Part 4 out of 6
and neither side willing to yield! How glad would be the men who made
the war to see both sections back where they were two and a half years
ago! and that's no treason.
Water rose in Harry's eyes. He knew how terribly his father's heart
had been torn by the quarrel between North and South, and that he had
thoughts which he did not tell to his son. Harry was beginning at last
to think some of the same thoughts himself. If the South succeeded, then,
after the war, what? Another war later on or reunion.
The rest of the letter was wholly personal, and in the end it directed
Harry, when writing to him, to address his letters care of the Western
Army under General Bragg. Harry was moved and he responded at once.
He went to the hotel in which he had met the young men who constituted
the leading lights in what was called the Mosaic Club, and, securing
writing materials, made a long reply, which he posted with every hope
that it would soon reach its destination.
Early in the evening he rejoined Dalton at the house of the Lanhams and
they found that Mrs. Lanham had done wonders with their best uniforms.
When they were dressed in them they felt that it was no harder to charge
the Curtis house than to rush a battery.
"You young men go early," said Mr. Lanham. "Mrs. Lanham and I will
They departed, daring to practice their dance steps in the street to the
delight of small boys who did not hesitate to chaff them. But Harry
and Dalton did not care. They answered the chaff in kind, and soon
approached the Curtis home, all the windows of which were blazing with
The house stood in extensive grounds, and lofty white pillars gave it an
imposing appearance. Guests were arriving fast. Most of the men were
military, but there was a fair sprinkling of civilians nevertheless.
The lads saw their friends of the Mosaic Club pass in just ahead of them,
all dressed with extreme care. Generals and colonels and other officers
were in most favor now, but these men, with their swift and incisive wit
and their ability to talk well about everything, fully made up for the
lack of uniform.
Harry and Dalton, before passing through the side gateway that led to the
house, paused awhile to look at those who came. Many people, and they
ranked among the best in Richmond, walked. They had sent all their
horses to the front long ago to be ridden by cavalrymen or to draw
cannon. Others, not so self-sacrificing, came in heavy carriages with
Harry noticed that in many cases the clothing of the men showed a little
white at the seams, and there were cuffs the ends of which had been
trimmed with great care. But it was these whom he respected most.
He remembered that Virginia had not really wanted to go into the war,
and that she had delayed long, but, being in it, she was making supreme
And there were many young girls who did not need elaborate dress.
In their simple white or pink, often but cotton, their cheeks showing the
delicate color that is possessed only by the girls in the border states
of the South, they seemed very beautiful to Harry and George, who had
known nothing but camps and armies so long.
It was the healthy admiration of the brave youth of one sex for the fair
youth of the other, but there was in it a deeper note, too. Age can
stand misfortune. Youth wonders why it is stricken, and Harry felt as
they passed by, bright of face and soft of voice, that the clouds were
gathering heavily over them.
But he was too young himself for the feeling to endure long. Dalton was
proposing that they go in and they promptly joined the stream of entering
guests. Randolph soon found them and presented them to Mrs. Curtis,
a large woman of middle years, and dignified manner, related to nearly
all the old families of Virginia, and a descendant of a collateral branch
of the Washingtons. Her husband, William Curtis, seemed to be of a
different type, a man of sixty, tall, thin and more reserved than most
Southerners of his time. His thin lips were usually compressed and his
pale blue eyes were lacking in warmth. But the long strong line of his
jaw showed that he was a man of strength and decision.
"A Northern bough on a Southern tree," whispered Dalton, as they passed
on. "He comes from some place up the valley and they say that the North
itself has not his superior in financial skill."
"I did not warm to him at first," said Harry, "but I respect him.
As you know, George, we've put too little stress upon his kind of
ability. We'll need him and more like him when the Confederacy is
established. We'll have to build ourselves up as a great power, and
that's done by trade and manufactures more than by arms."
"It's so, Harry. But listen to that music!"
A band of four pieces placed behind flowers and shrubbery was playing.
Here was no blare of trumpets or call of bugles. It was the music of the
dance and the sentimental old songs of the South, nearly all of which had
a sad and wailing note. Harry heard the four black men play the songs
that he had heard Samuel Jarvis sing, deep in the Kentucky mountains,
and his heart beat with an emotion that he could not understand. Was
it a cry for peace? Did his soul tell him that an end should come to
fighting? Then throbbed the music of the lines:
Soft o'er the fountain lingering falls the Southern moon
Far o'er the mountain breaks the day too soon.
In thy dark eyes' splendor, where the moonlight loves to dwell
Weary looks, yet tender, speak their fond farewell.
Nita, Juanita! Ask thy soul if we should part,
Nita, Juanita! Lean thou on my heart!
The music of the sad old song throbbed and throbbed, and sank deep into
Harry's heart. At another time he might not have been stirred, but at
this moment he was responsive in every fiber. He saw once more the green
wilderness, and he heard once more the mellow tones of the singer coming
back in far echoes from the gorges.
"Nita, Juanita! Ask thy soul if we should part," hummed Dalton, but
Harry was still far away in the green wilderness, listening to the singer
of the mountains. Then the singer stopped suddenly, and he was listening
once more to the startling prediction of the old, old woman:
"I am proud that our house has sheltered you, but it is not for the last
time. You will come again, and you will be thin and pale and in rags,
and you will fall at the door. I see you coming with these two eyes of
That prediction had been made a long time ago, years since, it seemed,
but whenever it returned to him, and it returned at most unexpected times,
it lost nothing of its amazing vividness and power; rather they were
increased. Could it be true that the supremely old had a vision or
second sight? Then he rebuked himself angrily. There was nothing
supernatural in this world.
"Wake up, Harry! What are you thinking about?" whispered Dalton sharply.
"You seem to be dreaming, and here's a house full of pretty girls,
with more than a half-dozen looking at you, the gallant young officer of
the Army of Northern Virginia, the story of whose romantic exploits had
already reached Richmond."
"I was dreaming and I apologize," said Harry. That minute in which he
had seen so much, so far away, passed utterly, and in another minute both
he and Dalton were dancing with Virginia girls, as fair as dreams to
these two, who had looked so long only upon the tanned faces of soldiers.
Both he and Dalton were at home in a half-hour. People in the Old South
then, as in the New South now, are closely united by ties of kinship
which are acknowledged as far as they run. One is usually a member of a
huge clan and has all the privileges that clanship can confer. Kentucky
was the daughter of Virginia, and mother and daughter were fond of each
other, as they are to-day.
After the third dance Harry was sitting with Rosamond Lawrence of
Petersburg in a window seat. She was a slender blonde girl, and the
dancing had made the pink in her cheeks deepen into a flush.
"You're from Kentucky, I know," said Miss Lawrence, "but you haven't yet
told me your town."
"Pendleton. It's small but it's on the map. My father is a colonel in
the Western army."
"Aren't you a Virginian by blood? Most all Kentuckians are."
"Partly. My great grandfather, though, was born in Maryland."
"What was his name, Lieutenant Kenton?"
"Henry Ware! Kentucky's first and greatest governor."
"Yes, he was my great grandfather. I'm proud to be his descendant."
"I should think you would be."
"But his wife, who was Lucy Upton, my great grandmother, was of Virginia
blood, and all of the next two generations intermarried with people of
"Then you are a Kentuckian and a Virginian, too. I knew it! You have a
middle name, haven't you?"
"Will you tell me what it is?"
The girl laughed.
"Harry Cary Kenton. Why Cary is one of our best old Virginia names.
Will you tell me too what was your mother's name before she was married?"
"Another. Oh, all this unravels finely. And what was your grandmother's
"Nothing could be more Virginian than Brent. Oh, you're one of us,
Lieutenant Kenton, a real Virginian of the true blood."
"And heart and soul too!" giving her one of his finest young military
She laughed. It was only quick friendship between them and no more,
and a half-hour later he was dancing with another Virginia girl, not
so blonde, but just as handsome, and their talk was quite as friendly.
Her name was Lockridge, and as they sat down near the musicians to rest,
and listen a while, Harry saw a figure, slender and black-robed, pass.
He knew at once who she was, and it had been predicted that he might meet
her there, but she had stirred his curiosity a little, and thinking he
might obtain further information he asked Miss Lockridge:
"Who is the woman who just passed us?"
"That's Miss Carden, Miss Henrietta Carden, a sewing woman, very capable
too, who always helps at the big balls. Mrs. Curtis relies greatly upon
her. The door through which she went leads to the ladies' dressing-room."
"A native of Richmond?"
"I don't know. But why are you so curious about a sewing woman,
Harry flushed. There was a faint tinge of rebuke in her words, and he
knew that he merited it.
"It was just an idle question," he replied quickly, and with an air of
indifference. "I noticed her on the train when we came into the capital,
and we are so little used to women that we are inquisitive about every
one whom we see. Why, Miss Lockridge, I didn't realize until I came to
this ball that women could be so extraordinarily beautiful. Every one of
you looks like an angel, just lowered gently from Heaven."
"If you're not merely a flatterer then it's long absence that gives
charm. I assure you, Lieutenant Kenton, that we're very, very common
clay. You should see us eat."
"I'll get you an ice at once."
"Oh, I don't mean that. I mean substantial things!"
"A healthy appetite doesn't keep a girl from being an angel."
"When men marry us they find out that we're not angels."
"The word 'angel' is with me merely a figure of speech. I don't want any
real angel. I want my wife, if I ever marry, to be thoroughly human."
Harry's progress was rapid. A handsome figure and face, and an ingenuous
manner made him a favorite. After midnight he wandered into a room where
older men were smoking and talking. They were mostly officers, some of
high rank, one a general, and they talked of that which they could never
get wholly from their minds, the war. All knew Harry, and, as he wanted
fresh air, they gave him a place by a window which looked upon a small
Harry was tired. In dancing he had been compelled to bring into play
muscles long unused, and he luxuriated in the cushioned chair, while the
pleasant night breeze blew upon him. They were discussing Lee's probable
plans to meet Meade, who would certainly follow him in time across
the Potomac. They spoke with weight and authority, because they were
experienced men who had been in many battles, and they were here on
furlough, most of them recovering from wounds.
Harry heard them, but their words were like the flowing of a river.
He paid no heed. They did not bring the war back to him. He was
thinking of the music and of the brilliant faces of the girls whom he
loved collectively. What that Lawrence girl had said was true. He was a
Virginian as well as a Kentuckian, and the Kentuckians and Virginians
were all one big family. All those pretty Virginia girls were his
cousins. It might run to the thirty-second degree, but they were his
cousins just the same, and he would claim them with confidence.
He smiled and his eyelids drooped a little. It was rather dark outside,
and he was looking directly into the court in which rosebushes and tall
flowering plants grew. A shadow passed. He did not see whence it came
or went, but he sat up and laughed at himself for dozing and conjuring up
phantoms when he was at his first real ball in ages.
All the civilians had gone out and only five or six of the officers,
the most important, were left. Their talk had grown more eager, and on
the center of the table around which they sat lay a large piece of white
canvas upon which they were drawing a map expressing their collective
opinion. Every detail was agreed upon, after much discussion, and Harry,
as much interested as they, began to watch, while the lines grew upon the
canvas. He ventured no opinion, being so much younger than the others.
"We don't know, of course, exactly what General Lee will do," said a
colonel, "but we do know that he's always dangerous. He invariably acts
on the offensive, even if he's retreating. I should think that he'd
strike Meade about here."
"Not there, but not far from it," said the general. "Make a dot at that
point, Bathurst, and make another dot here about twenty miles to the east,
which represents my opinion."
Bathurst made the dots and the men, wholly absorbed, bent lower over
their plans, which were growing almost unconsciously into a map, and a
good one too. Harry was as much interested as they, and he still kept
himself in the background, owing to his youth and minor rank.
The door to the room was open a little and the music, a waltz, came in
a soft ripple from the drawing room. It was rhythmic and languorous,
and Harry's feet would have moved to its tune at any other time, but he
was too deeply absorbed in the conjectures and certainties that they were
drawing with their pencils on the white canvas.
Many of the details, he knew, were absolutely true, and others he was
quite sure must be true, because these were men of high rank who carried
in their minds the military secrets of the Confederacy.
"I think we're pretty well agreed on the general nature of the plan,"
said Bathurst. "We differ only in details."
"That's so," said the general, "but we're lingering too long here.
God knows that we see little enough of our women folks, and, when we have
the chance to see them, and feel the touch of their hands, we waste our
time like a lot of fools making military guesses. If I'm not too old
to dance to the tune of the shells I'm not too old to dance to the tune
of the fiddle and the bow. That's a glorious air floating in from the
ballroom. I think I can show some of these youngsters like Kenton here
how to shake a foot."
"After you, General," laughed Bathurst. "We know your capacity on both
the field and the floor, and how you respond to the shell and the bow.
Come on! The ballroom is calling to us, and I doubt whether we'll
explain to the satisfaction of everybody why we've been away from it so
long. You, too, Harry!"
They rose in a group and went out hastily. Harry was last, and his hand
was on the bolt of the door, preparatory to closing it, when the general
turned to Bathurst and said:
"You've that diagram of ours, haven't you, Bathurst? It's not a thing to
be left lying loose."
"Why, no, sir, I thought you put it in your pocket."
The general laughed.
"You're suffering from astigmatism, Bathurst," he said. "Doubtless it
was Colton whom you saw stowing it away. I think we'd better tear it
into little bits as we have no further use for it."
"But I haven't it, sir," said Colton, a veteran colonel, just recovering
from a wound in the arm. "I supposed of course that one of the others
An uneasy look appeared in the general's eyes, but it passed in an
"You have it, Morton?"
"No, sir. Like Bathurst I thought one of the others took it."
"And you, Kitteridge?"
"I did not take it, sir."
"You surely have it, Johnson?"
"No, sir, I was under the impression that you had taken it away with you."
"And you, McCurdy?"
McCurdy shook his head.
"Then Kenton, as you were the last to rise, you certainly have it."
"I was just a looker-on; I did not touch it," said Harry, whose hand was
still on the bolt of the partly opened door.
The general laughed.
"Another case of everybody expecting somebody else to do a thing, and
nobody doing it," he said. "Kenton, go back and take it from the table.
In our absorption we've been singularly forgetful, and that plan must be
destroyed at once."
Harry reentered the room, and in their eagerness all of the officers
followed. Then a simultaneous "Ah!" of dismay burst from them all.
There was nothing on the table. The plan was gone. They looked at one
another, and in the eyes of every one apprehension was growing.
"The window is partly open," said the general, affecting a laugh,
although it had an uneasy note, "and of course it has blown off the
table. We'll surely find it behind the sofa or a chair."
They searched the room eagerly, going over every inch of space, every
possible hiding place, but the plan was not there.
"Perhaps it's in the court," said the general. "It might have fluttered
out there. Raise the sash higher, Kenton. Let nobody make any noise.
We must be as quiet as possible about this. Luckily there's enough
moonlight now for us to find even a small scrap of paper in the court."
They stole through the window silently, one by one, and searched every
inch of the court's space. But nothing was in it, save the grass and the
flowers and the rosebushes that belonged there. They returned to the
room, and once more looked at one another in dismay.
"Shut the window entirely and lock the door, Kenton," said the general.
Harry did so. Then the general looked at them all, and his face was set
and very firm.
"We must all be searched," he said. "I know that every one of you is the
soul of honor. I know that not one of you has concealed about his person
this document which has suddenly become so valuable. I know that not
one of you would smuggle through to the enemy such a plan at any price,
no matter how large. Nevertheless we must know beyond the shadow of a
doubt that none of us has the map. And I insist, too, that I be searched
first. Bathurst, Colton, begin!"
They examined one another carefully in turn. Every pocket or possible
place of concealment was searched. Harry was the last and when they were
done with him the general heaved a huge sigh of relief.
"We know positively that we are not guilty," he said. "We knew it before,
but now we've proved it. That is off our minds, but the mystery of
the missing map remains. What a strange combination of circumstances.
I think, gentlemen, that we had best say nothing about it to outsiders.
It's certainly to the interest of every one of us not to do so. It's
also to the interest of all of us to watch the best we can for a
solution. You're young, Kenton, but from what I hear of you you're able
to keep your own counsel."
"You can trust me, sir," said Harry.
"I know it, and now unlock the door. We've held ourselves prisoners long
enough, and they'll be wondering about us in the ballroom."
Harry turned the key promptly enough and he was glad to escape from the
room. He felt that he had left behind a sinister atmosphere. He had not
mentioned to the older men the faint shadow that he thought he had seen
crossing the courtyard. But then it was only fancy, nothing more,
an idle figment of the brain! There was the music now, softer and more
tempting than ever, an irresistible call to flying feet, and another
dance with Rosamond Lawrence was due.
"I thought you weren't coming, Lieutenant Kenton," she said. "Some one
said that you had gone into the smoking-room and that you were talking
war with middle-aged generals and colonels."
"But I escaped as soon as I could, Miss Rosamond," he said--he was
thinking of the locked door and the universal search.
"Well, you came just in time. The band is beginning and I was about to
give your dance to that good-looking Lieutenant Dalton."
"You wouldn't treat me like that! Throw over your cousin in such a
manner! I can't think it!"
"No, I wouldn't!"
Then the full swell of the music caught them both, and they glided away,
as light and swift as the melody that bore them on.
A VAIN PURSUIT
Youth was strong in Harry, and, while he danced and the music played,
he forgot all about the incident in the smoking-room. With him it was
just one pretty girl after another. He had heart enough for them all,
and only one who was so young and who had been so long on battlefields
could well understand what a keen, even poignant, pleasure it was to be
Those were the days when a ball lasted long. Pleasures did not come
often, but when they came they were to be enjoyed to the full. But as
the morning hours grew the manner of the older people became slightly
feverish and unnatural. They were pursuing pleasure and forgetfulness
with so much zeal and energy that it bore the aspect of force rather than
spontaneity. Harry noticed it and divined the cause. Beneath his high
spirits he now felt it himself. It was that looming shadow in the North
and that other in that far Southwest hovering over lost Vicksburg.
Serious men and serious women could not keep these shadows from their
The incident of the smoking-room and the missing map came back to him
with renewed force. It could not have walked away. They had searched
the room and the court so thoroughly that they would have found it,
had it been there. The disappearance of a document, which men of
authority and knowledge had built up almost unconsciously, puzzled and
It was almost day when he and Dalton left. They paid their respects
to Mr. and Mrs. Curtis, and said many good-bys to "the girls they left
behind them." Then they went out into the street, and inhaled great
draughts of the cool night air.
"A splendid night," said Dalton.
"Yes, truly," said Harry.
"I hope you didn't propose to more than six girls."
"To none. But I love them all together."
"I'm glad to hear it, because you're entirely too young to marry, and
your occupation is precarious."
"You needn't be so preachy. You're not more'n a hundred years old
"But I'm two months older than you are and often two months makes a
vast difference, particularly in our cases. I notice about you, Harry,
at times, a certain juvenility which I feel it my duty to repress."
"Don't do it, George. Let's enjoy it while we can, because as you say my
occupation is precarious and yours is the same."
They stopped at the corner of the iron fence enclosing the Curtis home,
in which many lights were still shining. It was near a dark alley
opening on the street and running by this side of the house.
"I'm going to see what's behind Mr. Curtis's house," said Harry.
Dalton stared at him.
"What's got into your head, Harry!" he exclaimed. "Do you mean to be a
burglar prowling about the home of the man who has entertained you?"
Harry hesitated. He was sorry that Dalton was with him. Then he could
have gone on without question, but he must make some excuse to Dalton.
"George," he said at last, "will you swear to keep a secret, a most
important one which I am pledged to tell to nobody, but which I must
confide in you in order to give a good reason for what I am about to do."
"If you are pledged to keep such a secret," replied Dalton, "then don't
explain it to me. Your word is good enough, Harry. Go ahead and do what
you want to do. I'll ask nothing about any of your actions, no matter
how strange it may look."
"You're a man in a million, George. Come on, your confidence is going to
be tested. Besides, you'll run the danger of being shot."
But Dalton followed him fearlessly as he led the way down the alley.
Richmond was not lighted then, save along the main streets, and a few
steps took them into the full dark. The brilliant windows threw bright
bands across the lines, but they themselves were in darkness.
The alley ran through the next street and so did the Curtis grounds.
They were as extensive in the rear of the house as in front, and
contained small pines carefully trimmed, banks of roses and two grape
arbors. Harry could hear no sound of any one stirring among them,
but people, obviously the cooks and other servants, were talking in the
big kitchen at the rear of the house.
The street itself running in the rear of the building was as well lighted
as it was in front, but Harry saw no one in it save a member of the city
police, who seemed to be keeping a good watch. But as he did not wish to
be observed by the man he waited a little while in the mouth of the alley,
until he had moved on and was out of sight.
"Now, George," he said, "you and I are going to do a little scouting.
You know I'm descended from the greatest natural scout and trailer ever
known in the West, one whose senses were preternaturally acute, one who
could almost track a bird in the air by its flight."
"Yes, I've heard of the renowned Henry Ware, and I know that you've
inherited a lot of his skill and intuition. Go ahead. I promised that
I would help you and ask no questions. I keep my word."
Harry climbed silently over the low fence, and Dalton followed in the
same manner. The light from the street and house did not penetrate the
pines and rosebushes, where Harry quickly found a refuge, Dalton as usual
"What next?" whispered Dalton.
"Now, I do my trailing and scouting, and you help me all you can, George,
but be sure you don't make any noise. There's enough moonlight filtering
through the pines to show the ground to me, but not enough to disclose us
to anybody twenty feet away."
He dropped to his hands and knees, and, crawling back and forth, began to
examine every inch of ground with minute care, while Dalton stared at him
"I'd help," whispered Dalton, "if I only knew what you were doing."
"Suppose, George, that somebody wanted to see the Curtis house, and yet
not be seen, wanted to observe as well as he could, without detection,
what was going on there. He'd watch his chance, jump over the fence as
we have done and enter this group of pines. He could ask no finer point
of observation. We are perfectly hidden and yet we can see the whole
rear of the house and one side of it."
"So we can. I infer that you are looking for some one who you think has
been acting as a spy."
"Ah! here we are. The earth is a bit soft by this pine, and I see the
trace of a footstep! And here is another trace, close by it, undoubtedly
the imprint of the other foot. It's as plain as day."
Dalton knelt, looked at the traces, and shook his head. "I can't make
out any of them," he said. "I see nothing but a slight displacement of
the grass caused by the wind."
"That's because you haven't my keen eye, an inherited and natural ability
as a trailer, although you may beat me out of sight in other things.
The shape of these traces indicates that they were made by human feet,
and their closeness together shows that the man stood looking at the
house. If he had been walking along they would be much wider apart."
He examined the traces again with long and minute care.
"The toes point toward the house, consequently he was looking at it,"
he said. "He was a heavy man, and he stood here a long time, not moving
from his tracks. That's why he left these traces, which are so clear and
evident to me, George, although they're hidden from a blind man like you."
"Well, what of it?"
"Nothing much to you, but a lot to me."
He rose to his feet and examined the boughs of the pine.
"As I thought," he whispered with great satisfaction. "Despite his
courage and power over himself, both of which were very great, he became
a little excited. Doubtless he saw something that stirred him deeply."
"What under the stars are you talking about, Harry?"
"See, he broke off three twigs of the pine. Just snapped them in two
with nervous fingers. Here are pieces lying on the ground. Now, a man
does that sort of thing almost unconsciously. He will not reach up for
the twig or down for it, but he breaks it because it presents itself to
him at the corner of his eye. This man was six feet in height or more
and built very powerfully. I think I know him! Yes, I'm sure I know
him! Nor is it at all strange that he should be here."
"Shall we make a thorough search for him among the pines? You say he's
tall and built powerfully. But maybe the two of us could master him,
and if not we could call for help."
"Too late, George. He left a long time ago, and he took with him what he
wanted. We needn't look any farther."
"Lead on, then, King of Trailers and Master of Secrets! If the mighty
Caliph, Haroun al Kenton, wishes to prowl in these grounds, seeking the
heart of some great conspiracy, it is not for his loyal vizier, the
Sheikh Ul Dalton to ask him questions."
"I'm not certain that a vizier is a sheikh."
"Nor am I, but I'm certain that I want to go home and go to bed. Vikings
of the land like ourselves can't stand much luxury. It weakens the
tissues, made strong on the march and in the fields."
They left the grounds silently and unobserved and soon were in their own
quarters, where they slept nearly the whole day. Then they spent three
or four days more in the social affairs which were such a keen pleasure
to them after such a long deprivation. But wherever they went, and they
were in demand everywhere, Harry was always looking for somebody, a man,
tall, heavy and broad shouldered, not a man who would come into a room
where he was, or who would join a company of people that he had joined,
but one who would hang upon the outskirts, and hide behind the corners of
buildings or trees. He did not see the shadow, but once or twice he felt
that it was there.
The officer, Bathurst, told him one night that some important papers had
been stolen from the White House of the Confederacy itself.
"They pertain to our army," said Bathurst, "and they will be of value to
the enemy, if they reach him."
"I'm quite certain that the most daring and dangerous of all northern
spies is in Richmond," said Harry.
Then he told Bathurst of Shepard and of the trails that he had seen among
the pines behind Curtis's house.
"Do you think this man got our map?" asked Bathurst.
"It may have been so. Perhaps he was hidden in the court and when he saw
us go out, leaving the map on the table, he slipped in at the window and
"But the court was enclosed. He would have had to go with the paper
through the house itself."
"That's where my theory fails. I can provide for his taking the paper,
but I can't provide for his escape."
"I'll tell the General about it. I think you're right, Harry. I've
heard of Shepard myself, and he's worth ten thousand men to the Yankees.
It's more than that. At such a critical stage of our affairs he might
ruin us. We'll make a general search for him. We'll rake the city with
a fine tooth comb."
The search was made everywhere. Soldiers pried in every possible place,
but they found nobody who could not give an adequate account of his
presence in Richmond. Harry felt sure nevertheless that Shepard was
somewhere in the capital, protected by his infinite daring and resource,
and they received the startling news the next day after the search that a
messenger sent northward with dispatches for Lee had been attacked only
a short distance from the city. He had been struck from behind, and did
not see his assailant, but the wound in the head--the man had been found
unconscious--and the missing dispatches were sufficient proof.
A night later precious documents were purloined from the office of the
Secretary of War and a list of important earthworks on the North and
South Carolina coast disappeared from the office of the Secretary of
the Navy. Alarm spread through all the departments of the Confederacy.
Some one, spy and burglar too, had come into the very capital, and he was
having uncommon success.
Harry had not the least doubt that it was Shepard, and he was filled with
an ambition to capture this man, whom he really liked. If Shepard were
caught he would certainly be hanged, but then a spy must take his chances.
They heard meanwhile that General Lee had gone to a former camp of his on
the Opequan, but that later in response to maneuvers by General Meade,
he moved to a position near Front Royal. No orders came for Harry or
Dalton to rejoin him, and, as a period of inactivity seemed to be at hand,
they were glad to remain a while longer in Richmond. They still stayed
with the Lanhams, who refused to take any pay, although the two young
officers, chipping together, bought for Mrs. Lanham a little watch which
had just come through the blockade from England.
Thus their days lengthened in Richmond, and, despite the shadow of the
spy and his doings which was over Harry, they were still very pleasant.
The members of the Mosaic Club, although older men, made much of them,
and Harry and Dalton, being youths of sprighty wit, were able to hold
their own in such company. The time had now passed into August, and they
sat one afternoon in the lobby of the big hotel with their new friends.
Richmond without was quiet and blazing in the sun. Harry had received a
second letter from his father from an unnamed point in Georgia. It did
not contain much news, but it was full of cheerfulness, and it intimated
in more than one place that Bragg's army was going to strike a great blow.
All eyes were turned toward the West. The opinion had been spreading in
the Confederacy that the chief danger was on that line. It seemed that
the Army of Northern Virginia could take care of anything to the north
and east, but in the south and west affairs did not go well.
"It's a pity that General Bragg is President Davis' brother-in-law,"
"Why?" asked Daniel.
"Then he wouldn't be in command of our Western Army."
"Bragg's a fighter, though."
"But not a reaper."
"What do you mean?"
"He wins the victory, but lets the enemy take it."
"It may be so. But to come closer home, what about the Yankee spy in
Richmond? It's an established fact that a man of most uncommon daring
and skill is here."
"No doubt of it, what's the latest from him?"
"The house of William Curtis was entered last night and robbed."
"Robbed of what?"
"Papers. The man never takes any valuables."
"But Curtis is not in the government!"
"No, but he carries on a lot of blockade running, chiefly through Norfolk
and Wilmington. I think the papers related to several blockade running
vessels coming out from England, and of course the Yankee blockading
ships will be ready for them. There's not a trace of the man who took
"Something is deucedly sinister about it," said Bagby. "It seems to be
the work of one man, and he must have a hiding place in Richmond, but
we can't find it. Kenton, you and Dalton are army officers, supposedly
of intelligence. Now, why don't you find this mysterious terror? Ah,
will you excuse me for a minute! I see Miss Carden leaving the counter
with her basket, and there is no other seamstress in Richmond who can put
the ruffles on a man's finest shirt as she can. She's been doing work
for me for some time."
He arose, and, leaving them, bowed very politely to the seamstress.
Her face, although thin and lined, was that of an educated woman of
strong character. Harry thought it probable that she was a lady in the
conventional meaning of the word. Many a woman of breeding and culture
was now compelled to earn her own living in the South. She and Bagby
exchanged only a few words, he returning to his chair, and she leaving
the hotel at a side door, walking with dignity.
"I've seen Miss Carden three times before, once on the train, once at
this hotel and once at Mr. Curtis's house; can you tell me anything about
her?" said Harry.
"It's an ordinary tale," replied Bagby. "I think she lived well up the
valley and her house being destroyed in some raid of the Federal troops
she came down to the capital to earn a living. She's been doing work for
me and others I know for a year past, and I know she's not been out of
Richmond in that time."
The talk changed now to the books that had come through from Europe in
the blockade runners. There was a new novel by Dickens and another by
Thackeray, new at least to the South, and the members of the Mosaic Club
were soon deep in criticism and defense.
Harry strolled away after a while. He did not tell his friends--nothing
was to be gained by telling them--that he was absolutely sure of the
identity of the spy, that it was Shepard. The question of identity did
not matter if they caught him, and his old feeling that it was a duel
between Shepard and himself returned. He believed that the duty to catch
the man had been laid upon him.
He began to haunt Richmond at all hours of the night. More than once he
had to give explanations to watchmen about public buildings, but he clung
to the task that he had imposed upon himself. He explained to Dalton and
the Virginian found no fault except for Harry's loss of time that might
be devoted to amusement. Harry sometimes rebuked himself for his own
persistency, but Bagby's taunt had stung a little, and he felt that it
applied more to himself than to Dalton. He knew Shepard and he knew
something of his ways. Moreover, his was the blood of the greatest of
all trailers, and it was incumbent upon him to find the spy. Yet he was
trailing in a city and not in a forest. In spite of everything he clung
to his work.
On a later night about one o'clock in the morning he was near the
building that housed army headquarters, and he noticed a figure come from
some bushes near it. He instantly stepped back into the shadow and saw
a man glance up and down the street, probably to see if it was clear.
It was a night to favor the spy, dark, with heavy clouds and gusts of
The figure, evidently satisfied that no one was watching, walked briskly
down the street, and Harry's heart beat hard against his side. He knew
that it was Shepard, the king of spies, against whom he had matched
himself. He could not mistake, despite the darkness, his figure, his
walk and the swing of his powerful shoulders.
His impulse was to cry for help, to shout that the spy was here, but
at the first sound of his voice Shepard would at once dart into the
shrubbery, and escape through the alleys of Richmond. No, his old
feeling that it was a duel between Shepard and himself was right, and so
they must fight it out.
Shepard walked swiftly toward the narrower and more obscure streets,
and Harry followed at equal speed. The night grew darker and the rain,
instead of coming in gusts, now fell steadily. Twice Shepard stopped
and looked back. But on each occasion Harry flattened himself against a
plank fence and he did not believe the spy had seen him.
Then Shepard went faster and his pursuer had difficulty in keeping him in
view. He went through an alley, turned into a street, and Harry ran in
order not to lose sight of him.
The alley came into the street at a right angle, and, when Harry turned
the corner, a heavy, dark figure thrust itself into his path.
"Shepard!" he cried.
"Yes!" said the man, "and I hate to do this, but I must."
His heavy fist shot out and caught his pursuer on the jaw. Harry saw
stars in constellations, then floated away into blackness, and, when he
came out of it, found himself lying on a bed in a small room. His jaw
was bandaged and very sore, but otherwise he felt all right. A candle
was burning on a table near him and an unshuttered window on the other
side of the room told him that it was still night and raining.
Harry looked leisurely about the room, into which he had been wafted on
the magic carpet of the Arabian genii, so far as he knew. It was small
and without splendor and he knew at once from the character of its
belongings that it was a woman's room.
He sat up. His head throbbed, but touching it cautiously he knew that he
had sustained no serious injury. But he felt chagrin, and a lot of it.
Shepard had known that he was following him and had laid a trap, into
which he had walked without hesitation. The man, however, had spared his
life, although he could have killed him as easily as he had stunned him.
Then he laughed bitterly at himself. A duel between them, he had called
it! Shepard wouldn't regard it as much of a duel.
His head became so dizzy that he lay down again rather abruptly and began
to wonder. What was he doing in a woman's room, and who was the woman
and how had he got there? This would be a great joke for Dalton and
St. Clair and Happy Tom.
He was fully dressed, except for his boots, and he saw them standing
on the floor against the wall. He surveyed once more the immaculate
neatness of the room. It was certainly a woman's, and most likely that
of an old maid. He sat up again, but his head throbbed so fearfully that
he was compelled to lie down quickly. Shepard had certainly put a lot
in that right hand punch of his and he had obtained a considerable
percentage of revenge for his defeat in the river.
Then Harry forgot his pain in the intensity of his curiosity. He had
sustained a certain temporary numbing of the faculties from the blow and
his fancy, though vivid now, was vague. He was not at all sure that
he was still in Richmond. The window still showed that it was night,
and the rain was pouring so hard that he could hear it beating against
the walls. At all events, he thought whimsically, he had secured shelter,
though at an uncommon high price.
He heard a creak, and a door at the end of the room opened, revealing the
figure and the strong, haggard features of Henrietta Carden. Evidently
she had taken off a hood and cloak in an outer room, as there were rain
drops on her hair and her shoes were wet.
"How are you feeling, Mr. Kenton?" she asked.
"Full of aches and wonder."
"Both will pass."
She smiled, and, although she was not young, Harry thought her distinctly
handsome, when she smiled.
"I seem to have driven you out of your room and to have taken your bed
from you, Miss Carden," he said, "but I assure you it was unintentional.
I ran against something pretty hard, and since then I haven't been
exactly responsible for what I was doing."
She smiled again, and this time Harry found the smile positively winning.
"I'm responsible for your being here," she said.
Then she went back to the door and said to some one waiting in the outer
"You can come in, Lieutenant Dalton. He's all right except for his
headache, and an extraordinary spell of curiosity."
Dalton stalked solemnly in, and regarded Harry with a stern and reproving
"You're a fine fellow," he said. "A lady finds you dripping blood from
the chin, and out of your head, wandering about the street in the
darkness and rain. Fortunately she knows who you are, takes you into her
own house, gives you an opiate or some kind of a drug, binds up your jaw
where some man good and true has hit you with all his goodness and truth,
and then goes for me, your guardian, who should never have let you out of
his sight. I was awakened out of a sound sleep in our very comfortable
room at the Lanham house, and I've come here through a pouring rain with
Miss Carden to see you."
"I do seem to be the original trouble maker," said Harry. "How did you
happen to find me, Miss Carden?"
"I was sitting at my window, working very late on a dress that
Mrs. Curtis wants to-morrow. It was not raining hard then, and I could
see very well outside. I saw a dark shadow in the street at the mouth of
the alley. I saw that it was the figure of a man staggering very much.
I ran out and found that it was you, Lieutenant Kenton. You were
bleeding at the chin, where apparently some one had struck you very hard,
and you were so thoroughly dazed that you did not know where you were or
who you were."
"Yes, he hit me very hard, just as you supposed, Miss Carden," said Harry,
feeling gently his sore and swollen chin.
"I half led and half dragged you into my house--there was nowhere else
I could take you--and, as you were sinking into a stupor, I managed to
make you lie down on my bed. I bound up your wound, while you were
unconscious, and then I went for Lieutenant Dalton."
"And she saved your life, too, you young wanderer. No doubt of that,"
said Dalton reprovingly. "This is what you get for roaming away from my
care. Lucky you were that an angel like Miss Carden saved you from dying
of exposure. If I didn't know you so well, Harry, I should say that you
had been in some drunken row."
"Oh, no! not that!" exclaimed Miss Carden. "There was no odor of liquor
on his breath."
"I was merely joking, Miss Carden," said Dalton. "Old Harry here is one
of the best of boys, and I'm grateful to you for saving him and coming to
me. If there is any way we can repay you we'll do it."
"I don't want any repayment. We must all help in these times."
"But we won't forget it. We can't. How are you feeling, Harry?"
"My head doesn't throb so hard. The jarred works inside are gradually
getting into place, and I think that in a half-hour I can walk again,
that is, resting upon that stout right arm of yours, George."
"Then we'll go. I've brought an extra coat that will protect you from
"You are welcome to stay here!" exclaimed Miss Carden. "Perhaps you'd be
wiser to do so."
"We thank you for such generous hospitality," said Dalton gallantly,
"but it will be best for many reasons that we go back to Mrs. Lanham's
as soon as we can. But first can we ask one favor of you, Miss Carden?"
"That you say nothing of Mr. Kenton's accident. Remember that he was on
military duty and that in the darkness and rain he fell, striking upon
"I'll remember it. Our first impression that he had been struck by
somebody was a mistake, of course. You can depend upon me, both of you.
Neither of you was ever in my house. The incident never occurred."
"But we're just as grateful to you as if it had happened."
A half-hour later they left the cottage, Miss Carden holding open the
door a little to watch them until they were out of sight. But Harry
had recovered his strength and he was able to walk without Dalton's
assistance, although the Virginian kept close by his side in case of
"Harry," said Dalton, when they were nearly to the Lanham house, "are you
willing to tell what happened?"
"As nearly as I know. I got upon the trail of that spy who has been
infesting Richmond. I knew at the time that it couldn't have been any
one else. I followed him up an alley, but he waited for me at the turn,
and before I could defend myself he let loose with his right. When I
came drifting back into the world I was lying upon the bed in Miss
"He showed you some consideration. He might have quietly put you out of
the way with a knife."
"Shepard and I don't care to kill each other. Each wants to defeat the
other's plans. It's got to be a sort of duel between us."
"So I see, and he has scored latest."
"But not last."
"We'd better stick to the tale about the fall. Such a thing could happen
to anybody in these dark streets. But that Miss Carden is a fine woman.
She showed true human sympathy, and what's more, she gave help."
"She's all that," agreed Harry heartily.
They had their own keys to the Lanham house and slipped in without
awakening anybody. Their explanations the next day were received without
question and in another day Harry's jaw was no longer sore, though his
spirit was. Yet the taking of important documents ceased suddenly,
and Harry was quite sure that his encounter with Shepard had at least
caused him to leave the city.
IN WINTER QUARTERS
Harry was sent a few days later with dispatches from the president to
General Lee, who was still in his camp beside the Opequan. Dalton was
held in the capital for further messages, but Harry was not sorry to make
the journey alone. The stay in Richmond had been very pleasant. The
spirits of youth, confined, had overflowed, but he was beginning to feel
a reaction. One must return soon to the battlefield. This was merely
a lull in the storm which would sweep with greater fury than ever. The
North, encouraged by Gettysburg and Vicksburg, was gathering vast masses
which would soon be hurled upon the South, and Harry knew how thin the
lines there were becoming.
He thought, too, of Shepard, who was the latest to score in their duel,
and he believed that this man had already sent to the Northern leaders
information beyond value. Harry felt that he must strive in some manner
to make the score even.
It was late in the summer when he rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia
and delivered the letters to the commander-in-chief, who sat in the shade
of a large tree. Harry observed him closely. He seemed a little grayer
than before the Battle of Gettysburg, but his manner was as confident as
ever. He filled to both eye and mind the measure of a great general.
After asking Harry many questions he dismissed him for a while, to play,
so he said.
The young Kentuckian at once, and, as a matter of course, sought the
Invincibles. St. Clair and Langdon hailed him with shouts of joy,
but to his great surprise, Colonel Leonidas Talbot and Lieutenant-Colonel
Hector St. Hilaire were not playing chess.
"We were getting on with the game last night, Harry," explained Colonel
Talbot, "but we came to a point where we were about to develop heat over
a projected move. Then, in order to avoid such a lamentable occurrence,
we decided to postpone further play until to-night. But we find you
looking uncommonly well, Harry. The flesh pots of Egypt have agreed with
"I had a good time in Richmond, sir, a fine one," replied Harry. "The
people there have certainly been kind to me, as they are to all the
officers of the Army of Northern Virginia."
"What have you done with the grave Dalton, who was your comrade on your
journey to the capital?"
"They've kept him there for the present. They think he's stronger proof
against the luxuries and temptations of a city than I am."
"Youth is youth, and I'm glad that you've had this little fling, Harry.
Perhaps you'll have another, as I think you'll be sent back to Richmond
"What has been going on here, Colonel?"
"Very little. Nothing, in fact, of any importance. When we crossed
the swollen Potomac, although threatened by an enemy superior to us in
numbers, I felt that we would not be pushed. General Meade has been
deliberate, extremely deliberate in his offensive movements. Up North
they call Gettysburg a great victory, but we're resting here calmly and
peacefully. Hector and I and our young friends have found rural peace
and ease among these Virginia hills and valleys. You, of course, found
Richmond very gay and bright?"
"Very gay and bright, Colonel, and full of handsome ladies."
Colonel Talbot sighed and Lieutenant-Colonel Hector St. Hilaire sighed
"Hector and I should have been there," said Colonel Talbot. "Although
we've never married, we have a tremendous admiration for the ladies,
and in our best uniforms we're not wholly unpopular among them, eh,
"Not by any means, Leonidas. We're not as young as Harry here, but
I know that you're a fine figure of a man, and you know that I am.
Moreover, our experience of the dangerous sex is so much greater than
that of mere boys like Harry and Arthur and Tom here, that we know how
to make ourselves much more welcome. You talk to them about frivolous
things, mere chit chat, while we explain grave and important matters to
"Are you sure, sir," asked St. Clair, "that the ladies don't really
prefer chit chat?"
"I was not speaking of little girls. I was alluding to those ornaments
of their sex who have arrived at years of discretion. Ah, if Leonidas
and I were only a while in Richmond! It would be the next best thing to
being in Charleston."
"Maybe the Invincibles will be sent there for a while."
"Perhaps. I don't foresee any great activity here in the autumn.
How do they regard the Army of Northern Virginia in Richmond now, Harry?"
"With supreme confidence."
The talk soon drifted to the people whom Harry had met at the capital,
and then he told of his adventure with Shepard, the spy.
"He seems to be a most daring man," said Talbot; "not a mere ordinary spy,
but a man of a higher type. I think he's likely to do us great harm.
But the woman, Miss Carden, was surely kind to you. If she hadn't found
you wandering around in the rain you'd have doubtless dropped down and
died. God bless the ladies."
"And so say we all of us," said Harry.
He returned to Richmond in a few days, bearing more dispatches, and to
his great delight all that was left of the Invincibles arrived a week
later to recuperate and see a little of the world. St. Clair and Happy
Tom plunged at once and with all the ardor of youth into the gayeties of
social life, and the two colonels followed them at a more dignified but
none the less earnest pace. All four appeared in fine new uniforms,
for which they had saved their money, and they were conspicuous upon
Harry was again at the Curtis house, and although it was not a great
ball this time the assemblage was numerous, including all his friends.
The two colonels had become especial favorites everywhere, and they were
telling stories of the old South, which Harry had divined was passing;
passing whether the South won or not.
Although there had been much light talk through the evening and an
abundance of real gayety, nearly every member of the company,
nevertheless, had serious moments. The news from Tennessee and Georgia
was heavy with import. It was vague in some particulars, but it was
definite enough in others to tell that the armies of Rosecrans and Bragg
were approaching each other. All eyes turned to the West. A great
battle could not be long delayed, and a powerful division of the Army of
Northern Virginia under Longstreet had been sent to help Bragg.
Harry found himself late at night once more in that very room in which
the map had disappeared so mysteriously. The two colonels, St. Clair and
Langdon, and one or two others had drifted in, and the older men were
smoking. Inevitably they talked of the battle which they foresaw with
such certainty, and Harry's anxiety about it was increased, because he
knew his father would be there on one side, and the cousin, for whom he
cared so much, would be on the other.
"If only General Lee were in command there," said Colonel Talbot, "we
might reckon upon a great and decisive victory."
"But Bragg is a good general," said Lieutenant-Colonel St. Hilaire.
"It's not enough to be merely a good general. He must have the soul
of fire that Lee has, and that Jackson had. Bragg is the Southern
McClellan. He is brave enough personally, but he always overrates the
strength of the enemy, and, if he is victorious on the field, he does
not reap the fruits of victory."
"Where were the armies when we last heard from them?" asked a captain.
"Bragg was turning north to attack Rosecrans, who stood somewhere between
him and Chattanooga."
"I'm glad that it's Rosecrans and not Grant who commands the Northern
army there," said Harry.
"Why?" asked Colonel Talbot.
"I've studied the manner in which he took Vicksburg, and I've heard about
him from my father, and others. He won't be whipped. He isn't like the
other Northern generals. He hangs on, whatever happens. I heard some
one quoting him as saying that no matter how badly his army was suffering
in battle, the army of the other fellow might be suffering worse.
It seems to me that a general who is able to think that way is very
"And so he is, Harry," said Colonel Talbot. "I, too, am glad that it's
Rosecrans and not Grant. If there's any news of a battle, we're not in a
bad place to hear it. It's said that Mr. Curtis always knows as soon as
our government what's happened."
The talk drifted on to another subject and then a hum came from the
larger room. A murmur only, but it struck such an intense and earnest
note that Harry was convinced.
"It's news of battle! I know it!" he exclaimed.
They sprang to their feet and hurried into the ballroom. William Curtis,
his habitual calm broken, was standing upon a chair and all the people
had gathered in front of him. A piece of paper, evidently a telegram,
was clutched in his hand.
"Friends," he said in a strained, but exultant voice, "a great battle has
been fought near Chattanooga on a little river called the Chickamauga,
and we have won a magnificent victory."
A mighty cheer came from the crowd.
"The army of Rosecrans, attacked with sudden and invincible force by
Bragg, has been shattered and driven into Chattanooga."
Another cheer burst forth.
"No part of the Union army was able to hold fast, save one wing under
A third mighty cheer arose, but this time Harry did not join in it.
He felt a sudden sinking of the heart at the words, "save one wing under
Thomas." Then the victory was not complete. It could be complete only
when the whole Union army was driven from the field. As long as Thomas
stood, there was a flaw in the triumph. He had heard many times of this
man, Thomas. He had Grant's qualities. He was at his best in apparent
"Is there anything else, Mr. Curtis?" asked Colonel Talbot.
"That is all my agent sends me concerning its results, but he says
that it lasted two days, and that it was fierce and bloody beyond all
comparison with anything that has happened in the West. He estimated
that the combined losses are between thirty and forty thousand men."
A heavy silence fell upon them all. The victory was great, but the
price for it was great, too. Yet exultation could not be subdued long.
They were soon smiling over it, and congratulating one another. But
Harry was still unable to share wholly in the joy of victory.
"Why this gloom in your face, when all the rest of us are so happy?"
asked St. Clair.
"My father was there. He may have fallen. How do I know?"
"That's not it. He always comes through. What's the real cause?
Out with it!"
"You know that part of the dispatch saying, 'No part of the Union army
was able to hold fast save one wing under Thomas.' How about that wing!
You heard, too, what the colonel said about General Bragg. He always
overestimates the strength of the enemy, and while he may win a victory
he will not reap the fruits of it. That wing under Thomas still may be
standing there, protecting all the rest of the Union army."
"Come now, old Sober Face! This isn't like you. We've won a grand
victory! We've more than paid them back for their Gettysburg."
Harry rejoiced then with the others, but at times the thought came to
him that Thomas with one wing might yet be standing between Bragg and
complete victory. When he and Dalton went back home--they were again
with the Lanhams--they found the whole population of Richmond ablaze with
triumph. The Yankee army in the West had been routed. Not only was
Chickamauga an offset for Gettysburg, but for Vicksburg as well, and once
more the fortunes of the South were rising toward the zenith.
Dalton had returned from the army a little later this time than Harry,
but he had joined him at the Lanhams', and he too showed gravity amid the
almost universal rejoicing.
"I see that you're afraid the next news won't be so complete, Harry,"
"That's it, George. We don't really know much, except that Thomas was
holding his ground. Oh, if only Stonewall Jackson were there! Remember
how he came down on them at the Second Manassas and at Chancellorsville!
Thomas would be swept off his feet and as Rosecrans retreated into
Chattanooga our army would pour right on his heels!"
They waited eagerly the next day and the next for news, and while
Richmond was still filled with rejoicings over Chickamauga, Harry saw
that his fears were justified. Thomas stood till the end. Bragg had not
followed Rosecrans into Chattanooga. The South had won a great battle,
but not a decisive victory. The commanding general had not reaped all
the rewards that were his for the taking. Bragg had justified in every
way Colonel Talbot's estimate of him.
And yet Richmond, like the rest of the South, felt the great uplift of
Chickamauga, the most gigantic battle of the West. It told South as
well as North that the war was far from over. The South could no longer
invade the North, nor could the North invade the South at will. Even on
the northernmost border of the rebelling section the Army of Northern
Virginia under its matchless leader, rested in its camp, challenging and
Harry was glad to return with his friends to the army. His brief period
of festival was over, and his fears for his father had been relieved by
a letter, stating that he had received no serious harm in the great and
terrible battle of Chickamauga.
After the failure of the armies of Lee and Meade to bring about a
decisive battle at Mine Run, the Army of Northern Virginia established
its autumn and winter headquarters on a jutting spur of the great range
called Clarke's Mountain, Orange Court House lying only a few miles to
the west. The huge camp was made in a wide-open space, surrounded by
dense masses of pines and cedars. Tents were pitched securely, and,
feeling that they were to stay here a long time many of the soldiers
built rude log cabins.
General Lee himself continued to use his tent, which stood in the center
of the camp, the streets of tents and cabins radiating from it like the
spokes of a wheel. Close about Lee's own tent were others occupied by
Colonel Taylor, his adjutant general, Colonel Peyton, Colonel Marshall,
and other and younger officers, including Harry and Dalton. A little
distance down one of the main avenues, which they were pleased to call
Victory Street, the Invincibles were encamped, and Harry saw them almost
The troops were well fed now, and the brooks provided an abundance of
clear water. The days were still warm, but the evenings were cold, and,
inhaling the healing odors of the pines and cedars, wounded soldiers
returned rapidly to health.
It was a wonderful interval for Harry and his friends associated with him
so closely. Save for the presence of armies, it seemed at times that
there was no war. Deep peace prevailed along the Rapidan and the slopes
of the mountain. It was the longest period of rest that he and his
comrades were to know in the course of the mighty struggle. The action
of the war was now chiefly in the Southwest, where Grant, taking the
place of Rosecrans, was seeking to recover all that was lost at
Harry had another letter from his father, telling him that his own had
been received, and giving personal details of the titanic struggle on the
Chickamauga. He did not speak out directly, but Harry saw in his words
the vain regret that the great opportunity won at Chickamauga at such a
terrible price had not been used. In his belief the whole Federal army
might have been destroyed, and the star of the South would have risen
again to the zenith.
Here Harry sighed and remembered his own forebodings. Oh, if only a
Stonewall Jackson had been there! His mighty sweep would have driven
Thomas and the rest in a wild rout. A tear rose in his eye as he
remembered his lost hero. He sincerely believed then and always that the
Confederacy would have won had he not fallen on that fatal evening at
Chancellorsville. It was an emotion with him, a permanent emotion with
which logic could not interfere.
Harry was conscious, too, that the long quiet on the Eastern front was
but a lull. There was nothing to signify peace in it. If the North had
ever felt despair about the war Gettysburg and Vicksburg had removed
every trace of it. He knew that beyond the blue ranges of mountains,
both to east and west, vast preparations were going forward. The North,
the region of great population, of illimitable resources, of free access
to the sea, and of mechanical genius that had counted for so much in
arming her soldiers, was gathering herself for a supreme effort. The
great defeats of the war's first period were to be ignored, and her
armies were to come again, more numerous, better equipped and perhaps
better commanded than ever.
Nevertheless, his mind was still the mind of youth, and he could not
dwell continuously upon this prospect. The camp in the hills was
pleasant. The heats had passed, and autumn in the full richness of its
coloring had come. The forests blazed in all the brilliancy of red and
yellow and brown. The whole landscape had the color and intensity that
only a North American autumn can know, and the October air had the
freshness and vitality sufficient to make an old man young.
The great army of youth--it was composed chiefly of boys, like the one
opposing it--enjoyed itself during these comparatively idle months.
The soldiers played rural games, marbles even, pitching the horseshoe,
wrestling, jumping and running. It was to Harry like Hannibal in winter
quarters at Capua, without the Capua. There was certainly no luxury
here. While food was more abundant than for a long time, it was of the
simplest. Instead of dissipation there was a great religious revival.
Ministers of different creeds, but united in a common object, appeared in
the camp, and preached with power and energy. The South was emotional
then and perhaps the war had made it more so. The ministers secured
thousands of converts. All day long the preaching and singing could be
heard through the groves of pine and cedar, and Harry knew that when
the time for battle came they would fight all the better because of it.
Yielding to the enemy was no part of the Christianity that these
Harry also saw the growth of the hero-worship accorded to his great
commander. He did not believe that any other general, except perhaps
Napoleon in his earlier career, had ever received such trust and
admiration. Many soldiers who had felt his guiding hand in battle now
saw him for the first time. He had an appearance and manner to inspire
respect, and, back of that, was something much greater, a firm conviction
in the minds of all that he had illimitable patience, a willingness
to accept responsibility, and a military genius that had never been
surpassed. Such was the attitude of the Southern people toward their
great leader then, and, to an even greater degree now, when his figure,
like that of Lincoln, instead of becoming smaller grows larger as it
recedes into the past.
Harry often rode with him. He seemed to have an especial liking for the
very young members of his staff, or for old private soldiers, bearded and
gray like himself, whom he knew by name. Far in October he rode down
toward the Rapidan where Stuart was encamped, taking with him only Harry
and Dalton. He was mounted on his great white war horse, Traveller,
which the soldiers knew from afar. Cheering arose, but when he raised
his hand in a deprecating way the soldiers, obedient to his wish, ceased,
and they heard only the murmur of many voices, as they went on. The
general made the lads ride, one on his right and the other on his left
hand, and brilliant October coloring and crisp air seemed to put him in
a mood that was far from war.
"I pine for Arlington," he said at length to Harry, "that ancestral home
of mine that is held by the enemy. I should like to see the ripening
of the crops there. We Virginians of the old stock hold to the land,
and you Kentuckians, who are really of the same race, hold to it, too."
"It is true, sir," said Harry. "My father loves the land. After his
retirement from the army, following the Mexican war, he worked harder
upon our place in Kentucky than any slave or hired man. He was going
to free his slaves, but I suppose, sir, that the war has made him feel
different about it."
"Yes, we're often willing to do things by our own free will, but not
under compulsion. The great Washington himself wrote of the evils of
slave labor. The 'old fields' scattered all over Virginia show what it
has done for this noble commonwealth."
Harry remembered quite well similar "old fields" in Kentucky. Slaves
were far less numerous there than in Virginia, and he was old enough to
have observed that, in addition to the wrong of slavery, they were a
liability rather than an asset. But he too felt anew the instinctive
rebellion against being compelled to do what he would perhaps do anyhow.
General Lee talked more of the land and Harry and Dalton listened
respectfully. Harry saw that his commander's heart turned strongly
toward it. He knew that Jefferson had dreamed of the United States as an
agricultural community, having no part in the quarrels of other nations,
but he knew that it was only a dream. The South, the section that had
followed Jefferson's dream, was now at a great disadvantage. It had no
ships, and it did not have the mills to equip it for the great war it was
waging. He realized more keenly than ever the one-sided nature of the
The general turned his horse toward the banks of the Rapidan, and a
resplendent figure came forward to meet him. It was that incarnation of
youth and fantastic knighthood, Jeb Stuart, who had just returned from a
ride toward the north. He wore a new and brilliant uniform and the usual
broad yellow sash about his waist. His tunic was embroidered, too,
and his epaulets were heavy with gold. The thick gold braid about his
hat was tied in a gorgeous loop in front. His hands were encased in long
gloves of the finest buckskin, and he tapped the high yellow tops of his
riding boots with a little whip.
Harry always felt that Stuart did not really belong to the present.
His place was with the medieval knights who loved gorgeous armor, who
fought by day for the love of it and who sat in the evening on the castle
steps with fair ladies for the love of it, and who in the dark listened
to the troubadours below, also for the love of it. A great cavalry
leader, he shone at his brightest in the chase, and, when there was no
fighting to be done, his were the spirits of a boy, and he was as quick
for a prank as any lad under his own command.
But Stuart, although he had joked with Jackson, never took any liberties
with Lee. He instantly swept the ground with his plumed hat and said in
his most respectful manner:
"General, will you honor us by dining with us? We've just returned from
a long ride northward and we've made some captures."
Lee caught a twinkle in his eye, and he smiled.
"I see no prisoners, General Stuart," he replied, "and I take it that
your captures do not mean human beings."
"No, sir, there are other things just now more valuable to us than
prisoners. We raided a little Yankee outpost. Nobody was hurt, but, sir,
we've captured some provisions, the like of which the Army of Northern
Virginia has not tasted in a long time. Would you mind coming with me
and taking a look? And bring Kenton and Dalton with you, if you don't
"This indeed sounds tempting," said the commander-in-chief of the Army of
Northern Virginia. "I accept your invitation, General Stuart, in behalf
of myself and my two young aides."
He dismounted, giving the reins of Traveller to an orderly, and walked
toward Stuart's tent, which was pitched near the river. The "captures"
were heaped in a grassy place.
"Here, sir," said General Stuart, "are twenty dozen boxes of the finest
French sardines. I haven't tasted sardines in a year and I love them."
"I've always liked them," said General Lee.
"And here, sir, are several cases of Yorkshire ham, brought all the
way across the sea--and for us. It isn't as good as our Virginia ham,
which is growing scarce, but we'll like it. And cove oysters, cases and
cases of 'em. I like 'em almost as well as sardines."
"And real old New England pies, baked, I suppose, in Washington. We can
warm 'em over."
"I see that you have the fire ready."
"And jars of preserves, a half-dozen kinds at least, and all of 'em look
as if two likely youngsters like Kenton and Dalton would be anxious to
get at 'em."
"You judge us rightly, General," said Harry. "We'll show no mercy to
such prisoners as we have here."
"You wouldn't be boys and you wouldn't be human if you did," rejoined
Stuart, "would they, General?"
"They would not," replied Lee. "One of the principal recollections of my
boyhood is that I was always hungry. Our regular three meals a day were
not enough for us, however much we ate at one time. Virginia, like your
own Kentucky, Harry, is full of forage, and we moved in groups. Now,
didn't you find a lot of food in the woods and fields?"
"Oh, yes, sir," rejoined Harry with animation. "I was hungry all the
time, too. An hour after breakfast I was hungry again, and an hour after
dinner, which we had in the middle of the day, I was hungry once more."
"But you knew where to go for supplies."
"Yes, sir; we had berries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries,
gooseberries, dewberries, cherries, all of them growing wild although
some of them started tame. And then we could forage for pears, peaches,
plums, damsons, all kinds of apples, paw paws, and then later for the
nuts, hickory nuts, walnuts, chestnuts, hazel nuts, chinquapins, and a
lot more. We could have almost lived in the woods and fields from early
spring until late fall."
"We did the same in Virginia," said the commander-in-chief. "I've often
thought that our forest Indians did not develop a higher civilization,
because it was so easy for them to live, save in the depths of a hard
winter. They had most of the berries and fruits and nuts that we white
boys had. The woods were full of game, and the lakes and rivers full
of fish. They were not driven by the hard necessity that creates
"Dinner is ready, sir," announced General Stuart, who had been directing
the orderlies. "I can offer you and the others nothing but boxes and
kegs to sit on, but I can assure you that this Northern food, some of
which comes in cans, is excellent."
The two lads and General Stuart fell to work with energy. General Lee
ate more sparingly. Stuart was a boy himself, talking much and running
over with fun.
"Have you heard what happened to General Early, sir?" he asked the
"But you will, sir, to-morrow. Early will be slow in sending you
that dispatch. He hasn't had time to write it yet. He's not through
"General Early is a valiant and able man, but I disapprove of his
"Why, sir, 'Old Jube' can't help it. It's a part of his breathing,
and man cannot live without breath. He sent one of his best aides with
a dispatch to General Hill, who is posted some distance away. Passing
through a thick cedar wood the aide was suddenly set upon by a genuine
stage villain, large, dark and powerful, who clubbed him over the head
with the butt of a pistol, and then departed with his dispatch."
"And what happened then?"
"The aide returned to General Early with his story, but without his
dispatch. The general believed his account, of course, but he called
him names for allowing himself to be surprised and overcome by a single
Yankee. He cursed until the air for fifty yards about him smelled
strongly of sulphur and brimstone."
"Did he do anything more?"
"Yes, General. He sent a duplicate of the dispatch by an aide whom he
said he could trust. In an hour the second man came back with the same
big lump on his head and with the same story. He had been ambushed at
the crossing of a ravine full of small cedars, and the highwayman was
undoubtedly the same, too, a big, powerful fellow, as bold as you please."
Harry's pulse throbbed hard for a few moments, when he first heard
mention of the man. The description, not only physical, but of manner
and action as well, answered perfectly. He had not the slightest doubt
that it was Shepard.
"A daring deed," said General Lee. "We must see that it is not repeated."
"But that wasn't all of the tale, sir. While the second man was sitting
on the bank, nursing his broken head, the Yankee Dick Turpin read the
dispatch and saw that it was a duplicate of the first. He became red-hot
with wrath, and talked furiously about the extra and unnecessary work
that General Early was forcing upon him. He ended by cramming the
dispatch into the man's hands, directing him to take it back, and to tell
General Early to stop his foolishness. The aide was a bit dazed from the
blow he received and he delivered that message word for word. Why, sir,
General Early exploded. People who have heard him swear for years and
who know what an artist he is in swearing, heard him then utter swear
words that they had never heard before, words invented on the spur of the
moment, and in the heat of passion, words full of pith and meaning."
"And that was all, I suppose?"
"Not by any means, sir. General Early picked two sharpshooters and sent
them with another copy of the dispatch. They passed the place of the
first hold-up, and next the ravine without seeing anybody. But as they
were riding some distance further on both of their horses were killed by
shots from a small clump of pines. Before they could regain their feet
Dick Turpin came out and covered them with his rifle--it seems that he
had one of those new repeating weapons.
"The men saw that his eye was so keen and his hand so steady that they
did not dare to move a hand to a pistol. Then as he looked down the
sights of his rifle he lectured them. He told them they were foolish to
come that way, when the two who came before them had found out that it
was a closed road. He said that real soldiers learned by experience,
and would not try again to do what they had learned to be impossible.
"Then he said that after all they were not to blame, as they had been
sent by General Early, and he made one of them who had the stub of a
pencil write on the back of the dispatch these words: 'General Jubal
Early, C. S. A.: This has ceased to be a joke. After your first man was
stopped, it was not necessary to do anything more. I have the dispatch.
Why insist on sending duplicate after duplicate?' And the two had to
walk all the way back to General Early with that note, because they
didn't dare make away with the dispatch.
"I have a certain respect for that man's skill and daring, but General
Early had a series of spells. He retired to his tent and if the reports
are not exaggerated, a continuous muttering like low thunder came from
the tent, and all the cloth of it turned blue from the lightnings
General Lee himself smiled.
"It was certainly annoying," he said. "I hope the dispatch was not of
"It contained nothing that will help the Yankees, but it shows that the
enemy has some spies--or at least one spy--who are Napoleons at their
THE COMING OF GRANT
The little dinner ended. Despite his disapproval of General Early's
swearing, General Lee laughed heartily at further details of the strange
Yankee spy's exploits. But it was well known that in this particular
General Early was the champion of the East. Harry did not know that in
the person of Colonel Charles Woodville, his cousin, Dick Mason, had
encountered one of equal ability in the Southwest.
Presently General Lee and his two young aides mounted their horses for
the return. The commander-in-chief seemed gayer than usual. He was
always very fond of Stuart, whose high spirits pleased him, and before
his departure he thanked him for his thoughtfulness.
"Whenever we get any particularly choice shipments from the North I shall
always be pleased to notify you, General, and send you your share,"
said Stuart, sweeping the air in front of him again with his great plumed
hat. With his fine, heroic face and his gorgeous uniform he had never
looked more a knight of the Middle Ages.
General Lee smiled and thanked him again, and then rode soberly back,
followed at a short distance by his two young aides. Although the
view of hills and mountains and valleys and river and brooks was now
magnificent, the sumach burning in red and the leaves vivid in many
colors, Lee, deeply sensitive, like all his rural forbears, to rural
beauty, nevertheless seemed not to notice it, and soon sank into deep
It is believed by many that Lee knew then that the Confederacy had
already received a mortal blow. It was not alone sufficient for the
South to win victories. She must keep on winning them, and the failure
at Gettysburg and the defeat at Vicksburg had put her on the defensive
everywhere. Fewer blockade runners were getting through. Above all,
there was less human material upon which to draw. But he roused himself
presently and said to Harry:
"There was something humorous in the exploits of the man who held up
General Early's messengers, but the fellow is dangerous, exceedingly
dangerous at such a time."
"I've an idea who he is, sir," said Harry.
"Indeed! What do you know?"
Then Harry told nearly all that he knew about Shepard, but not all--
that struggle in the river, and his sparing of the spy and the filching
of the map at the Curtis house, for instance--and the commander-in-chief
listened with great attention.
"A bold man, uncommonly bold, and it appears uncommonly skilled, too.
We must send out a general alarm, that is, we must have all our own
scouts and spies watching for him."
Harry said nothing, but he did not believe that anybody would catch
Shepard. The man's achievements had been so startling that they had
created the spell of invincibility. His old belief that he was worth ten
thousand men on the Northern battle line returned. No movement of the
Army of Northern Virginia could escape him, and no lone messenger could
ever be safe from him.
Lee returned to his camp on Clarke's Mountain, and, a great revival
meeting being in progress, he joined it, sitting with a group of
officers. Fitzhugh Lee, W. H. F. Lee, Jones, Rosser, Wickham, Munford,
Young, Wade Hampton and a dozen others were there. Taylor and Marshall
and Peyton of his staff were also in the company.
The preacher was a man of singular power and earnestness, and after
the sermon he led the singing himself, in which often thirty or forty
thousand voices joined. It was a moving sight to Harry, all these men,
lads, mostly, but veterans of many fields, united in a chorus mightier
than any other that he had ever heard. It would have pleased Stonewall
Jackson to his inmost soul, and once more, as always, a tear rose to his
eye as he thought of his lost hero.
Harry and Dalton left their horses with an orderly and came back to the
edge of the great grove, in which the meeting was being held. They had
expected to find St. Clair and Happy Tom there, but not seeing them,
wandered on and finally drifted apart. Harry stood alone for a while on
the outskirts of the throng. They were all singing again, and the mighty
volume of sound rolled through the wood. It was not only a singular,
it was a majestic scene also to Harry. How like unto little children
young soldiers were! and how varied and perplexing were the problems of
human nature! They were singing with the utmost fervor of Him who had
preached continuously of peace, who was willing to turn one cheek when
the other was smitten, and because of their religious zeal they would
rush the very next day into battle, if need be, with increased fire and
He saw a heavily built, powerful man on the outskirts, but some distance
away, singing in a deep rolling voice, but something vaguely familiar in
the figure drew his glance again. He looked long and well and then began
to edge quietly toward the singer, who was clothed in the faded butternut
uniform that so many of the Confederate soldiers wore.
The fervor of the singer did not decrease, but Harry noticed that he too
was moving, moving slowly toward the eastern end of the grove, the same
direction that Harry was pursuing. Now he was sure. He would have
called out, but his voice would not have been heard above the vast volume
of sound. He might have pointed out the singer to others, but, although
he felt sure, he did not wish to be laughed at in case of mistake.
But strongest of all was the feeling that it had become a duel between
Shepard and himself.
He walked slowly on, keeping the man in view, but Shepard, although he
never ceased singing, moved away at about the same pace. Harry inferred
at once that Shepard had seen him and was taking precautions. The
temptation to cry out at the top of his voice that the most dangerous
of all spies was among them was almost irresistible, but it would only
create an uproar in which Shepard could escape easily, leaving to him a
load of ridicule.
He continued his singular pursuit. Shepard was about a hundred yards
away, and they had made half the circuit of this huge congregation.
Then the spy passed into a narrow belt of pines, and when Harry moved
forward to see him emerge on the other side he failed to reappear.
He hastened to the pines, which led some distance down a little gully,
and he was sure that Shepard had gone that way. He followed fast,
but he could discover no sign. He had vanished utterly, like thin smoke
swept away by a breeze.
He returned deeply stirred by the appearance and disappearance--easy,
alike--of Shepard. His sense of the man's uncanny powers and of his
danger to the Confederacy was increased. He seemed to come and go
absolutely as he pleased. It was true that in the American Civil War the
opportunities for spies were great. All men spoke the same language,
and all looked very much alike. It was not such a hard task to enter the
opposing lines, but Shepard had shown a daring and success beyond all
comparison. He seemed to have both the seven league boots and the
invisible cloak of very young childhood. He came as he pleased, and
when pursuit came he vanished in thin air.
Harry bit his lips in chagrin. He felt that Shepard had scored on him
again. It was true that he had been victorious in that fight in the
river, when victory meant so much, but since then Shepard had triumphed,
and it was bitter. He hardened his determination, and resolved that
he would always be on the watch for him. He even felt a certain glow,
because he was one of two in such a conflict of skill and courage.
The meeting having been finished, he went down one of the streets of
tents to the camp of the Invincibles. Colonel Leonidas Talbot and
Lieutenant-Colonel Hector St. Hilaire were not playing chess. Instead
they were sitting on a pine log with Happy Tom and St. Clair and other
officers, listening to young Julien de Langeais, who sat on another log,
playing a violin with surpassing skill. Lieutenant-Colonel St. Hilaire,
knowing his prowess as a violinist, had asked him to come and play for
the Invincibles. Now he was playing for them and for several thousand
more who were gathered in the pine woods.
Young de Langeais sat on a low stump, and the great crowd made a solid
mass around him. But he did not see them, nor the pine woods nor the
heavy cannon sitting on the ridges. He looked instead into a region of
fancy, where the colors were brilliant or gay or tender as he imagined
them. Harry, with no technical knowledge of music but with a great love
of it, recognized at once the touch of a master, and what was more,
the soul of one.
To him the violin was not great, unless the player was great, but when
the player was great it was the greatest musical instrument of all.
He watched de Langeais' wrapt face, and for him too the thousands of
soldiers, the pines and the cannon on the ridges melted away. He did not
know what the young musician was playing, probably some old French air or
a great lyric outburst of the fiery Verdi, whose music had already spread
"A great artist," whispered Lieutenant-Colonel St. Hilaire in his ear.
"He studied at the schools in New Orleans and then for two years in
Paris. But he came back to fight. Nothing could keep Julien from the
army, but he brought his violin with him. We Latins, or at least we
who are called Latins, steep our souls in music. It's not merely
intellectual with us. It's passion, fire, abandonment, triumph and all
the great primitive emotions of the human race."
Harry's feelings differed somewhat from those of Lieutenant-Colonel
St. Hilaire--in character but not in power--and as young de Langeais
played on he began to think what a loss a stray bullet could make.
Why should a great artist be allowed to come on the battle line? There
were hundreds of thousands of common men. One could replace another,
but nobody could replace the genius, a genius in which the whole world
shared. It was not possible for either drill or training to do it,
and yet a little bullet might take away his life as easily as it would
that of a plowboy. They were all alike to the bullets and the shells.
De Langeais finished, and a great shout of applause arose. The cheering
became so insistent that he was compelled to play again.
"His family is well-to-do," said Lieutenant-Colonel St. Hilaire just
before he began playing once more, "and they'll see that he goes back to
Paris for study as soon as the war is over. If they didn't I would."
It did not seem to occur to Lieutenant-Colonel St. Hilaire that young
de Langeais could be killed, and Harry began to share his confidence.
De Langeais now played the simple songs of the old South, and there was
many a tear in the eyes of war-hardened youth. The sun was setting in
a sea of fire, and the pine forests turned red in its blaze. In the
distance the waters of the Rapidan were crimson, too, and a light wind
out of the west sighed among the pines, forming a subdued chorus to the
De Langeais began to play a famous old song of home, and Harry's mind
traveled back on its lingering note to his father's beautiful house and
grounds, close by Pendleton, and all the fine country about it, in which
he and Dick Mason and the boys of their age had roamed. He remembered
all the brooks and ponds and the groves that produced the best hickory
nuts. When should he see them again and would his father be there,
and Dick, and all the other boys of their age! Not all! Certainly not
all, because some were gone already. And yet this plaintive note of
the homes they had left behind, while it brought a tear to many an eye,
made no decrease in martial determination. It merely hardened their
resolution to win the victory all the sooner, and bring the homecoming
De Langeais ended on a wailing note that died like a faint sigh in the
pine forest. Then he came back to earth, sprang up, and put his violin
in its case. Applause spread out and swelled in a low, thunderous note,
but de Langeais, who was as modest as he was talented, quickly hid
himself among his friends.
The sun sank behind the blue mountains, and twilight came readily over
the pine and cedar forests. Colonel Talbot and Lieutenant-Colonel
St. Hilaire, who had a large tent together, invited the youths to stay
awhile with them as their guests and talk. All the soldiers dispersed to
their own portions of the great camp, and there would be an hour of quiet
and rest, until the camp cooks served supper.
It had been a lively day for Harry, his emotions had been much stirred,
and now he was glad to sit in the peace of the evening on a stone near
the entrance of the tent, and listen to his friends. War drew comrades
together in closer bonds than those of peace. He was quite sure that
St. Clair, Dalton and Happy Tom were his friends for life, as he was
theirs, and the two colonels seemed to have the same quality of youth.
Simple men, of high faith and honor, they were often childlike in the
ways of the world, their horizons sometimes not so wide as those of the
lads who now sat with them.
"As I told Harry," said Lieutenant-Colonel St. Hilaire to Julien, "you
shall have that talent of yours cultivated further after the war.
Two years more of study and you will be among the greatest. You must
know, lads, that for us who are of French descent, Paris is the world's
capital in the arts."
"And for many of English blood, too," said Colonel Talbot.
Then they talked of more immediate things, of the war, the armies and
the prospect of the campaigns. Harry, after an hour or so, returned to
headquarters and he found soldiers making a bed for the commander-in-
chief under the largest of the pines. Lee in his campaigns always
preferred to sleep in the open air, when he could, and it required severe
weather to drive him to a tent. Meanwhile he sat by a small fire--
the October nights were growing cold--and talked with Peyton and other
members of his staff.
Harry and Dalton decided to imitate his example and sleep between the
blankets under the pines. Harry found a soft place, spread his blankets
and in a few minutes slept soundly. In fact, the whole Army of Northern
Virginia was a great family that retired early, slept well and rose early.
The next morning there was frost on the grass, but the lads were so hardy
that they took no harm. The autumn deepened. The leaves blazed for a
while in their most vivid colors and then began to fall under the strong
west winds. Brown and wrinkled, they often whirled past in clouds.
The air had a bite in it, and the soldiers built more and larger fires.
The Army of Northern Virginia never before had been quiescent so long.
The Army of the Potomac was not such a tremendous distance away, but
it seemed that neither side was willing to attack, and as the autumn
advanced and began to merge into winter the minds of all turned toward
For the valiant soldiers encamped on the Virginia hills the news was not
good. Grant, grim and inflexible, was deserving the great name that was
gradually coming to him. He had gathered together all the broken parts
of the army defeated at Chickamauga and was turning Union defeat into
Winter closed in with the knowledge that Grant had defeated the South
disastrously on Lookout Mountain and all around Chattanooga. Chickamauga
had gone for nothing, the whole flank of the Confederacy was turned and
the Army of Northern Virginia remained the one great barrier against the
invading legions of the North. Yet the confidence of the men in that
army remained undimmed. They felt that on their own ground, and under
such a man as Lee, they were invincible.
In the course of these months Harry, as a messenger and often as a
secretary, was very close to Lee. He wrote a swift and clear hand,
and took many dispatches. Almost daily messages were sent in one
direction or another and Harry read from them the thoughts of his leader,
which he kept locked in his breast. He knew perhaps better than many an
older officer the precarious condition of the Confederacy. These letters,
which he took from dictation, and the letters from Richmond that he read
to his chief, told him too plainly that the limits of the Confederacy
were shrinking. Its money declined steadily. Happy Tom said that he had
to "swap it pound for pound now to the sutlers for groceries." Yet it
is the historical truth that the heart of the Army of Northern Virginia
never beat with more fearless pride, as the famous and "bloody" year of
'63 was drawing to its close.
The news arrived that Grant, the Sledge Hammer of the West, had been put
by Lincoln in command of all the armies of the Union, and would come
east to lead the Army of the Potomac in person, with Meade still as its
nominal chief, but subject, like all the others, to his command.
Harry heard the report with a thrill. He knew now that decisive action
would come soon enough. He had always felt that Meade in front of them
was a wavering foe, and perhaps too cautious. But Grant was of another
kind. He was a pounder. Defeats did not daunt him. He would attack
and then attack again and again, and the diminishing forces of the
Confederacy were ill fitted to stand up against the continued blows of
the hammer. Harry's thrill was partly of apprehension, but whenever he
looked at the steadfast face of his chief his confidence returned.
Winter passed without much activity and spring began to show its first
buds. The earth was drying, after melting snows and icy rains, and Harry