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THE GUN-BOAT SERIES.
FRANK, THE YOUNG NATURALIST,
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT,
FRANK IN THE WOODS,
FRANK ON THE PRAIRIE.
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG,
FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPL
Price, $1.25 per volume, or $7.50 per set, in a neat box,
forming a most excellent and interesting
LIBRARY FOR YOUNG FOLKS.
THE GUN-BOAT SERIES.
THE GUN-BOAT BOY."
R. W. CARROLL & CO., PUBLISHERS,
117 WEST FOURTH STREET.
Entered according to AR of Congress, in the years 1868, by
R. W. CARROLL & Co.,
in the Clerk's Office of the Distria Court of the United States, for
the Southern Distrit of Ohio.
STEREOTYPED AT THE FRANKLIN TYPE FOUNDRY, CINCINNATI.
CHAPTER I. PAGE
HONE AGAIN ............................ .. .................. ........ .... ................. 7
BARRY ON A SCOUT ............................................................ ... 23
ON DUTY AGAIN................................................ ........... 38
THE FIGHT IN THE W OODS.................................................. ....... 60
IN THE HANDS OF THE "JOHNNIES AGAIN........................................ 80
AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE ....................... .....................6............ ... 96
A CLOSn SHAVE...............................................................1.............. 111
TAKING DOWN THE CAPTAIN............................................... 126
A PRACTICAL JOKE......... .................................................. 144
NEW MESSMATES........ ................ .............................................. 153
A GOOD NIGHT'S WORK........................... .................. 162
CHAPTER XII. PAGE
IN THE TRENCHES ... ....... .............. ............................................ 183
THE SCOUT'S STORY .................................................... ...........194
RUNNING THE BATTERIES ............................................................. 20
A RACE FOR THE OLD FLAG............................................................ 213
THE RIVAL SHARP-SHOOTERS................................................. ....... 227
THE SMUCGLER'S CAVE-CONCLUSION..................,,.......................... 243
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
FTER all the tragic adventures
which Frank Nelson had passed
'^ through, since entering the service
of his country, which we have at-
tempted to describe in the preceding
volume of this series, he found him-
self surrounded by his relatives and
friends, petted and feted, enjoying all the com-
forts of his old and well-beloved home.
Only those who have been in similar circum-
stances can imagine how pleasant that quiet little
cottage seemed to Frank, after the scenes of dan-
ger through which he had passed. He looked
back to the memorable struggle between the
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
lines; the scene in the turret during the first
day's fight at Fort Pemberton; the privations he
had undergone while confined in the prison at
Shreveport; his almost miraculous escape; and
they seemed to him like a dream. All his suffer-
ings were forgotten in the joy he felt at finding
himself once more at home. But sorrow was
mingled with his joy when he looked upon the
weeds which his mother wore, and when he saw
the look of sadness which had taken the place of
her once happy smile. She seemed ten years
older than she looked on that pleasant morn-
ing, just fifteen months before, when, standing in
the door, she had strained her son to her bosom,
and uttered those words which had rung in
Frank's ears whenever he felt himself about to
give away to his feelings of terror:
"Good-by, my son; I may never see you again,
but I hope I shall never hear that you shrank
from your duty."
Frank shuddered when he thought how intense
must have been the suffering that could work so
great a change. But now that he was safe at
home again, there was no cause but for rejoicing.
ilis presence there afforded abundant proof that
he had not been shot while attempting to run the
guards at Shreveport, as had been reported.
And how great must have been the joy which
that mother felt at beholding him once more!
Although he did not move about the house in his
accustomed noisy, boyish way, and although his
cheek had been paled by his recent sickness, from
which he had not yet wholly recovered, he was
still the same lively, generous Frank whom she
had so freely given up to the service of his coun-
try. During the short time that they had been
separated, he had been placed in situations where
his courage and determination had been severely
tested, and had come safely through, never forget-
ting his mother's advice; and that mother could
not suppress the emotions of pride that arose in
Der heart, for she knew that her son had done his
Nripzourous were the questions that were asked
and answered, on both sides. Frank was obliged
to relate, over and over again, the story of his
capture and escape, until Aunt Hannah thrust her
head into the room, with the announcement that
supper was ready.
When the meal was finished, Frank removed his
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
trunk into his study. Every thing there was just
as he left it: the fore-and-aft' schooner, and the
box inclosing the scene at sea, still stood upon
the bureau; his sporting cabinet hung on the
frame at the foot of the bed; the little clock on
the mantel-piece ticked as musically as in days
of yore; and the limb of the rose-bush that cov-
ered his window flapped against the house just as
it did the night when it was broken off by the
After he had taken a fond, lingering look at
each familiar object, he went into the museum, ac-
companied by his mother and sister, while Brave
ran on before. Julia opened the door, and there
stood the wild-cat, just as he looked when the
young naturalist had encountered him in the
woods. Frank remembered how the cold sweat
had started out from every pore in his body when
he first found himself face to face with this uglyy
customer," and he could not help smiling when he
thought how terrified he was. As he walked
slowly around the museum, examining all the
specimens, as though he had never seen them be-
fore, he thought over the little history of each.
There was the buck that he and Archie had killed
in the lake, when they lost their guns, and the
latter had wished they "had never seen the deer."
Then came the owl, which Frank had shot on that
rainy morning when Archie had felt so certain of
his prize. Then there was the white buck, which
the boys had rescued from the wolves only to
have him killed by a panther. Next came the
moose with which Frank had struggled so des-
perately in the woods, and from which he had
been rescued by the trapper and his dog. The
skin of the bear, which he had trapped, and fol-
lowed to the cave, and that of the panther that
killed the white buck, still hung on a nail behind
the door, where he had left them after his return
from the woods.
After examining every thing to his satisfaction,
he went into the shanty behind the museum,
where he kept his pets. The raccoons, which had
become so tame that Julia allowed them to run
about, started away at his approach; but the
squirrels and otter recognized him at once; and
while one ran down into his pockets in search for
nuts, the other came toward him, uttering a faint
whine, and looked up as if expecting the piece of
cracker which Frank, in former days, had always
12 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
taken especial care to provide for him. While
Frank was caressing the little animal, the king-
birds and crow flew into the shanty. The former
were now five in number, the old birds having
raised a nestful of young ones, which were no less
efficient in.driving every bird from the orchard, or
less lenient to the crow, than their parents. The
old king-birds lit on Frank's shoulders, while Daw
seemed to prefer his master's uniform cap, and
was about to take possession of it, when his ene-
mies straightway commenced a fight, and the poor
crow, after a desperate resistance, was driven from
Perhaps the reader would like to know what
has become of the young moose and the cubs
which Frank captured during his visit at the
trapper's cabin. Well, they have good quarters,
and are well provided for at Uncle Mike's, the
same who assisted the young naturalist on the
morning when we saw him trying to get his scow
up to his work-shop. The moose has about an
acre of pasture allowed him. He is as tame and
gentle as ever, never attempting to escape. Uncle
Mike has put this entirely out of his power, for
he is surrounded by a ten-rail fence. The animal
more than pays for his keeping, and many a load
of wood has he drawn up to Mike's door for the
use of his family.
The cubs, which are considerably larger than
when we last saw them, are a source of a great
deal of annoyance to the honest Irishman. They
are still as playful as ever, and amuse themselves
all day long in turning somersaults and wrestling
with each other; but Mike has learned to stand
from under." He can generally defend himself
against the attacks of one of the cubs, but the
other is always ready to lend assistance, and the
Irishman is invariably worsted. He keeps them
confined in a building that once served as a
smoke-house; and not daring to trust himself
within reach of their paws, he gives them their
food through the window.
It was dark before Frank had seen and heard
enough to satisfy him to return to the cottage.
The evening was spent in listening to his stories
of gun-boat life on the Mississippi, and it was
midnight before he retired to his room. The
Newfoundlander, which had been close at his mas-
ter's side ever since he returned, scarcely leaving
him for a moment, followed him into his study,
14 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
and took possession of the rug before the door.
After winding up the clock that stood on the
mantel, and setting the alarm, Frank put out the
light, and tumbled into bed. Although he was
pretty well tired-out, he did not hesitate a moment
to answer the summons of the little bell that rang
at four o'clock, but was out on the floor almost
before the notes of the alarm had ceased. In a
few moments he was dressed; and taking his fish-
pole and basket, which hung on the rack at the
foot of the bed, accompanied by Brave, set out
with the intention of paying a visit to the lake in
the swamp, which had been the scene of the fight
with the buck.
As he walked along up the road, the associa-
tions connected with each locality were recalled to
his mind. Here was the place where the black
fox, which had so long held possession of Rey-
nard's Island, had crossed the creek with Sport-
"the dog that had never lost a fox"-following
close on his trail. There was the tree leaning
out over the creek, behind which Archie had
crept for concealment when in pursuit of the
canvas-backs; and a little further on was the
bridge which they had crossed on that rainy
morning that the geese had taken refuge in the
Frank feasted his eyes on each familiar object
as he walked along, until he arrived at the end
of the road, where stood Uncle Mike's rustic
cottage. As he approached, that individual ap-
peared at the door, shaded his eyes with his hand,
gazed at our hero for a moment, and then sprang
out, and greeted him with-
"Arrah, Master Frank! is this you, me boy?"
"Yes, Uncle Mike, it's I," answered Frank,
extending his hand to the man, who shook it
heartily, while tears of genuine joy rolled down
his cheeks. "I 'm back again, safe and sound."
"It's me ownsilf that's glad to see you,"
said Mike. "I heered you was kilt entirely by
the rebels; bad luck to the likes o' them. But
come with me, Master Frank; ye's been fighting'
rebels, but I've been fighting them varmints ye
ketched in the woods."
The Irishman led the way to the building in
which the cubs were confined, and opened the
blind which protected the window, to allow Frank
to look in. He could scarcely recognize in the
large, shaggy forms that were tumbling about
16 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
over the floor, the small, weak cubs which he had
carried for twenty miles in the pocket of his over-
As soon as the window was opened, they raised
themselves on their haunches, and endeavored to
reach Uncle Mike's red-flannel cap, an article he
had worn ever since Frank could remember.
"Aisy, aisy, there, you blackguards!" ex-
claimed Mike, endeavoring to ward off the blows
which the cubs aimed at him. "Can't yees be
aisy, I say? That's the way they always do,
Master Frank; me old cap seems to give 'em a
deal of troublee"
After amusing himself for some time in watch-
ing the motions of the clumsy animals, Frank fol-
lowed Uncle Mike to the pen in which the moose
was kept. He had grown finely, was nearly as
large as a horse, and his head was furnished with
a pair of wide-spreading antlers, the sight of
which made Frank shudder, and recall to mind
that desperate fight in the woods, and his narrow
escape from death. The moose was very gentle,
and allowed his young master to lead him about
the yard, and would come at his call as readily
as a dog.
SAfter seeing the animal "shown off" to his
best advantages, Frank got into Uncle Mike's
skiff, and pulled up the creek toward the lake.
Half an hour's rowing brought him to the point
behind which he and his cousin had captured the
eider-ducks, and where they had first caught sight
of the buck. After making his skiff fast to a
tree on the bank, he rigged his pole, baited his
hook, and dropped it into the water. Almost
instantly a sudden jerk showed him that the "old
perch-hole" had still plenty of occupants, and ini
a moment more a fish lay floundering in the
bottom of the boat.
We need not say that Frank enjoyed himself
hugely during the hour and a half that he re-
mained in the lake. The fish bit voraciously, and
the sport was exciting, especially as it had been
so long since Frank had had an opportunity to
engage in his favorite recreation. But his con-
science would not allow him to "wantonly waste
the good things of God," and, when he had caught
enough for his breakfast, he unfastened his skiff
and pulled toward home.
Frank spent the forenoon in recounting some
of his adventures to his mother and Julia, of
18 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
which they seemed never to grow weary. When
Aunt, Hannah announced that dinner was ready,
he lingered for a moment on the portico to watch
the movements of a flock of ducks, which, in
company with the old ones, the same that he and
Archie had captured in the lake, were swimming
about in the creek in front of the house; but, as
he was about to follow his mother into the dining-
room, he heard a loud scream, which seemed
to come from above him, and looked up just in
time to see a bald eagle swoop down upon the
ducks. The old ones uttered their notes of alarm,
and, rising from the water, flew over the cottage
toward the barn, while the ducklings darted under
the leaves of the lilies. But one was too late;
for, as the eagle arose in the air, he bore off his
Frank immediately ran into the house for
his gun, determined that the life of the eagle
should pay for that of the duck; but on his re-
turn he found that the robber was already being
severely punished for the mischief he had done.
Daw and the king-birds, which seemed to have an
idea that something unusual was going on, had
attacked him with a fury that Frank had never
before witnessed. The eagle was flying, zigzag,
through the air, but was met at every point by his
tormentors. Frank, who dared not fire for fear
of wounding his pets, ran down the walk, sprang'
over the fence, and awaited the issue of the fight,
hoping that the eagle would be compelled to take
refuge in one of the trees that grew on the bank
of the creek. Nor was he mistaken; for the rob-
ber, finding that he could not escape his ene-
mies, settled down on a limb but a short distance
off, and, after deliberately folding his wings,
snapped his beak, as if defying them to keep up
the contest. The king-birds seated themselves on
the branches above his head, and commenced their
angry twittering, and Daw joined in with a loud
" caw, caw."
This seemed to be the first intimation that the
king-birds had received of his presence, for they
straightway flew at him, and Daw, although he had
lent effective assistance in fighting the eagle, did
not stop to resist, but beat a hasty retreat toward
the cottage. This seemed a favorable moment for
the eagle; he leaped from his perch, and was fly-
ing off with his booty, when the report of Frank's
gun brought him to the ground. The young nat-
20 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
uralist shouldered his prize, and was starting
toward the house, when a voice called out:
Halloo, there! At your old tricks again so
Frank looked up, and saw Harry Butler coming
toward him. Neither had dreamed of the presence
of the other in the village, and the cordial manner
in which the two friends greeted each other proved
that their long separation had not lessened their
affection. But Frank noticed at once that his
friend was greatly changed. He looked hnbggard
and careworn; he was no longer the wild, impet-
uous Harry; he had grown more sedate; and his
face, which had once beamed with a smile for
every one, now wore a look of sorrow, for which
Frank could not account. It is true that he no-
ticed that Harry carried his arm in a sling, but he
knew that it was not bodily suffering that had
caused that look of sadness.
Harry, what is the matter with you ? was
his first question. "You look completely worn
So I am," was the answer. Let us sit down
on this log, and I'll tell you all about it. I've
often been here to visit your folks," he continued,
"never expecting to see you again, as I learned
that you had been captured, and afterward shot,
while trying to escape. You say I look worn out;
so would you if your only brother was a prisoner
in the hands of the rebels, held as a hostage,
and every moment expecting to be hung. George
is in that situation, and I look upon his death, not
only as a possible, but a very probable thing. It
has been a hard task for me to convince myself
that, if I should live to return home after the
war, I should be alone, as I certainly thought I
should be when I heard that you had been shot,
and that George was not much better off. I had
made up my mind to pass my furlough in the
house, for I didn't want to have any one near
me; but, now that you are here, I want to visit
all our old haunts again. Let us take a walk in
the woods. Bring your dinner along with you; I
have n't had mine yet."
In accordance with Harry's suggestion, a bas-
ket was filled with eatables, and the boys bent
their steps through the orchard toward the
meadow that lay between the cottage and the
woods. As they walked along, Frank related
some of the interesting incidents of his life in the
22 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
service, and Harry finally began to recover his
usual spirits. At length they reached the cabin
in the woods, that had been the scene of the camp
on the day of the raccoon hunt, and here they
stopped to rest and eat their dinner.
HARRY ON A SCOUT.
ferg TO a l~iiif.
HEN they had finished every thing
in the basket, the boys threw them-
selves on the grass in front of the
cabin, and Harry said:
"I shall never forget the last
time we made our camp here-on
the day we had that 'coon-hunt, and
Archie fell into the creek. I've thought of it a
great many times since I left home to go into the
service, and it makes me feel sad to see how
things have changed. From school-boys and
amateur hunters, who started and turned pale
when we heard the howl of a wolf or the hooting
of an owl, you and I have grown pretty well on
toward manhood; have become experienced in
scenes of danger, and have had more narrow es-
capes than when we climbed up that tree to get
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
out of the reach of the wolves that were in pur-
suit of the white buck. But there are some who
have not been as fortunate as ourselves. There has
been a thinning out of our ranks, and two good
fellows who have hunted with us in these woods,
and slept under the same blankets with us in this
cabin, we shall never see again; and the proba-
bilities are, that, if we live to return home again,
after peace has been restored, and we go tramp-
ing around through these woods, to visit all our
old hunting and fishing-grounds, we shall miss a
third. Ben Lake and William Johnson are dead;
my brother is suffering in a rebel prison, and, from
wha.t.I have seen and heard of the manner in
which Union prisoners are treated at the South,
I never expect to see him again, even if he is not
executed. Ben Lake, you know, was a quiet,
good-natured fellow, scarcely ever saying any
thing unless he was first spoken to, and I had an
idea that he would be a little cowardly when he
heard the bullets whistling around him; but I was
never more mistaken in my life, for he won his
promotion in the very first battle in which our
regiment was engaged. When I was made cap-
tain of our company, he received the appoint-
HARRY ON A SCOUT.
ment of first lieutenant, and an excellent officer
he made. He was a splendid rider, and when
mounted on his horse-' Thunderbolt' he called
him-he made a fine appearance. He was no
Sband-box officer, however, for he never shrank
from his duty, and he was above ordering one of
his men to do what he was afraid to undertake
himself. He and I were prisoners once for about
forty-eight hours, and the way it happened was
"Our regiment, after the battle of Pittsburg
Landing, was detached from the Western army
and ordered to the Potomac. We had scarcely
been there a week before we were sent out on a
scout, with orders to capture Mosby, who was
constantly harassing us, and scatter his command.
We were out about ten days, without accomplish-
ing our object. Not a single glimpse did we get
of a reb, and finally we turned our faces toward
the camp. Our horses, as well as ourselves, were
nearly jaded, and the way we do there, when a
horse gives out, is to put a bullet through his
head, shoulder our saddles, and trudge along
After the column on foot, until we can find an-
other animal to ride. I had command of the rear
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
guard; and when we had arrived within a day's
march of camp, my horse suddenly gave out-laid
right down in the middle of the road, and could n't
go a step further. I was in something of a fix,
and my feelings were none of the pleasantest
when I found myself sprawling in the dusty road,
and saw that my horse was used up. It waS
something of an undertaking to find my way back
to camp, through a country infested with guer-
rillas, and with which I was entirely unacquainted.
It is true that I could have had a horse, as sev-
eral were at once offered me by my men; but I
could not be mean enough to save my own bacon
by leaving one of those brave fellows behind; so
I told Ben to go ahead with the company, keep-
ing a good look-out for a horse, and if he could
find one, to send it back to me. I then shot my
animal; and it was a job I hated to do, I tell you,
for he was as fine a horse as ever stepped; he
had carried me many a long mile, and being my
constant companion for almost a year and a half,
I had become very much attached to him. But
there was no help for it; our orders were strict;
and I shouldered my saddle, and marched after
the column, which was soon out of sight.
HARRY ON A SCOUT.
"I walked along at a pretty lively pace, keep-
ing a good look-out on each side of the road
for horses, and now and then looking behind, half
expecting to see a squad of Mosby's cavalry in
pursuit, until I was startled by the report of a
pistol directly in front of me, and, coming sud-
denly around a bend in the road, I found Ben sit-
ting beside his horse, which had also given out,
waiting for me to come up. As I approached,
glad enough that I was not left to find my way
back to camp alone, Ben picked up his saddle, and
glancing sorrowfully at the work he had done,
"'There's an end of poor Thunderbolt-the
best horse in the regiment. It has no doubt saved
him many a long scout, but I never felt so sorry
for any thing in my life.'
"It was hard work, walking along that dusty
road, carrying our heavy saddles, and we anxiously
scanned every field which we passed, in hopes
that we should find some stray horse; but without
success. About three o'clock in the afternoon
we reached a cross-road, and then we knew where
we were. We had frequently been there on short
scouts; so, without stopping to keep any further
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
look-out for horses, we quickened our pace, and
about two miles further on, arrived at the house
of a lady with whom we were well acquainted,
and who, as we had always considered her loyal,
had been allowed to remain in undisturbed posses-
sion of her property, which our regiment had once
defended against Mosby's men. Here we halted,
and asked the lady if she could furnish us with
some dinner. She replied in the affirmative, and
we deposited our saddles in one corner of the
room, while the woman began to bustle about.
In half an hour as good a dinner as I ever tasted
in that part of the country was served up, and
Ben and I sat down to it with most ravenous
appetites. Before sitting down, I should men-
tion, we took off our belts, to which were fastened
our sabers and revolvers, and laid them in the
corner with our saddles; a very foolish trick,
as it afterward proved; but, as we were within
fifteen miles of camp, we did not apprehend any
"After our hostess had seen us fairly started,
You will excuse me for a few moments, gentle-
men, as I would like to run over to see my sister,
HARRY ON A SCOUT.
who is very sick. Will you keep an eye on the
baby?' she continued, pointing to the small speci-
men of humanity in question, which lay fast asleep
in the cradle.
"'Yes,' answered Ben, I'll see to him;' and
the woman started off, leaving us to finish our din-
ner and attend to the child.
She had n't been gone two minutes before the
young one awoke, and, of course, began to yell.
We didn't know what to do, for it was new
business to us. After trying in vain to make it
hash, Ben took it out of the cradle, and began to
trot it up and down on his knee. But it was no
une, and he finally put it back, determined to let
it cry until it got ready to stop, when I halppcl,.ed
to think of the sugar-bowl. That was just the
thing. Ben took good care to keep its mouth so
full of sugar that it couldn't yell, and we suc-
ceeded in keeping it pretty still.
"In about half an hour the womantn returned,
and, in reply to our inquiries, informed us that
her sister was considerably better, and she hoped
would be well in a few days. She then commenced
talking on indifferent subjects; and we finally
finished every thing on the table, and were think-
30 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
ing about starting for camp, when some one sud-
denly called out:
"' Here! here! Get up, you Yanks. Get up
from that table.'
"We looked up, and there, standing in the
door-way, with their revolvers leveled at our
heads, were two rebels-Colonel Mosby and a
"' I 've fixed you!' exclaimed the woman, tri-
umphantly. ',You didn't think that while you
were stealing my chickens, and abusing me, that
I would ever have the power on my side.'
The old hag had betrayed us. She had invented
the story of her sick sister, in order that her
absence might not cause us any suspicions, and
had left the child for us to take care of, so that
we should be obliged to remain until she returned.
The story of stealing her chickens, and abusing
her, was a mere pretext; for our orders to respect
her property were strict, and we had not dared to
There's only one thing that I am sorry for,
madam,' said Ben, coolly, 'and that is, that I
did n't choke that young one of yours.'
"' Come, come, there !' interrupted thle colonel.
HARRY ON A SCOUT.
-Get up from behind that table at once, or you
are dead men !'
"'We're gobbled easy enough, Harry,' said
Ben, in his usual careless manner, as we arose
from our chairs. 'Well, I suppose there's no
help for it, seeing that we have no weapons. What
do you intend to do with a fellow, Johnny ?'
"'Take you direct to Richmond,' was the en-
couraging answer, made by the corporal, as he
walked across the room and took possession of
our arms. 'Come out here!'
"We had no other alternative; so we marched
out in front of the house, our captors mounted
their horses, and we trudged along before them
on foot toward Centerville.
"You have been a prisoner, and can easily im-
agine the thoughts that passed through our minds.
We saw before us a long, fatiguing march, with
hard fare, and harder treatment, and the dreaded
Libby looming up in the background. But we
were not allowed much time to commune with our
own thoughts, for Mosby immediately began to
question us in relation to the forces we had in
different parts of the country. Of course we told
him some of the most outrageous stories, but he
32 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
seemed to put some faith in them; and when we
reached the cross-road he left us, after ordering
the corporal to take us to Culpepper.
"As soon as the colonel had got out of sight,
the corporal began to abuse us in the worst kind
of a manner, swearing at us, and calling us Abo-
litionists and the like; and said that if he could
have his own way he would hang us on the near-
est tree. We told him that it was a mean trick
to treat prisoners in that way, and advised him
to keep a civil tongue in his head, as the tables
1iiiglit be turned on him some day; but he paid no
attention to us, and kept on jawing, until finally,
just before night, we reached Centerville.
"We stopped at a house near the middle of the
town, where we were treated very kindly by the
people, who gave us plenty to eat, but told us
that we were fighting' on the wrong side. After
supper, the coIrpoI.I took us out to the barn,
where he proceeded to 'go through' us pretty
thoroughly. He roIbbed me of twenty dollars in
'greenbcks, a wa;tcl, comb, several letters-in
short, he did not leave me any thing. After
overhauling Ben's pockets, he ordered him to
'come out of his coat,' which he did without
HARRY ON A SCOUT.
a grumble; and after cutting off the shoulder-
straps-because Ben 'would n't need 'em any
more,' he said-he put the coat on his own back,
locked the barn, and left us to our meditations.
As soon as the sound of his footsteps had died
away, I said:
"'Ben, I'm going to get out of here, if I
"LAll right,' said he; 'feel around on the floor
and see if you can't find something to force that
door open with. How I wish I had that young
one here! I wouldn't feed it with sugar, I tell
"We commenced groping about in the darkness,
but not a thing in the shape of a club could
be found. Then we placed our shoulders against
the door, and pressed with all our strength; but
it was too strong to be forced from its hing's,
and the floor was so securely fastened down, that
it could not be pulled up; so, after working until
we were completely exliuLstcd, we sat down on
the floor to rest.
"' We 're in for it,' said Ben.
"'But I 'm not going to Libby, now I tell you,'
I answered. 'To-morrow we shall probably start
84 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
for Culpepper, under guard of that corporal; and
the very first chance, I'm going to mizzle.'
Ben made no reply, but I well knew what he
was thinking about. After a few more ineffectual
attempts, we then lay down on the hard boards,
and tried to go to sleep; but that was, for a long
time, out of the question.
"Our situation was not one calculated to quiet
our feelings much, and as we rolled about the
floor, trying to find a comfortable position, I could
hear Ben venting his spite against 'that brat.'
He did not seem to think of the woman who had
"We passed a most miserable night, and at
daylight were awakened with:
Come out here, you Yanks. It's high time
you were moving toward Libby.'
"That rascally corporal seemed to delight in
tormenting us; but there was only one thing we
could do, and that was to 'grin and bear it.'
After a hasty breakfast, we again set out, the
corporal following close behind us on his horse,
with a revolver in his hand, ready to shoot the
first one that made an attempt at escape. We
kept on, stopping only once or twice for water,
HARRY ON A SCOUT.
.until we reached the Bull Run bridge. Here the
corporal stopped, and called out:
"'Come here, one of you fellers, and hold my
"I did as he ordered, and the rebel dismounted,
bent down on one knee, and commenced fixing
his spur. My mind was made up in an instant.
It was now or never. Giving a yell to attract
Ben's attention, I sprang at the rebel, caught him
around the neck, and rolled him over on his back.
He kicked and swore furiously, and if I had been
alone, he would most likely have got the better of
me; but Ben, being close at hand, caught up the
revolver, which the rebel had laid on the groudll
beside him, and in a moment more I had secured
his saber. He saw that further resistance was
useless, and bawled out:
"'Don't shoot, Yank. Don't shoot me, for
"'Nobody's going to hurt you if you behave
yourself,' said Ben. 'Get up.'
"The rebel raised himself to his feet, and I at
once began to 'sound' him, as we call it. I got
back my watch, money, and every thing else he
had taken from us the night before. We then
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
ordered him to travel on ahead of us, and, as
Ben's feet were so badly swollen that he could
scarcely move, I told him to get on the horse,
while I walked along by his side. We passed
back through Centerville, keeping a good look-out
for rebel scouts, which we knew were in the vi-
cinity, but we did not meet with any of them
until along toward night, when we heard a yell,
and, looking up, saw half a dozen cavalry charg-
ing across the field toward us.
"'I guess we're gobbled again, captain,' said
"'Not if our legs hold out,' I answered. 'Get
down off that horse, quick. We must foot it,
"Ben hastily dismounted, and, catching our
prisoner by the arm, we pulled him over a fence,
through the woods, and into a swamp, where we
fastened him to a tree. We then tied a hand-
kerchief over his mouth, to prevent him from
making his whereabouts known to his friends, and
made the best of our way to the camp, which we
reached about daylight. We at once reported to
the colonel, who sent us back with our company
after the prisoner; but he was gone. His friends
HARRY ON A SCOUT. 37
had doubtless discovered him, and released him
from his unpleasant situation. The woman who
betrayed us paid the penalty of her treachery.
Her house was burned over her head, and her
husband, whom she had reported to us as dead,
but who was found concealed in the barn, was
taken back to the camp a prisoner."
PRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
Y the time Harry had finished his
_. story, it was almost sundown.
Putting the cabin in order, and
--i$\! fastening the door, the boys then
2- started for home. After a hearty sup-
per at the cottage, different plans for
their amusement were discussed and determined
upon. If time would allow, we might relate many
interesting incidents that transpired during the
month they spent together; how, one day, the
young moose ran away with Uncle Mike's wood-
wagon and upset the boys in the road. We might,
among others, tell of the hunting and fishing ex-
peditions that came off, and the trials of speed
that took place on the river, when the Speedwell
showed that she had lost none of her sailing
qualities during the year and a half that she had
ON DUTY AGAIN.
remained idle in the shop; but one incident that
happened will suffice.
It was on the morning of the last day that they
were to pass together, as Frank's sick-leave had
expired, and he must soon bid adieu to home and
friends again, perhaps forever. This day had
been set apart for a fishing excursion; and,
bright and early, Frank was at Captain Butler's
boat-house, where he found Harry waiting for
him. When the bait and every thing else neces-
sary for the trip had been stowed away in the
skiff, the boys pulled into the river, and after
spending an hour in rowing about the bass-ground,
during which time they secured half a dozen fine
fish, they started toward the perch-bed, and an-
chored outside the weeds.
Although they were remarkably successful, they
did not seem to enjoy the sport. Frank's thoughts
were constantly dwelling on the parting that must
come on the morrow. It could not be avoided,
for duty called him; and although the idea of
disregarding the summons never once entered
into his head, he could not help condemning the
circumstances that rendered that call necessary.
Harry, on the other hand, was impatient to re-
40 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
cover his health, as he wished to rejoin his com-
mand. While he was free, and enjoying the de-
lights of home, his brother was languishing in a
Southern dungeon-held as a hostage for a notori-
ous guerrilla, who had been sentenced to death-
not knowing at what moment he might be led forth
to execution. Often, during the time that he and
Frank had been together, living over the scenes
of their school-days, had Harry's thoughts wan-
dered to that brother, and it had done much to
mar the pleasure he would otherwise have enjoyed.
He imagined he could see him, seated in his loath-
some cell, loaded with chains, pale and weak, (in
consequence of the systematic plan of starvation
adopted by the brutal authorities at Richmond to
render our brave fellows unfit for further service,
if they should chance to live until they were ex-
changed,) but firm in the belief that he had done
his duty, and ready at any moment-for George
was far from being a coward-to be sacrificed.
Harry's thoughts, we repeat, often wandered to
the dreaded Libby, and especially did they on this
morning. And as he pictured to himself the
treatment that his brother was daily receiving at
the hands of the enemies of the government, is it
ON DUTY AGAIN.
to be wondered if he indulged in feelings of the
deepest malice toward the inhuman wretches who
could be guilty of such barbarity?
"There's only this about it, Frank," he said,
suddenly breaking the silence that had continued
for half an hour; there 's only this about it: if
one hair of George's head is injured, Company
M' of our regiment never takes any more pris-
)ners; and if I have no friendship for a traitor,
either have I for such men as these who are now
Frank looked up, and saw Charles Morgan and
William Gage rowing toward them.
"Here is the very spot," continued Harry,
"where we met Morgan when you first became
acquainted with him, on the morning when he
told such outrageous stories about the fishing
there was in New York harbor, and about his
fighting Indians in the Adirondack Mountains, in
the northern part of Michigan. William Gage,
you know, used to be first lieutenant of the Mid-
"Yes, I remember them both," answered Frank.
"But it seems to me that I heard some one say
that Mr. Morgan is a rebel sympathizer; and
42 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
Charley, of course, not having brains enough to
think for himself, is following in his father's
"So I have heard; but he has never said a
word against the government, and he'd better not,
for I feel just like choking somebody this morn-
ing; and if I hate a rebel, I hold a domestic
traitor in the most profound abhorrence."
Hullo, boys !" exclaimed Charles, at this mo-
ment, coming alongside and stretching out a hand
to each of them, "how are you? I'm glad to
see you back again, Frank. But why have n't
you been around to see a fellow? You've kept
yourselves very close since your return."
"Yes, Harry and I have spent most of our
time in the woods," answered Frank. "But we
part again to-morrow."
"Going back to your ship, eh ? Well, when do
you suppose you will be home again for good?"
"I don't know. If I live, however, I'm going
to see this war settled before I come back to civil
"You've had some pretty hard times since you
have been in the service, from what I hear."
Rather tough," answered Harry.
ON DUTY AGAIN.
"Well now, you see Bill and I were too sharp
to go into any such business as that," said Charles,
knowingly. The old man said, from the start,
that you never could whip the South."
"Well, your father was never more mistaken in
his life," answered Frank. "We are going to
bring back the seceded States, if it takes every
man and every dollar at the North. But I don't
see why you do n't volunteer. How can you stay
at home ?"
"O, it is the easiest thing in the world," an-
swered Charles, with a laugh. "In the first place,
I think too much of my life; and then again, I
don't care a snap which whips. I am not inter-
ested either way-I'm neutral."
"You're no such thing," answered Harry, an-
grily. "You never saw two dogs fight in the
street, without wanting one or the other of them
to whip, and your sympathies are either one way
or the other. There 's no such thing as a neutral
in this war."
Besides," said Frank," if I were in your place,
I should be ashamed to say that I was neutral.
But I hope that you will be compelled to go into
the army. Since you have neither the intelligence
44 FRANK BEFORE VIC(KSBIRG.
to determine which side is in the right, nor the
courage to fight for that side, I hope that you will
be drafted, and that you can't find a substitute."
"Thank you," replied Charles, sneeringly.
"You are very kind. But I, of course, know
that this is a free country, and a man has a right
to talk as he pleases."
"You have no right to utter treasonable senti-
ments," said Harry; and another thing, I am not
going to,sit here and listen to them."
"You are not, indeed! I do n't see how you
can hinder it," replied Charles. I say now, and
it makes no difference who hears me, that I hope
the South will whip, unless the North will allow
her to go out of the Union peaceably. I have n't
any thing against the South."
Well, I have," answered Harry, scarcely able
to control himself. "My brother is now starving
in a rebel prison."
"I can't help it. I have not the least sympa-
thy for him. The South said, at the commence-
ment, that they only wanted to be let alone; and
if George has n't any more sense than to meddle
with them, I say, let him take the consequences;"
and, as Charles ceased speaking, he dropped the
ON DUTY AGAIN. 45
oars into the water, and was about to row off,
when Frank seized the gunwale of his boat.
"Avast heaving, there, for a moment," he said,
quietly. "Charley, take back what you have
"No, sir; I sha'n't do it. I mean what I have
said, and I won't take back any thing. Let go of
that boat, or I '11 hit you," and he raised his oar
as if about to strike Frank.
But Harry was too quick for him. Springing
lightly into Charles's skiff, he easily wrested the
oar from him, and then, seizing hirim by the collar,
Take back every word you have said, or I 'll
wash some of the vile rebel sentiment out of you.
I'll dump you overboard. Come, take it all
"Help! help! Bill," whined Charles, writhing
like an eel in Harry's strong grasp, are you go-
ing to sit there and see me abused in this manner?
Help, I tell you."
William looked first at Harry, then at Frank,
who had grown exceedingly tall and muscular
since the last time he had measured strength with
,him in friendly contest, and made no reply.
46 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
Come, take it back," urged Harry.
"No, I won't," replied Charles, who, finding
that he was left to fight his own battles alone,
now began to struggle desperately. "I tell you I
won't take back any thing."
"Then overboard you go," said Harry. "I'11
see what effect cold water will have on you;"
and, easily lifting Charles from his feet, in spite
of his struggles, he threw him headlong into the
"How is it now?" he coolly inquired, as
Charles appeared at the surface, looking very
forlorn, indeed. "Any more rebel sentiment in
you that wants washing out? Come in here,
you young traitor;" and, as he spoke, he again
seized him by the collar, and drew him into the
"Unhand me," shouted Charles, as soon as he
could regain his feet; I'll fix you for this."
"Are you ready to take back what you said?"
demanded Harry, tightening his grasp.
"No; nor shall I ever be," was the stubborn
"Well, then, down you go again."
"No, no! do n't," screamed Charles, who now
ON DUTY AGAINST.
began to be really frightened; L"I take it all
"What do you take back ?" asked Harry.
I do n't want to see the Northern prisoners
"Well, what else ?"
I do n't want to see the Union destroyed."
"Go on; what next ?"
"But I do wish the South could be whipped
to-morrow, and be made to stay in the Union."
"Well, now you are talking sense," said Htarry,
releasing his hold of Charles's collar. Of course,
I know you do n't mean what you say, but I was
bound to make you say a good word for the
Union before I let you off. I have one more
favor to ask of you, and then I am done. Will
you oblige me by giving three cheers for the boys
who are fighting our battles-every day risking
their lives in defense of the old flag?"
"I sha' n't ask you but once more, then," and
here Harry pointed to the water, in a very sig-
Charles, knowing that he was in earnest, and
that there was no escape, gave the required
48 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
cheers with as good a grace as he could com-
"That's right," said Harry, approvingly.
"Now I have done with you, and you can
thank your lucky stars that you have got off so
easily. If you had been in the army when you
said what you did a few moments since, the boys
would have hung you to the very first tree they
could have found. Now, take my advice, and
don't let me hear of your uttering any more
such sentiments as long as I remain in the vil-
lage; if you do, I'll duck you as often as I can
get my hands on you."
Harry then sprang into his own skiff, and
Charles sullenly picked up his oars, and pulled
"There," exclaimed Harry, "I feel better
now. I worked off a little of my indignation
on that fellow. The rascal! to tell us that
George ought to be starved for helping to main-
tain the government, and that he didn't care
whether the Union went to ruin or not. Now
that I think of it, I'm sorry that I let him off so
He was pretty well punished, after all," said
ON DUTY AGAIN.
Frank. "It will have the effect of making him a
little more careful."
At noon, the fish stopped biting, and the boys
started for home. They parted at the boat-house,
after Frank had promised to call and say "good-
by" before he left in the morning.
When the latter reached home he found his
trunk packed, and every thing in readiness for the
start, so that he had nothing to do but roam about
the premises, and take a .last look at every thing,
as he had done on a former occasion. His mother
and sister tried to look cheerful, but it was a sorry
failure, for Frank could easily read what was
passing in their minds.
Morning came at length, and at eight o'clock,
to Frank's great relief-for he wished the parting
over as soon as possible-he saw the carriage ap-
proaching which was to take him to the steamer.
A few embraces and hastily-spoken farewells, and
Frank was whirling away from his home. At
Captain Butler's he stopped for Harry, who met
him at the gate with an open letter in his hand;
and, as he sprang into the carriage, he exclaimed,
"It's all right, Frank. Here's a letter from
50 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
George. He has been exchanged, and is now in
the hospital at Washington. The rebels, he says,
tried to starve him to death, but couldn't make,
it. He is only waiting until he gets strong
enough to travel, and then he's coming home.
He's pretty well used up. When I get back to
the army, with Company 'M' to back me up,
I '11 make somebody smart for it."
By the time Harry had finished venting his
anger against the enemies of the government,
the carriage reached the wharf, as the steamer
was moving out into the river. Frank had just
time to get on board, and a few moments after-
ward the Julia Burton carried him out of sight
of the village. He stopped only a short time at
Portland; and, four days after leaving that place,
found Archie waiting for him as he sprang off
the train at Cairo. He reported to the fleet
captain, who ordered him to take passage down
the river on the United States dispatch steamer
General Lyon," which was to sail at four o'clock
that afternoon. The cousins passed the day
together. When four o'clock came, Archie re-
turned to his high stool with a sorrowful coun-
tenance, and Frank waived his adieu from the
ON DUTY AGAIN.
steamer that was to carry him back-to what?
It is well that the future is hidden from ins, for
Frank would not have trod that deck with so
light a heart had he known what was in store for
In a few days he arrived at his vessel, which
he found anchored at White River. Time makes
changes in every thing, and Frank saw many new
faces among the ship's company. The old mate
was still on board, and greeted him in his hearty
sailor style as he came over the side. After he
had reported to tle captain, and had seen his
luggage taken to his room, he was joined by one
of his old messmates, whose name was Keys;
and who, in answer to Frank's inquiry, "How is
every thing?" proceeded to give him a statement
of the condition of affairs.
"The ship still floats on an even keel," said
he, pulling off his boots, and taking possession of
Frank's bed. The old man is as eccentric and
good-natured as ever, sometimes flying off into
one of his double-reefed topsail hurricanes, which
don't mean any thing. All goes right about
decks, but you will find some things changed in
the steerage. There are only five officers left in
52 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
our mess that ivere here when you went away,
and we have three new Johnny master's mates.
They all came down in the same box; and the
express man must have left them out in the damp
over night, for they are the softest fellows I ever
saw. They must have been brought up in some
country where such a thing as a steamboat is un-
known, for they do n't know the starboard from
the port side of the ship, call on deck 'up stairs,
and the captain's cabin goes by the name of the
'parlor.' It wouldn't be so bad if they would
only try to learn something, but they are very
indignant if any one undertakes to volunteer ad-
vice; and, besides, they stand on their rank."
At this moment supper was announced, and
Frank and his friend repaired to the steerage,
where they found the mates of whom the latter
had spoken. While they were eating, the whistle
of a steamer was heard, and one of the new
mates (whose name was French, but who was
known as "Extra," from the fact that he was
perfectly useless as an officer,) ordered the waiter
to "go up stairs and see what boat it was." The
boy did not move, for it was a regulation of the
mess that when there was only one waiter in the
ON DUTY AGAIN.
room to attend to the table, he was not to be sent
away. Besides, the mate had no right to give
such an order without first obtaining the permis-
sion of the caterer.
"Do you hear what I tell you'?" he inquired,
in a rage.
Mr. French," said the caterer, quietly, "you
can find out the name of that boat after supper,
by asking the officer of the deck, or the quarter-
master on watch."
But I choose to send this boy to find out for
me," replied Mr. French. Come, go on, there,
and do as I tell you, or I will see if you can
not be made to obey the orders of your supe-
Stay where you are," said the caterer, ad-
dressing the waiter, and do n't start until I tell
you to." Then, turning to the mate, he con-
tinued, "You have no right to order him to do
any thing in this mess-room without first consult-
"I have n't, eh? I wonder if this darkey
ranks me? My appointment reads that I am
to be obeyed by all persons under me in this
54 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
That boy is not subject to your orders, as
long as I am in the mess-room."
"Well, I shall take pains to inform myself on
that point. I'll ask the captain."
Do so," said the caterer, quietly; and if
you don't get the worst raking-down that you
have had since you have been on board this ves-
sel, then I am greatly mistaken."
The mate made no reply, but, after he had fin-
ished his supper, went on deck.
"Now, Frank," whispered Keys, "just come
with me, and I will show you some fun."
Frank, always ready for any mischief, followed
his companion on deck, where they found Mr.
French in animated conversation with his two
See here, French," said Keys, approaching
the latter in a confidential manner, are you
going to put up with such abuse as you received
from that caterer ?"
"I'd see, if I were in your place, whether or
not I had authority to command my inferiors,"
chimed in Frank.
Certainly, so would I," said Keys. "Go and
report the matter to the old man."
ON DUTY AGAIN.
"That caterer ought to be brought down a peg
or two," said Frank.
"Well," said the mate, "I know that I have got
the right on my side; but I'm afraid, if I report
the matter, the captain will give me a blowing
"0, that's only one of that caterer's stories,"
said Keys, contemptuously. "You see he's afraid
you will report him, and he told you what he did
to frighten you. Every body on board the ship is
trying to run down us mates; they don't seem to
care a fig for our orders; even the men laugh at
us, and the sooner they find out that we have
some authority here, the better it will be for us.
I wish I had as good a chance as you have; I'd
report the whole matter."
"I believe I will report it," said the mate, en-
couraged by the sincere manner in which MIr.
Keys and Frank spoke. "I can't have a man
trample on my authority, when it comes from the
admiral. Is the captain in the parlor?"
"Yes," answered Frank, making use of his
handkerchief to conceal his laughter; "I saw him
go in there just a moment since."
The mate accordingly walked aft, and without
56 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
waiting to speak to the orderly, who stood at the
gangway, he opened the door without knocking,
and entered the cabin.
As soon as he had disappeared, Frank and his
companion ran on to the quarter-deck, and took
a position at a grating directly over the captain's
cabin, where they could hear all that went on
"My eyes!" whispered Keys; "I would n't be
in Extra's boots for the whole squadron. Won't
he get his rations stuffed into him?"
The captain, who was at supper, looked up in
surprise, as Mr. French entered unannounced;
and, after regarding him sharply for a moment,
SWell, sir !"
"I came here, sir," began the mate, "to tell
"Take off your cap,-sir!" vociferated the cap-
The mate, not in the least embarrassed, did as
he was ordered, and again commenced:
"I came here, sir"--
"Do you know what that marine is standing out
there for?" again interrupted the captain. "If
ON DUTY AGAIN.
you don't, your first hard work will be to go to
the executive officer and find out. Now, don't you
again ever come into my cabin in this abrupt man-
ner. Always send in your name by the orderly.
It seems impossible to teach you any thing. But
what were you going to say ?"
"I came here, sir," began the mate again, "'to
see if I have any authority to command my infe-
riors in rank. My appointment says"-
"0, hang your appointment!" shouted the cap-
tain. "Come to the point at once."
"Well, sir, while at supper, I ordered our stew-
ard to go up stairs and execute a commission for
me, and he would n't go."
"Are you caterer o your mess ?"
"Then sir, allow me to inform you that you
have no more authority over those waiters in that
mess-room than you have to break open my
trunk and take out my money. If you should
need the services of one of the boys, go to the
caterer and get his consent. But I wish you
would try and learn something. You have been
on board this ship now three weeks, and are of no
more use than an extra boiler. Go to somebody
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
else in future with your foolish complaints. You
may go, sir."
The mate left the cabin, feeling very cheap, and
wondering what was the use of having any rank,
if he could n't use it, and more than half inclined
to believe that the captain had no right to address
him in so rude a manner.
"Well, what did the old man say?" inquired
Keys, who, with Frank, had hurried forward to
meet him at the gangway.
"1He says he will fix it all right," replied Mr.
French, averting his face, for he knew that he was
uttering a falsehood. I knew I would get satis-
So saying, he walked off, shaking his head in
a very knowing manner, while the two friends re-
treated to the steerage, where they gave full vent
to their feelings. The circumstance was related
to the caterer, who came in a few moments after-
ward, and after enjoying a hearty laugh at the
mate's expense, Frank retired to his room and
About two o'clock in the morning a steamer
came down and reported that a regiment of rebels
had posted themselves behind the levee at Cy-
ON DUTY AGAIN. 59
press Bend, and were holding tho position in spite
of the efforts of three gun-boats to dislodge them,
rendering navigation impossible. The matter was
reported to the captain, who, after making him-
self acquainted with the facts, ordered the Ticon-
deroga to be got under way and headed up the
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
N the next day they arrived at Cy-
Spress Bend, where they found three
tin-clads anchored, paying no at-
tention to the perfect storm of bullets
Which the concealed rebels rained upon
I .t their decks from behind the levee. As
soon as the Ticonderoga came within
range, the guerrillas directed a volley against her;
but, although her decks were crowded with men,
the fire was without effect. The boatswain's
whistle, and the order, ," All hands under cover,"
rang sharply through the ship, and the decks were
instantly deserted. The second division-the one
which Frank commanded-was at once called to
quarters, and as soon as the gun could be cast
loose and pointed, an eleven-inch shell went
shrieking into the woods. It burst far beyond
THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS.
the levee. The rebels sent back a taunting laugh,
and their bullets fell faster than ever.
The levee which lines both banks of the Mis-
sissippi forms a most excellent breastwork; and
behind this, a party of determined men can easily
hold twice their number at bay, unless a position
can be obtained where they can be brought under
a cross-fire. The formation of the river rendered
it impossible for such a position to be taken, and
it was evident that to anchor before the levee and
attempt to dislodge them with big guns, was worse
than useless; neither could they be beaten back
with their own weapons, for the rebels were very ex-
pert in bushwhackingg," exposing but a very small
portion of their persons, and the best marksman
would stand but a poor chance of hitting one of
them. Some more decisive steps must be taken.
So thought the captain of the Ticonderoga, as
he paced up and down the turret, while Frank,
divested of his coat, was issuing his commands
with his usual coolness, now and then catching
hold of a rope and giving a pull at the gun, all
the while sending the shells into the levee, making
the dirt fly in every direction.
"Cease firing, Mr. Nelson," said the captain, at
62 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
length. "It is useless to think of driving them
off in this manner."
"Cease firing, sir," repeated Frank, showing
that he understood the order. "Run the gun in,
lads, and close those ports."
The captain then ordered his vessel to be run
alongside of the Rover, (one of the tin-clads,) and,
after a few moments' consultation with her com-
mander, some plan seemed to have been determ-
ined upon, for Frank was again ordered to open
a hot fire on the levee. Under cover of this,
signal was made for the other two vessels to get
under way, and proceed down the river.
"Mr. Nelson," said the captain, as soon as he
had seen tbo signal obeyed, "give the command
of your division to the executive officer, and come
down into the cabin for orders."
As soon as the executive could be found, Frank
gave up the command to him, and as he entered
the cabin, the captain said to him:
"I have ordered the tin-clads to go down the
river and land as many men as they can spare, to
get around in the rear of those rebels, and get
them out from behind that levee. They must be
got out of that, if possible, for navigation is vir-
THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS.
tually closed as long as they remain there. I
shall also send our two howitzers and forty men,
of which you will take command. "i need not tell
you to do your best."
The captain then went on deck, selected the
men, and Frank succeeded in getting them and
the howitzers safely on board the Rover, which
still lay alongside. The smoke from the gun of
the Ticonderoga completely concealed their move-
ments, and the rebels were entirely ignorant of
what was going on. As soon as the men were all
on board, the Rover steamed down the river'and
joined the other vessels, which were waiting for
her to come up.
About five miles below was a point which com-
pletely concealed them from the view of the rebels,
and behind this point the vessels landed; the crews
disembarked, and commenced marching through
the woods toward the place where the rebels were
posted. They numbered two hundred and fifty
men, and were commanded by the captain of the
Rover, who, although a very brave man and an
excellent sailor, knew nothing of infantry tactics.
The second in command was Mr. Howe, an ensign
belonging to the same vessel. He had never been
64 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
in a fight; and when he first entered the navy he
knew no more about a vessel than he did about
the moon. His appointment had been obtained
through some influential friends at home. He had
served in a company of state militia, however, be-
fore the breaking out of the war, and considered
himself quite a military genius.
The sailors marched in line of battle-with
skirmishers in front and on each flank, and Frank,
with his battery, was in the center. In this man-
ner they marched for about an hour, and then a
halt was ordered, and the captain, with several of
his officers, went forward to reconnoiter, while
Mr. Howe, who was left in command, ordered
the men to "stack arms." Frank was astounded
when he heard this command, and, approaching
the officer, saluted him, and said:
"I object to this, Mr. Howe. I think it would
be much better, sir, to keep the men under
arms; for it is by no means certain that all the
rebels we shall be obliged to fight, are in front
"I believe you were put in command of that
battery, sir," replied Mr. Howe, haughtily, "while
I was left in charge of these men. I would thank
THE FIGHT IN TIE WOODS.
you, then, to attend to your own business, and to
let me alone."
"Very good, sir," answered Frank. "I did
not intend to give any offense, sir, but merely to
offer a suggestion. But if I command that bat-
tery, I intend to have it in readiness for any
emergency. Cut loose those guns, lads, and stand
to your quarters !"
The reports of muskets in their front proved
that the rebels were yet keeping a hot fire di-
rected against the Ticonderoga. But still Frank
was not deceived; he knew that all the fighting
would not be done at the front. Scarcely had
these thoughts passed through his mind, when
there was a rapid discharge of fire-arms in their
rear, and two of the men fell. As Frank had ex-
pected, the rebels-had been informed of what was
going on, and had sent part of their force to cut
the sailors off from the river. For a moment the
greatest confusion prevailed. The men, -who had
been lying about in the shade of the trees, made
a general rush for their weapons, and after deliv-
ering a straggling and ineffectual fire, hastily re-
treated, with the exception of Frank's men, and
a few of the more courageous of the infantry,
66 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
The latter concealed themselves behind trees and
logs, and deliberately returned the fire of the reb-
els, while the former, who were old seamen, and
had long been accustomed to the discipline of the
service, stood at their guns awaiting orders. Mr.
Howe, for a moment, stood pale and trembling,
and then, without waiting to givb any orders, dis-
appeared in the bushes. Frank, who was left
alone with but sixty men, was astounded when he
witnessed this cowardly conduct of his superior,
and he had hardly time to recover from his sur-
prise, when the rebels, after firing another volley,
broke from their concealments, with loud yells, and
charged toward the guns. This brought Frank to
his senses. With the handful of men he had left,
he could at least cover the retreat of his timid
"Steady there, lads!" he shouted. "Aim
The howitzers belched forth their contents, and,
as Frank had taken the precaution to have them
loaded with canister, the slaughter was awful.
The muskets had also done considerable execution,
and the rebels recoiled when they witnessed the
havoc made in their ranks. Frank, who was al-
THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS.
ways ready to take advantage of such an op-
portunity, immediately ordered a counter-charge.
The sailors sprang at the word, with a yell, and,
led by Frank, who fixed his bayonet as he ran,
threw themselves upon the rebels, who at once
fled precipitately, leaving their dead and wounded
on the field.
"Back to your guns, lads," shouted Frank,
" and give 'em a shot before they get out of
The men worked with a yell, sending the shells
rapidly in the direction in which the rebels had
retreated, until a loud roar of musketry at the
front told them that they had other enemies with
which to deal.
While this fight at the rear had been going on,
the sailors who had retreated had been met by
the captain and his officers, who were returning
from their reconnaissance, and, as soon as order
could be restored, an attack had been made on
the rebels who were still posted behind the levee.
In a few moments Mr. Howe came running up,
and addressing himself to Frank, exclaimed:
What are you doing here, sir-shooting into
the woods where there are no rebels ? Why are
68 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
you not at the front, where you belong? If you
are afraid to go there, you had better give up the
command of that battery."
Frank thought this was a nice way for Mr.
Howe to talk, after the manner in which he had
behaved a few moments before, but, without stop-
ping to reply, he ordered the guns to be secured,
and the men, catching up the trail-ropes, com-
menced dragging the battery toward the place
where the fight was raging, while Mr. Howe
again suddenly disappeared.
When Frank arrived at the front, he found the
rebels were still behind the levee, where they
were exposed to a galling fire from the sailors
who were concealed among the trees, evidently
preferring to run the risk of being driven out by
the musketry than to brave the shells from the
Ticonderoga, which now began to fall into the
woods just behind them, and bursting, threw dirt
,and branches in every direction. Without wait-
ing for orders, Frank immediately took up a
sheltered position, and straightway opened upon
the rebels a hot fire of canister. By the exer-
tions of the officers, the stragglers were all col-
lected, and, while the line was being formed for a
THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS.
charge, Frank was ordered to move his battery out
of the woods, into the open field. The young of-
ficer's blood ran cold when he heard this command,
for the rebels, who greatly outnumbered the sail-
ors, and who were deterred from making a charge
and overpowering them only through fear of the
shells from the Ticonderoga, were sending a per-
fect shower of bullets into the bushes where the
howitzers were stationed. Even in his present
protected position, Frank had lost five of his
men, and when he thought what a slaughter there
would be when he should move out of his conceal-
ment, it made him shudder. But he had always
been taught that the success of the navy was
owing to "strict discipline;" and once, when he
had been reported to the captain for disobeying
an order which he had considered as unjust, that
gentleman had told him-" Always obey whatever
orders you may receive from your superiors, and,
if you are aggrieved, you can seek redress after-
ward." In the present instance, this seemed
very poor policy; for what good would it do to
make objections to the order after his men had
been sacrificed? Hie had no altrna.tive, however,
but t, obey. The men, too, were well aware of
70 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
the danger they were about to incur, but hesi-
tated not a moment when Frank repeated the
order to advance. They at once pushed the guns
out into the open ground, and the effect was as
they had expected. The whole fire of the rebels
was directed against them, and every volley left
Frank with less men to handle his battery. In
fact, it soon became impossible to load the guns;
for, as fast as the men picked up a rammer or
sponge, they were shot down. It was evident
that they could not remain there.
"Jack," said Frank at length, turning to the
old boatswain's mate, go and ask the captain if
I can't be allowed to move back to my old posi-
tion. I can do more execution there. Besides,
we 'll all be dead men in less than five minutes,
if we remain here."
The man bounded off to execute the order, and
just then the captain of one of the guns was
killed._ Frank immediately seized the priming-
wire which had fallen from his hand, and worked
with the rest. His fear had given place to a
reckless determination to do his duty, for, let the
consequences be what they might, no blame could
be attached to him. Impatiently, however, he
THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS.
waited for the return of the mate, and his impa-
tience increased when word was brought him that
the ammunition was failing. At length, after a
delay which seemed extraordinary, a charge was
The rebels seemed to have an idea of what was
going on, for, a few moments before the order was
given, their fire slackened considerably; but, as
soon as the sailors, in obedience to the command,
issued from the woods, they were met with a ter-
rific fire, which threw them into confusion. In
vain their officers urged and commanded; the
men refused to advance, but remained standing
in full view of the rebels, while every moment
their comrades were falling around them. At
length the enemy made a counter-charge, and the
sailors, without waiting to resist, broke and fled in
every direction. Frank and his men remained at
their posts until the last moment; but they soon
found themselves completely deserted, and were
obliged to fall back into the woods.
By the exertions of the officers, a few of the
men were rallied in the edge of the timber, and,
bravely standing their ground, the rebels were met
with a murderous fire, and the shells from the
72 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
Ticonderoga, which now began to burst in their
very midst, completed their confusion, and they, in
turn, were compelled to retreat.
In an instant, Frank and several of his men
sprang out and attempted to recover the howitz-
ers, which had been left between the lines, but
the rebels were on the watch, and, after the loss
of three of his men, he was obliged to order a
retreat. For two hours a severe a fight was
maintained, the rebels making several charges,
which were easily repulsed by the sailors; and
each time Frank made unsuccessful attempts to
recover his battery, but was as often compelled
to retreat, leaving some of his men dead on the
field, or prisoners in the hands of the enemy.
The left of the line rested on the bank of the
river, where a full view of the Ticonderoga could
be obtained. After the fight had raged nearly
three hours, without any advantage being gained
on either side, one of the men reported that
the ship was making signals. The commander
of the expedition hurried along the line, call-
Mr. Howe! Where 's the signal officer, Mr.
Howe ?" But he received no answer. No one
THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS.
had seen Mr. Howe since he had so ingloriously
retreated at the commencement of the fight.
Pass the word along the line for Mr. Howe!"
shouted the captain.
The order was obeyed, and finally a faint voice,
some distance in the rear, replied, "Here, sir."
"What are you doing there, sir?" !doInanl]ed
the captain, in a voice of thunder. "Why are
you not at your post? Get out there with your
flag, and answer the Tieonderoga's signals." And
the captain began to consult his signal-book.
Mr. Howe looked first at the rebels, then at the
captain, then down at the flag which he held in
his hand, but he did not move. It was a (ni: gcr-
ous undertaking; for, in answering the signs,
he would be obliged to stand on the bank of
the river, where there was nothing but bushes to
protect him, and where the rebels would be cer-
tain to see him; but the rattling of the mus-
ketry, the sharp whistle of the bullets as they
flew thickly about among the trees, and the roar
of the Ticonderoga's guns-sounds which he had
never before heard-so worked upon the imagina-
tion of the terrified man, that the danger seemed
tenfold worse than it really was.
74 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
In a few moments the captain had made out
the signal, which was, "How do you succeed?"
"Mr. Howe, make the answer that we do n't
succeed at all-no advantage on either side; that
our ammunition is getting scarce; and that- .
Why do n't you start, sir?" he shouted, seeing
that Mr. Howe did not move.
Captain," faltered the man, in a scarcely
audible voice, I should be very happy, sir;
very glad, indeed, sir; but-, but-"
"No remarks, sir, but do as you are ordered,
Really, captain, I-, I-"
The man could go no further, but stood trem-
bling like a leaf, with the utmost terror depicted
in every feature.
You 're a coward, sir!" shouted the captain,
in a terrible rage-" a mean, contemptible cow-
I know it, sir," replied the man, so terrified
that he scarcely knew what he was saying; but
the fact is"
Go to rear !" shouted the captain, and stay
there. Here, sir," he continued, turning to Frank,
THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS.
who happened to be the nearest officer, can you
make those signals?"
"Yes, sir," answered Frank, promptly. His
face was very pale, for, accustomed as he was to
the noise and confusion of battle, he well knew
there was danger in the step he was about to take.
But his features expressed determination instead
of betraying terror. His duty must be done, what-
ever the consequences might be; and hastily pick-
ing up the flag which Mr. Howe, in his fright, had
dropped, he sprang out in view of the Ticonder-
oga, made the required signals, and retreated in
safety. The rebels had seen the flag waving above
the bushes, and had directed a hot fire against it,
but, although his frail protection was riddled with
bullets, Frank escaped unhurt.
In a quarter of an hour, during which time the
fire was warmly sustained by both parties, the
Ticonderoga again made signals, ordering the cap-
tain of the expedition to make the best of his way
back to his vessels. Frank answered the signal,
and again retreated in safety.
The word had already been passed along the
line to fall back slowly, when Frank, approaching
the captain, said:
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
"I do not wish to go back to the ship without
my battery, sir. Will you give me men enough
to recover it?"
"No, sir; I can't send any one out there to be
shot at. It is certain death, sir."
Frank, who thought that the captain had sud-
denly grown very careful of his men, made no
reply, but hastened back to the spot where he had
left his battery. To his joy and surprise he found
one of the howitzers safe in the hands of his men;
and, as he came up, a shell went crashing toward
the rebel line, followed by a triumphant shout
from the sailors. The boatswain's mate, who had
mnnn:geld to secure the gun, by throwing a rope
around the trail-wheel, was endeavoring, in the
same manner, to obtain possession of the other.
After a few ineffectual attempts, he succeeded, and
the gun was pulled back safely into the bushes.
When they had secured the remainder of the
ammunition, the men caught up the trail-ropes,
and, without delay, Frank took his old position
in the center of the retreating line. The rebels
followed them so closely that the sailors were
frequently compelled to halt and drive them back.
During one of these halts, the captain of the ex-
THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS.
petition was killed. As if by magic, Mr. Howe
appeared on the scene, and, without waiting to
recover the body of his officer, gave the command
to fall back more rapidly. At length, just before
they reached the bank where they had disem-
barked, the ammunition for the howitzers being
exhausted, Frank requested permission to retreat
still more rapidly, and get his guns on board
the nearest vessel.
"That request is in perfect keeping with your
conduct during the fight," returned Mr. Howe,
sneeringly. "The plea of saving your battery is
a very handy one; but if you are afraid to re-
main here with us, you may run -as fast as you
wish. I'd be ashamed to hold up my head after
this, if I were in your place."
"I am not afraid to remain here, sir," answered
Frank, with a good deal of spirit; "and if you
say that I have acted the part of a coward dur-
ing this fight, I defy you to prove the charge.
The idea that I am afraid, because I wish to re-
treat in order to save my battery, is absurd. Run
those guns along lively, lads."
Frank succeeded in getting his howitzers on
board one of the tin-clads, which still lay along-
78 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
side of the bank, without the loss of another man.
A moment afterward the sailors came pouring
down the bank. As soon as they were all on
board, the vessels moved out into the stream, and
commenced shelling the woods. While thus en-
gaged, the Ticonderoga came down the river, and,
after dropping her anchor, signaled for the officer
in command of the expedition to repair on board.
Mr. Howe at once put off in a boat to obey the
order, while the vessel in which Frank had taken
refuge ran alongside of the Ticonderoga, and as
soon as the battery had been taken off, the men,
covered with dust and blood, and their faces be-
grimed with powder, stood silently around the
guns, while the remainder of the crew gathered on
the opposite side of the deck, and regarded their
comrades with sorrow depicted in every feature of
their sun-burnt faces. Frank knew that the fight
had been a most desperate one, and that he had
lost many of his men; but he could scarcely be-
lieve his eyes, when he found that out of the forty
brave fellows who had started out with him in the
morning, but fifteen remained-more than half
had been left dead on the field, or prisoners in the
hands of the rebels.
THE FIGHT IN THE WOODS.
In a scarcely audible voice he called the roll,
and his emotion increased when, at almost every
third name, some one answered:
"Not here, sir."
In a few moments the captain appeared on
deck. The report of the commander of the expe-
dition had, of course, been unfavorable,. and the
captain's face wore a look of trouble. Hastily
running his eye over the line of dusty, bleed-
ing men that stood before him, he said, in a low
voice, as if talking to himself:
"Only fifteen left. I could ill afford to lose so
many men. You may go below, lads. Doctor,
see that the very best care is taken of the
After delivering this order, the captain, who
was evidently ill at ease, turned and walked down
into his cabin.
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
L S soon as the men had disappeared,
Frank, with a heavy heart, re-
paired to his room to dress for sup-
per. He thought over all the little
incidents of the day, rAnd frequently
Detected himself in saying: "Only
fifteen men left; fifteen out of forty!"
What a slaughter-a useless slaughter-there
had been! And all had been occasioned by the
ignorance of the commanding officer of the expe-
dition. Had Frank been allowed to retain the
sheltered position which he had at first taken up,
the result would have been far different. And
how had he escaped without even a scratch? He
had stood beside his men during the whole of the
fihlit-freely exposing himself, and, rendered con-
spicuous by his uniform, had signaled the vessel
IN THE HANDS OF THE "JOINNIES" AGAIN. 81
twice; and each time the flag had been riddled
by bullets, but not a shot had touched him! It
seemed but little short of a miracle that he had
come off unscathed, when so many men had fallen
He was interrupted in his meditations by the
entrance of the orderly, who informed him that his
presence was wanted in the cabin. Frank hastily
pulled on his coat and repaired thither. As he
entered, the captain said:
"Take a chair, Mr. Nelson. I wish to have a
few moments' serious conversation with you."
Frank, surprised at the captain's tone and man-
ner, seated himself, and the latter continued:
"Are you aware, sir, that you have this day
destroyed all the confidence I have hitherto placed
in you, and have rendered yourself liable to severe
The effect of this question, so abruptly put, was
astounding, and Frank could only falter-
"Sir? I-I-don't understand you, sir."
"Mr. Nelson, I am surprised at you, sir," said
the captain, sternly. "I shall have to refresh your
memory, then. You have this day been guilty
of misdemeanors, any one of which renders you
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
liable to a court-martial, and to a disgraceful dis-
missal from the service. In the first place, you
have shown gross disrespect to your superior
"I guilty of disrespect, sir!" repeated Frank,
scarcely believing his ears. "There must be some
mistake, sir, for"--
"DoIa't interrupt me, sir. I repeat, you have
been guilty of disrespect to your superior officer,
and of cowardice, having been found with your
battery far in the rear at a time when your serv-
ices were very much needed at the front; and
then, after the fight had fairly commenced, as if
waking up to a sense of your duty, and, no doubt,
wishing to make amends for what you had done,
you, contrary to orders, recklessly exposed your
men, and, as a consequence, out of forty of the
bravest fellows that ever trod a ship's deck-
which were placed under your command this morn-
ing-you had but fifteen left when you returned
on board. The energy displayed by you in work-
ing your battery, and the manner in which you
obtained possession of it, after you moved out
from your sheltered position, and had been com-
pelled to retreat, were feats of which any officer
IN THE HANDS OF THE "JOHNNIES" AGAIN. 83
might be justly proud, and which I should have
been most happy to reward with your promotion,
had you not spoiled every thing by your infamous
conduct at the commencement of the fight. IHith-
erto, since you have been on board this ship, you
have been a good officer, have always attended to
your duties, and it pains me to be obliged to talk
to you in this manner. I never thought teat you,
after what you did at Cypress Bend, while you
were on board of the Milwaukee, would ever have
been guilty of such misdemeanors. However, as
your conduct heretofore has always been such as I
could approve, I shall see that no charges are made
against you; and I sincerely hope that what you
have learned to-day will be a lesson that you will
never forget. I shall give you sufficient opportu-
nities to make amends for what you have done,
and I shall commence by sending you ashore with
a flag of truce, to ask permission of the rebels to
bury our dead. You may start at once, sir."
This was a hint that his presence in the cabin
was no longer desirable, and Frank, who, in his
confusion and bewilderment scarcely knew what
he was doing, made his best bow and retired.
What his feelings were as he listened to this
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
reprimand, administered by the captain, who never
before had spoken a harsh word to him, it is im-
possible to describe. He again thought over
every thing he had done during the fight; how he
had, at the commencement of the action, beaten
back the rebels, with a mere handful of men; how
he had, in obedience to orders, taken the exposed
position where he had lost so many of his gun's
crew, and which he had held in spite of the storm
of bullets that rained around him, until the whole
line had been compelled to retreat, and he was left
unsupported; how he had twice risked his life in
signaling the ship; and how, when the retreat was
ordered he had brought back his guns in safety:
he thought of all these things, and wondered where
the charge of cowardice could be brought in.
And then, when and how had he been guilty of
disrespect to his superior officer? Certainly not
in remonstrating against ordering the men to
stack their arms, for that was a privilege to which
he, as one of the commanding officers of the expe-
dition, was entitled. In regard to recklessly ex-
posing his men, the case was not quite so clear.
It was true that, in the beginning of the fight,
he had ordered a charge upon the rebels, who
IN THE HANDS OF THE "JOHNNIES AGAIN. 85
greatly outnumbered his own men, and had easily
driven them, without loss to himself: perhaps it
was there that the third charge had been brought
in. But although he was conscious that he had
endeavored to do his whole duty, the words of the
captain had cut him to the quick. It had been an
unlucky day for him. The expedition had proved
a failure, and he had been accused of misde-
meanors of which he had never dreamed. It
seemed as if fate was against him.
I believe, as Archie used to say," he solilQ-
quized, that I am the unluckiest dog in exist-
ence. Troubles never come singly."
The captain wishes to see you, sir," said one
of the men, stepping up and interrupting his
"All right," answered Frank, who was so com-
pletely absorbed in his reverie that he was en-
tirely unconscious of what was going on around
him; "call all hands to quarters immediately."
"Sir-I- I do n't mean'--sir-the captain
wishes to speak with you, sir," repeated the
sailor, half inclined to believe that Frank was
getting crazy. This aroused the young officer to
a sense of his situation; as he approached the
86 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
quarter-deck, where the captain was standing, the
"Mr. Nelson, do you intend to go ashore with
that flag of truce, sir ?"
"I beg your pardon, sir," faltered Frank, "I
forgot all about that. Will you have the kind-
ness to call away the first cutter?" he continued,
approaching the quarter-master, and saluting him
as the officer of the deck.
Mr. Nelson," shouted the captain, "what are
you doing? Are you crazy, sir?"
"I believe I am, captain, or pretty near it,"
answered Frank. "The charges that have been
brought against me have well-nigh upset me.
They are false, sir, and I do n't deserve the rep-
rimand I have received."
In his next attempt to find the officer of the
deck Frank met with more success. While the
cutter was being manned, he ran down into the
steerage, and seizing a pen, hastily dashed off
UNITED STATES STEAMER TICONDEROGA,
OFF CYPRESS BEND, Oct. 30, 1863.
Having been reported, by the officer in command of an
expedition-sent ashore this day for the purpose of dislodg-
IN THE HANDS OF THE "JOHNNIES AGAIN. 87
ing a body of rebels posted behind the levee-for cowardice,
disrespect to my superior officer, and for recklessly exposing
my men to the fire of the rebels, and knowing, sir, that these
charges are utterly groundless, I respectfully request that a
Court of Inquiry may be convened to examine into my be-
havior while under the enemy's fire.
I am, sir, very respectfully
Your obedient servant,
Acting Master's Mate.
Acting Rear-Admiral D. D. PORTER, U. S. N.,
Commanding Miss. Squadron.
While he was sealing the envelope the mes-
senger boy entered and reported the cutter ready.
Frank ran on deck, and, after giving the commu-
nication to the captain, with a request that it
might be approved and forwarded to the Admiral,
he sprang into the boat, and gave the order to
The old boatswain's mate, who was acting as
the coxswain of the cutter, had rigged up a flag
of truce. As they pulled toward the shore,
Frank waved this above his head until he elicited
a similar response from the bank; then, throwing
down the flag, he seated himself in the stern
sheets, and covered his face with his hands. The
old mate, mistaking his emotion for sorrow at the
death of so many of his men, said:
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
"Yes, it is a hard case. Not a few of us are
left without our chums; but we all know it was n't
your fault. There would have been more of us
left if you had been allowed to have your own
"Then I did not expose you needlessly, did I,
"Why, bless you, no, sir. Who says you did,
sir?" inquired one of the crew.
"But tell me one thing, Jack," said Frank,
his face still covered with his hands, "Am I a
No, sir," answered the mate, indignantly;
"'cause if you was, you wouldn't have held on
to them guns as long as you did, and you would
not have pitched into that rebel atween the lines,
as you did about a year ago, at this very place.
In course you ain't no coward."
This was some consolation. The men whom he
commanded, and who had always cheerfully fol-
lowed where he had dared to lead, thought very
differently from the man who had retreated almost
before the fight had commenced, and who, to screen
himself, had brought those charges against one
whose conduct had always been above reproach.
IN THE HANDS OF THE JOHNNIES AGAIN. 89
Yes, as you say, it is a hard case, Jack," said
Frank, uncovering his face, and glancing toward
the rebels who thronged the levee. It is a hard
case, indeed, but I will come out at the top of the
"What's the matter, sir?" inquired the mate.
"Any one been wrongin' you, sir ? He'd better
not show his ugly figure-head when what's left of
the first division has shore liberty. We'll douse
his top-lights for him."
By this time the cutter had reached the shore,
and Frank, taking the flag of truce, sprang out,
and walked up the bank to where a group of offi-
cers was standing.
"Wal, Yank, what do you want now?" inquired
a man dressed in the uniform of a colonel.
HIIw Frank started when he heard that voice.
Could he be mistaken ? He had certainly heard
it before, and he remembered the time when it
had given an order which still rang in his ears:
"Stiles, you stay here until this man dies." IHe
looked at the men, some of whom were lying
on the ground about the levee, and others stand-
ing at a little distance, waiting to hear what
was going to be the result of the interview, and
90 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
what had at first appeared a vague suspicion, no
forced itself upon Frank as a dread reality. IHe
was in the presence of Colonel Harrison and the
Louisiana Wild-cats. Nothing but a bold front
could save him, for he knew that these men paid
very little respect to a flag of truce, unless it was
likely to further their own interests; and if he
should be recognized, his recapture was certain,
and then, what would be his fate? Would not
summary vengeance be taken upon him, in retalia-
tion for the manner in which he had treated the
sentinel on the night of his escape, and the way
he had served the man who had overtaken him in
the woods? Brave as Frank was, and accustomed
as he had become to look danger in the face, he
could not but regard his situation as critical in
"What did you say your business was, Yank?"
inquired the colonel again.
"I wish to see the commanding officer," said
Frank, steadily meeting the rebel's searching
glance. "I wish permission to bury our dead."
"Well, that's a fair request," said the colonel,
carelessly. I don't know as I have any objec-
tion to it. Want your prisoners also?"
IN THE HANDS OF THE "JOHNNIES" AGAIN. 91
"Yes, sir," answered Frank, with a smile. "I
should like to take them back to the ship with me.
But you know that I have none to exchange for
"That's what I thought. I could n't afford to
give your men back for nothing."
"I didn't suppose you would. But have we
your permission to come ashore and bury our
dead?" inquired Frank, who was anxious to bring
the interview to an end.
"Yes," answered the colonel, "and we will
leave the field in your possession. You will send
that message by one of your men, for I don't
think, youngster, that you can go back. If I am
not very much mistaken, I've got a better right
to you than any one else."
Yes, colonel," shouted one of the men, I '11
be dog-gone if I did n't think he was the chap
that give us the slip at Shreveport."
"I did n't think I could be mistaken," said the
colonel. "So, youngster, just consider yourself
"What do you mean, sir? You have no claim
whatever upon me, and never had!" exclaimed
Frank, indignantly. "I am acting in obedience to
92 FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
.orders, and .am under the protection of this flag
"Very well spoken. But what do you suppose
we care for that dish-rag? Besides, I say we
have a good claim upon you, for you have never
been exchanged. Here, Jim!" he shouted to one
of his men, "put this little Yank with the rest,
and don't give him a chance to get away this
The man advanced to obey the order, and when
he came up to the place where Frank was stand-
ing, he seized him by the hair and shook him until
every tooth in his head rattled.
"Avast heavin' there, you land-lubber !" shouted
the mate, who until this time had remained in the
boat with the crew; and, springing ashore, he ran
up the bank, and with one blow of his fist felled
the rebel to the ground.
"Here we have it," said the colonel, who, in-
stead of defending Frank, seemed to consider the
manner in which he was treated a good joke.
"Boys, secure this blue-jacket also."
"No you do n't, Johnny !" exclaimed the mate,
as one of the men sprang forward to seize him.
"If you think that one of you is as good as five
IN THE HANDS OF THE JOHNNIES AGAIN. 93
Yankee sailors, now is your chance to try it on.
It'll take more'n one of you to put the bracelets
on me;" and, as he spoke, he planted another of
his tremendous blows in the face of the advancing
rebel, which lifted him completely off his feet.
But before he had time to repeat it, he was over-
powered by half a dozen rebels, who had run to
the assistance of their comrade. After a hard
struggle, he was secured, and his hands were
bound behind his back.
"Now, you fellows," said the colonel, address-
ing himself to the men in the boat, get back to
your vessel; tell the captain how matters stand,
and also that he may come ashore and bury his
dead as soon as he chooses."
"Tell the first division," said the mate, "that
the next time they go into action they must give
one shot for Jack Waters. If you fellers do n't
pay for this," he continued, turning to the rebels,
"then blast my to'-gallant top-lights."
"Tell the captain," chimed in Frank, "that he
had better not trust these men again, for they are
not sufficiently civilized to know what a flag of
"You are very complimentary, young man, to
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
say the least," said a rebel, who was standing near
I am telling the plain truth," answered
Frank, "and you will find that your barbarous
mode of warfare will never succeed; and that
the crew of that vessel will never allow the mean
action of which you have been guilty to pass un-
"Douse my top-lights but that's the truth," said
the mate, making an effort with his confined hands
to salute his officer.
"See that these prisoners are well secured,"
said the colonel, "and be sure and take special
care of that youngster, for if you allow him the
least chance, he'll escape," and the colonel turned
on his heel and walked away.
In obedience to these instructions, Frank and
the mate were delivered into the charge of a ser-
geant, who at once conducted them toward the
place where the prisoners which had been taken
during the fight were confined under guard. As
they passed along through the rebels, they were
insulted at every step, and finally a man drew
his ramrod out of his gun, and seizing Frank by
the collar, proceeded to give him a severe thrash-
IN THE HANDS OF TIE JOITNNIES AGAIN. 95
ing. Frank immediately appealed to the sergeant,
who, instead of offering to defend him, stood at a
little distance, watching the operation, as if not at
all concerned. The mate was fairly beside him-
self with rage, and struggled desperately to free
his hands, all the while venting his longer by
"dousing" his top-lights" and shivering his
own "timbers." The rebel continued his punish-
ment amid the cheers of his companions, and at
every stroke of his ramrod he exclaimed: Shot
the best blood-hound in Louisiana, did ye Stick
a bayonet into young Davis, won't ye!" until
Frank, smarting with the pain, determined to de-
"Unhand me, you scoundrel!" he shouted;
"I've had just about enough of this." Turn-
ing fiercely upon his persecutor, he snatched the
ramrod from his hand, and commenced .laying it
over his head and shoulders. The rebel, after
trying in vain to defend himself, retreated precipi-
tately, amid the jeers of his comrades, and shouts
of derision from the mate. The sergeant here
thought it time to interfere, and Frank and the
mate were not again molested.