, during which he suffered more than he had
thought it possible for him to endure, they arrived at Shreveport.
Here they encamped for the night, with the understanding that they
were to start for Tyler--which was one hundred and ten miles further
on--early the next morning. Frank concluded that he had walked about
far enough. "If I intend to escape," he soliloquized, "I might as well
start from here as from Tyler. I'll play off sick, and see if I can't
get them to leave me here; and then, as soon as I become strong enough
to travel, I'll be missed some fine day."
Accordingly, the next morning, when the prisoners were ordered to
"fall in," Frank did not stir; and, when the sergeant came to arouse
him, he appeared to be in the greatest agony. So well did he play his
part, that the doctor declared that it was impossible for him to go
on; and he was accordingly left behind. As soon as the prisoners
had gone, he was carried to the hospital, which was a large brick
building, standing on the outskirts of the town. The lower floor was
used as a barrack for the soldiers who guarded the building, and the
upper rooms as a hospital and guard-house. Frank found about fifteen
Federal soldiers, and as many rebels, who were confined for various
offenses, principally desertion.
Frank soon became acquainted with his fellow-prisoners, and the
stories they told of their treatment made the cold sweat start out all
over him; but when he spoke of escape, he was surprised to find that
there was not one among them who dared to make the attempt. But this
did not alter his determination. He resolved that, rather than
remain in prison, he would go alone. He grew stronger every day, and
succeeded in securing a pair of shoes, and a compass, for which he
gave the last shirt he had. His determination was to take to the
woods, until he had escaped pursuit, and then strike for Red River.
He knew that this route would bring him out a good distance below
Vicksburg, but still it would be easier and safer than traveling
across the country; and he hoped that the rebel stronghold would be
taken by the time he reached the Mississippi River.
Finally, one dark night--after he had well matured his plans--he
concluded to make the trial. So, waiting until every one in the room
appeared to be asleep--for he had been told that there were some who
must know nothing of his intention--he carefully raised one of the
windows, and looked out. He had made all his observations beforehand,
and knew that the window was about twenty feet above the ground. He
had tried in vain to obtain a rope strong enough to assist him in his
descent; and his only alternative was, to hang by his hands and "drop"
to the ground, where, he hoped, aided by the darkness, to escape the
fire of the guards.
He was crawling noiselessly out of the window, when he was startled by
the creaking of the stairs, as if some one was descending them; and,
at the same time, hasty footsteps sounded under the window. Frank saw
that he had been discovered, and, hastily climbing back into the room,
he closed the window and threw himself on the floor, and appeared to
be fast asleep.
"Very well done!" exclaimed an officer, who suddenly appeared at the
top of the stairs. "Very well done, indeed. Now, you young Yankee,
I don't want to see you try that move again. If you do, I shall be
obliged to shoot you. Do you understand?"
Frank replied in the affirmative; and the officer, after satisfying
himself that the prisoners were all in the room, went below again,
leaving a guard at the head of the stairs, who kept a close watch upon
Frank until morning.
He was a good deal annoyed and perplexed at the unsuccessful
termination of his adventure; but he could not make up his mind what
it was that had led to his discovery. Still, he was not discouraged;
but, in spite of the officer's warning, determined to renew his
attempt at escape, as soon as an opportunity was offered.
The next day, while he was eating his scanty dinner, the lieutenant
in charge of the prisoners came in, and, as was his custom, began to
argue with them as to the probable termination of the war. Frank
had always hoped that he would let him alone, for the lieutenant
invariably became enraged if the prisoners endeavored to uphold their
"Well, young man," he exclaimed, walking up to Frank, "how do you get
"As well as can be expected, I suppose," answered Frank.
"How do you relish being a prisoner? Are you not sorry that you ever
took up arms against us?"
"No, I am not," answered Frank, indignantly, "You'll have to fight me
again, as soon as I get out of this scrape."
"What made you come down here to fight us?"
"Because I thought you needed a good drubbing."
"Well, we haven't had it yet;" said the lieutenant, stroking his
moustache. "Why didn't you take Fort Pemberton? You got the worst of
it there. We sunk the Ticonderoga."
"Oh, yes," answered Frank, with a sneer, "no doubt of it. But, on the
whole, I think you had better tell that to the marines."
"You don't believe it, then! Well, how do you think this war is going
"Now, see here," said Frank, "I wish you would travel on, and let
me alone. I am a prisoner, and in your power; and I don't want to be
abused for speaking my mind; for, if I answer your questions at all, I
shall say just what I think."
"That is what I like," said the lieutenant. "You need not be afraid to
speak your mind freely. Now, tell me, how do you think this struggle
"There is only one way for it to end, and that is in your
"But what is your object in fighting us?"
"To preserve the Union!"
"You're a liar!" shouted the lieutenant. "You're fighting to free the
"Well, have it your own way," answered Frank. "But, if I'm a liar,
you're a gentleman, so take it and go on. You need not ask me any more
questions, for I shan't answer them."
The lieutenant muttered something about hanging every Yankee he could
catch if he could have his own way, and moved away; and Frank was left
to finish his dinner in peace.
That afternoon, a soldier, whose name was Cabot, came and sat down
beside Frank, and inquired:
"Didn't you try to escape last night?"
"Yes, but I was discovered."
"You would not have been, if one of our own men hadn't split on you."
"What!" exclaimed Frank, "you don't pretend to say that a Federal
soldier was mean enough to inform against me?"
"Yes, I do; and there he stands now." And, as Cabot spoke, he pointed
to a tall, hard-featured man standing by the window, looking out
into the street. "I slept at the head of the stairs last night, and
distinctly heard him tell the guards that you were intending to leave.
His name is Bishop, and he belongs to the Thirtieth Maine Regiment. He
has for some time past been trying to be allowed to take the oath of
allegiance to the South." [Footnote: A fact.]
"What will he do then?" inquired Frank; "go into the rebel army?"
"No, but he could be employed here in the arsenal, making bullets to
kill our own men with."
"The scoundrel!" exclaimed Frank, indignantly; "I didn't suppose there
was a man from my own State who could be guilty of such meanness."
"He is mean enough for any thing. Haven't you noticed that every night
he comes around through our quarters with a candle?"
"Yes; but I don't know what he does it for."
"Well, he counts us every night before he goes to sleep, and, in fact,
comes through our room two or three times in the night, to see that
none of us have escaped. He hopes in that manner to gain favor with
the rebels. I have told you this, in order that you may look out for
him the next time you try to escape."
Frank was astounded at this intelligence, and, at first, he did not
believe it. But that evening, about nine o'clock, Bishop came in, as
usual, with his candle, and Frank inquired:
"What made you tell the guard that I was going to escape last night?"
The question was asked so suddenly--and in a manner which showed
Bishop that Frank was well acquainted with his treachery--that he
dared not deny the charge, and he answered:
"Because, when any of our boys escape, the guards are awful hard on
those of us that are left."
"That's no excuse at all," answered Frank. "If you were a man, you
would have endeavored to escape long ago, instead of staying here
and trying to make friends with the enemies of your country. You're
a black-hearted scoundrel and traitor! and I tell you, once for all,
that if you ever come into my quarters again after dark, you'll never
go out alive. We all know about your operations here."
Bishop made no reply, but turned to walk on, when Frank rose to his
feet, and exclaimed:
"Hold on, here! you are not going through this room with that candle.
Go back instantly where you belong, and don't show your face in here
Bishop saw that Frank was in earnest, and, without saying a word, he
turned and walked into his quarters.
Frank had a twofold object in talking to him as he did. He wanted to
let him know that his fellow-prisoners all knew what he had done, and
he wished, also, to deter him from coming into that room again, as he
had determined to make another attempt at escape that very night. The
traitor had no sooner disappeared than Frank descended the stairs that
led down into the hall, at the foot of which there were two guards
"Hallo, Yank!" said one of them, as Frank came down, "I reckon as
how you had better travel right back up sta'rs agin, 'cause it's agin
orders to 'low you fellers to come down here a'ter dark."
"I know it is," answered Frank; "but it is so awful hot up stairs that
I can't stand it. You'll let me stay down here long enough to cool off
a little, won't you?"
"Wal," answered the guard, who really seemed to be a kind-hearted
fellow, "I reckon as how you mought stay here a minit; but you mustn't
stay no longer."
"All right," answered Frank; and he seated himself on the lower step,
and talked with the guards until he was informed that it was high time
he was "travelin' back up sta'rs."
"Very well," answered Frank, rising to his feet, and stretching
himself, "I'll go, if you want me to."
And he _did_ go. With one bound he dashed by the astonished guards,
and, before they could fire a shot, he had disappeared in the
His escape had been accomplished much easier than he had anticipated.
He had expected at least a shot from the guards, and, perhaps, a
struggle with them; for, when he left his quarters, he had determined
to escape, or die in the attempt. In a few moments he reached the
bushes that lined the road on both sides, and threw himself flat among
them, and determined to wait until his pursuers had passed on, so that
he would be on their trail, instead of having them on his. It was well
that he had adopted this precaution, for he had scarcely concealed
himself before the roll of a drum announced that the guards were being
aroused, and that the pursuit was about to commence; and presently a
squad of cavalry dashed rapidly by, and a crashing in the bushes told
him that a party of men were searching the woods for him. As soon
as his pursuers were out of hearing, Frank rose to his feet, and ran
along the road, close to the bushes, so that, if he heard any one
approaching, he would have a place of concealment close at hand. He
had made, perhaps, half a mile in this way, when he discovered a man
pacing up and down the road, with a musket on his shoulder. He was
evidently a picket; and Frank, knowing that his comrades were not far
off, drew back into the bushes, out of sight. Which way should he go
now? This was a question which he could not answer satisfactorily.
There was, doubtless, another picket-post not far off, and if, in
going through the woods, he should stumble upon it, he would be shot
down before he had a chance for flight. Should he attempt to pass the
sentinel by strategy? This seemed to be the most feasible plan, for he
would have a much better chance to escape in running by one man, than
risking the shots of half a dozen. Besides, he had no weapon whatever,
and he resolved to secure the picket's gun, if possible; so, waiting
until his back was turned, he came out of his place of concealment,
and approached him.
"Who comes there?" shouted the picket.
"A friend," answered Frank.
"Advance, friend, and give the countersign."
"Never mind the countersign," answered Frank; "I haven't got it. Have
you seen any thing of an escaped Yankee prisoner out here?"
"No," answered the rebel, lowering his gun, which he had held at a
charge bayonet. "He didn't come around here. But a company of cavalry
went by just now, and my relief went with them."
"And left you here alone?" said Frank, who had continued to approach
the picket, until he was now within arm's length of him.
"Yes," answered the rebel; "and I think it is a pretty way to do
business, for it is time I was"--
He never finished the sentence; for Frank sprang upon him like a
tiger, and seizing his throat, with a powerful gripe, threw him to the
ground; and, hastily catching up the musket which had fallen from his
enemy's hand, dealt him a severe blow on the head. The muscles of
the rebel instantly relaxed; and Frank--after unbuckling his
cartridge-box, and fastening it to his own waist--shouldered his
musket, and ran boldly along the road. He traveled until almost
daylight, without seeing any one, and then turned off into the woods.
About noon, he came to a road, and, as he was crossing it, a bullet
whistled past him, and, the next moment, a party of rebels, whom he
had not noticed, dashed down the road in pursuit. Frank returned the
shot, and then started for the woods, loading his musket as he went.
He soon had the satisfaction of seeing that he was gaining on his
pursuers, and, although the bullets whizzed by his head in unpleasant
proximity, he escaped unhurt. The rebels, however, were not so
fortunate; for Frank fired as fast as he could load his gun, and at
every shot a rebel measured his length on the ground.
For almost two hours his pursuers remained within gun-shot; but
finding it impossible to capture him, or, perhaps, struck with terror
at his skill as a marksman, they abandoned the pursuit. This was a
lucky circumstance for Frank, for, to his astonishment and terror, he
discovered that his last cartridge had been expended. But still, he
was rejoicing over his escape, when a man rose out of the bushes,
close at his side, and seized him by the collar.
The Faithful Negro.
"Wal, now, I'll be dog-gone, but you are lively on your legs, for a
little one," exclaimed the rebel, with a laugh. "But you're a safe
"Not yet, I ain't," answered Frank. "I want you to understand that
it's my principle never to surrender without a fight;" and, suddenly
exerting all his strength, he tore himself away from his captor,
leaving part of his collar in his grasp.
The rebel was taken completely by surprise, for he had supposed that
Frank would surrender without a struggle; but the latter brought his
musket to a charge bayonet, in a way that showed he was in earnest.
The rebel was the better armed, carrying a neat sporting rifle, to
which was attached a long, sharp saber-bayonet. Frank noticed this
difference, but resolutely stood his ground, and, as he was very
expert in the bayonet exercise, and as his enemy appeared to be but
very little his superior in strength and agility, he had no fear as to
the result of the conflict.
At length the rebel, after eyeing his youthful antagonist for a
moment, commenced maneuvering slowly, intending, if possible, to draw
him out. But Frank stood entirely on the defensive; failing in this
mode of attack, the rebel began to grow excited, and became quicker
in his movements. But his efforts were useless, for Frank--although
a little pale, which showed that he knew the struggle must end in the
death of one or the other of them--did not retreat an inch, but coolly
parried every thrust made by his infuriated enemy, with the skill of a
veteran. The rebel was again obliged to change his plan of attack, and
commenced by rushing furiously upon Frank, endeavoring to beat down
his guard by mere strength. But this proved his ruin; for Frank met
him promptly at all points, and, watching the moment when the rebel
carelessly opened his guard, he sprang forward and buried his bayonet
to the hilt in his breast. The thrust was mortal, and the rebel threw
his arms above his head, and sank to the ground without a groan.
"I believe he's done for," said Frank to himself; and he stepped up to
take a nearer look at his enemy. There he lay, his pale face upturned,
and the blood running from an ugly wound in the region of his heart.
"I do believe he _is_ dead," repeated Frank, with a shudder, as
he gazed sorrowfully at he work he had done. "But there was no
alternative between his death and a long confinement in prison. It was
done in self-defense;" and he turned to walk away.
Just then the thought struck him that he would take the rebel's
gun; his own was worse than useless, for his cartridges had all been
expended. So, throwing down his heavy musket, he picked up the rifle
his enemy had carried, and, slinging the powder-horn and bullet-pouch
over his shoulder, he started off through the woods.
But where should he go? His escape, and the manner in which it was
accomplished, had doubtless aroused the entire country. The woods
around him were filled with rebels, and the question was, in which
direction should he turn to avoid them? After some hesitation, he
determined to go as directly through the woods, toward the river, as
possible, and, if discovered, trust to his woodcraft and swiftness of
foot to save him. With this determination, he shouldered his rifle and
walked rapidly on, taking care, however, to keep a good look-out on
all sides, and to make as little noise as possible. All sounds of the
pursuit had died away, and the woods were as silent as midnight. But
even this was a source of fear to Frank; for he knew not what tree or
thicket concealed an enemy, nor how soon the stillness would be broken
by the crack of a rifle and the whistle of a hostile bullet.
At length the sun went down, and it began to grow dark; but still
Frank walked on, wishing to get as far away from the scene of the
fight as possible. Presently he heard a sound that startled him: it
was the clatter of horses' hoofs, on a hard, well-beaten road. Nearer
and nearer came the sound, and, in a few moments, a company of cavalry
passed by, and Frank could distinctly hear them laughing and talking
with each other.
When they were out of hearing, he paused to deliberate. It was evident
that he could not travel through those deep woods at night; should he
wait until it became dark, and then boldly follow the road, or should
he remain where he was until morning? There was one great objection
to the first proposition, and that was his uniform, and the danger he
would run of being captured by the night patrol, which he knew were
stationed at intervals along the road. It did not seem possible for
him to remain where he was; for now, that he had partly got over
his excitement, he began to feel the cravings of hunger; in fact,
it almost rendered him desperate, and he began to wish that he had
surrendered without a struggle, or that he had not attempted to
escape at all, for, if he were a prisoner, he could probably obtain
sufficient food to keep him from starving. But he knew that his time
was too precious to be wasted with such foolish thoughts; besides,
when he thought of home and his mother, who had evidently heard of his
capture, all ideas of surrendering himself vanished, and he felt
that he could endure any thing, even starvation, if he only had the
assurance that he would see home once more. But he knew that wishing
would not bring him out of his present difficulty: he must work
for his liberty; do every thing in his power, and leave the rest to
He started out again, and determined that his first step should be to
reconnoiter the road. No one was in sight; but, about a quarter of a
mile down the road, on the other side, was a large plantation-house,
with its neat negro quarters clustering around it, and looking
altogether like a little village. He knew that some of the cabins were
inhabited, for he saw the smoke wreathing out of the chimneys; could
he not go to one of them, and obtain food? He had often heard of
escaped prisoners being fed and sheltered by the negroes; why could
not he throw himself under their protection? He must have something to
satisfy his hunger; and if he could but gain the woods on the opposite
side of the road, it would require but a few moments to reach the
house. He determined to try it. Glancing hastily up and down the road,
he clutched his rifle desperately, and started. A few rapid steps
carried him across the road; he cleared the fence at a bound, and was
out of sight, in the bushes, in a moment. He immediately started for
the nearest cabin and, in a few moments, came to a stand-still in a
thicket of bushes just behind it. There was some one in the cabin, for
he could see a light shining through the cracks between the logs; and
he distinctly heard the music of a violin, and a voice singing:
"The sun shines bright in my ole Kentucky home"--
But still he hesitated to advance; his courage had failed him. What,
if the negro--for he was certain it was a negro in the cabin--should
betray him? What if--His reverie was suddenly interrupted by the
approach of a horseman on the road. Presently a rebel officer rode
leisurely by. When he arrived opposite the house, a man, who was
sitting on the portico, and whom Frank had not noticed, hailed the
horseman, who drew in his rein, and stopped.
"Have you caught them all yet?" inquired the man on the portico.
"No," answered the officer; "not yet. One of them gave us the slip; a
little fellow; belongs to the gun-boats. He's around here somewhere;
but we'll have him to-morrow, for he can't escape. If he comes around
here, and you think there is any chance to take him alive, just send
down to the Forks for us. If not, you had better shoot him. I wouldn't
advise you to meddle with him much, however, for he's a dead shot, and
fights like a cuss."
"Did he kill any of the boys?" asked the man on the portico.
"Yes; he killed Bill Richards, who was on guard at the time he
escaped, and stole his musket and cartridge-box. I suppose you heard
of that. And then, when we got after him, he ran through the woods
like a deer, loading his gun as he went, and every time he turned
around, somebody had to drop. Finally, old Squire Davis's son overtook
him, and they had a regular hand-to-hand fight; but the little one, as
usual, came out at the top of the heap."
"Did he kill young Davis?"
"Yes, as dead as a smelt; stuck a bayonet clean through his heart. But
I must be going. Keep an eye out for him!"
"All right," answered the man on the portico; and the horseman rode
What Frank's feelings were, as he lay there in the bushes, and
listened to this conversation--every word of which he overheard--we
will not attempt to say. But it showed him that his enemies feared
him, and dreaded to meet him single-handed; and that, if he were
retaken, his life would not be worth a moment's purchase. He had all
along been perfectly aware that his case was desperate, and that he
had undertaken something at which many a person, with twice his years
and experience, would have hesitated. His condition seemed utterly
hopeless. He had never before realized his danger, or what would be
his fate if he were captured; but now all the difficulties before him
seemed to stand out in bold relief. Yet this knowledge did not act
upon him as with some persons; it only nerved him for yet greater
exertions, and with a determination to brave every danger before him.
When the horseman had disappeared, and the man on the portico had
returned to his seat, Frank again turned his attention to the cabin.
After putting a new cap on his rifle, he threw it into the hollow of
his arm, and crawled noiselessly out of his place of concealment.
When he reached the cabin, he raised to his feet, boldly ascended the
steps, and knocked at the door, intending, if his demand for food was
not instantly complied with, to take it by force.
"Who dar?" inquired a voice from the inside.
Frank made no reply, but was about to repeat the summons, when the
door was thrown open, and an old, gray-headed negro woman appeared
before him. Frank was about to make known his wants, when the woman,
who had thrown the door wide open, to allow the light to fall upon
"Why, de Lor' A'mighty bress us! Come in, chile. What is you standin'
out dar for? Come in, I tol' you." And Frank was seized by the arm and
pulled into the cabin, and the door was closed carefully behind him.
"Stop dat 'ar fiddlin', ole man," continued the woman, addressing
herself to an aged negro, who was seated in an easy chair in the
chimney corner; "stop dat 'ar fiddlin', an' git up an' give young
massa dat cheer."
"I don't wish to give you any trouble," said Frank. "I'm not the least
bit tired; but I would like something to eat."
"No trouble 't all, chile," said the old woman. "Now, don't you go
talkin' 'bout trouble, I knows who you is. Set down dar." And the old
woman pointed to the chair which the man had vacated. "I'll give you
somethin' to eat, right away. Pomp, ole man, git up an' cut some
o' dat ham;" and the woman bustled about in a state of considerable
Frank hid his rifle behind a coat which hung in one corner of the
cabin, and was about to take possession of the chair, when hasty steps
were heard on the walk leading to the cabin.
"Gorry mighty!" exclaimed the old negro, in alarm, "dar come de
oberseer. Git under the bed--quick, young massa. You'll be safe
Frank had hardly time to act upon this suggestion, when the door
suddenly opened, and a shaggy head appeared.
"Haven't you had your supper yet, Pomp, you black rascal?" inquired
the overseer, witnessing the preparations for cooking that were going
"I's only been home a few minutes, massa," answered Pomp.
"Well, hurry up, then. I came here," continued the overseer, "to tell
you that there is a Yankee prowling around here somewhere; if he comes
here, I want you to send for me. Do you understand?"
"Yes, massa," answered Pomp.
"Don't you feed him, or do any thing else for him," continued the
overseer. "If you do, I'll whip you to death. Now, mind what I tell
you." And the overseer closed the door, and departed, to carry the
same information and warning to the other cabins.
As soon as the sound of his footsteps had died away, Pomp whispered:
"All right now, young massa. You can come out now--no danger. The
oberseer won't come to dis house g'in dis night."
Frank, accordingly, crawled out from under the bed, and seated himself
in the easy chair, while the old woman went on with her cooking. In
a few minutes, which seemed an age to Frank, however, the meal, which
consisted of coffee, made of parched corn, ham, honey, and corn-bread,
was ready. Frank thought he had never eaten so good a meal before. He
forgot the danger of his situation, and listened to the conversation
of the old negro and his wife, as though there was not a rebel within
a hundred miles of him.
"There," he exclaimed, after he had finished the last piece of
corn-bread, and pushed his chair back from the table, "I believe I've
eaten supper enough to satisfy any two men living."
"Has yer had enough, chile?" asked the old woman. "I's glad to see yer
eat. I wants to do all I can for you Yankee sogers."
"Oh, I've had a great plenty, aunty," answered Frank, as he rose from
the table. "Now, I must bid you good-by," he continued, as he pulled
his rifle out from its hiding-place. "I shall never be able to repay
"Lor' A'mighty, chile!" interrupted the old woman, "whar's you gwine?
You mustn't say one word 'bout gwine out o' dis house _dis_ night.
I's got a bed all fixed for you, an' Pomp will take you up early in de
mornin', an' show you de way fru de swamp."
"Put away dat gun, young massa," chimed in Pomp; "dere's no danger."
Frank could not resist this appeal, for the bed, which the old woman
had made for him in one corner of the cabin, rough as it was, was a
pleasant sight to his eyes. So, after hiding his rifle under one of
the quilts, where he could get his hand upon it at a moment's warning,
he threw himself upon the bed without removing his clothes, and was
fast asleep in a moment. It seemed to him that he had hardly closed
his eyes, when a hand was laid on his shoulder, and Pomp's voice
whispered in his ear:
"Wake up, young massa; 'most daylight."
"You sleep mighty sound, chile," said the old woman, as Frank rose
from the bed. "I's sorry to be 'bilged to 'sturb you, but you must
be gwine now. Here's a little bite for you to eat." As she spoke,
she handed Frank a haversack, such as he had often seen used by the
soldiers of the rebel army, filled with corn-bread and cold ham. Frank
slung it over his shoulder, and, after pulling his rifle out from
under the bed, said:
"Aunty, I thank you for your kindness to"--
"Lor' A'mighty, chile!" interrupted the woman, "don't say one word
'bout dat, I tol' you. I's sorry we can't do more for you; but you
must go away now. May de good Lor' bress you."
The tears rolled down the old woman's cheeks as she said this,
and Frank silently shook her hand, and followed Pomp out into the
Chased by Blood-Hounds.
The moon had gone down, the stars were hidden by thick, heavy clouds,
and it was so dark that it was impossible to distinguish the nearest
objects. Every thing was as silent as death; but this did not affect
the vigilance of Pomp, who led the way with noiseless steps, pausing,
now and then, to listen. They met with no difficulty, however, and,
in a few moments, the plantation was left behind, and they entered
the swamp. It was a chilly, gloomy place, and the darkness was
impenetrable; but Frank relied implicitly on his guide, who seemed
to understand what he was about, and kept as close behind him as
For an hour they traveled without speaking; at length Pomp stopped on
the bank of a narrow but deep stream.
"Can you swim, young massa?" he inquired, turning to Frank.
"Yes, like a duck," was the reply.
"I's mighty glad to h'ar it," said Pomp, "'cause den you're safe. But
I's been mighty oneasy 'bout it, 'cause, if you can't swim, you're
kotched, shore. Now," he continued, "I must leave you here, 'cause I
don't want to let any one know dat I's been away from de plantation.
You must cross dis creek, and foller dat road," pointing to a narrow,
well-beaten bridle-path on the opposite bank, "an' dat will lead you
straight to de Red Ribber. You must keep a good watch, now, 'cause
you'll h'ar something 'fore long dat'll make you wish you had nebber
been born. I's heered it often, an' I knows what it is. Good-by; an'
de Lor' bress an' protect you;" and, before Frank could speak, Pomp
Alone! The young hero had never before comprehended the full meaning
of that single word, as he did now. Alone, in an almost unbroken
forest, which was filled with enemies, who were thirsting for his
blood; with no one to whom he could go for advice or assistance. Is it
to be wondered that he felt lonely and discouraged?
He looked back to the scenes through which he had passed: the fight;
his capture; the long, weary march, under a burning sun; his treatment
in the prison, the escape, and the pursuit; the hand-to-hand struggle
in the woods; all came up vividly before him, and he wondered how he
had escaped unhurt; and, then, what had the future in store for him?
The warning of the faithful Pomp was still ringing in his ears, and
a dread of impending evil, which he could not shake off, continually
pressed upon him. For the first time since his escape, Frank was
completely unnerved. Seating himself on the ground, he covered his
face with his hands, and cried like a child.
But this burst of weakness did not continue long, for he did not
forget that he was still in danger. Hastily dashing the tears from his
eyes, he rose to his feet, and prepared to cross the stream. Holding
his rifle and ammunition above his head with one hand, he swam with
the other, reached the opposite bank in safety, and followed the path
into the swamp. A mile further on, he came to another stream, and
was making preparations to cross it, when he was startled by a voice,
which sounded from the opposite bank:
"Who goesh dere?"
Instead of replying to the challenge, Frank sprang behind a tree, and,
looking across the stream, discovered a tall, powerfully-built man,
dressed in "butternut" clothes, holding his rifle in the hollow of his
arm. In an instant Frank's gun was at his shoulder, and his finger was
already pressing the trigger, when the man exclaimed:
"What for you shoot? I be a friend."
Frank, although fearful of treachery, lowered his gun, and the
Dutchman, moving out of the bushes, leaned on his rifle, and inquired:
"Where you go? I guess you been a gun-boat feller; ain't it?"
"Yes," answered Frank, "I once belonged to a gun-boat. But who are
"Me? Oh, I was a captain in the army. Sherman gets licked at
Wicksburg, an' I gets took brisoner; an' purty quick me an' anoder
feller runs away. Here he is;" and, as the Dutchman spoke, a man
wearing a shabby Confederate uniform appeared.
Frank's mind was made up in an instant. Beyond a doubt this was but
a stratagem to capture him. But he resolved that he would never
surrender, as long as he had sufficient strength to handle his rifle.
"Well, my young friend," exclaimed the man in the rebel uniform, "this
is a nice dress for a Federal officer to be wearing, isn't it?"
"I don't believe that either of you are officers in the Federal army,"
answered Frank. "It's my opinion that you are both rebels. If it is
your intention to attempt to capture me, I may as well tell you that
your expectations will never be realized, for I shall never be taken
alive;" and Frank handled the lock of his gun in a very significant
"I admire your grit," said the man, "and I acknowledge that you have
strong grounds for suspicion. But we are really escaped prisoners."
"Yah," chimed in the Dutchman, "I shwear dat is so."
"It is no fault of ours," continued the man, "that we are wearing
rebel uniforms; for we were compelled to exchange with our captors,
and were obliged to accept these, or go without any."
"What regiment do you belong to?"
"The One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry, Company 'K.' I
formerly belonged to the Forty-sixth Maine."
"Do you know any of the boys belonging to Company 'B,' of the
Forty-sixth Maine Regiment?"
"Oh, yes," replied the man, "I know Harry and George Butler, Ben Lake,
and, in fact, all the boys; for I once belonged to that very company.
My home is only twenty miles from Lawrence, the place where the
company was raised."
Frank did not stop to ask any more questions, for he was satisfied
that he had fallen in with friends. How his heart bounded at meeting
one who had lived so near his own home! He hastily crossed the stream,
and, seizing the man's hand, shook it heartily.
"I am overjoyed at meeting with you, sir," he said, in a voice choked
with emotion. "Perhaps I owe you an apology; but you will acknowledge
that it is best to be on the safe side."
"Certainly it is," answered the man. "I should have done exactly as
you did, if I had been in your place. But where are you travelling
"I want to reach Red River, as soon as possible."
"So do we! But we have lost our reckoning, and don't know which way to
"I do," said Frank. "This path leads directly to it."
They did not linger long to converse--time was too precious for
that--but immediately struck into the path, Frank leading the way.
He soon learned that the names of his newly-found friends were Major
Williams and Captain Schmidt. They had been captured, with two hundred
others, at the battle of Vicksburg, and had escaped while being taken
into Texas. They had accomplished, perhaps, half a dozen miles from
the place where they met, when the breeze bore to their ears a sound
that made Frank turn as pale as death, and tremble as though suddenly
seized with a fit of the ague. They all heard it; but he was the only
one who knew what it was.
"What ish dat, ony how?" coolly inquired the captain.
Before Frank could reply, the fearful sound was repeated, faint and
far off, but still nearer than before.
"Merciful heavens!" ejaculated the major, who now understood their
situation; "is it possible you don't know what that sound is? _It is
the cry of a blood-hound!_"
"Oh, yah!" exclaimed the captain, as though the idea had suddenly come
into his head, "I did think it vas a dorg."
"Push ahead now, boys, for Heaven's sake!" exclaimed the major. "Push
ahead as fast as possible."
The captain evidently did not comprehend the danger of their
situation; but Frank and the major knew that their lives depended
upon the next few moments. Oh, how thankful was Frank that he was not
alone! He now knew the meaning of Pomp's warning; and the dreadful
sound had so unnerved him, that it was with great difficulty he could
keep on his way. But this lasted only for a moment. His fear changed
to indignation, and a desire to execute vengeance on men who could be
guilty of such barbarity. It seemed as though the strength of a dozen
men was suddenly infused into him; so, shouldering his rifle, he ran
along the path with a speed that made it difficult for the Dutchman
to keep pace with him. But, fast as they went, the fearful sound grew
louder and louder; and, finally, they distinctly heard the clatter of
horses' hoofs, and voices cheering on the dogs.
"Hurry on, for mercy's sake," said the major.
"Mine Gott in Himmel!" ejaculated the captain, who was puffing and
blowing like a porpoise; "I can't run no faster. I guess it's petter
we stops and fights 'em, ain't it? I been not a good feller to run!"
"You _must_ run a little further," said Frank. "We will certainly be
captured, if we stop to fight them here."
The captain made no reply, but kept along as close behind the major as
possible. Frank's swiftness of foot was standing him well in hand now,
for he frequently found himself obliged to slacken his pace, in order
to allow his friends to come up with him. But his usual confidence
was gone. He knew he could not stand that rapid pace much longer.
Soon they must stop and fight; and what if the dogs, which would,
undoubtedly, be some distance in advance of the horsemen, should
overpower them? Frank had often read of the ferocity of these
blood-hounds, and the thought of being pulled down and torn to pieces
by them in those dark woods, and the knowledge that his mother and
sister would forever remain ignorant of his fate, was terrible.
Suddenly, an abrupt bend in the path brought them to the banks of
another of those narrow streams with which the country was intersected
like a net-work. What a cheering sight it was to Frank's eyes! He
now saw some chance for escape; and, without hesitating a moment, he
plunged into the water. The others were close at his heels, and a few
bold strokes brought them to the opposite shore.
"Here we are," said the major. "Our chance for escape is rather slim,
but we will make a stand here."
They had scarcely concealed themselves in the bushes, when one of the
hounds appeared on the bank. He was followed by another, and still
another, until eight of the terrible animals were in sight. They
followed the trail of the fugitives down to the edge of the water,
where, finding themselves at fault, they separated, and commenced
beating up and down the bank, now and then looking toward the opposite
shore, and uttering their bays, which sounded in Frank's ears like the
knell of death.
"I pelieve I shoots one of them dorgs, ain't it?" said the captain;
and he thrust his rifle cautiously through the bushes.
"No, no," commanded the major, "save your ammunition. The men will be
here in a minute. Here they come now." And, as he spoke, there was a
loud crashing in the bushes, and four horsemen came in sight.
"Thunder!" exclaimed one of them, who wore the uniform of a colonel,
"I was in hopes we should catch the rascal before he reached this
place. Here, Tige," he continued, addressing a powerful white hound,
"hunt 'em up, hunt 'em up!"
The hound ran down to the edge of the stream, and barked and whined
furiously, but still hesitated to enter; for hounds are always averse
to going into water.
"Hunt 'em up, sir!" shouted the colonel, angrily.
The dog, evidently, feared his master more than the water, for he
plunged in, and commenced swimming toward the place where Frank
and his companions were concealed; and the others, after a little
hesitation, followed him.
"Ready, now, boys," whispered the major. "Captain, you shoot that
white hound. Frank, you take the colonel, and I'll attend to the man
just behind him. Don't waste your lead now."
The three rifles cracked in rapid succession, and the colonel and one
of his men fell heavily from their saddles. The white hound gave one
short howl of pain, and sank out of sight. Every shot had reached its
The remaining rebels stood aghast at this sudden repulse; and the
smoke of the rifles had scarcely cleared away, when they wheeled their
horses, and disappeared in the woods.
The death of the white hound produced no less consternation among his
canine assistants, for they each gave a short yelp, and turned and
made for the shore.
"Now's our time, boys," exclaimed the major; "come on, and load your
guns as you run;" and he started rapidly down the path.
All sounds of the rebels were soon left behind; but our party kept on
their way, until they emerged from the woods, and found themselves in
full view of a plantation.
"I pelieve somebody lives in that house," exclaimed the captain,
drawing back in the bushes.
"No doubt of it," answered the major.
"Let's move back into the woods a little further, and eat some
dinner," said Frank; and he turned to walk away, and felt for the
haversack the negro woman had given him. But it seemed that he was
destined to disappointment, for the haversack was gone.
During all the perils he had encountered that day, he had been buoyed
up by the thought that he had food sufficient to last him for a day
or two, and that he was in no danger of suffering the pangs of hunger.
But now his spirits fell again to zero.
"How unfortunate!" he exclaimed. "But it's just my luck."
"Yes, it is too bad," said the major; "for now we shall be obliged to
run the risk of being captured, in order to procure food. But let us
move on, and get as far away from this place as possible."
Frank silently shouldered his rifle, and followed the major, who
threaded his way along in the edge of the woods, taking care to keep
out of sight of any one who might be in the house. They kept on until
dark, and then halted in the rear of another plantation, to hold a
consultation relative to the manner in which they should obtain food.
"Well," said the major, "we must have something to eat, that's
certain; and the only way I can think of, is to draw lots to see who
shall go up to the house after it. It is a dangerous undertaking, but
that is the fairest way to see who shall run the risk;" and the major
selected three sticks of different lengths, and continued, as he held
them out to Frank, in his closed hand, "Now, the one that draws the
shortest stick must go to the house and procure us some food."
Frank drew first, then the captain, and the major took the one that
was left. The lot fell upon Frank.
"Now," said the major, as he shook Frank's hand, "be careful of
yourself, my friend. We will remain here until you return. When you
get into the woods give two low whistles, that we may know that it is
Frank silently returned the pressure of the major's hand, and moved
away. He climbed over the fence that ran between the woods and the
plantation, and walked fearlessly toward the house. He was not at all
pleased with the part he had to perform, for he remembered the danger
he had run the night before; but his determination was to do his duty,
and trust to his skill to carry him safely through.
He shaped his course toward the negro quarters, which were in the
rear of the house; but he soon discovered that these were entirely
deserted. He carefully examined all the cabins, in hopes of finding
a hen-roost, but in vain. His only alternative was to try the house.
There was a light shining in the window, and Frank determined to
reconnoiter the premises, and, if possible, learn who were in the
house, before asking admittance. With this intention he shouldered
his rifle, and was about to move forward, when he was startled by the
sound of horses' hoofs behind him, and a voice exclaimed:
"Hullo, my friend! Have you an extra bed in the house, for a soldier?"
Frank turned, and found that the horseman was so close to him that
flight was impossible. His first impulse was to shoot him where he
sat; but he was still ignorant of the number of persons there might be
in the house. Perhaps it was filled with soldiers. The report of
his gun would certainly alarm them, and might lead to his capture.
Besides, the man had addressed him as though he were the proprietor of
the plantation; perhaps he might be able to obtain some information.
So he answered, with some hesitation:
"Yes, I suppose there is an extra bed in the house; but I should
really like to know who and what you are, before I agree to
"I am Lieutenant Somers," answered the rebel; "and I belong to the
Seventeenth Georgia Infantry. You belong to the army too, do you not?"
he continued, noticing the brass buttons on Frank's coat.
It was a lucky circumstance for the young hero that the night was so
dark, or he would certainly have been discovered.
"Yes," he answered, in reply to the rebel's question, "I am in the
service. But what are you doing around here this time of night?"
"I have been hunting after an escaped Yankee prisoner--a gun-boat
"Did you catch him?" inquired Frank.
"No; but I caught two others. I chased this gun-boat fellow with
blood-hounds; but when I overtook him, I found that he had been
reinforced by half a dozen others, and I was obliged to retreat. The
scoundrels killed Colonel Acklen and one of his men, and the best
blood-hound in Louisiana."
"Where are the prisoners you captured?" inquired Frank, hardly able
to suppress his exultation at finding himself face to face with one of
the men who had hunted him with blood-hounds.
"Oh, I left them at the back of the plantation, one of my men is
keeping guard over them; but there is scarcely any need of that, for
the Yankees are securely bound."
"They are, eh!" exclaimed Frank, who could restrain himself no longer.
"Well, here is a Yankee who is not bound, and never intends to be;"
and he raised his rifle to his shoulder, and glanced along the
clean, brown barrel. "I am the gun-boat fellow you were pursuing
with blood-hounds. So, if you wish to live five minutes longer, don't
attempt to make any resistance."
The rebel was taken so completely by surprise that he could not utter
a word, but sat on his horse as motionless and dumb as though he had
been suddenly turned into a statue.
"Come down off that horse!" commanded his captor.
The rebel obeyed, without hesitation.
"Now, have you got any dangerous weapons about you?" inquired Frank.
"Tell the truth, now, for your life isn't worth a picayune."
"Yes," answered the rebel, "I have a revolver and a Bowie-knife;" and
he raised his hand to his breast pocket.
"Hands down! hands down!" exclaimed Frank; "I want to examine your
pockets myself;" and he stepped forward and relieved the rebel of a
Bowie-knife, a revolver, several cartridges, a flint and steel,
and some papers. These, with the exception of the revolver, he laid
carefully on the ground, and placed his rifle beside them. "Now,"
continued Frank, "it would be a great accommodation if you would trade
uniforms with me. The people in this part of the country don't seem to
like Uncle Sam's clothes very well. Come out of that coat."
The rebel hesitated to obey.
"Come out of that coat, Lieutenant Somers," repeated Frank, slowly;
and he raised his revolver until it was on a line with his captive's
The sight of his own weapon, whose qualities he probably knew full
well, brought the rebel to his senses, and he quickly divested himself
of his coat.
"Now, pull off those pants," commanded his captor.
The rebel obeyed; and Frank continued, as he divested himself of his
own clothes: "Now, if you wish, you can put on these."
The rebel had no other alternative, and he slowly donned the naval
uniform, while Frank quickly converted himself into a fine-looking
rebel lieutenant. He then carefully pocketed the articles which he had
taken from the rebel, with the exception of the papers.
"What are these?" he inquired.
"The one in the brown envelope is my appointment, and the others are
orders to take my company and act as scouts."
The latter were just what Frank wanted.
"Now," said Frank, going up to the horse, which had stood patiently
by, "I have one more favor to ask of you, you mean, sneaking rebel,
and then I am done with you. I want you to show me where you left your