Part 4 out of 5
"Oh, it's you, is it--Well, drop that gun and come down here."
The Dillon boy rose, leaving his gun on the ground, and came down, trembling.
"What're you doin' sneaking around in the brush?"
"Nothin'!" The Dillon had to make two efforts before he could speak at all.
"Nothin', jes' a-huntin'!"
"Huntin'!" repeated Chad. He lowered his pistol and looked at the sorry figure
"I know what you were huntin', you rattlesnake! I understand you are captain
of the Home Guard. I reckon you don't know that nobody has to go into this
war. That a man has the right to stay peaceably at home, and nobody has the
right to bother him. If you don't know it, I tell you now. I believe you had
something to do with shooting Uncle Joel."
The Dillon shook his head, and fumbled with his hands.
"If I knew it, I'd kill you where you stand, now. But I've got one word to say
to you, you hell-pup. I hate to think it, but you and I are on the same
side--that is, if you have any side. But in spite of that, if I hear of any
harm happening to Aunt Betsey, or Melissa, or Uncle Joel, or Rube, while they
are all peaceably at home, I'm goin' to hold you and Tad responsible, whether
you are or not, and I'll kill you"--he raised one hand to make the Almighty a
witness to his oath --"I'll kill you, if I have to follow you both to hell for
doin' it. Now, you take keer of 'em! Turn 'round!"
The Dillon hesitated.
"Turn!" Chad cried, savagely, raising his pistol. "Go back to that gun, an' if
you turn your head I'll shoot you where you're sneakin' aroun' to shoot Rube
or Uncle Joel--in the back, you cowardly feist. Pick up that gun! Now, let her
off! See if you can hit that beech-tree in front of you. Just imagine that
The rifle cracked and Chad laughed.
"Well, you ain't much of a shot. I reckon you must have chills and fever. Now,
come back here. Give me your powder-horn. You'll find it on top of the hill on
the right-hand side of the road. Now, you trot--home!"
Then Dillon stared.
"Double-quick!" shouted Chad. "You ought to know what that means if you are a
soldier--a soldier!" he repeated, contemptuously.
The Dillon disappeared on a run.
Chad rode all that night. At dawn he reached the foot-hills, and by noon he
drew up at the road which turned to Camp Dick Robinson. He sat there a long
time thinking, and then pushed on toward Lexington. If he could, he would keep
from fighting on Kentucky soil.
Next morning he was going at an easy "running-walk" along the old Maysville
road toward the Ohio. Within three miles of Major Buford's, he leaped the
fence and stuck across the fields that he might go around and avoid the risk
of a painful chance meeting with his old friend or any of the Deans.
What a land of peace and plenty it was--the woodlands, meadows, pasture lands!
Fat cattle raised their noses from the thick grass and looked with mild
inquiry at him. Sheep ran bleating toward him, as though he were come to salt
them. A rabbit leaped from a thorn-bush and whisked his white flag into safety
in a hemp-field. Squirrels barked in the big oaks, and a covey of young quail
fluttered up from a fence corner and sailed bravely away. 'Possum signs were
plentiful, and on the edge of the creek he saw a coon solemnly searching under
a rock with one paw for crawfish Every now and then Dixie would turn her head
impatiently to the left, for she knew where home was. The Deans' house was
just over the hill he would have but the ride to the top to see it and,
perhaps, Margaret. There was no need. As he sat, looking up the hill, Margaret
herself rode slowly over it, and down, through the sunlight slanting athwart
the dreaming woods, straight toward him. Chad sat still. Above him the road
curved, and she could not see him until she turned the little thicket just
before him. Her pony was more startled than was she. A little leap of color to
her face alone showed her surprise.
"Did you get my note?"
"I did. You got my mother's message?"
"I did." Chad paused. "That is why I am passing around you."
The girl said nothing.
"But I'm glad I came so near. I wanted to see you once more. I wish I could
make you understand. But nobody understands. I hardly understand myself. But
please try to believe that what I say is true. I'm just back from the
mountains, and listen, Margaret--" He halted a moment to steady his voice.
"The Turners down there took me in when I was a ragged outcast. They clothed
me, fed me, educated me. The Major took me when I was little more; and he fed
me, clothed me, educated me. The Turners scorned me--Melissa told me to go
herd with the Dillons. The Major all but turned me from his door. Your father
was bitter toward me, thinking that I had helped turn Harry to the Union
cause. But let me tell you! If the Turners died, believing me a traitor; if
Lissy died with a curse on her lips for me; if the Major died without, as he
believed, ever having polluted his lips again with my name; if Harry were
brought back here dead, and your father died, believing that his blood was on
my hands; and if I lost you and your love, and you died, believing the same
thing--I must still go. Oh, Margaret, I can't understand--I have ceased to
reason. I only know I must go!"
The girl in the mountains had let her rage and scorn loose like a storm, but
the gentlewoman only grew more calm. Every vestige of color left her, but her
eyes never for a moment wavered from his face. Her voice was quiet and even
"Then, why don't you go?"
The lash of an overseer's whip across his face could not have made his soul so
bleed. Even then he did not lose himself.
"I am in your way," he said, quietly. And backing Dixie from the road, and
without bending his head or lowering his eyes, he waited, hat in hand, for
Margaret to pass.
All that day Chad rode, and, next morning, Dixie climbed the Union bank of the
Ohio and trotted into the recruiting camp of the Fourth Ohio Cavalry. The
first man Chad saw was Harry Dean--grave, sombre, taciturn, though he smiled
and thrust out his hand eagerly. Chad's eyes dropped to the sergeant's stripes
on Harry's sleeves, and again Harry smiled.
"You'll have 'em yourself in a week. These fellows ride like a lot of
meal-bags over here. Here's my captain," he added, in a lower voice.
A pompous officer rode slowly up. He pulled in his horse when he saw Chad.
"You want to join the army?"
"Yes," said Chad.
"All right. That's a fine horse you've got."
Chad said nothing.
"What's his name?"
"HER name is Dixie."
The captain stared. Some soldiers behind laughed in a smothered fashion,
sobering their' faces quickly when the captain turned upon them, furious.
"Well, change her name!"
"I'll not change her name," said Chad, quietly.
"What!" shouted the officer. "How dare you--" Chad's eyes looked ominous.
"Don't you give any orders to me--not yet. You haven't the right; and when you
have, you can save your breath by not giving that one. This horse comes from
Kentucky, and so do I; her name will stay Dixie as long as I straddle her, and
I propose to straddle her until one of us dies, or,"--he smiled and nodded
across the river--"somebody over there gets her who won't object to her name
as much as you do."
The astonished captain's lips opened, but a quiet voice behind interrupted
"Never mind, Captain." Chad turned and saw a short, thick-set man with a
stubbly brown beard, whose eyes were twinkling, though his face was grave. "A
boy who wants to fight for the Union, and insists on calling his horse Dixie,
must be all right. Come with me, my lad."
As Chad followed, he heard the man saluted as Colonel Grant, but he paid no
heed. Few people at that time did pay heed to the name of Ulysses Grant.
CHAPTER 22. MORGAN'S MEN
Boots and saddles at daybreak!
Over the border, in Dixie, two videttes in gray trot briskly from out a leafy
woodland, side by side, and looking with keen eyes right and left; one, erect,
boyish, bronzed; the other, slouching, bearded, huge--the boy, Daniel Dean;
the man, Rebel Jerry Dillon, one of the giant twins.
Fifty yards behind them emerges a single picket; after him come three more
videttes, the same distance apart. Fifty yards behind the last rides "the
advance"--a guard of twenty-five picked men. No commission among "Morgan's
Men" was more eagerly sought than a place on that guard of hourly risk and
honor. Behind it trot still three more videttes, at intervals of one hundred
yards, and just that interval behind the last of these ride Morgan's Men, the
flower of Kentucky's youth, in columns of fours--Colonel Hunt's regiment in
advance, the colors borne by Renfrew the Silent in a brilliant Zouave jacket
studded with buttons of red coral. In the rear rumble two Parrot guns,
affectionately christened the "Bull Pups."
Skirting the next woodland ran a cross-road. Down one way gallops Dan, and
down the other lumbers Rebel Jerry, each two hundred yards. A cry rings from
vidette to vidette behind them and back to the guard. Two horsemen spur from
the "advance" and take the places of the last two videttes, while the videttes
in front take and keep the original formation until the column passes that
cross-road, when Dean and Dillon gallop up to their old places in the extreme
front again. Far in front, and on both flanks, are scouting parties, miles
This was the way Morgan marched.
Yankees ahead! Not many, to be sure--no more numerous than two or three to
one; so back fall the videttes and forward charges that advance guard like a
thunderbolt, not troubling the column behind. Wild yells, a clattering of
hoofs, the crack of pistol-shots, a wild flight, a merry chase, a few
riderless horses gathered in from the fleeing Yankees, and the incident is
Ten miles more, and many hostile bayonets gleam ahead. A serious fight, this,
perhaps--so back drops the advance, this time as a reserve; up gallops the
column into single rank and dismounts, while the flank companies, deploying as
skirmishers, cover the whole front, one man out of each set of fours and the
corporals holding the horses in the rear. The "Bull Pups" bark and the Rebel
yell rings as the line--the files two yards apart--"a long flexible line
curving forward at each extremity"--slips forward at a half run. This time the
From every point of that curving line pours a merciless fire, and the charging
men in blue recoil--all but one. (War is full of grim humor.) On comes one
lone Yankee, hatless, red-headed, pulling on his reins with might and main,
his horse beyond control, and not one of the enemy shoot as he sweeps
helplessly into their line. A huge rebel grabs his bridle-rein.
"I don't know whether to kill you now," he says, with pretended ferocity, "or
wait till the fight is over."
"For God's sake, don't kill me at all!" shouts the Yankee. "I'm a dissipated
character, and not prepared to die."
Shots from the right flank and rear, and the line is thrown about like a rope.
But the main body of the Yankees is to the left.
"Left face! Double-quick!" is the ringing order, and, by magic, the line
concentrates in a solid phalanx and sweeps forward.
This was the way Morgan fought.
And thus, marching and fighting, he went his triumphant way into the land of
the enemy, without sabres, without artillery, without even the "Bull Pups,"
sometimes--fighting infantry, cavalry, artillery with only muzzle-loading
rifles, pistols, and shotguns; scattering Home Guards like turkeys; destroying
railroads and bridges; taking towns and burning Government stores, and
encompassed, usually, with forces treble his own.
This was what Morgan did on a raid, was what he had done, what he was starting
out now to do again.
Darkness threatens, and the column halts to bivouac for the night on the very
spot where, nearly a year before, Morgan's Men first joined Johnston's army,
which, like a great, lean, hungry hawk, guarded the Southern border.
Daniel Dean was a war-worn veteran now. He could ride twenty hours out of the
twenty-four; he could sleep in his saddle or anywhere but on picket duty, and
there was no trick of the trade in camp, or on the march, that was not at his
Fire first! Nobody had a match, the leaves were wet and the twigs soggy, but
by some magic a tiny spark glows under some shadowy figure, bites at the
twigs, snaps at the branches, and wraps a log in flames.
Water next! A tin cup rattles in a bucket, and another shadowy figure steals
off into the darkness, with an instinct as unerring as the skill of a
water-witch with a willow wand. The Yankees chose open fields for camps, but
your rebel took to the woods. Each man and his chum picked a tree for a home,
hung up canteens and spread blankets at the foot of it. Supper--Heavens, what
luck--fresh beef! One man broils it on coals, pinning pieces of fat to it to
make gravy; another roasts it on a forked stick, for Morgan carried no cooking
utensils on a raid.
Here, one man made up bread in an oilcloth (and every Morgan's man had one
soon after they were issued to the Federals); another worked up corn-meal into
dough in the scooped-out half of a pumpkin; one baked bread on a flat rock,
another on a board, while a third had twisted his dough around his ram-rod; if
it were spring-time, a fourth might be fitting his into a cornshuck to roast
in ashes. All this Dan Dean could do.
The roaring fire thickens the gloom of the woods where the lonely pickets
stand. Pipes are out now. An oracle outlines the general campaign of the war
as it will be and as it should have been. A long-winded, innocent braggart
tells of his personal prowess that day. A little group is guying the new
recruit. A wag shaves a bearded comrade on one side of his face, pockets his
razor and refuses to shave the other side. A poet, with a bandaged eye, and
hair like a windblown hay-stack, recites "I am dying, Egypt-- dying," and then
a pure, clear, tenor voice starts through the forest-aisles, and there is
sudden silence. Every man knows that voice, and loves the boy who owns
it--little Tom Morgan, Dan's brother-in-arms, the General's seventeen-year-old
brother--and there he stands leaning against a tree, full in the light of the
fire, a handsome, gallant figure--a song like a seraph's pouring from his
lips. One bearded soldier is gazing at him with curious intentness, and when
the song ceases, lies down with a suddenly troubled face. He has seen the
"death-look" in the boy's eyes--that prophetic death-look in which he has
unshaken faith. The night deepens, figures roll up in blankets, quiet comes,
and Dan lies wide awake and deep in memories, and looking back on those early
helpless days of the war with a tolerant smile.
He was a war-worn veteran now, but how vividly he could recall that first
night in the camp of a big army, in the very woods where he now lay--dusk
settling over the Green River country, which Morgan's Men grew to love so
well; a mocking-bird singing a farewell song from the top of a stunted oak to
the dead summer and the dying day; Morgan seated on a cracker-box in front of
his tent, contemplatively chewing one end of his mustache; Lieutenant Hunt
swinging from his horse, smiling grimly.
"It would make a horse laugh--a Yankee cavalry horse, anyhow--to see this
Hunt had been over the camp that first afternoon on a personal tour of
investigation. They were not a thousand Springfield and Enfield rifles at that
time in Johnston's army. Half of the soldiers were armed with shotguns and
squirrel rifle and the greater part of the other half with flintlock muskets.
But nearly every man, thinking he was in for a rough-and-tumble fight, had a
bowie knife and a revolver swung to his belt.
"Those Arkansas and Texas fellows have got knives that would make a Malay's
blood run cold."
"Well, they'll do to hew firewood and cut meat," laughed Morgan.
The troops were not only badly armed. On his tour, Hunt had seen men making
blankets of pieces of old carpet, lined on one side with a piece of cotton
cloth; men wearing ox-hide buskins, or complicated wrapping of rags, for
shoes; orderly sergeants making out reports on shingles; surgeon using a
twisted handkerchief instead of a tourniquet. There was a total lack of
medicine, and camp diseases were already breaking out--measles, typhoid fever,
pneumonia, bowel troubles--each fatal, it seemed, in time of war.
"General Johnston has asked Richmond for a stand of thirty thousand arms,"
Morgan had mused, and Hunt looked up inquiringly.
"Mr. Davis can only spare a thousand."
"That's lucky," said Hunt, grimly.
And then the military organization of that army, so characteristic of the
Southerner! An officer who wanted to be more than a colonel, and couldn't be a
brigadier, would have a "legion"-- a hybrid unit between a regiment and a
brigade. Sometimes there was a regiment whose roll-call was more than two
thousand men, so popular was its colonel. Companies would often refuse to
designate themselves by letter, but by the thrilling titles they had given
themselves. How Morgan and Hunt had laughed over "The Yellow Jackets," "The
Dead Shots," "The Earthquakes," "The Chickasha Desperadoes," and "The Hell
Roarers"! Regiments would bear the names of their commanders--a singular
instance of the Southerner's passion for individuality, as a man, a company, a
regiment, or a brigade. And there was little or no discipline, as the word is
understood among the military elect, and with no army that the world has ever
seen, Richard Hunt always claimed, was there so little need of it. For
Southern soldiers, he argued, were, from the start, obedient, zealous, and
tolerably patient, from good sense and a strong sense of duty. They were born
fighters; a spirit of emulation induced them to learn the drill; pride and
patriotism kept them true and patient to the last, but they could not be made,
by punishment or the fear of it, into machines. They read their chance of
success, not in opposing numbers, but in the character and reputation of their
commanders, who, in turn, believed, as a rule, that "the unthinking automaton,
formed by routine and punishment, could no more stand before the high-strung
young soldier with brains and good blood, and some practice and knowledge of
warfare, than a tree could resist a stroke of lightning." So that with
Southern soldiers discipline came to mean "the pride which made soldiers learn
their duties rather than incur disgrace; the subordination that came from
self-respect and respect for the man whom they thought worthy to command
Boots and saddles again at daybreak! By noon the column reached Green River,
over the Kentucky line, where Morgan, even on his way down to join Johnston,
had begun the operations which were to make him famous. No picket duty that
infantry could do as well, for Morgan's cavalry! He wanted it kept out on the
front or the flanks of an army, and as close as possible upon the enemy. Right
away, there had been thrilling times for Dan in the Green River
country--setting out at dark, chasing countrymen in Federal pay or sympathy,
prowling all night around and among pickets and outposts; entrapping the
unwary; taking a position on the line of retreat at daybreak, and turning
leisurely back to camp with prisoners and information. How memories thronged!
At this very turn of the road, Dan remembered, they had their first brush with
the enemy. No plan of battle had been adopted, other than to hide on both
sides of the road and send their horses to the rear.
"I think we ought to charge 'em," said Georgie Forbes, Chad's old enemy. Dan
saw that his lip trembled, and, a moment later, Georgie, muttering something,
The Yankees had come on, and, discovering them, halted. Morgan himself stepped
out in the road and shot the officer riding at the head of the column. His men
fell back without returning the fire, deployed and opened up. Dan recognized
the very tree behind which he had stood, and again he could almost hear
Richard Hunt chuckling from behind another close by.
"We would be in bad shape," said Richard Hunt, as the bullets whistled high
overhead, "if we were in the tops of these trees instead of behind them."
There had been no maneuvering, no command given among the Confederates. Each
man fought his own fight. In ten minutes a horse-holder ran up from the rear,
breathless, and announced that the Yankees were flanking. Every man withdrew,
straightway, after his own fashion, and in his own time. One man was wounded
and several were shot through the clothes.
"That was like a camp-meeting or an election row," laughed Morgan, when they
were in camp.
"Or an affair between Austrian and Italian outposts," said Hunt.
A chuckle rose behind them. A lame colonel was limping past.
"I got your courier," he said.
"I sent no courier," said Morgan.
"It was Forbes who wanted to charge 'em," said Dan.
Again the Colonel chuckled.
"The Yankees ran when you did," he said, and limped, chuckling, away.
But it was great fun, those moonlit nights, burning bridges and chasing Home
Guards who would flee fifteen or twenty miles sometimes to "rally." Here was a
little town through which Dan and Richard Hunt had marched with nine prisoners
in a column--taken by them alone--and a captured United States flag, flying in
front, scaring Confederate sympathizers and straggling soldiers, as Hunt
reported, horribly. Dan chuckled at the memory, for the prisoners were
quartered with different messes, and, that night, several bottles of sparkling
Catawba happened, by some mystery, to be on hand. The prisoners were told that
this was regularly issued by their commissaries, and thereupon they plead,
with tears, to be received into the Confederate ranks.
This kind of service was valuable training for Morgan's later work. Slight as
it was, it soon brought him thirty old, condemned artillery-horses--Dan smiled
now at the memory of those ancient chargers--which were turned over to Morgan
to be nursed until they would bear a mount, and, by and by, it gained him a
colonelcy and three companies, superbly mounted and equipped, which, as
"Morgan's Squadron," became known far and near. Then real service began.
In January, the right wing of Johnston's hungry hawk had been broken in the
Cumberland Mountains. Early in February, Johnston had withdrawn it from
Kentucky before Buell's hosts, with its beak always to the foe. By the middle
of the month, Grant had won the Western border States to the Union, with the
capture of Fort Donelson. In April, the sun of Shiloh rose and set on the
failure of the first Confederate aggressive campaign at the West; and in that
fight Dan saw his first real battle, and Captain Hunt was wounded. In May,
Buell had pushed the Confederate lines south and east toward Chattanooga. To
retain a hold on the Mississippi valley, the Confederates must make another
push for Kentucky, and it was this great Southern need that soon put John
Morgan's name on the lips of every rebel and Yankee in the middle South. In
June, provost-marshals were appointed in every county in Kentucky; the dogs of
war began to be turned locals on the "secesh sympathizers" throughout the
State, and Jerome Conners, overseer, began to render sly service to the Union
For it was in June that Morgan paid his first memorable little visit to the
Bluegrass, and Daniel Dean wrote his brother Harry the short tale of the raid.
"We left Dixie with nine hundred men," the letter ran, "and got back in
twenty-four days with twelve hundred. Travelled over one thousand miles,
captured seventeen towns, destroyed all Government supplies and arms in them,
scattered fifteen hundred Home Guards, and paroled twelve hundred regular
troops. Lost of the original nine hundred, in killed, wounded, and missing,
about ninety men. How's that? We kept twenty thousand men busy guarding
Government posts or chasing us, and we're going back often. Oh Harry, I AM
glad that you are with Grant."
But Harry was not with Grant--not now. While Morgan was marching up from Dixie
to help Kirby Smith in the last great effort that the Confederacy was about to
make to win Kentucky--down from the yellow river marched the Fourth Ohio
Cavalry to go into camp at Lexington; and with it marched Chadwick Buford and
Harry Dean who, too, were veterans now--who, too, were going home. Both lads
wore a second lieutenant's empty shoulder-straps, which both yet meant to fill
with bars, but Chad's promotion had not come as swiftly as Harry had
predicted; the Captain, whose displeasure he had incurred, prevented that. It
had come, in time, however, and with one leap he had landed, after Shiloh, at
Harry's side. In the beginning, young Dean had wanted to go to the Army of the
Potomac, as did Chad, but one quiet word from the taciturn colonel with the
stubbly reddish-brown beard and the perpetual black cigar kept both where they
"Though," said Grant to Chad, as his eye ran over beautiful Dixie from tip of
nose to tip of tail, and came back to Chad, slightly twinkling, "I've a great
notion to put you in the infantry just to get hold of that horse."
So it was no queer turn of fate that had soon sent both the lads to help hold
Zollicoffer at Cumberland Gap, that stopped them at Camp Dick Robinson to join
forces with Wolford's cavalry, and brought Chad face to face with an old
friend. Wolford's cavalry was gathered from the mountains and the hills, and
when some scouts came in that afternoon, Chad, to his great joy, saw, mounted
on a gaunt sorrel, none other than his old school-master, Caleb Hazel, who,
after shaking hands with both Harry and Chad, pointed silently at a great,
strange figure following him on a splendid horse some fifty yards behind. The
man wore a slouch hat, tow linen breeches, home-made suspenders, a belt with
two pistols, and on his naked heels were two huge Texan spurs. Harry broke
into a laugh, and Chad's puzzled face cleared when the man grinned; it was
Yankee Jake Dillon, one of the giant twins. Chad looked at him curiously; that
blow on the head that his brother, Rebel Jerry, had given him, had wrought a
miracle. The lips no longer hung apart, but were set firmly, and the eye was
almost keen; the face was still rather stupid, but not foolish--and it was
still kind. Chad knew that, somewhere in the Confederate lines, Rebel Jerry
was looking for Jake, as Yankee Jake, doubtless, was now looking for Jerry,
and he began to think that it might be well for Jerry if neither was ever
found. Daws Dillon, so he learned from Caleb Hazel and Jake, was already
making his name a watchword of terror along the border of Virginia and
Tennessee, and was prowling, like a wolf, now and then, along the edge of the
Bluegrass. Old Joel Turner had died of his wound, Rube had gone off to the war
and Mother Turner and Melissa were left at home, alone.
"Daws fit fust on one side and then on t'other," said Jake, and then he smiled
in a way that Chad understood; "an' sence you was down thar last Daws don't
seem to hanker much atter meddlin' with the Turners, though the two women did
have to run over into Virginny, once in a while. Melissy," he added, "was
a-goin' to marry Dave Hilton, so folks said; and he reckoned they'd already
hitched most likely, sence Chad thar--"
A flash from Chad's eyes stopped him, and Chad, seeing Harry's puzzled face,
turned away. He was glad that Melissa was going to marry--yes, he was glad;
and how he did pray that she might be happy!
Fighting Zollicoffer, only a few days later, Chad and Harry had their baptism
of fire, and strange battle orders they heard, that made them smile even in
the thick of the fight.
"Huddle up thar!" "Scatterout, now!" "Form a line of fight!" "Wait till you
see the shine of their eyes!"
"I see 'em!" shouted a private, and "bang" went his gun. That was the way the
fight opened. Chad saw Harry's eyes blazing like stars from his pale face,
which looked pained and half sick, and Chad understood--the lads were fighting
their own people, and there was no help for it. A voice bellowed from the
rear, and a man in a red cap loomed in the smoke-mist ahead:
"Now, now! Git up and git, boys!"
That was the order for the charge, and the blue line went forward. Chad never
forgot that first battle-field when he saw it a few hours later strewn with
dead and wounded, the dead lying, as they dropped, in every conceivable
position, features stark, limbs rigid; one man with a half-smoked cigar on his
breast; the faces of so many beardless; some frowning, some as if asleep and
dreaming; and the wounded--some talking pitifully, some in delirium, some
courteous, patient, anxious to save trouble, others morose, sullen, stolid,
independent; never forgot it, even the terrible night after Shiloh, when he
searched heaps of wounded and slain for Caleb Hazel, who lay all through the
night wounded almost to death.
Later, the Fourth Ohio followed Johnston, as he gave way before Buell, and
many times did they skirmish and fight with ubiquitous Morgan's Men. Several
times Harry and Dan sent each other messages to say that each was still
unhurt, and both were in constant horror of some day coming face to face.
Once, indeed, Harry, chasing a rebel and firing at him, saw him lurch in his
saddle, and Chad, coming up, found the lad on the ground, crying over a
canteen which the rebel had dropped. It was marked with the initials D. D.,
the strap was cut by the bullet Harry had fired, and not for a week of
agonizing torture did Harry learn that the canteen, though Dan's, had been
carried that day by another man.
It was on these scouts and skirmishes that the four--Harry and Chad, and Caleb
Hazel and Yankee Jake Dillon, whose dog-like devotion to Chad soon became a
regimental joke--became known, not only among their own men, but among their
enemies, as the shrewdest and most daring scouts in the Federal service. Every
Morgan's man came to know the name of Chad Buford; but it was not until Shiloh
that Chad got his shoulder-straps, leading a charge under the very eye of
General Grant. After Shiloh, the Fourth Ohio went back to its old quarters
across the river, and no sooner were Chad and Harry there than Kentucky was
put under the Department of the Ohio; and so it was also no queer turn of fate
that now they were on their way to new head-quarters in Lexington.
Straight along the turnpike that ran between the Dean and the Buford farms,
the Fourth Ohio went in a cloud of thick dust that rose and settled like a
gray choking mist on the seared fields. Side by side rode Harry and Chad, and
neither spoke when, on the left, the white columns of the Dean house came into
view, and, on the right, the red brick of Chad's old home showed through the
dusty leaves; not even when both saw on the Dean porch the figures of two
women who, standing motionless, were looking at them. Harry's shoulders
drooped, and he stared stonily ahead, while Chad turned his head quickly. The
front door and shutters of the Buford house were closed, and there were few
signs of life about the place. Only at the gate was the slouching figure of
Jerome Conners, the overseer, who, waving his hat at the column, recognized
Chad, as he rode by, and spoke to him, Chad thought, with a covert sneer.
Farther ahead, and on the farthest boundary of the Buford farm, was a Federal
fort, now deserted, and the beautiful woodland that had once stood in perfect
beauty around it was sadly ravaged and nearly gone, as was the Dean woodland
across the road. It was plain that some people were paying the Yankee piper
for the death-dance in which a mighty nation was shaking its feet.
On they went, past the old college, down Broadway, wheeling at Second
Street--Harry going on with the regiment to camp on the other edge of the
town; Chad reporting with his colonel at General Ward's head-quarters, a
columned brick house on one corner of the college campus, and straight across
from the Hunt home, where he had first danced with Margaret Dean.
That night the two lay on the edge of the Ashland woods, looking up at the
stars, the ripened bluegrass--a yellow, moonlit sea--around them and the woods
dark and still behind them. Both smoked and were silent, but each knew that to
the other his thoughts were known; for both had been on the same errand that
day, and the miserable tale of the last ten months both had learned.
Trouble had soon begun for the ones who were dear to them, when both left for
the war. At once General Anderson had promised immunity from arrest to every
peaceable citizen in the State, but at once the shiftless, the prowling, the
lawless, gathered to the Home Guards for self-protection, to mask deviltry and
to wreak vengeance for private wrongs. At once mischief began. Along the Ohio,
men with Southern sympathies were clapped into prison. Citizens who had joined
the Confederates were pronounced guilty of treason, and Breckinridge was
expelled from the Senate as a traitor. Morgan's great raid in June, '61,
spread consternation through the land and, straightway, every district and
county were at the mercy of a petty local provost. No man of Southern
sympathies could stand for office. Courts in session were broken up with the
bayonet. Civil authority was overthrown. Destruction of property, indemnity
assessments on innocent men, arrests, imprisonment, and murder became of daily
occurrence. Ministers were jailed and lately prisons had even been prepared
for disloyal women. Major Buford, forced to stay at home on account of his
rheumatism and the serious illness of Miss Lucy, had been sent to prison once
and was now under arrest again. General Dean, old as he was, had escaped and
had gone to Virginia to fight with Lee; and Margaret and Mrs. Dean, with a few
servants, were out on the farm alone.
But neither spoke of the worst that both feared was yet to come--and "Taps"
sounded soft and dear on the night air.
CHAPTER 23. CHAD CAPTURES AN OLD FRIEND
Meanwhile Morgan was coming on--led by the two videttes in gray--Daniel Dean
and Rebel Jerry Dillon--coming on to meet Kirby Smith in Lexington after that
general had led the Bluegrass into the Confederate fold. They were taking
short cuts through the hills now, and Rebel Jerry was guide, for he had joined
Morgan for that purpose. Jerry had long been notorious along the border. He
never gave quarter on his expeditions for personal vengeance, and it was said
that not even he knew how many men he had killed. Every Morgan's man had heard
of him, and was anxious to see him; and see him they did, though they never
heard him open his lips except in answer to a question. To Dan he seemed to
take a strange fancy right away, but he was as voiceless as the grave, except
for an occasional oath, when bush-whackers of Daws Dillon's ilk would pop at
the advance guard--sometimes from a rock directly overhead, for chase was
useless. It took a roundabout climb of one hundred yards to get to the top of
that rock, so there was nothing for videttes and guards to do but pop back,
which they did to no purpose. On the third day, however, after a skirmish in
which Dan had charged with a little more dare-deviltry than usual, the big
Dillon ripped out an oath of protest. An hour later he spoke again:
"I got a brother on t'other side."
Dan started. "Why, so have I," he said. "What's your brother with?"
"That's curious. So was mine--for a while. He's with Grant now." The boy
turned his head away suddenly.
"I might meet him, if he were with Wolford now," he said, half to himself, but
Jerry heard him and smiled viciously.
"Well, that's what I'm goin' with you fellers fer--to meet mine."
"What!" said Dan, puzzled.
"We've been lookin' fer each other sence the war broke out. I reckon he went
on t'other side to keep me from killin' him."
Dan shrank away from the giant with horror; but next day the mountaineer saved
the boy's life in a fight in which Dan's chum--gallant little Tom Morgan--lost
his; and that night, as Dan lay sleepless and crying in his blanket, Jerry
Dillon came in from guard-duty and lay down by him.
"I'm goin' to take keer o' you."
"I don't need you," said Dan, gruffly, and Rebel Jerry grunted, turned over on
his side and went to sleep. Night and day thereafter he was by the boy's side.
A thrill ran through the entire command when the column struck the first
Bluegrass turnpike, and a cheer rang from front to rear. Near Midway, a little
Bluegrass town some fifteen miles from Lexington, a halt was called, and
another deafening cheer arose in the extreme rear and came forward like a
rushing wind, as a coal-black horse galloped the length of the column--its
rider, hat in hand, bowing with a proud smile to the flattering storm--for the
idolatry of the man and his men was mutual--with the erect grace of an Indian,
the air of a courtier, and the bearing of a soldier in every line of the six
feet and more of his tireless frame. No man who ever saw John Morgan on
horseback but had the picture stamped forever on his brain, as no man who ever
saw that coal-black horse ever forgot Black Bess. Behind him came his staff,
and behind them came a wizened little man, whose nickname was
"Lightning"--telegraph operator for Morgan's Men. There was need of Lightning
now, so Morgan sent him on into town with Dan and Jerry Dillon, while he and
Richard Hunt followed leisurely.
The three troopers found the station operator seated on the platform--pipe in
mouth, and enjoying himself hugely. He looked lazily at them.
"Call up Lexington," said Lightning, sharply.
"Go to hell!" said the operator, and then he nearly toppled from his chair.
Lightning, with a vicious gesture, had swung a pistol on him.
"Here--here!" he gasped, "what'd you mean?"
"Call up Lexington," repeated Lightning. The operator seated himself.
"What do you want in Lexington?" he growled.
"Ask the time of day?" The operator stared, but the instrument clicked.
"What's your name?" asked Lightning.
"Well, Woolums, you're a 'plug.' I wanted to see how you handled the key. Yes,
Woolums, you're a plug."
Then Lightning seated himself, and Woolums' mouth flew open--Lightning copied
his style with such exactness. Again the instrument clicked and Lightning
"Will there be any danger coming to Midway?" asked a railroad conductor in
Lexington. Lightning answered, grinning:
"None. Come right on. No sign of rebels here." Again a click from Lexington.
"General Ward orders General Finnell of Frankfort to move his forces. General
Ward will move toward Georgetown, to which Morgan with eighteen hundred men is
Lightning caught his breath--this was Morgan's force and his intention
exactly. He answered:
"Morgan with upward of two thousand men has taken the road to Frankfort. This
is reliable." Ten minutes later, Lightning chuckled.
"Ward orders Finnell to recall his regiment to Frankfort."
Half an hour later another idea struck Lightning. He clicked as though
telegraphing from Frankfort:
"Our pickets just driven in. Great excitement. Force of enemy must be two
Then Lightning laughed. "I've fooled 'em," said Lightning.
There was turmoil in Lexington. The streets thundered with the tramp of
cavalry going to catch Morgan. Daylight came and nothing was done--nothing
known. The afternoon waned, and still Ward fretted at head-quarters, while his
impatient staff sat on the piazza talking, speculating, wondering where the
wily raider was. Leaning on the campus-fence near by were Chadwick Buford and
It had been a sad day for those two. The mutual tolerance that prevailed among
their friends in the beginning of the war had given way to intense bitterness
now. There was no thrill for them in the flags fluttering a welcome to them
from the windows of loyalists, for under those flags old friends passed them
in the street with no sign of recognition, but a sullen, averted face, or a
stare of open contempt. Elizabeth Morgan had met them, and turned her head
when Harry raised his cap, though Chad saw tears spring to her eyes as she
passed. Sad as it was for him, Chad knew what the silent torture in Harry's
heart must be, for Harry could not bring himself, that day, even to visit his
own home. And now Morgan was coming, and they might soon be in a death-fight,
Harry with his own blood-brother and both with boyhood friends.
"God grant that you two may never meet!"
That cry from General Dean was beating ceaselessly through Harry's brain now,
and he brought one hand down on the fence, hardly noticing the drop of blood
that oozed from the force of the blow.
"Oh, I wish I could get away from here!"
"I shall the first chance that comes," said Chad, and he lifted his head
sharply, staring down the street. A phaeton was coming slowly toward them and
in it were a negro servant and a girl in white. Harry was leaning over the
fence with his back toward the street, and Chad, the blood rushing to his
face, looked in silence, for the negro was Snowball and the girl was Margaret.
He saw her start and flush when she saw him, her hands giving a little
convulsive clutch at the reins; but she came on, looking straight ahead.
Chad's hand went unconsciously to his cap, and when Harry rose, puzzled to see
him bareheaded, the phaeton stopped, and there was a half-broken cry:
Cap still in hand, Chad strode away as the brother, with an answering cry,
sprang toward her.
. . . . . .
When he came back, an hour later, at dusk, Harry was seated on the portico,
and the long silence between them was broken at last.
"She--they oughtn't to come to town at a time like this," said Chad, roughly.
"I told her that," said Harry, "but it was useless. She will come and go just
as she pleases."
Harry rose and leaned for a moment against one of the big pillars, and then he
turned impulsively, and put one hand lightly on the other's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, old man," he said, gently.
A pair of heels clicked suddenly together on the grass before them, and an
orderly stood at salute.
"General Ward's compliments, and will Lieutenant Buford and Lieutenant Dean
report to him at once?"
The two exchanged a swift glance, and the faces of both grew grave with sudden
Inside, the General looked worried, and his manner was rather sharp.
"Do you know General Dean?" he asked, looking at Harry.
"He is my father."
The General wheeled in his chair.
"What!" he exclaimed. "Well--um--I suppose one of you will be enough. You can
When the door closed behind Harry, he looked at Chad.
"There are two rebels at General Dean's house to-night," he said, quietly.
"One of them, I am told---why, he must be that boy's brother," and again the
General mused; then he added, sharply:
"Take six good men out there right away and capture them. And watch out for
Daws Dillon and his band of cut-throats. I am told he is in this region. I've
sent a company after him. But you capture the two at General Dean's."
"Yes, sir," said Chad, turning quickly, but the General had seen the lad's
face grow pale.
"It is very strange down here--they may be his best friends," he thought, and,
being a kindhearted man, he reached out his hand toward a bell to summon Chad
back, and drew it in again.
"I cannot help that; but that boy must have good stuff in him."
Harry was waiting for him outside. He knew that Dan would go home if it was
possible, and what Chad's mission must be.
"Don't hurt him, Chad."
"You don't have to ask that," answered Chad, sadly.
. . . . . . .
So Chad's old enemy, Daws Dillon, was abroad. There was a big man with the boy
at the Deans', General Ward had said, but Chad little guessed that it was
another old acquaintance, Rebel Jerry Dillon, who, at that hour, was having
his supper brought out to the stable to him, saying that he would sleep there,
take care of the horses, and keep on the look-out for Yankees. Jerome
Conners's hand must be in this, Chad thought, for he never for a moment
doubted that the overseer had brought the news to General Ward. He was playing
a fine game of loyalty to both sides, that overseer, and Chad grimly made up
his mind that, from one side or the other, his day would come. And this was
the fortune of war--to be trotting, at the head of six men, on such a mission,
along a road that, at every turn, on every little hill, and almost in every
fence-corner, was stored with happy memories for him; to force entrance as an
enemy under a roof that had showered courtesy and kindness down on him like
rain, that in all the world was most sacred to him; to bring death to an old
playmate, the brother of the woman whom he loved, or capture, which might mean
a worse death in a loathsome prison. He thought of that dawn when he drove
home after the dance at the Hunts' with the old Major asleep at his side and
his heart almost bursting with high hope and happiness, and he ran his hand
over his eyes to brush the memory away. He must think only of his duty now,
and that duty was plain.
Across the fields they went in a noiseless walk, and leaving their horses in
the woods, under the care of one soldier, slipped into the yard. Two men were
posted at the rear of the house, one was stationed at each end of the long
porch to command the windows on either side, and, with a sergeant at his
elbow, Chad climbed the long steps noiselessly and knocked at the front door.
In a moment it was thrown open by a woman, and the light fell full in Chad's
"You--you--YOU!" said a voice that shook with mingled terror and contempt, and
Margaret shrank back, step by step. Hearing her, Mrs. Dean hurried into the
hallway. Her face paled when she saw the Federal uniform in her doorway, but
her chin rose haughtily, and her voice was steady and most courteous:
"What can we do for you?" she asked, and she, too, recognized Chad, and her
face grew stern as she waited for him to answer.
"Mrs. Dean," he said, half choking, "word has come to head-quarters that two
Confederate soldiers are spending the night here, and I have been ordered to
search the house for them. My men have surrounded it, but if you will give me
your word that they are not here, not a man shall cross your threshold--not
Without a word Mrs. Dean stood aside.
"I am sorry," said Chad, motioning to the Sergeant to follow him. As he passed
the door of the drawing-room, he saw, under the lamp, a pipe with ashes strewn
about its bowl. Chad pointed to it.
"Spare me, Mrs. Dean." But the two women stood with clinched hands, silent.
Dan had flashed into the kitchen, and was about to leap from the window when
he saw the gleam of a rifle-barrel, not ten feet away. He would be potted like
a rat if he sprang out there, and he dashed noiselessly up the back stairs, as
Chad started up the front stairway toward the garret, where he had passed many
a happy hour playing with Margaret and Harry and the boy whom he was after as
an enemy, now. The door was open at the first landing, and the creak of the
stairs under Dan's feet, heard plainly, stopped. The Sergeant, pistol in hand,
started to push past his superior.
"Keep back," said Chad, sternly, and as he drew his pistol, a terrified
whisper rose from below.
"Don't, don't!" And then Dan, with hands up, stepped into sight.
"I'll spare you," he said, quietly. "Not a word, mother. They've got me. You
can tell him there is no one else in the house, though."
Mrs. Dean's eyes filled with tears, and a sob broke from Margaret.
"There is no one else," she said, and Chad bowed. "In the house," she added,
proudly, scorning the subterfuge.
"Search the barn," said Chad, "quick!" The Sergeant ran down the steps.
"I reckon you are a little too late, my friend," said Dan. "Why, bless me,
it's my old friend Chad--and a lieutenant! I congratulate you," he added, but
he did not offer to shake hands.
Chad had thought of the barn too late. Snowball had seen the men creeping
through the yard, had warned Jerry Dillon, and Jerry had slipped the horses
into the woodland, and had crept back to learn what was going on.
"I will wait for you out here," said Chad. "Take your time."
"Thank you," said Dan.
He came out in a moment and Mrs. Dean and Margaret followed him. At a gesture
from the Sergeant, a soldier stationed himself on each side of Dan, and, as
Chad turned, he took off his cap again. His face was very pale and his voice
"You will believe, Mrs. Dean," he said, "that this was something I HAD to do."
Mrs. Dean bent her head slightly.
"Certainly, mother," said Dan. "Don't blame Lieutenant Chad. Morgan will have
Lexington in a few days and then I'll be free again. Maybe I'll have
Lieutenant Chad a prisoner--no telling!"
Chad smiled faintly, and then, with a flush, he spoke again--warning Mrs.
Dean, in the kindliest way, that, henceforth, her house would be under
suspicion, and telling her of the severe measures that had been inaugurated
against rebel sympathizers.
"Such sympathizers have to take oath of allegiance and give bonds to keep it."
"If they don't?"
"Arrest and imprisonment."
"And if they give the oath and violate it?"
"The penalty is death, Mrs. Dean."
"And if they aid their friends?"
"They are to be dealt with according to military law."
"If loyal citizens are hurt or damaged by guerrillas, disloyal citizens of the
locality must make compensation."
"Is it true that a Confederate sympathizer will be shot down if on the streets
"There was such an order, Mrs. Dean."
"And if a loyal citizen is killed by one of these so-called guerillas, for
whose acts nobody is responsible, prisoners of war are to be shot in
"Mother!" cried Margaret.
"No, Mrs. Dean--not prisoners of war--guerillas."
"And when will you begin war on women?"
"Never, I hope." His hesitancy brought a scorn into the searching eyes of his
pale questioner that Chad could not face, and without daring even to look at
Margaret he turned away.
Such retaliatory measures made startling news to Dan. He grew very grave while
he listened, but as he followed Chad he chatted and laughed and joked with his
captors. Morgan would have Lexington in three days. He was really glad to get
a chance to fill his belly with Yankee grub. It hadn't been full more than two
or three times in six months.
All the time he was watching for Jerry Dillon, who, he knew, would not leave
him if there was the least chance of getting him out of the Yankee's clutches.
He did not have to wait long. Two men had gone to get the horses, and as Dan
stepped through the yard-gate with his captors, two figures rose out of the
ground. One came with head bent like a battering-ram. He heard Snowball's head
strike a stomach on one side of him, and with an astonished groan the man went
down. He saw the man on his other side drop from some crashing blow, and he
saw Chad trying to draw his pistol. His own fist shot out, catching Chad on
the point of the chin. At the same instant there was a shot and the Sergeant
"Come on, boy!" said a hoarse voice, and then he was speeding away after the
gigantic figure of Jerry Dillon through the thick darkness, while a harmless
volley of shots sped after them. At the edge of the woods they dropped. Jerry
Dillon had his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing aloud.
"The hosses ain't fer away," he said. "Oh, Lawd!"
"Did you kill him?"
"I reckon not," whispered Jerry. "I shot him on the wrong side. I'm al'ays
a-fergettin' which side a man's heart's on."
"What became of Snowball?"
"He run jes' as soon as he butted the feller on his right. He said he'd git
one, but I didn't know what he was doin' when I seed him start like a sheep.
There was a tumult at the house--moving lights, excited cries, and a great
hurrying. Black Rufus was the first to appear with a lantern, and when he held
it high as the fence, Chad saw Margaret in the light, her hands clinched and
her eyes burning.
"Have you killed him?" she asked, quietly but fiercely. "You nearly did once
before. Have you succeeded this time?" Then she saw the Sergeant writhing on
the ground, his right forearm hugging his breast, and her hands relaxed and
her face changed.
"Did Dan do that? Did Dan do that?"
"Dan was unarmed," said Chad, quietly.
"Mother," called the girl, as though she had not heard him, "send someone to
help. Bring him to the house," she added, turning. As no movement was made,
she turned again.
"Bring him up to the house," she said, imperiously, and when the hesitating
soldiers stooped to pick up the wounded man, she saw the streak of blood
running down Chad's chin and she stared open-eyed. She made one step toward
him, and then she shrank back out of the light.
"Oh!," she said. "Are you wounded, too? Oh!"
"No!" said Chad, grimly. "Dan didn't do that"--pointing to the Sergeant--"he
did this--with his fist. It's the second time Dan has done this. Easy, men,"
he added, with low-voiced authority.
Mrs. Dean was holding the door open.
"No," said Chad, quickly. "That wicker lounge will do. He will be cooler on
the porch." Then he stooped, and loosening the Sergeant's blouse and shirt
examined the wound.
"It's only through the shoulder, Lieutenant," said the man, faintly. But it
was under the shoulder, and Chad turned.
"Jake," he said, sharply, "go back and bring a surgeon--and an officer to
relieve me. I think he can be moved in the morning, Mrs. Dean. With your
permission I will wait here until the Surgeon comes. Please don't disturb
yourself further"-- Margaret had appeared at the door, with some bandages that
she and her mother had been making for Confederates and behind her a servant
followed with towels and a pail of water--"I am sorry to trespass."
"Did the bullet pass through?" asked Mrs. Dean, simply.
"No, Mrs. Dean," said Chad.
Margaret turned indoors. Without another word, her mother knelt above the
wounded man, cut the shirt away, staunched the trickling blood, and deftly
bound the wound with lint and bandages, while Chad stood, helplessly watching
"I am sorry," he said again, when she rose, "sorry--"
"It is nothing," said Mrs. Dean, quietly. "If you need anything, you will let
me know. I shall be waiting inside."
She turned and a few moments later Chad saw Margaret's white figure swiftly
climb the stairs--but the light still burned in the noiseless room below.
. . . . . .
Meanwhile Dan and Jerry Dillon were far across the fields on their way to
rejoin Morgan. When they were ten miles away, Dan, who was leading, turned.
"Jerry, that Lieutenant was an old friend of mine. General Morgan used to say
he was the best scout in the Union Army. He comes from your part of the
country, and his name is Chad Buford. Ever heard of him?"
"I've knowed him sence he was a chunk of a boy, but I don't rickollect ever
hearin' his last name afore. I naver knowed he had any."
"Well, I heard him call one of his men Jake--and he looked exactly like you."
The giant pulled in his horse.
"I'm goin' back."
"No, you aren't," said Dan; "not now--it's too late. That's why I didn't tell
you before." Then he added, angrily: "You are a savage and you ought to be
ashamed of yourself harboring such hatred against your own blood-brother."
Dan was perhaps the only one of Morgan's Men who would have dared to talk that
way to the man, and Jerry Dillon took it only in sullen silence.
A mile farther they struck a pike, and, as they swept along, a brilliant light
glared into the sky ahead of them, and they pulled in. A house was in flames
on the edge of a woodland, and by its light they could see a body of men dash
out of the woods and across the field on horseback, and another body dash
after them in pursuit--the pursuers firing and the pursued sending back
defiant yells. Daws Dillon was at his work again, and the Yankees were after
. . . . . . .
Long after midnight Chad reported the loss of his prisoner. He was much
chagrined--for failure was rare with him--and his jaw and teeth ached from the
blow Dan had given him, but in his heart he was glad that the boy had got away
When he went to his tent, Harry was awake and waiting for him.
"It's I who have escaped," he said; "escaped again. Four times now we have
been in the same fight. Somehow fate seems to be pointing always one
way--always one way. Why, night after night, I dream that either he or I--"
Harry's voice trembled--he stopped short, and, leaning forward, stared out the
door of his tent. A group of figures had halted in front of the Colonel's tent
opposite, and a voice called, sharply:
"Two prisoners, sir. We captured 'em with Daws Dillon. They are guerillas,
"It's a lie, Colonel," said an easy voice, that brought both Chad and Harry to
their feet, and plain in the moonlight both saw Daniel Dean, pale but cool,
and near him, Rebel Jerry Dillon--both with their hands bound behind them.
CHAPTER 24. A RACE BETWEEN DIXIE AND DAWN
But the sun sank next day from a sky that was aflame with rebel victories. It
rose on a day rosy with rebel hopes, and the prophetic coolness of autumn was
in the early morning air when Margaret in her phaeton moved through the front
pasture on her way to town--alone. She was in high spirits and her head was
lifted proudly. Dan's boast had come true. Kirby Smith had risen swiftly from
Tennessee, had struck the Federal Army on the edge of the Bluegrass the day
before and sent it helter-skelter to the four winds. Only that morning she had
seen a regiment of the hated Yankees move along the turnpike in flight for the
Ohio. It was the Fourth Ohio Cavalry, and Harry and one whose name never
passed her lips were among those dusty cavalrymen; but she was glad, and she
ran down o the stile and, from the fence, waved the Stars and Bars at them as
they passed--which was very foolish, but which brought her deep content. Now
the rebels did hold Lexington. Morgan's Men were coming that day and she was
going into town to see Dan and Colonel Hunt and General Morgan and be
fearlessly happy and triumphant. At the Major's gate, whom should she see
coming out but the dear old fellow himself, and, when he got off his horse and
came to her, she leaned forward and kissed him, because he looked so thin and
pale from confinement, and because she was so glad to see him. Morgan's Men
were really coming, that very day, the Major said, and he told her much
thrilling news. Jackson had obliterated Pope at the second battle of Manassas.
Eleven thousand prisoners had been taken at Harper's Ferry and Lee had gone on
into Maryland on the flank of Washington. Recruits were coming into the
Confederacy by the thousands. Bragg had fifty-five thousand men and an
impregnable stronghold in front of Buell, who had but few men more--not enough
to count a minute, the Major said.
"Lee has routed 'em out of Virginia," cried the old fellow, "and Buell is
doomed. I tell you, little girl, the fight is almost won."
Jerome Conners rode to the gate and called to the Major in a tone that
arrested the girl's attention. She hated that man and she had noted a queer
change in his bearing since the war began. She looked for a flash of anger
from the Major, but none came, and she began to wonder what hold the overseer
could have on his old master.
She drove on, puzzled, wondering, and disturbed; but her cheeks were
flushed--the South was going to win, the Yankees were gone, and she must get
to town in time to see the triumphant coming of Morgan's Men. They were coming
in when she reached the Yankee head-quarters, which, she saw, had changed
flags--thank God--coming proudly in, amid the waving of the Stars and Bars and
frenzied shouts of welcome. Where were the Bluegrass Yankees now? The Stars
and Stripes that had fluttered from their windows had been drawn in and they
were keeping very quiet, indeed--Oh! it was joy! There was gallant Morgan
himself swinging from Black Bess to kiss his mother, who stood waiting for him
at her gate, and there was Colonel Hunt, gay, debonair, jesting, shaking hands
right and left, and crowding the streets, Morgan's Men--the proudest blood in
the land, every gallant trooper getting his welcome from the lips and arms of
mother, sister, sweetheart, or cousin of farthest degree. But where was Dan?
She had heard nothing of him since the night he had escaped capture, and while
she looked right and left for him to dash toward her and swing from his horse,
she heard her name called, and turning she saw Richard Hunt at the wheel of
her phaeton. He waved his hand toward the happy reunions going on around them.
"The enforced brotherhood, Miss Margaret," he said, his eyes flashing, "I
belong to that, you know."
For once the subtle Colonel made a mistake. Perhaps the girl in her trembling
happiness and under the excitement of the moment might have welcomed him, as
she was waiting to welcome Dan, but she drew back now.
"Oh! no, Colonel--not on that ground."
Her eyes danced, she flushed curiously, as she held out her hand, and the
Colonel's brave heart quickened. Straightway he began to wonder--but a quick
shadow in Margaret's face checked him.
"But where's Dan? Where is Dan?" she repeated, impatiently.
Richard Hunt looked puzzled. He had just joined his command and something must
have gone wrong with Dan. So he lied swiftly.
"Dan is out on a scout. I don't think he has got back yet. I'll find out."
Margaret watched him ride to where Morgan stood with his mother in the midst
of a joyous group of neighbors and friends, and, a moment later, the two
officers came toward her on foot.
"Don't worry, Miss Margaret," said Morgan, with a smile. "The Yankees have got
Dan and have taken him away as prisoner--but don't worry, we'll get him
exchanged in a week. I'll give three brigadier-generals for him."
Tears came to the girl's eyes, but she smiled through them bravely.
"I must go back and tell mother," she said, brokenly. "I hoped--"
"Don't worry, little girl," said Morgan again. "I'll have him if I have to
capture the whole State of Ohio."
Again Margaret smiled, but her heart was heavy, and Richard Hunt was unhappy.
He hung around her phaeton all the while she was in town. He went home with
her, cheering her on the way and telling her of the Confederate triumph that
was at hand. He comforted Mrs. Dean over Dan's capture, and he rode back to
town slowly, with his hands on his saddle-bow--wondering again. Perhaps
Margaret had gotten over her feeling for that mountain boy--that Yankee--and
there Richard Hunt checked his own thoughts, for that mountain boy, he had
discovered, was a brave and chivalrous enemy, and to such, his own high
chivalry gave salute always.
He was very thoughtful when he reached camp. He had an unusual desire to be
alone, and that night, he looked long at the stars, thinking of the girl whom
he had known since her babyhood-- knowing that he would never think of her
except as a woman again.
So the Confederates waited now in the Union hour of darkness for Bragg to
strike his blow. He did strike it, but it was at the heart of the South. He
stunned the Confederacy by giving way before Buell. He brought hope back with
the bloody battle of Perryville. Again he faced Buell at Harrodsburg, and then
he wrought broadcast despair by falling back without battle, dividing his
forces and retreating into Tennessee. The dream of a battle-line along the
Ohio with a hundred thousand more men behind it was gone and the last and best
chance to win the war was lost forever. Morgan, furious with disappointment,
left Lexington. Kentucky fell under Federal control once more; and Major
Buford, dazed, dismayed, unnerved, hopeless, brought the news out to the
"They'll get me again, I suppose, and I can't leave home on account of Lucy."
"Please do, Major," said Mrs. Dean. "Send Miss Lucy over here and make your
escape. We will take care of her." The Major shook his head sadly and rode
Next day Margaret sat on the stile and saw the Yankees coming back to
Lexington. On one side of her the Stars and Bars were fixed to the fence from
which they had floated since the day she had waved the flag at them as they
fled. She saw the advance guard come over the hill and jog down the slope and
then the regiment slowly following after. In the rear she could see two men,
riding unarmed. Suddenly three cavalrymen spurred forward at a gallop and
turned in at her gate. The soldier in advance was an officer, and he pulled
out a handkerchief, waved it once, and, with a gesture to his companions, came
on alone. She knew the horse even before she recognized the rider, and her
cheeks flushed, her lips were set, and her nostrils began to dilate. The
horseman reined in and took off his cap.
"I come under a flag of truce," he said, gravely, "to ask this garrison to haul
down its colors-- and--to save useless effusion of blood," he added, still
"Your war on women has begun, then?"
"I am obeying orders--no more, no less."
"I congratulate you on your luck or your good judgment always to be on hand
when disagreeable duties are to be done."
"Won't you take the flag down?"
"No, make your attack. You will have one of your usual victories--with
overwhelming numbers--and it will be safe and bloodless. There are only two
negroes defending this garrison. They will not fight, nor will we."
"Won't you take the flag down?"
Chad lifted his cap and wheeled. The Colonel was watching at the gate.
"Well, sir" he asked, frowning.
"I shall need help, sir, to take that flag down," said Chad.
"What do you mean, sir?"
"A woman is defending it."
"What!" shouted the Colonel.
"That is my sister, Colonel," said Harry Dean. The Colonel smiled and then
"You should warn her not to provoke the authorities. The Government is
advising very strict measures now with rebel sympathizers." Then he smiled
"Fours! Left wheel! Halt! Present--sabres!"
A line of sabres flashed in the sun, and Margaret, not understanding, snatched
the flag from the fence and waved it back in answer. The Colonel laughed
aloud. The column moved on, and each captain, following, caught the humor of
the situation and each company flashed its sabres as it went by, while
Margaret stood motionless.
In the rear rode those two unarmed prisoners. She could see now that their
uniforms were gray and she knew that they were prisoners, but she little
dreamed that they were her brother Dan and Rebel Jerry Dillon, nor did Chad
Buford or Harry Dean dream of the purpose for which, just at that time, they
were being brought back to Lexington. Perhaps one man who saw them did know:
for Jerome Conners, from the woods opposite, watched the prisoners ride by
with a malicious smile that nothing but impending danger to an enemy could
ever bring to his face; and with the same smile he watched Margaret go slowly
back to the house, while her flag still fluttered from the stile.
The high tide of Confederate hopes was fast receding now. The army of the
Potomac, after Antietam, which overthrew the first Confederate aggressive
campaign at the East, was retreating into its Southern stronghold, as was the
army of the West after Bragg's abandonment of Mumfordsville, and the rebel
retirement had given the provost-marshals in Kentucky full sway. Two hundred
Southern sympathizers, under arrest, had been sent into exile north of the
Ohio, and large sums of money were levied for guerilla outrages here and
there--a heavy sum falling on Major Buford for a vicious murder done in his
neighborhood by Daws Dillon and his band on the night of the capture of Daniel
Dean and Rebel Jerry. The Major paid the levy with the first mortgage he had
ever given in his life, and straightway Jerome Conners, who had been dealing
in mules and other Government supplies, took an attitude that was little short
of insolence toward his old master, whose farm was passing into the overseer's
clutches at last. Only two nights before, another band of guerillas had burned
a farm-house, killed a Unionist, and fled to the hills before the incoming
Yankees, and the Kentucky Commandant had sworn vengeance after the old Mosaic
way on victims already within his power.
That night Chad and Harry were summoned before General Ward. They found him
seated with his chin in his hand, looking out the window at the moonlit
campus. Without moving, he held out a dirty piece of paper to Chad.
"Read that," he said.
"YOU HAVE KETCHED TWO OF MY MEN AND I HEAR AS HOW YOU MEAN TO HANG 'EM. IF
HANG THEM TWO MEN, I'M A-GOIN' TO HANG EVERY MAN OF YOURS I CAN GIT MY
Chad gave a low laugh and Harry smiled, but the General kept grave.
"You know, of course, that your brother belongs to Morgan's command?"
"I do, sir," said Harry, wonderingly.
"Do you know that his companion--the man Dillon--Jerry Dillon--does?"
"I do not, sir."
"They were captured by a squad that was fighting Daws Dillon. This Jerry
Dillon has the same name and you found the two together at General Dean's."
"But they had both just left General Morgan's command," said Harry,
"That may be true, but this Daws Dillon has sent a similar message to the
Commandant, and he has just been in here again and committed two wanton
outrages night before last. The Commandant is enraged and has issued orders
for stern retaliation."
"It's a trick of Daws Dillon," said Chad, hotly, "an infamous trick. He hates
his Cousin Jerry, he hates me, and he hates the Deans, because they were
friends of mine." General Ward looked troubled.
"The Commandant says he has been positively informed that both the men joined
Daws Dillon in the fight that night. He has issued orders that not only every
guerilla captured shall be hung, but that, whenever a Union citizen has been
killed by one of them, four of such marauders are to be taken to the spot and
shot in retaliation. It is the only means left, he says."
There was a long silence. The faces of both the lads had turned white as each
saw the drift of the General's meaning, and Harry strode forward to his desk.
"Do you mean to say, General Ward--"
The General wheeled in his chair and pointed silently to an order that lay on
the desk, and as Harry started to read it, his voice broke. Daniel Dean and
Rebel Jerry were to be shot next morning at sunrise.
. . . . . .
The General spoke very kindly to Harry.
"I have known this all day, but I did not wish to tell you until I had done
everything I could. I did not think it would be necessary to tell you at all,
for I thought there would be no trouble. I telegraphed the Commandant,
but"--he turned again to the window--"I have not been able to get them a trial
by court-martial, or even a stay in the execution. You'd better go see your
brother--he knows now--and you'd better send word to your mother and sister."
Harry shook his head. His face was so drawn and ghastly as he stood leaning
heavily against the table that Chad moved unconsciously to his side.
"Where is the Commandant?" he asked.
"In Frankfort," said the General. Chad's eyes kindled.
"Will you let me go see him to-night?"
"Certainly, and I will give you a message to him. Perhaps you can yet save the
boy, but there is no chance for the man Dillon." The General took up a pen.
Harry seemed to sway as he turned to go, and Chad put one arm around him and
went with him to the door.
"There have been some surprising desertions from the Confederate ranks," said
the General, as he wrote. "That's the trouble." he looked at his watch as he
handed the message over his shoulder to Chad. "You have ten hours before
sunrise and it is nearly sixty miles there and back If you are not here with a
stay of execution both will be shot. Do you think that you can make it? Of
course you need not bring the message back yourself. You can get the
Commandant to telegraph--" The slam of a door interrupted him--Chad was gone.
Harry was holding Dixie's bridle when he reached the street and Chad swung
into the saddle.
"Don't tell them at home," he said. "I'll be back here on time, or I'll be
The two grasped hands. Harry nodded dumbly and Dixie's feet beat the rhythm of
her matchless gallop down the quiet street. The sensitive little mare seemed
to catch at once the spirit of her rider. Her haunches quivered. She tossed
her head and champed her bit, but not a pound did she pull as she settled into
an easy lope that told how well she knew that the ride before her was long and
hard. Out they went past the old cemetery, past the shaft to Clay rising from
it, silvered with moonlight, out where the picket fires gleamed and converging
on toward the Capital, unchallenged for the moon showed the blue of Chad's
uniform and his face gave sign that no trivial business, that night, was his.
Over quiet fields and into the aisles of sleeping woods beat that musical
rhythm ceaselessly, awakening drowsy birds by the wayside, making bridges
thunder, beating on and on up hill and down until picket fires shone on the
hills that guard the Capital. Through them, with but one challenge, Chad went,
down the big hill, past the Armory, and into the town--pulling panting Dixie
up before a wondering sentinel who guarded the Commandant's sleeping quarters.
"The Commandant is asleep."
"Wake him up," said Chad, sharply. A staff-officer appeared at the door in
answer to the sentinel's knock.
"What is your business?"
"A message from General Ward."
"The Commandant gave orders that he was not to be disturbed."
"He must be," said Chad. "It is a matter of life and death."
Above him a window was suddenly raised and the Commandant's own head was
"Stop that noise," he thundered. Chad told his mission and the Commandant
straightway was furious.
"How dare General Ward broach that matter again? My orders are given and they
will not be changed." As he started to pull the window down, Chad cried:
"But, General--" and at the same time a voice called down the street:
"General!" Two men appeared under the gaslight--one was a sergeant and the
other a frightened negro.
"Here is a message, General."
The sash went down, a light appeared behind it, and soon the Commandant, in
trousers and slippers, was at the door. He read the note with a frown.
"Where did you get this?"
"A sojer come to my house out on the edge o' town, suh, and said he'd kill me
to-morrow if I didn't hand dis note to you pussonally."
The Commandant turned to Chad. Somehow his manner seemed suddenly changed.
"Do you know that these men belonged to Morgan's command?"
"I know that Daniel Dean did and that the man Dillon was with him when
Still frowning savagely, the Commandant turned inside to his desk and a moment
later the staff-officer brought out a telegram and gave it to Chad.
"You can take this to the telegraph office yourself. It is a stay of
Chad drew a long breath of relief and gladness and patted Dixie on the neck as
he rode slowly toward the low building where he had missed the train on his
first trip to the Capital. The telegraph operator dashed to the door as Chad
drew up in front of it. He looked pale and excited.
"Send this telegram at once," said Chad.
The operator looked at it.
"Not in that direction to-night," he said, with a strained laugh, "the wires
Chad almost reeled in his saddle--then the paper was whisked from the
astonished operator's hand and horse and rider clattered up the hill.
. . . . . .
At head-quarters the Commandant was handing the negro's note to a
staff-officer. It read:
"YOU HANG THOSE TWO MEN AT SUNRISE TO-MORROW, AND I'LL HANG YOU AT
It was signed "John Morgan," and the signature was Morgan's own.
"I gave the order only last night. How could Morgan have heard of it so soon,
and how could he have got this note to me? Could he have come back?"
"Impossible," said the staff-officer. "He wouldn't dare come back now."
The Commandant shook his head doubtfully, and just then there was a knock at
the door and the operator, still pale and excited, spoke his message:
"General, the wires are cut."
The two officers stared at each other in silence.
. . . . . .
Twenty-seven miles to go and less than three hours before sunrise. There was a
race yet for the life of Daniel Dean. The gallant little mare could cover the
stretch with nearly an hour to spare, and Chad, thrilled in every nerve, but
with calm confidence, raced against the coming dawn.
"The wires are cut."
Who had cut them and where and when and why? No matter--Chad had the paper in
his pocket that would save two lives and he would be on time even if Dixie
broke her noble heart, but he could not get the words out of his brain--even
Dixie's hoofs beat them out ceaselessly:
"The wires are cut--the wires are cut!"
The mystery would have been clear, had Chad known the message that lay on the
Commandant's desk back at the Capital, for the boy knew Morgan, and that
Morgan's lips never opened for an idle threat. He would have ridden just as
hard, had he known, but a different purpose would have been his.
An hour more and there was still no light in the East. An hour more and one
red streak had shot upward; then ahead of him gleamed a picket fire --a fire
that seemed farther from town than any post he had seen on his way down to the
Capital --but he galloped on. Within fifty yards a cry came:
"Halt! Who comes there?"
"Friend," he shouted, reining in. A bullet whizzed past his head as he pulled
up outside the edge of the fire and Chad shouted indignantly:
"Don't shoot, you fool! I have a message for General Ward!"
"Oh! All right! Come on!" said the sentinel, but his hesitation and the tone
of his voice made the boy alert with suspicion. The other pickets about the
fire had risen and grasped their muskets. The wind flared the flames just then
and in the leaping light Chad saw that their uniforms were gray.
The boy almost gasped. There was need for quick thought and quick action now.
"Lower that blunderbuss," he called out, jestingly, and kicking loose from one
stirrup, he touched Dixie with the spur and pulled her up with an impatient
"Whoa," as though he were trying to replace his foot.
"You come on!" said the sentinel, but he dropped his musket to the hollow of
his arm, and, before he could throw it to his shoulder again, fire flashed
under Dixie's feet and the astonished rebel saw horse and rider rise over the
pike-fence. His bullet went overhead as Dixie landed on the other side, and
the pickets at the fire joined in a fusillade at the dark shapes speeding
across the bluegrass field. A moment later Chad's mocking yell rang from the
edge of the woods beyond and the disgusted sentinel split the night with
"That beats the devil. We never touched him I swear, I believe that hoss had
Morgan! The flash of that name across his brain cleared the mystery for Chad
like magic. Nobody but Morgan and his daredevils could rise out of the ground
like that in the very midst of enemies when they were supposed to be hundreds
of mlles away in Tennessee. Morgan had cut those wires. Morgan had every road
around Lexington guarded, no doubt, and was at that hour hemming in Chad's
unsuspicious regiment, whose camp was on the other side of town, and unless he
could give warning, Morgan would drop like a thunderbolt on it, asleep. He
must circle the town now to get around the rebel posts, and that meant several
miles more for Dixie.
He stopped and reached down to feel the little mare's flanks. Dixie drew a
long breath and dropped her muzzle to tear up a rich mouthful of bluegrass.
"Oh, you beauty!" said the boy, "you wonder!" And on he went, through woodland
and field, over gully, log, and fence, bullets ringing after him from nearly
every road he crossed.
Morgan was near. In disguise, when Bragg retreated, he had got permission to
leave Kentucky in his own way. That meant wheeling and making straight back to
Lexington to surprise the Fourth Ohio Cavalry; representing himself on the
way, one night, as his old enemy Wolford, and being guided a short cut through
the edge of the Bluegrass by an ardent admirer of the Yankee Colonel--the said
admirer giving Morgan the worst tirade possible, meanwhile, and nearly
tumbling from his horse when Morgan told him who he was and sarcastically
advised him to make sure next time to whom he paid his compliments.
So that while Chad, with the precious message under his jacket, and Dixie were
lightly thundering along the road, Morgan's Men were gobbling up pickets
around Lexington and making ready for an attack on the sleeping camp at dawn.
The dawn was nearly breaking now, and Harry Dean was pacing to and fro before
the old CourtHouse where Dan and Rebel Jerry lay under guard --pacing to and
fro and waiting for his mother and sister to come to say the last good-by to
the boy--for Harry had given up hope and had sent for them. At that very hour
Richard Hunt was leading his regiment around the Ashland woods where the enemy
lay; another regiment was taking its place between the camp and the town, and
gray figures were slipping noiselessly on the provost-guard that watched the
rebel prisoners who were waiting for death at sunrise. As the dawn broke, the
dash came, and Harry Dean was sick at heart as he sharply rallied the startled
guard to prevent the rescue of his own brother and straightway delirious with
joy when he saw the gray mass sweeping on him and knew that he would fail. A
few shots rang out; the far rattle of musketry rose between the camp and town;
the thunder of the "Bull Pups" saluted the coming light, and Dan and Rebel
Jerry had suddenly--instead of death--life, liberty, arms, a horse each, and
the sudden pursuit of happiness in a wild dash toward the Yankee camp, while
in a dew-drenched meadow two miles away Chad Buford drew Dixie in to listen.
The fight was on.
If the rebels won, Dan Dean would be safe; if the Yankees--then there would
still be need of him and the paper over his heart. He was too late to warn,
but not, maybe, to fight--so he galloped on.
But the end came as he galloped. The amazed Fourth Ohio threw down its arms at
once, and Richard Hunt and his men, as they sat on their horses outside the
camp picking up stragglers, saw a lone scout coming at a gallop across the
still, gray fields. His horse was black and his uniform was blue, but he came
straight on, apparently not seeing the rebels behind the ragged hedge along
the road. When within thirty yards, Richard Hunt rode through a roadside gate
to meet him and saluted.
"You are my prisoner," he said, courteously.
The Yankee never stopped, but wheeled, almost brushing the hedge as he turned.
"Prisoner--hell!" he said, clearly, and like a bird was skimming away while
the men behind the hedge, paralyzed by his daring, fired not a shot. Only Dan
Dean started through the gate in pursuit.
"I want him," he said, savagely.
"Who's that?" asked Morgan, who had ridden up.
"That's a Yankee," laughed Colonel Hunt.
"Why didn't you shoot him?" The Colonel laughed again.
"I don't know," he said, looking around at his men, who, too, were smiling.
"That's the fellow who gave us so much trouble in the Green River Country,"
said a soldier. "It's Chad Buford."
"Well, I'm glad we didn't shoot him," said Colonel Hunt, thinking of Margaret.
That was not the way he liked to dispose of a rival.
"Dan will catch him," said an officer. "He wants him bad, and I don't wonder."
Just then Chad lifted Dixie over a fence.
"Not much," said Morgan. "I'd rather you'd shot him than that horse."
Dan was gaining now, and Chad, in the middle of the field beyond the fence,
turned his head and saw the lone rebel in pursuit. Deliberately he pulled
weary Dixie in, faced about, and waited. He drew his pistol, raised it, saw
that the rebel was Daniel Dean, and dropped it again to his side. Verily the
fortune of that war was strange. Dan's horse refused the fence and the boy, in
a rage, lifted his pistol and fired. Again Chad raised his own pistol and
again he lowered it just as Dan fired again. This time Chad lurched in his
saddle, but recovering himself, turned and galloped slowly away, while
Dan--his pistol hanging at his side--stared after him, and the wondering
rebels behind the hedge stared hard at Dan.
. . . . . .
All was over. The Fourth Ohio Cavalry was in rebel hands, and a few minutes
later Dan rode with General Morgan and Colonel Hunt toward the Yankee camp.
There had been many blunders in the fight. Regiments had fired into each other
in the confusion and the "Bull Pups" had kept on pounding the Yankee camp even
while the rebels were taking possession of it. On the way they met Renfrew,
the Silent, in his brilliant Zouave jacket.
"Colonel," he said, indignantly--and it was the first time many had ever heard
him open his lips --"some officer over there deliberately fired twice at me,
though I was holding my arms over my head."
"It was dark," said Colonel Hunt, soothingly. "He didn't know you."
"Ah, Colonel, he might not have known me-- but he must have known this
On the outskirts of one group of prisoners was a tall, slender young
lieutenant with a streak of blood across one cheek. Dan pulled in his horse
and the two met each other's eyes silently. Dan threw himself from his horse.
"Are you hurt, Harry?"
"It's nothing--but you've got me, Dan."
"Why, Harry!" said Morgan. "Is that you? You are paroled, my boy," he added,
kindly. "Go home and stay until you are exchanged."
So, Harry, as a prisoner, did what he had not done before--he went home
immediately. And home with him went Dan and Colonel Hunt, while they could,
for the Yankees would soon be after them from the north, east, south and west.
Behind them trotted Rebel Jerry. On the edge of town they saw a negro lashing
a pair of horses along the turnpike toward them. Two white faced women were
seated in a carriage behind him, and in a moment Dan was in the arms of his
mother and sister and both women were looking, through tears, their speechless
gratitude to Richard Hunt.
The three Confederates did not stay long at the Deans'. Jerry Dillon was on
the lookout, and even while the Deans were at dinner, Rufus ran in with the
familiar cry that Yankees were coming. It was a regiment from an adjoining
county, but Colonel Hunt finished his coffee, amid all the excitement, most
"You'll pardon us for eating and running, won't you, Mrs. Dean?" It was the
first time in her life that Mrs. Dean ever speeded a parting guest.
"Oh, do hurry, Colonel--please, please." Dan laughed.
"Good-by, Harry," he said. "We'll give you a week or two at home before we get
"Don't make it any longer than necessary, please," said Harry, gravely.
"We're coming back again, Mrs. Dean," said he Colonel, and then in a lower
tone to Margaret: "I'm coming often," he added, and Margaret blushed in a way
that would not have given very great joy to one Chadwick Buford.
Very leisurely the three rode out to the pike gate, where they halted and
surveyed the advancing column, which was still several hundred yards away, and
then with a last wave of their caps, started in a slow gallop for town. The
advance guard started suddenly in pursuit, and the Deans saw Dan turn in his
saddle and heard his defiant yell. Margaret ran down and fixed her flag in its
place on the fence--Harry watching her.
"Mother," he said, sadly, "you don't know what trouble you may be laying
up for yourself."
Fate could hardly lay up more than what she already had, but the mother
"I can do nothing with Margaret," she said.
In town the Federal flags had been furled and the Stars and Bars thrown out to
the wind. Morgan was preparing to march when Dan and Colonel Hunt galloped up
"They're coming," said Hunt, quietly.
"Yes," said Morgan, "from every direction."
"Ah, John," called an old fellow, who, though a Unionist, believing in keeping
peace with both sides, "when we don't expect you--then is the time you come.
Going to stay long?"
"Not long," said Morgan, grimly. "In fact, I guess we'll be moving along now."
And he did--back to Dixie with his prisoners, tearing up railroads, burning
bridges and trestles, and pursued by enough Yankees to have eaten him and his
entire command if they ever could have caught him. As they passed into Dixie,
"Lightning" captured a telegraph office and had a last little fling at his
"Head-quarters, Telegraph Dept. of Ky., Confederate States of America"--thus
he headed his General Order No. to the various Union authorities throughout
"Hereafter," he clicked, grinning, "an operator will destroy telegraphic
instruments and all material in charge when informed that Morgan has crossed
the border. Such instances of carelessness as lately have been exhibited in
the Bluegrass will be severely dealt with.
"By order of
"Gen. Supt. C. S. Tel. Dept."
Just about that time Chad Buford, in a Yankee hospital, was coming back from
the land of ether dreams. An hour later, the surgeon who had taken Dan's
bullet from his shoulder, handed him a piece of paper, black with faded blood
and scarcely legible.
"I found that in your jacket," he said. "Is it important?"
"No," he said. "Not now."
CHAPTER 25. AFTER DAWS DILLON--GUERILLA
Once more, and for the last time, Chadwick Buford jogged along the turnpike
from the Ohio to the heart of the Bluegrass. He had filled his empty
shoulder-straps with two bars. He had a bullet wound through one shoulder and
there was a beautiful sabre cut across his right cheek. He looked the soldier
every inch of him; he was, in truth, what he looked; and he was, moreover, a
man. Naturally, his face was stern and resolute, if only from habit of
authority, but he had known no passion during the war that might have seared
its kindness; no other feeling toward his foes than admiration for their
unquenchable courage and miserable regret that to such men he must be a foe.
Now, it was coming spring again--the spring of '64, and but one more year of
the war to come.
The capture of the Fourth Ohio by Morgan that autumn of '62 had given Chad his
long-looked-for chance. He turned Dixie's head toward the foothills to join
Wolford, for with Wolford was the work that he loved--that leader being more
like Morgan in his method and daring than any other Federal cavalryman in the
field behind him. In Kentucky, he left the State under martial sway once more,
and, thereafter, the troubles of rebel sympathizers multiplied steadily, for
never again was the State under rebel control. A heavy hand was laid on every
rebel roof. Major Buford was sent to prison again. General Dean was in
Virginia, fighting, and only the fact that there was no man in the Dean
household on whom vengeance could fall, saved Margaret and Mrs. Dean from
suffering, but even the time of women was to come.
On the last day of '62, Murfreesboro was fought and the second great effort of
the Confederacy at the West was lost. Again Bragg withdrew. On New Year's Day,
'63, Lincoln freed the slaves--and no rebel was more indignant than was
Chadwick Buford. The Kentucky Unionists, in general, protested: the
Confederates had broken the Constitution, they said; the Unionists were
helping to maintain that contract and now the Federals had broken the
Constitution, and their own high ground was swept from beneath their feet.
They protested as bitterly as their foes, be it said, against the Federals
breaking up political conventions with bayonets and against the ruin of
innocent citizens for the crimes of guerillas, for whose acts nobody was
responsible, but all to no avail. The terrorism only grew the more.
When summer came, and while Grant was bisecting the Confederacy at Vicksburg,
by opening the Mississippi, and Lee was fighting Gettysburg, Chad, with
Wolford, chased Morgan when he gathered his clans for his last daring
venture--to cross the Ohio and strike the enemy on its own hearth-stones--and
thus give him a little taste of what the South had long known from border to
border. Pursued by Federals, Morgan got across the river, waving a farewell to
his pursuing enemies on the other bank, and struck out. Within three days, one
hundred thousand men were after him and his two thousand daredevils, cutting
down trees behind him (in case he should return!), flanking him, getting in
his front, but on he went, uncaught and spreading terror for a thousand miles,
while behind him for six hundred miles country people lined the dusty road,
singing "Rally 'round the Flag, Boys," and handing out fried chicken and
blackberry-pie to his pursuers. Men taken afterward with typhoid fever sang
that song through their delirium and tasted fried chicken no more as long as
they lived. Hemmed in as Morgan was, he would have gotten away, but for the
fact that a heavy fog made him miss the crossing of the river, and for the
further reason that the first rise in the river in that month for twenty years
made it impossible for his command to swim. He might have fought out, but his
ammunition was gone. Many did escape, and Morgan himself could have gotten
away. Chad, himself, saw the rebel chief swimming the river on a powerful
horse, followed by a negro servant on another--saw him turn deliberately in
the middle of the stream, when it was plain that his command could not escape,
and make for the Ohio shore to share the fortunes of his beloved officers who
were left behind. Chad heard him shout to the negro:
"Go back, you will be drowned." The negro turned his face and Chad laughed--it
was Snowball, grinning and shaking his head:
"No, Mars John, no suh!" he yelled. "It's all right fer YOU! YOU can git a
furlough, but dis nigger ain't gwine to be cotched in no free State. 'Sides,
Mars Dan, he gwine to get away, too." And Dan did get away, and Chad, to his
shame, saw Morgan and Colonel Hunt loaded on a boat to be sent down to prison
in a State penitentiary! It was a grateful surprise to Chad, two months later,
to learn from a Federal officer that Morgan with six others had dug out of
prison and escaped.
"I was going through that very town," said the officer, "and a fellow, shaved
and sheared like a convict, got aboard and sat down in the same seat with me.
As we passed the penitentiary, he turned with a yawn--and said, in a
"'That's where Morgan is kept, isn't it?" and then he drew out a flask. I
thought he had wonderfully good manners in spite of his looks, and, so help
me, if he didn't wave his hand, bow like a Bayard, and hand it over to me:
"'Let's drink to the hope that Morgan may always be as safe as he is now.' I
drank to his toast with a hearty Amen, and the fellow never cracked a smile.
It was Morgan himself."
Early in '64 the order had gone round for negroes to be enrolled as soldiers,
and again no rebel felt more outraged than Chadwick Buford. Wolford, his
commander, was dishonorably dismissed from the service for bitter protests and
harsh open criticism of the Government, and Chad, himself, felt like tearing
off with his own hands the straps which he had won with so much bravery and
worn with so much pride. But the instinct that led him into the Union service
kept his lips sealed when his respect for that service, in his own State, was
well-nigh gone--kept him in that State where he thought his duty lay. There
was need of him and thousands more like him. For, while active war was now
over in Kentucky, its brood of evils was still thickening. Every county in the
State was ravaged by a guerilla band--and the ranks of these marauders began
to be swelled by Confederates, particularly in the mountains and in the hills
that skirt them. Banks, trains, public vaults, stores, were robbed right and
left, and murder and revenge were of daily occurrence. Daws Dillon was an open
terror both in the mountains and in the Bluegrass. Hitherto the bands had been
Union and Confederate but now, more and more, men who had been rebels joined
them. And Chad Buford could understand. For, many a rebel soldier--"hopeless
now for his cause," as Richard Hunt was wont to say, "fighting from pride,
bereft of sympathy, aid, and encouragement that he once received, and
compelled to wring existence from his own countrymen; a cavalryman on some
out-post department, perhaps, without rations, fluttering with rags; shod, if
shod at all, with shoes that sucked in rain and cold; sleeping at night under
the blanket that kept his saddle by day from his sore-backed horse; paid, if
paid at all, with waste paper; hardened into recklessness by war--many a rebel
soldier thus became a guerrilla--consoling himself, perhaps, with the thought
that his desertion was not to the enemy."
Bad as the methods of such men were, they were hardly worse than the means
taken in retaliation. At first, Confederate sympathizers were arrested and
held as hostages for all persons captured and detained by guerillas. Later,
when a citizen was killed by one of these bands, four prisoners, supposed to
be chosen from this class of free-booters, were taken from prison and shot to
death on the spot where the deed was done. Now it was rare that one of these
brigands was ever taken alive, and thus regular soldier after soldier who was
a prisoner of war, and entitled to consideration as such, was taken from
prison and murdered by the Commandant without even a court-martial. It was
such a death that Dan Dean and Rebel Jerry had narrowly escaped. Union men
were imprisoned even for protesting against these outrages, so that between
guerilla and provost-marshal no citizen, whether Federal or Confederate, in
sympathy, felt safe in property, life, or liberty. The better Unionists were
alienated, but worse yet was to come. Hitherto, only the finest chivalry had
been shown women and children throughout the war. Women whose brothers and
husbands and sons were in the rebel army, or dead on the battle-field, were
banished now with their children to Canada under a negro guard, or sent to
prison. State authorities became openly arrayed against provost-marshals and
their followers. There was almost an open clash. The Governor, a Unionist,
threatened even to recall the Kentucky troops from the field to come back and
protect their homes. Even the Home Guards got disgusted with their masters,
and for a while it seemed as if the State, between guerilla and
provost-marshal, would go to pieces. For months the Confederates had
repudiated all connection with these free-booters and had joined with Federals
in hunting them down, but when the State government tried to raise troops to
crush them, the Commandant not only ordered his troops to resist the State,
but ordered the muster-out of all State troops then in service.
The Deans little knew then how much trouble Captain Chad Buford, whose daring
service against guerillas had given him great power with the Union
authorities, had saved them--how he had kept them from arrest and imprisonment
on the charge of none other than Jerome Conners, the overseer; how he had
ridden out to pay his personal respects to the complainant, and that brave
gentleman, seeing him from afar, had mounted his horse and fled,
terror-stricken. They never knew that just after this he had got a furlough
and gone to see Grant himself, who had sent him on to tell his story to Mr.
"Go back to Kentucky, then," said Grant, with his quiet smile, "and if General
Ward has nothing particular for you to do, I want him to send you to me," and
Chad had gone from him, dizzy with pride and hope.
"I'm going to do something," said Mr. Lincoln, "and I'm going to do it right
And now, in the spring of '64, Chad carried in his breast despatches from the
President himself to General Ward at Lexington.
As he rode over the next hill, from which he would get his first glimpse of
his old home and the Deans', his heart beat fast and his eyes swept both sides
of the road. Both houses: even the Deans'--were shuttered and closed--both
tenantless. He saw not even a negro cabin that showed a sign of life.
On he went at a gallop toward Lexington. Not a single rebel flag had he seen
since he left the Ohio, nor was he at all surprised; the end could not be far
off, and there was no chance that the Federals would ever again lose the
On the edge of the town he overtook a Federal officer. It was Harry Dean, pale
and thin from long imprisonment and sickness. Harry had been with Sherman, had
been captured again, and, in prison, had almost died with fever. He had come
home to get well only to find his sister and mother sent as exiles to Canada.
Major Buford was still in prison, Miss Lucy was dead, and Jerome Conners
seemed master of the house and farm. General Dean had been killed, had been
sent home, and was buried in the garden. It was only two days after the
burial, Harry said, that Margaret and her mother had to leave their home. Even
the bandages that Mrs. Dean had brought out to Chad's wounded sergeant, that
night he had captured and lost Dan, had been brought up as proof that she and
Margaret were aiding and abetting Confederates. Dan had gone to join Morgan
and Colonel Hunt over in southwestern Virginia, where Morgan had at last got a