The Baldwin Library
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THE GUN-BOAT SERIES.
ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
AUTHOR OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SERIES, THE GO-AHEAD
PORTER & COATES.
R. W. CARROLL & CO.
POPULAR JUVENILE BOOKS.
BY HARRY CASTLEMON.
THE G UA-BOAT SERIES.
6 volumes, in a neat box, . . . . . $7.50
Each volume handsomely Illustrated.
FRANK, THE YOUNG NATURALIST, . $1.25
FRANK IN THE WOODS, . . .. 1.25
FRANK ON THE PRAIRIE, . . .. 1.25
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT, . . . 1.25
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG, . . . 1.25
FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI, . 1.25
Sent by mail, on receipt of price, post-paid.
THE GO-AHEAD SERIES.
3 volumes, in a neat box, . . . . . $4.50
Each volume handsomely Illustrated.
ToM NEWCOMBE, . . .. . $1.50
Go AHEAD, ............ 1.50
No Moss, ............ 1.50
Sent by mail, on receipt of price, post-paid.
THE R 0 CKY MO UNTAIN SERIES.
3 volumes, in a neat box, . ... . . $3.75
Each volume handsomely illustrated.
FRANK AMONG THE RANCHEROS, . $1.25
FRANK AT DON CARLOS' RANCHO, . 1.25
FRANK IN THE MOUNTAINS, . . 1.25
Sent by mail, on receipt of price, post-paid.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
R. W. CARROLL & CO.,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States,
for the Southern District of Ohio.
CHAPTER I. PAGB.
TH1 NEW PAYMASTER. ......................................... 9
A NIGHT EXPEDITION....................................... 28
ARCHIE IN A PREDICAMENT........................................ 43
A MARK FOR THE UNION.......................................... 67
A RUN FOR LIFE..................................................... 78
FRANK TURNS DETECTIVE.......................................... 90
FRANK'S FIRST COMMAND........................................ 106
AN UNLUCKY FIGHT............................................... 124
UP TIn WASHITA.................................................... 187
THE PROMOTION ...................................................... 154
THx RivAL SPIES................................................ 165
A SCOUTING PARTY................................................ 185
TOM THE COXSWAIN ............................................. 197
A REBEL TRICx................................................. 218
HONORABLY DISCARGED ........................................... 225
FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
ICKSBURG had fallen, and the
army had marched in and taken
possession of the city. How
Frank longed to accompany it, that
he might see the inside of the rebel
stronghold, which had so long with-
stood the advance of our fleet and
army! He stood leaning against one of the mon-
ster guns, which, at his bidding, had spoken so
often and so effectively in favor of the Union, and
for two hours watched the long lines of war-worn
soldiers as they moved into the works. At length
a tremendous cheer arose from the city, and
Frank discovered a party of soldiers on the cu-
10 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
pola of the court-house, from which, a few mo-
ments afterward, floated the Stars and Stripes.
Then came faintly to his ears the words of a
familiar song, which were caught up by the sol-
diers in the city, then by those who were still
marching in, and "We '11 rally round the flag,
boys," was sung by an immense choir. The reb-
els in the streets gazed wonderingly at the men
on the spire, and listened to the song, and the
triumphant shouts of the conquering army, which
proclaimed the beginning of the downfall of their
To Frank, it was one of the proudest moments
'of his life-a sight he would not have missed to
be able to float at the mast-head of his vessel the
broad pennant of the admiral. All he had en-
dured was forgotten; and when the Old Flag was
unfurled in the air which had but a short time
before floated the "stars and bars," he pulled off
his cap and shouted at the top of his lungs.
Having thus given vent to his feelings of exul-
tation, in obedience to orders, he commenced the
removal of his battery on board the Trenton. It
was two days' work to accomplish this, but Frank,
who was impatient to see the inside of the fortifi-
THE NEW PAYMASTER.
nations, worked with a will, and finally the battery
was mounted in its old position. On the following
day, the Trenton moved down the river, and came
to anchor in front of Vicksburg. Shore liberty
was granted, and Frank, in company with several
of his brother officers, strolled about the city. On
every side the houses bore the marks of Union
shot and shell, and the streets were blocked with
fortifications, showing that had the city been taken
by storm, it was the intention of the rebels to
dispute every inch of the ground. Every thing
bore evidence to the fact that the fight had been
a most desperate one; that the rebels had sur-
rendered only when they found that it was impos-
sible to hold out longer.
In some places the streets ran through deep
cuts in the bank, and in these banks were the
famous "gopher holes." They were caves dug
in the ground, into which a person, if he hap-
pened to hear a shell coming, might run for safety.
Outside the city, the fortifications were most
extensive; rifle-pits ran in every direction, flanked
by strong forts, whose battered walls attested the
fury of the iron hail that had been poured upon
them. It was night before FRank was aware of
12 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
it, so interested was he in every thing about him,
and he returned on board his vessel, weary with
his long walk, but amply repaid by seeing the
inside of what its rebel occupants had called "the
Gibraltar of America."
During the next two days, several vessels of
the squadron passed the city, on their way to
new fields of action further down the river. One
of them-the Boxer, a tin-clad, mounting eight
guns-had Frank on board. He had been de-
tached from the Trenton, and ordered to join this
vessel, which had been assigned a station a short
distance below Grand Gulf. As usual, he had no
difficulty in becoming acquainted with his new
messmates, and he soon felt perfectly at home
among them. He found, as he had done in every
other mess of which he had been a member, that
there was the usual amount of wrangling and dis-
puting, and it amused him exceedingly. All the
mess seemed to be indignant at the caterer, who
did not appear to stand very high in their esti-
mation. The latter, he learned, had .just made
an "assessment" upon the mess to the amount
of ten dollars for each member; and as there was
no paymaster on board, the officers had but very
THE NEW PAYMASTER.
little ready money, and were anxious to know
where all the funds paid into the treasury went
to. He also found that the caterer's authority
was not as much respected as he had a right to
claim, for during the very first meal Frank ate in
the mess, a dispute arose which threatened for a
time to end in the whole matter being carried be-
fore the captain. -0
One of the members of the mess, who was tem-
porarily attached to the vessel, was a pilot who
had been pressed into the service. He was a
genuine rebel, and frequently said that he was
called a traitor because he was in favor of allow-
ing the South to "peaceably withdraw from the
Union." The doctor, a little, fat, jolly man, and
a thorough Unionist, who believed in handling all
rebels without gloves, took up the sword, and the
debate that followed was long and stormy. The
pilot, as it proved, hardly knew the reasons why
the South had attempted to secede, and was con-
stantly clinching his arguments by saying, "Men
who know more, and who have done more fighting
during this war than you, Doctor Brown, say that
they have a right to do so." The debate waxed
hotter and hotter, until some of the other mem-
14 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
bers of the mess joined in with the doctor against
ie pilot, and the caterer, thinking that the noise
the disputants made was unbecoming the members
of a well-regulated mess, at length shouted:
"Silence! Gentlemen, hereafter talking politics
in this wardroom is strictly prohibited."
"Eh?" ejaculated the doctor, who was thor.
oughly aroused. "Do you expect us to sit here
and listen to a conscript running down the Govern-
ment-a man who never' would have entered the
service if he *had not been compelled to do so ?
No, sir! I would n't hold my tongue under such
circumstances if all the six-foot-four caterers in
the squadron should say so. You are not a little
admiral, to come down here and hoist your broad
pennant in this mess-room."
The caterer was astounded when he found his
authority thus set at defiance, and without further
parley he retired to his room; and in a few mo-
ments returned with the books, papers, and the
small amount of money that belonged to the mess;
laying them on the table, he said:
"Gentlemen, you will please elect another ca-
The debate was instantly hushed, for not one
THE NEW PAYMASTER.
member of the mess, besides the caterer just re-
signed, could have been hired to take the respon-
sibility of managing affairs. When the officers
had finished their dinner, they walked carelessly
out on deck, as if the question of where the next
meal was to come from did not trouble them in
the least. Nothing was done toward an election;
no one took charge of the books or papers, and
when the table was cleared away they were
thrown unceremoniously under the water-cooler.
The money, however, was taken care of by the
doctor. Dinner-time came, and when Frank, tired
and hungry, was relieved from the deck, he in-
quired what was to be had to eat.
"There 's nothing been done about it yet,"
answered the officer who relieved him. "The
steward went to several of the members of the
mess, and asked what they wished served up; but
they told him that they had nothing to do with
the caterer's business, and the consequence is, if
you want any thing to eat, you will have to go
into the pantry and help yourself."
Frank was a good deal amused at the obstinacy
displayed by the different members of the mess,
and wondered how the affair would end. The
16 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
mess could not long exist without some one to
take charge of it; but for himself he was not at
all concerned. He had paid no initiation fee,
because no one had asked him for it, and he
knew that as long as there were provisions in the
paymaster's store-rooms, there was no danger but
that he would get plenty to eat. He found three
or four officers in the pantry making their dinner
on hard-tack, pickles, and raw bacon. They were
all grumbling over the hard fare, but not one of
'them appeared willing to assume the office of
Things went on in this way for nearly a week,
(during which time they had arrived at their sta-
tion,) and the doctor, who was fond of good living,
could stand it no longer. He went to the caterer
who had resigned, and, after considerable urging,
and a solemn promise that politics should not
again be discussed in the mess, the latter was
persuaded to resume the management of affairs.
The change from hard crackers and pickles to
nice warm meals was a most agreeable one, and
the jolly doctor, according to promise, was very
careful what questions were brought up before the
the mess for discussion.
THE NEW PAYMASTER.
By this time, as we have before remarked, the
Boxer had arrived at her station. Her crew
thought they were now about to lead a life of
idleness and inactivity, for not a rebel had they
seen since leaving Vicksburg. But one morning,
while the men were engaged in washing off the
forecastle, they were startled by a roar of mus-
ketry, and three of the sailors fell dead upon the
The fight that followed continued for two hours,
the rebels finally retiring, not because they had
been worsted, but for the reason that they had
grown weary of the engagement. This was the
commencement of a series of attacks which proved
to be the source of great annoyance to the crew
of the Boxer. The guerrillas would appear when
least expected, and the levee afforded them a se-
cure hiding-place from which they could not be
driven, either with big guns or small arms. They
were fatal marksmen, too; and during the week
following, the Boxer's crew lost ten men. One
rebel in particular attracted their attention, and
his reckless courage excited their admiration.
He rode a large white horse, and although ren-
dered a prominent mark for the rifles of the
18 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
sailors, he always escaped unhurt. He would
ride boldly out in full view of the vessel, patiently
wait for some one to expose himself, when the
sharp crack of his rifle would be followed by the
report made to the captain, "A man shot, sir."
Frank had selected this man as a worthy foe-
man; and every time he appeared the young offi-
cer was on the watch for him. He was very
expert with the rifle, and after a few shots, he
succeeded in convincing the rebel that the safest
place for him was behind the levee. One morn-
ing the foe appeared in stronger force than usual,
and conspicuous among them was the white horse
and his daring rider. The fight that ensued
had continued for perhaps half an hour, when
the quartermaster reported the dispatch-boat ap-
proaching. As soon as she came within range,
the guerrillas directed their fire against her, to
which the latter replied briskly from two guns
mounted on her forecastle. The leader of the
rebels was constantly in view, cheering on his
men, and discharging his rifle as fast as he could
reload. Frank fired several shots at him, and
finding that, as usual, they were without effect,
he asked the captain's permission to try a how-
THE NEW PAYMASTER.
itzer on him, which was granted. He ran below,
trained the gun to his satisfaction, and waited for
an opportunity to fire, during which the dispatch-
boat came alongside and commenced putting off
a supply of stores.
At length the rebel mounted the levee, and
reigning in his horse, sat in his saddle gazing at
the vessels, as if not at all concerned. He pre-
sented a fair mark, and Frank fired, but the shell
went wild and burst in the woods, far beyond the
rebel, who, however, beat a hasty retreat behind
"Oh, what a shot!" shouted a voice through
the trumpet that led from the pilot-house to the
main deck. "What a shot-altogether too much
"Who's that, I wonder?" soliloquized Frank.
"It was a poor shot, but I'd like to see that fel-
low, whoever he is, do any better."
After giving orders to have the gun reloaded
and secured, he ran into the wardroom to look
after his mail, at the same time inquiring of every
one he met, "Who was that making fun of my
shooting?" But no one knew, nor cared to
trouble himself about the matter, for the subject
20 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
of conversation was, "We 've got a new pay-
Frank was pleased to hear this, but was still
determined to find the person who had laughed
at his marksmanship, when he saw a pair of feet
descending the ladder that led from the cabin to
the pilot-house, and a moment afterward, a smart
looking young officer, dressed in the uniform of a
paymaster, stood in the wardroom, and upon dis-
covering Frank, thrust out his hand and greeted
"What a shot! Been in the service more than
two years, and"
Why, Archie Winters, is this you? exclaimed
"Paymaster Winters, if you please," replied
Archie, with mock dignity.
"How came you here? What are you doing?
Got any money?" hurriedly inquired Frank.
"Got plenty of funds," replied his cousin.
"But I say, Frank, how long has this fighting
been going on ?"
"Every day for.the last week."
Archie shrugged his shoulders, and looked
THE NEW PAYMASTER.
"I guess I had better go back to Cairo," said
he; "these rebels, I hear, shoot very carelessly.
Just before we came alongside here, I was stand-
ing on the deck of the dispatch-boat, and some
fellow cracked away at me, sending the bullet
altogether too close to my head for comfort."
"Oh, that's nothing, so long as he didn't hit
you. You'll get used to that before you have
been here a week. But, Archie, are you really
ordered to this vessel?"
Archie at once produced his orders, and, sure
enough, he was an acting assistant paymaster,
and ordered to "report to the commanding officer
of the U. S. S. Boxer for duty on board that
During the two years that Archie had been in
the fleet-paymaster's office he had, by strict at-
tention to his duties, worked& his way up from
"writer" to corresponding clerk. He had had
ample opportunity to learn the duties of pay-
master, and one day he suddenly took it into his
head to make application for the position. He im-
mediately wrote to his father, informing him of his
4tention, procured his letters of recommendation,
-nd a month afterward received the appointment.
22 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
Hearing, through Frank, that the Boxer was
without a paymaster, he' succeeded in getting
ordered to her,. and, as he had not written to his
cousin of his good fortune, the latter, as may be
supposed, was taken completely by surprise.
Archie was speedily introduced to the officers
of the vessel, who were pleased with his off-hand,
easy manners, and delighted with the looks of a
small safe which he had brought with him, for
they knew, by the very particular orders he gave
concerning it, that there was money in it.
At the end of an hour the rebels seemed to
grow weary of the fight, for they drew off their
forces; then, as soon as it was safe on deck, the
cousins seated themselves on the guard, to "talk
over old times." Frank gave descriptions of the
fights in which he had engaged since they last
met, and alsq related stories of mess-room life,
with which Archie was entirely unacquainted;
and to show him how things were conducted, told
him of the jokes the officers frequently played
upon each other.
"Speaking of jokes,"-said Archie, "reminds me
of a little affair I had a hand in at Cairo.
"While the commandant of the station was
THE NEW PAYMASTER.
'absent on a leave, his place was supplied by a
gentleman whom, for short, I will call Captain
Smith. He was a regular officer, had grown gray
in the service, and was one of the most eccentric
men I ever saw. He was extremely nervous, too,
and if a steamer happened to whistle while pass-
ing the wharf-boat, it would make him almost
"One day, a man who lived off somewhere in
the woods, came down to Cairo to get an appoint-
ment for his son as master's mate. Our office,
you know, was just to the right of the door, and,
if there was any thing that bothered me, it was for
some body to stick his head over the railing when
I was busy, and ask, 'Is the commandant of the
station in ?' There was an orderly on watch day
and night, always ready to answer such questions,
and besides, there was an abundance of notices on
the walls pointing out the different offices; but in
spite of this, every stranger that came in must
stop and make inquiries of me.
"Well, this man came into the office, and as he
had evidently never been there before, judging by
the way he gaped at every thing, I told him that
it was after office hours, and that he must call
24 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
again the next morning about nine o'clock. He
took a turn or two across the floor (by-the-way,
he wore squeaking boots, that made a noise like a
steam-whistle), and finally went out.
"The next evening, just as I was locking up
my desk, he came in again, and I repeated what
I had told him the night before, that he must
come at nine o'clock in the morniug-not at
night-if he wished to see the captain, and he
went out, after making noise enough with his
squeaking boots to set a nervous man's teeth on
edge. Now, would you believe it, that evening,
after I had finished my work, and was starting
out for supper, I saw this man coming up the
stairs. He met me with the usual question, 'Is
the captain in?' and I suddenly hit upon a plan
to get rid of him, for I had made up my mind
that the man didn't know what he was about;
so I replied:
"'What do you want? Why don't you come
here during our office hours, if you want to see
"I spoke in a gruff voice, and I was so bundled
up-for the night was very cold-that I knew he
wouldn't recognize me.
THE NEW PAYMASTER.
"'I've been busy all day, cap'in,' said he; 'but
the fact is'-
"I was afraid that I would be obliged to stand
there in the cold and listen to a long, uninterest-
ing yarn, so I interrupted him.
1" Speak quick, and do n't keep me waiting.'
"' Wal, cap'in,' said he, 'I heerd you are in
want of officers, an' I come to get a place for my
son; I hear the wages are purty good.'
"'Yes,' I replied, 'we do want officers; but
does your son know any thing about a ship?'
"'Oh, yes? He's run the river as deck-hand
for goin' nigh on to three year.'
"' Then he ought to know something, certainly.
Come around to-morrow morning, at nine o'clock
exactly, and I'll see what can be done for you.
Now, mind, I say nine o'clock in the morning.'
Well, the next morning, at the appointed time,
to my utter astonishment, the man was on hand,
and, as usual, commenced walking up and down
the floor with his squeaking boots. The noise
disturbed every one within hearing, and presently
the captain, who was in his office, and so busy
that he hardly knew what he was about, spoke in
a sharp tone:
26 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
"'Orderly, pull off those squeaking boots! '
"'It is n't me, sir,' said the orderly; 'it's a
gentleman out here waiting to see you, sir.'
"'Then send him in-send him in at once, so
that I can get rid of that noise.'
"The man was accordingly shown into the
presence of the captain, while I listened with both
ears to hear what was said.
"'Mornin', cap'in,' he began; 'I reckon I'm
here on time.'
"'Time! what time? What do you want?' in-
quired the captain, who always spoke very fast,
as though he were in a hurry to get through with
what he had to say. 'IWhat do you want, my
good man. Be lively now.'
"' Why, cap'in, I come here to get that appoint-
ment for my son in this ere navy.'
"'Appointment! For your son!' repeated the
captain. 'Who is he? I never heard of him.'
"'Wal, really now, cap'in, I'll be shot if you
did n't tell me last night that you would make my
son an officer. The wages are good, I hear, an'
as I've a debt to pay off on the farm'-
"'Do n't bother me!' interrupted the captain,
beginning to get impatient.
THE NEW PAYMASTER.
"'But, cap'in,' urged the man, 'you can't bluff
xet off this 'ere way. You told me last night that
you wanted officers; you know I met you on the
stairs, and you promised, honor bright.'
"'Eh!' ejaculated the captain, in surprise, 'my
good man, allow me to know what I'm about, will
you? Will you allow me to know myself? Or-
derly,' he continued, turning to that individual,
who had stood by, convulsed with laughter, which
he was vainly endeavoring to conceal, 'orderly, do
you think this man is in his right mind?'
"The orderly said he did n't know; but, taking
the man by the arm, showed him out of the office,
telling him to come again, when the captain was
not quite so busy.
"The conversation had been carried on in a
loud tone, and all the occupants of the different
offices had heard it, and were highly amused, for
they knew that somebody had been playing a joke
on the countryman; but it was a long time before
I told any one of the share I had had in the
28 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
HE captain wishes to see you; gentle-
4. men!" said the orderly, stepping
up and saluting.
The cousins repaired to the cabin,
and after Archie had been introduced
to the captain (for being utterly igno-
rant of the manner in which things
were conducted on shipboard, he tlad not yet
reported his arrival), his orders were indorsed,
and the captain, turning to his desk, ran his eye
hastily over an official document, and said:
"Mr. Nelson, I have received instructions from
the admiral to make you the executive officer of
this vessel. Mr. Kearney's resignation has been
accepted, and you will take his place. I am cer-
tain, from what I know and have heard of your
A NIGHT EXPEDITION.
past history, that I shall have no cause to regret
After a few moments' conversation with the
captain upon unimportant matters, the cousins
returned to the wardroom.
Frank's constant attention to his duties had
again been rewarded, and he was now the second
in authority on board the vessel. All orders from
the captain must pass through him,. and in the
absence of that gentleman he became commander.
To say that Vrank was delighted would but feebly
express his feelings; he was proud of the honor,
and determined that he would prove himself
worthy of it. In fact, he had now reached the
-height of his ambition, although he had little
dreamed that it would come so soon. He asked
nothing more. He had worked hard and faith-
fully ever since he had entered the service, but
in receiving the appointment of executive officer
he felt amply rewarded.
He was young in years for so responsible a
position, but he had no fears of his ability to per-
form all the duties required of him, for the rou-
tine of ship life had become as familiar to him as
was the road from Lawrence to his quiet little
80 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
home on the banks of Glen's Creek. But his
promotion did not affect him as it does a great
many who suddenly find themselves possessed of
power. He did not stand upon his rank," nor
in his intercourse with his messmates endeavor
to keep constantly before their minds the fact
that he was the second in command. Those who
have been in the service-especially in the navy-
will recall to mind incidents of this character; but
our hero never forgot the respect he owed to his
superiors, and his conduct toward those under
him was marked by the same kindness he had
always shown them.
Frank knew that he had something of a task
before him. Although he could now turn into
his bunk at night without being called upon to
stand his regular watch,- he had more difficult
duties to perform. He was responsible for the
manner in which affairs were conducted about
decks, for the neat appearance of the vessel and
of the men; and as the former executive officer
had been rather careless in this respect, Frank
knew that his first move must be made in that
For the next two days, as the rebels did not
A NIGHT EXPEDITION.
trouble them, Frank worked early and late, and
the results of his labor were soon made apparent.
Every one remarked the improved appearance of
the men, who, at the Sunday morning muster,
appeared on deck in spotless uniforms and well-
blacked shoes. After the roll had been called,
and the captain, in company with Frank, pro-
ceeded to inspect the vessel, the young officer
knew that his improvements had been appreciated
when the former, who was an old sailor, said,
with a smile of satisfaction:
"Mr. Nelson, this begins to look something like
a ship, sir. This really looks like business. The
admiral may come here now and inspect the ves-
sel as soon as he pleases."
The next morning, as Frank sat at the table in
the wardroom, engaged in answering the letters
he had received by the dispatch-boat, and Archie
was in his office straightening out his books and
papers, a bullet came suddenly crashing through
the cabin-a signal that the rebels had again
made their appearance. Frank, who had become
accustomed to such interruptions, deliberately
wiped his pen, corked his ink-stand, and was care-
fully putting away his letters, when there was a
82 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
hurrying of feet in the office; the door flew open,
and Archie, divested of his coat, bounded into the
"A fellow can't tell when he's safe in this
country. I wish I was back in the fleet-paymas-
ter's office. I would n't mind a good fair fight,
but this thing of being shot at when you least
expect it is n't pleasant."
As Archie spoke, he hurriedly seized a gun
from the rack, which had been put up in the
cabin in order to have weapons close at hand,
and sprang up the ladder that led into the pilot-
house. Frank, although he laughed heartily at
his cousin's rapid movements, was a good deal
surprised, for he had always believed him to be
possessed of a good share of courage. It would,
however, have tried stronger nerves than Archie's;
but men who had become familiar with such
scenes, 'who had learned to regard them merely
as something disagreeable which could not be
avoided, could not sympathize with one in his
situation, and many a wink was exchanged, and
many a laugh indulged in, at the expense of the
"9 green paymaster."
When Frank had put away his writing mate-
A NIGHT EXPEDITION.
rials, he ran below to see that the ports were all
closed; after which he returned to the wardroom,
and, securing a rifle, went into the pilot-house,
where he found Archie engaged in reloading his
gun, while the officers were complimenting him on
a fine shot he had just made.
"Mr. Nelson," exclaimed the doctor, as Frank
made his appearance, "I guess your white horse-
man is done for now. The paymaster lifted him
out of his saddle as clean as a whistle."
Frank looked out at one of the ports, and, sure
enough, there was the white horse running rider-
less about, and his wounded master was being
carried behind the levee. The officers continued
to fire as often as a rebel showed himself, but the
latter seemed to have lost all desire for fighting,
for they retreated to the plantation-house which
stood back from the river, out of range of the
rifles, where they gathered in a body as if in
consultation, now and then setting up defiant
yells, which came faintly to the ears of those in
"They are saucy enough now that they are
out of harm's way," said Archie, turning to his
cousin. But the latter made no reply. He stood
34 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
leaning on his rifle, gazing at the guerrillas, as if
busily engaged with his own thoughts, and finally
left the pilot-house and sought an interview with
"I have been thinking, sir," said he, as he en-
tered the cabin and took the chair offered him,
"that if that house out there had been burned
long ago, we should not have had ten men killed
by those guerrillas. They seem to use that build-
ing as their head-quarters, and if it could be de-
stroyed they would cease to trouble us."
"That 's my opinion," replied the captain.
"But who is to undertake the job? Who's to
go out there, in the face of three or four hundred
rebels, and do it? I can't, with a crew of only
"I did n't suppose it could be done openly,
sir; but could n't it be accomplished by stratagem
in the night, for instance?"
The captain shook his head; but Frank, who
was not yet discouraged, continued:
"I have not made this proposition, captain,
without thinking it all over-without taking into
consideration all the chances for and against it--.
and I still think it could be accomplished."
A NIGHT EXPEDITION.
"Well, how would you go to work?" asked the
.aptain, settling back in his chair with the air of
i man who had made his decision, from which he
was not to be turned.
Frank then proceeded to recount the plans he
had laid for the accomplishment of his object, to
which the captain listened attentively, and when
Frank had ceased, he rose to his feet and paced
the cabin. He knew that the young officer had
before engaged in expeditions similar to the one
he now proposed, when, in carrying out his de-
signs, he had exhibited the skill and judgment of
a veteran. In the present instance, his plans
were so well laid, that there appeared to be but
little chance for failure. After a few moments'
consideration, the captain again seated himself,
"Well, Mr. 1Nelson, it shall be as you propose.
If you succeed, I am certain that this guerrilla
station will be broken up; if you fail, it will
only be what many a good officer has done before
"I assure you, sir, I shall leave no plan un-
tried to insure my success," replied Frank, as he
left the cabin.
86 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
"What's the matter now?" inquired Archie, as
his cousin entered the wardroom. "Been getting
a blowing up already ? "
Oh, no!" replied Frank. "Come in here, and
I'll tell you all about it;" and he drew Archie
into the office, where he proceeded to tell him all
that had been determined upon. When he had
finished, the latter exclaimed:
"I want to go with you. Will you take
Frank thought of Archie's behavior but a few
moments before, and wondered what use he could
possibly be in an expedition like the one pro-
"If you do go," he answered, at length,
"you 'll be sorry for it. It requires those who
are accustomed to such business; and you, have
never been in an action in your life. The under-
taking is dangerous."
"I do n't care if it is," answered Archie,
"That's just the reason why I want to go-to
be with you; and I warrant you I 'll stick to you
as long as any body."
"Besides," began Frank, if any thing should
happen to you"-
A NIGHT EXPEDITION.
"I'm just as likely to get back as you are,"
replied Archie, excitedly, "and I want to go."
After considerable urging, Frank finally asked
and obtained permission for Archie to accompany
the expedition, at which the latter was over-
joyed. He was very far from realizing the dan-
ger there was in the undertaking, and had as
little idea of what would be required of him as he
had of the moon.
The cousins passed the afternoon in the pilot-
house, watching the movements of the guerrillas
through spy-glasses, studying the "lay of the
land," the directions in which the different roads
ran-in short, nothing was omitted which they
thought might be useful for them to know. Just
before night a storm set in; the wind blew, and
the rain fell in torrents; and, although Frank re-
garded it as something in their favor, under any
other circumstances he would have preferred
tumbling into bed to venturing out in it. The
hammocks were not piped as usual, but all hands
were to remain on deck during the night, to be
ready to lend assistance in case it was required.
At ten o'clock the cutter lay alongside the ves-
sel, the crew were in their places, and Frank and
88 RANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
his cousin, surrounded by the officers who had
assembled to see them off, stood on the guards
ready to start.
"Paymaster," said Frank, turning to his cousin,
"had n't you better remain on board ?" (He ad-
dressed him as paymaster, for, of course, it would
have been contrary to naval rules to call him by
his given name in the presence of the captain.)
"No, sir," answered Archie, quickly buttoning
up his pea-jacket with a resolute air. "Do you
Suppose I'm going to back out now ? If you do,
you are mistaken. I'm not afraid of a little
Frank made no reply, but, after shaking hands
with the captain and officers, followed his cousin
into the cutter, which floated off into the darkness
amid the whispered wishes for "good luck" from
all the ship's company who had witnessed its de-
parture. Frank took the helm, and turned the
boat down the river. Not an oar was used, for
the young officer did not know but the rebels had
posted sentries along the bank, whom the least
splashing in the water would alarm. Archie sat
beside his cousin, with his collar pulled up over
his ears, and his hands thrust into the pockets of
A NIGHT EXPEDITION.
his. pea-jacket, heartily wishing that Frank had
chosen a pleasanter night for their expedition.
For half an hour they floated along with the cur-
rent in silence, until Frank, satisfied that he had
gone far enough down the river to get below the
sentries, if any were posted on the bank, gave the
order to use the oars, and turned the cutter's head
toward the shore, which they reached in a few
The crew quietly disembarked, and as the sail-
ors gathered about him, Frank said,
"Now, men, I 'm going to leave you here until
the paymaster and myself can go up to the house,
and accomplish what we have come for. Tom,"
he added, turning to the coxswain of the cutter,
"you will have charge of the boat, and remember
you are in no case to leave her. We may be dis-
covered, and get into a fight. If we do, and are
cut off from the river and unable to get back, I '11
whistle, and you will at once answer me, so that
I may know that you hear me, and pull off to the
vessel. We '11 take care of ourselves. Do you
The crew of the cutter were old sailors-men
who had followed the sea through storm and sun-
40 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
shine all their lives. They had been in more than
one action, too, during the rebellion, and had
gladly volunteered for the expedition, supposing
that they were to accompany Frank wherever he
went. During the short time the latter had been
on board the Boxer, they had become very much
attached to him. Although he was a very strict
officer, and always expected every man to do his
duty promptly, he always treated them with the
greatest kindness, and never spoke harshly to
them. This was so different from the treatment
they had usually received at the hands of their
officers, that it won their hearts; and, although
they admired his courage, they would have felt
much better pleased had they received orders to
"Do n't you understand, Tom ?" again asked
Frank, seeing that the coxswain hesitated..
Oh, yes, sir," replied the sailor, touching his
hat; "I understand, sir. But, Mr. Nelson, may
I be so bold as to ask one question- one favor,
I may say?"
"Certainly; speak it out," answered Frank, who
little imagined what thoughts were passing through
the minds of his men. "What is it? Do you
A NIGHT EXPEDITION.
wish to go back to the ship, and leave us here
"No, sir," answered all the men in a breath.
"Mr. Nelson," said the coxswain, "I never yet
refused duty because there was danger in it, and
I'm too old a man to begin now. You have here,
sir, twelve as good men as ever trod a ship's deck,
and you know, sir, that when you passed the word
for volunteers for this expedition, you did n't have
to call twice. But we all thought that we should
go with you to the end; and, to tell the truth, sir,
we do n't like the idea of you and the paymaster
going off alone among them rebels. You are
sure to get into trouble, and we want to go with
On more than one occasion had Frank been
made aware of the affection his men cherished for
him, and he felt as proud of it as he did of the
uniform he wore; but he had never been more
affected than he was on the present occasion.
"Men," he answered, in a voice that was none
of the steadiest, "I assure you I appreciate the
interest you take in my welfare, and were I going
to fight, I should certainly take you with me; but
sometimes two can accomplish more than a dozen.
42 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
Besides, I promised the captain that I would leave
you here, and I must do so. Now, remember and
pull off to the vessel if you hear me whistle."
"Yes, sir," replied the coxswain; "but it'll be
the first time I ever deserted an officer in trouble."
The sailors were evidently far from being
pleased with this arrangement, but they were
allowed no opportunity to oppose it, even had
they felt inclined to do so, for Frank and his
cousin speedily disappeared in the darkness.
ARCHIE IN A PREDICAMENT.
S soon as the young officers had
- reached the top of the bank, they
paused to take their bearings, and
to select some landmark that would
enable them to easily find the boat
again. Away off in the darkness
they saw the twinkling of a light,
which they knew was in the house which the
guerrillas were using as their head-quarters.
"Now, Archie," said Frank, "take a good look
at this big tree here" (pointing to the object in
question) "so that you will know it again. The
boat lies in the river exactly in a line with that
tree. Now, if you should be separated from me
and discovered, make straight for the cutter. But
if you are cut off from it, run up the river until
44 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
you get a little above where the vessel lies, and
then jump in and swim out to her. Do you un-
"Yes," replied Archie.
"Be careful of your weapons," continued his
cousin, "and keep them dry and ready for in-
stant use. Do n't be captured-whatever you do,
do n't be captured!"
"I '11 look out for that," answered Archie
"But, Frank," he continued, "why did you tell
the men to pull back to the vessel if we should
be cut off from the river? I should think that
would be just the time you would want them to
"Why," replied Frank, "the very first thing
the rebels would think of, if we were discovered,
would be to capture our boat, and while part of
them were after us, the others would run to the
river and gobble up boat, crew, and all. Then
they would know that we were still on shore, and
would scour the country to find us. But if the
boat goes off to the vessel, the rebels will be more
than half inclined to believe that we have gone off
too, and, consequently, will not take the pains to
hunt us which they would do if they knew we
ARCHIE IN A PREDICAMENT.
were still on shore. But let us be moving; we've
no time to waste."
Frank started toward the house, carefully pick-
ing his way over the wet, slippery ground, now
and then pausing to listen, and to reconnoiter as
well as the darkness would permit, and finally
stopped scarcely a stone's throw from the build-
ing. Not a guerrilla had they seen. Not dream-
ing that the "yankee gun-boatmen" would have
the audacity to attack them when they knew the
rebels were so far superior in numbers, the latter
had neglected to post sentries, and Frank was sat-
isfied that their approach had not been discovered.
"Now, Archie," said he, as they drew up be-
hind a tree for concealment, "you stay here, and
I'll see if I can set fire to that house."
"There are people in it," said his cousin; "I
just saw a man pass by that window where the
"Then they must look out for themselves," an-
swered Frank. "That's what we have to do
when they shoot into our cabin. Now, you stay
here, and if you hear any shooting, run for the
"What will you do?" asked Archie.
46 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
"Oh, I'll take care of myself. Good-bye."
As Frank spoke he moved silently toward the
house, and was soon out of sight.
"Now," soliloquized Archie, "I am to stay
here, am I? That's what I was ordered to do,
but I do n't know whether I'll obey or not. It
is evident Frank left me here to keep me out of
harm's way. Perhaps he thinks that because I
have never smelt powder, I am a coward; tut I'll
show him that I am not."
So saying, Archie stepped out from behind his
tree, and walked slowly toward the house. When
he arrived opposite the window from which the
light shone, he stopped and looked in. He did
not, however, go up close to the window, or he
certainly would have been seen; but he remained
standing at a respectful distance, so that he would
have some chance for escape, in case he should
The sight that met his gaze would have been
sufficient to deter most men from attempting to
burn the house. The room was filled with men,
some of whom were lying on the floor on their
blankets, others sitting around the table, and one
or two were walking about the apartment. In the
ARCHIE IN A PREDICAMENT.
corner stood their arms, ready to be seized at a
moment's warning. And this was but one of the
rooms; perhaps the whole house was filled with
"My eye!" said Archie to himself, "what a
hornet's nest would be raised about our ears, if
we should be discovered."
His heart beat faster than usual, as he moved
back from the window, and walked silently around
to the other side of the house. Here also was a
window, from which a light shone, and as, like the
other, it was destitute of a curtain, every thing
that went on within could be plainly seen by
.Archie, who took his station behind some bushes
that stood at a little distance from the house.
The room had three occupants, whom Archie at
once set down as officers. One of them carried
his arm in a sling. He was a tall, powerful-
looking man, and Archie recognized in him the
daring rider of the white horse-the chief of the
"I wonder what the old chap would say if he
knew I was about," thought Archie-' I, who
gave him that wound. I'd be booked for Shreve-
48 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
He was interrupted in his meditations by the
movements of the officers, who arose and ap-
proached the door, bringing their chairs with
them. The storm had ceased, and as there was
no longer any necessity of remaining in the
house, the rebels were, no doubt, moving to
cooler quarters. Archie at once thought of re-
treating; but the thought had scarcely passed
through his mind, when the door opened, the
rebels walked out on the portico, and seating
themselves in their chairs, deposited their feet on
the railing; while the young officer stretched him-
self out behind the bush, heartily wishing that he
could sink into the ground out of sight.
"A very warm evening, colonel," said one of
the rebels, fanning himself with his hat.
"Very," answered the guerrilla chief, gently
moving his wounded arm, little dreaming that the
one who gave him that wound was at that very
moment lying behind the bushes into which he
had just thrown the stump of his cigar. "It's
very warm. I wish I had that rascally Yank that
shot me," he added; this wound is very painful."
Archie upon hearing this was almost afraid that
the beating of his heart, which thumped against
ARCHIE IN A PREDICAMENT.
his ribs with a noise that frightened him, would
certainly reveal to the rebels the fact that the
"rascally Yank" was then in their immediate vi-
"But, if our plans work," continued the colo-
nel, "in less than a week from this time they will
all be on the way to Shreveport."
"May I ask, colonel," said the one who had
not yet spoken, "how soon those boats will be
"Major Jackson reports that they will be fin-
ished by to-morrow night, and it will take all of
one day to run them down the creek to the river."
"Then by Thursday evening," said the one who
had first spoken, "we may be ready to make the
"Yes, if the night is favorable."
"But, colonel, all these gun-boats are supplied
with hot water, and that, you know, is the worst
kind of an enemy to fight. Men will run from
that who wouldn't flinch before cold steel."
"Oh, we must take the Yanks by surprise, of
course. The boats will hold fifty men each, and
we must drop down the river so that we will land
one on each side of the vessel. If the night is
50 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
dark-and we shall not make the attempt unless
it is-we can get within pistol-shot of her before
we are discovered, and by the time their men get
fairly out of bed she's ours. Hark! what noise
The rebels listened for a moment, and one of
"I didn't hear any thing."
"Well, I did," returned the colonel, "and it
sounded very much like some one shouting for
help. I'm certain I heard it."
Arjchie, who lay in his concealment, trembling
like a leaf, was also confident that he had heard
something that sounded like a call for assistance.
What if it was Frank in danger, and shouting to
the cutter's crew for help ? The thought to Archie
was a terrible one, and he forgot the dangers of
his own situation, and thought only of ,his cousin.
But if Frank was in trouble, why did he not
give the signal to the cutter's crew? Archie
waited and listened for it, but did not hear it
While these thoughts were passing through his
mind, the rebels sat on the portico listening, and
at length the colonel said:
ARCHIE IN A PREDICAMENT.
"I know I hear something now, but it is the
tramping of a horse. I suppose it is Tibbs,
coming with the mail."
The colonel's surmise proved to be correct, for
in a few moments a man rode up, and dismount-
ing so close to Archie that the latter could have
touched him, tied his horse to the very bush
which formed his concealment; then, throwing a
pair of well-filled saddle-bags across his shoulder,
he ran up the steps, saying:
"Good evening, gentlemen. What! colonel, are
you wounded?" he added, on seeing the rebel's
"Yes; this makes four times I have been shot
while in the service. But how is the mail ?"
"Rather heavy," answered the man. "If you
have any letters to go, you will have to furnish
another bag-these are full."
"All right," said the colonel; then raising his
voice, he called out, "Bob! Bob! Where is that
"Heyar, sar," answered a voice, and presently
a negro came around the corner of the house,
and removing his tattered hat, stood waiting for
62 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
"Bob," said the colonel, "tell Stiles that the
mail is all ready to go across the river."
Stiles! How Frank would have started could
he have heard that name! He would have known
then, had he not before been aware of the fact,
that he was again among Colonel Harrison's Lou-
The negro, in obedience to his orders, disap-
peared, but soon returned, with the intelligence
that Stiles was not to be found.
"Not to V1e found," echoed the colonel; "that's
twice he has failed me. But this mail must not
be delayed. Tell Damon I want to see him."
The negro again disappeared, and in a few
moments came back with a soldier, to whom the
"Damon, here 's a mail that must go across the
river to-night. Can you pull an oar?"
"Yas," replied the man.
"Then get some one to go with you, and
start at once. The skiff, you know, is in the
creek, just above where that Yankee gun-boat
"Yas," answered the man again, as he took the
mail-bags which the colonel handed him.
ARCHIE IN A PREDICAMENT.
"This one," continued the rebel, pointing to a
small canvas bag which one of his officers had
just brought out of the house-" this one con-
tains my mail-all official documents, to go to
Richmond. Be careful of it. Do n't let the Yan-
kees get hold of you."
"No," replied the soldier, as he shouldered the
mail and disappeared.
The conversation that followed, of which Archie
heard every word, served to convince him that,
although the rebels kept up a bold front, and ap-
peared sanguine of success in their attempts to
destroy the Government, yet among themselves
they acknowledged their cause to be utterly hope-
less unless some bold stroke could be made to
"dishearten the Yankees."
In spite of Archie's dangerous situation, which
had tried his nerves severely, he listened to every
word that was uttered, and even became inter-
ested in what the rebels were saying. Now and
then he was called to a sense of his situation by
the movements of the horse, which, being restive,
came very near stepping on him as he pranced
Damon had been gone about half an hour, and
54 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPT.
the colonel had just commenced explaining to the
man who had brought the mail the manner in
which the capture of the Boxer was to be effected,
when suddenly the report of a pistol startled
every one on the portico. A moment afterward
came another, which was followed by a yell of
"What's that?" exclaimed the colonel, spring-
ing from his chair in alarm. "Are we attacked?
Get out there, every mother's son of you!" he
continued, as the men, having been aroused by
the noise, came pouring out of the rooms in which
they were quartered. "Every man able to draw
a saber get out there! Run for the river! That's
where the reports sounded, and if there are any
boats there capture them. That will keep the
Yankees on shore, and we can hunt them up at
The men ran out of the house and started for
the river at the top of their speed, at the same
time yelling with all the strength of their lungs,
while the colonel and his officers ran into their
room, and hastily seizing such weapons as came
first to their hands, followed after. To describe
Archie's feelings, as he lay there behind that bush
ARCHIE IN A PREDICAMENT.
and listened to the sounds of pursuit, were im-
possible. The noise the rebels made seemed to
bewilder him completely, for he lay on the ground
several moments, it seemed to him, without the
power to move hand or foot.
Suddenly the thought struck him that now was
the time to accomplish the object of the expedi-
tion. The house was deserted, and the yells,
which grew fainter and fainter, told him that the
rebels were getting further away. Yes, it was
now or never. In an instant, Archie's courage
and power of action returned. Springing to his
feet, he ran to the end of the portico, on which
were piled several bales of hay and bundles of
fodder, which the rebels no doubt intended for
their horses. But Archie determined that they
should be put to a different use, for he quickly
drew from his pocket two large bottles filled with
coal oil, which he threw over the hay. He then
applied a match, and in an instant it was in
a blaze. He waited a moment to see it fairly
started, and then sprang off the portico. As he
passed the door, he heard an ejaculation of sur-
prise, followed by the report of a pistol, and the
noise of a bullet as it whizzed past his head. It
56 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
frightened him, and at the same time acted upon
him as the crack of a whip does upon a spirited
horse; for when the rebel who fired the shot had
reached the portico, Archie had disappeared in
A MARK FOR THE UNION.
ET us now return to Frank, whom we
left setting out for the house, after
having given Archie emphatic in-
structions to remain behind the tree
until his return. He did not feel at
all at his ease after he had left his
cousin, for he might have stationed
him in the most dangerous place that could have
been found; and what if Archie should be dis-
covered and captured? He was well enough
acquainted with his cousin's disposition to know
that he would not surrender without a fight; but
what could he do when opposed by a regiment
of veteran rebels ? Frank thought not of his own
peril, for that was something he had fully ex-
pected to encounter before he started. This was
not the first time he had voluntarily placed him
58 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
self in danger; but with Archie the case was
different; and Frank was several times on the
point of returning to his cousin and making use
of his>authority, as commander of the expedition,
to send him back to the boat. By the time these
thoughts had passed through his mind, he had
reached a log-cabin which stood at a little dis-
tance from the house; and as he halted behind
it, to shelter himself from the storm, still debating
upon the course he ought to pursue in regard to
Archie, some one inside the cabin commenced
"I'll lay ten dollars down,
And chuck 'em up one by one I"
If there was any more of the song, the rebel
evidently did not know it, for he kept singing
these two lines over and over, now and then vary-
ing the monotony of the performance by whist-
ling. Frank stood for some moments listening to
him, and finally began moving cautiously around
the cabin, to find some opening through which he
could look and see what was going on iitide. He
presently discovered a hole between the logs,
and, upon looking in, saw a man seated on the
A MARK FOR THE UNION.
floor before a fire-place, in which burned some
pine knots, engaged in whittling out an oar with
his bowie-knife. On the floor near him lay one
evidently just finished. At the opposite side of
the room stood a bag, from the mouth of which
peeped several letters.
A thought struck Frank-which would be of
the most benefit, to burn the house or to capture
the mail, which might contain information of the
greatest importance? Undoubtedly the latter
would be of the most consequence. Then he de-
bated long and earnestly upon the chances of
escaping with the mail, should he attempt its
capture. The man who had charge of it was a
most powerful-looking fellow, who knowing the
importance of his trust, and the certainty of re-
ceiving prompt and effective assistance from his
comrades, would, no doubt, fight most desperately,
unless he could be taken at disadvantage and se-
cured before he had time to think of resistance.
Besides, the cabin was scarcely fifty feet distant
from the house, which Frank knew was filled with
men, for he could hear them walking about the
rooms and talking to each other. The least un-
usual noise would certainly alarm them, in which
60 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
case escape would be entirely out of the question.
Frank, we say, thought over all these things, and
finally coming to the conclusion that it would be
worse than useless to attempt the capture of the
mail, turned his attention to the house. How
was he to set fire to it?
Frank, we know, was not wanting in courage,
but he had learned, by experience, that there are
times when "discretion is the better part of valor."
When he proposed the expedition, he had not ex-
pected to find the entire regiment quartered in
the house. He had supposed that the men would
find sleeping-rooms in the negro quarters, which
were nearly a half mile back, while the house
would be reserved for the officers. But the rebels
surely would not remain up all night, and when
they had all gone to bed would be the time to
execute his purpose. He would not abandon his
project until he had given it a trial, or fully satis-
fied himself that the undertaking was utterly im-
practicable. For the present, he would remain
where he was; something might "turn up" which
would be to his advantage.
At this moment a man entered the cabin, the
door of which stood open, and inquired:
A MARK FOR THE UNION.
Going over to-night, Stiles ?"
Frank was thunderstruck, and he now saw the
necessity of attempting nothing unless it promised
complete success. As the reader has already
learned, he was among his old enemies, the Wild-
cats. Upon making this discovery he was both
astonished and alarmed-astonished, for it seemed
to him that he could scarcely make a move in any
direction without being confronted by the redoubt-
able Wild-cats. This was the second time he had
found himself among them before he was aware of
it. He was alarmed, because he knew, by experi-
ence, the treatment he would receive if he should
fall into their hands without the prospect of an
But his attention was again drawn to the men
in the cabin.
"Yes," replied Stiles, in answer to his compan-
ion's question, "I'm going over to-night-allers
making' due 'lowance for bein' ketched by the
"Here's some mail, then," continued the man,
thrusting several letters into the bag. "How soon
do you start?"
"Jest as soon as Tibbs comes with the up-
62 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
country mail, an' I get the kernel's letters. Was
you takin' a chaw of tobaker, Bob?"
"No, I wasn't," replied the other, quickly
thrusting his hand into his pocket, as if to pro-
tect the precious article. "Tobacco is scarce."
"Now, Bob," said Stiles, "I know you've got
some. Me an' you's allers been good friends."
The rebel could not withstand this appeal, al-
though he produced his "plug" very reluctantly,
and as he handed it to his companion, said:
"Stiles, you're a dead beat. Go easy on that,
now, if you please, because it's all there is in the
The rebel cut off a huge piece of the weed, and,
thrusting it into his cheek, went on with his work,
while Bob returned to his quarters. He had
scarcely quitted the cabin before Frank had all
his plans laid. He would go back after Archie,
and together they would lie in wait on the bank
of the river, and, if possible, capture that mail.
With this determination, he was moving slowly
away from the cabin, when a door, which he had
not before noticed, suddenly opened, and Stiles
came out, and turning the corner, stood face to
face with Frank, and scarcely an arm's length from
A MARK FOR THE UNION.
him With the latter, retreat without discovery
was, of course, impossible. There was but one
course he could pursue, and that presented but a
small chance for success. He was, however,
allowed no time for deliberation, for the rebel,
quickly recovering from his surprise, turned to
run; but with one bound Frank overtook him,
and throwing him to the ground, caught him by
the throat, stifling a cry for help that arose to his
lips. This it was that had alarmed the colonel
and Archie; and had the former investigated the
matter, Frank would again have been a prisoner
in the hands of the Wild-cats.
Stiles struggled desperately to free himself
from the strong grasp that held him, until Frank
pulled one of his revolvers from the pocket of his
pea-jacket and presented it at his head.
"Do you surrender?" he asked, releasing his
hold of the rebel's throat.
"Yes," replied Stiles, faintly. "Don't shoot,
"You shall not be harmed if you behave your-
self. Have you any weapons?"
"No! They are all in the shanty!"
Frank, after searching theOTebel's pockets and
64 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
satisfying himself of the truth of this statement,
"Get up! Now, I know you have friends all
around you, but if you have the least desire to
live, you'll not make any noise; although you
may alarm the camp, it will not save you. Do
you understand ?"
"Have I got a pair of ears?" asked the rebel.
"Well, if you have, you hear what I say," re-
turned Frank. "Now go this way," he added,
pointing toward the river.
The rebel, who had a wholesome fear of the
revolver which Frank held in his hand, ready
cocked, obeyed, without the slightest hesitation,
and they reached the bank of the river, where the
cutter lay, without being discovered.
"Now," said Frank, "I want to ask you a few
questions. Where do you keep the boat in which
you were going to carry that mail ?"
In the creek, jest above where that ar' gun-
boat lies, replied Stiles."
"How many of you were to go ?"
"Two-me an' another feller."
"Well, now, the colonel wont find you when he
wants you. What will he do?"
A MARK FOR THE UNION.
"Oh, he'll send some body else. The mail must
go, an' it makes no odds who takes it, so long as
he don't get ketched."
"That's all I want to know," said Frank.
Then, going to the top of the bank, he called out:
"Tom, come up here!"
The coxswain soon made his appearance, and
"Now, Stiles, you're a prisoner."
"Dog gone ef I keer," he replied, "so long as
I get plenty of grub an' tobaker."
The rebel was marched down the bank, and
Frank again bent his steps toward the house, in-
tending to find his cousin, and, with his assistance,
to capture the mail. When he arrived at the tree
where he had left Archie, the latter was not to be
seen. This, however, did not give him any un-
easiness, for Archie, he thought, had doubtless
gone back to the cutter. Frank had already
made up his mind to go back after him, when he
saw a man walk up to the cabin in which he had
first discovered the man who was now his pris.
oner, and heard him call out:
"Massa Stiles! de mail all ready, sar!"
Receiving no answer, the negro walked into the
66 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
cabin, but finding it vacant, went out to make the
report to the colonel that Stiles was not to be
found. From this Frank knew that he had no
time to lose. Stiles had told him that some one
else would be sent with the mail, and as it was all
ready, a man would soon be found to take his
place. If he went back after Archie, he might
be too late. He must attempt it alone, and un-
aided. Walking out from behind the tree, he
started toward the creek, where lay the boat in
which the mail was to be carried.
The creek he found without difficulty; but the
boat was evidently hidden away, for he searched
up and down the bank for it without success. If
he found it, it was his intention to cut it loose,
and allow it to drift out into the river, thus de-
priving the rebels of the means of carrying their
mail. But failing in this, he ran up the bank, and
awaited the coming of the rebels. It was a haz-
ardous undertaking to attempt the capture of two
men, both of whom were, no doubt, well armed;
but Frank had great confidence in the looks of his
revolvers, and hoped to 'accomplish his object
without alarming the rebels in the house.
He had waited perhaps a quarter of an hour,
A MARK FOR THE UNION. 67
when he heard footsteps approaching, and pres-
ently he discovered the two men for whom he
had been watching. One carried the mail-bags,
and the other a pair of oars, the same, no doubt,
which Stiles had but a short time before com-
pleted. Frank waited until they were almost
upon him, and then sprang up with a revolver in
each hand, which he pointed straight at the heads
of the men, exclaiming:
"You're my prisoners. Do n't make any re-
The rebels were astonished, and the man who
carried the mail-bags threw them down and held
his arms above his head, in token of surrender.
But the other, after regarding the officer for a
moment, as if to make sure that it was a human
being with whom he had to deal, dropped his oars,
and before his captor was aware of his intention,
drew a pistol and fired. Frank felt a sharp pain
in his left shoulder, and the revolver which he
held in that hand fell from his grasp. He had
received his first wound, but although thoroughly
frightened, he did not lose his presence of mind.
If he had, he would soon have been recalled to a
sense of his dangerous situation, for the rebel
68 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
again cocked his revolver; but this time Frank
fired first, and the rebel sank to the ground with
a loid yell. In an instant Frank turned upon
the other; but he appeared to be too much under
the influence of fear to lend his comrade any
All thought of concealment was now out of the
question. The rebels in the house had, of course,
been alarmed, and Frank's only chance for escape
with his prisoner and the mail was to reach the
cutter as soon as possible, and pull off to the ves-
sel. Hastily relieving the prisoner of his weapons,
he directed him to pick up the mail and follow the
course he pointed out.
The prisoner did as he was ordered; but they
had not gone far when a loud yelling announced
that the rebels in the house had been alarmed, and
were in pursuit. Frank kept close behind his
prisoner, who, through fear of the revolver, ran at
a rapid rate, but they had further to run to reach
the cutter than the guerrillas, and the latter gained
rapidly. The prisoner, who was not long in dis-
covering this, slackened his pace considerably,
although he appeared to be doing his utmost.
Frank, however, was not deceived. Thrusting his
A MARK FOR THE UNION.
revolver into his pocket, he seized the rebel by
the nape of the neck, and helped him over the
ground in a manner more rapid than agreeable.
Had the man been aware of the fact that his cap-
tor had but one arm that he could use, he might
not have submitted so quietly as he did. Frank,
whose whole mind was wrapped up in the idea of
saving his prisoner and the mail, did not stop to
think of this, but pushed his man ahead to such
good advantage that they succeeded in reaching
the cutter before their pursuers. He marched
the rebel down the bank in the most lively man-
ner, and tumbled him into the boat, where he was
instantly seized and secured.
The sailors, who had heard the noise of the
pursuit, and waited impatiently for the appear-
ance of their officer, were all in their places, and
as Frank sprang in, he shouted:
Shove off- lively now, lads !"
The cutter was speedily pushed from the shore,
and the oars got out and handled by twelve strong
fellows, all good oarsmen.
"Let fall-give away together," again com-
manded Frank, who, in spite of the pain of his
wound, began to chuckle over his good luck in
70 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
securing the mail. "The rebs will give us a vol-
ley," he continued, "unless we get out of sight in
the darkness before they reach the bank. So,
pick her up, lads, and walk right away with
The sailors, understanding the order, and re-
joicing in the escape of their young officer, whose
safety and well-being they regarded as infinitely
of more importance than their own, gave way
manfully on the muffled oars, which made no
sound as they bent beneath the sturdy strokes,
and the cutter flew noiselessly through the water.
The rebels reached the bank but a few moments
after the cutter had left, but neither seeing nor
hearing any thing of her, they contented them-
selves with uttering their yells, and firing a volley
into the darkness in the direction they supposed
the boat had gone.
But their attention was soon called to another
quarter, for a bright flame shot up from the house.
The boat's crew saw it, and could scarcely refrain
hurrahing; but knowing that they were not yet out
of range of the guerrillas' rifles, they gave vent to,
their jubilant feelings by redoubling their efforkc
at the )ars.
A MARK FOR THE UNION.
"Mr. Nelson," whispered the coxswain, "may
I be allowed to say that was well done, sir!"
"I did n't do that, Tom," answered Frank, in a
faint voice, as he gazed in surprise at the burning
house, and thought of his cousin. "Is Paymaster
Winters in the cutter ?"
Frank hardly dared to ask the question, for
if his cousin had been in the boat he would have
kn6wn it before that time.
The paymaster !" repeated the coxswain;
"no, sir. He went away with you, sir, and I
have n't seen him since. He's missing, that's a
Frank felt ready to faint on hearing this, and
very bitterly did he censure himself for allowing
his cousin to accompany him! But regrets were
useless; the mischief had been done, and could
not be undone. He had one hope, however, to
which he still clung-that Archie might be on
ooard the vessel. Perhaps, not daring to attempt
to find his way back to the cutter, through fear
of capture, he had swam on board and was now
safe. He would soon know.
In a few moments they had reached the Boxer,
and as the cutter came along side, Frank seized
72 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
the mail-bags and sprang out. After giving the
officer of the deck, who met him at the gangway,
instructions in regard to the prisoners, he ran up
the stairs that led to the wardroom. Here he
met the captain, who, taking him familiarly by
the arm, led him into the cabin, exclaiming:
"Mr. Nelson, I congratulate you, sir; it was
well done, sir! The house is all in a blaze."
"Captain," said Frank, I did n't do that, sir.
Is the paymaster on board?
"Why, no,, sir; not unless he came with you."
I have n't seen him, captain, since I left him
within a short distance of that house. If he is
not on board, sir, he 's out there yet, and he has
fired the building."
"Why, Mr. Nelson," exclaimed the captain, for
the first time noticing Frank's pale face and use-
less hand, from which the blood was dripping,
"you are wounded, sir. Orderly, orderly, send
the doctor here at once."
A RUN FOR LIFE.
RCHIE was as light of foot as an
antelope, and fear lent him wings.
In obedience to his cousin's instruc-
tions, he ran up the river, directing
his course through a thick woods,
jumping over logs and making his
^way through the bushes with a rapid-
ity that surprised himself. The rebel who had
discovered him followed for a short distance, but
finding that he was losing ground, he stopped and
fired his revolver in the direction he supposed
Archie had gone; but the bullets went wide of
the mark, and the latter, who now regarded his
escape as a thing beyond a doubt, laughed when
he thought how cleverly he had accomplished the
object of the expedition.
74 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
Having reached a safe distance from the house,
he stopped and listened. He distinctly heard the
crackling of flames, and presently a bright light
shone over the trees. The building was fairly in
a blaze. He was, however, allowed scarcely a
moment to congratulate himself, for the yells of
the guerrillas plainly told him that they had dis-
covered the fire, and were commencing pursuit.
Archie again set out, intent on reaching clear
ground as soon as possible, for he knew that no
plan would be left untried to capture him. His
situation was still any thing but a pleasant one,
but he was sanguine of reaching the vessel in
safety, until a long-drawn-out bay came echoing
through the woods, and drove the blood back upon
his heart. The rebels were following him with a
For a moment Archie staggered as though he
had been struck a severe blow by some unseen
hand, but quickly realizing the fact that his safety
depended upon his own exertions and the use he
made of the next few moments, he speedily recov-
ered his presence of mind, and hastily securing
his rdolvers, which, up to this time, he had car-
ried in the pockets of his pea-jacket, he pulled off
A RUN FCR LIFE.
that garment, and throwing it on the ground,
started off at the top- of his speed.
Being thus relieved of a great incumbrance, he
made headway rapidly, but, fast as he ran, he
heard that dreadful sound coming nearer, mingled
with loud yells of triumph from the pursuing rebels
He had, with surprise and indignation, listened to
Frank's description of his run from Shreveport,
when he and his companions had been pursued
with blood-hounds, little imagining that he would
ever be placed in a similar situation.
And how did it happen that he had not aroused
the hound while he was about the house? Had
he moved so silently that the animal had not
heard him, or had he been in the building with
the men? This question Archie could not an-
swer. But one thing was certain, and that was
that the hound was, at that very moment, on his
trail, and unless he soon reached the river his
capture was beyond a doubt. He, however, had
no fears of being overpowered by the hound.
He fully realized the fact that he would soon be
overtaken, and had resolved to shoot the animal
the moment he made his appearance.
The yells of the rebels grew fainter, and Archie
76 FRANK ON THE 10 POWER MISSISSIPPI.
knew he was gaining on them. This gave him
encouragement. In fact, since the hound had
opened on his trail, after the first momentary
feeling of terror had vanished, he had retained
his coolness in a remarkable degree, and had
counted over his chances for capture and escape
with surprising deliberation for one who had never
before been placed in so exciting and dangerous a
situation. We have seen that he felt fear. Had it
been otherwise he must have possessed nerves of
steel, or have been utterly destitute of the power
of reasoning; but that fear did not so completely
overpower him as it had but a short time before,
when he lay behind the bush, and listened to the
guerrilla's plan for the capture of the Boxer and
her crew. On the contrary, it nerved him to
make the greatest exertions to effect his escape.
In a few moments, to his great joy, he emerged
from the woods and entered an open field, across
which he ran with redoubled speed. Directly in
front of him was another belt of timber, and be-
yond that lay the river, which, if he could reach,
he would be safe. The baying of the hound had
continued to grow louder and louder, and, when
Archie had accomplished perhaps half the dis.
A RUN FOR LIFE.
tance across the field, a crashing in the bushes
and an impatient bark announced, in language too
plain to be misunderstood, that the hound had
In an instant he stopped, faced about, and drew
one of his revolvers. Stooping down close to the
ground, he finally discovered the hound, which
approached with loud yelps, that were answered
by triumphant cheers from the pursuing rebels.
Waiting until the animal was so close to him that
he presented a fair mark, Archie raised his re-
volver and fired. The hound bounded into the
air, and, after a few struggles, lay motionless on
the ground. Scarcely waiting to witness the
effect of the shot, the young officer sprang to his
feet, and again started for the river. The yells
of the rebels-who had heard the shot, and knew,
from the silence that followed, that the hound was
dead-again arose fierce and loud; but Archie,
knowing that his pursuers had now lost the power
of following him with certainty, considered the
worst part of the danger as past.
But he had to deal with those who could not
be easily deceived. Colonel Harrison, knowing
that the only chance for escape was by the river,
78 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
had lined the banks with men, and, as Archie
neared the woods, a voice directly in front of him
"It's all up now, Yank! Drop that shootin'-
iron, or you're a gone sucker!"
Archie's heart fairly came up into his mouth.
He had little expected to find an enemy in that
quarter, but, without waiting an instant, he turned
and ran up the river again, hoping that he might
soon be able to get above the sentinels. The
rebel, hearing the sound of his footsteps, and
knowing that he was retreating, shouted:
"Halt, Yank! halt! or I'll shoot-blamed if 1
do n't !"
And he did shoot, and Archie heard the bullet
as it sung through the air behind him.
The rebel, without stopping to load his gun,
started in pursuit; but Archie, who was running
for his life, soon left him behind. As the latter
ran he heard shots fired on all sides of him, show-
ing that he was completely surrounded.
Escape seemed utterly impossible; and fearing
that he- might run into the very midst of the
guerrillas when he least expected it, he threw
himself behind a log in the edge of the woods,
A RUN FOR LIFE.
and awaited the issue of events with feelings that
can not be described. He now had little hope
of being able to elude his pursuers, who, he was
certain, would keep the river closely guarded
until daylight, when they would soon discover his
hiding-place. He could not go on without fear
of running against some of his enemies, in the
dark, and to remain where he was, appeared
equally dangerous. But of one thing he was cer-
tain-and as the thought passed through his mind,
he clutched his revolvers desperately-and that
was, if he was captured, it would require more
than one man to do it.
Presently he heard footsteps approaching, and
two rebels came up. One of them he knew, by
his voice, was the very man who had just fired at
"I know he went this yere way," said he.
"Wal, hold on a minit," said the other, panting
loudly; "let's rest a leetle-I'm nigh gin out;"
and he seated himself so close to Archie that, had
it been daylight, he would certainly have been
"I'll be dog-gone," said the one who had first
spoken, ef this 'ere night's work do n't beat all
80 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
natur'. Them ar Yanks ain't no fools, dog ef
"Who'd a thought it?" returned his compan-
ion. "Them ar two fellers come out here an'
burn a house with more'n three hundred men in
it? Dog-gone! But how did that other feller get
"Oh, he had a boat," answered the other, "an'
he got thar afore we could ketch him. He 's on
board his gun-boat afore this time. I jest ketched
a glimpse of him as he was goin' down the bank.
He had Damon by the neck, an' he was making'
him walk turkey, now I tell yer."
"Damon ketched!" ejaculated his companion
"An' what's come on the kernel's mail?"
"Gone up-the hul on it! Damon's got the
bracelets on by this time. But come, let's go
All this while the rebels had been coming up,
and Archie could hear them in the woods, on all
sides of him, yelling and swearing, like demons.
He had one source of consolation, however-his
cousin was safe; and, judging by thie rebels' con-
versation, he had not gone back to the vessel
A RUN FOR LIFE.
Archie lay for some time listening to the move-
ments of the rebels, almost afraid to breathe lest
it should be overheard, when he was suddenly
startled by a stunning report, which was followed
by a hissing and shrieking in the air; a bright
light shone in his eyes for an instant, and the
next, the woods echoed with the bursting of a
shell. The guerrillas had scarcely time to recover
from their astonishment when there came another,
and another, each one followed by groans and
cries of anguish that made the young officer
Frank Nelson had gained the Boxer in safety,
and although surprised and alarmed at the ab-
sence of Archie-who, he thought, would make the
best of his way back to the vessel when left to
himself-he knew by the yelling of the rebels,
and the pistol-shots that were occasionally heard,
that they had not yet captured him. The noise of
the chase plainly told the Boxer's crew that the
fugitive was making the best of his way up the
river, and Frank had opened fire on the rebels to
create, if possible, a diversion in his cousin's favor.
His shells were thrown with fatal accuracy, and
the guerrillas, taken completely by surprise, and
82 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
having no levee to protect them, beat a hasty
Although threatened by a new danger, Archie
was so overjoyed that he could scarcely refrain
from shouting, and as soon as he was satisfied
that his pursuers were out of hearing, he crawled
from his concealment and ran toward the river.
The shells still kept dropping into the woods at
regular intervals, making music most pleasant to
Archie's ears, for he knew that as long as the fire
was continued, his chances for escape were in-
creased. But in his eagerness he never thought
of the men who had been posted on the bank, and
as he dashed through the woods, several shots
were fired at him by the rebels concealed in the
bushes. But he reached the water in safety, and
struck out for the vessel. A few random shots
were fired at him, which Archie heard as they
whistled past him; but his good fortune had not
deserted him, and he again escaped unhurt. The
reports of the guns on board the Boxer pointed
out the direction in which he was to go, and in
a quarter of an hour he was within hailing-dis-
tance of the vessel. The splashing he made in
the water soon attracted the attention of the sentry
A RUN FOR LIFE.
on the forecastle, who, having beekA instructed by
Frank, had kept a good look-out. A rope was
thrown to Archie, who was pulled on board the
vessel in a state of complete exhaustion.
Frank was soon informed of the safe return of
his cousin, and Archie, almost too weak to speak
plainly, was carried to his room, where, after being
divested of his wet clothes, he was put to bed, and
left in a sound sleep. The next morning, how-
ever, he appeared in the mess-room, as lively as
ever, and none the worse for his long run; while
Frank, who began to suffer from his wound, was
confined to his bed.
The latter listened to his cousin's narration of
the part he had borne in the expedition, and in
admiration of Archie's bravery, forgot the lecture
he had intended to administer. The officers, who
had not expected such an exhibition of courage in
one whose cheek had blanched at the whistle of a
rebel bullet, were astonished, and it is needless to
say that no more jokes were indulged in at the
expense of the green paymaster."
For two months Frank held his position as ex-
ecutive officer of the Boxer, during which time the
vessel was twice inspected by the admiral. He
84 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
now had little to do beyond the regular routine
of ship duties, for the guerrilla-station had been
broken up by the burning of the plantation-house,
and vessels were seldom fired into on the Boxer's
beat. But this was not to continue long, for, one
day, the dispatch-boat brought orders for him to
report on board the Michigan-which lay at the
mouth of Red River-as executive officer of that
This was still another advancement, for the
\Michigan was an iron-clad, mounted fourteen guns,
and had a crew of one hundred and seventy men.
But Frank would have preferred to remain in his
present position. After considerable hard work,
he had brought the Boxer's crew into an admir-
able state of discipline; every thing about decks
went off as smoothly as could be desired, and be-
sides, Archie was on board, and he did not wish
to leave him. But he never hesitated to obey his
orders, and as soon as he had packed his trunk,
and taken leave of his messmates, he went on
board the dispatch-boat, and in a few days arrived
at his new vessel.
The captain of the Michigan had written tp the
admiral, requesting that a "first-class, experienced
A RUN FOR LIFE.
officer" might be sent him for an executive, but
when Frank presented himself and produced his
orders, that gentleman was astonished. After re
garding the young officer sharply for a moment,
"The admiral, no doubt, knows his own busi-
ness, but let me tell you, young man, that you
have no easy task before you."
He no doubt thought that a person of Frank's
years was utterly incapable of filling so responsi-
ble a position. The latter, with his usual modesty,
replied that he would endeavor to do his duty, and
after he had seen his baggage taken care of, he
went into the wardroom, where he found a young
officer seated at the table reading. He arose as
Frank entered, and thrusting out his hand, greeted
"I'm glad to meet you again, Mr. Nelson, and
among friends, too."
It was George Le Dell, the escaped prisoner,
whom he had met during his memorable flight from
Shreveport. Frank had not seen him, nor even
heard of him, since he had left him on board the
Ticonderoga but here he was, ",among the de-
fenders of the Old Flag." again, in fulfillment of the
86 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
promise he had made his rebel father, in the letter
which Frank had read to his fellow fugitives in the
woods, where they had halted for the day. He
was not changed-his face still wore that sorrowful
expression-and Frank found that he rarely took
part in the conversation around the mess-table.
He was an excellent officer, the especial favorite
of the captain, and beloved by all his messmates,
who, very far from suspecting the cause of his
quiet demeanor, called him Silence."
Frank heartily returned his cordial greeting,
and the two friends talked for a long time of
scenes through which they had passed together-
subjects still fresh in their memories-until the
entrance of an officer put a stop to the conversa-
tion. Frank understood, by this, that he was the
only one of the ship's company who knew any
thing of George's past history.
The change from the cool, comfortable quarters
of the Boxer to the hot wardroom of the iron-
clad was not an agreeable one; but Frank was
not the one to complain, and he entered upon his
duties with his accustomed cheerfulness and alac-
rity. He was allowed very little rest. The cap-
A RUN FOR LIFE.
tain of the Michigan-which was the flag-ship of
the third division of the squadron-was a regular
officer, who believed in always keeping the men
busy at something, and Frank was obliged to be
on his feet from morning until night. The decks
were scrubbed every day, the bright work about
the guns and engines cleaned, the small boats
washed out, and then came quarters, and drilling
with muskets or broad-swords. After this, if
there was nothing else to be done, the outside of
the vessel was scrubbed, or the chimneys repainted.
In short, the Michigan was the pattern of neat-
ness, and her crew, being constantly drilled, knew
exactly what was required of them, and were
ready for any emergency.
For several months little occurred to relieve
the monotony of ship-life beyond making regular
trips from one end of their beat to the other; but
when spring opened, gun-boats and transports,
loaded with soldiers, began to assemble, and prep-
arations were made for the Red River expedition.
*At length every thing was ready, and one pleas-
ant morning the gun-boats weighed their anchors
and led the way up the river.
88 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
Frank stood on deck as the vessels steamed
along, and could not help drawing a contrast be-
tween his present position and the one in which
he was placed when he first saw Red River.
Then, he and his companions were fugitives from
a rebel prison; they had been tracked by blood-
hounds, and followed by men at whose hands, if
retaken, they could expect nothing but death.
He remembered how his heart bounded with joy
on ,the morning when he and his associates, in
their leaky dug-out, had arrived in sight of the
Mississippi. Then, he was ragged, hatless, and
almost shoeless, weary with watching, and living
in constant fear of recapture. Now, he was among
friends, the Old Flag waved above him, and he
was the second in command of one of the finest
vessels in the squadron.
The passage up the river was without incident
worthy of note, and in a short time they arrived at
the obstructions which the rebels had placed in
the river nine miles below Fort .De Russy. A
vast amount of time and labor had been expended
upon these obstructions, but they were speedily
cleared away, and the fleet passed on. They had
A RUN FOR LIFE. 89
expected a stubborn resistance at the fort, but it
had been captured by the army after a short
engagement, and the gun-boats kept on to Alex.
90 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
Irank thu s I ectih.
,DAY or two after the arrival of
the fleet at Alexandria, it became
known that several persons belong-
Sing to the rebel secret service were
hovering about in the vicinity of the
village, with the intention of destroy-
ing some of the vessels by torpedoes-
contrivances made to resemble pieces of coal-.
which were to be placed in those barges out of
which the boats were supplied with fuel. By
some means the names of these persons became
known to the admiral, who issued a general order,
calling on all the officers of the squadron to kill
or capture them wherever found.
The same day the order was issued Frank ob-
tained shore liberty, and while roaming about the
FRANK TURNS DETECTIVE.
town, espied a name on a sign that immediately
attracted his attention. It was one of the names
borne in the general order.
"There 's one of the rascals, now," soliloquized
Frank, or, rather, where he has been. I wonder
where he is. I'll see if I can't find out some-
thing about him. If he could be caught, he would
be put in a place where he wouldn't lay any
more plans to blow up Union gun-boats."
The sign which had attracted his attention bore
the name and occupation of the individual in
question-" S. W. ABBOTT, Chemist."
The store had been clsed on the approach of
the Union forces, and was now in the possession
of several army surgeons and their assistants, who
were overhauling its contents, and appropriating
whatever they thought might be of service to
them. A negro was leaning against the counter,
and of him Frank inquired-
"Boy, do you belong here?"
"No, sar," he answered, indignantly; "I 'longs
nowhar. I 'se a free man, I is. I 'se a, soger."
"Never been in this town before?"
Frank left the store, and walked slowly up the
92 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
street toward the hotel, wondering where he could
go to make inquiries concerning the man whom he
wished to find. It was evident that this was the
hardest task he had yet undertaken. He knew
the rebel's name, and that was all. He had no
idea how he looked, and, although the admiral's
order stated that he was loitering about the village,
he might, at that moment, be fifty miles away, or
Frank might have already passed him on the
There were several men dressed in butternut
clothes hanging about the hotel, and Frank de-
termined to enter into conversation with one of
them, and, if possible, learn something about Ab-
bott. An opportunity was soon offered, for one
of the butternuts approached him, and inquired-
Got any Northern money-greenbacks ?"
"Some," replied Frank.
"Wal," continued the man, "I 'll give you five
dollars in Confederate money fur one dollar in
greenbacks. Is it a bargain ?"
Confederate money!" repeated Frank. Of
what use would it be to me? And I am greatly
mistaken if it will be of use to you much longer."
"Wal, I want your money fur a keepsake," re
FRANK TURNS DETECTIVE.
plied the man. I know you-uns do n't like our
money, but we-uns hev got to use it or go without
"Well, I'll trade," said Frank. "Your paper
will no doubt be a curiosity to the folks at home."
As he spoke, he produced the dollar, and the but-
ternut drew out of his capacious pocket a huge roll
of bills-tens, twenties, and fifties, enough to have
made him independent if it had been good money-
and selecting a five-dollar bill, handed it to Frank,
who thrust it carelessly into his pocket.
"I'll allow that you-uns do n't seem to be a
bad lot of fellers," said the butternut; "but I
do n't see what you-uns want to come down hyar
to fight we-uns for. We-uns never done nothing
"Every rebel I meet says the same thing," said
Frank. "But who were the richest men in this
place before the war broke out?"
The man mentioned several names, among
which was that of Abbott, the chemist.
"Abbott, Abbott," repeated Frank, as if trying
to recall the man to mind; "I 've heard that name
before. Is he a Northern man?"
"N); he's allers lived at the South. His
94 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
house is right back of the hotel, third door from
the corner, on the right-hand side as you go up
Frank had learned something, but he did not
think it safe to question the man further, for fear
of exciting his suspicions; so, after a few unim-
portant remarks, he turned on his heel and
walked into the hotel, which was used as the army
head-quarters. Here he remained for nearly half
an hour, to give the man of whom he had received
his information time to leafe the place, and then
directed his steps toward Mr. Abbott's dwelling.
He had no difficulty in finding it, for he followed
the butternut's directions, and the rebel's name
was borne on the door-plate. The house, how-
ever, was deserted; the blinds were closed, as
were those of all the neighboring houses. Mr.
Abbott, with his family, if he had any, had doubt-
less removed out of reach of the Union forces.
Did he ever visit his home when in town? or did
he make his head-quarters somewhere else? were
questions that suggested themselves to Frank, but
which, of course, he could not answer; neither
did he dare to question any of the citizens, for
they might be Mr. Abbott's friends, who would
FRANK TURNS DETECTIVE.
not fail to inform him that particular inquiries
were being made, which would lead him to act
more cautiously. Frank did not know what plan
to adopt, but walked listlessly about the streets
until he heard the Michigan's bell strike half-past
three o'clock. He must be on board by four, as
the admiral was to be there to inspect the vessel.
He was reluctant to leave without having accom-
plished any thing more than the discovery of the
rebel's dwelling; but there was no help for it, and
he walked slowly toward the landing, where he
found a boat waiting for him.
That night, although he retired early, he slept
but little, but tossed restlessly about in his bunk,
endeavoring to conjure up some plan by which he
might capture the rebel; and wAhen he fell asleep,
he dreamed about the subject uppermost in his
mind. He thought that, after several days' patient
watching, he finally discovered his man, but all
attempts to capture him were unavailing. When
he pursued, the rebel would disappear in a magical
way, that was perfectly bewildering. Finally, he
dreamed that the rebel assumed the offensive, and
one day he met him in the street, carrying in his
hand something that looked like a lump of coal,
96 FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI.
which he threw at Frank. It proved, however, to
be a torpedo, for it exploded with a loud report,
and as Frank sprang over a fence that ran close
by the sidewalk, to escape, he came violently
in contact with the walls of a house. At this
stage of his dream he was suddenly awakened.
To his no small amazement, he found himself
stretched on the floor of his room, his head
jammed against the door, through which one of
the wardroom boys, a very small specimen of a
contraband, was endeavoring to escape, while the
look of terror depicted on his face, and the energy
with which he strove to open the door, showed that
he had sustained something of a fright. On the
opposite side of the room stood the doctor, who
gazed at Frank for a moment with open mouth
and eyes, and then threw himself on the bed, con-
vulsed with laughter.
Frank rose slowly to his feet, and commenced
drawing on his clothes, while the little negro dis-
appeared through the door like a flash.
"Mr. Nelson," said the doctor, as soon as he
could speak, "you can't make that jump again,
sir. I came in to awaken you," he continued,
"and was just going to put my hand on you, when